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Passion Flowers (paperback) by Molly Charles

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  • Ambitious career woman Leigh Taylor Cole and laid-back islander Deke Kearney have nothing in common—except a sizzling chemistry that turns their lives upside down and makes Leigh question her promise to bring him home to Seattle.

    But Deke's going nowhere with the uptight mainlander. Until, that is, kidnappers threaten his son's safety and send the threesome into hiding in a secluded up-island cabin.

    Proximity and provocative Maui breezes work their magic, forging a passionate bond between Leigh and Deke and forcing Leigh to face her greatest fear. And eventually to unlock a secret buried so deeply in her past, she's hidden it even from herself.


    Rating: Spicy
    Page Count: 300
    Word Count: 69905
    978-1-5092-0903-3 Paperback
    978-1-5092-0904-0 Digital

    Excerpt

    “I usually give the hula lesson.” He glanced around and then called out, “Ladies and gentlemen, Leigh here has graciously agreed to demonstrate the hula.”

    Agreed to what?

    Everyone turned to stare at her while stepping back to give them room.

    How could she leave the dance floor now? She was trapped.

    “But to do the hula properly,” Deke said, cupping her shoulders, and addressing both her and the crowd, “you need to shed a few clothes.”

    There were wolf whistles and laughter. Yet Leigh stood still, aware only of the heat of Deke’s palms through the fabric of her jacket. “No, I—”

    Before she could resist, he slid the garment off her shoulders and handed it to a bystander. Warm air swept her bare arms, but she shivered, feeling exposed and self-conscious in her thin camisole top.

    Smiling, Deke placed the rest of the leis over her head.

    Fragrance engulfed her. The petals were soft and cool on her skin. She swallowed hard and tried to turn away, but there were his palms, hot on her shoulders. She felt a little jolt of electricity again and wanted to jerk out of his grasp, but she forced herself not to respond.

    “Let me show you how to stand.” He gave her a searching look. “Okay?”

    She was lightheaded but managed a nod, even though she wanted to refuse.

    With a running commentary, he pressed on her shoulders, lifted her wrists, and then put his hands at her waist, molding her into a hula stance. His touch on different parts of her body, even briefly, racked her nerves.

    “C’mon, Leigh, loosen up a little,” he coaxed softly.

    The concept of “loose” had fallen out of her vernacular. Speech itself was a stretch. Frozen in place, she wasn’t sure she could move a hair unless he moved it for her.

    “Hell, loosen up a lot.” His lips twitched. “Watch me.”

    Bending his knees, his arms undulating, he swayed close to her. “See what I mean?”

    He should have looked silly, but he didn’t. He moved like liquid, smooth and effortlessly.

    Leigh tried to duplicate a few of his dance moves, but she was wooden and stiff and the harder she tried, the worse her efforts and the more awkward she felt. In no time she was perspiring. The flowers around her neck felt warm and stifling; their fragrance seemed to reach up and taunt her.

    People clapped and called out encouragement. But all she wanted to do was sink through the floor.

    Deke snagged a green sheaf from behind the drums, unfolded a grass skirt, and tied it around her waist. His warm fingers fumbled at the hollow of her back and then fell away. The nerves along her spine tingled. She tried to swallow, but it was difficult.

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Passion Flowers (paperback)

Passion Flowers (paperback)

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