9780440244349

Hard to Hold

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780440244349

  • ISBN10:

    044024434X

  • Edition: Original
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-11-24
  • Publisher: Dell
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Summary

THE SPECIAL OPS HERO FEARED NOTHING UNTIL HE MET A WOMAN TOO HOT TO HOLD.... Lieutenant Jake Hansen has survived some of the riskiest missions known to man. But now the wounded Navy SEAL faces his toughest job yet: smuggling Dr. Isabelle Markham out of Africa without triggering an international incident. Not easy to do when the gorgeous hostage happens to be a senator's daughterand about as easy to resist as an oasis in the desert. If it weren't for Jake, Isabelle would still be halfway across the world, where rebel forces left her for dead. The special ops warrior may have saved her life, but she doesn't need him to protect her now. Tell that to the ruggedly handsome hunk in full battle fatigues who's just been assigned as Isabelle's personal bodyguard. Close quarters aside, Isabelle won't let Jake anywhere near her heartuntil danger throws them together again. And nothing in the jungles of wildest Africa could prepare them for a passion this wild. This crazy. This hot...

Author Biography

Stephanie Tyler writes what she loves to read - romantic suspense with military heroes. She lives in New York with her husband, her daughter and her weimaraner. She also co-writes paranormal erotic romance for Bantam Dell under the pen-name Sydney Croft.

Excerpts

Chapter One



two months later


Isabelle Markham knocked lightly on the heavy metal door, heard the sharp What? come from the other side and thought briefly about turning away.

“The SEALs who rescued you are stationed here. I’m sure you’ll run into them at some point. Will that be a problem for you?” The admiral—and the man she knew simply as Uncle Cal—eyed her sharply across the desk, his words a final test.

“That’s not a problem,” she said, right before she signed the final papers that declared her commitment to the U.S. Navy as a civilian consultant for the next three months.

She’d meant it. It was not a problem. She needed closure on this situation. She’d start working on base tomorrow and didn’t want any surprises to throw her off the finely honed balance she’d fought for over the past two months.

She pushed her way inside the office and found herself face-to-face with the man who’d saved her life.

Jake Hansen stood well over six feet tall, dressed in full jungle camouflage BDUs. In Africa, his hair had been completely covered by a dark green bandanna. His whole face, except for his eyes, which were somewhere between the color of steel and smoke, had been camouflaged with paint—most of which had begun to fade. As the hours had worn on, she’d been able to get glimpses of what lay behind the SEAL’s mask.

She remembered the medic wiping the greasepaint off her own face during the transport to the hospital.

His hair was longer, blonder than she’d have guessed, but the rest of her instinct had served correct. He was one of the most handsome men she’d ever seen—rugged good looks really, made even better by the way he didn’t seem to notice it.

He just stared at her, like if he looked at her hard enough, she might disappear.

“Lieutenant . . . Jake . . . I’m Isabelle Markham.” Her voice seemed to echo in the small room and she forced herself to breathe.

“I know who you are,” he said, and she tried to hold back a smile at hearing his voice again. The tone was low, rough, just like she’d remembered, a voice that had forced its way into her dreams.

When she’d been stuck in the hospital, right after the rescue, she’d wake up in the middle of the night reaching for his hand, sure he was right there next to her.

She still found herself seeking out his touch, but now it was from the comfort of her own bed.

“I really wanted to see you—to thank you. For saving my life,” she said. She wondered how such an important sentiment could sound so completely lame, but it was nothing less than the truth.

He walked toward her and for a second she wondered if he was going to . . . hug her or something. But he only shut the door behind her.

“How did you find me?” he asked, and no, it wasn’t exactly the type of reunion she’d been hoping for.

“I . . . Admiral Callahan told me where you might be. He knows my mother,” she said, and maybe she could sound more like she was in high school. Jake didn’t make her feel any better, because he just sighed, shook his head and mumbled stuff under his breath.

He’d done that a lot in Africa. She’d found it comforting then. Now, not so much.

“I don’t remember much about the rescue,” she said quickly, because she saw the partial horror in his eyes. Obviously sharing secrets in the dark when their lives were in danger was one thing, but the cold stark reality of daylight was a different story entirely. “I mean, they told me what had happened to me—what you did for me, but I was really out of it. It’s all one big blur.”

He relaxed slightly, but his guard was still up.

When the

Excerpted from Hard to Hold by Stephanie Tyler
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