Whether it’s hot sex, similar histories, or realizing they’re more alike than
different, the moment when the hero and heroine make their first real
connection, brings the feels that make me fall in love with romance.
Because of it’s short length, my new release, HEATING IT UP: A Red Hot Russians
novella, offered a unique challenge. Widowed artist Nora and Russian adventurer Alexei don’t have months to fall in love, it has to happen in just three days. Attraction sparks when they’re trapped together during a storm and grows as Nora decides to help Alexei save close-knit Antarctic outpost he calls home from closing. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise doom their romance?
Though Nora has her secrets, these five things help her see that Alexei is the
He loves the outdoors – Nora’s military family lived all over the world, and one of the places she loved most was the icy but beautiful island of Greenland. When she comes to Antarctica, she encounters green icebergs and a mysterious whale found nowhere else, plus a handsome man eager to be her tour guide.
He appreciates her engineering smarts and her artistic side – In
college, Nora fell in love with an aerospace engineer who encouraged her to
excel in the challenging field of sustainable architecture. Alexei admires the
state of the art guesthouse Nora designed, even if her “evil genius” could mean
the end of his beloved research station. But he’s just as taken with her
drawings of icebergs, penguin colonies and the quaint town he calls home. When he suggests she exhibit her work, it means the world to Nora.
He’s compassionate – Grief over her fiance’s death two years
before has driven Nora to shut herself away in the deserted guesthouse, where
she intends to spend the long, dark Antarctic winter alone. When Alexei insists
he return to town with him, it sets up a battle of wills, but he doesn’t win it
by belittling her or forcing her out. Instead, he opens up about his own tragic
loss, to gently coax her out of hiding.
He follows his dreams – When Nora learns about Alexei’s
childhood fascination with Antarctica, even as he grew up poor in rural Siberia,
she admires his determination to live a life of adventure and discovery. She’s
also inspired to help save the station, and give more kids a chance to follow
their dreams too.
He’s rugged but gentle. And a great kisser! Tall, blond and
broad-shouldered, Alexei is big and strong, but with a sweet smile and hair
that’s always a little messy. Being in his arms, melting into his searing
kisses begins to heal Nora’s sadness, and though a part of her wants to take
things further, emotionally, she’s not quite ready. When she tells him about
losing her fiance, and then her job, Alexei understands and is willing to give
her the time she needs. If only she could be honest about the rest of her story.
I’ll be back next month to share Alexei’s top five reasons why Nora is the perfect woman. Meanwhile, enjoy this excerpt from HEATING IT UP: A Red Hot Russians novella
and enter my giveaway to win your choice of a digital copy from the Red Hot Russians series backlist.
The first thing she noticed was that yesterday’s sad vulnerability was gone. Now
his ice-blue eyes were flinty and determined as he strode inside. She remained
by the door, hand on the knob, ready to show him the way out. Yet she sensed
that sending him away wasn’t going to be so easy this time.
“You’re too late,” he said.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Fifteen years ago some New Zealander became first woman to winter-over solo.
Maybe you already know that. Or maybe you don’t care, because we both know
that’s not the real reason you’re holed up in here.”
She winced. He knew she wasn’t being honest, but not to what extent. Burdened by guilt and too deflated for battle, she sighed and leaned against the door.
“You’re right it isn’t.”
“Nora..,” the gentleness in his voice felt like a caress. “Staying here alone
doesn’t hurt Herbert Quinn, it only hurts you. And it hurts me too.”
“Because to keep you secret, I have to lie, not just to IFAR, but to the people
who work for me. People whose trust I don’t take lightly. Staying up here not
only puts you in danger, but also them. This what your brilliant boss forgot.
Down here, people survive because they depend on each other. If one of the
systems failed in bad weather, or you had an accident, computers and Vancouver would be useless. Someone would have to put themselves at risk, and come to help.”
Most likely, that someone would be him. Even with blizz lines strung, making
such a trip could be life-threatening. Fear tightened her throat as she
considered how it would feel to mourn another man she cared about.
“I know you’ve lost much,” he said. “And while I know losing a fiancé is
different, I understand the hurt of missing a person I loved dearly.”
“That woman who lied to you?” she demanded, shocked and angry.
“No,” he said. “Not Natalia. I’m talking about my mother. For a long time, I
felt like she was the only person who understood me. But when I came here to
Antarctica, I found others like me and a place to belong. In time, the pain was
not so bad. Up here all alone, you don’t have that.”
“No,” she whispered.
“Ask yourself if this is what he’d want for you. I don’t think it is. I know
that if I was gone… and the woman I loved was left behind, this isn’t what I’d
want for her.”
Her fingers twitched on the doorknob, and she thought of ordering him out, but
didn’t. In her heart, she knew he was right. Even if she weren’t drifting
through darkened rooms in a ruined wedding gown, she was teetering dangerously close to Miss Havisham territory. In the process, she was putting others in danger. The weather was turning, and soon the months of darkness would come. It was time to decide where she would spend them.