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Dark Fire

Second book in the Wasteland Trilogy

Contemporary Romance

August 1, 2021

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A woman determined not to repeat the past and a Scottish former SAS soldier reunite to survive in a challenging new world forged by an apocalypse no one could stop.

Penny Graham once fought her powerful attraction to former Special Air Service soldier Ian MacDaniel. But when their undeniable attraction was condemned by her father, they parted ways. Apocalypse pushes people to violence, and when she turns to her father for help, Ian eagerly volunteers to rescue Penny. Forced to fight for survival while trapped in a bunker, they can’t ignore the desire still sizzling between them.

A banging noise startled her. Seconds later she heard footsteps coming down the basement stairs. At least she thought she did. She grabbed her gun as every muscle in her body stiffened in readiness for a fight. She stuffed her cell phone in the right back pocket of her jeans. They’re back.

Someone pounded on the door. She gasped and covered her mouth. After a few seconds, another knock and then the buzzer went off. She ran to the door and switched on the small video monitor above the door. The black and white picture showed her a clear picture of a man dressed in khaki cargo pants, flak vest over a black turtleneck, his head covered by a black baseball cap, a pistol of some kind in his left hand. Familiarity stirred and then he lifted his face and glared right at the hidden camera that allowed her to see him on the monitor.

Oh, my God.

In a million years she never expected to see him again. Certainly not here and now.

He had to know she could see him.

“Penny! Penny, are you in there?” he asked.

His voice was unmistakable--she’d never forget those rugged notes of Scotland that teased the ears with deep tones and ragged edges. He’d lived in the United States enough years now that he’d picked up many American expressions and even that sexy, rough accent wasn’t as harsh as it had been when she’d first met him.

Ian. Ian MacDaniel.

Gorgeous eyes--those long-lashed gray eyes. Strawberry blond hair cut military short, and a chiseled jawline. He stood six feet four inches tall, but most women wouldn’t look at him and immediately think hot. They’d see tall, powerful and intimidating. He scowled often, and right now he bristled with energy that screamed combat-ready. But she’d seen another side of him, if only for a few moments one summer three years ago, and it had blown her away. Right before Dad canned any possibility that she’d get the chance to know the tall Scot on a deeper, far more intimate level.

Another reaction punched her. Relief. Staggering relief. At one time she thought she’d never wanted to see him again. Rejection could do that to a person. What a difference a natural disaster and sheer desperation made.

She wrestled with the door locks, then pulled the large door open on soundless, oiled hinges. Ian stood with awareness, as if he was anticipating conflict. His gaze snagged on her, relief clearing his stern expression. His attention darted behind her, then returned to her face. He stepped forward, and for a few seconds she thought he’d embrace her. She ached inside with a need for reassuring human touch. Yes, that would feel incredible. But she didn’t move closer. She felt as if they were in suspended animation.

“Ian, what the hell are you doing here?” she asked instead of flinging herself into his arms.

One corner of his mouth tipped upward. “Good to see you, too.”

She couldn’t think straight, and that bothered her. She drew in a slow breath but before she could apologize for her gruff question, his expression eased into concern. He holstered his sidearm.

“Are you all right?” he asked.

She shook her head but said the opposite. “I’m fine. How did you know I was here?”

One of his tawny eyebrows lifted. “I work for Sentry Security now. Your father didn’t tell you?”

Surprise hit her like a bullet between the eyes. “What? No. He didn’t.”

Ian’s customary scowl grew deeper. She sensed he wanted to say more but didn’t. On the other hand, it would be like her father to skip telling her he’d rehired Ian. He wouldn’t consider business something she’d want to hear, and in reality she didn’t want to know about his day-to-day business dealings. She didn’t want to hear much from him about anything. She felt resentment begin to stir, but shoved it down until it hummed low in the background.

“Dad sent you to help me?” she asked.

He smiled, and that rare expression turned his brutal-looking face to gorgeous in a heartbeat. “Bloody astonishing, isn’t it?”


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