Book Releases

Holding On (Colorado High Country #6) —
The Colorado High Country series returns with Conrad and Kenzie's story.

A hero barely holding on…

Harrison Conrad returned to Scarlet Springs from Nepal, the sole survivor of a freak accident on Mt. Everest. Shattered and grieving for his friends, he vows never to climb again and retreats into a bottle of whiskey—until Kenzie Morgan shows up at his door with a tiny puppy asking for his help. He’s the last person in the world she should ask to foster this little furball. He’s barely capable of managing his own life right now, let alone caring for a helpless, adorable, fluffy puppy. But Conrad has always had a thing for Kenzie with her bright smile and sweet curves. One look into her pleading blue eyes, and he can’t say no.

The woman who won’t let him fall…

Kenzie Morgan’s life went to the dogs years ago. A successful search dog trainer and kennel owner, she gets her fill of adventure volunteering for the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. The only thing missing from her busy life is love. It’s not easy finding Mr. Right in a small mountain town, especially when she’s unwilling to date climbers. She long ago swore never again to fall for a guy who might one day leave her for a rock. When Conrad returns from a climbing trip haunted by the catastrophe that killed his best friend, Kenzie can see he’s hurting and wants to help. She just might have the perfect way to bring him back to the world of the living. But friendship quickly turns into something more—and now she’s risking her heart to heal his.

In ebook and soon in print!


About Me

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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Saturday, April 13, 2019

HARD TARGET available for preorder + EXCERPT




Hard Target, Book 1 in my new Cobra Elite romantic suspense series, is now available for pre-order! It will be out in ebook on April 25, and hopefully, print that same day or shortly after that.

Kindle US
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
Kindle AU
Kindle DE
Nook
iBooks
Kobo

It will be available on Smashwords (all formats, international) on its release date.

This is a high-octane spin-off to the I-Team series, featuring Javier Corbray, Holly and Nick Andris, and Derek Tower and all the heroes and heroines at their private military company, Cobra International Security. Expect the occasional I-Team cameo in this series.

Here’s a description of the story:

Derek Tower has spent his life at war, first as a Green Beret and then as the owner of a private military company, Cobra International Security. When a high-ranking US senator asks Cobra to protect his daughter, a midwife volunteering in Afghanistan, Derek’s gut tells him to turn the senator down. The last thing he wants to do is babysit an aid worker. But Jenna isn’t just another assignment. She’s also the younger sister of his best friend, the man who died taking bullets meant for him. There’s no way Derek can refuse. 

Jenna Hamilton doesn’t need a bodyguard, especially not one hired by her intrusive and controlling father. She knew the risks when she signed on to work in rural Afghanistan, and the hospital already has armed security. She also doesn’t need the distraction of a big, brooding operative skulking about, even if he is her late brother’s best friend—and sexy as hell. As far as she’s concerned, he can pack up his Humvee and drive into the sunset. And, no, nothing her hormones have to say about him will change her mind. 

From the moment his boots hit the ground in Afghanistan, Derek does his best to win Jenna over, posing as her brother so the two of them can spend time alone. Except that what he feels for her is anything but brotherly. Stolen moments lead to secret kisses—and an undeniable sexual attraction that shakes them both to the core. But events have been set into motion that they cannot escape. When a ruthless warlord sets his sights on Jenna, Derek will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if it costs him his heart—or his life.

I'm super excited to share the story with you. Without further ado, an excerpt.

In this scene, Derek, who is pretending to be Jenna’s brother so he can speak with her in an environment that mandates total separation of the sexes, helps Jenna get the hospital safe room ready just in case.

From HARD TARGET

Derek jogged back up the stairs, making four more trips -- two for the remaining two drums and two for the rest of the MREs and the water -- while Jenna tore off the shrink wrap, opened the boxes, and piled the meals into the barrel. Then she fitted the lids onto the barrels, stepping back as he pounded them firmly into place with the heel of his palm.

“That ought to keep out the mice.”

“I’d like to store some medical supplies down here, too, just in case—first aid supplies, IV fluids, pain meds.” Her headscarf had come loose, and she instinctively reached up to straighten it.

He caught her hand. “Don’t. I want to see your hair.”

Jenna forgot to breathe.

~ ~ ~

What the hell are you doing?

This hadn’t been part of Derek’s plan. The words had just come out of his mouth, but for some reason, he wasn’t taking them back.

A part of him tried to convince himself that he was just doing his job, just trying to win Jenna over. But he knew that was bullshit. He truly did want to see her hair.

Jenna stood, frozen in place, looking up at him, green eyes wide, her pupils dilated. “I-I probably shouldn’t…”

He took hold of the damned headscarf and pulled it off to reveal thick auburn hair that hung well below her shoulders.

She reached up, ran a hand self-consciously over her hair. “I’ve gotten used to covering up. I don’t spend any time styling it or…”

Her words trailed off when he lifted a handful of silky strands, raised them to his nostrils, and inhaled, the feminine scent sending a dart of arousal to his groin. “You smell like flowers.”

“It’s … uh … my shampoo.”

Had he managed to fluster her?

Good.

“I like it.” He slid his fingers through the thick tresses, grazing her cheek with his palm, his fingers finding her nape.

Her eyes drifted shut, her lips parting on an exhale.

Lust punched through him, sharp and bright.

Reluctantly, he drew his hand away, fighting an irrational impulse to pull her close and kiss the hell out of her. “You’re a beautiful woman, Jenna.”

She shook her head, her cheeks flushing pink. “I’m not wearing any makeup.”

“You don’t need it.” He truly meant that.

Her skin was nearly translucent, her eyelashes dark and long, her lips full and…

Hell, he should not be thinking about her lips. If anyone caught them kissing, they would both end up very dead. Not that anyone would wander in just now. The women were shut in the hospital wing, and Farzad was likely too afraid to set foot in this place.

Don’t take chances.

He wouldn’t, not where Jenna was concerned.

Besides, kissing her wasn’t his mission.

“I wish you would come with me back to the U.S.” He rested his hands on her shoulders. “There are men not far from here who would tear you apart if they could.”

“Are you trying to scare me? It won’t work.”

“No, I’m just telling you the truth. I’ve seen the aftermath of more than one Taliban massacre -- women and girls raped to death or shot in the head, entire families slaughtered.”

She took a step backward. “I know it’s dangerous to be here, but it’s more dangerous for these mothers. If I bail out of my contract and go home because I’m afraid, where does that leave them? Where does it leave Marie, Delara, and the students? The world can’t just abandon these women. I know that what I’m doing is just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed, but at least I’m doing something.”

Derek could tell she meant every word, and he respected her. That didn’t change the fact that he had a job to do. “At least think about it.”

“I should get back to work.” She bent down to pick up her headscarf.

“Let me.” He took it from her, draped it over her hair, tucking it beneath her chin and drawing it around her so that the ends fell over her chest to cover the gentle curves of her breasts. “That should do it. Not a single strand is showing.”

Copyright (c) Pamela Clare 2019
Wednesday, March 06, 2019

COVER REVEAL! All about HARD TARGET



Here it is — the sexy new cover for my sexy COBRA ELITE series. Yes, I’m back to writing romantic suspense, and HARD TARGET is the first book in my new I-Team spinoff.

The hero of the story is Derek Tower, who first made his appearance in the I-Team series in Striking Distance as the owner of a black-ops company that had gone into bankruptcy after the kidnapping of Laura Nilsson. He was a JERK — at first. As the story moved on, he discovers that Laura isn’t to blame for her kidnapping and the deaths of his men and does all he can to make up for the way he intimidated her.

We see him again in Seduction Game when the new black-ops company he and Javier Corbray (Striking Distance) have created get involved to recover Holly Bradshaw after a rogue CIA agent abducts her. Here’s the logo of Cobra International Security.


Basically, if you’re a terrorist or drug smuggler or asshole and you see this, you are probably well on your way to being trussed up in the back of a truck or dead.

Hard Target is Derek’s story. A former Green Beret, he is compelled to accept an assignment that lands him in Afghanistan’s Balkh Province playing bodyguard to the younger sister of special forces buddy who gave his life to save Derek’s.

Jenna Hamilton, the heroine, is a nurse midwife. She’s gone over as an aid worker to help save the lives of women and babies in a country where women have a 1-in-8 risk of dying of pregnancy-related causes in their lifetimes. That part is not fiction, sadly. Neither is the fact that the Taliban, which forbids the education of women, deliberately targets and executes midwives. Last year, they attacked the city of Ghazni, occupied a midwifery school, and murdered one of the midwives while the others hid in a safe room.

Caught in political the political machinations of militias, warlords, and Talibs, they find themselves on the run, relying on Derek’s skills (and at times Jenna’s) to survive.

Derek has no intention of getting involved with Jenna. He owes her brother a life debt, something he can’t repay by getting in bed with her. But sometimes adrenaline and primal attraction can overcome even the strongest will.

Where did I get the idea for this story? I’m so glad you asked.

The groundwork for aspects of it was laid in Striking Distance and Seduction Game. Javier and Derek’s company — Cobra International Security — was already established.

But the setting and especially the heroine come from a story I reported on long ago when I was a journalist. I'd heard of a local midwife who had set up a midwifery school and hospital out of her living room in Boulder County. She went over to Bamiyan and worked with the Afghan government to develop a curriculum to train one of the first groups of midwives in the new Afghanistan. She saved lives every day. She had the honor—I think it IS an honor—of receiving death threats from the Taliban, which promised to put a bullet in her head.

Screw those guys. (Or not.)

The organization she founded is a nonprofit that now operates in Afghanistan, Uganda, and Haiti, helping local women give birth safely. Through her efforts and those of others who joined in to help, these clinics have surpassed UN goals for maternal and infant safety. The organization is one I am proud to support — International Midwife Assistance. You can read about their work at www.midwifeassist.org.

She and I met over coffee a few weeks ago, and I told her that I’m working on a story with an American midwife working in Afghanistan—and she literally squealed. Immediately, she began making suggestions for how to make the story real, offering me a wealth of first-hand experience that I couldn’t have unless I, too, worked as a midwife in Afghanistan.

The Cobra Elite series is going to be a fast-paced, action-packed romantic suspense series with all the realism of the I-Team series. At this point, I’m planning for a trilogy, all of which will be published in 2019. So hang onto your panties — if you can.

Hard Target will be out in mid-April. Watch for an excerpt with pre-order links soon! If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, click here. It’s the best way to stay on top of new releases. I won‘t spam you or share your email information. Just be sure to check your inbox for a confirmation email.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

CHASING FIRE is out!


Chasing Fire (An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel) is out! That has to be the fastest turnaround time ever. The ebook publishers were on top of things yesterday.

What kills me is that so many people have finished the book already. What? I know! The first reader finished it before I had even finished getting all the links together.

The story brings together the cast of the I-Team series and the Colorado High Country series for a battle against a devastating fire. Inspired by the Cold Springs Fire (2016) here in Colorado, I wanted to bring my favorite heroes together and see what they would do in a crisis.

They won’t disappoint you.

If you haven't read either series, this isn’t the story for you. People's backstories are discussed, so it would ruin the ending of pretty much every novel in both series. Also, we move from person to person, and if you don't know these folks, you’re going to be overwhelmed.

Fortunately, Barely Breathing (Colorado High Country, Book 1) is FREE at ebook retailers, so you can kick off your reading with Lexi and Austin's story and get to this book eventually.

What can I tell you about this book?

1. It’s very high octane. Some readers who've already finished it say it should come with a warning label, "Not for the faint of heart" or "I didn't even get up to pee while reading this story." (I like that!)

2. I-Team heroes + Scarlet Springs heros = A lot of sexy running around in the mountains.

3. Unlike the guy in the photo, the firefighters are wearing brush gear. No one fights the fire shirtless. I know. Bummer.


Here are the links:

Kindle US 
Kindle UK
Kindle CA
Kindle AU
Kindle DE
Nook
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords

I hope you enjoy the story as much as I enjoyed writing it. It has all the tension of Dead By Midnight and my romantic suspense books, but the enemy this time is fire.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover of the print edition:

For fans of Pamela Clare’s acclaimed I-Team and Colorado High Country series…

An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel

Fire chief Eric Hawke knows it’s only a matter of time until the next big wildfire. He’s done everything he can to prepare his crews for the inevitable. When high winds turn a small blaze into a raging crown fire that threatens Scarlet Springs, he, Brandon Silver, and the rest of Scarlet FD put their lives on the line to save the town and its citizens. But the one thing Hawke hadn’t planned for was bureaucratic red tape and waffling from higher-ups that could turn this crisis into a catastrophe. When his requests for support go unheeded, he’s faced with the prospect of watching the town he loves burn to ashes.

But sometimes help comes from unexpected places.

Marc Hunter, Julian Darcangelo, and Zach McBride are in the mountains above Scarlet Springs for an interagency training exercise when they see a single wisp of smoke to the west. What begins as a fun day of playing cops and bad guys soon becomes a battle against time, as they join forces with Hawke and members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team to save friends trapped by the fire.

Together, they pit their strength and courage against a terrifying and unforgiving force of nature. Will it be enough? Or will the ravenous flames claim lives—and leave the people of Scarlet Springs forever scarred?


I am about to disappear, as I'm having my right knee replaced with a slinky or something on Monday. Total knee replacement. Not excited about it, but I am looking forward to walking normally again. I injured my knee in 2014 during chemo, and it never healed because of the chemo drugs. Getting this behind me at last feels like a step forward away from the nightmare of 2014.

Thanks so much for your support throughout the year! If I don’t get back to you before Dec. 25, then Merry Christmas to all my readers around the world. You are the best!


Friday, December 14, 2018

CHASING FIRE — A Crossover novel with EXCERPT



Hey, it's almost Christmas already. How did that happen?

Since I last posted, I've gone on two vacations — the American Southwest Tour of Awesome and a two-week trip to France to commemorate the end of World War I. In between, I've been putting together something special for you — an I-Team/Colorado High Country crossover novel.

Crazy times.

I don't know about you, but I have always wanted to see what happens when you put the hotness that is the I-Team heroes together with the sexy athleticism of the Scarlet Springs guys. So, I lit the forest around Scarlet Springs on fire. Yep, that's what I did.

It’s action-packed like Dead By Midnight, but the enemy is fire this time, not terrorists. Like Dead By Midnight, it is not a stand-alone novel, but a story written for readers of both/either series. It gives you a chance to hang with your favorite characters, even if they've already gotten their happily ever after.

It has been an adventure trying to bring as many people from both series together as possible, while still having an organic-feeling narrative. These characters are so much fun, and when they're together, it's double trouble.

Here’s the back blurb:

For fans of Pamela Clare’s acclaimed I-Team and Colorado High Country series…

An I-Team/Colorado High Country Crossover Novel

Fire chief Eric Hawke knows it’s only a matter of time until the next big wildfire. He’s done everything he can to prepare his crews for the inevitable. When high winds turn a small blaze into a raging crown fire that threatens Scarlet Springs, he, Brandon Silver, and the rest of Scarlet FD put their lives on the line to save the town and its citizens. But the one thing Hawke hadn’t planned for was bureaucratic red tape and waffling from higher-ups that could turn this crisis into a catastrophe. When his requests for support go unheeded, he’s faced with the prospect of watching the town he loves burn to ashes.

But sometimes help comes from unexpected places.

Marc Hunter, Julian Darcangelo, and Zach McBride are in the mountains above Scarlet Springs for an interagency training exercise when they see a single wisp of smoke to the west. What begins as a fun day of playing cops and bad guys soon becomes a battle against time, as they join forces with Hawke and members of the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team to save friends trapped by the fire.

Together, they pit their strength and courage against a terrifying and unforgiving force of nature. Will it be enough? Or will the ravenous flames claim lives—and leave the people of Scarlet Springs forever scarred?

This full-length novel is a high-octane emergency adventure that should get your adrenaline, your pulse, and your tear ducts going — sometimes at the same time. The book will be out on Kindle tomorrow. It will be available on Nook, iBooks, Kobo, and Smashwords very shortly after that. It has already been uploaded. We’re just waiting for it to process.

How about an excerpt, you ask? Here you go! Watch for the print edition in a week or two.


 ~ ~ ~ ~ 

From Chapter One of Chasing Fire 





thunkwoke Eric Hawke.
Beside him, Vicki moaned and stretched, the sheet slipping below her bare breasts. “He’s awake already?”
As much as Eric would have loved to start his day with a little sex, the toddler was loose in the house again. And that was the irony. The sex act produced children, which, in turn, made it hard to find time to have sex.
Eric glanced at his alarm clock, saw that it was just before six in the morning. “Go back to sleep. I need to get up anyway.”
He didn’t mind being the first one out of bed. He’d worked in search-and-rescue all his adult life and had been fire chief for the past seven years. He was used to odd hours and early mornings, and he loved this time of day. Besides, given how often he was away from home, he enjoyed the time with his son, and Vicki deserved a break.
He kissed her cheek, climbed out of bed, and pulled on a pair of boxer briefs and shorts.
Another thunk sent him hurrying down the hall to Caden’s room, which he found empty, a wet diaper sitting in the middle of the wooden floor together with a pair of pajama bottoms. It figured. At twenty-three months, Caden was a world-class escape artist and, apparently, a budding nudist, as well.
Eric hurried downstairs past the living room with its big fireplace and cathedral ceiling toward the kitchen, his heart skipping a beat the moment he saw. “Jesus!”
Caden had pushed a chair over to the kitchen counter and now sat on top of the refrigerator, naked from the waist down, a box of graham crackers in his hands. “Tookie.”
 “Hey, little man, what are you doing up there?”
No wonder people got gray hair after having kids.
“Tookie,” Caden said again.
“No cookies before breakfast.” Hawke took away the box of graham crackers, lifted his son into his arms, and headed back upstairs. “We need to get you dressed.”
While Caden chattered about Thomas the Tank Engine, Eric dressed him in a pair of dry training pants, shorts, and a little T-shirt that read, “I’m proof my mommy can’t resist firefighters.
Eric wouldn’t lie. He liked that T-shirt.
“You’re all set.” He tousled his son’s dark hair. “Try to keep your britches on, okay?”
Back in the kitchen, he settled Caden in his high chair with some loose Cheerios and got busy scrambling eggs, making toast and coffee, and washing fruit. He enjoyed this morning routine, his life richer now than he’d imagined it could be. Vicki had entered his world, and everything had changed.
“Want some blueberries?” He put a few berries on Caden’s tray and couldn’t help but smile at the look of concentration on his son’s face as he picked up each berry to put it into his mouth. “You like those, don’t you?”
“He loves them.”
Eric glanced over his shoulder to find Vicki leaning against the door jam in her white bathrobe, her shoulder-length dark hair tangled, a smile on her sweet face. “Do you know where I found him?”
“On the table?” 
Eric shook his head. “On top of the refrigerator.”
Vicki’s eyes went wide. “Good grief! We have to do something. He can’t have the run of the house when we’re asleep. If he had fallen…”
Eric had been a paramedic for as long as he’d been a firefighter. He knew what even a short fall could do to a small child. They lived in a huge, two-million-dollar multi-level house—a wedding present from Vicki’s gazillionaire father—and there were so many ways for an unsupervised toddler to hurt himself. They’d tried a dozen different kinds of baby gates, but Caden had climbed them all. They had a baby monitor, of course, but the little stinker was quiet when he got up to things he knew he shouldn’t be doing.
“I’m not sure what to do. Put iron bars over his door? Install a motion detector?” 
Why did children gain mobility before they acquired sense?
Vicki’s eyes narrowed. “He takes after you, you know. Robin says you used to climb out of your crib, too. She says you climbed everything.”
Eric’s mother lived in a cabin on their property and watched Caden when he and Vicki were both at work. It was a convenient arrangement for everyone, but his mother talked too much. He opened his mouth to defend himself, but what she’d said was true. “Hey, it’s all good. I turned it into a career, didn’t I?”
His love of climbing had become serious when he was a teenager, landing him a coveted spot on the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team straight out of high school. Rescue work had led him to wildland firefighting and then the Scarlet Springs Fire Department. Eventually, he’d become the youngest fire chief in the history of Scarlet Springs.
He got breakfast on the table and went back for the coffee, pouring half-and-half in Vicki’s and leaving his black. When he turned toward the table again, he found a small gift bag sitting beside his plate. “What’s that?”
Shit.
Had he forgotten an anniversary or something?
Vicki smiled, an excited sparkle in her eyes. “Open it and see.”
He handed Vicki her coffee, took a sip of his own, and sat. “Is it a new cam?”
Vicki laughed as if he’d said something stupid. “No. You don’t trust me to buy you climbing gear, remember?”
“Oh. Right.” He took the bag, reached inside, and searched through the tissue paper, his hand closing around something small and oblong that was made of hard plastic. 
He drew it out—and stared. 
Heart thudding, he met Vicki’s gaze, saw the joy in her eyes. “This is… Are you?”
She nodded. “I’m pregnant.”
A pang of tenderness filled his chest. She’d had such a rough time with Caden, twenty-six hours of labor ending with an emergency C-section. Eric wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d refused even to consider having another baby and demanded he get a vasectomy. 
“But … how?”
She laughed. “You know how. You were there.” 
That’s not what he’d meant. “It took so long with Caden, and you only went off the pill last month. I thought it would take six months, maybe a year.”
“I guess we’ve gotten better at making babies because we nailed it on the first try.”
“Well, that takes some of the fun out of it.” Eric meant that as a joke, but the moment his words were out, he saw that Vicki hadn’t taken it that way. 
Good job, dumb shit. Any other stupid things you’d like to say?
“That was just a stupid joke.” He reached across the table and squeezed her hand. “How are you feeling?”
She’d had terrible morning sickness with Caden. 
“Fine so far.” Her smile returned, but there was a hint of vulnerability in those brown eyes now. “Are you happy?”
“God, yes! I’m elated, stunned. I’m so excited that I’m acting like an idiot.” Eric got out of his chair and knelt before her, taking her hands in his, and kissing them. “I love you, Vicki. Because of you, I’m the happiest man on earth. Never doubt that.”
Behind him on the counter, his pager went off.
He got to his feet, crossed the room, scrolled through the message, not liking what he read, but not surprised either.
 “What is it?” Vicki asked.
“Another red flag warning.” They’d had red flag warnings every day for the past ten days thanks to this endless dry, hot, windy weather.
The mountains that surrounded Scarlet were in prime condition to burn.

# # #


Marc Hunter toweled his hair dry, wrapped the towel around his waist, and stepped out of the bathroom into the bedroom. He headed to the walk-in closet he shared with Sophie and tossed a navy-blue Denver Police Department polo and a pair of dark green tactical cargo pants onto the nearby chair. 
Today, he and Julian Darcangelo were heading up to Scarlet Springs, a weird little mountain town known for its good beer, to take part in a joint training exercise with the US Marshals Service and other law enforcement agencies. The exercise was intended to foster interagency cooperation or some shit, but Marc had signed on as a way to escape the heat and spend a day in the mountains with friends.
He and Darcangelo had known each other for eight years now, both of them employed by the DPD—Darcangelo as head of vice and Marc as SWAT captain. Okay, so that’s not how they’d met. Marc had been an escaped convict at the time, and Darcangelo had hunted his ass down and brought him in. 
It had been the start of a beautiful friendship.
The bedroom door opened and Sophie stepped in, still wearing that lavender silk robe he loved so much, her strawberry-blond hair damp. She closed the door behind her and locked it, her lips curving in a sexy smile. 
She walked over to him with slow, seductive steps, took hold of his towel, and yanked it from his body, letting it fall to the floor. “The kids are still asleep.”
He liked the way her mind worked. “We shouldn’t let that go to waste.”
God, he loved her—her mind, her body, her big heart. She was a wonderful mother to their two kids, Chase and Addy, and no man could ask for a better partner. She’d stood by him when the rest of the world had condemned and forsaken him, risking her career and her life to save his. Without her, he’d have rotted in prison—or died with a shank in his back. 
What a damned lucky thing it was that he’d given her a ride home from that stupid high school graduation party all those years ago. He’d wanted to protect her from a group of asshole guys who’d been hopped up on meth, but in the end, it was she who had saved him.
He’d given up worrying about whether he was worthy of her and focused instead on being the man she thought he was. He’d made it his life’s work to please her, both in and out of bed. He knew her moods, her fears, her dreams. He knew how to make her laugh, how to comfort her. He knew what made her scream, how to make her come fast, how to hold her on the edge until her nails dug into his back and her every exhale was a plea for release.
He watched as Sophie took his cock in hand and stroked him to readiness, desire naked on her beautiful face.
His gaze locked with hers, Marc grasped her wrist, drew her hand from his aching cock to his lips, and kissed her palm. Then he gave her a little shove, toppling her backward onto their queen-sized bed. 
She gasped as she hit the mattress, her robe falling open to reveal paradise.
Without breaking eye contact, he dropped to his knees, forced her thighs wide apart, and stroked her just where she needed it most. “Mmm. You’re wet.”
“Get inside me already!”
Her impatience made him chuckle. “What’s the rush?”
He lavished attention on her clit, watching with satisfaction as she raised one clenched hand above her head, her eyes drifting shut.
“Oh, yes.
He kept up the rhythm until his fingers were drenched and she was writhing on the bed. Then he lowered his head, drew her swollen clit into his mouth, and suckled. 
Her hips jerked, her hands flying to fist in his hair. “Marc!
She’d always been passionate, the most responsive woman he’d known. She’d been only sixteen the night he’d taken her virginity, and still, she’d blown his eighteen-year-old mind. Somehow, sex with her just kept getting better. 
She was close now, the tension in her bodybuilding, her clenched fists pulling almost painfully at his hair, her breathing ragged.
He withdrew his mouth from her, laughing at her moan of protest, her scent filling his head, her taste in his throat. Then he settled his hips between her thighs, the breath rushing from his lungs as he entered her with a single, slow thrust. “Sophie.”
She drew her knees up to her chest, opening herself to him fully. “Fuck me.”
“Hell, yeah.” There was no need to take it slow, no need for subtlety or finesse. He drove into her hard, her body gripping him like a fist, pleasure making his balls draw tight.
She bit back a cry as she came, bliss shining on her sweet face. He rode through it with her, then let himself go, his body shuddering as climax burned through him, white-hot and incandescent. They lay there together for a moment, breathing hard, hearts pounding.
Sophie smiled, laughed, her eyes still closed.
Marc pressed kisses to her bare breasts, smiling, too.
Then Chase’s voice came from the hallway outside their bedroom, and the doorknob jiggled. “Mommy, are we going to the Cimarron today to see the horsies?”
Chase was seven years old now and fancied himself a cowboy, due to the influence of his Uncle Nate, who’d married Marc’s younger sister, Megan. Nate and his father, Jack West, owned the Cimarron Ranch, where they ran black Angus cattle and bred champion quarter horses. They also spoiled the hell out of Chase and Addy.
The plan was for Sophie and Tessa, Darcangelo’s wife and Sophie’s closest friend, to take the kids up to the Cimarron for a day of fun. After the training, Marc and Darcangelo would join them for cold beer and grilled steaks.
No one could grill a steak like Jack West.
Sophie bit back a laugh. “Yes, honey. Get yourself dressed, okay? I’ll be right out.”
Marc pulled out, got to his feet, and drew Sophie up with him. He took her into his arms and held her close, the love he felt for her glowing inside his chest. “You sure got my day off to a good start.”
She drew back, looked up at him, worry darkening her blue eyes. “You’ll be safe up there, won’t you?”
His wife was one of the strongest people he knew, but his last brush with death had left her grappling with post-traumatic stress. She’d watched terrorists drag him away to kill him, had heard a gunshot, and had believed him dead for long, agonizing minutes. She was doing much better now, nineteen months later, but she still worried every time he left home.
He smoothed a strand of hair from her cheek. “This is just a training exercise. We’re going to run around in the forest pretending to chase bad guys—just a bunch of boys playing with toys.”
What could possibly go wrong?

###

Naomi Belcourt stepped out of the women’s staff bunkhouse and walked toward the Dining Hall, rubbing the ache in her lower back. She’d never been seven months pregnant before and hadn’t realized how uncomfortable it would be to sleep in a bunk. But there were only four days left before this second session ended. She could deal with it.
The day was bright and sunny, the sky overhead blue, the air fresh with the scent of ponderosa pines. Ahead of her, groups of campers ran, hopped, skipped, and jostled their way to breakfast with their counselors, their happy laughter making her smile.
This was her dream.
Naomi had grown up not knowing who she was. Abandoned in an alley as a newborn by her birth mother—a teenage white girl—she’d been adopted by a family of religious extremists who had raised her with warped ideas about women and “heathen Indians,” beating her when she dared to challenge them. She’d run away from home at the age of sixteen when her adoptive father had tried to marry her off to a much older man against her wishes. She had waited tables to put herself through art school, but she hadn’t known anything about her true heritage until she’d met Chaska. 
Chaska and his sister Winona had saved Naomi’s life after a couple of escaped cons had attacked her while she’d been camping not far from Scarlet Springs. As she’d recovered, Chaska had helped her uncover the truth about her past, finding her biological father, teaching her about Lakota traditions, and sweeping her off her feet. He’d married her in a traditional Lakota ceremony, giving her father a bride price of twenty-two horses—or rather, a 22-horsepower riding lawnmower.
She’d spent time on the reservation with Chaska, had learned to speak Lakota, and had gotten to know her blood family—her father Doug, his wife Star, and her half brothers and sisters—Mato, Chumani, Chayton, and Kimímila. 
Somewhere along the way, the idea for this camp had begun to form in her mind. She had held several fundraisers and written dozens of grant applications to get the start-up money. Once she and Chaska had gathered the funds, they’d bought this old summer camp, repaired the cabins and dining hall, erected a tipi in the center, hired a crew to build an archery range and ropes course, and recruited Lakota counselors to run the day-to-day operation. 
Now, Camp Mato Sapa—Camp Black Bear—was in its second year with three, two-week sessions that served 120 kids each summer. It was a place where Lakota children could come at no cost to their families to learn about their culture and traditional values, have fun in the outdoors, build their confidence, and escape the hardship that many of them faced at home.
Naomi served as the camp’s director and taught art classes, while still running her shop, Tanagila’s. She had never imagined that her life could be so rich and full.
She looked for Chaska but didn’t see him. He was an early riser and had probably beaten her to the Dining Hall. Then Naomi spotted Kat James. Kat, a Navajo, was there with her husband, Gabe Rossiter, and their three children, Alissa, Nakai, and Noelle, who rode on her father’s shoulders. They had spent the night in one of the guest cabins so that Gabe could be here to help Chaska supervise the kids on the ropes course this morning. The two men knew each other through the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team—called the Team by locals—and both were world-class rock climbers. Hanging on ropes was their idea of a good time.
Naomi waved. “Was the cabin comfortable?”
“It was great. Thanks.” Gabe swung little Noelle to the ground.
Kat took the toddler’s hand. “It was really windy last night.”
“Did it keep you awake?”
“Oh, no. I kind of like it.”
Naomi and Kat talked about odds and ends as they walked the rest of the way to the Dining Hall—how Naomi was feeling, how fresh the air was high in the mountains, how vital it was for children to spend time in nature. 
Naomi watched Gabe as they walked, amazed at how confidently he moved on his prosthesis. He’d lost his left leg below the knee in a desperate attempt to save Kat’s life many years ago, but it hadn’t slowed him down. 
“I heard we’ve got a red flag warning again today.” Gabe, who’d once been a park ranger, reached out to open the Dining Hall door for them, the mingled scents of bacon and coffee making Naomi’s stomach growl.
“Let’s hope we get rain soon. The land needs it.” She followed Kat through the door into the Dining Hall—and stopped short.
Chaska and another camp counselor were breaking up a fight between two of the older boys, the other children watching with wide eyes from the food line. 
Gabe hurried to help, stepping between the two boys.
Chaska caught hold of Dean, the bigger of the two, and held him back.
“Let me go!” Dean struggled to free himself. 
Dean had been a problem since he’d arrived, breaking the rules, using rough language, and bullying the other children. Naomi could have expelled him, but she suspected that what they saw in his behavior was only a reflection of the violence he experienced at home. She didn’t have the heart to send him back to that.
“He punched me!” Mervin, the smaller boy, got to his feet, fists clenched.
Iníla yaƞká po! Quiet!” Grandpa Belcourt bellowed.
The room fell into startled silence.
“Let’s talk about this like human beings.” Grandpa looked sharp in his white shirt, beaded vest, and bolo tie, a single eagle feather in his long gray hair. “I saw you hit this boy.”
Dean’s face was still flushed, and he was breathing hard. “He called me stupid.”
“No, I didn’t!” Mervin’s lip was swollen. “I said, ‘Don’t be stupid.’”
Grandpa held up a hand for silence and turned to Dean. “This is what you do when someone says words you don’t like? You hit them?”
Dean’s chin came up. He probably looked like a delinquent, a troublemaker, to most of the adults. To Naomi, he seemed like a scared little boy. “My father raised me to be a warrior.”
“You think hitting another boy makes you a warrior?” Grandpa Belcourt chuckled, moving toward the center of the room. “Listen, children, all of you. Too many of our people have forgotten what it means to be a true warrior, so I will tell you.”
Chaska released Dean. “Listen to Old Man now.” 
Naomi got a knot in her chest. God, she loved Chaska. He was a mechanical engineer who spent his workday building satellites, not a camp counselor or referee. Still, he’d jumped headlong into this whole summer camp adventure because it was important to her.
After waiting a moment to let the tension build, Grandpa spoke again. “A warrior isn’t a man who hits people or fights with other men. A warrior is someone who sacrifices himself—or herself—for the well-being of others.”
Dean rolled his eyes. “Yeah, right.”
“Listen.” Chaska rested a hand on Dean’s shoulder.
Grandpa continued. “A man who protects the sick and the weak is a warrior. A woman who has a baby is a warrior because she suffers to bring life into the world. A boy who watches over his little brothers and sisters is a warrior. You want to be a warrior? Shovel snow from your grandma’s sidewalk and carry her groceries without being asked. Watch over those who are younger and weaker than you are—two-legged, four-legged, and winged ones. Think of others before you think of yourself. Then you will be a true warrior and worthy of respect.”
Aho.” Chaska nodded.
Dean’s gaze dropped to the floor.

Copyright (c) 2018 Pamela Clare
Friday, August 03, 2018

BARELY BREATHING is free!




For a limited time, BARELY BREATHING (Colorado High Country #1) is free in ebook everywhere my books are sold — and, yes, that includes Australia and New Zealand.
BARELY BREATHING is the first of six books in my ongoing series about the Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team. It's straight contemporary romance with elements of adventure and suspense, NOT romantic suspense like the I-Team series. If you haven't yet given the series a try, now is your chance to get caught up while saving a little money.
Lexi Jewell left Scarlet Springs twelve years ago, vowing never to return to the small Colorado mountain town where she grew up. Now, here she is—over thirty, out of a job and with little choice but to move back in with her eccentric father. Lexi knows it’s just a matter of time before she runs into Austin Taylor, her first boyfriend and her first heartbreak. She’s determined to show him she’s over him—until he steps out of a pickup truck and back into her life, looking sexy as hell in his mountain ranger uniform.
As far as Austin is concerned, Lexi can turn her snazzy little convertible around and drive back to Chicago. After all, she ripped his teenage heart to pieces and turned her back on the town he loves. But from the moment he sees her again, he can’t get her out of his mind. Even her smile messes with his head.
When an evening of conversation turns into something else, Lexi and Austin agree to be friends—with benefits. But as Lexi starts making plans to return to the big city, Austin realizes he’ll lose her a second time unless he can show her that what she’s searching for has been right here all along.
The other books in the series are only $4.99 each — a $4-per-book savings over typical New York ebook prices.
The series includes (in order SLOW BURNFALLING HARDTEMPTING FATECLOSE TO HEAVEN: A Scarlet Springs Christmas, and my new release HOLDING ON.
Now is your chance to catch up with the series before the release of Book 7, which brings the I-Team heroes together with Scarlet Springs heroes in a struggle for survival.
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Other book news

The audiobook of DEADLY INTENT is currently in production with Kaleo Griffith narrating as always. I have no word yet on a release date, but I promise to keep you posted.
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