New Release! Men of Alaska: Heart of the Storm by Jennifer McKenzie

by

Men of Alaska: Heart of the Storm

by Jennifer McKenzie

Torrid Romance Suspense

Rating: Sensual Romance – Sensual

Now available from Whiskey Creek Press Torrid

Eight years ago, Charlene Henderson had tragically lost her brother, a crab fisherman, to the depths of the Bering Sea. She’d left her home, her family, and the only man she’d ever truly loved and run to California to forget. Forget the pain, forget her love, and leave Alaska and fishermen completely behind her.

Unfortunately Alaska isn’t as ready to leave Charlene alone. Some new information on her brother’s death has surfaced, and Charlene must return to Dutch Harbor and discover the truth about what had really happened to her brother.

Ethan Shannon has never forgotten Charlie Henderson, but eight years changes a person, and she’s not Charlie anymore – she’s Charlene, a stuck-up city girl with no love for the sea. Despite his distaste for her new lifestyle, he can’t help the feelings he still has for her, and his desire to find out what happened to her brother – his best friend.

Peace for Charlene can only come by discovering the truth. But will she be able to face the evidence she finds, both about her brother and her relationship with Ethan? Or will the answers lead her back into the heart of the storm?

Excerpt after the cut!

Charlene saw Ethan sitting in the captain’s chair. He looked right. She could only see his profile, but he seemed intent on the charts in front of him. Just the way his hands rested on the dash told her he was completely at ease.

This was his home. How could she have asked him to walk away from this? It was what he knew and loved.

The silence stretched between them as she searched for the right words.

Ethan finally looked at her. “Well?”

Spit it out, Charlene. “I was wrong.” Her hands twisted together in front of her and she shuffled her feet.

He waited and didn’t respond. Charlene’s stomach ached. She took a deep breath and reminded herself that she was Bull Henderson’s daughter.

“I was wrong to make you choose. When you chose to fish, I thought you didn’t love me. You were my first and I thought it meant everything. I didn’t realize you had your own hopes and dreams.” A bitter smile twisted her lips. “I believed I was your hope and dream. I ran away because I felt so hurt and foolish.” She looked up to try and read what he was thinking. His green eyes were steady and his face was unreadable.

“You were part of my hopes and dreams.” She couldn’t read his tone. Was he sad? Was he angry?

“I didn’t know that.”

“You didn’t wait to find out.”

“What do you want me to say, Ethan? I was nineteen.”

“You listened to your mother.”

“I thought—” She started to say she thought he would come after her. It wasn’t the reason she left, but it was shattering when he didn’t.

“You thought what?” he asked.

Charlene decided there was no way she was admitting how truly pathetic she’d been at nineteen. “I thought you’d be over all this by now.”

Suddenly he rose from his chair and stood in front of her. The urge to take a step back grew but she suppressed it. She would stand her ground. He was still so imposing. He only stood four inches taller than her, but his wide shoulders and muscular arms gave him a powerful aura. Would he touch her? What would she do after all these years? No one else had inspired the passion Ethan Shannon brought out of her those first times. In her ignorance, she hadn’t known at nineteen, that their passion was unusual. No man since then had touched her and brought fire to her veins. Would it be the same now?

He brought his calloused hand up and brushed a strand of her hair that escaped from the ball cap she wore. Just that touch scorched her and she almost cried out in surprise.

His eyes stayed on her face and he finally spoke. “I shouldn’t have touched you. You were young and hurting.”

“I needed you, Ethan.”

His face softened and for a moment, Charlene saw the man whose shoulder she’d sobbed on. The same compassion was on his face.

Nothing has changed. The thought rocketed through her. I love him and I always will. He loves fishing and he always will.

She reached up to touch his face but he stopped her, gripping her hand and setting it away from him. The look of compassion was gone. His eyes glittered and the hard planes of his face were tight.

“No, Charlie. Don’t.”

Her eyes stared into his. “But—”

“I won’t be manipulated that way.” He dropped her hand and turned his back to her.

Charlene’s hands clenched into fists as she struggled to regain her balance. What just happened? “What are you talking about?”

He flung his large frame into the captain’s chair and pulled out a cigarette. The lighter made a “clink” sound as he flipped it open, the flame hissing in the silence between them.

Through a stream of smoke, his gaze bored into hers. “You can hitch a ride on The Celtic Rose, Charlene. You’ll cook for the crew and we’ll find time to check out Dory’s story. You don’t have to screw me to get that.”

“I don’t remember offering to screw you for anything, Ethan.”

The laugh from Ethan didn’t have any humor in it. “Sure.” He turned away and began to study the charts laid out in front of him. “I’m doing it for Kevin. You don’t have to worry about me. I’ll keep my hands to myself this time.”

A myriad of feelings rushed through Charlene. Anger, fear and relief were all mixed up with disappointment.

She stuck her chin up and stood her ground. “All right, Ethan. I’ll cook for the crew.” Anger was the emotion she ran with. She crossed over to him and swiveled his chair to face her with both hands on the armrests. “I don’t screw men so they’ll do what I want, Ethan. Let’s get that straight now. If I wanted to sleep with you, I’d let you know.”

He leaned back and smiled. She wanted to slap it off his face.

“I’d say you send out definite signals that you do want to sleep with me.” His tone was insolent and condescending. He put his cigarette out in an ashtray.

She gritted her teeth. “I’d say you have a big ego.” She started to pull back from him when his hand snaked out and grabbed her around the waist.

“Let’s see.” Charlene found herself yanked against his chest and straddling one of his legs. With one sharp movement he pulled her hat off and her hair spilled over her shoulders. She only had a moment to catch her breath when he forced her head close to his and his lips slammed on hers. Molten heat spread through her limbs and her hands reached out to find something to hold and found his thick hair instead. He smelled of coffee and cigarettes, which, for some reason, turned her on. One of his hands twisted in her hair, which brought an involuntary groan from her throat. His other arm was a vise around her waist holding her against him.

The desire that lay just beneath the surface since she’d seen him again consumed her. This kiss was different than the ones eight years earlier. There was anger and passion mixed together. Her own reaction to him was immediate and nothing like the innocence of their time before. She tumbled down into his kiss and felt her body molding to his. Heat spread through her as he deepened the kiss, caressing the inside of her mouth with his tongue. She opened her mouth rubbing her lips roughly against his. Slowly, he ended the kiss and pulled away slightly to look at her.

His green eyes glittered and his lips were a breath away from hers. “I don’t think it’s my ego, do you?”

Humiliation washed over her. She jerked her body away from him and rubbed the back of her hand against her lips. She picked up her discarded ball cap. Tears burned her throat but she desperately kept them out of her voice. “No, you’ve made your point.” She looked anywhere but his face. “Am I to understand that this will be a regular part of my job?” The bite of sarcasm sharpened her voice.

Ethan was very still. “No. That was a one-time deal. I told you I’ll keep my hands to myself.” He swung his chair away and turned his back to her. “Just stay out of my way. I’ll get you where you want to go.” His voice was harsh and gritty.

She lifted a hand to touch him, reach him. Her hand dropped to her side. What was the point? Nothing had changed really. She turned and left the wheelhouse.

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2 Responses to “New Release! Men of Alaska: Heart of the Storm by Jennifer McKenzie”

  1. Tempest Knight Says:

    Great excerpt! And love the cover! 🙂

  2. Jennifer McKenzie Says:

    Love the new look guys!!!! And thanks for the pimpage.

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