Surprise snippet from Sole Survivors. It releases January 14th–less than a month away!!! You can pre-order it now with a 30% off discount at my publisher’s. They offer all ebook formats and it’s only $3.15.
She’d made the decision to risk bringing all these people to her home. Once she made a firm choice, she always followed through, but Keera couldn’t stop her hands shaking as she led the two other vehicles to her warehouse. Built to blend, the green and brown building nestled in the midst of a thick stand of trees. The small clearing let in enough sunlight to power the solar panels on her roof. From the outside the warehouse didn’t look like much. Just a square, metal building with a large garage door on the right side. Her fenced-off garden was on the right and wrapped around the back. In the spring and summer it would be overgrown with plants, but now it was bare. She parked her car, jumped out and opened the garage door so she could pull her car inside. But she hesitated, left the car out when she remembered they had yet to unpack her gifts. She held up a hand to tell Chase and Ross to stop their vehicles. They’d have to leave them outside. Her warehouse held the car, but with the built-in apartment, there wasn’t room for more.
The noise of their engines sounded so foreign in her normally quiet home. She hugged her arms to herself, trying to calm her nerves.
Tripp and Cadmar jumped out of the RV as soon as Chase turned the engine off. They walked up to the open garage, Tripp looking inside while Cadmar chattered at him. She wondered if the younger man had once taken his eyes off Tripp—even in the RV.
Chase got out of the RV, his gaze going to her first, then around the area, before coming back to her. He looked so tough standing there with his muscles bulging in his crossed arms and his scruffy hair and beard picking up light from the sun. He’d pulled on a long-sleeved flannel shirt over a T-shirt that had faded to a grayish color. Neither shirt was thick enough to ward off the chill in the air today.
“Oh,” she breathed. “I forgot to give this to you right away.” She opened one of the back doors on her car and pulled out his jacket. “Thanks for loaning this to me yesterday. I have another in my car I think will fit you too.”
“Thanks.” He took the jacket, lifted it toward his face, then stopped abruptly to squeeze it in his fists.
She thought he almost sniffed his coat. Butterflies filled her stomach at the thought of him trying to get a whiff of her.
“This place is great,” he murmured, faint red filling his cheeks as if he realized she’d caught his intention.
“My father picked this heavily wooded spot when I was little. He called it our private getaway and we kept only the places close to the warehouse trimmed while letting everything else grow wild.”
“It was a good idea. I couldn’t see the place until we were right up on it.”
“Nice garden area.” Dorian said as he came up to them. He’d tied his shoulder-length black hair into a short tail. His eyes looked huge and dark in his narrow face. “Do you have a greenhouse?”
She shook her head. “No, but I grow some stuff inside the warehouse with growing lamps. Herbs, tomatoes and peppers.”
“Any fruit trees?”
She nodded. “Out back. Peach, apple and avocado trees.”
“Really?” He came up on his toes, excitement making his dark eyes sparkle. “Please tell me you’ve saved avocado seeds.”
When he grinned, Keera’s eyes widened. Holy shit, the man was a looker. “Of course. I’ve even got a couple of small trees growing in pots. Feel free to go see. The adult trees are around back. The babies are inside the warehouse.”
“Thanks.” He turned, his long, elegant legs moving quickly.
Keera watched him go. She couldn’t help it.
“I know. It’s hard not to look at him, isn’t it?” Jenna came up to her and lifted her hand to shield the sun from her eyes.
“Sorry,” Keera murmured.
“Don’t be. I’ve been watching him since we were kids and look.” She pointed at Ross, who stood next to the back of the semi-truck. He’d paused while opening the back to watch Dorian stride toward the backyard. “Everyone watches him. I’ve even caught Cadmar peeking a time or two. Dorian just has a way about him.” She waved at the warehouse. “Damn, it’s so exciting to meet you people. And this place is so cool! You know I’m dying to see inside, right?”
Keera grinned. “Come on, I’ll show you all. Should we wait for Dorian?”
Her blonde hair bobbed in its ponytail as she shook her head. “He’ll wander in after a while. He’ll explore the garden first.”
Pride filled Keera as she led them in through the open garage door. The plans for the place were originally created for a type of construction office with a big, open space and stairs that led up to offices. Her father had built the office part as a two bedroom apartment instead. She had a fully functioning kitchen, bathroom and anything else she needed.
Chase hadn’t said a word but he’d followed them and he stood inside, big arms crossed as he took in the long tables built against the entire left wall. They broke only for the stairs, then continued on to the other side. She’d installed the grow lamps herself and the long surfaces were covered in plants she grew throughout the year. “I keep tomatoes and peppers going all year. Lots of good nutrients in them. Cucumbers too.” She pointed at the trellis where huge, green leaves peeked out from the vines that had wrapped the white wood. “I also grow a lot of herbs for cooking and tea.”
Chase touched one of the ripe tomatoes, walked a couple of steps and just stopped.
She followed his gaze to the green bell peppers. “Those have done really well this year. I’m letting some turn red, but there are so many feel free to pick as many as you want.” She looked at Jenna. “You too. The tomatoes are good. I have way too many of those so I’ve canned a lot of them. I have enough canned to last years, but I grow them fresh because there is nothing like eating them right off the vine.”
He still didn’t take anything. “I haven’t had a fresh tomato or a pepper in a long time. I think I’ll wait until I can sit down and enjoy them.” He turned to look down at her. “Thank you.”
His low, deep voice and the intensity in that sharp, blue stare drew the air from her lungs. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Jenna smile and wander to the herb end of the indoor garden. Keera stared back at Chase, wondering if he was feeling even an inkling of the crazy emotion that ran through her. She could see his attraction to her in the way he looked at her, in the flare of his nostrils. He’d stared at her body back at the creek…but any man would have stared at the way that wet shirt had fit her.
Nerves hit her so hard, she stepped back.