They walked through the shadows individually. Will they emerge into the light together?
Leading a vagabond life as a curator for a traveling photography exhibit translates to a lot of bad days for Rikki Salerno. But her trouble doubles when a careless high school student shoves her into a marsh. Being rescued by teacher Sam Kerrigan should have made things better, but Rikki’s inability to confess her true identity casts a shadow over their budding affair.
When Sam refuses an overly aggressive parent’s marriage proposal, she’s determined to ruin him. Not only does she doctor photos to make it look like Sam’s behaved inappropriately in front of students, she hacks the foundation website to reveal Rikki’s true identity. Faster than the blink of a shutter, Rikki’s focus changes from pursuing her full-color future to the black and white necessity of clearing Sam’s name.
Exposed to Passion
Five Senses Series # 3
By: Gemma Brocato
Releasing October 20th, 2014
Lyrical / Kensington
Rikki dragged her eyes from his profile and turned her attention out the front window. “Oh, Sam, it’s perfect.”
Obligingly, Sam stopped the truck to let her take pictures. She adjusted the brightness setting, snapped another couple of shots, then dropped the camera into her lap.
“I’d love to see this at dawn. Do you know how haunting this would be in a low-light setting?” She fidgeted in her seat, battling her muse’s demand to pick up her camera again. The images she’d captured so far were sufficient. She’d known the second she took the best photo from that vantage point. She’d bet her favorite camera it was the way a baseball player knew a ball would soar out of the park the second the bat connected. Adrenaline spread through her like spiders, creeping and crawling through her chest and along her arms.
Sam put the truck back in gear and eased forward into a parking spot. “I brought wood so we can make a campfire over here, under the trees. The best spot for us to set up our camera equipment will be there, along the riverbank.” He lifted his hand from the steering wheel and gestured toward a flat, sandy section of land. “There is nothing overhead to mar the focus. Unless you see a better location…”
“I’ll look around, but the riverbank makes the most sense. It’s flat, and as long as it’s solid, should be good.” She flashed back to the spit of land where they’d met, when the bank hadn’t been stable enough to keep her from tumbling into the water. “I’ll unload the equipment if you start the fire.”
Putting his shoulder to the door, he paused, appeared to think better of it, then twisted toward her. Desire changed his eyes to steamy, mesmerizing cobalt. Leaning across the center of the truck, he lifted a hand to her cheek and urged her lips toward his. His mouth, soft and warm, possessed hers, shortening her breath. After a brief moment, he deepened the kiss, opening his mouth on hers, demanding more. Without hesitation, she responded, welcoming the intrusion of his tongue and plunged her fingers through his hair, pulling him closer.
Sliding his hand down her arm, he cradled her wrist, then pulled her hand to rest along his chest. His heart thumped violently, racing, echoing her speeding pulse. His lips curled into a smile. He laced his fingers through hers and pressed, flattening both against his body. The warmth of his hand, the rhythmic thud of his heart, and the sensuous insistence of his lips rocked her. It changed mere passion into something more enduring.
The loud blare of a horn interrupted the brief interlude. Sam jumped away from her, disentangling their fingers, pink staining his cheeks. Moving his hands to his lap, he attempted to hide the evidence of their steamy kiss from the group of students pulling into the spot next to his truck.
Gemma’s favorite desk accessories for many years were a circular wooden token, better known as a ’round tuit,’ and a slip of paper from a fortune cookie proclaiming her a lover of words; some day she’d write a book. All it took was a transfer to the United Kingdom, the lovely English springtime, and a huge dose of homesickness to write her first novel. Once it was completed and sent off with a kiss, even the rejections addressed to ‘Dear Author’ were gratifying. After returning to America, she spent a number of years as a copywriter, dedicating her skills to making insurance and the agents who sell them sound sexy.
Eventually, her full-time job as a writer interfered with her desire to be a writer full-time and she left the world of financial products behind to pursue an avocation as a romance author. Her gamble paid off when she was a 2012 Finalist in the prestigious Golden Pen contest for Romantic Suspense and she received contracts for her first and second book.