||The Wild Rose Press
A sudden, high pitch siren blasted through the pre-dawn hush.
Victoria Donavan jerked and pivoted on high-heeled boots toward her open office door. She covered her ears against the shrill noise and stared at the security alarm panel. Her stomach bottomed out. Flashes of blood red swarmed across the sensor warning lights. Someone was in the inner offices . . . Someone who didn’t belong.
Who’s stalking architect, Victoria Donavan? Bodyguard, Alex Harmon intends to find out before she steps into Harm’s Way.
Romance With A Texas Twist
The Wild Rose Press
Romance With A Texas Twist
Architect, Victoria Donavan learned the hard way to believe in concrete and steel and leave matters of the heart in the dust. After climbing from the ruins of a disastrous marriage to her murdered undercover DEA husband, she builds a life following one rule: never trust another man who loves danger. Victoria’s carefully constructed world tumbles down when her private photos are publicly paraded across the Internet, her home is maliciously invaded, and she’s almost kidnapped. One man can promise her safety, but can Victoria survive a close encounter with the truly dangerous Alex Harmon.
Security specialist, Alex Harmon exists by staying one step in front of the bad guys and keeping his clients alive. Living with the demons of a botched body-guarding assignment, he’s sworn to never handle another female client. Four years long, Alex’s personal vow holds true until his phone rings with an old marker being called due. Like facing a loaded double-aught shotgun, both barrels mean disaster. He can welch on his past debt, or step back into the game and keep Victoria Donavan’s exceedingly good-looking backside out of danger. And Alex Harmon never welches on a debt.
Victoria Donavan maneuvered her sedan between the other vehicles and toward the detached garage. Pressing the remote button, she inched into her parking spot. As though he were in the car with her, she heard Alex’s body-guard precautions. She closed the garage behind her.
The fading rays of sunlight were shut out, the interior plunging into immediate darkness. Where were the automatic lights? They’d worked before. When had she last been in the garage? Two, three days? Maybe it had been a week? Maybe she’d even left the lights on and they’d simply burned out. Maybe.
Shrug the shoulders, she mentally chided. There was nothing overtly suspicious, only the need for a new light bulb. With a grab of her briefcase and grocery bag, she pulled on the handle and opened the car. The dome light flooded the enclosed area until she shut the door. Using the warm hood as her guide, she employed cautious fingers to find her way through the darkness. Her steps slowed, and then stopped.
Something was out of place. She strained against the murky black. Nothing.
Closing her eyes, she listened. A gravel crunching sound from outside. The slam of a car door. Nothing closer.
Clutching her briefcase, she gulped in a deep breath. There was something in the air. Strong and pungent, the scent hit her. Lemons, no more than that, more like a lemon-based cleanser. It was familiar, almost. Something tugged at her memory, but it was gone before her consciousness made the connection.
Just get out, she lectured herself. Feet moving, she eased to the garage side and the dimly outlined door. As she reached out, the knob rattled abruptly. Jerking her fingers back, she had only an instant to adjust before the door popped open with a groan against its hinges.
“I suppose getting you to stay in one place for an entire day would be as likely as me landing the queen of England’s job?”
The breath left her lungs in a whoosh. Bold and brass, Alex Harmon was here. Even the aggravation in his tone couldn’t staunch her smile of relief. He towered above her, blistering mad if his expression was an indicator. He reached for her then, his hand gently closing around her elbow, pressing through the sheer fabric of her shirt and heating her skin.
“You think this is funny?”
“Only your uncanny knack of showing up.”
“I suppose I should be impressed you pulled in the garage.” He tugged her through the doorway. His intensity seemed to narrow as he took in the gloom from the interior. “Where’s the light?”
“I don’t know.” His big body blocked her view of the yard, but the edges of sunlight winked around his broad shoulders. “It should have come on when I opened the garage door.”
Alex looked down at her, his gaze held at bay by his mirrored sunglass. His fingers tightened their grip. “You’re trembling.”
“I was being silly.” Victoria tried to shrug and hold onto her smile, but it must have slipped. His entire body seemed to go on alert. She’d never felt this kind of tension roll from one person. It washed over her, past her almost as though he surrounded her with his strength. The tug was gentle, but he drew her closer as his gaze lifted above her head.
“What are you being silly about?” With his free hand, he reached beyond her to flip the garage light switch. The room remained suspiciously dark.
“I smelled ...” It sounded ridiculous to even repeat, but the scent didn’t belong in her garage. “I smelled a lemon cleaner.”
“And you don’t use one?” He was listening to her, hanging on every word.
“I don’t get a lot of cleaning done in the garage.”
“The smell is out of place?”
“I told you it was silly.”
His glance dropped to her face, and then quickly rose to scan the enclosed area. “When did the light work last?”
“I’m not sure. Depending on how late I leave the office, I park by the front porch.” She took a side step to ease out of his way.
The grip on her elbow crushed the fabric of her blouse and stilled her movement. “Don’t do that.”
Then she was certain. His stance wasn’t to keep her blocked in, but to keep the rest of the world, whoever that might be, blocked away from her.
Sandra Ferguson’s debut novel, Harm’s Way, introduces us to the Donovan clan in this thrilling suspense novel.
Victoria Donovan has put her life back together after her doomed marriage ends when her husband is murdered. She has made a career for herself as one of the best architects in the city when her life falls apart once more. When a break-in at her home turns out to be anything but random, her in-laws decide it’s time to call in the big guns. It appears there is a stalker after Victoria and only the best of the best will do.
Alex Harmon is a brilliant security expert never to play bodyguard for another woman after his last such job was a huge failure. Now his life is all about making sure he always gives 100% to a job and never gives up until it is finished. But when his past comes calling, insisting Alex is the only man for the mission, he very reluctantly takes the case, against his better judgment.
How can Alex keep Victoria safe when she insists she doesn’t need him and repeatedly dodges his efforts to help? And it certainly doesn’t help when the sparks between them set off a conflagration of passion and he finds himself making the biggest mistake someone in his profession can have… falling in love with the subject.
What a roller coaster ride of action and emotion Harm’s Way is! From the very first page and being in the villain’s head, I new I was in for an adventure full of danger and suspense. This perfectly sets the mood for everything else to follow. The story is extremely realistic in how Victoria’s stalker is portrayed, showing to just what lengths someone with such an illness will go… and it’s never the person you’d expect it to be. That aspect of the story made it all the creepier, knowing the danger could be lurking anywhere.
Victoria and Alex each have their own struggles to face and overcome. Alex can’t forgive himself for his failure to protect the one he most cared about. He cannot allow himself to get close to Victoria for fear of repeating past mistakes. Victoria is trying to move past her feelings from realizing her late husband loved his career as an undercover DEA agent more than he loved her. She is afraid to love Alex, thinking he will be just like her husband was. Seeing these two overcome their fears together makes for a very powerful story of love and personal redemption.
Harm’s Way may be Sandra Ferguson’s first published novel but don’t let that fool you. She has proven what an incredibly talented author she is and I for one can’t wait to see what else she has to offer. How convenient that there are several Donovan brothers just asking for their stories to be told.
© Kelley A. Hartsell, September 2007. All rights reserved.
Long and Short Reviews
What is Victoria Donavan to do? She's being stalked and the person who is chosen to protect her is Alex Harmon, a man who "scares the paint off her toenails." She's been burned one time by a man who has a dangerous job and now she finds herself falling for another. And Alex finds himself in too-close proximity with the one woman he has never been able to forget. Can he maintain his objectivity long enough to protect her from being hurt... or will he end up being the one to hurt her?
Harm's Way is filled with suspense. With the end of every chapter comes the overwhelming desire to keep turning. The reader is drawn into the mystery of who has broken into Victoria Donovan's home and for what purpose? Every new clue, every new disclosure leads unceasingly to the end. The revelation of the stalker and the solution to the mystery come both as a surprise and an "oh, yeah" moment.
Victoria and Alex can't help being drawn to each other. However, because of the baggage they carry, they each fight the attraction. The tension between them builds with each passing chapter and when it finally explodes, it truly explodes. The reader is carried with every high and low on the romantic, sexual ride Victoria and Alex find themselves on.
Harm's Way reminded this reader of Nora Robert's suspense books. It was so good, I had a hard time putting it down. I'm looking forward to the next offering by this talented writer. I predict, and truly hope, we'll see much more of Ms. Ferguson. I'm her latest fan.
Reviewed by: Judy Thomas
My Book Cravings
Ms. Ferguson has written a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat with spine-tingling suspense. The mystery unfolds as Alex and Tori discover who the stalker is and why he wants to take her to Paradise. As you read this book you will be spellbound until the final pages as the villain is revealed. The excitement builds to a final climax that will show you that lovers will do anything to protect each other and keep their lover out of harm’s way, even if you lose focus on matters at hand. Love can conquer all, and bring happiness forever. This book has a sweet romance that builds slowly to everlasting love, while surviving many obstacles along the way.
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