||The Wild Rose Press
||August 8, 2008
An heiress is swept across the globe in a matter of days to unlock the complex scavenger hunt her parents left behind to lead her to her true identity while under the protection of her bodyguard who keeps her a step ahead of the terrorists hunting her.
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The Wild Rose Press
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Former FBI agent and bodyguard Mark Welles’s career and life are going downhill until he meets Marcisso Tuttora, the man his father died protecting years ago. Wealthy businessman Marcisso puts his only child, Valentina’s, life in Mark’s hands by asking him to return to Rio de Janeiro to guard her.
Less than a week later, Marcisso and his wife are murdered in their beds, and Valentina is running for her life for reasons she cannot begin to guess until she meets Mark Welles. A stubborn heiress to an oil fortune and the son of a highly decorated soldier, they must find a way to escape the country without getting caught and find out why they are chased by a deadly terrorist.
In a matter of weeks, they are driven into a scavenger hunt across the globe laid out by Valentina’s parents and embark on a passionate, emotional journey between them as exhilarating and intense as the race for their lives.
Her throat still burned when she fought through the waves of unconsciousness, but she was no longer cold or choking.
She was warm, wrapped in blankets. Her hand fisted in a rough-textured spread. She smelt soap and salt. When she turned her head and opened her eyes, she saw she was lying on a pillow. In a bed.
Warm. She sighed, stretching shortly before opening her eyes. It was still dark, but she could see vaguely around the room. A single bed, a single chest of drawers, an entertainment center, a bathroom. To the right there was a balcony door.
The figure of a man stood before it.
Her heart bolted into her throat at the sight of the silhouette. Though it wasn’t Herve. She knew it when she ran her gaze over the strong, braced shoulders covered in a white t-shirt he wore over jeans. He was tall, so tall. Well over six feet. His waist was trim, his build athletic, rangy. His hair was dark and long. It was just long enough to be secured in the small band at the nape of his neck. From her angle, she saw he had a strong nose and a full mouth.
He looked slightly angelic but dangerous all-the-same. She shivered and couldn’t decide if it was from fear or excitement.
She sat up. The sheets rustled and the mattress groaned. She saw him stiffen, brace. The quick reaction made her pause. She saw his hand rush to his belt then fall away.
He turned his head and looked at her. When he saw her wide, brown eyes fixed on him, his pulse jolted. His toes itched to curl as her wondrous, skeptical expression fastened on his. His breath caught in his chest, squeezed off by his heart which swelled as he took her in again.
Her hair fell in long, black curls halfway down the length of her back. She usually wore it straight, but it’d dried into careless curls. He liked it better that way. It fell around her oval-shaped face with its naturally-tanned skin, heart-shaped mouth, perfect nose, and dark, dark eyes.
Her eyes were the same color he remembered but deeper, more knowledgeable than before. Recognition didn’t flicker in them as she continued to take him in. Relief washed through him. He wasn’t quite ready for her to remember him yet. She’d been eight years to his thirteen when circumstances had parted their families and he and his mother had rushed off to live a new life with changed names, changed identities.
But he’d never forgotten her face.
Writers & Readers of Distinctive Fiction
In Denied Origin, Amber Leigh Williams spins a nice tale of suspense, during which the reader is taken on a journey around the world in several days. This is a fast-paced story that keeps the reader on the edge of the seat and guessing. The action and sexual tension keep the reader wondering, waiting, and wanting more.
The hero and heroine meet a ways into the story, but they already knew each other in the past. If there’s a drawback at all, I’d like to have seen the hero/heroine come together sooner, but that’s only my preference, and the events that lead up their meeting are important to the plot.
These characters are engaging and smart, and if you like to try to figure out a mystery, this is a great challenge and addition to your to buy list. There are a couple of gripping plot twists that’ll surprise you, but they make perfect sense in the end, once a series of astounding secrets are revealed, especially the big one.
I can only imagine Amber Williams will get better and better and be well read. Her creativity is obvious with this appropriately-named, highly-charged, danger-filled setting and story. Watch for her future works. She’s an amazing writer. No doubt about it.
Reviewed by Rebecca Savage
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