SO WHISPERS THE HEART by Rebecca George. Historical romance, Napoleonic era, 1803
…Ninon was unprepared when he grabbed her from behind and threw her over his shoulder. "What are you doing?" She demanded between laughter and anger.
"What I’ve wanted to do since that night in the alley.” He patted her rump.
"Sacre Dieu, Christan, put me down! The blood is going to my head and giving me the headache."
"Not a chance, sweetheart." Laughter rumbled in his chest. "And a headache? Nina, I expected better of you."
"You’re about to get the worst of me." And then, almost pleading, "The devil! If you don’t put me down this instant, I’ll..."
"You’ll what?" He lowered her onto her feet.
"Merci!" Her sigh of relief was short-lived when she discovered he was removing his shirt.
Diccon contemplated the lone figure on the beach. The Cassie of thirteen years ago would never have sought out this solitude. But the forlorn figure below bore little resemblance to his Cassie of old.
Nor was it her appearance that seemed so changed. As he had noted before, her adolescent loveliness had matured into the potent beauty of adulthood. True, that inner fire that had been so much a part of her was lacking but to him that aura of sorrow that clung to her enhanced her desirability. His mouth twisted upward in a self-mocking smile. Cassie would be desirable to him regardless of her appearance. It was still difficult to believe that she had returned. No. What was difficult to believe was that she had ever been gone. He loved her. He had never stopped loving her.
“When I moved down here, I’d hoped my past life would be that—past. But when your ex-husband made a big deal about my buying this property, word got out who I was and what I’d supposedly done. I didn’t care anymore. I was tired of running and fought him.”
“It doesn’t matter who Robert hurts, as long as he makes headlines.”
Reece brushed a curl off her forehead. “Why did you stay with him so long? I suspect you did it for your sons, but there must have been more to it.”
Dana swiveled around, her back to Reece’s chest. She couldn’t look him in the eyes when she told him. He wrapped his arms around her, and she felt his heat like a warm blanket in the cool morning.
MIND GAMES by Polly Iyer. Contemporary suspense
America recognized Diana Racine, and the stares she attracted from the cops in the station proved no exception. She approached the ruddy-faced desk sergeant, whose vigorous assault on a wad of chewing gum slowed to a grind when he saw the precinct’s late-night caller. He squinted and leaned across the desk.
“Well, looky, looky who we have here.” Anyone who missed Diana’s entrance knew she was here now. Heads turned, tongues clicked, and eyes squinted. “To what do we owe the pleasure? Come to report a missing body, have you?”
Diana had heard similar sarcasm ad nauseum and learned to slough off the sleazy comments. But they still rankled. “When you’re finished with the jokes, I’ll be waiting right here to see the person in charge, since I’m pretty sure it’s not you.”