Excerpt from – High Ground (Madelon Smid)
Josh conjectured he’d have trouble sleeping with any near stranger in the next room. Honesty forced him to acknowledge Cat caused his insomnia. He’d mentally conceived the next step in his new design, meditated, dropped to the floor for a hundred pushups. He’d get himself a snack and write the algorithm before he lost it.
The snick of a bullet being chambered froze him mid step. He inched his hands above his head and turned to face the sound. If someone shot him, he damn sure wanted to see the perpetrator face to face.
The pistol remained on him. A graceful hand switched on the light beside the chair, highlighting a vision he’d retain forever; if he could regulate his heart rate before it imploded.
“You’re supposed to protect me, not gun me down in my own home.” Intrigue flared in a bright arc, filling him with energy. He stepped closer, fascinated. She’d been watching over him. My own warrior woman prepared to fight to the death protecting me.
She shrugged, lowering her weapon. “You could have been an assassin.”
“No way,” he said with absolute certainty. “My system would warn us of the slightest attempt at breaking in.” It surprised him how much he wanted her to believe in his ability. He continued to close the distance between them. The gold halo of the lamp shone down on her. He stopped a few feet away, entranced by the picture she made. She wore a thin white cotton camisole with bits of ribbon and lace along the low décolleté. She’d pulled her legs into the chair, ankles crossed, knees high. The gleaming columns of satin hid her bottom half. She’d brushed out the tortured hair style from earlier, leaving a mass of corkscrew curls brushing her shoulders. The light stroked the shiny strands with a lover’s touch, picking out every shade of brown from tawny gold to russet. He gave up on slowing his heart rate. She reminded him of pictures he’d seen of Quadroons in the 1800’s, the descendants of African slaves and their Caucasian masters. White men prized the earth bound goddesses as concubines prior to the Civil war. With her high cheekbones, tilted eyes and full lips, Josh could see why slave traders had scoured the states to find girls with Cat’s description. His libido soared with the force of his response to her.
The back of the book – High Ground (Madelon Smid)
When Joshua Chandler identifies the hacker attempting to infiltrate his security software, he becomes a target for assassination. A genius, contracted to safeguard government secrets, he concludes a lot of people could see him as a threat. Various government agencies vie to protect him, but he prefers to hire his own bodyguard. When he falls in love with her, he has only one choice. Catch his assassin, so he can focus on winning her.
Catriana Duplessiss, (Cat) hired to protect Joshua Chandler, computer genius, remains professional and distant in order to do her job. An ex-marine, she’s well trained to keep him safe, but pretending to be his live-in-lover puts her rule “never get involved with a principal” in jeopardy. She’s lost too many loved ones to death and refuses to risk her heart again. When her feelings for Josh affect her ability to do her job, she insists on being replaced, so he has the best protection possible. It also allows her to run, but she can’t hide from the truth. She’s lost her heart to this brilliant man whose death seems imminent.
Both the assassin and Cat elude Josh’s efforts to capture them. He doesn’t know which is the greater threat losing his life or losing his love.