Title: Her Greatest Risk
Author: Darlene Deluca
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Clashing over the fate of a historic building, Jennifer Aukland and Michael Reynolds are on course to become adversaries. She’s an architect devoted to green building and restoration. He’s a developer hell-bent on ripping down the old hotel she’s racing to save to make way for a new casino.
Chemistry leads to compromise, and for a time, they’re on the same team. Jennifer adds Michael – and marriage – to her safe and steady plan for the future. But when Michael throws caution aside and lands in a life-threatening situation, Jennifer’s world comes crashing down. In her family, she’s learned that recklessness leads to tragedy. She must decide if she can commit her life to someone who takes unnecessary risks with his. Will she take control of her own destiny, even if it means leaving Michael behind? Or will she risk everything for love?
“Jen, you all right? Are you sick?”
She put up a hand. “I’m fine.”
“Let me get you to your room.”
She let out a clipped laugh. “That’s not happening. Go away.”
Michael brushed a strand of hair from her face, and a wave of tenderness swept over him. He had to make sure she was safe. He took a few steps toward the elevator and pushed the call button. “You should probably get some sleep.”
She said nothing, her eyes clenched shut. Probably trying to shut him out. When the elevator doors opened, he took a chance, and took hold of her arm, steering her into the empty box. His hand poised at the control panel, he raised a brow. “What floor?”
Though her voice was soft, he got the number. A few moments later, he stopped with her in front of room 1225.
She waved him off. “I’m fine now. You can go.”
Michael took a step back, but waited while she dug around in her purse for her key card, knowing an offer of help was futile. But when she resorted to profanity, he pushed off from the wall, found the card, and opened the door for her.
To his surprise, she turned back to face him.
“That was some fun,” she said in a flat voice that clearly indicated it wasn’t. “Carson going on and on, sucking up as if he had to win you over. Watching Pamela fawn all over you, and seeing Ben get jealous. Better than a three-ring circus.”
Michael ran a hand across his face. “Look, Jen. I don’t know what you’re talking about. You should get some rest. Or would you like me to get you something? Do you need ice?”
“Why, Michael?” Her voice pitched higher. “Why are you here? The Vincent is my project.”
He moved into the doorway. Bracing the door with a foot, he gently swung her around, then began to knead her neck and shoulders. “Shhh. Calm down. It’s my project, too. I’m here because Hank asked me to be.”
“Why Hale & Stein?”
“I wanted you to have this job.”
“Does it matter?”
“It does to me.” Her words rushed out. “Michael, please don’t do this.”
“Wait. Can we back up a sec? Don’t do what, exactly?”
She whirled around, out of his grasp. “Let’s don’t play games. You know what I’m talking about.” Bright eyes pleaded with him. “Don’t get involved in this project. Please.”
“Please,” Michael repeated, his voice low and silky. “You’ve said that twice now. You mean please like when I asked you to talk to me?”
“There’s nothing more to say, and you know it.”
“I disagree. I think we have a whole lot to talk about.”
She covered her face with her hands. “We are not having a conversation about the past. It’s over and done. You have no right to interfere in my career, Michael.”
“That’s not my intent.”
“Then what is it?” Jennifer cried. “I don’t understand. What do you want?”
The silence was deafening, and Jennifer’s chest heaved while she waited.
His eyes locked onto hers. “I want you to remember what we had.”
The blood drained from her face.
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Darlene Deluca writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, and likes to explore relationships – what brings people together or keeps them apart.
Her intent is to bring to life interesting characters that readers can relate to in real-life situations that combine a little fun, plenty of drama (with perhaps a tear or two), and big helpings of friendship, love and self-discovery, and will leave you either cheering or sighing with a satisfied smile as you turn the final page.
She enjoys reading, a little dark chocolate, a glass of fresh-brewed tropical tea and a warm, sunny day!
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