No stranger, to loss, the one thing in her existence that beautiful Sara Wickham loses no sleep over is her lack of a love life. Who needs one? It’s never better to have loved and lost, so it’s best just to avoid loving in the first place. Long ago, she lost her heart to palaeontology, the perfect field for someone determined to avoid deep attachments to the living and breathing. Falling in love is just too risky for someone with Sara’s past or, for that matter, her present. For Sara, a committed relationship means utter devotion to the one abiding love of her life—her job. She habitually risks losing her health and well-being for the job. Sometimes, she risks losing her life on the job. But she knows how to set limits and she never, ever risks losing the job itself. So why does Sara suddenly find herself out of a job and secretly employed by an irresistible man she doesn’t know in a place that she reviles?
As for the eminent, brilliant, gorgeous Thomas McBride, his team of palaeontologists is struggling through the worst field season ever—plagued by injuries, illnesses, and horrible dinosaur-hunting weather. He is sublimely unaware that help is on the way and that the season is about to get a whole lot worse before it gets better! Preoccupied by concerns about the future existence of his research programme, Thomas has no idea that the most intriguing discovery of his career is not to be a pile of deteriorating dinosaur bones, but the shapely and vexing Sara Wickham.
As they excavate the past together, will Thomas uncover Sara’s secret sorrow and melt her icy heart?
She began to crawl upwards. Almost every time she moved forward, she seemed to slip back just as far. Once, as she neared the top, she slid nearly to the bottom on her stomach, painfully scraping her left forearm. On her third try, she was reaching for a handhold when her wrist was firmly grasped, and someone began to haul her up.
Thank goodness. Now please let it not be--
Thomas gave a final yank that sent them both sprawling. For a few seconds they just stared in silence at one another.
"Uh...well, thanks," Sara finally managed.
His face had registered a swift range of emotions, including shock, concern, relief, and now, if she was interpreting it correctly, fury. She slowly raised herself to her knees and started to back away.
Thomas was on his feet in a trice. In two quick strides he was at her side, hauling her unceremoniously to her feet.
"You're covered in mud. Let me brush you off." He ignored Sara's protests and, with one hand still closed about her upper arm like a vice, he attacked the mud clinging to the back of her jeans with somewhat more vigour than strictly necessary.
When he finally released her, Sara started to make a withering comment. After a quick glance at his expression, she swallowed it. In the face of his fury, she decided that discretion might indeed be the better part of valour. She backed away cautiously. "Uh, would you be interested in knowing what I've found?"
Thomas simply stared at her.
Ignoring his murderous expression, Sara pointed toward the sinkhole. "This sinkhole is full of fossils. There might even be an Albertosaurus in there."
Thomas stepped over to the opening. He lay on his stomach and attempted to look down into the cavity. She knew he couldn't see much.
"Do you have your camera with you?" he said, when he'd regained his feet. At her nod, he went to her rucksack and pulled it out.
His swift and graceful movements as he snapped pictures to aid in relocating the site reminded her of a panther stalking his prey, strength and energy restrained until he pounced.
Panthers are dangerous, I shouldn't get too close and I shouldn't provoke him. Much too easy to end up losing parts of myself to him.
Still unsmiling, Thomas broke his silence to say, "This is quite a find, Sara. I'll send out a crew first thing tomorrow morning to take a closer look."
Sara heaved a sigh of relief. She knew Thomas wasn't easily riled, but for a few minutes there, she distinctly got the impression he was reining in his temper with the thinnest of threads.
His fingers closed around her upper arm once again. "Let's go."
As they turned and headed back, she stole a glance at his face, but his expression was unreadable. What was he thinking? His touch was making her arm tingle and the feeling was starting to spread to her entire body.
This title is published by Uncial Press and distributed by Untreed Reads.