Title: Door to Heaven
Author: Christine Young
Genre: Historical Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
BLURB: Door to Heaven
Jessica Lawrence is the stepdaughter of a woman born in the twentieth century transported back in time to the year 1868. An acclaimed suffragette, she raises Jessica to believe in the equality of women. Jess Law believes everything she was taught, and when the time is right she becomes a private investigator. Courageous and impetuous, Jess finds danger in her quest to save all women from white slavery. Her passionate mission results in a wedding to Roc Newman, a man she knows can steal her heart...
Roc can't trust the sapphire-eyed spitfire who invades his home in search of secret papers and knocks him flat with her karate moves. Jessica's refusal to obey his wishes serves to inflame the war between them. Still, he cannot control the intense desire his reluctant bride inspires, or make her surrender her independence, until he has conquered the headstrong beauty on the battlefield of love...
Salem, Oregon 1886
No one would have ever guessed the little spitfire could create so much havoc in Roc Newman's life. He would never forget that first bizarre meeting with the pernicious but lovely Jessica Lawrence. That night set the tone for their tumultuous and stormy ride through life.
She had shown her true colors; the wildfire that possessed her soul, the passionate spirit, and the will to triumph even when the battle seemed lost.
When the moon appeared as a silver slipper in the sky...
He waited for her, primed yet not prepared, forewarned through the political grapevine that Jessica Lawrence stalked him.
Jessica Lawrence was a five foot four inch pest. In the midst of it all, no matter how precarious the situation, she seemed to remain, completely, almost unerringly, on his trail--until now. At the window, Roc scrutinized the black form below, fighting the overwhelming urge to give her a shock she would remember forever.
She seemed hell bent on suicide. Consequently, he followed the young lady one day, dodging her path, keeping in the shadows. He had seen her enter an office mysteriously from a side door and discovered it housed a private investigator. The sign, etched in his mind, Jess Law, PI, alias Jessica Lawrence. It hadn't fooled him for a second, just gave him pause, and the fury seizing him rocked his usually placid facade.
He gambled on her naiveté. Perhaps because he had thought her harmless, a mere girl in a man's world, inadequate. Perhaps it had even been the notion she would eventually become distracted and quit. Whatever the reason, he had made a Herculean mistake, and now he pondered her next move. Dressed to blend with the night, she was out there, an apparition of darkness, wrapped in ghostly shadows.
He moved through the house, turning off lights, banking the fires, before settling in a shadowed corner of his study where he could watch Jess. Purposely, he waited until well after midnight to lower the lights. Roc was tense, ready for the intrusion of his privacy. He was peering through the lace curtains, wondering at the girl whose appearance would have shocked most men. A long rope looped over her shoulder, the lone woman strode surefooted across the gardens.
The sky was clear, except for a ribbon of low clouds and a sliver of moon. The house, a bastion against the silent assault about to come. A soft wind blew through the open window from the south; it cleared his head as he watched the approach.
Jess Law shrugged the rope from her shoulder. Silhouetted against the sky, he watched the cord snake upward, grappling hook deftly clenching the chimney. He stood in awe of the mastery. Jess Law pulled on the rope, tightened it, and with a proficiency contradicting her sex, ascended. The lady moved cautiously, and when she reached her goal, she smiled. Her even white teeth glowed against the blackness of her face.
With lithe movements, she swiftly opened the attic window. One jean-clad leg moved through the opening. She balanced precariously, for a moment, as if she were a bird ready to fly. Then her foot rested on the hard wood. The rest of her followed quickly, dropping to the floor; silent, ready to spring.
He felt the tension, knew she listened for the sound of footsteps. She was inside. He watched the window, imagining each moment, each breath, sensing the emotions that must surely riffle her body. Roc listened for the soft whisper of her steps as she descended and thought he could almost hear the wild racing of her heart. Only a moment passed before the sounds became audible. Once on the first floor, she made her way through the house. Her fingers rested on the tumbler of his safe and turned. He heard the click, saw the handle as she pushed down. The door swung open.
Then, without warning, he gripped her mouth. She wrenched away, turning quickly, groping for the documents, even while she tried to avoid him. Her actions, quick and agile, proved adept, throwing him off balance, but he would not relent and managed to grip her arm. No matter how swiftly she countered his moves, he still held mastery. He turned her, prepared to hog tie her if necessary. She allowed him, relaxed then surprised him, maneuvering expertly.
Jess swiftly shoved her elbow into his chest, and he gasped for air. With a skill he didn't suspect she possessed, Jess Law threw him to the floor, and Roc bellowed, landing at her feet. The force of her action amazed him. For a second time, the breath rushed from his lungs, and Roc found himself on the cold floor. Papers, pens, and books clogged the air and littered the Persian rug then a sudden crash reverberated in the once cozy room. His shirt dampened as cold seeped through to his skin. She hadn't just thrown him upon the floor in his private sanctuary. No. She had humiliated him, threatened life and limb, and sent a pitcher of ice water on top of him. If he still held a breath of air in his body, he would have retaliated, a throw for a throw.
He inhaled swiftly, contemplating revenge, thoroughly irritated. He'd held his own in every fight, every barroom brawl he'd ever participated, and now, in the middle of his study, he had been deflated by a plague upon the female persuasion.
Studying the ceiling from this new vantage point, heaving, feeling the stab of mortification against his gender, he looked into the leering countenance of what was rapidly becoming the bane of his existence. Then she spoke, surprising him, since he had expected her to run. Her voice, soft and feminine, one that pinned him to the floor with its arrogance. "To the victor belongs the spoils. Would you like a repeat performance?"