After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.
Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.
When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?
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The women weren’t dressed in what he expected as usual afternoon casual wear in suburbia. No culottes or capris here. Their hair curled loose around bare shoulders. Two wore cocktail dresses; the rest some sort of silky lingerie. They seemed perfectly comfortable as his gaze crawled over their exposed bodies. Most wore no makeup, they were all beautiful.
Gene’s diagnostic brain clicked forward along some trail of logic. “Is this a…?”
The woman smiled. “Bordello? You could say that.”
The redhead walked across the room toward him, the front of her skirt flowing open, revealing legs that couldn’t possibly be on the upward side of thirty, although his trained eye recognized subtle evidence of her age. She held out a peach-nailed hand. “I’m Lily Pearl Evans. Welcome to the Sassafras Social Club.”
He automatically took the extended hand, felt the softness of her skin against his. Up close like this, he could see she had cultivated an early beauty into striking middle-age allure. “I’m sorry to impose.”
“So, Mr. Richards, I’m curious what brought you to us.” Her fingers held his hand, turned it over to examine it.
He tried to pull away, but she held tight, her grip stronger than he’d expected. “What are you looking for?” he asked. What if the bordello had ties to Agustin’s cartel? Several of the girls had olive skin, dark hair and eyes. Thinking he was safe, he could have landed in the snake pit.
“Your fate line is very strong,” Lily said, tracing the midline of his palm.
“Is it now?” He didn’t look at his hand, his mind’s eye still seeing it covered in blood.
The warmth of her hand didn’t leave his. “An itch under my skin tells me there’s more to you than meets the eye, Mr. Richards.”
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