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Amber Beach by Elizabeth Lowell - Romance>Contemporary
Honor Donovan is a shrewd businesswoman, yet she has been shut out of Donovan International by her father and four brothers. When her favorite brother Kyle vanishes, along with a fortune in stolen amber, Honor's questions are ignored by the Donovan males. Defying them, she heads to the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest in search of answers.
Honor needs a guide because she knows nothing about running a boat -- and she knows nothing about Jake Mallory until he answers her ad. One of the things she doesn't know is that Jake is much more than a fishing guide. Until Kyle disappeared, Jake was brokering amber deals in the Baltic for Donovan International. Honor is completely unaware of the old wars, new politics, greed, and stolen amber that have lured ruthless, high-stakes players from around the globe.
Jake wants no part of the intrigue, or of a Donovan woman in his life, but he suspects the Donovans have set him up to take the fall for Kyle's treachery. The way Jake sees it, some Donovan is going to pay for his troubles, and it just may turn out to be Honor
Jake and Honor cast off on a journeys moldering with distrust, betrayal, vengeance... and temptation. A hunger grows between them that is as dangerous as the secrets they keep. Alone at sea, they pursue the stubborn mystery of the Amber Room, flee from relentless enemies, and fight against trusting each other. Yet when Honor and Jake dare to confide in one another, they face a final truth: the penalty for betrayal is death; the reward is a lifetime...together.
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Honor Donovan took one look and knew the man was trouble. On the other hand, she was already in the kind of trouble even tier family's company, Donovan International, couldn't handle.
"if you're from the police, shut the door on your way out," she said. "if you're a reporter, go to hell."
"Been there. Done that."
"You have the T-shirt to prove it?"
He reached for the buttons on his stained denim jacket.
"Never mind," she said quickly. "Are you a reporter?"
"No. I'm a fishing guide,"
You are the Ms. Honor Donovan who advertised for a person with expertise in Pacific Northwest waters in general and SeaSport boats in particular'?"
She sighed and accepted the inevitable. The big man with the black beard stubble, light eyes, scatted left eye- brow, and clean fingernails hadn't wandered by accident into her missing brother's Puget Sound cottage. Despite this man's less-than-cozy looks, her instincts said he was a better candidate than the others who had come looking for the job.
One of the men had been a cop trying to pass for a fisherman. Another was a recent immigrant whose English defied understanding. A third man was convinced she really wanted the body he was so proud of. The fourth man's English was good, but his eyes had made her think of things that lived in swamps.
It had been three days since anyone else had applied for the job. She was going nuts counting minutes and waiting for Kyle to appear suddenly in the doorway with his crooked grin and a good explanation of why the cops thought he had stolen a million bucks in amber. She refused to consider any other reason for his disappearance, especially the one that kept her from sleeping, the one that made her throat close around tears she wouldn't cry.
Kyle had to be alive. He just had to be.
Belatedly Honor realized that the most recent applicant was still waiting for her to say that she was indeed the one who had posted ads all over the small town of Anacortes.
"I'm the one," she said.
"You took the words right out of my mouth."
She looked at his mouth and knew how Little Red Riding Hood felt when she first saw "grandmother's" teeth.
"Excuse me?" she asked.
"Your ad could have been written with me in mind," he explained
"Do you have references?"
"Driver's license? Fishing license? Boat handier's ticket? Tetanus shot?"
"How about rabies?"
The retort popped out before Honor could think better of it. It came front a lifetime of dealing with big brothers.
"Try Jake. Saves time."
"Um, Jake. I meant references given by people you worked for in the past."
"You don't know much about fishing guides, do you?"
"If I did, I wouldn't have to hire one, would I?"
She thought of poor Little Red. "You should work on that smile. It really isn't reassuring."
Jake tried to look downcast. It wasn't any more convincing than his smile.
"If your hands are half as quick as your tongue," he said, "I'll make a fisherman out of you in no time."
"Ain't no such animal."
"Man and woman both end in an. Do you want the job?"
"Fishersan," he said, rolling the word around on his tongue. "Yeah, I want the job. We'll be the only fishersen on the water."
This time Jake's smile was slow, warm, amused, and something more. It reminded Honor that she was a woman as well as the seared younger sister of a missing man. She looked down at her hands and cleared her throat.
Amber BeachBy: Elizabeth Lowell