Bedded for Diamonds
Book Two in in the Bennett Family Series – Tristan
He’ll protect her—and bed her!
Tristan Bennett is tall, sexy and enigmatic—and jeweler Erin can’t tell whether he’s a gem or a rough diamond.
But Tristan has a week to spare—so he’ll act as protector to Erin while she goes to Australia’s gem mines to buy precious stones.
Once she and Tristan are on the road, the heat they generate drives them both to distraction. Erin knows they’re headed for trouble—unless they can keep the lid on the attraction growing between them….
Kelly Hunter – as amazing as always. She is one author, who just won’t compromise with the quality – be it character development, or storytelling, dialogue or passion. She just hits the mark each time – and all that with completely different stories. She is awesome – and so is this book. And BTW the title is misleading. :)
Another great romance from Kelly Hunter. If you like real characters, snappy dialogue and a fun story then you will love this book.
Somewhere in Chapter One…
SHE shut his door and headed for the driver’s seat. ‘Where to?’
‘Albany Street, Double Bay.’
Nice. She picked up her mobile, called in his coffee order, pulled out into the traffic, and set about making his journey a luxury one. ‘Newspaper?’ she asked. ‘I have the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, or the Financial Review.’
‘Music?’ There was something for everyone.
O-kay. He didn’t look like he wanted conversation either but she gave it a whirl, just in case. ‘So where’d you fly in from?’
‘Been away long?’ His accent told her he was Australian.
‘Six years in London? Without a break? No wonder you look tired.’
‘Maybe I will have that paper,’ he said, his gaze meeting hers in the rear vision mirror.
‘That would be a ‘no’ to conversation, then?’
She handed him the Sydney Morning Herald in silence. Maybe he was an elite athlete. A soccer player returning home at the end of the European season after his team’s final crushing defeat. Maybe he’d missed the winning penalty goal and was barely able to talk through the weight of his despair. Yeah, that would work. ‘You’re not a soccer player, are you?’
‘A poet?’ That would work too. Because he could have taught Byron himself a thing or two about looking sexy, unreachable, and sorely in need of comfort all at the same time.
‘No.’ He opened the paper. Rattled it.
Fine. Maybe she should forget about her taciturn passenger and concentrate on her driving instead. She could do that. No problem.
Five minutes later she pulled up outside Café Siciliano, lowered the rear window, and a curvaceous young waitress handed her passenger an espresso in a takeaway cup along with two straws of sugar. ‘The sugar’s already in it,’ the girl said. ‘This is extra, just in case.’
‘You’re an angel,’ he said in that soft, deep voice and the girl blinked and blushed prettily.
Harrumph! Erin jabbed at the controls and watched as the tinted window slid smoothly closed. He hadn’t called her an angel for seeing to it that he got coffee in the first place. Ungrateful sod. Her gaze clashed with his in the rear vision mirror and she could have sworn she saw laughter flicker in their depths.
‘Wayward pixies can’t be angels,’ he said solemnly. ‘Different fantasy altogether.’
‘Gee,’ she said. ‘Glad we’ve cleared that up.’ He had such glorious eyes. Such a heart stopping face. Pity he lived in fairyland. She pulled out onto the road a little more abruptly than usual. Forget service with a smile. It was time to deliver the man to his destination.
And then the engine coughed. Not good. It coughed some more as she swung the car round the nearest corner and into a side street and then, with a well-bred splutter, the late model luxury Mercedes died altogether.
‘We seem to have stopped,’ he said.
Oh, now he wanted to talk. ‘Drink your coffee,’ she said, and tried to start the car. The ignition turned over but the engine spluttered like an old maid choking on hot tea.
‘Could be a fuel problem,’ he offered.
‘Could be lots of things.’ Erin drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and considered her options. First things first. ‘I need to get you another ride.’
‘No you don’t,’ he said. ‘You need to pop the hood so we can take a look at what’s wrong.’
‘You’re a mechanic?’
‘No, but I know cars.’
‘That’s close enough.’ Erin liked cars. She enjoyed driving them. But she didn’t know a whole lot about fixing them. She released the bonnet, got out of the car, and joined him in staring down at the immaculately clean engine. ‘What can you do without tools?’
‘Check fuses and connections,’ he said and set about doing so with a confidence she found reassuring. He had nice hands, hands that looked like they knew both strength and gentleness. She looked for a ring, a wristwatch, but he wore no jewelry of any kind. Some things simply didn’t need embellishment.
‘And I thought chivalry was dead.’ There wasn’t much she could do to help except stay out of his light so she leaned back against the grille and waited. ‘Rescue people often? You’re not a fire fighter, are you? Emergency services?’
‘Do you always measure a man by his occupation?’ he asked absently, his attention still on the engine.
‘Not always. Sometimes I measure him by his sweet words and pretty face, but that doesn’t always work out.’
‘I can imagine.’
‘Of course, there’s always star signs,’ she said thoughtfully.
‘You mean you judge a person by his birthday?’ She had his attention now; his complete and utter incredulous attention.
‘Hey, the measurement of man is a tough one. A girl needs all the help she can get.’
‘Yes, but astrology?’
‘I’m thinking Scorpio for you. Moody, intense…’ Unbelievable in bed. The mere thought of which was making her fidget. ‘But I could be wrong.’
‘I suspect you often are.’
He hadn’t, she noted, come right out and told her she was wrong. That was interesting. ‘You are a Scorpio, aren’t you? I knew it.’
He regarded her with exasperation. ‘It means nothing.’
‘Nope, it means that without any more information whatsoever I can start to measure the man. At least, that’s the theory.’ And after a moment, ‘We’re quite compatible.’
‘Hard to believe,’ he murmured dryly.
Erin suppressed a chuckle. ‘Yep, what with that pretty face it’s a good thing you’re low on sweet talk otherwise I might be lost.’
His smile was slow in coming but when it arrived it scrambled her brain. ‘I try to save the sweet talk,’ he said.
‘What on earth for?’
I struggled plenty when it came to writing my second book. My first book had been well received. Apparently I had a strong, fresh and unique voice. Looking back, it’s clear that I didn’t know what I had, how reliable it was or how best to wield it.
I was writing to different editorial guidelines than those Harlequin used for their Presents short category romances and the stories were being accepted. And then they were coming out in many markets within the Presents/Presents Extra lineup.
My setting for this story was neither urban nor glamorous. It was an Aussie outback road trip and riches were not apparent—unless you count opals. My hero was struggling to alpha up. I was missing the Presents promise by a mile and readers were noticing. Colour me dazed and confused.
Story wise, I’ve a soft spot for this one. Tristan is the youngest of four brothers, and his journey is one of owning past mistakes and accepting that while his moral compass doesn’t always align with that of the wider world, he’s a good man nonetheless. I really enjoyed giving him his HEA.
Let’s not talk about the parallels between him trying and failing to fit in the box and me trying and failing to do likewise.
This story is called 'Priceless' in Aus and the UK.
Aus eBook edition