Stranded With Her Ex
Published By: Harlequin
Published: Apr 01, 2011
ISBN # 9780373277247
Available in: Secure Adobe Epub eBook
An exotic wildlife preserve is a dream come true for conservation biologist Daniela Flores. Until she finds out her ex-husband is leading the research team. World-famous shark expert Sean Carmichael has only grown more ruggedly appealing in the time they were apart...the passion between them more intense than ever. But how could Daniela forgive Sean for betraying her when she needed him most?
Sean had come to the remote Farallon Islands to study killer sharks. Now a real killer is on the loose, threatening the woman he's never stopped loving. And this time, he knows he can't walk away. Marooned together during a deadly storm, Sean vows to go to hell and back to save Daniela...and for the chance to begin again.
Daniela Flores tightened her grip on the cold, wet aluminum railing. Keeping her eyes on the horizon and her feet planted on the deck, she took a series of calming breaths.
She wasn't seasick. She'd been on smaller boats in rougher water than this more times than she could count. The San Francisco Bay wasn't known for smooth sailing, and many of the other passengers were feeling poorly, but Daniela's discomfort had nothing to do with a rocking hull, unsteady surface or brisk salt spray.
Her ailment was more mental than physical. Since the accident, she disliked cramped quarters and confined spaces.
Across the crowded cabin, past whey-faced day-trippers and sturdy-legged sailors, the open sea beckoned, mocking her with its infinite expanse. Although a boat this size wasn't as restrictive as the crushed cab of a car, neither did it offer a convenient escape route. The water below was a chilly fifty degrees.
She much preferred the cool blue waves of San Diego, her hometown, where ocean temps hovered at an agreeable seventy degrees. Or southern Mexico, her birthplace, where the sea was as warm and sultry as a hot summer night.
Here, the cold water wasn't even the greatest deterrent for swimmers. Her destination, twenty-seven miles off the coast of San Francisco, was a seldom-visited place called the Farallon Islands, an infamous feeding ground for great white sharks.
The captain's intercom crackled with distortion as he made an announcement. "Devil's Teeth, dead ahead."
The Farallones had earned this moniker a hundred years ago from the fishermen and egg collectors who dared eke out a living here. With no docking facilities, the rocky crags were inhospitable to the extreme, rising from the sea in a jumble of sharp, serrated edges. Although teeming with animal life, every nook and cranny filled with birds and seals and sea lions, the surface area was devoid of greenery.
During the spring, the islands were grassy and lush, dotted with small shrubs and speckled with wildflowers. Now, in late September, the salt-sprayed granite was noticeably bare, picked as clean as old bones.
Daniela watched the godforsaken place materialize before her with a mixture of dread and anticipation. On this cold, gray day, the islands were shrouded by fog, cloaked in mystery. If anything, the landscape was even less appealing than the pictures she'd seen. And yet, she could make out the pale brown coat of a Steller sea lion, the subject of her current research project. He was reclining near the top of a cliff like a king lording over his realm.
Her heart began to race with excitement, thudding in her chest. The Farallones were a wildlife researcher's dream come true. Surely she could set aside her phobia and enjoy her stay here. Six weeks of uninterrupted study were almost impossible to come by, and she'd been waiting over a year for this unique opportunity.
Whenever she was feeling closed in, she could do her breathing exercises. She would stay focused on the present, rather than letting the trauma of the past overwhelm her, blurring the edges of her vision and squeezing the air from her lungs. She would keep her eyes on the horizon and her feet on the ground.
As they drew closer to Southeast Farallon, the main island, she noticed a single house. It was a large, ramshackle dwelling, built over a century ago for light keepers and their families. The old Victorian stood stark and lonely on the only flat stretch of terrain, an ordinary structure on alien landscape. Like a gas station on the moon.
"They say it's haunted."
The deckhand's voice startled her. She dragged her gaze from the whitewashed house to his wind-chafed face. "The entire island?"
"Nah," he said with a...