Tuesday, May 26, 2015

"The SEAL’s Angel" by Petie McCarthy

About the Book
Title: The SEAL’s Angel
Author: Petie McCarthy
Genre: Contemporary Romance / Military
Navy SEAL Sean MacKay's teammate is murdered after stealing a deadly nerve-gas formula from Syrian terrorists. Naval Intelligence believes MacKay's teammate was a traitor and shipped the stolen formula to his sister in the states for safekeeping. MacKay is given orders to find the sister before the terrorists do and to retrieve the stolen formula at all costs.
Foreclosure looms for Cory Rigatero as she fights to keep her rustic resort near Mt. St. Helens afloat after her brother deserted her to join the SEAL Teams. Cory's whole world dives into a tailspin when Sean MacKay shows up at her resort with the news of her brother's death and the wild suspicion her brother may have sent her traitorous classified documents. No way will Cory trust MacKay -- the man who once seduced her and then vanished into the night without a trace.

Author Bio
Petie spent a large part of her career working as a biologist at Walt Disney World -- "The Most Magical Place on Earth" -- where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her "day" job in order to write her stories full-time.
Petie is a member of Romance Writers of America, and she shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.


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Book Excerpts

Excerpt #1
"I thought I'd go out front and see if Vern needed any help," Cory said.
"He's all done," Cook said and handed Garth a dog biscuit from a jar on the counter. "He had a young man out front helping him when I peeked out the window."
"A young man? You mean Jasper?"
"No, I've never seen this one around here before." Cook went back to her pot. "Handsome, though," she added. "They headed for the barn."
"I better go see who it is," Cory said, already striding for the back door.
She called out as soon as she reached the barn, and Vern hollered from his small office at the back. Cory threaded her way through all the equipment in the back half of the barn and stopped dead in the doorway of the shop that doubled as Vern's small office.
Cook's stranger stood up when she appeared in the doorway and literally took Cory's breath away.
Shaggy hair and dark brown curls perfectly teamed with a matching beard was her first thought. Her second thought was broad -- really broad -- shoulders beneath his black flannel shirt, and hips so narrow his black jeans sagged a bit on his frame. His sleeves were rolled up, and those forearms and biceps belonged to a working man.
Good grief! Stop staring Cory!
She jerked her gaze to his face, and blue eyes stared back. Blue eyes that caught her gaze like a predator traps prey. Blue eyes that twinkled with just enough devilment to cause a wicked flutter in her belly. Blue eyes that looked startlingly familiar.
Maybe she just wanted them to look familiar, so she could already know this handsome man.
"Mac here is our new help."
She heard Vern's voice and fought to break free of that predatory stare. No time for one last once-over.
"Wh-what?" She forced her eyes to Vern who grinned at her.
What had she missed?
"I said... Mac here is our new help," Vern repeated slowly enough she felt her cheeks flush at having been caught not paying attention.
"New help?" She blurted.
She couldn't afford the help she had let alone new help.
"I need him," Vern said flatly.
"You need--" She cleared her throat. "Vern can I talk to you in private. Please?"
She backed out of the office and headed for the horse stalls. Not hearing Vern behind her, she turned. He'd stopped just outside the office door and didn't look as though he intended to move any farther, so she stomped back.
"We can't afford him," she hissed.
"He'll work for next to nothing as long as we let him stay," Vern said in a normal and much-too-loud voice.
So much for discussing the stranger privately.
"Why is that? No one works for nothing," she argued.
She still kept her voice down. The stranger may figure out what they were saying, but she didn't have to make it easy for him.
Vern shrugged. "Says he likes it here. Wants to stay a while."

Excerpt #2
The two of them had worked side by side almost the entire day. Whatever job she had, Mac had appeared as though he knew she needed him. The help had started with the bags of mulch she was loading into a small wagon in the barn.
Cory hooked the wagon to the smaller John Deere riding tractor intending to start at Lucky's cabin and mulch the flower beds now that the tulip and daffodil bulbs were coming up. She hoisted the first of the two-cubic-foot bags into the wagon and bent over to pick up another. Muscular arms closed over hers and around the bag.
"Let me get that for you."
Mac's face appeared at her shoulder, his cheek close enough that if she moved her lips a very few inches she could plant a kiss there.
Now where had that thought come from? Easy, girl.
The rich smell of man, out-of-doors, and a hint of the morning's after-shave had wafted over her and had her thinking sensual thoughts like cheek-smooching. Okay, way more sensual than just cheeks as her gaze zeroed in on lips made for kissing. Lips still so soft and noticeable though surrounded by the close-clipped dark beard. Lips that easily curved into a smile capable of stealing her breath away. Lips like that had to be made for kissing. His eyes studied hers intently.
Dear Lord don't let this man read my thoughts. They'd set his hair on fire.
As though he had heard, his sexy lips curved into that breath-stealing smile.
Kiss me. Please, kiss me.
The wayward thought made her gasp in surprise.
He shifted back a few inches. "It's okay. I've got it."
Great. He'd heard. How embarrassing. She had gasped like an adolescent teen.
He straightened and pulled the bag into his arms, then dropped it into the wagon. "These are too heavy for you."
"Not really. I'd have to load them if you weren't here."
"But I am here."
His voice had gone husky, and her skin tingled. He was only inches away again. When had he moved? So quick, so silent.
His predatory-blue eyes trained on her, skimming over her face -- over her -- as though memorizing the way she looked. Or was he searching for answers to unasked questions?
Her pulse raced. Her palms grew damp.
Mac leaned closer.
She held her breath.
"I... " He hesitated.
Tell me.
Tell me or kiss me.
One or the other.
He cleared his throat. "I want to thank you for the job."
She let the pent-up air out of her disappointed lungs as he eased down to grab another mulch bag. What had just happened? She had almost kissed her new temporary laborer in the barn on his second day of work. That was nuts.
So why did it feel so right?

Excerpt #3
Cory hesitated so long, Mac wondered if she'd tell the truth or fabricate some tale. He knew the Bel Tesoro legend like the back of his hand, having heard the tale numerous times over the years of his friendship with Blue. Usually when Blue got good and drunk -- and homesick for his little sister.
Blue thought the sun rose and set just for Cory and had always said the worst part of the Black Ops work they did wasn't the danger, but leaving her behind. He'd felt forced to cast her out of his life for her own safety, settling for a half-dozen covert trips back to town to check on her. Mac had always come along -- and regretted it afterward, for he could never get the little spitfire out of his mind.
She stared at him briefly as she slowed for an approaching curve. His heart hammered out a couple beats. Had she recognized him? She returned her gaze to the road, and he blew out a silent sigh of relief.
He decided to prod. "So what about the beautiful treasure. If it wasn't the lake..."
He watched her shoulders go back, and she took a deep breath.
Here we go.
"Brock expanded to ten cabins with the extra business, but Benny and Salvatore didn't come back for a while due to run-ins with the law back in New York."
"What sort of run-ins?" he dutifully asked.
Cory smiled then, and Mac felt a wave a relief knowing she trusted him with the truth. He could've dug up the legend from anyone in town, but it meant more coming from her.
"By that time, Salvatore had changed his name to Charles Luciano -- Charles "Lucky" Luciano -- and Benjamin went by the nickname of Bugsy. Meyer was always Meyer."
He hoped the appropriate amount of shock showed in his expression. "You can't be serious. You mean Bugsy Siegel, Lucky Luciano, and Meyer Lansky?"
"Exactly the same."
He gave a low whistle.
"Guests wanted to rent Lucky Luciano's cabin even back then."
"But that doesn't explain the treasure."
She slid him a sultry sideways glance and maneuvered more switchbacks. "Patience, Mac. I'm telling this story."
He put his head back and hooted with laughter. The smart remark was all Cory. The sexy glance was not.
"So tell it already."
"Lucky and Bugsy had become too powerful for their mob boss Joe Masseria, and they set up his assassination, so they could steal his rackets. Lucky stole everything in Masseria's safe and hid the stash from their rival boss Maranzano. Legend has it that Lucky put the stash in a trunk and brought it here on vacation shortly after the assassination to keep it safe."
"And people think the trunk is buried at Bel Tesoro?" Mac scoffed.

Excerpt #4
A scream ripped through the air.
Mac jerked his head up in time to see the end of the dock collapse -- with Cory in the middle of it -- and Vern racing for the water. The black Lab streaked out of the rear garden, barking his fool head off.
Mac vaulted from the tractor and had his feet under him before he took his next breath. Panic put wings to his feet. Cory hadn't bobbed up by the time Vern reached the collapsed end of the dock. The old man disappeared beneath the surface, and Garth perched at the end of the sagging dock, barking his complaints.
Dear God, not Cory. Don't let anything happen to my Cory.
Mac's feet left the lakeshore on a dead run, and he sliced into the water, stroking before he completely submerged. A handful of power strokes and he reached the spot where Vern had gone down. Mac dove under to find the old man red-faced and struggling to hold his breath while he pulled on a dock piling that had toppled over and pinned Cory's legs to the lake bottom. In the crystal clear water, Vern's eyes were wide with fright. Cory watched his approach, but lay limp and had ceased to struggle.
Smart girl. Conserve your air.
Two dock boards had remained pinned to the collapsed piling and framed her lithe body like the sides of a coffin. He stroked to her side, put his shoulder under the closest dock board, and prayed it would hold tight to the piling as Mac pressed upward with all his might. Thank God, Vern saw what he intended, and though short on air himself, the old caretaker scooted around and pulled Cory free from beneath the piling.
Mac waited until they were well and clear before he dropped the mass to the lake bottom. His heart jolted hard when he saw Vern go limp. He had nothing left.
Mac wrapped one arm around the caretaker and the other around Cory and pushed hard for the surface, thankfully but a few feet up. Mac managed to hold both their heads above water and kicked hard for shore. Garth howled and whined as he paced the length of what remained of the collapsed dock. Mac dragged both bodies up and out of the water the minute his feet found purchase on the bottom, then he laid them both on the sandy shore. Vern rolled to his knees and began to cough and hack.
Mac crouched over Cory lying limply on her side, her eyes closed. He detected a weak heartbeat when he laid two fingers to her throat and leaned his cheek close to check for breathing. Hearing only his own labored breathing, he tugged her chin down with a thumb and stuck a finger into her mouth, intent on clearing an air passage.
Teeth clamped hard on his finger.
"Yeow!" He managed to pull the entire digit free.
"Well, get our finger out of my mouth," Cory wheezed and struggled to sit up. "What are you doing?"
Mac stared open-mouthed. "Trying to resuscitate you."

Excerpt #5
Mac had almost made it back to his cabin when he heard Garth's frantic bark again. The sound hadn't come from the lake, and Garth wasn't out hunting night critters as he'd earlier suspected. This bark came from the area near the barn.
"Garth!" Mac called into the night.
The dog let loose two harsh barks, each sounding more frantic. A long piercing howl followed.
Worried the dog might be in trouble, Mac sprinted for the barn, surprised to see all the doors shut. He pulled one of the large double doors open, and Garth bounded out, jumping up and almost knocking him over.
Mac stepped into the darkness of the barn and called out, "Vern? You in here?"
He squatted down to Garth's level and suffered a couple face licks. "How did you get shut up in the barn?" He ruffled the dog's ears and noted the big canine looked slightly unsteady on his feet. "You okay, boy?"
Garth wagged his tail, and Mac took him out in the moonlight for a better look. A scream ripped through the night air and stopped them both.
Mac hauled ass for the main house, Garth huffing hard alongside, already winded and trying to stay on his heels. Something had happened to the dog, but he couldn't worry about that now.
The two broke through the border of the side garden. Mac could see the kitchen door of the main house standing wide open and raced that direction.
A second scream ripped through the air. This one sounded closer to the front of the house, and Mac turned course to race in that direction. Garth stayed straight and bounded through the kitchen door as Mac cleared the corner on the house.
He stumbled when he spied a man wearing a black hood and dark clothes -- a knife held at Cory's throat -- half-carrying, half-dragging her down the front steps. Mac skidded silently into the rhododendron bushes lining the porch. The assailant hissed over his shoulder to someone behind him.
Okay. Two tangos.
A wolf-like howl suddenly echoed in the house, clearly audible through the open front door. A heavy thud, a scream of pain, and vicious snarling sounded in rapid succession. Mac had backup. Garth had made it inside.
Tango One still clutched Cory. Hearing the scuffle inside, he twisted around to see the front door, and his knife pulled slightly away from her throat. That was all the distraction Mac needed. He streaked from his cover and grabbed Tango One's arm, yanked it back, and brought it down hard on top of his thigh. The knife dropped to the grass at their feet.
Cory shouted, "Mac!" then elbowed Tango One hard in the gut and broke free.
"Run, Cory! Go get Vern!" he hollered and ducked as Tango One straightened and swung a fist at Mac's head.