Authors: Marilyn Pappano
Paradise just got dangerous
It was supposed to be a routine trip to Cozumel to provide medical care for the orphaned girls of La Casa. But instead of the bustling joy of a full house, Dr. Cate Calloway finds silence, threats—and danger. And the only person she can turn to for help is the last man she wants to see.
The spoiled playboy buddy of her ex-husband, Justin Seavers has never been a man Cate could rely on. But now he’s her only hope to rescue their friends who run La Casa. As the two set off on an international adventure, the former enemies are thrown together and quickly find out that looks can be deceiving...and passion can’t be denied for long.
The thought sent blood rushing to her cheeks and formed a knot in her stomach.
“What are you thinking to make you blush like that?”
His voice, throaty and amused, drew her attention back to the face she’d been staring at. “N-nothing.”
Then came the smug, cocky grin that used to make her want to smack him. “Were you imagining me naked?” He raised his hands in a helpless shrug, when he was anything but. “Women usually do. Better yet, were you imagining
naked? Because I have been, and that sofa makes into a damn comfortable bed.”
Slowly she shook her head. “I don’t think so.” It was eye-opening just how tempted she was, even though there were a thousand reasons why she shouldn’t be. It was risky. What if the Justin she loved to hate came back? What if this thing
just the side effect of adrenaline and fear? What kind of potential was there between her and Justin? Besides great sex.
And the biggest question: Was she willing to risk having her heart broken again?
Writers find inspiration everywhere, so it was no surprise that I came back from my first visit to Cozumel with Justin and Cate’s story forming in my head. It’s no surprise, either, with avid divers filling my world, that Justin is one, too. I didn’t get to even dip a toe into the water on that first trip, but I made up for it on the next, going snorkeling several times with my husband and my best friend. It was a great experience that gave me a taste of Justin’s passion for the ocean.
Of course, his passion for diving doesn’t begin to match his passion for Cate. In the beginning that emotion is expressed more along the lines of dislike, a feeling that she wholeheartedly shares, and with good reason. What fun it was turning them around from “not in this lifetime” to “happily ever after!”
In the Enemy’s Arms
Books by Marilyn Pappano
Harlequin Romantic Suspense
Copper Lake Secrets #1685
In the Enemy’s Arms #1712
Silhouette Romantic Suspense
*Michael’s Gift #583
*Regarding Remy #609
*A Man Like Smith #626
Survive the Night #703
Discovered: Daddy #746
*Convincing Jamey #812
*The Taming of Reid Donovan #824
*Knight Errant #836
The Overnight Alibi #848
Murphy’s Law #901
**Cattleman’s Promise #925
**The Horseman’s Bride #957
**Rogue’s Reform #1003
Who Do You Love? #1033
“A Little Bit Dangerous”
My Secret Valentine #1053
**The Sheriff’s Surrender #1069
The Princess and the Mercenary #1130
**Lawman’s Redemption #1159
**One True Thing #1280
**The Bluest Eyes in Texas #1391
Somebody’s Hero #1427
More Than a Hero #1453
One Stormy Night #1471
Forbidden Stranger #1495
Intimate Enemy #1529
Scandal in Copper Lake #1547
Passion to Die For #1579
Criminal Deception #1591
Protector’s Temptation #1625
Covert Christmas #1627: “Open Season”
Other titles by this author available in ebook.
has spent most of her life growing into the person she was meant to be, but isn’t there yet. She’s been blessed by family—her husband, their son, his lovely wife and a grandson who is almost certainly the most beautiful and talented baby in the world—and friends, along with a writing career that’s made her one of the luckiest people around. Her passions, besides those already listed, include the pack of wild dogs who make their home in her house, fighting the good fight against the weeds that make up her yard, killing the creepy-crawlies that slither out of those weeds and, of course, anything having to do with books.
For my favorite divers: my son Brandon;
Meg Reid, dive master and best friend; and, as always, to my husband, Bob. One of these days I’m going to join you guys under the sea!
And until that day,
major thanks to my non-dive buddy, Don Shidler,
for keeping me company onshore!
elcome to Cozumel,
the flight attendant had said as the jet taxied to a stop. The uniformed men armed with deadly weapons between the plane and the terminal weren’t Cate Calloway’s idea of a perfect welcoming party, but their presence didn’t unnerve her as it had on her first trip to the Mexican island.
Taking a deep breath of warm humid air and smiling at the soldiers who never smiled back, she towed her bag behind her and went inside. She’d sent her supplies ahead, so she made it through immigration, baggage and customs fairly quickly. In the small lobby at the front of the building, she stood away from the flow of eager tourists to scan the area.
There was no sign of Trent or Susanna and not even a vaguely familiar face in the room. A number of men waited, holding signs with the names of the parties they were picking up, but none of them was looking for her.
After ten minutes, she made herself comfortable against the wall. After twenty minutes, she pulled out her cell phone, grateful that she’d bothered with the international calling plan for this trip, and dialed Trent’s number. It went straight to voice mail. So did Susanna’s.
After thirty minutes, she found a taxi driver, showed him the address of La Casa and climbed into the backseat. She didn’t mind being forgotten at the airport in a country where she barely spoke the language and having to make her own way to La Casa. Really, she wasn’t that petty. It was just that on her previous trips, Trent had met her himself. She’d never gone anywhere alone. It had been easier to feel independent with him or Susanna there beside her.
The cabdriver wasn’t chatty, but that was okay. The Louisiana divers who’d surrounded her on the airplane had been chatty enough to give her a new appreciation for silence. He swerved through crowded streets, narrowly missing cars and scooters alike, until traffic thinned as they reached the more isolated neighborhood of La Casa
A tall cinder-block wall surrounded the few acres, with a rusted iron gate standing open next to the drive. The sign identifying the place was so discreet as to go unnoticed: La Casa para Nuestras Hijas
The House for Our Daughters.
Her fourth time here, and Cate was still bemused by the thought of Trent Calloway, her lazy, spoiled, self-centered ex-husband, committing his time, money and self to a shelter for runaway, orphaned or mistreated girls. Granted, he did it out of love—for Susanna, or so he said—but still…
The driver pulled to a stop in front of the house, jumped out and retrieved her bag from the trunk. She traded cash for it, thanking him, then turned to look around. Several buildings hunkered within the walls. The house stood to the left of the drive, once grand with two stories, elaborate ironwork, red-tile roof and deeply shaded porch. In the middle at the rear was a garage that housed school desks, chalkboards and supplies instead of vehicles, and to the right of the drive, also set farther back than the house, was the dormitory, a low squat building whose only ornamentation came from the bright paint on its cinder-block walls: turquoise, sunny yellow, apple red, lime green.
The quiet raised goose bumps on Cate’s arms. Usually there was laughter, music, voices. If the girls weren’t in class, they were studying under the trees or playing in the grass. There was always a volunteer or two with them, helping with their lessons or organizing games, keeping their spirits up or making them laugh.
“Hello?” she called out.
Dragging her bag with her, she climbed the two steps to the porch, where the boxes she’d shipped earlier were stacked against the wall. They were filled with medical supplies, from basics like bandages and antiseptics to IV solution and antibiotics. What she didn’t use in her two weeks here would be stored or shared with La Casa’s other shelters on the mainland.
The front door stood open. She pulled on the screen door, her suitcase bumping over the threshold, then let it close behind her with a thump. “Trent? Susanna? Are you here?”
A sound came from upstairs, like the echo of her suitcase wheels on hardwood floor. A moment later, a woman appeared, staring over the railing as she dragged her own bag along.
Relief rushed through Cate. “GayAnne. I’m glad to see you. Where is everybody?”
GayAnne’s bag thudded its way behind her down the stairs. “Gone. Everyone’s gone.”
“Jill and Kyla went home last week to visit their families, and I woke up this morning to find Marta packing up the kids to take to some relative’s house. I don’t know what’s going on, but I’m leaving, too. I’m staying with my boyfriend until everyone comes back.”
Marta was a local woman, Cate knew from past visits, the one in charge when Susanna and Trent were busy. She was as dedicated to the girls as Susanna; they were safe with her. “Where is Trent?”
GayAnne shook her head. “Gone. Disappeared. Him and Susanna both.” She was about as far from the stereotypical California girl as she could be: petite, red-haired, skin as pale as if it had never seen the sun. The bag she dragged was more than big enough to carry
and the look in her wide blue eyes suggested she might be more comfortable hiding inside. “If I knew anything, I’d tell you, but I don’t. If you see Susanna—” the redhead swallowed visibly “—tell her I’m sorry to run out like this, but I’m not staying here alone.” She finished with a shrug, avoiding Cate’s hand as she passed.