(I'm giving away at least three copies of CHILL, and maybe even a complete set of my Soulfire series! See below to find out how to win!)
Affable, heroic Alaskan bush pilot Luke Webber erased his past. New name, new life, no paper trail. No connection the man he used to be, to the violent life he used to live. After eight years of toughing it out in the wilds of Alaska, Luke has become the man he wanted to be, but nothing he does will ever wipe the blood from his hands from the life he abandoned or bring back to the life the two women who died because they made the mistake of loving him. The nightmares will never stop haunting him.
Isabella Kopas is the daughter of the streets and a mother who sold her body to keep them fed. Orphaned at age seventeen, Isabella vowed to create the home she never had, a place of safety, where she would always belong. In college, her talents in the world of antiquities were noticed by Marcus Fie, who took her under his tutelage. In the six years since, Marcus has become the father she never had, the home she always craved. Yes, she knows he has a dark side, but he gave her a gift when no one else believed in her, but she long ago learned to accept the flaws of those she loves, and she will stand by Marcus.
But when the acquisition of a certain necklace gets Marcus kidnapped at gunpoint by his own right hand, who then sends the posse after Isabella to kill her and retrieve the necklace that's in her possession, Isabella knows she's the only one with a chance to save Marcus from being assassinated. But with his own team gone mutinous, and the police already searching for ways to put Marcus in prison, Isabella has no one she can trust to save the life of the man she considers her father... no one except Marcus's estranged son. A man who has the talent, the skills and the knowledge of the business to save the life of his father... and keep her alive while doing it.
When Isabella shows up on Luke's doorstep with a bullet in her shoulder, bringing Luke's past back to life, Luke's first instinct is to disappear again. He must abandon this new life, this one he has come to love, before the people he cares about get caught in the same cross-fire that destroyed him so long ago, before life can force him to be the man he walked away from eight years ago.
But Isabella strikes a chord with Luke he can't resist: the only two women he ever loved were killed by his father, and it was Luke's fault. There's no way Luke can turn his back on another woman whose life is at risk from his father's dealings. Is there a way he can save Isabella without getting sucked back into his life? Is she his chance for redemption from the hell that haunts him at every moment?
What Luke doesn't count on is Isabella's huge heart, her capacity for love, and for her to be a survivor that resonates so deeply in his core. The longer he spends with her, the more difficult is for him to keep emotionally detached... and the more his past life begins to close in on him. Luke is all Isabella has, as the one home she's created for herself is violently threatened, and everything she's believed in is ruthlessly torn from her.
Together, Isabella and Luke must fight for their lives and their souls in a journey that takes them through the passionate and sensual wilds of Alaska to the streets of Boston, the city of blue blood, corruption and shattered dreams. The battle will risk everything they care about, including their love, their morals, and their very souls, and it will bring their personal demons back to life for a final confrontation.
Apart, Luke and Isabella will die. Together, they might prevail. They choose together.
Interested in learning more about Luke and Isabella? Here's a short excerpt from CHILL:
"Yeah." Luke Webber looked away from his friend. He didn't want to talk about his past. He didn't feel like opening doors with Cort that had stayed firmly closed during their long friendship and eight year partnership of their bush pilot operation.
He shifted in his chair as he surveyed the bar. The juke box was blaring. A few pilots were hanging around. Some locals. Place was gloomy as hell.
It had never bothered him before. But right now, the moody atmosphere was grating on him big time.
"I'm going outside." Luke shoved his chair back to stand up, and then the front door opened. In walked a woman of the ilk he hadn't seen in eight years, since he left Boston. Her dark hair cascaded down her back. Even in the dim light of the bar it was glistening.
It looked as soft as the fur on a Husky pup.
It reminded him of the kind of hair women shelled out a thousand bucks a week to maintain. Women in Alaska didn't bother. Women in Alaska let their true beauty speak for themselves.
This woman was not from Alaska.
She strode up to the bartender and began hammering him with questions. She was gesturing furiously, her hands flying around like she was agitated beyond hell.
The bartender nodded in Luke's direction, and she turned and looked directly at Luke.
He immediately sat up, his body responding when he felt the heat of her inspection. Her eyes were black as the sky during a stormy night, but they were alive and dangerous. Sensuous and passionate. He knew instantly that this was a woman who ran hot, who didn't hold back from whatever was in her heart. She sort of reminded him of how he used to be, before he'd realized living that way made too many people die.
Her jaw was out, and she looked fiercely determined. Yet there was a weariness to her posture, and dark circles under her eyes, visible even in the dim light. She rubbed her shoulder and winced, her body jerking with pain.
Her vulnerability made him want to get up and haul ass over there and offer her help.
Her eyes widened at his expression, and a hint of red flushed her cheeks. The she plunked herself wearily down on a barstool and turned away from him.
Just as well. Luke still had issues when it came to woman in need. Big issues. The kind of issues that haunted his dreams and brought him screaming to consciousness, his body drenched in sweat.
His skin began to feel hot, and it wasn't just from the strip of smooth skin peeking out between the bottom of her sweater and the waistband of her very low-cut jeans... He peered closer and caught a glimpse of a bit of lacy black thong above her jeans.
He'd seen that action on plenty of women and it didn't do much for him, but on her...shit. All his blood was heading south at full speed. Despite her attire, there was a level of innocent sensuality that was drawing him like a grizzly to a picnic basket.
He inspected her more closely, needing to assimilate as much information about her as possible to explain his reaction to her. Her shoulder blades were strong, and her back narrowed into a trim waist and toned hips. The woman took care of herself. Yoga? Most of those wealthy women seemed to have so much time on their hands, they did nothing but spend hours in the gym to try to attract the powerful, rich men they had their sights set on.
Was that her? It didn't feel accurate. She was more than that. The fancy clothes were window dressing, meant to obscure a deeper truth she was trying to hide.
He narrowed his eyes, quickly tabulating all the data so he could make an accurate assessment. It was difficult to tell from this distance, but the sweater appeared to be cashmere. High quality, given its lines. He'd guess upwards of a thousand bucks for it. And her jeans...he recognized the designer brand on that fine ass of hers. His gaze dropped to her boots...heels were low and practical, but the leather was clearly soft and supple, and the seams had that extra bit of style he recognized from his own mother's closet. In fact, she seemed to be wearing exactly the kind of outfit all his dad's women used to wear, once he got finished dressing them up like the Barbie dolls they were willing to be for a chance at his money and his power.
From the brief glance Luke had at had her face, however, this woman was beautiful in a natural way. She didn't need all the glam to look good, but she apparently went in for it anyway. She was refined and beautiful, she was as far from Alaska and carnage as a woman got, and she was exactly what he wanted to bury himself in right now to forget the hell he'd been in for the last fifteen hours.
She turned toward him suddenly, as if sensing his continued perusal. When she saw him watching her, she sat up straighter, and he saw in her something he hadn't expected. Courage. Strength. The woman was a survivor. Not a weak female. She was strong, and that put him over the top.
After what had happened eight years ago, weak, scared, defenseless woman scared the daylights out of him. But a woman who was a survivor? Hot as hell. The cashmere? It was escape from Alaskan hell he'd been crawling in the last two days.
Her gaze dropped to his mouth, but then she quickly averted her gaze, shutting him out.
"Too late, my dear," he whispered under his breath. "Too damn late."
He shoved back his chair and stood.
"You heading out?" Then Cort followed Luke's gaze, and he grinned. "She's a little too prettied-up for these parts, isn't she?"
"Damn straight she is." And then Luke headed right for her.
Luke must face a past the nearly destroyed him in order to survive. Is there ever at time where you had to face something daunting in order to move forward? Leave a comment (on any topic!), and be entered to win one of at least THREE copies of CHILL in either Kindle or Nook format (your choice). For every fifteen entries, I'll add one more copy of CHILL to the pot. Contest ends Thursday 2/23 at midnight, and winners will be announced here on Friday 2/24. If we reach 100 entries, I will even throw in a complete set of the SOULFIRE series, so pass the word on!
ICE was originally published in 2009 in mass market paperback by Dorchester Publishing. This it its first publication in electronic format, and it has updated content and fantastic new cover art.
BIO: Four-time RITA® Award nominee and Golden Heart® Award winner Stephanie Rowe is the nationally bestselling author of more than twenty published books with major New York publishers, including HarperCollins, Grand Central and Harlequin. Stephanie has received starred reviews from Booklist and high praise from Publisher's Weekly. Stephanie writes romance (paranormal, contemporary and suspense), teen fiction, middle grade fiction and inspirational non-fiction. A former attorney, Stephanie lives in Boston where she is actively working on her next projects, which include DARKNESS AWAKENED, (3/15/2012) the first book of her new dark and sensual paranormal series The Order of the Blade, which will be launching with a trilogy (DARKNESS SEDUCED, 4/15, DARKNESS SURRENDERED, 5/15). The next Soulfire book, SEIZE WITH YOUR KISS, will be out in Summer 2012. For more information on Stephanie, visit www.stephanierowe.com.
Which cover do you like best? The original mass market cover, or the new ebook?
2009 print cover (above)
2012 eBook cover (above)