BLACK HILLS BACHELOR, Black Hills Rendezvous, Book 4



Excerpt © Loner Llama Press:


“How many days will they be filming here?”

He thought a moment. “Well…I really don’t know. I haven’t seen the script. I don’t know if this is the part where I leave Cooper in the dark or—”

“You what?”

He held up one finger. “Wait here. I’ll show you.”

She didn’t move, but she didn’t take her eyes off him, either. She wasn’t ready to be left alone in this place, even if she did have a safety light on her helmet.

He wasn’t more than ten feet away when he reached overhead and suddenly there was no light. She blinked twice, three times, but all she could see were the tiny flashes that floated past her eyelids when she closed her eyes. “Oh, my lord. So, this is dark.”

She heard him moving toward her, but her senses weren’t acute enough to judge distance. She cocked her head and strained to listen. Crunch. Shuffle. A muffled curse.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes. Damn it. I forgot I had Megan here the other day. She likes to stack rocks in little piles. She calls them rock people and gives them names.” He hesitated. “I think I just murdered the Slocum family.”

Morgan’s laugh brought a strange kind of release. In the dark, she was free to giggle at silly comments and joke back. “Oh, dear. Not the Slocums. They were friends of mine. Jessie, Peter and little Lu-Lu.”

His deep chuckle sent shivers down her spine. He was close. She could sense his body heat—or thought she could. Was that possible? The sound of his breathing was nearby, but the tunnel created an echo effect. She didn’t know for sure what was real and what was imagination.

But she’d never been accused of lacking an imagination. In her mind’s eye she pictured him standing mere inches from her. Leaning in to inhale her perfume. Their male and female auras overlapping.

He cleared his throat before asking, “H…how well did you know them? Did you know they had rocks for brains? Anyone who would live in a mine shaft—”

Was he talking about himself, now? Was he trying to talk himself out of doing something he might regret later? Something they both might regret?

“I can’t speak for the Slocums, but it’s easy to see how this kind of place might grow on you. Never having to see the judgmental looks in people’s eyes. No cameras clicking. No reporters trying to nibble off some spare pound of flesh. I think the darkness is very…liberating. You can do anything you want and no one would ever know.”

She waited to see what his reaction to her obvious come-on would be. Would the lights flick back on? Would he hightail it and give her time to come to her senses before he rescued her from herself?

“I never thought of it like that before,” he said. She’d already decided that Mac’s voice was one she’d never forget. She could recall it perfectly when he wasn’t there. There was truth and humility and strength in his tone. And in the dark, all of those things wrapped around her like a security blanket.

She felt safe. Safe enough to reach out and do what she’d wanted to do for days. Even sightless, she found him, unerringly. Her fingers touched the crisp material of his buttoned shirt. An unobtrusive, plaid cotton shirt that he wore tucked in. No extra roll around Mac’s middle that he had to hide. He was one of the most fit specimens of forty-year old men she’d ever seen.

“It’s possible the Slocums chose to live here because of the view,” she said, seeing with her imagination. Her fingers inched upward. She felt his sharp inhale when she reached the open V of his neckline. Bare skin right beyond the edge of fabric.

“Maybe they’re crazy,” he said, reaching out to pull her close—as efficiently as a sighted man in daylight.

His lips found hers just as easily and she answered without hesitation. In the light of day she would have stopped, thought, turned and run, but where could she go in the dark? The blackness felt like a cool, silk net suspending them in a cocoon.

The absence of outer stimuli made her more sensitive to specialized stimuli. Taste. His tongue slipped between her lips. Wet, slippery, strong, basil. The words actually flashed in her mind. Not something she could ever remember happening when she kissed someone.

Basil. The word lingered and brought with it images she’d have preferred to keep at bay. Cal’s garden. The fresh tomatoes. Mac’s grandmother’s hospital bed where she would probably die. Sooner rather than later. Will I even be here?

The question gave her pause. She pulled back and closed her eyes. The reaction, she knew, made no sense.

Mac’s arms relaxed their hold but didn’t fall away. Neither spoke. Probably because they were both breathing hard. In the dark, that reality was very audible.

“Well, I didn’t see that coming.”


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Black Hills Bachelor will be live tomorrow, but you can grab a preorder copy from:

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4 Replies to “FIRST KISS=TUESDAY from BLACK HILLS BACHELOR by Debra Salonen”

    1. It was kinda fun wasn’t it? I loved the idea of sensory deprivation and how it sharpens your other senses. We experienced this in Moaning Caverns in the Sierras. Pitch black cave is like nothing you’ve ever experienced.


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