Semper Paratus. Always ready.
HIS LAST DEFENSE
Released March 21, 2017
Years ago, Coast Guard rescue swimmer Dylan Holt left Kodiak, Alaska, with his heart in pieces. He thought Nolee Arnauyq and her mouthwatering curves were behind him—until he's sent to rescue the crew of a capsizing boat…including Nolee. And Dylan is definitely not ready for the too-familiar way his body aches at seeing her again.
Nolee's always gone after what she wanted, and to hell with the risks. Now she's a rookie ship captain taking on the deadly waters of the Bering Sea. But out on these treacherous waters, there's no way to avoid the sizzling sexual tension between them—or the dangerous pull of emotions that could leave both their hearts lost at sea…
“It’s getting nautical out here,” Nolee muttered as she strove to harness her crippled boat. Beneath them, the ship bucked and rolled her way through the waves, groaning with the effort. “With one engine, she’s going to do what she wants.”
Several minutes ticked by. A half hour. Forty-five minutes. Time was marked only by the pounding of the seas, the periodic sounding of the depth reader, the incessant clanging of the metal chains outside.
The boat pitched violently. “This is getting worse the shallower we go,” he said, widening his stance to keep his footing.
“A real washing machine,” Nolee affirmed without looking up from the fathometer.
Twenty feet. The number blinked lower and lower. Eighteen feet. Seventeen.
“It’s just going down,” she gasped.
A channel marker loomed yards off the bow, catching his eye. His pulse slammed. The ship barreled right at it. “Are we making the turn on the track here?” He pointed at it then whipped his head around to study her sharp profile.
“I’m trying.” Her strained voice emerged through clenched teeth. She jimmied the thruster and peered up from her monitors and out the window. The Pacific Dawn churned forward.
“She’s just driving straight. She’s not fucking turning.” Shit.
“Hang in there, Nolee,” he urged. Helplessness crashed over him. He wasn’t in control. Couldn’t rescue everyone, including the ship and the catch. Couldn’t get them all to safety. A damned unfamiliar feeling. But not entirely uncomfortable.
Because you trust her, came the sudden, unexpected thought. In fact, when push came to shove, he couldn’t think of anyone else he’d rather have by his side in a situation like this than Nolee.
Could that extend to other parts of his life?
Dylan shifted his balance expertly as the floor rose beneath him and spray obliterated the view from the window. His gaze swung to the fathometer as it began beeping loudly.
Fifteen and a half feet.
Nolee shoved to her feet and snatched her walkie-talkie.
Award-winning author Karen Rock is both sweet and spicy—at least when it comes to her writing! The author of both YA and adult contemporary books writes red-hot novels for Harlequin Blaze and small-town romances for Harlequin Heartwarming. A strong believer in Happily-Ever-After, Karen loves creating unforgettable stories that leave her readers with a smile. When she’s not writing, Karen is an avid reader who’s typically immersed in three different books at a time, all in different genres. She also loves cooking her grandmother’s Italian recipes, baking, Christmas (no need to specify—she loves every bit of it), and having the Adirondack Park wilderness as her backyard, where she lives with her husband, daughter, dog and cat who keep her life interesting and complete. Learn more about her at her website.