During a voyage to an uncharted isle in the Furneaux Islands near Tasmania, Lord Richard Colchester finds a living saber-toothed tiger, an animal believed to have been extinct for over ten thousand years. His discovery will astonish the world...that is, if he ever makes it back to England.***
When Lady Samantha learns that her Uncle Richard has disappeared under suspicious circumstances, she enlists the help of Professor Christian Badia, a noted zoologist and animal tracker who specializes in wild cats. Not only does she intend to organize the expedition, she plans to join in the treacherous search.
Christian is a hot-tempered man and a notorious recluse, so the last scenario Samantha anticipates is a romantic interlude. But she is drawn unexpectedly into a world of physical passion, and she soon realizes this enigmatic man is her soul mate. When Christian embarks Tasmania abruptly, leaving Samantha behind, she fears she may forever lose her newfound love.
Unable to sit idly by and wait for his return, Samantha launches her own investigation—and finds herself in grave danger. Will Christian find her...before it's too late?
"Lindler writes in a smooth style, providing evocative descriptions and compelling historical details as well as a satisfying surprise ending." ~ Publisher's Weekly
"The passionate couple and engrossing storyline will stay in your heart for some time" ~ Romantic Times
"Conditions, then. First, you'll pay all the expenses incurred."
"That was my intention."
"Next, Lord Stanbury and I will share authorship on any publications resulting from the expedition."
"I agree," she said, surprised his conditions were so reasonable. "Uncle Richard should have no difficulty with coauthorship." The tension lifted from her shoulders.
He grinned like the hare confronting the tortoise prior to the race, his teeth flashing in his tanned face. "Fine. Now for the difficult one. This is to be my expedition. I'll take sole charge, make all the plans, and give all the orders." When she started to speak, he cut her off. "I'll brook no opposition on this. I'm familiar with that part of the world. It's primitive and dangerous, infested with sea pirates, criminals, headhunters, and cannibals. In assuming responsibility for the expedition's safety, I'll tolerate no interference or challenges to my authority."
She controlled her voice with difficulty. "I understand. I realize you have the superior experience. I shall follow your orders." Surely that could not be too difficult. Step here; do not step there; hide behind this tree…
"You had better. You can travel with us to Tasmania. I have friends there who run a respectable boardinghouse. I'll send reports to you when I can."
"No!" She jumped up, and her cup of tea went flying. It splashed across his breeches. "You go too far. I must go to the island with you."
He stood just as abruptly, cursed, pulled himself up to his full height. His cup dropped on the side table with a clatter. The liquid remaining in the cup sloshed out and spilled onto the table. With a handkerchief drawn from his coat, he brushed at the scalding tea on his leg. "You will not!"
His eyes narrowed, darkened. "Not!"
"How will you find the island without me?"
"You will inform me of its location before we reach Tasmania."
Her mouth quirked into a wide smile. Slowly and distinctly, she said, "No…I…will…not."
"Damn it, Sam," he said on an explosive breath. He threw the soaked handkerchief to the floor. "Have you any notion of what you're saying?" Raking a hand through his hair, disheveling it, he stalked away, pacing across the room, his large form seeming to dwarf the space. "The South Seas are treacherous enough for armed men, much less pampered society ladies. I've already mentioned the unsavory human elements we will meet: not might, but
"No, but it sounds interesting. What color is it?"
"What color is it?" he sputtered, rumpling his hair again. "This is no joking matter. Its venom is lethal, killing before the victim can take two steps. Even the plants, deceptively beautiful, harbor poisonous spines or sap that strips skin from flesh. And were that not enough, the men I hire will be no gentlemen. You would have no privacy. I cannot afford to make a mistake and risk lives because I'm distracted by playing nurse to you."
Samantha returned his stare. "I have no need of a nurse. I'm far from being a child. I have no fear of your flesh-stripping plants nor two-stepping snakes and headhunting cannibals. I'm not a helpless, pampered female, but a modern woman. I am perfectly capable of taking care of myself in any situation. In fact, I have a reputation as a well-respected amateur herpetologist. I accompanied Uncle Richard on many such expeditions." Her conscience thumped her a bit at the lies. Small lies, but lies nonetheless. "I will not give you the island's location. I shall obey you in all else, but I must go with you. This is my expedition. I have to find Uncle Richard."