Auckland is a city that is surrounded by water. It’s not known as the city of sails for nothing.
As you can see both of these photos were taken on a winter’s day, but that never seems to stop people going out on the harbor.
I set Make That Man Mine in Auckland, choosing one of the Gulf Islands of Waiheke as the main setting. Waiheke has a regular ferry service to Auckland with many people living on the island and commuting to work. It’s an island of boutique industries with produce such as candles, olives, preserves and wine. Definitely a wonderful place to spend a day or two.
Here’s a short excerpt from Make That Man Mine:
Emma put her best receptionist manner into practice and flashed a smile. “Good morning, Jack.”
The man froze like a possum in headlights, giving Emma the opportunity to look her fill. He was tall and built like a rower with powerful shoulders, slim hips and a butt that she’d really like to get her hands on. His hair was shiny black, halfway between short and long and in need of a cut, making her fingers itch to smooth the messy strands away from his face. A dreamy sigh squeezed past her lips. The man was blessed with sun-kissed skin, no matter what the season. She often wondered what he looked like beneath the layers of clothing. Did the gorgeous olive tones that were a legacy from his Maori ancestors extend all over his body? Hopefully she’d be in a position of knowledge soon.
The word came out as a grunt, but it was a definite improvement on being treated as part of the office furniture. Emma forced away the sudden surge of nerves and looked him straight in the eye. “Are you here to see George?”
“Okay.” Emma’s breath caught, her lungs filling with his seductive scent—something that reminded her of the mystical Orient with hints of orange and patchouli and a healthy dose of masculine musk. Emma found herself staring. Holding his gaze felt like poking her finger into a hot fire. Dangerous. Crazy. A challenge. Sorta made a girl wonder what it would feel like to have him thrust deep in her womb. A sensuous shiver swept through her body and arousal soaked her panties without warning.
Emma gulped and licked lips that were suddenly dry. All that from merely passing pleasantries. What would happen if they were naked? Together? Get a grip, she thought sternly as her hormones went haywire. A cough cleared her throat. “I’ll let him know you’re here.”
Hmmm. Not bad for the first time. She’d do better with the next meeting.
“I don’t mind waiting.”
Emma felt her eyes grow round and her mouth fall open. Huh? What was wrong with this picture?
Jack closed the distance between them and used his forefinger to tap her under the chin. Her heart stuttered in a mad tattoo. She gasped, jerking away from his touch in outright shock.
The door from the street burst open, and George bounded inside followed by his son Hone. “Ah, you’re here, Jack. I thought you might change your mind.”
“No,” Jack snapped, glaring at Hone.
Hone ignored Jack’s scowl and sauntered across the office to stop beside Emma. “Hello, sweetheart.” He hauled her from her chair and wrapped her in a bear hug that stole her breath.
“Put her down,” Jack growled.
“But I haven’t seen her for a week.” Hone nuzzled her neck and made Emma laugh. “She’s my girl.”
“Don’t you have a case to solve?” Jack looked as though he wanted to hit his mate.
Not in the least perturbed about his friend’s bad temper, Hone parked his butt on the corner of her desk and flashed her a sexy grin. Emma sighed inwardly as she stared through lowered lashes at Jack’s surly face. Why couldn’t she fall for Hone instead of grumpy Jack? It was a mystery all right. Although Hone made her smile and was easy on the eye, he didn’t affect her heart rate in the slightest.
Not like Jack did.
George shook his head. “Hone, I want you to check into a case that came in yesterday. Mrs. Denning has a thief she needs to flush out. Emma can give you the details. Jack, I want to go over a few details about the case we discussed yesterday.” He strode toward his office but paused in the doorway. “Emma, I need to see you in my office when you’re finished with Hone.”
Bother. She’d hoped George might let her gain some practical experience with Mrs. Denning’s case. Obviously not. Emma scowled and decided it was time to remind George of his promise. Five minutes later, Emma knocked lightly on George’s door and entered. She carried a pad and pen to take notes. Jack was sprawled in a chair near the window. He bounded to his feet when Emma came in.
“Ah, good.” George checked his watch then stood. “I have a golf date. I’ll leave you in Jack’s capable hands.”
George’s words echoed through her mind for long drawn-out seconds afterward. She heard the click of the door as George left but couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything other than capable hands. A vision popped into her mind, aided by fertile imagination. Masculine hands on her naked breasts, fingers plucking at her sensitive nipples.
Oh, my. Emma subsided into a chair before her legs gave out. Suddenly, her cotton blouse felt several sizes too small and her face hot enough to cook a batch of small pancakes. She fanned her cheeks vigorously with her notepad.
“Are you feeling all right?” Emma’s head snapped up to find Jack’s enigmatic gaze settled on her. “You’ll be as useful as a war canoe without a warrior to paddle if you fall sick.”