Authors: Tara Janzen
Tags: #romance, #adventure, #professor, #archaeology, #antiquities, #tibet, #barbarians, #renegade, #himalayas, #buddhist books, #gold bracelets
First published by Bantam/Loveswept, 1991
Copyright Glenna McReynolds, 1991
eBook Copyright Tara Janzen, 2012
eBook Published by Tara Janzen , 2012
Cover Design by
eBook Format by
Smashwords Edition, 2012
All rights reserved. No part of this book may
be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the
This book is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places and incidents are either products of the
author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely
For more information about Tara Janzen, her
writing and her books please visit her on her website
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Table of Contents
Welcome to the Tara Janzen line of classic
New York Times
Tara Janzen, is the creator of the lightning-fast paced and super
sexy CRAZY HOT and CRAZY COOL Steele Street series of romantic
suspense novels. But before she fell in love with the hot cars, bad
boys, big guns, and wild women of Steele Street, she wrote steamy
romances for the Loveswept line under the name Glenna McReynolds.
All thirteen of these much-loved classic romances are now available
Writing as both Glenna McReynolds and Tara
Janzen, this national bestselling author has won numerous awards
for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America, and
nine 4 ½ TOP PICKS from
Two of her books are on the
ALL-TIME FAVORITES list – RIVER OF EDEN, and SHAMELESS, a Loveswept
romance, and LOOSE AND EASY, a Steele Street novel, is one of
Amazon’s TOP TEN ROMANCES for 2008.
She is also the author of an epic medieval
fantasy trilogy, THE CHALICE AND THE BLADE, DREAM STONE, and PRINCE
Thieves In The Night
Dateline: Kydd and Rios
Moonlight and Shadows
A Piece of Heaven
The Courting Cowboy
The Dragon and the Dove
Medieval Fantasy Trilogy
“A stunning epic of romantic fantasy.”
Affaire de Coeur
, five-star review
The Chalice and the Blade
Prince of Time
River of Eden
– “One of THE most
breathtaking and phenomenal adventure tales to come along in years!
Glenna McReynolds has created an instant adventure classic.”
Romantic Times – 2002 BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE AWARD WINNER
Steele Street Series
– “Hang on to
your seat for the ride of your life…thrilling…sexy. Tara Janzen has
outdone herself.” Fresh Fiction
On the Loose
Loose and Easy
SEAL of My Dreams
All proceeds from the sale of SEAL Of My
Dreams are pledged to Veterans Research Corporation, a non-profit
foundation supporting veterans medical research.
, by Tara Janzen
“I can’t work with the man,” Kristine
Richards announced. She tossed the memo from the dean of the
university onto the piles of clutter on her desk, starting a small
avalanche of papers.
Jenny, her elderly graduate assistant,
crouched down and retrieved a few of the letters, stuffing them
into her arms already filled with many other important papers.
“Won’t, not can’t,” Jenny said, looking
around for someplace to stash the unattended-to business. No empty
space magically appeared. Sighing in resignation, Jenny opted for
the last resort, collating the correspondence by using the thousand
or so books lining the walls of the office. She made sure an edge
of each envelope stuck out from the volumes. Within a minute, the
shelves looked like they might take off and fly.
“Okay, have it your way,” Kristine agreed
easily. “I won’t work with the man.”
“The university is already into Carson’s
Tibetan project up to their ears,” Jenny said, “and they want to
make sure the findings get published. You’re the logical choice for
“Then they should have made darn sure I was
the one chosen to go to Tibet in the first place. But no, they sent
Harry Fratz, and Harry caught some god-awful bug. Lucky for
Less than a year ago, Kristine had been
stunned and thrilled to learn that her employer, Colorado State
University, had been selected to help fund—and then share in the
glory—of an ambitious archaeological study. A renegade
archaeologist named Carson planned to compile an inventory of
ancient Tibetan monasteries, temples, and shrines. Kristine had
been certain she’d be picked to go along as Carson’s assistant. No
one on the university’s staff was more qualified, least of all
Harry—except by virtue of his gender. But they’d picked Harry, who
had barely lasted two months, and now the whole expedition was in
shambles, an international disaster.
They had a lot of nerve, she fumed, trying
to drag her in on the tail end of Carson’s Catastrophe, as the
history department now labeled the project. The whole damn thing
should have been Richard’s Reward from the start. She knew more
about Tibet, fact and fiction, than Harry had ever even bothered to
She sorted through the junk on her desk,
finally coming up with a chocolate chip cookie. She blew a little
dust off one edge and took a tentative bite.
“You’re going to die someday,” Jenny
“I’ll be in good company. What else does the
university have to offer their finest Asian historian for summer
employment, besides sorting out somebody else’s mess and
babysitting the glory boy who made it?”
“Probably a pink slip.”
Kristine choked on her cookie. Jenny patted
her on the back.
“There, there, honey. I hear the community
college is looking for a history teacher.”
Kristine raised her watery eyes to meet
Jenny’s. She didn’t doubt her assistant’s summation of the
situation. The older woman’s uncanny intuition had never failed her
when it came to the inner workings of the university.
“That’s . . . blackmail,” she gasped,
reaching for her cold cup of coffee.
“You’ll be dead before you’re thirty,” Jenny
said as she watched Kristine use a pencil to stir the sugar up from
Kristine swallowed a sip or two anyway.
“Still in good company.”
“But you’ll probably live through the
summer,” Jenny went on. “It’s up to you whether you do it working
on Kit Carson’s Tibetan findings or job hunting.”
“Blackmail,” Kristine muttered. Carson, she
thought. Kit Carson. Even his name rankled her. What kind of fool
name was Kit Carson?
A famous fool’s name, she silently admitted.
He’d come out of the vastness of Asia nearly ten years ago,
dazzling museum directors from Beijing to Calcutta with the extent
of his knowledge and the rarity of his archaeological finds. He was
a virtual unknown who’d made a name for himself by being part of
the spectacular excavation of the burial tomb at Lishan in China,
with its amazing collection of thousands of lifesize terra-cotta
warriors; a renegade Buddhist monk with unparalleled access to the
secrets of the Far East.
She’d never met him. No one she knew had,
except for poor, dumb Harry, and the hospital wasn’t allowing
visitors. Still, you couldn’t get three historians in the same room
without his name coming up, usually on the end of “That damn
barbarian.” It took only two archaeologists to reach the same
consensus, both of them praying Carson wouldn’t be the first to be
allowed to excavate any of Tibet’s hallowed ground. Tibet was an
archaeologist’s dream, but no one could do more than list any
artifacts that were visible. It was illegal to dig at any of
Tibet’s religious sites.
Carson was too unorthodox to fit in the
realm of academia, and he’d lost his reputation shortly after he’d
gotten it. He didn’t have a degree in anything, not even the
equivalent of high school, if the rumors were correct. And if what
they were hearing from China was true, while supposedly cataloguing
Tibet’s shrines and temples, Kit Carson had crossed the final line
into out-and-out grave robbing.
Kristine groaned and dropped her head on the
desk. The university must be desperate to threaten her with
dismissal. Any tenured professor would refuse to work with Carson
on the grounds of protecting his or her reputation, now that Carson
had slipped into infamy. Unfortunately Kristine didn’t have tenure
or a reputation. “Publish or perish” went the old adage, and she’d
be damned if she perished this close to a full professorship.
“Yes?” she replied without lifting her
“That green rag you’re wearing today is
really too awful for words. I’ve told you a hundred times you’re a
“Thank you, Jenny,” she muttered into the
papers cushioning her face. Carson. Kit Carson. She groaned
* * *
The first two trunks arrived at her house
the first Monday after finals. The second pair came on Tuesday. By
Wednesday, Kristine and the deliveryman were on a first-name basis.
The university, through Dr. Timnath, the head of her department,
had insisted she accept Kit Carson’s luggage, assuring her she’d
need the trunks for her research and requesting that she be
discreet. She’d countered with a mention of tenure, priding herself
on being able to
work it into the conversation
three times. She was beginning to wonder, though, if the owner of
the luggage was ever going to make a personal appearance, and
whether or not she dared break off the heavy iron padlocks to see
what was inside the fascinating old cases. One look at them had
convinced her, albeit belatedly, of the wisdom of taking on the
Carson project. Who knew what treasures lurked in the trunks’
“Now, Bob,” she said, Wednesday morning,
yawning and scrawling her name across three of the tiny lines on
his delivery sheet. Her second signature missed the lines
completely. With her free hand she tightened her grip on the one
hundred and twenty pounds of pure ugly she called a dog and most
people called a beast. “I want you to notice I’m giving you an
extra signature here. If you show up tomorrow morning, please put
the trunks on the deck without knocking or ringing the bell.
“It’s against the rules, Kristine,” the
deliveryman said nervously, keeping one eye on her mastiff.
“Come on, Bob. Live dangerously. Bend the
rules.” And let her have at least one morning of sloth, she prayed.
Last night there had been a welcome home party for Harry to
celebrate his hospital release. She’d stayed much too late in a
vain attempt to corner the guest of honor. He’d looked far
healthier than she would have guessed for a man newly risen from
his deathbed, and he’d avoided her like the plague.
“Okay,” Bob finally said. “I’ll try it . . .
“You’re a great guy.” She flashed him a
smile, using the last of her strength.
Half an hour, two aspirin, and one mug of
coffee later, Kristine draped herself over the open refrigerator
door and searched for something edible. Mancos nudged her legs,