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About the author:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Leto has sold over forty-five books to four publishers–all featuring strong, confident women and the super-sexy men they drive to their knees. To date, she has over 1 million books in print across the world.
What inspired you to write your book?
I imagine if you’re reading this foreword, you are either previewing or have purchased HEROES TO SWOON FOR. So you’ve signed up, too! The authors in this collection, and I am honored to be among them, have done our very best to provide the escape, fantasy and uplifting happy ending that only a romance novel can give. And if you swoon a little, that’s even better!
Here is a short sample from the book:
Vera pulled out her cell phone and glanced at the digital clock. She was on time, and Rowan was nowhere in sight. He had not called either.
Was he late, or had he changed his mind?
She would not be surprised if he had. She supposed she should have felt relieved, but she did not. The hollow sensation in the pit of her stomach felt more like loss.
Her gaze shot toward the four men on the beach volleyball court next to the playground. “Rowan?”
He waved at her, tossed the volleyball he was holding to his partner, and then ran over to her.
Vera’s jaw dropped, but she managed to catch herself before she drooled. Rowan wore only sunglasses and swimming trunks. Sweat glistened on the tanned skin of his muscled chest and sharply defined abdomen. Por Dios! He was magnificent—in fact, several levels of magnificent over the other athletic men on the court.
He grinned as he approached her. “Sorry, I came down early—didn’t want to miss you—then got invited to round up a foursome.” He glanced over his shoulder at the three men waiting patiently for him. “It’ll be another twenty minutes or so, if you don’t mind.”
Would she mind an opportunity to ogle his incredible, near-naked body for twenty minutes? Vera waved her hand. “No, not at all.” She managed not to squeak.
Allison was content to sit in the sand and make a mess with her bucket and spade, which left Vera ample time and opportunity to watch Rowan play beach volleyball. He was not the best player among the four, but he was competent enough to hold his own. The real pleasure came from seeing his perfectly built body exert itself with flawless strength and grace.
A crowd—mostly women—soon gathered to watch the game. It did not require significant powers of observation for Vera to note that the ladies were mostly watching Rowan. When the game ended, he was immediately approached by svelte young women with sun-streaked hair and tiny bikinis. Dazzling smiles turned in his direction. Coy looks flirted his way.
Rowan’s response was an absent-minded smile as he grabbed his towel and discarded shirt off the sand and made his way toward her. The women who stalked him were subtly brushed off. Smiles turned into pouts. Rowan apparently noticed neither. Vera held back an amused smile. He had crowd management down to an art form.
It didn’t make sense, though, did it? Why would an escort shun the attention of women? In fact, the more she thought about it, the less the facts about Rowan added up.
She pushed her doubts aside and smiled up at him. “Good game.”
“Yes, it was. Sorry, I kept you waiting.”
“Not a problem.” She unzipped the cooler. “Water or juice?”
“Just water. Thanks.” He sat down beside her. Their fingers brushed as the bottle changed hands.
Vera inhaled deeply and tried not to shudder. Medical school grounded her in the knowledge that androstenol, the scent produced by fresh male sweat, was attractive to females. What medical school had not taught her was what to do about it, especially when it emanated off a body that would have made classical Greek and Roman sculptures drool with jealousy. To distract herself, she looked around. She was once again the target of envious female stares.
“You deal with that often?” she asked.
“What?” Rowan’s gaze followed hers. It swept over clusters of attractive women without breaking its figurative stride.
She shook her head. “You really don’t notice it, do you?”
He shrugged. “I should rinse off before I put my shirt back on. How cold is the water this time of year?”
“Too cold for native Floridians, but likely just about perfect for New Yorkers.” She pressed her lips together. No, don’t rinse off. Yes, rinse off. You are too damned distracting.
“Be right back.” He pushed to his feet, dusted sand off his swimming trunks, and jogged to the edge of the surf. He waded into the ocean, dipped his head under the water for several moments, and then broke the surface.
A demigod rose out of the sea, water droplets caressing his body as they streamed down the length of his muscles. His skin glistened as sunlight reflected off the moisture on his skin.
Vera groaned and buried her face in her hands. That hadn’t helped one bit. He was far more distracting now. She managed to plaster a shaky smile back on her face by the time he returned to her side. Next to her, Allison looked up from her sand toys and flashed a toothy grin. “Roan!”
He ruffled her blond curls. “Hi, Alli-Astronaut.”
“Alli-naut,” she repeated. She held up her spade. “Play!”
“I’ve got her if you want to chill out and sunbathe or read,” he said.
Sunbathing and reading both sounded tempting, but not nearly as much as the pleasure of watching Rowan interact with her daughter. As he built a sandcastle, he discussed the importance of fortifications, ramparts, moats, and towers with Allison, who nodded with approval and said, “More!”
Vera chuckled. “I’m guessing you don’t deal much with young kids.”
Rowan shrugged. “My only nephew is ten.”
“Do you see him often?”
“Not as often as I like.”
He did not elaborate, and Vera sensed the topic was off-limits. Had his family disowned him when he decided to be an escort? “I’m an only child,” she said. “My parents died when I was sixteen.”
“Was that why you married your ex-husband?”
Vera inhaled sharply. “I…I guess so, though I never really thought of it that way before.”
“How did you think of it before?”
“That I was in love. That we were in love.”
“Were you happy with him at first?”
She looked up and fixed her gaze on the horizon. It was easier than looking into Rowan’s amber eyes that promised to unravel her every secret.