Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt: Shot Across the Bow by Julie Ann Walker

I’m thrilled to have author Julie Ann Walker on the blog today for a special guest host. Julie Ann Walker’s new book Shot Across the Bow, the fifth book in the Deep Six series, comes out on November 29th, and it’s perfect for readers who enjoy romantic suspense.

Also, be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Shot Across the Bow!!!!

*****

ABOUT THE BOOK: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker delivers perfect pulse-pounding romantic suspense! The former Navy SEALs of Deep Six Salvage thought they could retire to the sea and hunt for treasures of the deep, but when trouble comes to visit, there’ll be hell to pay.

Former Navy SEAL Spiro “Romeo” Delgado is six-plus feet of high-octane charm, and he has two hard and fast rules. One, always come to the rescue of those in need. And two, never give up his fast and furious bachelor ways. But when Mia Ennis joins Deep Six Salvage on the hunt for the Santa Cristina, her mesmerizing blend of brains, beauty, and bravery makes him question everything he thought he wanted in life.

Mia’s traumatic past has taught her to keep everyone she meets at arm’s length. But Romeo, with that body that is forever tensed for action and that dark gaze that tracks her every move, makes her feel safe in a way she never expected. Yet the secret she carries compels her to keep her distance—even as the past comes back to haunt them.

A harrowing plane crash ends with Romeo and Mia marooned on a desert island. When a boatful of men bent on murder drop anchor, Mia discovers her only hope for survival depends on her letting her guard down around Romeo. But surrendering to the passion she feels for him might be the most dangerous thing of all…

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A Note from Julie Ann Walker:

When it comes to romance, we adore the scenes in the books that involve the love interests. All that drama and angst and sexual tension, am I right? But some of the most fun I have when writing a novel isn’t between the people who are fighting for, or fighting against, their happily ever after. Some of the most fun I have when writing a novel comes from the conversations and interactions that occur between one of the main protagonists and one or more of the secondary characters. It gives me room to play with dialogue, to explore friendships instead of romantic relationships.

So, with that in mind and without further ado, please enjoy this exclusive excerpt of SHOT ACROSS THE BOW:

            “Please tell me it’s time to go.” Romeo’s expression was pleading.

            Doc chewed thoughtfully on his toothpick. “What? You’re tired of getting sponge-bathed by pretty nurses already?”

            “More like I’m tired of having foreign objects shoved into my body by savages claiming to do no harm,” Romeo grumbled. “Plus, my nurse’s name is Andre. He looks like he could bench-press me. And his bedside manner seems to have gotten stuck in heckle mode. Which means none of my sponge bath stories will end up in Penthouse Forum.”

            Doc bit the inside of his cheek. He’d met Andre.

            Clearing his throat, he informed Romeo, “Well, then, sing my praises because I am the bearer of good news. We’re just waiting on your discharge paperwork to clear, and then we’re out of here. Pulling an envelope from his back pocket, he added, “Mia said these insurance forms for your claim on the Otter are all filled out. All you have to do is sign them and mail them.”

            Romeo’s gaze turned razor sharp. “You saw Mia today?”

            Doc crossed his arms. For the first four days following Romeo’s surgery, Mia hadn’t budged from his side. And she’d waved away anyone on the Deep Six crew when they’d offered to take a shift at the hospital. Then, five days ago, she’d called in reinforcements, claiming she had things to do and couldn’t be stuck keeping an eye on the nurses and doctors to make sure Romeo received the tender, loving care he deserved.              

            Doc had called bullshit then; he called bullshit now.  

            Something happened between them. Something that’s made her rabbit and kept Romeo in a piss poor mood for the last five days.

            “Yeah,” he nodded, eyeing his partner closely. “We’re staying at the same hotel. I stopped by her room before coming here. Why?”

            “How’d she look?”

            “Same as always. Crisp and clean and pretty.” He cocked his head, considering his answer. “Maybe a little tired. Like she hasn’t gotten much sleep. Funny thing is, she asked me the same thing about you.”

            A muscle started ticking in Romeo’s jaw. “What did you tell her?”

            “That you’re a terrible patient, pissy and impatient, but that you’ll probably be back to fighting form any day now.” When Romeo only nodded, Doc decided the time had come to get some answers. “Are you going to tell me what happened?” He sucked on his teeth and turned his head to pin Romeo with a look from the corners of his eyes. “Or, more specifically, what did you do?”

            Romeo could pull off affront better than most people. It was the dimples. They created creases in his cheeks when he let his mouth hang open. “Me? Why do you assume I did something?”

            “Because you’re a guy. And life has taught me that when things go bad, it’s usually our fault.” He shrugged. “Blame it on the testosterone. It’s a terrible hormone. Makes us act without thinking.”

            Romeo had stood from the bed when Doc informed him all they were waiting on was for his discharge paperwork to clear. Now he slumped back down on the edge of the mattress. “I fell in love with her is what I did,” he whispered with a doleful shake of his head.

            Doc lifted a brow, hating to find out that he’d been right when he worried Romeo and Mia would end up hurting each other. Not because they were a bad match. Quite the opposite. He thought they were a damn near perfect match. But they’d both spent most of their adult lives pushing people away, keeping their relationships surface-level.

            And old habits are hard to break.

            “I take it from your hang-dog expression that you told her and she…” He stopped and started again. “And she didn’t return the sentiment?”

            “Nope.” Romeo shook his head. “That’s the thing. She does feel the same way.”

            Doc blinked. “Then I don’t understand.”

            The tick in Romeo’s jaw was apparently contagious. Another one popped up beneath his left eye. “That makes two of us. In one breath, she told me she loved me. And then in the next breath, she said she’s not worthy of me.” His frown deepened. “Or maybe she said she’s not worthy of my love? I was pretty high on pain meds, so the details are a little sketchy. And when I tried to ask her what she meant by that, she ghosted out of here so fast I’m surprised she didn’t leave skid marks on the hallway tile.”

            Doc pulled on his ear, not envying Romeo his current predicament. He’d never met a woman who could be convinced to talk when she’d made up her mind to do the exact opposite. And Mia Ennis? She was closed-mouthed on a good day.

            “What are you going to do?” he asked cautiously and watched Romeo’s stare go mutinous.

            “For the first five minutes, I cried my heart out, thinking if she didn’t want me, then I wouldn’t force the issue. That I’d let her become nothing more than a faded memory in my heart. A sepia-toned picture in my head. A lesson in unrealized potential.”

            “And after those first five minutes?” Doc prodded.

            “I decided to say screw it to bowing out gracefully. If she doesn’t want to give this thing between us a chance, she’s going to have to tell me why. Or I swear on all that’s holy, I’ll dog her every step to the ends of the earth.”

            Romeo shoved to his feet, looking forbidding with his legs spread and his hands fisted on his hips. The man had a stubborn streak a country mile wide. Once he set his sights on something… Watch out.

            “But don’t worry,” Romeo added. “I won’t confront her at the airport. I’ll wait until I can get her alone on Wayfarer.”

            Doc realized Romeo assumed Mia would be flying home with them. He hated to be the one to break the news, but… “Mia’s in Miami.”

            Romeo blinked as if Doc had suddenly started speaking Swahili. “Miami? What is she doing in Miami?” Then he paled. “She didn’t quit on us, did she?”

            “No,” Doc was quick to reassure him. “The police there found and arrested her mother. Mia and Detective Dixon caught a flight to the mainland about an hour ago. They’re going to question Jane Ennis first thing tomorrow morning.”

            Romeo had gone from looking panicked to looking pissed. “You let her go face that monster alone?”

            The vehemence in Romeo’s voice blew Doc back a step. “No. I just said Dixon was with her.”

            Romeo ran a hand through his hair and started pacing. “That man is as cuddly as a rock. She’s going to need comfort. Support. A friendly shoulder to cry on. Sweet Mother Mary, why didn’t anyone tell me?”

            Before Doc could answer, a booming voice said from behind him, “Time for you to go, my dude!”

            Startled, Doc spun only to find Romeo’s nurse pushing a wheelchair through the doorway. The man had shoulders like a linebacker, but he could move like a freakin’ ninja. “We really need to get you a bell,” Doc grumbled.

            Andre ignored him. “And good riddance, I say,” he told Romeo. “Because I am so sick of hearing your name in the break room.” He donned a falsetto voice. “Ooooh, that Mr. Delgado is so funny. Ooooh, that Mr. Delgado is so sweet. Ooooh, that Mr. Delgado is so dreamy.” He harrumphed. “I used to be the cock of the walk. Then you showed up, and it’s been nothing but blows to my ego ever since.”

            Romeo’s shrug was insouciant. “Hey, man. Don’t hate me ’cause you ain’t me.”

            Andre snorted. “See? Was that supposed to be funny?”    

            Chuckling, Romeo pointed to the wheelchair. “Is that thing really necessary?”

            Andre patted the wheelchair’s seat. “Hospital policy. Come on. The sooner I get you out of here, the sooner I can go back to being the most handsome guy in the place.”

            Doc knew Romeo would’ve liked to protest further, but his desire to leave the hospital outweighed his desire to walk out on his own two feet.

            They lapsed into silence while Nurse Andre pushed Romeo down the winding halls and through the automatic glass doors at the front of the hospital. The cab Doc had called to take them to the airport was idling by the curb.

            After Romeo stood from the wheelchair, the nurse wasted no time whipping around and heading back inside. He’d just pushed through the automatic doors when he called to Romeo over his shoulder. “N’Sync said it best, bye, bye, bye.”

            Romeo snorted. “Don’t act like you won’t miss me!”

            In answer, Andre shot him the bird without ever turning back to give him one last look.

            Laughing softly, Doc held the taxi’s back door wide for Romeo. But instead of sliding inside, Romeo placed a hand on top of the open door. “Let’s go to Miami. I want to be there for Mia when she talks to her mother tomorrow.”

            “That is a bad idea for two very good reasons,” Doc told him firmly. “One, from the sound of the way you and Mia left things, you showing up would probably cause her more emotional distress instead of less. And two, you really shouldn’t be making that trip. I know you think you’re superhuman, but you need to go home, rest, and recuperate. Mia will be back on Wayfarer tomorrow.”

            If looks could kill, Doc would’ve been six feet under. “I hate it when you’re all reasonable and rational,” Romeo grumbled.

            “I know. Clearheaded practicality is my cross to bear.”


Giveaway:

Click the image or link below to enter the giveaway. Winner receives a copy of Shot Across the Bow by Julie Ann Walker! Ends Dec. 2nd

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Julie grew up in a house full of women – she has three older sisters. As you can imagine, there was no lack of drama… or romance. Her mother enrolled her in a book club as soon as she began to read and it was the small spark that ignited her voracious appetite for the written word.

Because of Julie’s early immersion in literature, she found writing came quite naturally. In high school, she won multiple writing contests and was the proud senior editor of The Tiger’s Tale – her school newspaper.

During her college years, however, she longed for a challenge. “Reading and writing felt like second nature to me, so I looked for a way to flex my mental muscles,” she recalls. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree, Julie began teaching advanced high school mathematics.

“I loved working with the students and facing the challenges of the classroom, but I longed for the occasional snow day when I could race to the local book store, buy two or three new novels, and curl up in front of the fire to read.”

It wasn’t until a fortuitous move to Chicago that Julie once more returned to her first passion.

Now Julie loves to travel the world looking for views to compete with her deadlines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys camping, hiking, cycling, cooking, petting every dog that walks by her, and… reading, of course!

3 thoughts on “Guest Post & Exclusive Excerpt: Shot Across the Bow by Julie Ann Walker

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