The Faberge Secret
by Stephanie Burkhart
GENRE: contemporary romance
Elise Goodwin operates a heritage museum in Brattleboro, Vermont. Needing to buy some items for her museum, she travels to Boston and acquires a delicious surprise that would excite any curator – a Faberge Egg.
Enter Russian businessman Dimitri Romanov, the true owner of the jewel. He's following a lead hoping to reacquire his stolen egg when he bumps into Elise. He can't hide his attraction to the petite brunette with doe-like eyes.
Dimitri's rival, Gustav Kelch, wants the rare Faberge jewel and will do anything to find it, including destroying Dimitri's life. Can Dimitri keep Elise and his Faberge heirloom safe or will his attraction place their lives in jeopardy?
Restless, she slipped out of bed and put on her robe. A cup of warm milk always settled her nerves. She made her way to the kitchen, but paused next to the table when she spotted Dimitri standing in front of the bay windows. The snow flurries had picked up, and while she always liked watching snow fall, it was Dimitri himself that riveted her. He wore pajama pants, but no shirt. His arms were crossed over his hard, muscular chest. The man was ripped, with taunt muscles along his back. Elise's heart tripped at the sight of his body, and her fingers ached to explore him. Her core warmed. She swallowed, her harsh, uneven breathing threatening to give her away. What did this man do to her? He threw her equilibrium into madness.
What was he like? Really like? She had seen hints of his protectiveness. He wasn't afraid to take action. No doubt he could afford anything he wanted. So why was he alone? Was he a player? Lord knew she did not want to entertain that thought. It just might break her heart.
No, she recalled how quiet he had been on the Metro ride to the hotel, how his eyes had glassed over and taken on a distant look. He knew the same loneliness she did.
Elise sighed and raked a hand through her hair. He must have heard her, because he turned. Concern immediately splayed across his face.
"Elise?" His voice was quiet, yet firm. "It's two-thirty. Are you all right?"
"I had a dream, so I thought I'd warm some milk."
A sympathetic smile graced his lips as he walked into the kitchen, stood next to her at the table, and pointed to a pot on the stove. "I do the same when I have a dream that unnerves me." She nipped at her lower lip. They shared the same odd quirk. Could he be any more perfect?
He reached into the cupboard, pulled out a mug, and picked up the pot from the stove, pouring the warm milk into it. She reached out and took the mug from him. His hand passed over hers. The gesture stoked a gently growing fire within her.
"Thank you," she said.
Stephanie Burkhart is a 911 dispatcher for LAPD. She was born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire. After serving 11 years in the US Army she currently calls Castaic, California her home. Stephanie was married in Denmark in 1991 and has two young sons. She adores chocolate, is addicted to coffee and enjoys early morning walks. She's also an assistant den leader for her son's Cub Scout den and is a Boy Scout mom. She writes paranormal, contemporary, and steampunk romance and has two children's books published with 4RV Publishing.
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