[BookStrand Interracial Romance, HEA]
How many things can go wrong at one time? That question plagues feisty divorcée Sharlene Mouton. The banking department she heads takes a trip overseas. She pounds the pavement—and the keyboard—with resumes for ninety-nine weeks. Going home to regroup lands her in the middle of an ecological disaster that threatens her rural Louisiana community. What else can happen? How about repeated run-ins with suave Drake Cormier, the oil company’s liaison officer? Jobless, yet not hopeless. Oil spill fiasco. Mouton-Cormier feud. Suitor not much older than her daughters. Sharlene now wonders—how many wrongs make a right?
A BookStrand Mainstream Romance
Sharlene awoke in the doldrums a week after the big meeting. She muddled through the morning a bit perturbed her Uncle Moot sneaked out on a compensated fishing expedition without inviting her. There was no way he misunderstood her desire to accompany him. She made that clear last night.
The rocker squeaked on the wooden planks of the front porch as she sipped from her coffee mug.
Swamp sounds marred the quiet morning, from the fowls’ in-flight cries from branch to branch—to the croaking bullfrogs in the brush. Sticky humidity hung low, settling all over her. She hadn’t bothered to change and lounged about in soft, cottony sleep pants topped with a short, ribbed undershirt. Quite frankly, she was surprised anyone would pay to fish in the waters around there. In her opinion, it provided proof to the theory money, power, and access skewed the perception and minimized the fallout of the spill. The company’s ad campaigns succeeded.
On the other hand, some people had work.
Boredom drove her from the chair to meander the dirt path to the dock. The water byway barely allowed small-craft traffic to pass. Its use was primarily as a back door to and from the village when the road was impassable. It took a pro to navigate the invisible pitfalls.
“Going in for a drink?”
She didn’t startle at the voice behind her. Her heart did. “Lost, Mr. Cormier?”
He wanted to share more time with her each time he saw her. Drake walked right up next to Sharlene, immersing himself in more than nature’s eye-catching beauty. The sky streaked cobalt blue through the tops of the cypress trees. The eastern sun hit them with powerful rays. At least he saw no ecological damage from their current viewpoint.
She already faced him when he looked down. His answer was yes, he was lost. He lost himself in the depths of her soulful eyes. “I came to solicit help.”
“Un–Uncle Moot isn’t home,” she stuttered. Sharlene sidestepped him to lessen the fizzle fusing them together. “Anyway, you know that’s not likely to happen. You’re the enemy.”
Her move failed to sever the underlying current.
“He holds grudges,” Drake announced.
She had to agree. “For some reason, particularly against Cormiers.”
“Something happened that soured the relationship shared with some of my kin.” He had her undivided attention. “I guessed that much. I suppose blood makes me guilty, too.”
“Along with working for the oil company culpable in this entire mess.” The Mouton in her came out. “What is it you want from my uncle?”
“A ride through the marsh.”
Sharlene wondered about that request. “You’re just the liaison officer. Shouldn’t any investigative research be done by the experts?”
Drake circled to lean with his back against the sun, admiring the woman before him. She was the epitome of loveliness and unintentionally rattled his chain. He was thirty-four but felt like a boy on his first date. “Actually, there isn’t going to be any investigation.”
“You’re kidding!” she nearly shouted, shading her eyes with her hand. “Right?”
“Over the past week, a research team collected and examined residue from the Pass. Their findings substantiated the company’s initial denial of further compensation related to unsupported loss of revenue.”
Sharlene’s mouth twisted in a wry smile. “I’m sick and tired of greed winning out. Wait here. I’ll be right back.”
“What’re you going to do?” The sight of her sashaying off was daunting.
Sharlene paused to turn back. “Change and take you where you need to go.”
“Shouldn’t we wait?” he asked worriedly.
“I think it’s now or never, Mr. Cormier.”
“It’s Drake, Sharlene.” He thought she blushed. “If you’re game—I’m game.”
“Be right back,” she huffed and strutted off.
Watching her go was his thrill of the morning.