An Opportunity Seized
Two unforeseen moments in time— One brings them together, the other is a danger so real it could tear them apart.
Antoinette ‘Toni’ Grimaldi prefers to keep out of the spotlight, blend in with the crowd and experience life the same as the bulk of the population. Being a mining magnate’s daughter is a difficult persona for her to uphold. She just doesn’t fit in with high society standards, always managing to say something inappropriate or trip over her own feet at the worst possible moment, resulting in that look of disappointment and embarrassment her parents inevitably wear whenever she’s around.
Meeting a handsome stranger who comes to her rescue and asks her out on a date is so much more than Toni could have ever hoped for on her dream holiday—one she is surprised her parents have even permitted her to take alone. Her fairy-tale moment is short-lived, though, when Toni discovers the stranger has been hired by her family to follow her every move—under the guise of keeping her safe.
Jason finds he is drawn to Antoinette. She is nothing at all like the socialite he was expecting to shadow around London’s nightclubs. After an awkward first meeting, he convinces Toni that there is more to his interest in her than just as her bodyguard. To his surprise, his attraction for the soft-spoken, thoughtful woman grows, despite his usual reluctance to commit to any kind of relationship.
Then a disaster at one of the family-owned mines and a string of death threats force Toni to return home, and her need for a bodyguard becomes a life and death reality.
An Opportunity for Redemption
She kept his son a secret for years—she should pay for her deceit. Instead, he’s fighting the urge to drag her back into his arms—and bed.
When ex-commando—and now owner of Haven Security—Nathan Haven discovers he has a son, it’s enough of a kick to the gut. Learning at the same time that this child he’s never met is losing the battle with leukemia—the last straw. He vows to make Rebecca Hammerton regret her decision to keep his son a secret from him. But first he is going to do everything in his power to help defeat the disease that threatens his boy’s life. Then he will deal with the woman that walked away from him seven years ago without so much as a by your leave, turning his heart to stone.
He just has to suppress the constant urge to drag the damn sexy heartbreaker back into his arms—and his bed—first.
Reader Advisory: This book contains scenes of kidnap.
General Release Date: 1st May 2015
Excerpt from An Opportunity Seized
As soon as she spotted the little kiosk, all Toni could think of was tucking into a cold ice cream. The weather in London had been outrageously hot for the few days she’d been here. It was just her luck that a heatwave would hit town at the same time she did. She wasn’t even going to feel guilty for the calories she was about to consume—well, maybe only a little. Surely after all the walking I’ve done today I deserve a little treat, she told herself as she waited to be served. It was such a pain having to worry about her weight—and she did have to keep an eye on her food intake. Toni had always thought it was so unfair that she took after her pudgy father and not her pencil thin mother in that regard. Stupid genetics, she thought, as she found a shady spot under the branches of a big plane tree in the grounds of St. James’s Park to sit and enjoy her treat.
The park was opposite Buckingham Palace, and Toni watched the crowds of people streaming down the path. The changing of the guard had just finished and the sightseers were all headed off to the next attraction, just like she would be, after her quick rest break. London was a fascinating place and one Toni had been looking forward to visiting for some time. She was finding it hard to believe that she’d actually made it here and all by herself—still surprised that her parents had relented and let her go in the first place. The thought of her parents made Toni giggle—how horrified her mother would be if she could see Toni now, sitting crossed-legged on the grass, not to mention the frown that would crease her mother’s perfect face at the sight of Toni eating such a fattening treat.
Toni knew her father would be horrified to think of his only daughter sightseeing like some common tourist. Her father had been invited inside the Palace, more than once, to attend some function or another, but those types of gathering were just not Toni’s cup of tea. She much preferred to keep out of the spotlight, blend in with the crowd and experience life the same as the bulk of the population. Being a mining magnate’s daughter was a difficult persona for Toni to uphold. She was plain, a little overweight and just didn’t fit in with high society standards—much to her mother’s disdain. She always managed to say something inappropriate or trip over her own feet at the worst possible moment, resulting in that look of disappointment and embarrassment her parents inevitably wore whenever she was around.
Just as she bit into the crisp cone Toni felt something hit her shoulder. At first she thought she’d been struck by a ball. That was until the wetness started seeping through her T-shirt. It felt like a warm sticky mass sat on her right shoulder and as she looked down, Toni gasped as she saw the green, gooey clumps that now covered her front.
Then the smell hit her.
“Eww!” she squealed as her stomach rolled. Nausea was threatening to bring her breakfast back up, and while she’d enjoyed the morning meal, revisiting it would not be pretty. What little of the ice cream she’d consumed also burned the back of her throat. The rest of the sweet treat was now melting and running down her right arm. What am I going to do?
The one small napkin she’d picked up at the kiosk was going to be of little or no use in trying to sop up the stinking, green lumpy mess, which had now made its way through her shirt to her skin. But if she didn’t do something and fast, she could add her own vomit to her hopeless plight.
Toni heard the male voice, was shocked that anyone could be so mean as to call her that when she was in so much distress. She tilted her head up so she could at least see who it was that was making fun of her. Even in a strange town, Toni had managed to become the brunt of someone’s cruel taunt.
The stranger was standing directly in front of her, looking down at her. He wore a baseball style cap and those horrible reflective sunglasses that Toni hated.
“I think its goose poo,” the stranger added. “I’ve never really been a believer that a bird’s droppings mean good luck, but if it does, I figure you should probably buy a lottery ticket.”
Jason hadn’t meant to make contact with her yet, if at all. His job was to follow and protect the target—Antoinette Grimaldi. It had been made perfectly clear to Jason that he needed to fulfill that charter without her knowledge while she holidayed in Europe. Her father, an extremely wealthy—no, scrap that, and make it ridiculously, filthy rich—businessman from Australia had used the firm Jason worked for on many occasions. So when his boss had given him this assignment, while not thrilled, Jason had agreed to take it for the good of the firm.
He’d expected his target to be a rich, spoiled brat that he would probably be spending many late nights at clubs or standing outside some playboy’s apartment long into the early hours while she partied on to her heart’s content. Jason had been wrong. When he’d seen the filth hit her and the mess it had left, he hadn’t been able to stand by and do nothing. Just the look on her alluring face had torn at his heart.
Excerpt from An Opportunity for Redemption
I’m sure you are probably shocked to be receiving this email from me after all this time. I’m reaching out to you out of desperation and fear, Nathan. My son is dying. His only hope is a transfusion of bone marrow from a suitable donor. I have exhausted every avenue in my search for that compatible match but have failed. It’s why I reach out to you now, with the hope that you might do me this huge favor and have your bone marrow tested. Not for me, Nathan. I don’t deserve any acts of kindness from you—but for the sake of my son.
The testing procedure is a simple one, requiring only a small sample of your blood to be taken and sent off for analysis, to determine if the HLA—Human Leukocyte Antigen—is a match.
Please, Nathan, I beg you. Get tested and ask your doctor to forward the results to Danny’s specialist, Dr. Gregory Parker, Head of Pediatric Oncology at the Royal Children’s Hospital.
Still dressed in the wedding tuxedo that Antoinette Grimaldi—now Beck—had coerced him into wearing as Jason’s best man, Nathan Haven sat staring at his computer. His blood had turned to ice, frozen in his veins, as he stared at the image of the boy that filled the screen. He’d been staring at that photo for what felt like an eternity, recognized those dark eyes and the cut of the boy’s chin. It could have been a photo of Nathan himself at that age. It reminded him of the framed picture his mother still had sitting on her sideboard taken when he had won his first trophy for rugby league in the under sixes.
This boy was his son.
And his son was dying.
Nathan had not heard a word from Rebecca Hammerton for over seven years. Their last correspondence had been her ‘Dear John’ email, calling off their engagement.
He hadn’t laid eyes on her since the day he’d kissed her goodbye as he’d headed off to training camp for the Green Berets Commando Unit. That was until tonight when he’d opened the email marked to his attention, sent via the Haven Security website. Nathan clicked open his inbox and read Rebecca’s deceitful missive again.
The first time he’d read through the email, Nathan had known there was something important Rebecca was not saying. Like any good investigator would, Nathan had typed her name into the search engines of various social media sites, looking for answers.
He had found one, in the photos posted on her page.
A mother-fucking, mind-blowing, unbelievable omission from Rebecca’s plea for his help. Her son was, without doubt, Nathan’s progeny.
A son she had kept hidden from him for over seven years and one that he might never get the chance to meet if he didn’t get his act together—and fast.
His contacts were far and wide, and Nathan was going to call on every one of them he thought could aid him in this battle. First on his list was Martin Shore, a medic who over the years had patched him up on many an occasion, and who was now a doctor of emergency medicine at the local hospital. Marty had once found himself trapped behind enemy lines, caught there as he’d tried to save the life of a soldier who had taken a bullet. Nathan and his team had gone in, found Marty still working valiantly on his patient and got them the hell out of there. Since then, whenever Nathan had needed medical assistance, Marty had been happy to help.
It was only four a.m. but that didn’t stop Nathan from reaching for his phone. The guy’s probably up to his elbows in blood and guts this time of the morning anyway. He punched in the numbers that would connect him to Dr. Shore. Even though Nathan knew weekend mornings in hospital emergency rooms were usually overrun with men and women suffering the effects of alcohol-related injuries, he didn’t feel guilty distracting Marty from his workload.
“Shore,” said the gruff voice on the other end of the line after no more than three rings.
“Marty, it’s Nathan Haven. I need your help.”
“Where are you? What are your injuries?” Martin Shore’s no-nonsense take-charge voice exacted, without hesitation.
“No injuries. I need information and I need it yesterday.” Nathan had never been known for his cordial phone manner and he wasn’t going to change that now—not when every second he wasted could be the difference between his son’s life and death.
Sydney-born Donna Gallagher decided at an early age that life needed be tackled head on. Leaving home at fifteen, she supported herself through her teen years. In her twenties she married a professional sportsman, her love of sport—especially rugby league—probably overriding her good sense.
The seven-year marriage was an adventure. There were the emotional ups and downs of having a husband with a public profile in a sometimes glamorous but always high-pressure field. There were always interesting characters to meet and observe, and even the opportunity to live for a time in the UK.
Eventually Donna returned home a single woman, but she never lost her passion for watching sport, as well as the people in and around it.
Now happily re-married and with three sons, Donna loves coffee mornings with her female friends, sorting through problems from the personal to the international. But she's on even footing with the keenest man when it comes to watching and talking rugby league.
Donna considers herself something of a black sheep in a family of high achievers. Her brother has a doctorate in mathematics and her sister is a well-known Australian sports journalist.
An avid reader, especially of romance, Donna finally found she couldn't stop the characters residing in her imagination from spilling onto paper. Naturally, rugby league is the backdrop to her spicy tales of hunky heroes and spunky heroines overcoming adversity to eventually find true love.
A multiple ARRA awards finalist in 2013 & 2014 for her League of Love series, Donna is spreading her genre wings In 2015 with the launch of her new romantic suspense Haven Security Series and the re-release of her contemporary erotic novella A Fruitful Intimacy.