Wild At Heart

Wild At Heart Documentary maker Dan Masters is completely out of his comfort zone in outback Australia. Park ranger, Victoria Price, couldn’t be more at home in the wilderness. After Victoria saves Dan from the jaws of a ferocious crocodile, she can’t get away from him fast enough. But her amazing rescue has been filmed and when the film’s investors see the footage, they demand Dan do whatever it takes to get Victoria involved in the movie.

Format: eBook
ISBN: 9781743480724
Published: 10/01/2013
Length Category


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2. Chapter two

Chapter Two

 

Dan gazed from the window of his luxury office on the shoreline of Broome’s magnificent Sandy Beach. He was too preoccupied to see the million-dollar view of frothy, white-peaked waves, or the brilliant crystal greeny-blue of the water, the wide expanse of silky white sand or the green palms swaying in the cool ocean breeze.

He rolled his shoulder and grimaced. The thick bandage limited its movement. His arm was stiff but not that painful. The bullet had just nicked his skin and caused a shallow gash. A few stitches, a tetanus shot and he was out of the hospital in an hour.

His leg was a different matter. The croc had twisted it as if it was ripping a chicken leg from a carcass, and the feeling had continued during the subsequent sessions from the chiropractor, physiotherapist and other muscle specialists he’d seen, but he needed to be on his feet. Fast tracked.

There was no time to be out of action.

He leant on the cane and gritted his teeth. It made his temper raw but he’d been advised to use it until he went on location to shoot his upcoming documentary. He was behind time and now he had an extra issue to deal with, namely Victoria Price. He mentally saw a pair of sensuous eyes fringed with black, long, curved lashes.

He needed her.

It was a position that didn’t sit well. It wasn’t the way he liked to do business, but time, money and freedom of choice were against him. He needed to make sure she agreed or there would be no documentary and he’d pushed himself too hard for too many years in a highly competitive field to be let down by an inconsequential park ranger.

He thumped the cane angrily on the plush wool carpet. It didn’t make any sort of satisfying bang, merely a dull thump. It didn’t do anything to ease his state of mind. He deliberately relaxed his jaw, unclenched his teeth and un-kinked the tense muscles in the back of his neck.

The circumstances were all should-not-have-beens. If Harry hadn’t inadvertently filmed the female version of Tarzan charging through the bushes with a shotgun, banging the croc over the head with that flimsy oar with so much force it had bent in half, while he got his leg twisted this way and that as he struggled to keep hold of that branch, this subsequent mess wouldn’t have happened. They’d have their footage and be on target for production. 

To add salt to the wound, the guides he’d carefully arranged to help had gone missing. Dan had not seen them since they took off on him, although that might have been a good thing considering they were the ones that’d told him the nest was safe for filming. To top it all off, Dan had paid them in advance, having been told they were the best scouts in the region.

Now, he had no much-needed scout, no local knowledge and the headache of Victoria Price. His mouth twisted as he realised his ‘headache’ was the very woman he needed at this very moment. Without her, without her knowledge – and now her face, thanks to the whims of his financial backers – he would have no project.

His hard-earned documentary was going very pear-shaped.

He glanced at Harry’s footage playing on the laptop screen. He could easily see why

his backers loved her. The professional part of him agreed. On screen she commanded attention. She captivated, enthralled and drew you in. She couldn’t be ignored. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly what she had, but it was uniquely hers. He’d spent years perfecting the art of an onscreen presence, but she had something that couldn’t be learned. She was a natural. A gold nugget found between alluvial flecks. 

He’d seen his fair share of those, all wanting something from him: a break, stardom, money – whatever they could get from him. In the end he’d distanced himself from people – women - so much so that building his career and securing this documentary had become his life. And that was something he’d come to prefer.

He’d made sacrifices and it was paying off.

Producing documentaries had been his personal dream since he was a kid, watching Jaws in the cinemas. His mother had instilled her own love of cinema in him when he was a boy. She had had some success as an actress, but had stopped when she’d married and had children. His father was a professional and needed a wife suited to their station.

From the age of ten, he’d imagined himself as another Spielberg. As soon as he’d finished his filmmaking degree, he’d done all sorts of odd jobs, working around the clock at several television studios, and finally got his break, on a regular gardening program. The producer had liked him and liked his ideas even better. From there he worked on a larger weekly program with a bigger budget which showcased garden and house renovations. 

The filming of Suburbia Heroes established his name as a quick-minded, up-and-coming talent. His ability to find ideas that the public loved had cemented his reputation as a producer, but this was his first chance at a project that was totally his. His to make, direct, own - with the chance that it would either set him up or bring him down.

At the moment, the pendulum was swinging towards the latter.

Dan braced himself as he heard a knock. It was her. He mentally switched to business

mode. This was not the time to mix business with frayed emotions. He relaxed his face into his well-rehearsed, bland, professional mask.

‘Come in.’

A moment later Victoria appeared and his attention was riveted.

She wore a formless khaki bush uniform with a matching peaked cap that covered her hair and hid her face. The top button of her shirt was open, revealing a plump, mouth-drying décolletage. A thick belt around her shapely waist was encumbered with various bits and pieces. A broad knife with a large serrated edge was wedged at her hip. The legs of her pants were tucked into black, solid, well-worn hiking boots and tied with broad, heavy laces. There was nothing feminine about her appearance but she oozed a sexuality that instantly warmed his blood. Dan’s features slipped to something more unprofessional and he concentrated hard on smoothing them back.

Her body screamed to be dressed in high heels, figure-hugging skirts and expensive perfume. One word came to mind Amazonian. There was a natural healthy glow to her skin that owed nothing to solariums or spray-on-tan. His fingers tingled with a sudden need to touch, to see if her tan was as golden beneath the shapeless shirt as it was on her face and forearms.

His attention slipped. Again.

She narrowed her eyes. ‘I thought I recognised you yesterday. Dan Masters. From television.’

He nodded curtly, disconcerted. He couldn’t gauge whether her recognition of him was a good or a bad thing. ‘Do you always wear that uniform?’ he said and mentally winced. He was still a little off-centre, a feeling he didn’t like. He was used to being in charge, but she had him slipping with a simple flick of those large eyes. This was not off to a good start. He should know better than to taunt her when he wanted her onside. Flattery was a much better

tool.

She frowned and her face became sterner. ‘What’s wrong with my clothes?’

The peak of her cap framed eyes that spat fire. He studied her extraordinarily long lashes. There was no doubt they were real. They looked too delicate to be fake. Besides, she didn’t seem the sort to fiddle around for hours in front of a mirror. His gaze slid across her face. High cheekbones, stained a soft pink. Wide lips, slightly apart, revealing even white teeth. It was a mouth ready to be kissed.

He cleared his throat. ‘It’s very…professional. Please sit down, Miss Price.’

He waved to a chair, while he shuffled to his larger chair behind the desk. He sat with a stifled groan and waited for the stiffness to ease from his hip. 

She moved a few paces into the room and looked at the carpet and her heavy-booted feet. She brushed her pants. A fine dusty powder puffed into his clean office air. Her hands went to her head and she re-adjusted her cap and pulled it down more tightly. Irrationally, his hand itched to whip it from her head and watch her heavy black locks fall around her shoulders the way they had when she fought that dammed croc.

‘I didn’t realise your office was so…’ Her eyes darted to the walls, which held a series of colourful local artworks.

‘Stylish? Contemporary? Polished?’ he offered.

‘Unsuitable,’ she said, locking her gaze with his.

There it was again, that subtle internal shift. ‘This is the best office space to be temporarily rented in Broome. It has everything any business would want. It has comfortable furniture, comfortable ambience. Air conditioning.’ Just like his office in Sydney, but with breathtaking views.

He noticed goosebumps puckering her perfect silky skin. To him, it wasn’t overly cool inside, but she would spend most of her time out-of-doors. As the dirt on her uniform

attested. ‘I’m used to the heat outdoors. There’s no air conditioning out there.’ She waved towards the window and the picturesque scene beyond it.

‘It has carpet.’ Justifying office space wasn’t the type of conversation he wanted to have with her, but her left-of-centre attitude intrigued him.

‘Precisely. There’s a lot of sand out there, which makes its way in here and clogs up untold numbers of vacuum cleaners,’ she said.

‘Untold numbers of vacuum cleaners.’ 

‘Precisely. It’s impractical for Broome. Floorpigds and fans would be more…’ she waved her hands about.

‘Appropriate?’ he said, tapping his fingers on top of the polished table.

 ‘Now you’re getting the idea.’ Her eyes held a satisfied glow.

He pushed backwards and reclined in the chair, easing some of the tension from his shoulders. He met her piercing gaze. He needed to keep the conversation on track, get back the reins she so effortlessly took from him. ‘Miss Price, I didn’t ask you here to give me your opinions about office space.’

‘A thank you for saving your life, then?’ she asked, raising her brows.

‘A thank you…’ Dan said. ‘Lady, you shot me.  

‘I didn’t intend to shoot you. I had to try anything to get that croc off you. It was angry. It wasn’t going to walk away without its pound of flesh and I had to protect it, crook shot or not.’ That glare told him she was irrationally mad about that croc again. ‘What were you doing out there in the first place? Any local knows you don’t go stamping around croc nests in breeding season. Are you totally insane?’ 

Dan sighed, knowing that this was probably going to inflame her again. ‘I was told dusk was a safe time to view the nest.’

Victoria snorted. ‘Kevin March told you that? No time is a safe time to view a croc’s

nest. You’d have to be stupid to think so. He’s probably just taken you and your money for a ride.’

‘Hey, I was doing okay before you came along,’ Dan said, wondering how on earth she knew he had hired Kevin March.

‘Kicking on the snout is ineffective. It’ll only make it angrier. You might well have hugged it goodnight and sung it a lullaby for all the help it would have done you.’

‘It was on the point of letting me go.’

‘That croc wasn’t going anywhere without your leg. I’ve lost count of the number of poachers I’ve caught in that area and most of them were minus a limb if they were lucky enough to survive at all.’ She placed two hands on the desk and leaned closer to him. Her breasts pushed together. The two pert handfuls made his hands tingle. She seemed totally unaware of the tantalising figure she cut as she leant on the desk with her cleavage poking above the button of her practical work shirt. He itched to cup them and feel their warm heaviness pool in his hands.

‘Are you listening to a word I’m saying?’

Dan raised his eyes to hers and forcibly latched back into their conversation. 

‘I was researching.’

Victoria paused. A faint crease appeared in the otherwise perfectly smooth skin between her eyebrows. She pushed up from the desk. ‘Researching? Couldn’t you do that in front of a computer? Or at the library? Or watching TV?’

‘You can’t get enough information from those sources, which was why we were out there in the first place.’

‘You should have got yourself some help.’ She folded her arms beneath her breasts.

‘We did. He ran.’

Dan forced himself to take a deep breath. He liked the way this conversation was

progressing. She was confident she had the upper hand and he knew he could manoeuvre her into a corner because of it. He sat forward and rested his elbows on the table.

‘We need someone who knows the ropes,’ he said.

‘Precisely.’

‘Someone who knows the land like the back of their hand.’

‘Right.’

‘Someone like you, for instance,’ Dan said slowly and distinctly. Just a little push, a few more of the right words and she would be accepting.

Victoria frowned. ‘You want me to help you?’

 

‘Yes,’ 

Dan rose stiffly from his chair and rounded the desk, trying to ignore his groaning joints. She moved back a little, putting some space between them. It was a distance he didn’t like. She would be better in his arms, not on edge like a wild brumby ready for flight. He eased himself onto the edge of the desk so he was closer to her.

He needed her to feel the full impact of his next words to seal the deal. He held it long and steady, about to say the words that most women he knew would want to hear. ‘We want you to co-host. With me. We want you to be the educator, the action hero, the face of wildlife. We want you to be our star.’

 

Format: eBook

ISBN: 9781743480724

Published: 10/01/2013

Length Category

http://www.destinyromance.com/products/9781743480724/wild-heart-destiny-romance

Apple: https://itunes.apple.com/au/book/wild-at-heart/id592044063?mt=11

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-au/books/Wild-at-Heart/3u7p6Z-dGUioOtMF3ZOp9Q

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