SynopsisArcheologist and folklore expert Nate Murdock has discovered ancient stone carvings that will either revolutionize thinking in his field or get him laughed out of it entirely, and he’s hired world-renowned photographer Alex Martin to document his find and bolster his claim. When the alluring Alexandra Martin, not Alex, shows up for the job, Nate’s not sure whether to send her packing or take her into his arms.
Alexandra Martin, the daughter of the famed photographer and just as talented with a camera, is a dark-haired and dark-eyed beauty. Years ago her father built his reputation on photographs he’d stolen from her, and she’s out to prove once and for all that she’s the real deal. When the opportunity to work with the celebrated and ruggedly handsome Nate Murdock falls into her lap, she jumps at the chance—whether he likes it or not.
As tempers flare and accusations fly, the two dig in for a battle of wills and an uneasy truce at their remote mountainside camp. But when drug smugglers trap them in a cave and leave them to die, Nate and Alexandra realize they must trust each other—and the fiery passion growing between them—and surrender to a mysterious force as it guides them through a perilous escape and the acceptance of a powerful love as primal and compelling as the mountain itself.
This is a nice romantic suspense piece, with a touch of the supernatural for spice. It has some excellent action scenes but is primarily a relationship driven story. The heroine is Alex Martin. Alex is a photographer hired by UC Berkeley to take a series of photos of glyphs carved on a cliff face in a wilderness area in Northern California. She also has more emotional baggage than Paris Hilton on a road trip. She has been repeatedly betrayed by men – from her father who ‘won’ the Pulitzer Prize using her photos to her lover who was just using her to make his way in the world of professional photographer. She is trying to make her way in a field dominated by men and feels she has to fight for respect and control. So when she meets the hero, Dr. Nathan Murdock, and he’s horrified that she’s NOT her father and NOT male she goes ballistic. Nate, who is more than a little off-balance at being caught in the buff by his new (and stunningly beautiful) photographer, does not react well to her not being who he expected her to be.
“I did not hire a woman. This isn’t a job for a woman.” Alex points out that since she is entirely capable of doing the job his options are paying off her contract up front, being on the receiving end of a sexual discrimination lawsuit, or letting her do the job she was hired to do. The two settle into a prickly relationship while spending the day rock climbing to study and photograph the rock glyphs. Both feel there is something powerful about the glyphs but are reluctant to discuss it.
They eventually end up involved with drug smugglers and artifact thieves and end up captured, then trapped in a cave-in instigated by the bad guys. They spend a lot of time trying to find their way out of the cave system – helped along by the spirits of the cave. Pressured by the situation they act on their physical attraction (and act, and act…) and finally realize that it is more than just physical.
About three-quarters of the way through the story the drug smuggler/cave segment is wrapped up – and the closeness between the protagonists goes south again. Distrust and tempers ensue, everybody behaves badly, and eventually Alex goes off in a huff. The last quarter of the book is spent resolving some issues both past and present. Needless to say it all works out – eventually.
Although I enjoyed reading this, there was so much action in the first part of the book that the ‘issue resolving’ of the last portion was rather flat. The action was excellent – she did a good job on bringing home the whole ‘trapped in the dark’ feel. I really enjoyed the cave spirits, nice touch.