There’s silver out there: Sabrina Eckhart is sure of it. And when she finds the hidden mine on that big piece of West Texas desert, all of her financial problems are solved. That is, if she can find it. The man with the skills she needs is private investigator Alex Justice—a former navy fighter pilot and a current pain in the neck.
When mysterious “accidents” start to plague their search, it seems Rina’s multi-acre inheritance might be more a curse than a blessing. And yet, there’s still something sensua
l about the heat…his arrogance…her stubbornness…being thrust into each other’s arms by danger… But the vultures are circling, and if they don’t watch their backs, the relentless desert sun could be the last thing Rina and Alex ever see.
Currently living in Missoula, Montana, Kat Martin is the bestselling author of over fifty Historical and Contemporary Romance novels. Before she started writing in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, Larry Jay Martin, also an author. Kat is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Barbara, where she majored in Anthropology and also studied History. “I love anything old,” Kat says. “I love to travel and especially like to visit the places where my books are set. My husband and I often stay in out-of-the-way inns and houses built in times past. It’s fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a by-gone era.”
To date, Kat has over twelve million copies of her books in print. She is published in twenty foreign countries, including Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Korea, Bulgaria, Russia, England, South Africa, Italy, Spain, Argentina, Japan and Greece.
From author about the book:
CHRISTMAS IN TEXAS
by Kat Martin
Though I’ve never experienced Christmas in Texas, I imagine it’s a warm country celebration. In AGAINST THE ODDS, set in Houston, the Christmas Season is the heroine, Sabrina Eckhart’s, favorite time of year.
Born in the little town of Uvalde, Rina and her mom looked forward every year to the celebration–until her Uncle Walter died on his way to her house on Christmas Eve.
G.Q. handsome and obscenely rich, Alex is a private investigator and an ex-Navy pilot. Rina met him when he was helping with security for her best friend, Sage Dumont. Sabrina doesn’t like him, but she knows he’s good at his job and she trusts him to keep her safe.
Alex is just the man she needs to fly her into the desert in search of her late uncle’s property. Running out of money, she’s determined to find the mine and make it productive, even if it means putting up with the cocky jet jockey she finds annoyingly attractive.
The book was interesting to write, a different kind of story that deals with survival in the harsh, inhospitable desert, family betrayal, and long-buried secrets. The characters had to overcome stereotypes and learn to trust and love.
Alex and Rina are two of my favorite characters, so different on the surface, yet oddly suited. Though it takes a life-and-death struggle before they begin to see the truth.
Excerpt from Against the Odds
Rina’s adrenaline was pumping. The thrill of being so high in an open-air helicopter was a rush unlike anything she had ever felt before. Add to that, flying with Alex Justice, watching his long-fingered hands work the controls, seeing the capable way he handled the machine, made her heart rate soar even higher. There was something about a man taking charge, a man who was good at what he did, that turned her on.
Not that she would ever admit it.
Alex wasn’t her type and she wasn’t his and both of them knew it. Still, she wasn’t dead and Alex was definitely eye candy and more.
She forced herself to concentrate on the search they were making. They’d been flying for more than an hour, had located the property but not the mine itself–assuming there was one. There’d been nothing in the will to indicate its location or anything about it. Just the legal description of the land itself, three-thousand acres, five-square miles, of what appeared to be dirt, rocks, and cactus.
Her gaze followed the contours of the property. Ravines scarred the landscape, and ridges of granite rose out of the sloping desert floor. Chaparral, mesquite, and scrub brush dotted endless stretches of rocks and sand.
“Not much out there,” Alex said above the whip, whip, whip of the rotors.
“We haven’t covered that much area yet. Maybe we’ll find something that marks the mine.”
“If there is one,” Alex said, reminding her there might not be anything more than exactly what they were seeing–miles and miles of vast, empty desert.
The hours began to blur together. Once they had reached the property location, Alex had begun searching in a grid pattern to cover as much of the area as possible. The temperature was rising, the heat building inside the chopper, the afternoon slipping away. Rina yawned and rubbed her eyes, which felt gritty from the wind and heat.
An odd noise caught her attention. The whop, whop, whop had been so regular she’d been trying not to fall asleep. This sound was different, a kind of grinding that had her gaze shooting to Alex, who features suddenly looked grim.
Sabrina’s heart stalled and a few seconds later, so did the engine.
“Alex, what’s happening?”
Alex heard the fear in Sabrina’s voice. There wasn’t time to answer. Instead, his years of training and experience kicked in and he did what he had been trained to do–slamming the collective down to neutral, taking the pitch out of the blade. The chopper fell like a stone.
“Oh, my God!” Sabrina’s voice rose even higher as she realized they were in trouble.
The blades were flat now, the wind whistling up between them, making them spin even faster than the engine, which had gone deadly silent.
“Just hold on!” he shouted. “We’ll auto-rotate down! We’ll be fine!” He’d done it dozens of times, knew without thinking exactly how to make it happen. As the inertia built, he began to search the ground for a place to land, but something didn’t feel right, something was altering their approach while they were still too high to make a safe landing.
It was the blades, he realized. Instead of moving at the speed they should have, they were sticking and slowing, jerking instead of spinning smoothly. They were going to hit the ground hard. Way too hard.
At the last minute, he flared the chopper, hoping to slow it as much as possible, hit a little softer, keep the helo in one piece, but the chopper was coming in too fast and the ground rushed up.
Sabrina screamed as the windshield shattered and he leaned over her, tried to cover her as much as he could with his body. The rotor blades tore free and spun away, shattering into jagged pieces that flew like deadly knives into the desert.
The chopper shook and continued to disintegrate. After what seemed like minutes but was only seconds, the machine finally started to settle. Alex popped his seatbelt and reached for Sabrina, eased her back in the seat and saw blood trickling down her forehead. She was moaning, conscious, but barely. From the corner of his eye, he spotted the lick of orange flames behind them, rushing up from what was left of the engine.
The fuel tank was going to blow. They had to get out and fast. Reaching behind his seat, he grabbed his emergency gear bag, slung the strap over his shoulder, then reached for Sabrina, popped her belt and started to pull her out of the chopper from the pilot’s side.
The effort had him hissing in pain, his body telling him he had injured a couple of ribs, but there wasn’t time to worry about that now. Ignoring the sharp stab in his side, he pulled Sabrina free of the wreckage, half dragged, half carried her over to an outcropping of rock, settled her behind it.
There was just enough time to throw himself over her, protecting her as much as he could, before the helo exploded into a ball of thick black smoke and searing flames. The blazing inferno shot into the sky, and a barrage of shrapnel sliced through the air around them.
Alex felt a sharp sting as a jagged piece of metal cut through his shirt and sliced into his back. A second explosion ripped through the air, then the only sound he heard was the crackle of flames.
He took a quick look over the rock to make sure it was safe, then turned his attention to the woman on the ground. Her face was as pale as the sand under her head, and a thin line of blood trickled from her forehead to her left temple.
She moved her head a little and groaned. Then her pretty blue eyes cracked open and she looked up at him. “Alex…?”
The pain and fear in her voice made his chest clamp down. She was lucky to be alive. They both were. Lucky he’d been able to make any kind of landing at all.
“It’s all right, baby, you’re safe. I need to take a look, see where you’re injured.”
She reached a shaky hand up to her forehead. “My head…hurts.” She swiped at the trickle of blood. “I think I cut myself.”
His jaw hardened. She had hired him to protect her. But he couldn’t protect her from this. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“No, I don’t…don’t think so.”
Jerking the strap of the canvas bag off his shoulder, he set the bag aside and made a cursory check for broken bones, felt her legs and arms, which seemed to be okay. He checked for neck or spinal injuries, didn’t find anything obvious. There were nicks and cuts from the crash on her neck and arms, but aside from that she seemed to be okay. Alex breathed a sigh of relief that she hadn’t been hurt a lot worse.
“I’m kind of dizzy.”
“You probably have a slight concussion.” He held up three fingers. “How many do you see?”
He checked her pupils. They looked normal. “You remember what happened?”
“We crashed. I remember how scared I was, how fast the ground seemed to come up from beneath us. Then I blacked out.”
“We hit pretty hard.” To say the least.
“Can we…can we radio for help?”
“Chopper exploded. No time to call it in and now the radio’s gone.”
Her eyes widened at the news. She sat up a little too quickly and hissed in pain.
“Take it easy.” He tried to ease her back down, but she moved his hand away and managed to prop herself against the rock to look over at the slow-burning chunk of metal, all that was left of the helo. “What…what caused the crash?”
A muscle tightened in his jaw. “I don’t know. Something went wrong with the engine. We should have been able to auto-rotate down safely, but the rotors jammed. We’re lucky we faired as well as we did.”
Her eyes remained on the chopper, then swung to his face. “You saved me. You got me out of there. I never would have made it on my own.”
He thought of how close they’d both come. “You’d have made it if you hadn’t hit your head. It’s no big deal.” He could see by the set of her chin that she didn’t believe him, but she didn’t say more.
He pulled his cell phone out of a pocket in his jeans, noticed a burn hole in his pant leg, felt the sting where the hot metal had struck. He had the same nicks and cuts she had, a few more, maybe. His back was bleeding, but he didn’t thing the cut was that bad. He was just grateful to be alive.
Flipping open the phone, he saw there wasn’t any service, as he had expected. There weren’t any cell towers this far out in the middle of nowhere.
Sabrina silently watched him. Tentatively, she touched the growing knot on her forehead next to her hairline. “God, Alex, what are we going to do?”
RTBook Reviews“Martin just keeps getting better and better! Her characters have more depth, and her plots are more sinister, as the Against series continues. Set in the sizzling desert of Texas and rife with mystery, intrigue and twisted family secrets, this entry is sure to earn a spot on any fan’s keeper shelf.”
As always, Kat Martin delivers an action packed thriller romance in the form of Against the Odds. The book is full of macho muscle wielding men who stand by their women when they aren’t busy rescuing them from danger.
The book included loads of action that captured your attention along with enough romance to keep the pages burning hot.
Kat Martin does such an outstanding job with her descriptions that the reader is transported into Houston, Texas and the surrounding area as though they are part of the story.
If you are currently a Kat Martin fan, you are going to love this addition to the series. If you are a first time reader, you are going to become a fan.
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