Romance writer Lacey Avery’s life has been anything but romantic. Taking refuge in her writing, Lacey has all but given up on love. Therefore, when handsome Fire Captain Damien Christoval comes to her rescue after a drunk driver strikes her sports car, Lacey isn’t looking for love.

Fire Captain Damien Christoval, assailed with memories of another call, which took his wife’s life, prepares himself for what is to come. However, nothing in the world could prepare him for the woman trapped inside the crumpled vehicle or the love that she would inspire. But a dark secret, so bizarre, could drive them apart before their burning passion can ignite into the blazing love they both desire.

November 2004
Genesis Press
ISBN: 1-585-71134-9
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Praise for the Book

"Nothing short of inventive, the plot of Lace unfolds in a well-structured, creative and engrossing manner. Lacey and Damien are well suited for one another, and secondary characters serve only to highlight an already terrific novel. Carmichael's latest is sexy and thrilling."

—T.L. Burton, Romantic Times Magazine


Lacey escorted Damien back into the living room once dinner was complete. She lit a match and systematically began lighting the candles in the room. When the room became washed in candle light, she blew out the match and laid it on the tray. With the stereo remote, soft jazz soon filled the air.

Damien stood where she had left him in the doorway. He wore blue slacks and a lighter shade of a blue button down shirt. He glanced around at her handiwork, suddenly not as exhausted as he had been a moment ago. Lacey was up to something and he eagerly anticipated her next move.

She didn't keep him waiting long. Lacey returned to him standing in the doorway and led him over to the pillow sprawled in the middle of the floor. Before it she stopped and met Damien's curious gaze. She kissed him lightly, and then reached for the buttons on the front of his shirt.

"You do so much for everyone else," she said as the first button gave way, "that tonight I wanted to do something for you."

"And what might that be?" Damien asked with a voice suddenly laced with tension. His hazel eyes watched closely as Lacey released yet another button.

She glanced at him briefly. "A massage." She undid another button, and then pulled the tail of his shirt free from his slacks.

Damien swore under his breath as the sheer magnitude of her words registered inside his head. A desirable woman was removing his shirt to give him a massage. He didn't think he was strong enough to handle Lacey caressing his body.

"Baby, maybe this isn't a good idea."

Lacey laughed. "It will help you to relax. I know you've been under a great deal of pressure lately."

The only pressure that was concerning Damien at the moment was below his waist. "I'm fine, Lacey." Damien tried to convince her, but it was too late. The last button gave way and Lacey stood before him examining her find. She ran her delicate looking hands across the hardness of his chest and lower over his washboard abdomen. After what seemed like hours of pleasurable torture, she planted a kiss in the middle of his chest, then proceeded to remove his shirt. Lacey pushed the folds of the shirt back off his muscled chest and over wide shoulders, down bulging biceps, and further down strong arms. When his hands were free of the shirt, she ceremoniously draped it across the table and ordered Damien to lie down.

He took a deep breath as he complied and tried to ignore the rising bulge in the front of his pants. Stretching out on the body pillow, he had to admit it felt pretty good. The music, candles, and the softness of the pillow had Damien rethinking this idea of Lacey's. But the moment her hands touched his back, slick and warm with oil, he asked himself what the hell he had been thinking to agree to this.

Lacey skillfully went to work releasing the tension in Damien's upper body. She worked the oils into his wide shoulders with strong sure strokes. With the pads of her fingers, she kneaded down the length of his back before applying slight pressure in the bend. Working her way back up, his arms and hands were next, followed by the neck area. The muscles there were extremely tight under her fingers. But as she rubbed and worked the oil into his flesh, the muscles slowly began to ease. Damien purred when she touched a particular spot and Lacey knew that he had stopped fighting her touch and given himself over to the skills in her hands.

She admired the beauty of his dark body under her fingertips. The skin was clear and smooth despite the hard toned muscles underneath. His body gave off natural heat that she found sensually disturbing.

Damien hadn't realized how tense and tight his body was until Lacey began to work her magic. The muscles rioted under her manipulation at the beginning, but slowly eased and became pliable. He was surprised by the skill and strength in her small delicate hands, but she had been a gymnast he reminded himself. The skill required strength, endurance, and grace. But the feel of her straddling his body and the sweep of her pants against his lower back as she occasionally rose up to reach his neck area was beginning to cause a different type of tension to stir inside of him again. Closing his eyes, he tried to concentrate on the feel of Lacey's hands on his flesh and not the fantasy trying to take dominance inside his head.

Damien's breathing was slow and shallow. His eyes were closed as he lay quietly beneath her. Lacey could tell that she had achieved her goal in relaxing him. He had fought her like she knew that he would, but in the end, his body had taken over and responded to her touch.

Lacey took the opportunity to study Damien. He looked beautiful and peaceful sprawled on the floor. Her heart filled with a powerful emotion that she didn't dare acknowledge; however, the desire to be close to him was gnawing at her. She tried to resist the temptation pulsing through her body, but soon lost the fight. Defeated she leaned forward covering Damien's upper body with her own. The heat from his body caused her to sigh with pleasure as the dormant womanly need inside of her awakened with a vengeance.

Lacey closed her eyes and moaned as the flames of desire burned hotly in the pit of her belly. She eased over Damien and rolled to the side to stretch out beside him. Her eyes mapped a course over his unique face. He was all male, yet no less beautiful. His near-black skin enhanced his masculine appeal. Lacey had to touch him. Her hand smoothed his dark brows and caressed his narrow nose. Next, it grazed his lean cheek as her eyes hungrily studied his mouth. She knew the feel and taste of it. Just thinking about the pleasure it could give her caused another wave of desire to wash over her. Lacey sighed with a growing frustration.

"Oh, Damien, you're a drug I'm finding hard to resist," she whispered softly to his sleeping form.

"Then stop trying to resist," he whispered back as his eyes popped open to meet hers.

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