An ancient map sends a jungle guide to the wilds of Peru in search of Templar gold, only to find something more precious—the love of a beautiful botanist whose integrity makes him want to be a man the legendary order would admire.
Botanist Madeline Wentworth is relieved to be heading into the Amazon, far from the university and the vicious rumors circulating about her failed love affair. But on arriving in Peru, her team finds their guide dead with a small puncture wound to his neck. Waiting to replace him is Travis Kane, Amazon guide, treasure hunter, and superhunk. Mattie is instantly attracted but uncomfortably suspicious. When a member of her team falls ill and a similar puncture wound is found on his body, her suspicions deepen.
Travis has stuck with being a jungle guide for over ten years despite a run of unsavory clients. The rain forest is full of hidden ruins and undiscovered treasure, and he’s determined to find his share. But when his grandfather dies, leaving a letter boasting of Templar gold, he’s sure it’s nothing more than an old man’s delusion. Everything changes when he finds his grandfather’s map. With high hopes, he leads Mattie’s team into the rain forest and finds himself overwhelmed by the beautiful blonde. When the group is attacked and has to fight its way out of the jungle, Travis discovers something more precious than gold–the love of a woman who’s made him want to be a better man.
Mattie strolled to the edge of the pool, then slipped off her boots and dipped a toe into the water. It was surprisingly cool considering the temperatures around them. She couldn’t wait to feel it against her skin. Later, after she swam, she’d wash some of her dirty clothes and hang them to dry. They might be in the rain forest but that didn’t mean she couldn’t try to stay clean.
“Are you going to swim?” Just the sound of his voice sent a thrill of excitement through her, made her skin heat.
Mattie turned, noting those buttons were undone again, a light perspiration visible below the pulse point at his throat. “Yes, I’m going to. How about you?”
“Maybe later. I still have a few things to take care of.”
His answer disappointed her. She’d hoped to see what lurked behind those buttons. A glimpse of golden skin only made her eager to see more of what he looked like beneath his shirt.
Could he be as buff as she’d pictured him?
“I won’t keep you,” she said, whirling back to the pool, needing a cold reality check. You’d think she’d have learned her lesson with Elders. But in a way, Travis was different. She was attracted to this man. She hadn’t been to Gerald. She’d given in to him, but was never washed away by passion. That had never happened with any man–unless you counted the dream she’d had the night before they’d left Manu.
Could Travis be the man in the dream? Was that why she was so drawn to him?
That was crazy. It was just a dream. That’s all.
Slowly she waded into the water, the liquid swirling around her, washing away all that troubled her. When she was up to her waist, she dived under, the coolness instantly reviving her.
She resurfaced and swam toward the middle of the pool where Drew floated on his back. She splashed him to get a reaction.
“Now you’re in trouble,” he said, a mischievous glint in his light blue eyes making Mattie backpedal toward shore.
Drew dived on top of her and they both went under, the playfulness transporting her back in time. She felt like a child again. Before her father destroyed their family’s happy existence with his excessive gambling.
Mattie came up and shook her head, spraying water around her. It had been ages since she’d enjoyed herself so much. The only thing that would make this perfect was if Travis was the man she was playing around with.
Stop it, Mattie. It’s obvious he doesn’t want you like that, even though his eyes seem to say otherwise.
Mattie rolled to her back and drifted on the water, her attention riveted to the clear, cloudless sky that was the most amazing shade of blue. Nature seemed so much more vivid in the middle of the Amazon, the colors brighter somehow. She could stay here forever and never be able to soak it all in.
Splashing all around brought her back to the real world.
She turned from her back and glanced around. Everyone but Travis frolicked in the pool. He sat on a large rock, one foot propped on a smaller stone. He seemed like such a loner. A man used to being on his own.
Then again, she wasn’t all that social herself. It took a special type of person to feel comfortable with only themselves as company. Travis clearly was one of those people.
At that moment, his eyes connected with hers, the intensity causing her womb to contract. As if she were pulled into a tractor beam, she swam toward him, her gaze holding his. How she wished they were alone. If they were, she’d probably do something foolish, like throw herself at him.
But they weren’t alone. Five other people were around and she wanted the respect of every one of them, and falling all over their guide wouldn’t earn her that. Especially not after the Gerald Elders embarrassment.