Winning Casey by January Bain
Book one in the Brass Ring Sorority Series
Think archeology is just dead bones? Think again.
Headstrong archeologist Casey spends her life exploring the world for hidden treasure and ancient artifacts. A free spirit, her dedication to her calling means she’s often in conflict with the more narrow-minded higher-ups at the university where she’s employed as an associate professor. Timetables, rules, protocols—they all go out of the window when Casey’s on the hunt.
The inscrutable Professor Truman Harrison falls for Casey at first sight, literally, tumbling into a pit at her feet on first meeting. Now, if he as Casey’s new, detested department head can just talk her into helping him search for the legendary treasure buried in the Money Pit of Oak Island, Nova Scotia, maybe he can also get her to fall into his bed. But first he needs to prove to her he’s not just another tunnel-visioned, box-ticking management ‘suit’.
But the romance of this scorching-hot couple proves to have all the twists, turns, false starts and trick corners of a multicursal labyrinth. Luckily, both Casey and Truman have no small skill and a little bit of practice in navigating those…
Part madcap caper, part serious treasure hunting, the Brass Ringers never fail to entertain or get their way!
Suddenly, the ground rumbled ominously beneath her feet. She froze. Listened. What the hell was going on? Earthquake? Something crashed-landed? Which direction? Unfreezing and spinning around on the spot, she looked intently for a clue as to what was happening. Did someone need help? Her heart beating wildly, she had no choice but to wait, unsure of which direction the sound had come from.
A loud shout. There.
She took off running, shoving the phone into her pocket, adrenaline coursing through her veins, feet pounding down the path.
She raced around a curve in the trail to find a sinkhole opening a meter away, the ground still tumbling.
“Holy shit!” she exclaimed, stopping dead in her tracks. Should she move any closer? Would she destabilize it even more? She backed off a couple of steps.
As the dust settled, a man emerged, standing upright in the pit. Not just any man, but a truly pissed-off one. She could only see him from the shoulders up until she moved in closer for a better view. He appeared unharmed.
“If you wouldn’t mind lending a hand, darlin’,” he said, his tone suggesting she was not being very helpful just standing there gawking. “Just in case this thing decides to settle even more.”
“Oh, yes, of course.” She extended her arm. The poor guy was covered in dust and debris. He grasped her hand, she gave a mighty pull and he scrambled up the side of the hole. He slipped at the last possible second on the unstable edge and tumbled forward, landing right smack on top of her.
Fuck. She went down with a thud, the breath whooshing from her lungs in a wild rush, his sudden closeness to her person a hell of a shook. The scent of cologne or aftershave, mingled with a natural underlying musk, washed over her as he lay prone on her body, his head cradled by her breasts. She stared into the bluest eyes ever as his startled glance locked with hers. A complete stranger, embracing her. Albeit a very handsome and hot one who gave off a tantalizing fragrance, if that made it any better.
The man had the grace to look even more horrified than her. When he seemed to realize his hands were on her person, and more specifically, squeezing one very sensitive breast, the nipple pebbling from the intimate contact, he extracted himself, got to his feet then bent to give her a hand up.
“My God, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” he apologized.
“I’m fine,” she croaked, swallowing hard. Her backpack had absorbed most of the fall.
He took a moment to shake and pound the soil off. Her hands trembled as she retrieved a water bottle. She drank deeply, offering a second bottle to him as she did so. He took it with a nod of thanks and downed half in one quick go.
“Wow,” she finally ventured. “That really was something.”
“Yeah, that was something all right,” he agreed. She got a better look at him as he emerged from his dust cocoon. Topping six feet two at least, he towered well above her, wide shoulders encased in a blue work shirt, sleeves rolled up to the elbows, jeans hanging on narrow hips. His blue eyes blazed and his square jaw was tight. He reminded Casey of a young Robert Redford from the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Golden Boy. Sweet Jesus.
“Oh, goodness, I’m so sorry! What happened? Are you okay?” A voice intruded as a young man dressed in a beige uniform, clipboard in hand, expression aghast, rushed up. Oak Island Tours printed in white on his red baseball cap signified his occupation.
“What happened is a blasted pit opened up under my feet. And I nearly hurt this young lady by landing on top of her.”
“I’m so sorry…” The man looked down at his clipboard. “Professor Harrison. I didn’t get the chance to warn you. I was running late, oh, my goodness—you’re not going to sue the company or anything? I could lose my job.”
“Weren’t you off the marked path?” Casey interrupted, glancing over at a black backpack lying at the base of a pine tree at least ten feet off the trail.
“What? Uh, yes, okay. I did go over to look—”
“Well, then, you’d better not sue the tour company for your own negligence.”
“What in the world are you talking about? Who said anything about suing anybody?”
“Well, it was obviously your own fault.” A devil made her say it. Blame it on the last few confusing moments. Things needed to get back under control. Her control.
“Yes, you strayed from the path, didn’t wait for the tour guide to give his safety speech.” She crossed her arms over her breasts, pursing her lips.
His blue eyes flashed and narrowed. “And you did? Why are you here, anyway?”
“I booked a private tour. A perfectly acceptable reason for being here, I believe.”
“I see you didn’t wait for the tour guide, either. Isn’t that a breach of the rules?” he noted, his jaw tightening.
The tour guide piped up, “Oh, I’m sorry about that. Apparently, I’m double-booked for a private tour today.”
“You sure are sorry about a lot of things today,” the guy muttered, not letting up on his scowl.
“Mr. Harrison,” she began.
“Truman,” he said.
“Truman Harrison,” she parroted. Wait. That name sounded familiar.
“Precisely, darlin’. And you are?”
“Uh, Casey Madison.” She appreciated his pronounced southern drawl. It sounded vastly more charming than her stark Canadian prairie flatlander accent. Even when pissed. Make that royally pissed.
The tour guide spoke up, glanced her way. “Casey Madison from the U of M. Right?”
“University of Manitoba?” Truman asked, furrowing his brow. He leaned forward, pulling something from her hair. He held out a dry bit of twig. She took a step backward, chewing on her bottom lip.
“Yeah, so?” She smoothed the braid curving its way down her breast. She regretted having tied a bright red ribbon around the blond ends that morning. She glanced at his hair, shining bright gold in the sunlight. Oh, yeah. A real pretty boy. And being a bit of a jackass.
“Department of Archeology?”
“Yeah?” Casey repeated.
“Don’t you think it only right and proper to welcome your new department head?”
Just. Fuckin’. Great.
Casey pressed her lips together into a grim line. Of all the people to run into here, in Nova Scotia, he would have been the seventh billion in plausible possibilities on her list. Was this payback for stealing Soapy’s Gold? Her fingers twitched to squeeze the life out of the stress-ball printed with the chancellor’s image, thoughtfully presented to her by a fellow Brass Ringer last Christmastime.
And meet talented author January Bain
January Bain has wished on every falling star, every blown-out birthday candle, and every coin thrown in a fountain to be a storyteller. To share the tales of high adventure, mysteries, and full blown thrillers she has dreamed of all her life. The story you now have in your hands is the compilation of a lot of things manifesting itself for this special series. Hundreds of hours spent researching the unusual and the mundane have come together to create a series that features strong women who don’t take life too seriously, wild adventures full of twists and unforeseen turns, and hot complicated men who aren’t afraid to take risks. She can only hope the stories of her beloved Brass Ringers will capture your imagination as you follow their exploits as much as they did when she wrote them.
If you are looking for January Bain, you can find her hard at work every morning without fail in her office with two furry babies trying to prove who does a better job of guarding the doorway. And, of course, she’s married to the most romantic man! Who once famously remarked to her inquiry about buying fresh flowers for their home every week, “Give me one good reason why not?” Leaving her speechless and knocking her head against the proverbial wall for being so darn foolish. She loves flowers.
If you wish to connect in the virtual world she is easily found on Facebook, twitter and writes a weekly blog about her journey on Blogger. Oh, and she loves to talk books…
Blog Address – http://januarybainjourney.blogspot.ca/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanuaryBain
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/january.bain
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6437282.January_Bain