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by Susanne Marie Knight
Description: Neanderthals are extinct ... aren't they? Smart, sophisticated modern day Vivian thinks they are. Then why is she falling hopelessly in love with him?
eBook Publisher: Awe-Struck E-Books/Awe-Struck E-Books, Inc., 2007 2007
eBookwise Release Date: February 2007
17 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [413 KB]
Reading time: 239-335 min.
"This was a very creative look at could have happened to the Neanderthals. All the characters provide a full array of personalities that keeps the book interesting. The romance is based on the strong sexual tension and emotional pull between that Max and Vivianne. While the physical aspects are primarily left to the reader's imagination, their feelings are openly demonstrated. The numerous subplots move the story, and support the romantic plotline. But, the originality of the story impresses me the most. Writers who can successfully finish the 'what if' in a logical and fascinating way are few, but Ms. Knight succeeds here. Competitors! is a great book for those who love a good suspense with a romantic twist, and those who enjoy a good romance with a well written paranormal base. 4 Cups!"--Anya Khan, Coffee Time Romance
"A fun read I recommend to anyone who enjoys something different, something that offers a new outlook and new background for the characters. This tale fits into many genres and will provide hours of pleasant reading. Talented author Susanne Marie Knight gives us a multi-layered story and a new look at the mystery of the Neanderthal's disappearance. Or did they? Enjoy, I did."--Anne K. Edwards, Mysteryfiction.net
"4.5 stars! If you enjoy books that are beyond the normal, then I would recommend Competitors! It's a fresh, unique romance that is kind of sweet and overwhelmingly passionate."--Janet Davies, Once Upon A Romance
"Author Susanne Marie Knight has done a convincing job of making the exotic Max as hypnotic and flat-out irresistible as he needs to be, to accomplish everything he is called upon to do. Max isn't only a sex hunk, he is smooth, educated, and well traveled. He can communicate mentally, and his sense of smell gives new definition to the word 'intimate.' Knight will have readers knocking on her door asking where they can get their own Neanderthals.... Competitors! is well thought out. Knight has more than a superficial knowledge about Neanderthals, and she has used it to shape her what-if into a fun, original plot."--Joy Calderwood, Reviewers-Choice
"Competitors! is a fast paced read, with a very well written cast of characters that support and play up each other. Good attention paid to the details, so one can understand the differences between the characters and the races involved. Susanne Knight has granted her audience fantasy and mystery combined with a science fictional blend along with a romantic edge to satisfy most any readers taste."--RIP, TCM Reviews
A knock sounded at the door. Her hand still fanning her camisole up and down, Vivianne stepped over to the entrance and opened the door. "Gosh, Fran, that was quick--"
Instead of Fran, over the threshold stood Maximilian Vogelherd, his deeply green eyes taking in the sight of her exposed, bare stomach. "Do you like things slow, then?" He lifted his lips in a deliberate smile, which heated her body's thermostat even further.
"Oh! Oh, hi. I, um, thought you were my neighbor, Fran." Vivianne hastily dropped her camisole top ... and her wits, as well.
He filled the weakly lit landing with his massive form--muscular, brawny, solid, and powerful. Still clad in those stonewashed jeans, he'd changed his tee shirt to a ribbed black sweater. In one hand he held a pet carrier and the other gripped a shopping bag probably filled with cat supplies. His eyes seemed illuminated from the faint overhead bulb, and he leisurely swept his gaze from the mane of her ponytail, down to her collarbones, over her now-covered hips, to rest on the coral-pink polish of her toenails. "May I come in?"
Unfreezing her limbs, she fussed with her hair to make sure it covered her scar, then she sprang into action because the unmistakable sounds of the bachelors' door opening rang out into the corridor. If the Pardos had been interested in how she was dressed when Mr. Greenley had called, they'd most likely shake their jowls a-plenty on seeing her scantily clothed with such a virile male visitor.
"Yes, please!" She urged Max inside, then hurriedly shut the door. Outside, the Pardos' door opened, closed, and the men's footsteps shuffled past on the tiled floor. Phew! Just in time.
But now here she was, in close quarters, cramped in her tiny hallway with this colossal hunk of a guy. Her mouth dried, and she swallowed several times before saying, "You're early."
Max took a step closer, which caused her to flatten against the wall. Her body temperature rose even higher. "Eins is impatient to meet you, Vivianne." A "wah" noise came from inside the carrier, as if to confirm.
"Um, why don't you, um, come into the living room and get the cat out while I, um, change." Her brain sluggish again, she started fanning her camisole until she saw the gleam in his darkened eyes.
"Don't bother to change on my account." He set the shopping bag down, then curved his fingers around her bare upper arm. "Come, let me introduce you to Eins."
The touch of his hand actually seared her, only it wasn't an uncomfortable sensation. She almost felt like she'd been branded by some type of sweet embrace.
How foolish of her. She pulled away and, despite the dry heat still baking the apartment, almost ran down the hallway into the living room. "Here, you take the cat out and I'll--"
Somehow, step for step, he managed to keep up with her, which must have been a tricky task for such a large man. He reclaimed her arm, then set the carrier down on the sculpted carpet. "First you make Eins welcome in his new home, ja?"
Torn on what she should do, she bit her lip. True, she was in her pajamas, but everything that should've been covered was covered. However the thin cotton material made her feel like she was wearing next-to-nothing--which she was, for she had relinquished the additional protection of undergarments. Standing next to him, she was aware of her nipples' hardening and a puddling of moisture between her thighs.
"Um, okay, quickly, then I'll--"
Kneeling, Max smoothly eased her down so she was also sitting on her heels by his side. "Here, we open together." He reached over for the latch, his arm inadvertently--or not--brushing against her breast.
Dizziness rocked her and fuzzy words invaded her mind, this time without the usual headache. As erotic tingles danced throughout her body to settle heavily in her feminine core, she licked her lips. His woodsy scent filled her veins and heated her blood even further, while his glowing eyes seemed to promise an endless pool of delights.
What in the world was happening to her? She didn't want this attraction, and yet had no power to stop her body's reactions. "Max?" she whimpered, almost pleading for him to stop the assault on her senses.
"Vivianne," he breathed, turning her face toward him and cupping her chin in his extremely large hand.
It was as if the veneer of civilization had been stripped away and all she had left were primitive, basic emotions. She wanted him to kiss her. And she wanted, needed, even more than that. Her traitorous body eagerly prepared for the age-old union between a man and a woman.
From a distance, she heard a baby's cry. "Wah," it insisted, over and over again.
Vivianne blinked, and as if she had awakened from a spell, turned away from Max to focus on a very large sealpoint Siamese cat rubbing against her hip.
"Wah," Eins persevered, obviously craving her attention. The cat blinked his own large blue eyes at her and purred with contentment.
Omigosh! This cat saved her from making a horrible mistake! Although she had never cared much for cats before, she instinctively gathered the animal up in her arms, then stood to murmur her thanks into his soft, perfumed fur. Somehow she knew to speak in cooing tones that only a cat would understand. His warm body felt soothing against hers, and she transferred her trembling emotions into the cat's large frame.
Whatever enchantment Max had cast upon her, was now broken. She couldn't believe she had just contemplated having sex with a stranger. She, who had just lost her fiancé. She, who had also lost her baby.
And what was worse, she had so desperately desired this coupling! Oh, how shameful. How totally perverse.
She glanced at Max, now sitting cross-legged on the carpet as he looked around in the room. No trace of ardor lingered on his face. He was unreadable, mysterious, a complete enigma.