Title: PRIME MAPLE
Genre: Adult Romantic Suspense
Word Count: 80,000
My Main Character's Most Stressful Relationship is:
Ecophysiologist Jen Preston’s most stressful relationship is with people. She’d rather hang with the trees. Except for Vic LaVigne. Her ex has this way of putting anyone at ease. Might be how he won the Canadian election by a landslide and was promptly named World’s Sexiest Prime Minister. Holed up in her lab, Jen’s safe from his charms. But when Vic activates Code Maple Leaf, she must cross the border to meet him in his buttery wood-paneled office on Parliament Hill, in the glow of the roaring fireplace. She just needs be professional. Keep her cool. No pressure.
American ecophysiologist Dr. Jen Preston is never, ever getting back together with her old flame, Vic LaVigne. Even if he is “The World’s Sexiest—and Most-Eligible—Prime Minister.” Because Vic is also Jen’s Most Heartbreaking Ex, The U.S.–Canadian border is a line Jen won’t cross—until her mentor is killed during a multi-million-dollar heist of Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve.
Vic calls a “Code Maple Leaf,” summoning Jen from her lab deep in the Maine woods to his office on Parliament Hill. He needs Jen—for her scientific expertise. Vic tells Jen that the maple trees are in trouble. Then he asks her (politely, of course) to continue her mentor’s research into the problem, sweetening his offer with French-Canadian kisses. He had her at Bonjour.
Prime Minister Charming soon faces stiff competition. As Jen combs her mentor’s lab for clues, First Nations Mountie Kel Blacktail risks his handsome neck to save her from a campus shooter. Kel escorts Jen to a field lab deep in the heart of the Quebec sugar bush and proceeds to light her fire. When Vic arrives to transport Jen back to his safe offices, she must choose whether to risk getting burned by Vic again or hunkering down with Kel to save the trees. Either way, she might lose Vic forever. Because the shooter is circling back for Jen—and the World’s Sexiest Prime Minister.
First 250 words:
Jen’s phone convulsed in her pocket. She filled the last tube in the DNA sample tray, hung her pipette on the carousel, and snapped off one purple glove. Jamming her free hand into the pocket of her lab coat, she extracted her peripheral brain, calming it with a sure but gentle thumb, and killed the music.
Multi-tasking was easy. Interruptions were annoying. Unknown callers, unpredictable.
“Dr. Jennifer Preston?”
Full name. Red flag. The mystery caller also lacked the Swedish accent of someone handing out Nobel prizes. Jen had wasted her time and glove on a telemarketer. Or someone phishing.
“Y-e-es.” Jen swiveled in her seat, winging back her aching shoulders. She arched her neck until her ponytail dangled like a loose leaf, closing her eyes against the canopy of fluorescent lights. Her chambray TOMS slid down the bottom rung of her lab stool to the speckled floor. Aaah. I can spare a moment to—
“This is Sam Singh. I’m calling for—”
Jen sat up straight. Telemarketers didn’t self-identify.
“I’ll take it from here, Sam,” interrupted a man with a voice so familiar Jen could taste it.
Jen dropped the phone onto the black lab bench like a hot Pop-Tart and hit the speaker button.
“Bonjour—Hello, Jen,” Vic said, and her heart whiplashed. He sure got a lot of mileage out of that French. And what, six million votes? Jen grimaced, then swallowed, burnt caramelized sweetness chasing bitter regret down her throat. She should have hit END CALL.