Nora Bradford – A Woman with a Secret
HEATING IT UP: A Red Hot Russians Novella is the story of Alexei Zaikov (brother to Misha in Getting It Back, book three in the series) and Nora Bradford, the mysterious woman he meets as part of his very unusual job, managing a research station in Antarctica. In this sweet but sexy contemporary romance, Nora and Alexei must work together to save the Amity Bay station from being shut down. But will the truth about Nora’s role in Amity Bay’s demise, doom their romance?
Welcome Nora! Tell us a little about yourself. How old are you and what do you do?
I’m 26. I’m an architect specializing in sustainable design and I worked as the lead designer of Glacier Ridge Lodge, a new guest house that was intended to replace the obsolete Amity Bay Research Station. Until recently, I worked for Quinn & Associates in San Francisco, one the world’s top firms specializing in sustainable building.
Nora offered a tight smile. "It’s a long story."
I see. What is your relationship status?
She sighed, and gazed down at her hands, devoid of rings. "I’m single and have been since my fiancé Blake drowned two years, while diving in Belize.
I’m sorry to hear that, and you have my deepest sympathies. I imagine that’s been extremely difficult.
She bobbed her head in a single, brisk nod. It has. "That’s why I poured everything into the Glacier Ridge project, trying to push aside my grief. Unfortunately, that didn’t work very well."
Tell us about your family. Are you close to them?
My father was a colonel in the Air Force, my parents met in high school and married soon after. I have two older brothers, both of whom followed in my dad’s footsteps and went into the military. My dad’s retired now, and he and my mom live in Germany. One of my brothers lives near Washington DC, the other one is in Texas. I’d say we’re as close as a family that’s spread out all over the world can be.
What is your best memory to date?
Growing up, I lived in some amazing places and one of my favorites was Greenland. My dad was stationed at Thule Air Base which is north of the Arctic Circle, and I could see whales and icebergs from my bedroom window. On Christmas Eve, we always received our gifts early in the morning, because my parents said our house was Santa’s first stop, as he set out to fly around the world. Instead of leaving cookies for him, we set out pancakes and sausage.
What would you most like to forget?
The morning two years ago, when one of Blake’s buddies called me at the office to tell me that Blake had drowned while diving in the Great Blue Hole. Just like that, my world collapsed. For the next months, I was numb and went through life in work-fueled trance. Thinking about Blake, about anything, only made me sadder. What’s strange is that in a lot of ways, I did forget that time. It’s only since I came to down to Antarctica that the fog has started to lift.
Name three of your favorite things.
I love being near the ocean. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sunny beach, a foggy coast, or someplace frozen. It’s the awesome size and depth which speak to me. It’s what inspires my work as a designer. We have to live in harmony with nature, because we’re never going to conquer it. I also love to draw and paint, though I don’t have much time to do it. A third thing I love is cooking and creating an amazing meal for someone who truly appreciates it.
Name three things that tick you off.
"Easy." She held up her fingers, counting off each one. "People who break promises. People who lie. People who exploit others to get what they want. And sexism. Oops. That’s four."
It sounds like you know someone like that. I don’t suppose this has anything to do with why you no longer work for Quinn & Associates?
She nodded, and her mouth quirked in a rueful smile. "You would suppose right. But as I said, it’s a long story."
Now on to something lighter, what is your favorite drink?
A pinot noir from my favorite small winery near Sonoma. All of their reds are amazing, but the pinot is like an explosion of dark fruit, with soft floral hints. I wish I had a glass of it right now.
What is your favorite food?
There are so many incredible restaurants in San Francisco, it’s hard not to become a foodie. But I think my favorite food is Pizza Napolotana, the traditional Italian pizza that’s baked in a wood-fired brick oven and topped with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella, herbs and oregano. It’s honest, down to earth, and irresistible.
What was your first impression of Alexei Zaikov?
She laughs quietly. "Speaking of honest, down to earth and irresistible. The first thing I noticed about Alexei, aside from his beautiful eyes and sexy smile, was his kindness. He’s strong and capable, but at the same time, compassionate. He’s good listener, and passionate about his work here in Antarctica, and the people who call Amity Bay home."
If you could make one thing happen what would it be?
Alexei wants to save Amity Bay, and I have a plan to do that, and the expertise to make it happen. The problem is I’ve kept it secret from Alexei and from everyone else here, that I designed the lodge that’s intended to replace their community. I once saw Amity Bay as nothing more than a collection of obsolete buildings, but coming here and being part of the community have shown that the station needs to survive. But can I reveal the truth without everyone, including Alexei, seeing me as their enemy?
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