I absolutely ADORED the first two books in this series! And now, in this third (standalone) instalment, we have an ex special-ops officer and security expert on the hunt for a notorious thief, a woman with whom he spent one explosive tropical night before she vanished without a trace. Wicked Intentions is available now and I have an awesome excerpt for you.
The look in Ryan’s eyes is savage. I know exactly what’s coming next.
Time to apply the brakes.
I place a hand flat on his chest, lock my elbow, and level him with a look. “Let’s not move on to Dare. Let’s just have a drink, cowboy, and slow this rodeo down.”
Beneath my hand, his heart thuds like there’s someone inside his rib cage whacking it with a sledgehammer. Mine is doing the same thing. Not only because he turns me on like nobody’s business, but also because I’m unsettled.
This man can sniff out a lie like a dog sniffs out a rat.
And worse than that? Far worse?
He knows I’m lying and he doesn’t care.
I don’t know what to make of that. I don’t know what he has planned. All I know is that I’m far out in rough water, there’s a dangerous riptide, and something with a mouthful of sharp, hungry teeth is closing in.
Ryan takes my hand from my chest and kisses it. He sends me a dazzling game-show host smile. “Sure thing, darlin’. I can go slow. I can go as slow as you like.”
His smile turns filthy. Unexpectedly, I laugh.
“You have a dirty mind.”
Chuckling, he pushes the button to start the elevator’s ascent. “Angel, you have no idea.”
But I do, and it intrigues me. Just one more part of the problem.
When we arrive at his room, I watch in fascination as he takes several minutes to disarm and unlock a series of electronic and mechanical security devices hidden behind various pieces of furniture and on all the doors, including the one to the bathroom. His paranoia seems like overkill, even to the woman planning on drugging his drink.
Amused, I ask, “Were you expecting company? Other than me, I mean.”
He turns to me with a twinkle in his eye. “Better safe than sorry, in my experience. You never know when someone with sticky fingers might take a stroll through your door.”
My heart stops. It starts back up with a painful beat, then flutters erratically while I draw a breath.
I decide the best way to handle this is with a frontal attack. He’ll know if I’m bullshitting anyway. Looking him dead in the eye, I say, “I’m not here to steal from you.”
His smile comes on slow. He wanders over to me, moving casually, his arms loose at his sides. He stops in front of me and murmurs, “I know. I just haven’t figured out what you are here for.”
I can’t tell if he’s talking about here in his room, here in this hotel, or here on this island. Possibly all three. Everything he says to me now seems layered with meaning. It’s all innuendoes and undertones. Insinuation is his middle name.
Better than Tiberius.
He touches my cheek. “Why’re you smilin’ like that, Angel?”
“I’m trying to decide if I like you or not.”
“Oh, you do. You just don’t want to. The question is why.”
Suddenly, I’m tired, and more than a little depressed. He’s worn me out with his eagle-eyed intuition. I’ve never met a man so perceptive. It’s exhausting.
“Can I ask a favor, Ryan?” I ask quietly, holding his gaze.
He answers without hesitation. “Yes.”
“Can we pretend, just for tonight, that nothing bad has ever happened to either one of us? That we still have faith that the world is a good place, filled with good people? That all our tomorrows can be as good as today?”
He searches my face in silence. He lifts his hand and cups my cheek. When he speaks, his voice is husky with emotion. “When you let me see you, the real you, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. If you give me more of that, I’ll pretend anything you want.”
We stare at each other. My pulse gallops like a whipped horse. Finally, I decide what the hell. I’ll never see him again. I’ve got two hours until Khalid passes out— as he does every night like clockwork after half a dozen cocktails. I might as well spend it being the real me with a stranger while we pretend everything is what it’s not.
I nod. “Okay. That’s sufficiently fucked up for my liking. But I’m warning you, I haven’t been the real me in so long, it might take a minute for me to remember who that is. And I have one condition, but it’s nonnegotiable.”
Ryan might as well be a live wire for all his crackling energy. He says, “Which is?”
“We don’t talk about work. Mine or yours.”
He replies instantly, “Deal.”
I’m so relieved, I want to collapse into hysterical laughter onto the floor. “Good. Pour me a drink while I take off these heels. They’re killing me. Being a femme fatale is hell on the feet.”