From the author of the Lock & Key series comes a brand new Mafia Romantic Suspense standalone novel, and I have an excerpt for you. Dagger in the Sea is available now.
Glass crashed from the upper deck. Tucking my phone in my back pocket, securing my bags in a corner, I ran down the other end of the ship. A figure stood in the shadows behind the bar opening a bottle of liquor, broken glassware littered the counter. He brought the bottle to his lips and drank, drank. A thirst like no other. A thirst to erase, to numb. But the booze wouldn’t fill that hole. That I knew all too well.
He slammed the bottle down on the bar, swiping a hand across his mouth.He was still wired from the Russian extravaganza.
Two fierce, light-colored eyes bore into mine, his ragged breathing the only sound to accompany the sloshing of the water against the boat.
“My bartending skills aren’t great, so I can’t make you a fancy cocktail. But I can open any bottle you like. He swept the broken glass with an arm and the pieces crashed to the floor. He planted his hands on the bar top. “What’ll it be, Miss Lavrentiou?”
I went to the bar. “I don’t want anything.”
“Your boyfriend have any coke on him in your room?” He slugged back the bottle again. Whisky.
“I don’t know.”
“You don’t know.” He made a sour face. “What the hell do you know?” His voice was an acidic mix of brittle and bitter, and he poured and served that cocktail with grim delight.
“I can’t begin to comprehend what you went through, but drinking or doing coke isn’t going to help.”
“It’s helping, baby.” Turo let out a dark laugh. “I brought some coke back from the Russian bathtub, but I finished it. Very nice quality. Of course, I expected nothing less. Luca must have a stash of something on board. You want to help me? Go get it.”
I went behind the bar. “I have something better.”
His eyes blazed and he prowled toward me. “That stash between your legs? Yeah, that I could definitely use.”
He fisted a hand in my hair and devoured my mouth. The warm caramel flavor of the whisky still on his tongue flared over mine. His teeth nipped and bit, his tongue demanded and burned a path through my mouth, my being.
His fingers dug into the sides of my face, his breath hot on my lips. “What’s the matter, sweetheart? Your boyfriend too tired to get it up for you tonight? Is that why you came looking for me?”
He waited for me to react, to strike back. I only held his fierce gaze. The desperate clawing, the frenzied scratching. I knew it so well.
“We’re leaving,” I said. “You and me.”
A cruel, cold smirk lashed his weary features. “You and me, huh?”
I put a hand against his cold cheek, and his eyes narrowed, a muscle ticking under my touch. “I called a friend who owns a small restaurant on the island, a fisherman with his own boat. He’s out on the water now and coming here.”
His eyes searched mine.
“I’m getting off this boat. Come with me,” I whispered, my fingers curling in his shirt.
“To shack up at some hotel?”
“To leave Mykonos. He’ll take us to the port and we’ll get on the first ferry. There’s always a ferry by seven or eight in the morning.”
“And go back to Athens?”
“No. Not Athens. I don’t want anyone to know where we are.”
“Not even your man?”
“Come with me,” I repeated.
“Because I won’t be toyed with and used, not by Luca Aliberti, not by Evgeny Berezin. Not by anyone.”
“This once, let me do something for you,” I said.
His eyes narrowed at me, his movements stopped. Had he never heard that before?
For the first time in a very long time, I was going to trust my instinct. And that instinct had been right about Turo from the beginning. He’d been a rock, a rock where everything else around me felt like quicksand. Always felt like quicksand.
He was different from anyone I’d ever met. A brisk intelligence, a dry wit I really enjoyed. He treated me like a human being he actually liked and wanted to get to know. I could see it in his eyes, the way they lingered, in the words he used, the way he listened, the questions he asked me. It wasn’t only lust or desire or fascination or wanting to score entry into my realm. It was real interest, enjoyment, curiosity. In that piercing amber gaze of his I wasn’t Adriana Lavrentiou, I was a woman.
My own woman.
In the gold and lilac haze of dawn, that harsh gaze now softened, and that tide of heat that was us together washed through me afresh.
“Where to?” he breathed.
“Another island. We passed it on the way here. It’s quiet, not touristy or crowded like Mykonos. It takes a little over two hours from here on theferry. ”
“And how will your boyfriend take the news when he discovers we’re gone together?” The angle of his jaw tightened again. “Won’t he come after us?”
“No, Alessio and I have an understanding.”
He let out a harsh laugh. “Isn’t that convenient?”
“He has a lot going on here this week, the store, dinner parties—he can’t leave Mykonos.”
Turo’s fingers dug into my neck, a thumb at my throat. “Doesn’t he need you for that?”
He shoved me up against the glass wall of the bar, letting out a guttural noise. Pain radiated through my back, it hurt, but I welcomed the pain. We were alive.
And I wanted to feel.
My gaze fell to his lips, tense lips, hostile, cruel, and I wanted them on me delivering their brand of punishment. I kissed him, and a groan heaved from his throat. He claimed my mouth in return with a crushing press of his heat. Warm whisky filled my senses, his taste, that unique blend of masculine perfection that I couldn’t define. A taste which my body recognized as right. The painful grip of his fingers on my neck, the press of the hard wall of his chest against mine—the world whirled, and I soared in the twist.
His fingers dug in my hair and fisted there, forehead sliding to mine, our damp lips a breath apart. “Don’t expect an apology for that.” He nipped at my lower lip with his teeth, sucking on the edge, and I gasped at the sting, the rawness.
“I don’t want one,” I breathed.
Sharp grunts rose from the lower deck. Luca was taking and getting what he wanted, celebrating his victory. Wincing, Turo stiffened in my hold and pulled away from me, a hand brushing down his face.
I wanted more than grappling in the dark amongst thieves. I wanted more from Turo DeMarco from America.
I said, “You have two minutes to pack your bag.”
That crooked grin slashed across those devastating lips. His head slanted, eyes burning. A conspirator.
“Sweetheart, I never unpacked.”