The highly-anticipated third mafia romance in J.T. Geissinger’s Queens and Monsters series is out this week, and I have a sneak peek for you.
I spend several frozen moments staring wide-eyed at his hand covering mine and attempting not to topple off the ladder from shock. Then I whisper, “Did you follow me here?”
His reply is low and instant. “Yes.”
“Have you been watching me?”
Holy shitsicles. He’s been watching me. How? From where?
I swallow hard. He’s standing so close behind me, I feel his body heat. He’s radiating it. The man is burning up. He’s his own five-alarm fire.
I want to ask him why the hell he’s wearing a black wool overcoat when it’s eighty degrees outside, but get distracted when he leans closer and puts his mouth beside my ear.
“Come with me now,” he says urgently. “I can get you away from the guard. I’ll take you anywhere in the world you want to go. You can start a new life.”
Cue the sound of screeching brakes.
Shit. I forgot. He thinks I’m Declan’s captive prostitute.
Turning my head to look over my shoulder, I meet his eyes. His pale green, blazingly intense, burn-the-barn-down eyes.
Wow, this is gonna be super awkward.
“Um…I’m not what you think I am.”
His grip on my hand tightens. After a beat, he says gruffly, “I’m not trying to fuck you. I’m trying to save you.”
Hearing him say “fuck” makes my cheeks burn.
But I don’t know how to feel about the rest of it. Should I be offended or complimented that he thinks I’m a hooker, just not one he’d pay to have sex with?
Deciding this conversation is awkward enough already without him having to make his case for a swift escape to my profile, I turn around on the ladder and face him. Because I’m up two steps, we’re at the same height. We’re standing eye to eye, and he’s even more stunning up close in broad daylight.
After a moment, I manage to get my tongue to work. “No, I meant that I’m not a prostitute.”
He draws a slow breath. Somehow, he makes it look sexy.
His tone gentle, he says, “I’m not judging you, malyutka.”
Okay, I really like it when he calls me that. I like it an unreasonable amount. It’s not healthy. But I can’t get distracted from what I need to say.
“I’m not a sex worker. And I’m not saying that because I’m afraid of you judging me. I’m saying it because it’s true.”
A furrow appears between his dark brows.
That he apparently doesn’t believe me is irritating. “Making the jump from me wearing a revealing dress to me selling myself is a big stretch.”
“It wasn’t only the dress,” he says, frowning.
“What else was it? The heels?”
Ignoring that, he steps even closer and demands, “Who are you, then? Why are you staying with him? Why did you say he was keeping you prisoner?”
“No, you go first. Why are you watching me? And what are you doing in Bermuda?”
“I’m watching you because I like to. And maybe I live here.”
Bypassing all the internal screaming his “because I like to”comment evoked, I say, “Nobody who lives in Bermuda owns a knee-length black wool overcoat.”
“I could be on holiday.”
“I think a man who spends his time spying on people, dispensing cash like an ATM, and appearing out of thin air in locked rooms is up to something other than vacationing.”
“Then maybe you should stop thinking.”
“So you’re telling me you’re a good guy?”
After a pause, he says darkly, “No. I’m not good. In fact, Riley Rose, I’m the worst man you’ll ever meet.”