Publisher: St. Martin’s
SAVING LIVES IS HIS MISSION.
Tough-as-nails Navy SEAL Kell Kreiger is the best there is at searching, rescuing, and taking no prisoners…yet even the rush of ever-more dangerous missions isn’t enough to satisfy him. Haunted by a tortured past, Kell seeks distraction in a secret world of dark intimacies. But when Emily Stanton, the one ray of light in Kell’s shadowy existence, is pursued by a ruthless drug lord, the rules of the game suddenly change—and Kell will have to go deeper undercover than he ever imagined…
SAVING HER IS HIS PASSION.
Emily has loved Kell ever since her father, a prominent politician, rescued him from a brutal life on the streets. They were kids then, too young to act on what was growing between them…but now that Emily is ready, the handsome, headstrong SEAL has decided he’s no good for her. Ever since he rescued her from Diego Fuentes’ compound, Kell’s only duty has been to keep Emily safe. But Fuentes isn’t finished with Emily—or Kell. And to protect Emily, Kell has no choice but to lay himself—body, soul, and secrets—bare…and fight against evil with all his heart.
In the Middle Ages Emily Stanton would have been tied to a stake and set to flames for witchcraft. Or bound in chains and stuck in a dark little hole where she couldn’t drive sane men crazy, Kell Krieger thought with a grin as he kept a careful distance between himself and Emily’s trailblazer as they traversed Atlanta’s increasingly heavy traffic flow.
Were it the Middle Ages, he would have rescued her from a dark hole or the stake, outfitted her in leather, gave her a sword and followed her into battle. Because sure as hell, any man that saw her coming at him would have been struck dumb long enough for a strong warrior to lob his head from his shoulders.
But it wasn’t the Middles ages, and Atlanta’s traffic wasn’t really a war zone, it just resembled one sometimes. Like now, just before rush hour, when those fighting to escape the maddening traffic jams were driving like kamikaze students with no fear of death.
Emily certainly had no fear. But then again, he couldn’t remember a time when she had known fear. Even when she should have, bound and shoved into a dirty shack on the Fuentes compound and glaring at her captors with hatred.
What she had on the freeway was experience. Someone had taught her aggressive driving techniques that would have done a SEAL proud. Hell, she had lost the tail he was certain she hadn’t know she had, miles back.
Research. He was betting she had taken some kind of lessons on the pretext of research for the books that were never published and stories that were still only half finished.
And he had to grin at the thought of that. She was driving her father crazy with the so called research, and over the years she had given Kell no end of amusement as he listened to the Senator rant and rave over her exploits during the rare times Kell had managed to meet with him over the years.
But now, the danger she was in had him and the Senator sweating, especially after the kidnapping by Fuentes nearly two years ago.
She wasn’t safe. And the way she wrapped her bodyguard’s around her slender fingers, they would be of no help to her when Fuentes decided to take her again, as the information suggested he would. She wasn’t safe, but she thought she could protect herself. She was just smart enough to be dangerous to herself, and too gentle to ever be a danger to the evil stalking her.
They thought she was safe. God help him, he had believed Fuentes would adhere to the rules of the game and leave her be after her rescue from the first kidnapping. And perhaps he would have, if the spy codenamed Mr. White, hadn’t grown increasingly worried about her father’s efforts to track him down.
Now, here was Emily, fighting to find a life amid her father’s over-protection and the shadow of danger. For seven years she had lived with one bodyguard after another, had endured her father’s over-protective love and tried to balance her needs against his fears.
From the looks of things, she had grown tired of the battle though.
Today, she wore the disguise she had begun donning for the past week before heading from her condo on the outskirts of Atlanta to the strip joint on the other side of the large town. The long brown wig and makeup adjustment that would only fool someone who didn’t really know her. Kell would have recognized her in a second, no matter her disguise.
His conversation that morning with her father when he gave his oral report had been telling though. The bodyguard, Dyson was ready to break, if the report he sent in the night before was any indication.
Chet Dyson warned the Senator that the situation wasn’t working out and his daughter was becoming too confrontational for him to effectively protect her, especially considering the fact that the Senator was refusing to allow Dyson to tell her of the returning threat. Dyson was getting nervous. It was time to pull him out.
Damn, she was good in this traffic. She flipped in front of an eighteen-wheeler with plenty of room to spare but in a move that nearly caught him off guard and kept him from advancing with her.
Horn’s blared and he was sure there were men cursing her from one lane to the next. Men got nervous when a woman drove like that. It made them unpredictable. Few men could handle a woman that aggressive and unpredictable.
Kell loved it. The challenge fired his blood and had a smile of anticipation curving his lips. Never had he met a woman that made him think in terms of exciting outside the bed. But this one, she would keep a man on his toes well beyond the age where it should be possible. And he had known that since the night she turned eighteen and turned his little world upside down with a smile.
She was a woman that enjoyed life. It sparkled in her eyes and showed in her smile. She was a woman gauran-damned-teed to drive him insane and he wasn’t even officially her bodyguard yet. He was just the dumb shit ordered to follow her and her present bodyguard around until gears were put into motion and Durango Team could be rounded up from their various locations. God help him when he was put in her home under the cover his Commander had informed him he would be using.
Because he had lusted after Miss Emily Stanton for seven years. The only thing that had saved her was the fact that he was rarely around her. Living in her home, sleeping under the same roof with her, pretending to be her lover was going to break him and knew it. Soon, he would have her in his bed, the only battle would be keeping her out of his heart.
As he fought to keep up with her in the traffic, Kell found himself cursing along with every other man in a vehicle that was likely snarling at her. If he hadn’t been trying to follow her, he would have acknowledged her cunning and daring. But he was trying to follow her, and she was making it damned hard to do.
It happened every time he trailed her anywhere. He cussed her for hours. Swore he was going to tie her up and stuff her in a closet. That he would find a nice little uninhabited island to stick her on where she couldn’t endanger herself or others.
It made a man glad he had a will, even if he didn’t have anyone to inherit it.
Who knew an SUV could move like that? He was on his Harley and he couldn’t gain the momentum she had going on an interstate packed with four lanes of pre-rush hour traffic.
He was reciting every curse he had learned, in Arabic, in a Middle Eastern prison three years ago. Then he tried the Russian versions that he had learned in a cold little jail in some back mountain province he didn’t want to even think about.
But he made it, with only inches to spare between the back tire of his precious Harley and a four by four pick up as wide as a barn.
But he was back in place on her ass, and snarling as she zipped and whipped through the inner city traffic.
Because it was obvious her bodyguard couldn’t do a damned thing with her. He wasn’t even smart enough to call in backup to contain her. As though backup could do anything with a slippery little fox, he thought with a spurt of amusement.
Keeping a careful distance between his Harley and her SUV, his lips flattened once again and he promised himself, the minute he took over her security he was locking her in a room with no escape routes and throwing away the damned key.
Then his lips quirked in amusement. Hell no he wouldn’t lock her up. The first thing he was going to do was see how damned fast he could get all that restless fire and passion between the sheets.
He had waited long enough for her. She was older now, mature. She could go to bed with him and not be destroyed when it was time for him to walk away.
As she pulled into the back lot of a strip club, he amended the previous idea. He wasn’t locking her in a room. A room was too good for the hell she was getting ready to put him through when he pulled her out of Timbo’s. He was locking her in chains and finding a hole deep enough to contain the little witch. Because sure as hell, if he dragged her out of this place, he was going to end up pissed off, bruised, bloody and maybe with a few bones broken. And for that, he was going to demand a bit of satisfaction.