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Authors: Cerise Deland

Carried Away (2010)

BOOK: Carried Away (2010)
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Carried Away
Deland, Cerise
Published:
2011

Carried Away Cerise Deland Grant Warwick has never scoured luscious, funny Coco Dalton from his brain. She was heaven to hold, hot as hell in bed and for four scintillating months, totally his. So why she left him one morning without the courtesy of a call is one damn big mystery hes never solved. When she reappears one day in Venice, hes stunned she wants to apologize. Heartbroken she had to desert him years ago, Coco asks his help to find a terrorist whos tracking her. Resisting her isnt possibleGrant sweeps her up into his arms and savors her sweet body with kisses so torrid and lovemaking so mind-bending, shell never again want to leave him. But Grant must also find time to track down the terrorist, before Coco is taken from him forever. An Elloras Cave Romantica Publication www.ellorascave.com Carried Away ISBN 9781419928611 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Carried Away Copyright 2010 Cerise DeLand Edited by Helen Woodall Cover art by Syneca Electronic book publication June 2010 The terms Romantica and Quickies are registered trademarks of Elloras Cave Publishing. With the exception of quotes used in reviews, this book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written permission from the publisher, Elloras Cave Publishing, Inc. 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 44310-3502. Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publishers permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000. (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/). Please purchase only authorized electronic or print editions and do not participate in or encourage the electronic piracy of copyrighted material. Your support of the authors rights is appreciated. This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors imagination and used fictitiously. CARRIED AWAY Cerise DeLand Dedication For the staff at Romance Writers of America Headquarters in Houston, great thanks for years of dedication to improving the status and earnings of writers everywhere. We have all benefitted immensely! Trademarks Acknowledgement The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: BlackBerry: Research In Motion Limited Glock: Glock, Inc. Interpol: OIPC ICPO Interpol Macys: Federated Department Stores, Inc. Mercedes: DaimlerChrysler AG Corporation National Geographic: National Geographic Society Non-profit Corporation Nikon: Nikon Inc. Ray-Bans: Bausch & Lomb Inc. Para-aramids: Resinx Inc. Cerise DeLand Chapter One Grant Warwick took another sip of espresso and pushed his Ray-Bans up his nose. He leaned his elbows on the caf table and narrowed his eyes. Yes. The woman in the tissue-thin white cotton dress was still yakking with the Venetian guy on the stalled vaporetto. Grant told himself it was the June suns refractions off the murky water of the Grand Canal that hurt his eyes. But he knew it was the sight of Coco Dalton that assaulted him. Damn her. Youd think after three years of searching for another woman to replace her in his bed, hed have replaced her in his mind. Forgotten her. The fire in his belly. The instant concrete in his cock. The idiotic dreams in his head. One look at that gamine body, the cap of platinum curls, the upturned breasts that didnt need a bra, the legs that went on forever right down into her latest ugly pair of shoe leatheryeah, and hed been hooked. Like a fish. And after the way shed dumped him long ago, he knew his heartache smelled like an old fish. Christ. What a waste you are, Warwick. A hulking Scots-Irish loner who never got hooked on any woman. Except to graceful, reckless award-winning photojournalist, Coco Dalton. What was she doing here? Though he could see she had her camera bag slung over her shoulder and one tiny piece of luggage, she never took a vacation. He scanned the hordes of tourists streaming past him toward St. Marks Square, noting that no wise person traveled here after May unless they wanted to be trampled to death by the crowds. Coco suddenly frowned at whatever her companion was saying. Odd. You used to laugh. Often. With me. In bed. Out. On kitchen counters. Floors. His eyes drifted shut as he 6 Carried Away recalled how she felt like hot satin in his arms, sinuous and artless, the ballerina who gave up the quest for pro. The way her lush lips would spread over her teeth when she grinned. The way her plump nether lips would swell when she wanted Grant to lick her and fill her. The way shed cream for him, coming just in anticipation of his cock sliding into her juicy little cunt. He ran a hand over his cleanly shaven bald head. Time to go, Warwick. He downed his coffee, gave the high sign to his waiter and plunked twenty euro on the table for his lunch. Buttoning his suit coat, he stood and headed for the meeting for which hed flown to Venice. He worked his way from the Grand Canal back into the winding calle of the ancient city. Last night, after he arrived on his private jet at the small metro airport, hed checked into his hotel and promptly gone out to find the building. Venice always confused the hell out of him but he got off on knowing all the details of any event and prepared. That research, that caution made him and his company one of the fastest growing and better known among international security firms. The reputation that gave him had guaranteed him this new contract with the government of Dubai for their new government historical museum. Grant arrived within minutes at the pale buttery concrete building that housed the commercial offices of the Emirate. A palazzo built in the fourteenth century by one of the Electors of Venice, the structure reflected the intrigues of the citys politics with an ornate door of rose and green inlaid tiles. Inside, the tiny hall spoke of age-old schemes and secrets. He took the hairpin stairway up to the first floor, bending low to avoid the ceiling that was unfit for an American of six foot four. Buon giorno, he greeted the receptionist, a lovely white-veiled Arab woman with a kings ransom of gold dripping from her fingers, her wrists and hanging around her neck. Grant Warwick to see Sheik Khalid Nasar. Welcome, Mr. Warwick, the lady responded with a crisp British accent and a blazing set of perfect white teeth. She rose from her chair and inclined her head in 7 Cerise DeLand deference. Please wait here a moment and I will announce you. May I offer you refreshment as you wait? Tea, perhaps, or coffee? Grant wanted neither but he knew from his years in the Middle East, it was an insult to refuse. Tea, thank you. He took a seat in one of the huge, sumptuously upholstered chairs, which reminded him of those hed seen in the Doges private residence. Hed heard the emir of Dubai was a very forward-looking man and favored modern furniture. This medieval look amused Grant. Ah, well. When in Venice, do as the Venetians. The receptionist appeared with a tray with one thimble-sized cup of steaming liquid. The aroma of anise and fennel met his nostrils and he decided the brew might soothe his irritation at seeing Coco again. He took a sipheard the door open, looked up and promptly realized no relief was possible. Struggling in the front door, Coco dragged her little red suitcase behind her and smiled tentatively at the receptionist. Buon giorno, Signora. I am Coco Dalton, she said as she parked her suitcase and let her camera bag slide to the floor. In the stilted movements of her body, Grant detected a change from the grace she normally possessed. You are expecting me. The woman nodded, her lashes fluttering and descending with wide-eyed dismay to the thin, almost transparent dress Coco wore. Yes, of course, Ms. Dalton. May I offer you tea or coffee? Thank you, Coco smiled, kneading her hands, whether out of numbness or nerves Grant couldnt tell. Where are the remnants of the teenager who wanted to become a professional ballerina? Tea. Yes, tea. Her back was ramrod straight and she never turned to face him but chatted on. Good thing, because his eyes drilled through the cotton to the curve of her hips and the straps of the white thong. His shaft twitched, taking note of the scrap of fabric that nestled between the two sweet cheeks of her ass. 8 Carried Away Coco bent, fiddling with one of the zippers on her suitcase. May I ask if you have a room free so that I might change my clothes? Grants cock didnt want her to change a thing. My plane was late and I had no time to go to my hotel, she told the woman. Grant forced his gaze lower and winced at the sight of Cocos latest outrage. Clunky neon pink running shoes. Forgive me, she said, but I do not want to meet the Sheik in my traveling attire. Shes here to meet the same man I am? Yes, Ms. Dalton. The receptionist breathed a sigh of relief and smiled broadly at the scantily-dressed visitor. Allow me to show you. Do you also have a scarf for your hair? she asked Coco, as she turned and ushered Coco back through the hall. What the hell did the Sheik need with a war-zone photographer? Certainly not to open a private historical museum in Dubai. And if he does... Grant scrubbed his jaw in anger. Why hadnt his VP of Research told him about this? Todd Cummings usually knew all. But if Coco Dalton was involved in this new job, Grant was pulling out now. He had no desire to meet her or talk with her. Shed made it plain to him three years ago when shed failed to meet him at the airport for a romantic vacation that she was not and could never be devoted to him. And he had no intention of looking at her now and gnawing out his guts any more than he already had. He stood. The receptionist rounded the corner of the hall and paused, casting stunned eyes on him. Sir? You are Leaving. Give my apologies to Sheik Nasar, will you please? I must 9 Cerise DeLand Mr. Warwick, came a baritone from the far end of the corridor. The petite, olive- skinned man in a hand-tailored dark gray Italian silk suit. Please, sir, you cannot leave. Your Highness, Grant inclined his head in respect to the emirs cousin, a noted businessman who had his own private collection of Middle Eastern artifacts. I am most pleased to meet you. We should have done so years ago. For Grant to make a hasty exit now was impossible. Hell, it hadnt been possible before, but he was obviously brain dead! You cant run from a planned meeting with a man who has agreed to sign a contract with you for two million dollars a year for ten years. When Grant got hold of Todd again, he was going to put his feet to the fire for his failure here this afternoon. Now all Grant had to do was just keep away from the cute blonde trick in bad shoe leather. Come, said Nasar. We will discuss our matters at length. Naila? He turned to his receptionist. Please see we have privacy. I will. She averted her eyes, smiling at the floor in feminine courtesy to her superior. Nasar led the way into a large office with a floor-to-ceiling view of the red and ochre rooftops of Venice. Inside, a blinding Carrara marble conference table stretched to a size capable of seating ten or more. Shown to the princes left-hand side, Grant pulled out a rolling chair and waited for Nasar to sit first. He heard another door open in the hall outside, and then another. Odds were, from one of those came a woman he had never wanted to see again. The first person to appear in the doorway was a man. Taller than the prince, darker than he and younger by a decade, this man strode forward, all grins. Mr. Warwick! Jamal Husseini. How wonderful to welcome you here finally. We have written often! I am the curator of the new museum. Grant nodded, took his hand in the western way and shook. Husseini, too, had a British accent and Grant knew from what information Todd Cummings had gleaned on 10 Carried Away this job, that the curators mother was British and his father from Dubai. With degrees from Oxford and Harvard in ancient texts and archeology, the man was renowned for his doctoral thesis on the works of early Islamic poets. A distant cousin of Sheik Nasar, Husseinis credentials and connections ensured that he had been appointed curator of Nasars lavish new private museum. Grant and Jamal took their cue from Nasar when he sat down, then navigated the formalities of getting to know each other. As they spoke, Grant listened not to the man but for signs of the woman whom he knew was somewhere in this office. Finally, he heard it. Clip, clop. Clip, clop. Clattering down the hall was a woman wearing high heels. Grant had sworn Coco owned only one pair, so the odds that it might be she who appeared in the doorway were few. But so was what he saw her wearing as she came into view. Here, in all her svelte glory, stood Coco Dalton, all five foot six inches of her in a sleek white linen suit that cupped her lush breasts and flowed down her hips like a fresh coat of paint. And, yesGrant knew his brows rose in shock on her feet were ivory stilettos, six inches high. He let the other two men greet her first. Grant rose to his feet last. She put a smile on her face and gave it to them all, not pausing at him any longer than the others, but sliding like the diplomats daughter she was, back to her host. Forgive me, for being late. My plane. She flourished a hand in explanation. One can never count on schedules these days. She stepped forward to shake hands with Nasar and Jamal. Then she turned to him. Hello, Grant, she said in an impartial but friendly tone that held no fear he might reject her. Whats more, she was not at all surprised at his presence. Why not? He shook her hand. Warm, elegant, her fingers withdrew from his with a jerk. So. You are nervous about seeing me again. You should be. She took the chair across from him. Without briefcase, computer or pen and paper, the four of them began the preliminaries of their first face-to-face meeting. The weather, 11 Cerise DeLand their health, the adequacies of their hotel accommodations were each reviewed and found pleasant. Nasar folded his meaty hands before him. Ms. Dalton, Mr. Warwick, I am grateful to you both for meeting me here earlier than we planned. Thank you for altering your plans to go straight to Dubai, but I needed to see you here as my own plans were recently changed. Jamal leaned forward. We have a problem we did not anticipate. Grant frowned. If some hitch meant they were now going to withdraw the contract for his firm to supply security to their buildings, he wouldnt be happy, but he wouldnt starve, either. I assure you both it was no problem for me to come here. Coco agreed. I am at your

BOOK: Carried Away (2010)
3.28Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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