In Too Deep: A Romantic Suspense Novel

BOOK: In Too Deep: A Romantic Suspense Novel
In Too Deep
A Romantic Suspense Novel
Lauren Landish

Copyright © 2016 by Lauren Landish.

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The following story contains mature themes, strong language and sexual situations. It is intended for mature readers.

All characters are 18+ years of age and non-blood related, and all sexual acts are consensual.

In Too Deep: A Romantic Suspense Novel
By Lauren Landish

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The moment I met Cam Swagger, I should’ve known I was in for trouble. Tall, mysterious and incredibly charismatic, I couldn’t help but be drawn to him like a moth to a flame.

But he’s holding secrets from me—terrible secrets, secrets that defy the imagination—secrets that can get us both killed.

Compared to my old life, it’s exciting. Thrilling. If I knew any better, I’d run far, far away. He's poison and he'll be the death of me. I should get out now.

But every time I think of fleeing him and his dark world, I can’t bring myself to do it because I’m . . .
In Too Deep

Chapter 1

ou’ve got
to be kidding me."

I looked at the memo in my hands, which had been unceremoniously tucked into my little employee mailbox along with the typical daily corporate fliers. It hadn't been marked any differently than normal intracompany mail, which made the information within even harder to swallow.

Resisting the urge to crumple the damn thing in my hand, I headed for the general manager's office. I found Gene at his desk, a forlorn look on his face. "Gene, what the hell is this?" I asked, showing him the paper. "They're really closing us down?"

"I got the message this morning from corporate. You're the third person I had to break the news to so far today. The other two told me to fuck off and quit."

"Considering we're not getting a severance package, I can see why," I fumed. "Jesus Gene, two weeks notice? That's it?"

Gene nodded. I was pissed, but not at him. In the three years we'd worked together, ever since I got transferred after working my way up from pharmacy tech, he'd been a good guy. He demanded a lot of us but also gave a lot too. If you came to him needing extra hours, fewer hours, a changeover of shifts, he'd move heaven and earth to get it done. If Gene told you he couldn't do it for you, you knew he wasn't lying. "Two weeks. I get an extra month in order to oversee the clean out of the location and preparing it for the real estate agent to show, but then I'm in the same boat as you."

I shook my head. “Really?"

He nodded sadly. "Yeah, really."

"How many years have you given this place, anyway?" I asked. "I mean, I know you're older than me, but I've never really pried into it. It didn't seem to matter until now."

"Eighteen years," he said. "Like you, since I graduated school. Worked my way up from pharmacy tech just like you did, in fact.."

I shook my head. It was a tough spot for Gene. He was too old to start over at the bottom with a lot of companies, but at the same time he wasn't high enough up the chain that he’d be headhunted by a competitor. The best he could look for would be a managerial position in another retail type company, or else he was going back behind the pharmacy counter like I probably was. "Have you kept up with your tech info?"

Gene shrugged. "I've got six weeks to bone up, and I've got a little bit saved. Tina's job is going fine, and the kids are thankfully well set up for college. I'll make it. What about you?"

I shook my head. "I don't know. I mean, I could always go back to slinging pills, but I'm kind of burned out on this town. Honestly, I was thinking about putting in for a transfer out of here come spring anyway. You're a good guy to work for, but riding the subway and triple locking my door each and every day just is wearing thin on me."

Gene sat back, thinking for a moment, then reached into his desk drawer. "Here, I was supposed to give this to the employee of the year, but that wasn't supposed to be for another month. Guess corporate is just going to have to eat the cost of these since they're screwing us over so badly."

He tossed me an envelope. “What’s this?” I asked, taking a look. "Anything I'd really like?"

"I don't know," Gene said. "I figured it has to be better than those monthly gift certificates to Omaha Steaks that I hand out on a monthly basis. How many of those did you win before you joined the managerial team?"

"Four, each well appreciated," I said, patting my stomach. It may not be all that fashionable, but I'm a girl who can appreciate a fine steak. Some might say I appreciate them a bit too much, but we all have our vices. "You sure you don't want to keep it for yourself?"

Gene shook his head. "Nah, if I do that corporate would most likely come after my ass for reimbursement. Technically there's no rule against a lower level manager winning one of these, it was just a personal rule I had. Do me a favor though and open it for me here, I’m curious as to what’s even in there.”

"Sure," I said, reaching onto Gene's desk for the scissors that he kept in his pen cup. Sliding a single blade under the fold of the top, I slit it open to find a two-page folded letter. I unfolded it and read from the beginning. "Congratulations! You have been selected by your management team as the Employee of the Year . . .”

"Blah blah blah," Gene interrupted with a chuckled. "Cut through the boilerplate crap and tell me what you actually won."

I skipped through quickly until my eyes glued to the line at the bottom. "No way. No fucking way."

"What?" Gene asked. "Come on, don't hold back."

I passed over the form letter, making sure to hang onto the vouchers themselves. Gene raised an eyebrow but took the letter, reading quickly, his lips moving silently as he read along. His eyes opened wide when he reached the part that had shocked me, and he blinked twice before re-reading the whole letter. “Well, I guess you got your severance package. An all expenses paid vacation to the British Virgin Islands at a 5-star hotel. Not bad. You deserve it.”

he seaplane banked
to the left as the pilot made a circuit of the island, giving the four of us on the plane a view of the resort. It was breathtaking, taking up all of the tiny island. I'd read the entire website on the resort, and knew that while the Forrester BVI was one of their oldest resorts, it was also one of the finest, and for years had served as the headquarters for the chain. The main hotel was in a classic Caribbean style and led to wide spacious sugar sand beaches that bumped up against the cobalt blue sea around it. I could see boats for taking guests out for snorkeling, and even what looked like scuba diving.

The plane banked again and aligned itself for landing on the water, which was smoother than I thought it would be. The initial coming down was harsher than landing but other than that there was no chopping or bouncing like I'd expected. The plane taxied over to the dock area, where a cute guy wearing nothing but a pair of swim trunks jumped in and swam out with a rope in his hand to help pull the idle plane the last few feet over to the docks. We touched the wooden side with a bump and suddenly we were there.

"Welcome to The Cay Forrester," the pretty guest relations rep greeted us as we got off the plane, using the resort's official name. "I'm Glendalyn, one of the members of the hospitality staff here at The Cay. If you’d all come with me, resort staff will unload your bags and bring them up to the front lobby."

"Ah, two weeks of sun, sand, and sex," said the girl next to me, a blonde whose every look and action screamed
Daddy's Girl With A Trust Fund
and whose body looked like she'd probably been teasing older men since she was jailbait. "This is going to be fun."

I rolled my eyes and held my tongue. I'd known girls like her ever since my high school days, when due to a weird jog in the school districting lines, I'd gone to the school on the good side of town. Pointing out her slut-minded idiocy to someone like that would be of no use, she'd just ignore you or try to cut you to pieces using her looks or her money as weapons.

Following Glendalyn, I got checked into my room, which wasn't one of the big suites, but was still a nice room. The resort didn't do single rooms, as it had been built with the intent that it was to be the more 'grown up' of the Forrester Caribbean hotels. As such, the smallest room was actually a double size, although I had a single king-sized bed in my room. The bellhop, who was wearing a really awesome outfit, a lot better than I'd expect for a resort hotel, refused my tip. “We have a no-tipping policy here,” he said with a big grin that revealed what seemed like a hundred startlingly white teeth in the middle of his sun-darkened face. "But thanks."

"Any recommendations as to what to do first?" I asked. "This is my first time at a resort like this."

"Most of the guests are," the bellhop said. "Don't worry, just enjoy yourself. I find the beach my favorite place to go on the island, but a lot of people like the bicycle paths and the fishing excursions. I'd say avoid those until either the evening or morning times, the fish be biting better then."

I nodded, nervous. I'd seen what the staff looked like, and from the look of the other guests I'd seen, I felt like I'd stick out like a sore thumb on the sand. Everyone here, both male and female, looked like models. “Can I ask you a question?"

"Of course Miss," the bellhop said. "What can I do for you?"

"Well, what is it with everyone around here? This place looks like it should be a set for an MTV show or something."

The bellhop laughed and leaned back. "You mean the in-crowd? This resort used to be quiet. But, when the big man and his wife fell in love here, the place got a reputation. We're nowhere near as bad as Hedonism in Jamaica or anything, but some of the guests, they like to walk on the wild side from time to time.”

I gulped, and the bellhop laughed. "Don't worry about it, you a pretty woman. And what happens at The Cay, stays at The Cay."

I grinned and laughed. "Vegas should sue you for stealing that line."

He shrugged and grinned. "Anything else?"

I shook my head and he left, leaving me looking out of my second-floor window towards the ocean. The blue did call to me, but the reflection I saw in the window of the woman looking out pulled me back. Finally, something the bellhop said to me caused me to open my suitcase. "What the hell. I'm in the BVI's, I don't have a job, and I'm on vacation. Let's have some fun."

I pulled on my suit, which was admittedly just a simple tank suit that I thought hid the worst of my bad sides but still looked good on me, and grabbed my sunglasses. The sun was bright and warm, and I felt my tension ease away as I walked down towards the sand. "Towel?"

I looked and saw it was one of the resort's staff. "Sorry?"

"Would you like a towel for the sand, Miss?" the girl repeated. I nodded and she handed over a striped white and blue towel, which I'm sure the resort went through on a regular basis. It was a good towel, the sort that I was sure people nabbed for a souvenir on a regular basis. Taking the cloth, I found one of the lounge chairs spread out on the sand and stretched out, adjusting the nearby umbrella to keep the sun out of my eyes.

The waves were hypnotic and I was just starting to relax when I heard the sniggers from off to my left. I turned my head and saw the same girl who I'd shared a plane with talking with another girl, this one with black hair. "See, I told you."

They were talking loudly enough that I knew they wanted me to overhear. I turned my head away and tried to ignore them. I mean, I knew I wasn’t in luxury swimwear like them, but I didn’t think I looked that bad. Still, it kind of hurt.

The two girls tittered a bit more to themselves and headed out onto the beach, each of them rocking bikinis that showed more skin than most of my lingerie. I laid my head back and tried to get them out of my head, but it was difficult. I was just about to give up and see if I could find another place to go and clear my mind when I saw a shadow fall over my legs. "Hey, you okay? I couldn’t help but overhear. It seemed like those two have a stick up their asses.”

I turned my head and saw a guy standing there. Handsome wouldn’t even begin to describe him, he was seriously like a walking, breathing cover model. He fit in well with the crowd here. Maybe a shade over six feet, tall with blonde hair and bright blue eyes on a face that looked like it was crafted by a Renaissance artist, he had a body that was breathtaking. I swear I could count the muscles in his stomach and I’d be happy to count them over and over.

"Um, yeah," I replied, feeling like a total idiot. "Thanks."

He nodded and gave me a smile that looked like he was trying to get me to ask him to sit down. I thought I was being delusional, guys like this showing interest in me only happened in my dreams. After a few seconds, his smile kind of faltered and he shifted from side to side. “All right, well, if you're sure, I'll see you around."

He turned to walk away, when for some reason I sat up, my mouth opening. "Wait! What's your name?"

He turned and gave me another heart-stopping smile. “Cameron Swagger. I didn’t get your name either.”

"Melina Browder," I replied. "It was nice to meet you, Cam."

He turned back looked around. "Thanks. Hey, I know this is strange, but I'm kind of alone here, and was wondering . . . would you like to have dinner with me tonight?"

I blinked in surprise, then nodded. "I'd like that."

“How’s six sound?” Cam replied. “Give my room a call and we’ll set it up. I'm in room 275."

"Two seven five. Got it."

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