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Authors: Melissa Cutler

Tags: #Suspense

Seduction Under Fire

BOOK: Seduction Under Fire
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Sworn enemies, too close for comfort

What’s worse? Being held hostage by a Mexican drug cartel or being held hostage by that cartel
with the one man you passionately hate?
Camille Fisher, a brainy, tough-as-they-come cop, can’t believe she’s daring to escape with her too-hot nemesis, Aaron Montgomery. But once she outsmarts their brutal captors, the danger’s just beginning.

Racing across the Mexican desert, Camille begins to glimpse the surprisingly decent man behind the boorish cad. With cartel hit men closing in, she tries hard to ignore her needful heart—and harder to resist the temptation threatening to do them
both
in….

“Aaron, stop.”

Her voice was breathy, aroused.

“Don’t try to tell me you don’t want me, Camille. I know you better than that.”

“You don’t know me at all.”

What a load of crap she was feeding herself. He’d spent every moment of the past week memorizing her—from her body to the cadence of her speech, every sigh and every look. He’d lain awake each night listening to her breathe, drenching his senses with her. He knew Camille Fisher as well as he knew himself, better perhaps. “What have you convinced yourself of? What’s going on in that sharp mind of yours?”

“I...”

As she searched for words, he cradled her foot, warming it.

“I don’t want this between us.”

He tipped her chin up until she looked into his eyes. “Baby, it’s already between us.”

The torment in her expression spoke of a battle raging within her. She knew he was right.

Dear Reader,

Luck is one of life’s big mysteries. Some people believe we make our own luck, while others seem cursed with bad luck their whole lives. We all know people who seem to skate through life with golden tickets. Not that they don’t earn their successes, but they seem flat-out luckier than the rest of us. One such person I know became the inspiration for the hero in
Seduction Under Fire,
park ranger Aaron Montgomery.

Aaron’s life is one golden opportunity after another. He’s on the fast track at work and, to top it all off, he’s gorgeous (and knows it). Anything he’s ever wanted, he’s gotten…except the attention of his best friend’s sister-in-law, Camille Fisher—and this ticks him off.

Camille is the unluckiest person she knows. All she ever wanted was to be a cop, but a freak accident has relegated her to a desk job—permanently. Nothing ever goes her way, and Aaron, with his golden goodness and perfect life, irritates her like salt in a wound. These two can’t stand each other, but when they’re targeted by a cartel, they’re forced to rely on one another to survive. If they can find luck in love along the way, so much the better.

Happy reading!

Melissa Cutler

Melissa
Cutler

Seduction Under Fire

MELISSA CUTLER

is a flip-flop-wearing Southern California native living in San Diego with her husband, two children and a nervous Siamese cat. She spent her teenage years on the floor of her local bookstore’s romance aisle making tough choices about which novels to buy with the measly paycheck from her filing-clerk job.

Her love for happily-ever-after stories continued into her job as a high school English teacher, and in 2008 she decided to take her romance-novel devotion to the next level by penning one herself. Halfway through that first book, she thought,
This is what I want to do every day for the rest of my life,
and she never looked back. She now divides her time between her dual writing passions—sexy small-town contemporaries and edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense.

Find out more about Melissa and her books at
www.melissacutler.net
. She loves to hear from readers, so drop her a line at
[email protected]
You can also find Melissa on Facebook and Twitter.

To my two beautiful kids, who cheer me every step of the way while I chase down my dreams.

Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 1

C
amille Fisher stood in a bathroom stall wearing the navy blue suit she’d picked out from a JCPenney clearance rack. The jacket buttoned across her chest, but it was a tight fit. With any luck, it would hold until after the press conference. She smoothed a hand down her skirt to make sure it covered her scar. It did, but she scowled at the streak of sweat her palm left on the polyester. Running too late to do anything more about the way she looked, she shielded her eyes from the mirror over the sink and reemerged into the bustling precinct.

Her boss caught up with her in the hallway, wringing his hands. “Look, I know public speaking isn’t your cup of tea, but I think it’s a good move for you. Gets you out from behind your desk for a change.”

Camille stopped short, reeling at the note of sympathy in his tone.

“I only agreed to this arrangement because a child’s involved. I happen to enjoy working the dispatch desk.” That was a whopper of a lie, but how dare Williamson pity her.

Five years ago, she was a force to be reckoned with, the youngest officer and only female ever promoted to the Special Forces unit in San Diego law enforcement history. As happened every time she thought about those days, the best six months of her life, she experienced a split second of exacting pain in her heart. Not a widespread pain like the bullet had been, but that of a needle. Worse than the pain, reflecting on her past left her feeling weak.

Above all else, Camille hated feeling weak.

“No need to get your back up, Fisher. We all appreciate you stepping up to the plate on this one. I’ll see you out front in five.”

Inside the lobby doors, Camille opened the three-day-old kidnapping file with trembling hands. She ran her fingertip around the edge of the glossy photo clipped to the front. If Williamson thought her involvement improved Rosalia Perez’s chance of being recovered alive, then she owed it to the five-year-old smiling at her to do everything she could.

She pushed the double doors open and froze, stunned by the scene before her. The space between the San Diego Central Precinct and the surrounding high-rises was packed with spectators and journalists. The odor of hundreds of people standing in the midday sun swirled with the stench of car exhaust and city grime. Already on the verge of losing her breakfast, she gagged a little as she took her place in the line of law enforcement officers and government officials.

Camille didn’t recognize the man dressed in civilian clothes who stepped to the podium. She tried to concentrate on his introduction of her, but she was working so hard to look confident that it took a nudge from Williamson for her to realize it was her turn to speak.

“Uh...I mean...welcome.” She cringed. So much for a smooth beginning. The stares and expectations of the audience bore into her and she shuffled her notes, dumbstruck. Then she noticed Rosalia’s photograph peeking out from behind some papers.

This one’s for you, Rosalia.

With a deep breath, she squared her shoulders and began.

“At approximately eight o’clock on the morning of Tuesday, February 10, Rosalia Perez boarded a school bus to Balboa Elementary. When class started at eight-thirty, she was marked absent by her teacher. Following the school’s unverified absence protocol, a phone call was placed to her home at eight-forty-five and was answered by Rosalia’s maternal grandmother, who is a non-English speaker. An interpreter at the school was summoned and a second phone call was placed at nine o’clock, during which the grandmother said that Rosalia had ridden the bus.

“The school bus driver confirmed that his bus dropped Rosalia off in front of Balboa Elementary at eight-ten. By nine-thirty, the girl’s mother, Maria Delgado, had arrived at the school. She, along with the school secretary, contacted the police to report her daughter missing. An Amber Alert was issued at nine-forty-five.

“Rosalia Perez is five years old, weighs fifty-one pounds and stands forty-four inches—or just under four feet—tall. She has shoulder-length brown hair and a strawberry-colored birthmark on her forehead above her left eyebrow. You’ll find a photograph of her in your press packet.

“Interviews conducted with adults present on the Balboa Elementary campus that morning yielded no information regarding Rosalia’s disappearance, but two student eyewitnesses report seeing Rosalia, before school, approach a brown two-door sedan driven by a dark-haired man.

“At this time, our main suspect is Rosalia’s biological father, Rodrigo Perez, aka El Ocho, a member of the crime organization in Mexico commonly known as the Cortez Cartel. He is suspected of being in the United States illegally. He is approximately five feet eight inches tall with light brown skin and short, black hair. In every photograph we’ve acquired, he’s wearing black leather gloves. He is considered armed and extremely dangerous.

“I will be conducting briefings at twelve o’clock each day in the main conference room of this precinct to keep the public as informed as our investigation allows.” She glanced around for the man who had introduced her. “Am I taking questions?”

He nodded and the entire throng of reporters stood at once, shouting.

Camille gestured to a woman wearing a red suit in the front row.

“How can the police be sure Rosalia hasn’t been taken to Mexico by her father?”

“The Border Patrol is immediately notified of all Amber Alerts, but with the nearly two-hour gap between the time Rosalia was last seen and when she was reported missing, we have no way of knowing whether she was taken out of the country, especially since the abduction site is only twenty minutes north of the Mexican border. We are working to gain permission from the Mexican government to widen our search to include Baja.”

Camille took a dozen more questions before gathering her notes and giving the podium over to the man who introduced her. Trembling with adrenaline, she nodded to her boss and walked past the line of officials and back through the double doors.

The relative silence of the precinct was a relief. Mostly, she couldn’t wait to change out of her suit. From the chair at her desk she grabbed her duffel bag and heard her cell phone ringing in her purse.

When she saw the text message, she smiled and snagged Williamson as he walked by. “I just got word my sister’s in labor. I’ll be back at work tomorrow in time for the press briefing.”

“Congratulations to your family. And give your dad my best. Remind him I still owe him for the burger he bought me last month.”

BOOK: Seduction Under Fire
9.73Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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