Authors: Cheyenne McCray
Tags: #alpha male, #Erotica, #erotic romance, #sexy read, #erotic suspense
Copyright © 2012 by Cheyenne McCray
All rights reserved. No part of this e-Book may be reproduced in whole or in part, scanned, photocopied, recorded, distributed in any printed or electronic form, or reproduced in any manner whatsoever, or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or hereafter invented, without express written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.
E-book conversion by Bella Media Management.
Published by Pink Zebra Publishing.
13-Digit ISBN: 978-0-9858534-0-2 First Edition e-Book
Being an assassin is easier than being in love
My prey was here, somewhere. I just had to locate him and hope he took the bait.
Music pulsed through my body as I casually crossed my legs at the knees and adjusted myself on the stool in front of the oak bar. Deliberately, I let my strapless little black dress slide up, exposing more of my thighs.
Without looking directly at anyone, I knew men were watching me. I was good at that—attracting attention when I needed to. From my days as a sniper and an assassin, I was well trained to be aware of everything and everyone around me.
The stem of the martini glass was cool to my fingertips as I raised it and touched the rim to my lips. Sweetly sour, the lemontini rolled over my tongue and I felt the alcohol slide down my throat.
Wood-bladed fans stirred the air, alleviating some of the warmth of the Boston nightclub as I watched people gyrate on the elevated dance floor in the center of the club. I found myself wanting to slip into the crowd and join them, dancing to get my mind to stop dwelling on things I didn’t want to think about. I wanted to dance to forget.
Damn it. What’s wrong with me?
What was wrong? I knew exactly what was wrong. I couldn’t let go of the past. Couldn’t let go of what had happened to me and what I’d done so many years ago.
And I can’t let go of Nick.
Yet that was exactly what I’d done. I’d let him go.
Over and over in my mind, our last conversation played like a song that wouldn’t stop repeating and repeating itself in my head. On that day we had been standing in my bedroom after sleeping together.
“I love you, Lexi.” Nick had taken me by the shoulders as he told me again how he felt. “Don’t shut me out.”
For a long moment I’d remained silent, not looking at him. When my gaze met his, I didn’t flinch when I said, “I don’t love you, Nick. I care about you, but I don’t love you.”
Even as I’d said the words I felt something crumble inside me.
He’d looked at me a long time then released his grip on me and stepped back. His expression had darkened and I couldn’t read it at all. “One of these days you’ll realize that you more than care for me.”
I shook my head. “No.” I couldn’t allow myself to love him. Not after everything I’d done in my sordid past.
Nick deserved better than me.
He’d pushed his hand through his hair in the familiar way that I’d come to know so well. “I’m leaving.”
I just stared at him. “Okay.”
“Leaving Boston.” His face was grim, his words tight. “I’m moving back to Arizona with my sister.”
A hot flush had stolen over my skin and my head grew light. I couldn’t think of anything to say. First he said he loved me and then he was telling me he was leaving. I felt as if all of me was falling apart now.
I straightened my spine. “Is this goodbye?”
He had studied me for a long moment. “If you want it to be.”
I pushed past him, my eyes hot and dry. I waited for him by my front door. When he reached me he wore a grim expression.
My voice trembled a little and I hoped he couldn’t tell as I said, “Goodbye, Nick.”
He walked past me, grabbed the doorknob and jerked the door open. He didn’t look over his shoulder as he closed the door hard behind him.
Tears wanted to come but of course I didn’t cry. I couldn’t cry. I was broken.
An odd lump seemed to block my throat as my mind returned from the memory of Nick leaving, to the present where I was sitting in a nightclub waiting for my target. I didn’t have time for pain or regrets.
Stop it, Lexi!
Once I managed to swallow down the lump, I drained my glass and set it aside on the bar before casually letting my gaze drift over the patrons. I lightly fingered the diamond dragonfly pin on the left side of my strapless dress, above my breast.
A young man, probably in his mid-twenties, got to his feet and started toward me.
Mentally I sighed and moved my hand away from the pin. Here goes.
The guy leaned up against the bar as I brought my gaze to his. By his mannerisms, confidence, and smirk, I pegged him as someone who’d just graduated from college and was on the fast track to a brilliant career. “Can I buy you a drink?”
I gave him a cool smile. “I’m waiting for someone.” I looked away but still kept him in my peripheral vision.
He turned to the bar and ordered himself a beer. After the bartender handed him a cold one, he said to me, “If you change your mind—”
“I won’t.” I cut through his words, making it clear I wasn’t interested. “But thank you.” I gave him a quick smile.
He raised his beer bottle in a salute and turned away.
Three more men approached me and I sent them packing faster than the first. I didn’t have time for them. I needed to locate the man I was told could lead me to Anders Hagstedt. Or rather, Karl Bachmann, his real name. He was wanted in several countries for sex slavery and personally, I wanted to kill him.
I let my gaze drift toward the entrance and it was as if my heart stopped beating and I couldn’t breathe when I saw the man who filled the doorway.
It was as if my memories had brought him to me.
A black T-shirt stretched across his well-defined chest and sculpted biceps, and his Levis hugged his trim hips. His dark hair was a little longer and I could imagine that I could see the brilliant blue of his eyes from where I sat.
He seemed to radiate even more power than he had the last time I’d seen him, if that was even possible. His rough angles and edges gave him an unapproachable look. Dangerous. Lethal.
Our gazes met and a purely sexual thrill went through me. Or was it something more?
My body heated as he started toward me. In an almost nervous movement, I tucked a strand of my dark chin-length hair behind my ear. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t look away from him.
If I was honest with myself, I didn’t want to look away. But I didn’t want to be honest with myself. I was fighting it with everything I had.
The closer he came to me, the faster my heart beat and the greater the heat grew inside me. Fire licked at my skin and my belly twisted. The immediate reaction I always had when I was around him hit me with a force that nearly took my breath away.
And then he reached me and I could see the blue, blue of his eyes even in the dim light. He studied me, his mouth in a firm line and he looked almost grim. I had to look up from where I was sitting. Even if I was standing I’d have to look up. He towered at over six feet where I was a whole five-foot-four.
I swallowed again, a bigger lump in my throat. It had been six months. Six long months.
“Nick.” I hesitated. “What are you doing here?”
He fixed his gaze on me and I met his head on. I wasn’t about to look away.
“Your cover is blown, Steele.” His voice was rough, almost harsh. “We need to get you out of here.”
“What?” My heart started to beat a little faster.
“Let’s go.” He grasped my upper arm and none-too-gently brought me to my feet.
I tried to jerk my arm from his hold but he gripped me too tightly. “Knock it off, Donovan. I can walk by myself.”
He still didn’t let go. He leaned close and an ache pierced my chest as I caught his familiar masculine scent, a scent I had missed. I wanted to bury my face against his shirt and breathe deeply of it.
Damn it. I was distracted. I knew better than that, but his unexpected presence had thrown me completely off guard.
Gripping my small purse, I let him guide me toward the club entrance.
A huge man stepped in front of the door and stared at me. He had dark shoulder-length hair and a mustache and goatee. The corner of his mouth turned up in a half-smile, half-snarl.
My scalp prickled. Not good. So not good.
“This way.” Nick turned us around and we were headed for the bathrooms and back entrance when he made a quick right, around a corner, and straight into the kitchen.
My heels clicked on the tile as we hurried past servers, two cooks, big stoves, and shiny metal counters.
“Hey,” someone shouted. “Get out of here. You don’t belong in the kitchen.”
Ignoring the voice, Nick and I both glanced over our shoulders at the same time. We looked toward the doorway and saw that the big man had followed us.
And he had a gun pointed directly at me.
Bullets are a girl’s best friend
I dropped at the same time Nick pushed me down just as I heard the retort of the gun. I heard the crash of glass and the screams of servers and cooks who’d been in the kitchen.
On my hands and knees I scrambled around a counter and two more bullets zinged by. Broken glass cut into my palms and knees. As I’d moved I’d shoved my hand into my purse and pulled out a small Glock, flicked off the safety, and chambered a round. I took one second to press down on the center of the dragonfly pin to send a signal to HQ that I was in deep shit.
Nick was beside me and he already had his Glock in a two-fisted grip and was peering over the counter. He ducked as another shot ricocheted through the kitchen.
“It’s always an adventure around you, Steele,” Nick said. “Can’t stay out of trouble.”
“Screw you,” I muttered.
I looped the long strap of my purse around my neck and arm, cross body so that I wouldn’t drop it and lose valuable items. I had my back to the counter and I listened. The screams had moved to the nightclub but the kitchen was quiet.
Glass crunched beneath a boot and then silence. My pulse seemed to pound in my ears, adrenaline jacking me to the point where I could barely sit still. Cautiously I peered around the corner, my Glock ready.
The man was ready, too.
He aimed his gun at me and I felt the bullet whiz by as I jerked out of the way. I looked at the back door that had a stack of boxes on the left side of the doorway. Twenty feet.
I met Nick’s eyes. “I’ll cover you,” he said.
It was so easy to slip back into working as a team. I nodded once and he held up his hand. At the same time he gave me the signal to go, he rose and fired at the gunman.
In a crouch, I bolted toward the stack of boxes beside the door and hid behind them. A bullet hit the door and buried itself in the wood. I peered and saw the gunman duck down.
Where I was hiding, Nick could see me but I didn’t think the gunman was able to. Nick was crouched down behind the counter and I gave him a nod. He bolted toward the door and the gunman rose up again.
I took aim and fired. My bullet pierced his forehead and he dropped.
Nick rushed to me and we were headed out the door when another man barreled into the kitchen and started shooting.
We made it out through the door and into the night. Nick and I pressed our backs against the nightclub’s brick wall. Nick was closest to the door and he raised his gun as he peered around the door.
He fired two shots and whipped back around. “He’s down.”
And then we were running for the parking lot. My car had been valet parked so I followed Nick without question to his black Explorer. He unlocked it and I climbed into the passenger seat while he hurried to the driver’s side.
In the distance I heard sirens, likely the Recovery Enforcement Division. Once I’d sent a signal to RED, with their ultra high-tech equipment, they would have rerouted all calls for the police and jammed all other signals coming out of the club. This was now RED’s mess to deal with.
A bullet struck the windshield, piercing and spider webbing the safety glass. I saw the gunman directly in front of us. I buzzed down the window at the same time Nick started the vehicle and tore out of the parking lot. I leaned out the window and shot the gunman in the chest.
I didn’t even see him go down as Nick peeled out of the lot and onto the street. We couldn’t take a chance on anyone getting another look at me in connection with the shootings, so we didn’t return to the scene as RED arrived. I’d have to have someone pick up the little red Mercedes I’d driven. We’d be debriefed tomorrow.