Read Undone by Moonlight Online

Authors: Wendy Etherington

Tags: #Flirting With Justice

Undone by Moonlight

BOOK: Undone by Moonlight
6.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Giving in is the sweetest reward

For the past six months, writer Calla Tucker has had it
bad
for über-hot and intense detective Devin Antonio. And those smoldering green eyes? Amazing! But he’s always been hands-off—until now.

When Devin is suspended for a crime he didn’t commit, Calla finally sees an opportunity to help out a friend...and finally find a way into her hottie detective’s bed!

But Devin doesn’t accept help—especially from the stunning blonde he’s always wanted and never allowed himself to touch. But when the plot against Devin thickens, there’s only one person he can turn to. And this time, she’s not taking no for an answer....

“I woke up naked...”

Calla's face turned pink. “I thought you'd be more comfortable out of your clothes.”

Devin did more for a black T-shirt and jeans than anybody she knew, but the view beneath the cotton was exponentially better. Not that she'd looked. For long.

And he was still caressing her hand. She inched toward him. Yes, he was worried—even if he didn't want to admit he was. It would be wrong, very wrong, to take advantage of him in his current state.

And yet her libido was also needy and it was whispering seductively about the possibility of this being her one and only opportunity to be with him.

Before her conscience could talk sense to her, or he could think quickly enough to shove her away, she wrapped her arms around his neck and pressed her lips to his.

Desperate as the move was, it was worth the reward.

He crushed her against him, bracing his hand at the back of her head to hold her in place as he drove his tongue past her lips. Her senses ignited, and he fanned the flames, consuming her like a man starved for air.

Finally,
was all she could think.

Dear Reader,

So our Robin Hood gang is back, and this time the tables are turned. After two adventures, two solved cases and two loving relationships, a new threat has invaded to exact its own brand of justice—on Devin, our hero.

I had always planned Calla and Devin’s romance this way. I wanted the friends—Calla, Shelby and Victoria—to experience success by taking the initiative at righting wrongs, by making a positive difference in their lives and the lives of others. But the concept of what’s right and wrong with society, and who gets to decide, isn’t as simple as it often seems.

Challenging one’s moral code—in real life or fiction—brings out the best and worst in all of us. And that’s exactly what Calla and Devin are faced with before they, too, can find their happily-ever-after.

Happy reading!

Wendy

Wendy Etherington

Undone by Moonlight

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Wendy Etherington was born and raised in the deep South—and she has the fried-chicken recipes and NASCAR ticket stubs to prove it. An author of nearly thirty books, she writes full-time from her home in South Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two daughters and an energetic shih tzu named Cody. She can be reached via her website,
www.wendyetherington.com
. Or follow her on Twitter
@wendyeth
.

Books by Wendy Etherington

HARLEQUIN BLAZE

263—JUST ONE TASTE...
310—A BREATH AWAY
385—WHAT HAPPENED IN VEGAS...
446—AFTER DARK
524—TEMPT ME AGAIN
562—HER PRIVATE TREASURE
587—IRRESISTIBLE FORTUNE
684—SIZZLE IN THE CITY*
697—BREATHLESS AT THE BEACH*

HARLEQUIN NASCAR

HOT PURSUIT
FULL THROTTLE
NO HOLDING BACK (with Liz Allison)
RISKING HER HEART (with Liz Allison)

*Flirting with Justice

To get the inside scoop on Harlequin Blaze and its talented writers, be sure to check out blazeauthors.com.

All backlist available in ebook. Don’t miss any of our special offers. Write to us at the following address for information
on
our newest releases.

Harlequin Reader Service
U.S.: 3010 Walden Ave., P.O. Box 1325, Buffalo, NY 14269
Canadian: P.O. Box 609, Fort Erie, Ont. L2A 5X3

To law enforcement everywhere.
Your sacrifice and dedication are appreciated.

“The law condemns and punishes only actions within certain definite and narrow limits; it thereby justifies, in a way, all similar actions that lie outside those limits.”

—Leo Tolstoy,
What I Believe

1

The New York Tattletale
October
12th

Lions and Tigers and Scandal Among
the NYPD

by Peeps
Galloway, Gossipmonger

(And proud of it!)

Oh, Dear Reader, one of our own has fallen.

And fallen hard.

Detective Devin Antonio (highlighted in
this
column last spring and summer!) has been mysteriously
suspended.

Apparently (Oh, my, don’t you just
love
that word?) he found himself at the scene of a robbery last
night. The suspect was apparently (there it is again) escaping as the detective
arrived, so he apparently (oh, joy!) felt the need to not only slap on the
handcuffs, but also use his size and prowess to subdue and control the
situation.

I’m shocked and downtrodden. I’m horrified and sympathetic.
I’m literally unable to get out of bed.

Kidding!

Though, NYPD, I’m, of course, on your side. I stand for truth
and justice above all.

Apparently,
there are some secrets
in the great detective’s past he failed to share with those most important in
his life. Will this derail his flirtations with a certain travel writer he’s
been seen around town with? Will this get him (gasp) fired?

As documented in
this
column, he’s
helped solve some high-profile crimes over the last several months, including
the Jenkins Scandal and the Rutherford Theft. But those triumphs are unlikely to
sway the D.A., who’s
apparently
tired of explaining
to the attorney general about why corruption is so prevalent on our beloved
island of Manhattan.

Maybe a hotel heiress or two will do something more scandalous
next week...though I’m not counting on it. (Kidding again! I
so
am!)

Stay tuned for more
apparently
bad
behavior and (please, oh, please) more hot cops,

—Peeps

* * *

I dream of you day and night.

“Y
EAH
,
YEAH
,” C
ALLA
Tucker muttered at the text message she’d received nearly a
month ago and had yet to erase.

She couldn’t imagine brooding detective Devin Antonio had
actually meant the words. And if, by some miracle, he had, he probably hadn’t
meant them for her.

Of course her sarcastic response,
Are you feeling okay?
hadn’t helped matters. He hadn’t responded to that question at all, and
when she’d tried to talk to him about the message, he’d acted as if he hadn’t
known what she was talking about.

Yet she’d left her best friend’s wedding reception early
because he hadn’t shown up as he’d promised and now she was scooting around
Manhattan in a cab, racking up a fare that she was going to need a loan to pay
for, simply because she was worried about him.

“You want me to wait again?” the cabbie asked as he pulled up
to the police station.

She glanced at the amount, winced, then handed the driver a wad
of cash. “No, thanks. I think this is my last stop.”

She’d already called Devin’s cell phone and sent half a dozen
text messages, checked his apartment and phoned Paddy’s bar across the street
from the precinct house—his usual haunt—all with no results. If he wasn’t at
work, she was out of ideas.

Wearing a full-length, navy blue taffeta bridesmaid’s dress and
a sprinkling of white flowers in her hair, she got a number of stares and two
whistles before she yanked open the door and strode inside.

“I need to see Detective Antonio, please,” she said to the
bored-looking clerk, snapping gum as she lorded over the small, dingy waiting
room from behind a high, faded-wood counter.

The clerk tapped on her computer, then announced, “Antonio’s
off duty.”

He certainly promised to take the day off, Calla thought
peevishly. And if a luxurious and wildly romantic wedding didn’t get him to
finally make a move on her, she wasn’t sure anything would do the trick.

And yet, here she was, making an idiot of herself chasing after
him.

“What about Lieutenant Meyer?” she asked the clerk.

This got a reaction. Staring down at Calla, the clerk raised
her eyebrows—which were dyed purple. “You got an appointment?”

“No, but he’s a good friend.” She reached into her bag and
pulled out the piece of cake she’d put in a plastic baggie to bring to Devin. “A
mutual friend of ours got married tonight, so I brought him some cake.”

Along with her proof of friendship, she gave the clerk a broad
smile.

In return, she received a narrow-eyed glare.

Having lived in New York for six years, Calla knew she should
be used to this kind of suspicious response by now. But she was from Texas, for
heaven’s sake. Beauty queen smiles and big blond hair were both a birthright and
an entrée into any event, anytime. She had no idea how to deal with Purple
Eyebrow People.

“What color is that?” the clerk asked suddenly.

Calla shifted her gaze to the cake. “My friend Shelby insisted
on making her own wedding cake and really wanted the roses to be aqua, but I
think they came out icy-green. Still it’s—”

“On your head,” the clerk clarified.

“Oh. It’s a mix of golden-blond with champagne highlights. I
had a great girl who did it back in Texas, but it was a challenge to find
somebody here who didn’t charge three hundred dollars.” She leaned closer, so
she wouldn’t be overheard. A woman’s stylist was a private matter, after all.
“Eventually, I found this great color specialist named Kirk. He’s at Tangles on
Bleecker in the West Village. Tell him Calla sent you, and he’ll give you a
ten-percent discount.”

“Cool.”

An instant later, the door to Calla’s right buzzed as the clerk
released the lock leading to the station’s inner sanctum.

Connections. This town was all about connections.

With a bit more confidence—something she sorely needed to
counteract the prissy flowers in her hair—she walked down the hall toward the
squad room where Devin’s desk was located. The couple of times she’d been there,
she’d noticed his lieutenant’s office in the corner. Devin had always spoken
pretty highly of his boss, which meant he’d grunted and shrugged when she’d
asked what it was like to work for Meyer.

Knocking tentatively on the closed door, she jolted when a
deep, authoritative voice called out, “Come in!”

The office was fairly small, containing a wooden desk, a guest
chair and a bookcase packed haphazardly with magazines and stacks of papers. A
man of about fifty with dark brown hair graying at the temples sat behind the
desk. He started to give her an impatient stare, but his expression turned into
a charming smile as his gaze raked her body. He rose. “Can I help you?”

At least
somebody
was happy to see
her. “I’m looking for Detective Antonio.”

The smile disappeared. “He’s not here.”

“So they told me out front. I was hoping you’d know where he
was. He promised he’d come to my friend’s wedding, but he didn’t show up. He’s
not at home, and he won’t answer his phone. I’m worried.”

“Antonio can take care of himself.”

“I’m sure he can. Mind if I sit?” She dropped into the guest
chair before he could refuse. “How about some cake?” she asked, holding out the
piece she’d shown the reception clerk.

With a sigh, he sat behind his desk and took the cake. “You’re
his girlfriend?” he asked.

Well, I’ve been trying...
“No, just
a friend.”

Meyer said nothing for several moments. “You have a
boyfriend?”

“No.”

“I always thought Antonio was a sharp guy.” He shrugged. “Truth
is, he’s been suspended.”

Calla felt the blood drain from her face. “Since when?”

“A couple hours ago.”

Explaining why he’d bailed on the wedding. But he could have
called her. Maybe she and her
gang
—as he liked to
call her and her friends Shelby and Victoria—could help. “For what?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t say. It’s an internal matter.”

“How much trouble is he in?”

“A lot.”

“He could lose his job?”

“Definitely.”

Though Devin was closemouthed about his feelings, his life, his
past, well, pretty much everything, she knew he valued being a cop above
everything else. “But he’s a great cop.”

“I think so.”

“Then why—” She stopped as the lieutenant shook his head. He
wouldn’t budge. “Any idea where I can find him?”

“Try Paddy’s.”

“Already did.”

“O’Leary’s Pub, then. Two blocks east.”

“Thanks,” she said, rising.

He flashed a bright smile. “Anytime.”

Even though she wore four-inch heels, Calla walked to the
pub.

Hadn’t she strutted across dozens of pageant stages? Hadn’t she
paid her way through college with said pageant scholarship winnings and
graduated at the top of her journalism class? Hadn’t she made a life for herself
in the media capital of the world?

So why was her stomach clenched at the thought of seeing Devin?
At the confrontation to come?

Gee, Calla, can’t imagine why you’d be
nervous.

Maybe because she knew he’d been suspended before. A fact he’d
told her, almost offhand, though he’d refused to give details.

Being naturally as well as professionally nosy, she’d
researched his revelation six months ago. She’d discovered little about the
cause for his punishment.
Personal reasons relating to an
open case
was the official line, and Devin, being such an effusive
guy—ha, ha—had, naturally, not filled in the blanks. With little to
go on,
and out of character for her, she’d been intimidated to probe him further about
his clearly painful past.

Apparently that day had now come.

She was looking forward to challenging that Irish-and-Italian
temper.
Ha ha.

She nearly walked by O’Leary’s before noticing the
ancient-looking oak door.
B’fhearr liom uisce beatha
was burned into a plank of wood above the arched entrance. Something Gaelic,
she’d imagine.

And possibly threatening, she added as she opened the door and
saw the tiny, barely lit interior of the place and its patrons. If possible, it
was a step down, as well as infinitely darker, than Devin’s usual hangout.

Why couldn’t the man have a beer at Applebee’s once in a
while?

Movement in the bar ground to a halt.

So distracted with worrying over Devin being
suspended—again—she’d forgotten about her bridesmaid outfit. She really should
have taken the time to change before racing off on this crazy quest.

Head held high, she moved across the room, wishing for a
flashlight instead of the fireplace along the back wall as she searched in vain
for Devin. The wooden floor beneath her feet was rough and uneven in places, and
her new shoes had little traction. If she tripped amid all these suspicious
stares and snarls of disapproval, the detective wouldn’t have to worry about his
job, as his autopsy photos would be Exhibit A at her murder trial.

“Antonio?” she asked the bartender, pleased her voice didn’t
tremble.

Heavyset with razor sharp eyes, he said nothing and pointed to
the back corner of the room.

Where else?

Bracing herself, she carefully picked her way around the
tables. As she got closer, she saw the gleam of his black hair reflected by the
old-fashioned lantern on the wall next to him. He was hunched over a tumbler of
what was certainly whiskey, his long fingers rhythmically stroking the sides of
the glass.

Her heart contracted. Desire invaded her as she focused on his
hands, the concentrated stare, the care with which he touched, as she imagined
he’d caress her skin.

When she stopped beside his table, he looked up. His green
eyes, so in contrast to his bronzed skin, pierced her, and she swore he could
see through her into every fantasy she’d ever had about him.

And there were a number to choose from.

She’d lost her mind. She wanted him without reason. He was
wounded, and she was going to save him. Like the stray cats, dogs and even birds
she’d taken in as a child, she’d tend and encourage until he could move freely
in his own world.

He’d given her little-to-zero motivation except for a few hot
looks and riding to the rescue when she and her friends had asked him for
help.

But she also couldn’t forget the text. For her? Or for someone
else? Regardless, the emotion behind the message and the possibility of them
together dangled before her like a carrot she couldn’t look away from, couldn’t
deny she craved.

Oh, yeah, she’d lost her mind.

She shivered with delight as he wrapped his fingers around her
wrist and tugged her into the chair beside him. Finally, finally, he was going
to give in to the desire crackling the air whenever they were together. She had
no idea why he’d held back, but that didn’t matter anymore. They could—

“Are you an angel?” he asked, his voice slurred just before he
pressed his lips to the racing pulse beneath her jaw.

Terrific. He was completely trashed.

Her fantasy went up in a puff of smoke.

Though the movement cost her a great deal, she jerked her head
away. “It’s Calla,” she said firmly. Swallowing her pride when his face remained
dazed, she added, “Calla Tucker.”

“Calla,” he murmured and she swore she got a buzz from his
breath as he leaned toward her. “I missed you.”

“Do you dream of me?” she couldn’t help asking.

“Always.”

His mouth moved across her cheek toward her lips, and she
closed her eyes as need washed over her. With an exquisite gentleness she’d
never imagined him capable of, he cupped her jaw in his palm and laid his lips
over hers.

He slid his tongue into her mouth, stroking,
enticing...promising. She gave in return. For a single moment in time, she
enjoyed his single-focused attention and passion. Still, she wanted more.

BOOK: Undone by Moonlight
6.18Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Song Across the Sea by Shana McGuinn
Three Little Words by Maggie Wells
Off the Record by Sawyer Bennett
The Hunt by Brad Stevens
Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton
The Gothic Terror MEGAPACK™: 17 Classic Tales by Radcliffe, Ann, Le Fanu, J. Sheridan, James, Henry, Atherton, Gertrude
Dangerous to Know by Tasha Alexander
The Julian Game by Adele Griffin