Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Review: Need Me by Cynthia Eden

Innocent…or guilty?

The cops think that Julianna Smith is a murderer. No one will listen when Julianna claims she’s innocent, and as the suspicions mount against her, only Julianna knows the truth…a killer is hunting her. Somewhere in the darkness, a stalker is closing in and preparing to deliver a final justice that she can’t escape.

He’s her only option.

Devlin Shade isn’t a man who trusts easily, and when Julianna Smith walks into VJS Protection, he’s well aware of her reputation—the sexy blond could be a cold-blooded murderer. Only when he looks at her, cold is the last thing that Devlin feels. There’s an instant attraction between them—hot, fierce, primal. And he agrees to take her case. He’ll be her bodyguard. He’ll keep her safe from the enemy hunting her, and he’ll also find out the truth about the mysterious Julianna. If she is a killer, he’ll turn her over to the cops himself.

She can’t let him get too close...

Julianna knows that she is walking a dangerous line with Devlin. She never expected to want him so much, and as they grow closer, she realizes that he’s working to uncover her secrets. But the secrets that she carries are worth killing for…and she can’t let anyone discover the truth, not even Devlin.

Killer or victim...

Soon the thin line between right and wrong is blurred. For Devlin, the case becomes personal, and all that matters is Julianna—keeping her safe and stopping the stalker who is on her trail. As he slides deeper into Julianna’s dangerous world, Devlin’s own darkness rises up. He’s played the good guy for so long, but now his mask is falling away. He isn’t controlled, he isn’t safe, and when Julianna is threatened, he will cross any line to keep her safe.

NEED ME.

Some needs can push you to the edge of sanity


When I read the first couple of books in this series I was so wanting Dev's book. I know he and Julianna would wind up together and I was looking forward to finding out more of her story. Because you know she was charged with murder. Her hubby no less. Now there was a man that needed killing as you find out in this book. I really liked this story and I didn't guess all of this bad guys in this one until the very end.

I bought this book with my own money and since I didn't guess the bad guy I am giving it 5 stars.

You can buy it with this link. But you'll be hooked and need the others two lol


Karen Kincy's Clockwork Menagerie Birthday Celebration & Giveaway

 
 
 
 
 
Happy Birthday!
Karen Kincy
 
Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to—
 
Oh, wait, I’m sharing my birthday? Right! This September 1st means I get one more year and one
more book. Clockwork Menagerie, a companion novella to my Shadows of Asphodel series, comes out today. The story follows the archmage Konstantin into Russia during the bitter winter of 1914. If you know Konstantin, you won’t be surprised when he gets into trouble with technomancy, clockwork beasts, and a certain handsome airship captain.
 
Since today happens to be a double birthday, we need cake. Myself, I’m partial to chocolate mint cake with a rich glaze, which my mom bakes upon request. Konstantin, on the other hand, lives and works in Vienna, Austria. He loves the famous sachertorte, chocolate filled with apricot, though he’s secretly the most fond of strawberry torte for his birthday cake.
 
Who doesn’t love birthday presents? Konstantin daydreams about all the mechanical trinkets and upgrades he could acquire for his laboratory. He hopes that someone will research the latest in technomancy equipment and buy him something cutting edge and dangerous. Though sadly none
of his friends will buy him a gift that might literally blow up in his face.
 
As for me, I’m pretty bad at guessing about birthday presents. I keep telling people they can always get me more books, but they point to my swaybacked bookshelves and mutter something about me having “too many,” which is obviously impossible. Konstantin would agree with me, though he tends to read more nonfiction than fiction.
 
When is Konstantin’s birthday? That’s a secret in the books, but I’ll go ahead and tell you it’s February 13. The day before Valentine’s Day, which means blackmail material for more presents. Not that Konstantin would ever do anything so diabolical—he limits his schemes to bigger and better experiments, never mind that they often backfire.
 
Happy birthday, Clockwork Menagerie, and go party with readers!
 
---------------
 
Clockwork MenagerieClockwork Menagerie (Shadows of Asphodel, #2.5), by Karen Kincy
Genre: Historical-fantasy romance
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: September 1, 2015
Cover Artist: Eugene Teplitsky
Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads
 
Description:
A companion novella to the Shadows of Asphodel series, from Konstantin's point of view.
1914. Konstantin would love to hide in his laboratory and dissect the clockwork dragon captured from Russia, but the Archmages of Vienna have other plans. He finds himself shipped off to St. Petersburg as the scientific attaché to an ambassador. His orders? Look, but don't touch. Of course, he considers this an impossible request with so much enemy technomancy to explore.
 
To make matters worse, Konstantin has to work with the dashing zeppelin commander Himmel, a man who should also be untouchable. They can't act on the smoldering attraction between them without risking it all. Faced with an illegal relationship and a devious rival technomancer, Konstantin might not return from this mission in Russia without conquering the forbidden.
 
---------------------------
 
 
Kincy-author-photo1About The Author:
Karen Kincy (Kirkland, Washington) can be found lurking in her writing cave, though sunshine will lure her outside. When not writing, she stays busy gardening, tinkering with aquariums, or running just one more mile. Karen has a BA in Linguistics and Literature from The Evergreen State College.
 
Find Karen Kincy Online:

 
 
 
 
GIVEAWAY:
 
Dragon Steampunk Necklace (found here on etsy)
Open to US 
Ends Sept. 16th
Prizing is provided by the publisher. Hosts are not responsible. Prize is shipped directly from the etsy seller. If there is an issue a similar item may be used to replace it.
 
 
 
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.
 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Excerpt and Giveaway: Nightwalker by Jacquelyn Frank


 

Enter to Win Loveswept  FLIRT Mugs and Select Ebook Bundle
 
The World of Nightwalkers #5
by Jacquelyn Frank
Releasing Aug 25th, 2015 from Loveswept

From New York Times bestselling author Jacquelyn Frank comes the final chapter in the Nightwalkers saga! As the momentous showdown with a powerful demon unfolds, a passionate encounter breaks the ultimate taboo.
Kamen is a Bodywalker, an ancient soul reborn in one human host after another. He’s also a prisoner of his own kind: for it was Kamen who released Apep, the deadly god who threatens the existence of their world. To atone for this grievous error, Kamen accepts an urgent mission: to convince the other nations of the Nightwalkers to set aside their centuries-old conflicts and band together. If he fails, all will be lost. And no tribe presents a greater challenge than the Wraiths, the spectral beings who are feared and despised for their lethal deathtouch.

Kamen makes first contact with a stunning, ghostly pale beauty named Geneviève. Part Wraith and part human, scorned as a half-breed, Viève shares the hunger for redemption—and for connection. Her scintillating touch holds the kiss of death, and yet it makes Kamen feel more alive than ever. Soon his lips are pressed against hers, sending Viève into fits of desire and forging a bond that breaches the divide between them. Now they must unite all the Nightwalkers, from Vampire and Shadowdweller to Djynns, and fast—for Apep is ready for war. 

EXCERPT:
Isabella Russ, known simply as Bella or Bella the Enforcer, had found herself living in New Mexico for the better part of seven months now. It was necessary for her to be there in order to work closely with Kamenwati, the Bodywalkers’ most learned man. So she had moved and, with great reluctance, brought her children to the compound as well. The god Apep knew where the compound was and had already made an attack on it. It was dangerous to have them there.

But living apart from them for days at a time? Unacceptable. She would not be a ghost in her children’s lives during the most important years of their development. True, Leah was ten now and more than capable of being independent of her mother for short stretches of time, but her son was not. He was just exiting his toddler years, having only recently learned all the basics of walking and potty training and other such milestones for a child of three going on four.

But she struggled constantly with the idea of them being potentially in the line of fire. Luckily their father was there and he had always been able to protect them. And several of their friends from the other Nightwalkers in the First Faction were there as well. There were Sagan and Valera, the former Shadowdweller priest and his natural Witch wife; Jasmine and Adam, the Vampire prince’s most trusted aide and her Demon husband; Windsong, one of the Mistral leaders; and Jinaeri, a Lycanthrope scholar.

Together it meant that every member of the First Faction was represented. As for the Second Faction, so far there were numerous Bodywalkers, a Night Angel named Faith and her human husband, Leo, who often acted as a translator and who came with some mercenary skills of his own. There was a Djynn named Kat and her Gargoyle husband—although the Gargoyles were not technically members of the Second Faction because they were the scions of the Bodywalkers. She’d learned that Gargoyles had been created by Templars to be used as slaves. Other than that, there was no representation of the Mysticals, no one from the Phoenixes and no one from the Wraiths . . . although to hear the Second Faction tell it, this was a good thing.

But Bella couldn’t escape the thought that they needed to have the Phoenixes and Mysticals there. As she got dressed for the night she thought about it more and more. If they were going to get out of this mess they needed all hands on deck.

An idea that was supported only an hour later when she met up with Kamen and he revealed his discovery, via Leo who was interpreting between the two.

“But if what you’re saying is true, then we have to get the Phoenixes and Mysticals on board. And the Wraiths.”

“We’ll have to do this without the Wraiths. Trust me, they are too deadly to be dealt with.”

“Well, we’ll have to deal with at least one of them according to this. I think it means we need a party of twelve to defeat Apep,” Bella said.

“Surely you aren’t thinking of sending just twelve people to fight a god?” Kamen was aghast.

“Of course not! But we have to have at least twelve. One from each nation. That means you have to make nice with a Wraith.”

Kamen thought about this a moment. “Then it seems it’s clear what we have to do here. We have to make contact with each of these groups and get representatives from each to come here.”

“And who are you going to get to do that?” Leo asked. “The last time we met up with Wraiths they almost killed Faith and me.”

“I don’t know, but someone has to try,” Kamen said.

“We should start with the Phoenixes and Mysticals first. Begin with the easy ones,” Bella said.

“Easy? We’ve been trying to contact them and get them to cooperate for months now. They aren’t all that interested,” Kamen said.

“Well then, we need to send someone to make it interesting for them,” Bella said.

Kamen grew quiet then said, “It should be me.”

“You? Why you? We need you here, researching how to break this curse.”

“I have to do this,” Kamen said firmly. “I have to do something other than study books. You can take over doing it just as easily as I can for now. Let me go to the courts of the other three Nightwalkers.”

“So you’re going to reach out to the Wraiths?”

“We have to at least try to approach them. They might surprise us.”

“Or they might kill you. No way. No way are you going alone. At the very least you should take Leo. He’s human and immune to their deathtouch.”

“Or so we believe,” Kamen retorted. “There’s no proof of that.”

“You can’t go alone. It would be suicide.”

“It’s homicide to risk more than one life . . . and it will look less threatening if one is sent as opposed to a cadre of Nightwalkers showing up on their doorstep.”

“He has a point,” Leo added. “One trained man can get in a lot better than six. I just don’t know if I’d call Kamen a trained man.”

“I can take care of myself,” Kamen said harshly. “I was second only to Odjit when it came to Templar power. I can keep the Wraiths off me long enough to get them to talk and I can escape more quickly than anyone else. It would be better if I didn’t have anyone else to worry about in the process.”

“I’m convinced,” Leo said. “I just don’t think you’re going to convince Jackson.”

“If you want to convince the leader of the Politic Bodywalkers to let you do this,” Bella said, “you better meet with him alone. There are too many people here who think the worst of you and will shoot you down before you can say boo about it.”

“I am aware of that,” Kamen said grimly. “But getting Jackson alone will not be an easy trick for me.”

“It would be for me,” Leo said. “He’s my best friend after all. If I ask him to meet me alone, he’ll come alone. Bella, you can stay here and work,” Leo said, indicating the mounds of books that had been brought into the library for her and Kamen to go through together.

She nodded and let them go. She crossed her fingers though. There were too many variables that made it a bad idea all around. But she had a feeling Kamen was going to convince Jackson . . . or die trying.


 
 





 









 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: Forsaken by Lisa Renee Jones

In this third book in the sexy, suspenseful “The Secret Life of Amy Bensen” series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones, we meet Amy’s brother Chad—and the woman who either loves him or wants him dead.
Six years ago, Chad’s hunt for a dangerous treasure turned deadly when his family home was set on fire, his parents killed. Faking his and his sister Amy’s death to protect her from further retaliation, he set her up in a new life with a friend’s help, letting her believe he’d died.
But now the men who hired Chad to find the treasure have found him, imprisoning and torturing him to learn where it’s hidden. A dark-haired beauty named Gia helps him escape, promising him access to his worst enemy. And as he tries to unravel the deep secrets of the past, he starts falling for her…only to discover she’s not what she seems.
Unable to trust anyone, Chad focuses on only two things: protecting his sister Amy and getting revenge. Is love even possible in the midst of heartache?

Gia is one great heroine very courageous and the more this went along the more I liked her.  And Chad was a very flawed hero. He keeps trying to own what happened as all his fault. But I think most of the blame should have been on the bad guys shoulders and I am tickled about what happened at the end of this book. If you've read the rest of this series rest assured that you get most of the answers in this book.
I was given this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review and I give this book 4 stars.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Promo and Giveaway: Sword by Realm Lovejoy

 
 
Today I'm excited to share the cover reveal for SWORD by Realm Lovejoy! SWORD is the sequel to HENGE and is a part of the Le Fay Series. It is a young adult fantasy and releases November 11, 2015.
 
HENGE (Le Fay Series Book 1) is on sale for only .99 cents to celebrate the cover reveal, grab a copy while it's cheap!
 
Also, a limited edition Le Fay Series T-Shirt is available on Mister Dressup! The illustration is from HENGE (Le Fay Series) and features Morgan le Fay in front of Camelot. The T-shirt will be on sale for a month only so grab one while it lasts!
 
 

About SWORD:

 Evil lurks. Camelot sits, vulnerable. The fate of a future king hangs in the balance.
 
 
After surviving a string of brutal trials, sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is an official member of Camelot. But beneath its shining façade, Camelot is a crumbling government where loyalties are divided.
 
Nobody believes Morgan’s suspicions that enemies are closing in. Prince Arthur, a boy more interested in playing video games than ruling, will not listen to her, and neither will Lancelot, Camelot’s head of security. Even Morgan's friend Merlin refuses to take action.
 
When Morgan discovers that someone is plotting to assassinate the future king, she must take her destiny—and his—into her own hands. With the sword Excalibur beckoning in the distance, Morgan embarks on a seemingly impossible mission. And before her journey ends, everyone will know what she is truly capable of . . .
 
In this second book in the LE FAY series, author Realm Lovejoy takes readers deep into the heart of a splintering Camelot.
 

Don't miss out on book one, HENGE, available for only .99 cents from 8/19-8/22!

HENGE Cover
 
 

Realm LovejoyAbout the Author:

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. Her second book is HENGE (Le Fay Series).
 
 
To be eligible for a review copy of SWORD, be sure to read HENGE and check out the review policy set by the author.
 
 
GIVEAWAY:
$10 Amazon giftcard, 6 HENGE (Le Fay Series Book 1) ebooks (international)
 
Ends Aug. 30th
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible in any way.
 
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions
 
 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Review: Infinite Possibilities by Lisa Renee Jones

From New York Times bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones comes the second book in the sexy, suspenseful new The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series. Picking up where Escaping Reality left off, Infinite Possibilities follows Amy and Liam, the darkly entrancing billionaire who demanded everything from her and offered even more—but can she trust him?
Secrets and Lies. They are everywhere: haunting her, tormenting her. In the midst of it all, he’d been her escape, her passion. The only person she’d trusted in six years. And then he’d made her doubt that trust, wounding her deeply. But she is ready to fight and not just for survival. She is fighting for the truth and she won’t stop until she has it, not even for…him

This book is hard to review for me. I really loved the story and sheesh Liam is well lets just say I want me one. He's not perfect but he is a hot, caring man even though he tries to be domineering he can't quite pull it off since he's falling in love. I was so glad that Amy decided to find her backbone somewhat in this story and decided to take her life back. I was hoping to find out the answers to who, what, when, and where in this book but alas it didn't happen.  I am so glad I had Forsaken on my ereader so I could start it shortly after this one or I'd have been pulling my hair out. I hate cliffhangers and this was sort of one to me. I wanted answers and I wanted them now lol. What we got was Liam and Amy were good for now but we were left with lots of unanswered questions about what happened that started her on her journey. My suggestion is if your as impatient as I am would be to read these stories back to back.

That being said I still really liked this story so I am going to give it 4 stars. And I bought this book with my own hard earned money.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Agent N6: Dylan (The D.I.R.E. Agency Series, Bk #6) by Joni Hahn Blog Tour and Giveaway









Agent N6: Dylan

(The D.I.R.E. Agency Series, Bk #6)

by Joni Hahn



Blurb:

Agent N6: Dylan McCall



Credentials:

Third generation Marine

Mongolian prison survivor



Enhancement:

Nanorobotics

Third generation Marine Dylan McCall has only one goal in mind: revenge. Armed with a new, scientific enhancement, he won’t rest until he destroys Cyrus Matheson’s plans.

Geneticist Teague Hamilton wants nothing more than a healthy baby of her own. Raised in a girls’ home, she knows Cyrus’s genetic engineering technology is her only chance at gaining the family she wants.

Dylan can’t get enough of D.I.R.E.’s confident, sexy-as-hell geneticist, even though his gut tells him she’s hiding something. He won’t rest until he tames her and brings her deception to light.

When Cyrus draws Teague out of D.I.R.E.’s protective custody and takes her to the past, she uncovers lies that prove she’s never controlled her own destiny, while Dylan travels back in time to save her before it's too late.

Can Dylan rescue Teague in time, or will he lose the woman he loves forever?




 
Available for purchase at 

            

 

 

 

Character Bio:

 
NAME: Dylan McCall
 
OCCUPATION: D.I.R.E. Agency Super Agent
 
HAIR: Copper red
 
EYES: Blue-green
 
HEIGHT: 6’2” of lean masculinity, baby
 
WEIGHT: 190 lbs
 
AGE: 28
 
PERSONALITY: Some - okay everyone - would call me a flirt. Optimistic to a fault, I’ll always have your back – unless you’re Cyrus Matheson.
 
BIO: Capable, spontaneous and fearless – I’ll be the first to jump into the middle of a fray. Now that D.I.R.E. has installed my new enhancement, there’s no stopping me from extracting my revenge. Not even the distracting Dr. Hamilton.
 
BOOK: Do I really have to read? Don’t you have the video?
 
QUOTE: Lose is not part of my vocabulary.”
 

Excerpt








Chapter 1


 


No, no, no, no, no. I can’t go back.

She held two fingers to her Bluetooth. “They’re telling us to turn around, Amy.”

“See, it’s a sign, T. Just forget about that job offer and come back to the lab.” 

Her former co-worker and best friend Amy Garland had worked at Dr. Capri’s lab almost as long as Teague, and never waivered from her routine.

“So I can stare at test tubes all day and make up stories about the patients behind them?” Teague stifled the urge to sigh.  “I’m done with that.” 

Sniffing, Amy adopted a brittle tone.  “I thought we had fun.”

They did – until now. Learning she had multiple sclerosis had changed Teague’s perspective on life.

“I have to go, Amy. I’ll call you later.” She disconnected and said to the driver, “Stay. I need to find out what happened.”

He gave her a brief nod. “As you wish.”

Cutting the engine, he scanned the beach. Small waves lapped against the boat hull as it settled to a stop parallel to shore.  Lifting the hem of her ivory pencil skirt, Teague took the driver’s hand and stretched a leg over the side. She tugged down her coral, button-up blouse and marched toward the man, her heels sinking into the soft sand. 

He held out his hands to block her. “I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re not allowed on the island.”

She did not come all this way to be turned around. Her future depended on this job.

Digging inside the large tote on her shoulder, she pulled out the employment contract signed by Cyrus Matheson, Esquire. She handed it to him.

“This contract says not only am I allowed on the island, I live here.”

The decision to leave Sacramento and live off the coast of Hawaii was a no-brainer. Add the opportunity to work with fully funded, genetic-enhancement research and she’d had her bags packed before the ink dried on the contract.

“One moment.” Tapping a finger to his ear, the man turned and spoke in a low voice.

The eight men lining the beach at regular intervals held themselves at military ease, their eyes scanning the open water and partly cloudy skies. Two standing near the boat studied her with keen interest.

A whir of helicopters sounded in the distance. In unison, they looked up at the sky. The man that greeted them glanced over his shoulder.

His low voice carried in rushed tones. “We have incoming. Two bogies, ten o’clock.”

Bogies?!

Her heart pounded against her ribs in wild beats. Excitement and danger were things she only read about in books or saw in the movies. They did not happen to dull, laboratory hermits.

Two, dark helicopters approached. The hum of their rotors grew louder by the second, disrupting the early morning quiet.

The man clutched her arm from behind. “Come with me.” His urgent tone betrayed his calm demeanor.

Pulling her toward the gates, he rushed up the incline.

“What about my suitcases?” She glanced back at the boat.

A sharp ping pounded against the boat’s hull, then another. Her driver jolted, then fell overboard into the shallow water. A bullet hole pierced the side of his bald head.

Oh, my god…”

Run,” the man said in a raised voice, as he dragged her toward the entrance. “Stay low.”

Losing her shoes, she crouched low and ran up the beach. Helicopter blades droned in the overhead sky, rousing the sand into tornado-like fury. Gunfire peppered the beach behind them, groans and return fire piercing the air like a violent hailstorm.

Her escort arched his back, before dropping to the sand.

Oh, my god. Oh, my god

She ran for a hole in the fence bars, near the retaining wall. Her lungs heaved for breath, her legs shaking.

God help me. What’s going on? She’d wanted to escape the lab, but this was more than she’d bargained for...

A blond man dropped from the sky in front of her, gun pointed at her chest. She stopped short, her heart continuing on in staccato beats. His handsome face held no evil or warmth, just matter-of-fact business.

Her body shook with mild tremors.

“Dr. Hamilton, come with me.” He held out a hand.

“I don’t think so…”

Two shots rang out. A red-haired man hurried past, the smell of suntan lotion splashing over her. The blond dropped to the sand, blood at his temple.

“Stay here, against the wall.” His face a blur, the man shoved her through the hole in the gate.

Ducking between the retaining wall and the fence, Teague peeked through the bars. The man wore nothing more than athletic shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt, yet he charged into the gunfire as if he wore a suit of armor.

He fired to his left, hitting a man between the eyes. Whipping to his right, he grabbed the barrel of an assailant’s gun and dismantled it in one, quick sweep, the pieces falling to the sand. He slammed the butt of his gun against another’s temple. Dropping to the ground, the man shook his head as if to clear it. The redhead launched two rounds against his forehead.

Okay Teague, you have to get out of here.

Somehow, she had to get to the boat. She had no idea who these men were, or what was going on. She didn’t know if any of them worked for Cyrus, or if they were the authorities. The only thing she did know was that they used real bullets.

Picking up the gun pieces, the redhead assembled it and jumped onto the boat’s bow, a gun in each hand. He shot down at the men on beach, picking off attackers with deft precision, gunshots zinging past him without notice.

Emptying both chambers, he threw down the guns and leaped off the boat. He rushed toward a fistfight and jumped on an assailant’s back, twisting his neck. The man fell to the sand.

He grabbed the dead man’s sidearm and fired at the main rotor on one of the helicopters. The chopper went into a wild tailspin, reeling and whirling, before diving sideways into the ocean. Water gushed high in the air, dousing the beach, fire mushrooming in its wake. Flames danced on the water’s surface amongst the wreckage.

Something cold and hard butted against the back of her head. She stiffened before straightening her back.

“Get up.”

Hands in the air, she rose to her feet with slow movements, her face toward the beach. She didn’t want to see her attacker, didn’t want to give death a face other than the one in her mind’s eye since childhood.

“What do you want from me?” she said.

He nudged her head. “Mr. Matheson wants me to take you in.”

“Mr. Matheson?” Her new boss? “I thought he lived here.”

“He’s been evicted.” Like a cheetah after its prey, the redhead sprang from the top of the retaining wall, stretching over her head like an athlete over a hurdle.

Sailing through the air, he landed on top of the man and dragged him to the ground. They struggled amongst the grass and rubble, fists flying, before her champion clamped a hand around the attacker’s gun. With stiff, shaking hands, they wrestled with the weapon. The redhead snapped back his arm and dismantled it in two, giving the attacker a shot at his profile. The redhead’s face whipped to the side, but he didn’t slow. With continual fists to the jaw, he rendered the attacker unconscious, the man falling limp in the grass.

Breathing hard, he turned to her, his blue-green eyes glittering with adrenalin. They dominated his face, swirling in shades of teal and aqua, reminding her of the mood ring her mother gave her as a child. Red stubble dotted his upper lip and square, cleft chin, subtle cheekbones complementing his small, angular nose. His nearness sent a shock of awareness through her heated body, kicking her already-pounding heart into overdrive.

Gorgeous seemed too clichéd for this man’s appeal. Too inadequate. From a geneticist’s perspective, Teague decided God had perfected the genetic code with this one.

He gave her huddled form a quick once-over. “Agent Dylan McCall. Can you stand?”

Pushing up her foggy glasses, she gave him an uncertain nod, her eyes straying to the unconscious man lying a foot away. “Yes.”

 “Good girl.”

  Girl? She hadn’t been called anything but Doctor or Teague in a long time. She hadn’t really felt like a girl since she lost her parents as a child.

  Then again, she’d never been held at gunpoint.

  Still, something in his deep voice spoke of command, of a confidence she sorely lacked at the moment. It rang of the unspoken knowledge that he had everything under control and would take care of her.

  Holding out a hand, Dylan helped her to her feet, his big, rough palm unyielding around hers. Heat sizzled up her arm and rushed through her body, awakening every hibernating erogenous zone in her DNA.

Steering her away from the unconscious man, he escorted her through the rock-filled undergrowth. A concrete sidewalk led to blue doors at the face of a crumbled mansion.

He spoke into an armband strapped to his left forearm. “Mitchell…”

“McCall. What’s going on?”

His tall, lean frame exuded energy as he rushed her up the walk. “Two agents down. We have a person of interest.”

She snatched her hand from his grasp. He made her sound like some kind of suspect. Of what, she wasn’t sure.

Mitchell’s voice carried over the band. “Who is he?”

Dylan gave her another perusal, this one slower, more… pronounced. She refrained from fanning herself.

“He is a she, Mitchell.” His direct gaze sent a shiver down her spine. “Who are you?”

Feeling small in her bare feet, she straightened to her full height before yanking down the hem of her blouse. “Dr. Teague Hamilton. I’m supposed to start work here today.”

“Bring her in.” Mitchell barked the order without hesitation.

Bring her in where? She looked at the mansion. If she went with Agent McCall, at least she’d get some questions answered. If she fought him, she had a feeling she’d end up going with him, anyway.

She had to try.

Whipping around, she took two steps before Dylan snatched her wrist. He yanked her against the hard wall of his chest. She sucked in a breath as tingling budded in her chest and filtered throughout her body.

Loathing swam in his narrow eyes, his grip on her wrist vice-like. “My pleasure,” he said. “Out.”

Adjusting the tote bag on her shoulder, she said, “I’m not going anywhere until I know what the hell is going on.”

“You’re about to find out.”

He led her over the front door threshold and stopped short. A massive, crystal chandelier lay in glistening splinters on the foyer floor, a jagged hole in the ceiling above it. Conversation carried in the distance.

“What happened?” she said.

“More of what you saw on the beach.” Glancing at her polished peach toes, he said, “I should make you walk.”

She had made it through life on her own up to this point. She’d be damned if she’d accept his hostile assistance now.

“I’ll go back to the beach and get my shoes.” Turning around, she took a step, before he swiveled her back to face him.

He lifted her into his arms. She gasped, his close proximity stealing her breath.

“What are you doing?”

His strong arms cradled her against him. Her fingers speared the red curls brushing the neckband of his t-shirt, the scent of sweat filling her nose.

“Put me down.” She pushed away from him.

Gleaming white teeth shone through a false smile, laugh lines bracketing his gorgeous mouth. “Okay.”

He dropped her legs. Her feet slipped to the jagged shards of glass. Wincing at the slight sting, she clung to his neck and curled up her legs.

“That’s what I thought.” He gave her a deadpan stare.

Forget it. She’d walk through the cut glass rather than give him the satisfaction.

Settling her feet on the spiky surface, she took a deep breath and let it out. If she could get around him, she could make a break for the beach.

She glanced up at him. He cocked an eyebrow.

Dammit, she would do this. Gritting her teeth, she turned away and took a step.

“Stubborn woman…”

Scooping her into his arms, he marched across the floor, glass crunching beneath his rubber soles.

She shoved against his chest. “You’re crazy if you think I’m going anywhere with you.”

Reaching a door off the back hallway, he opened it and lowered her to the cool concrete of a cavernous stairwell. “You don’t have a choice.” With a gentle shove, he motioned for her to precede him.

She wouldn’t budge. “I told you, I’m not going anywhere until I get some answers.”

He lowered his face within inches of hers, his minty breath washing over her heated cheek. Dammit, why couldn’t she breathe?

“Yes, you are,” he said.

She gritted her teeth. “No, I’m-“

Bending low, he pushed a shoulder into her middle and tossed her over his shoulder. She gasped, nearly swallowing her tongue. His large, warm hand cupped her upper thigh, sending sparks of arousal straight to her core.

Holy smokes. Now is not the time to get turned on, Teague.

“Put me down.” She pounded a fist against his back.

“I plan to… in a minute.”

Taking the stairs two at a time, he raced down three floors as she bounced against his muscular back. Yanking open a door, he rushed into a hallway filled with fragments of sheetrock, plaster and other debris. Men and women stopped to stare, some laughing, others slapping him on his free shoulder. 

She was a world-renowned doctor of genetics, for cripes sake. Her education and position as one of the leading scientists in genetic engineering warranted more respect than a sack of flour on this Neanderthal’s back.

Walking into a room, he lowered her to the floor. People packed up test tubes, vials and other samples into liquid nitrogen tanks and biohazard containers, others throwing medical supplies into boxes. A musty smell of alcohol and sheetrock dominated the wrecked laboratory, the taste of bile rising in her throat.

Teague stared at the obvious, her heart heavy. Was this Cyrus Matheson’s genetic engineering lab? The place where she’d thrown all of her life’s dreams, her future - into this pile of rubble and debris?

How would she ever correct her genetic code and overcome her family’s medical history without his resources? Without them, she had no hope of ever conceiving a healthy baby of her own.

The agency Dylan worked for had the technology. She had no choice but to go with him.

He pulled a pair of handcuffs from a bag. She held out her wrists in invitation.

His eyes narrowed. “You’re not going to fight me?”

Shaking her head, she said, “No. I realize that will only prolong my release.”

Latching one cuff around her wrist, he hooked the other around his own.

Her mouth dropped open. No. She already felt too on-edge in his company. Dylan McCall was far too potent, too appealing to be locked beside him for any length of time.

 Tugging on the cuff, she tried to squeeze her hand through the hole. “Is this really necessary?”

Stepping close, he towered over her, his body heat fogging her glasses. She took a deep breath and let it out.

“Yes. I don’t have time to chase after you.”

But, what if I let you catch me? “I haven’t done anything wrong.”

“That’s a matter of opinion, Doctor, and frankly, yours doesn’t count.”


The D.I.R.E. Agency Series






 
 
By day, Joni Hahn keeps her secret decoder ring hidden while she works as a mild-mannered contemporary romance author. She believes the world can never have too many superheroes, and anxiously waits for the call when one will need help saving the world… or getting into his costume. Joni was born with a hopelessly tender heart and believes there is nothing on earth more exhilarating than falling in love. A native Texan, she thinks cowboys are the epitome of masculinity, and that country music is the other soul music.

Joni is a member of the Romance Writers of America and its Published Authors Network. She is a member of several RWA sub-chapters and has served in several board positions with the San Antonio Romance Authors. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, going to movies and concerts and spending time with family and friends.

Books 1 through 6 in Joni's sci fi romantic suspense series, The D.I.R.E. Agency, are available now.   Look for the epic Book 7, Agent U7: Keegan in late 2015!

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