To celebrate the upcoming release of WICKED SHADOWS, book five in the Steele Security series, I’m hosting a giveaway for several lucky readers!!
(1) Coach purse
(1) Steele Security signed paperback set
(5) Wicked Shadows signed paperbacks
(5) Steele Security Box Set ebooks (sent directly to Kindle)
(1) Steele Security Swag Pack
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Devon “Shadow” Kane chose a life of anonymity the moment he entered the clandestine world of the CIA. His training made him a killer, a skill he has no qualms using.
Elle Sinclair, the younger sister of his childhood friend, is far from the girl next door. She’ll be the next big star. She’s also the one he can’t have. The blinding lights of flash bulbs in her celebrity world contradict the stealth and invisibility required in his.
Then she’s gone.
Disappeared, without a word or a trace.
A desperate plea for help from her brother tests Shadow’s undercover skills.
The stakes are high, and Shadow will risk everything for her. The only two constants in the equation are the threat of blowing his cover and the probability he won’t reach her in time.
With peril at every turn, can Shadow and Elle both survive? Or will the wicked shadows surrounding them ultimately cause their demise?
PART OF CHAPTER EIGHT
“You look like you’ve been up all night. What did you do? I said to rest and hydrate.” Leslie glared at Elle from around his camera.
“I tried to rest last night, Leslie. The room above mine apparently pulled an all-nighter. They’d stop the music and noise long enough for the manager to threaten to kick them out, then they started up again.” She struck a pose and moved slowly through the constantly clicking of the shutter.
“You should’ve called me. I’ll take care of it right now, though.” He put the camera down and snapped his fingers. On cue, his assistant appeared at his side. “Meechelle, Miss Sinclair needs a new room, with silence and tranquility on all sides. Not around loud revelers.”
A few minutes later, Meechelle reappeared, apprehension covering her face. “Leslie, the hotel is sold out. There are no rooms to move her into.”
“Must I handle everything?” he sighed. “As soon as the shoot is over, you’ll have a new room, Elle.”
She didn’t have the heart to tell him she had no intentions of sleeping that night either. Devon promised he’d stay with her all night. She had twenty days with him, and she planned to make the most of every opportunity she was given. “Maybe the partiers will check out today,” she offered.
“Meechelle, take her to the spa for a couple of hours while I shoot the others. Come back to me when she looks rested and photogenic again.”
Two hours later, Elle emerged from the spa, refreshed and renewed. Leslie and Elle focused on the various moods he needed for the project, directing her into poses and sexy pouts to complete his overall vision.
She felt the change in the air and heard the low murmurs of whispers around the outdoor set. Without visual verification, she knew what had everyone buzzing—or rather, who had everyone’s attention. Devon stepped into her direct line of sight, and their eyes met in an instant.
“That! Yes! That look!” Leslie yelped and moved in for a closeup shot.
Devon watched Elle, ignoring the obvious stares and questioning eyes all around him. In truth, he’d been watching her since she walked out of the spa. His training made him stealthy. Deadly. Invisible, when he wanted to be. He’d been invisible long enough at that point—he wanted her to see him. He wanted to see her reaction, to gauge her response, to read her body language when she was surprised by his presence.
What he got wasn’t at all what he expected.
The look she gave him was more lethal than any he’d encountered. It was deadly to his way of life. The way it struck his core was detrimental to the plans he’d made. The fact that he liked it more than he should warned him to run while he still could.
But he knew it was already too late for that plan to work in his favor. Three weeks. He could handle three short weeks of being exclusive with a beautiful cover model.
Even if she was the younger sister of his friend.
Even if she’d celebrate her twenty-first birthday during their time together, further accentuating the age difference between them.
Even if it meant he had to give up the cover of shadows temporarily and live in her limelight.
“The spa must’ve been exactly what you needed. I’ve never seen you look more beautiful, my dear.” Leslie stepped to the side, the camera all but glued to his face, while another man held Elle’s singular focus. “Oh, honey, I love the fierce look, too. You’re giving me so much to work with today, it’ll be hard to choose just one.”
The smirk covering Devon’s face confirmed he’d heard Leslie, and he knew exactly what prompted the change in her expression. It was bad enough when the buxom sable-haired beauty in the string bikini approached him, but when the overtly flirtatious intruder put her hand on his arm, Elle became irrationally jealous and possessive.
Relief flooded her senses instantly when his response included a gesture toward Elle. The bikini-girl looked over her shoulder, immediately recognized Elle, and scurried away from Devon. Pride over witnessing the small victory swept over her, and Devon’s smirk transformed into a beaming smile.
Smooth, Moore. Real smooth, she thought.
“And that’s a wrap for you, my love. Rest. Hydrate. Come back to me even more gorgeous tomorrow.” Leslie kissed the air on either side of her face and dismissed her when he called the next model into range of his viewfinder.
“I didn’t expect to see you here today.” Elle approached Devon, delighting in the sensation of his eyes heavy on her barely clad skin.
“Where the fuck was that bathing suit when we were on the boat yesterday? It’s probably a good thing you weren’t wearing it. You’d still be held in a secure, remote location where no one except me could find you.”
He wrapped his arm around her bare waist and pulled her to him. “I’ve warned you about that.” He leaned down and captured her mouth with his, not caring that dozens of cell phone cameras captured their every move. “Let’s go. I have more plans for you today. Do you get to keep the bikini?”
With a chuckle, she shook her head. “Not this time. Are we going back to the boat?”
“That’s not what I had planned, but I’m game if that’s what you want to do.”
“Honestly, I don’t care if we go play Skee-Ball for six straight hours. Just take me with you.”
“Who told you my plans?”
“I’ll never tell. Let me change, and I’ll be ready to get out of here.”
“Shorts. T-shirt. Bikini. Then dress for dinner and dancing tonight.”
She stopped walking, waiting for him to give the punch line of his joke, but none came. “You’re serious?”
“Of course. You’re mine today. Remember? Move that fine ass. You’re wasting daylight.” He playfully smacked her on the ass, making her jump and squeal with laughter at the same time.
“Come on up. I’ll have to pack a bag with all my makeup, hair stuff, shoes, clothes, jewelry—”
“Fine. Start with a bikini, T-shirt, and shorts. We’ll come back here for the rest later. I’m still coming up to your room with you right now, though.”
Devon roamed around her room, making himself at home and checking every nook and cranny of the space while she changed clothes. When she emerged from the bathroom, she found him standing on a chair, checking the smoke detector.
“Absolutely. Just can’t be too careful.” He stepped down from the chair and raked his eyes up and down her. “You could wear a black plastic garbage bag and make it look sexy as hell.”
“Such a sweet talker.” She patted him on the cheek with her palm, accepting any excuse to touch him.
“We need to go now. Or we won’t leave this room at all for a very long time. Then we’ll miss our reservations.”
“By all means, lead the way. I’m curious to see what you have planned for me today.”
“A day you’ll never forget.” He laced their fingers together, picked up her bag, and pulled her into his side after they were through the hotel doorway.
“It’ll be extremely hard for you to top today. That was so amazing! If we do that every day for the next three weeks, it’d never get old.”
“Hmph.” Devon had sulked since they left the research center.
“Are you still pouting?”
“Yes. Yes, I am.” He crossed his arms over his chest.
“You’re not even going to hold my hand now?” She managed not to laugh, but hiding her smile was impossible.
“He was just so amazing, Devon. I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.”
He cut his eyes sideways at her, his mouth gaped open in shock, and his eyes narrowed in disbelief. “You’re still defending your actions? Unbelievable.”
“But I’ll probably never see him again,” she argued.
The elevator doors opened, and they stepped in together. Devon punched the button for the seventeenth floor and waited for the doors to slide shut. As soon as they were alone, he pinned her to the wall with his body and kept his eyes trained on hers. “For the record, you’re not allowed to have any other boyfriends. Ever. Not when I’m not around. And especially not when I’m there to witness it.”
“But I’ve always loved dolphins…and you’re the one who took me to see him.”
“He got more kisses than I did. That’s not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination. He knew it, too. Did you see how he smirked at me?”
“I saw the smile all dolphins appear to have on their faces. But I don’t think that was a malicious smirk toward you.”
“It’s an alpha-male thing. You wouldn’t understand,” Devon countered.
“Ah, I see. Well, I’ll make it up to you. Just tell me, in alpha-male code, how to do that.”
“I’d much rather show you.” He covered her mouth with his and gently licked across the part in her lips. “After dinner. You’re making us late again, distracting me, and wreaking havoc on my plans. Go shower and get ready, woman. I’ll be back in an hour to pick you up. You’d better be ready, or you’ll be in even more trouble.”
“Yes, sir.” She saluted him in a joking fashion and slid out of his embrace. “Whatever you say.”
Elle rushed to dress for a night of dinner, dancing, and more with the man she’d never been able to get out of her mind. Giddy with excitement, she hurried through her hotel room, threw on a dress and heels, and perfected her hair and makeup. She was putting the last earring in when the knock on her door came. One hour, on the dot. After peeking through the peephole, she flung the door open and grabbed her clutch from the table.
“I’m ready. On time, even.”
Devon quirked one eyebrow upward. “Damn. I was looking forward to your punishment for making me wait.”
Their date night would forever be etched in her memory. Beth was correct when she said Elle’s professional life didn’t leave her much time for a personal life. After their dinner over candlelight, Devon took her to a loud, packed club to dance. Approaching the bouncer, she was seized by fear at the thought of being turned away for being underage. Devon shook hands with the enormous man guarding the roped entrance, leaned in to his ear to whisper something, and stepped back to give the bouncer room to unhook the velvet barrier.
“Come on in, Shadow. It’s been a long time, brother.”
“Thanks, man. Good to see you.”
“Your private room on the third floor is ready when you are. Enjoy.”
Devon tipped his head at the bouncer, put his hand on the small of Elle’s back, and led her through the crowded nightclub with ease. Whether it was his size or his dark expression, she wasn’t sure, but the sea of people seemed to part willingly to move out of his path. The curved staircase leading to the private rooms gave the hopping club an air of glamour and class. They made their way to the third floor, and he led her to their exclusive corner room.
“Shadow?” she asked when he’d closed the door behind them.
“It was my nickname when I was in the service. The bouncer is an old Army buddy of mine.”
A rapid knock on the door was immediately followed by several waitresses entering with trays of drinks and hors d'oeuvres. They placed them on the private bar and left as quickly as they appeared.
“You’ve thought of everything. I was worried they wouldn’t let me in and I’d be mortified after being turned away in front of the crowd outside,” Elle confessed.
“I’d never let anyone do that to you.” He brushed a strand of hair away from her face, his fingers grazing across her skin and heating her from the inside out.
She stepped into him, held his face in her hands, then raised up on her tiptoes to initiate a kiss. When their lips connected, his reaction was tentative at first, but she was undeterred. Swiping the part of his lips with her tongue, she moved in when his mouth opened to her.
At first, she thought she was in control of their encounter. But he quickly proved her wrong. His fingers weaved through her hair, gripping at the roots, and he angled her head where he wanted it. The urgency and demanding nature of his tongue’s caress overwhelmed her senses with a feeling of sheer perfection. When he broke the kiss, she was afraid he would pull away from her altogether, tell her he thought it was a bad idea, and then disappear from her life.
“Let’s have a drink,” he suggested then moved to the trays. He returned with two glasses—a beer mug for him and a glass of Moscato d’Asti for her. “We need a poignant toast.”
They held up their glasses, and she waited for him to continue.
“To old friends reuniting, creating new memories, and never regretting a single moment.”
“To us,” she added.
“Ready to go dance?” he asked after they’d finished their drinks.
“Absolutely. You don’t have two left feet, do you?”
“You just want to insult me again, don’t you? After repeatedly kissing Sammy right in front of me.”
“Sammy. The dolphin,” she clarified.
“Come on.” He chuckled under his breath as he took her hand. “Let’s go dance so I can pretend to accidentally grope you on purpose while we’re on the dance floor.”
“Mr. Kane, if you keep talking like that, you will absolutely sweep me off my feet. You are such a romantic.”
On the dance floor, in the middle of the throngs of bodies writhing to the music, Devon and Elle moved to their own beat. He held her close to him, bumping and grinding, rubbing and caressing, blocking out every other person in the room. A few hours later, the alcohol had been consumed, the food was eaten, and neither could deny where their course would take them next.
“I heard Leslie say you’re supposed to rest and hydrate tonight. I seemed to have single-handedly screwed that up for you. Maybe we should head back to the hotel now.”
“Absolutely,” she agreed. But sleep was the last thing she wanted.
The ride back to the hotel was quiet, each lost in their own thoughts of how the night would end. Or wouldn’t end. When he turned into the hotel drive, the lines separating the valet parking from self-parking loomed before them.
“Valet.” Her single-word instruction was enough to convince him.
They exited the car, and he escorted her into the lobby. With the bank of elevators in sight, she sensed his second thoughts were getting the better of him. She took his hand in hers and faked confidence she in no way felt.
“Come upstairs with me, Devon. Stay with me tonight.”
Without waiting for a reply, she pulled him toward the bank of elevators and pushed the call button. His hesitation had lasted a split second before they stepped onto the elevator. But once he relented after the doors closed, he gave her hope and reinforced her confidence. He wanted her as much as she wanted him, and there was no way in hell she’d let him back out on her after they stepped out of the elevator.
Holding his hand, she opened the door to her room and mentally noted how he hadn’t even attempted to release hers. With the door closed and locked behind them, she turned to face him, meeting his heated stare.
“You’re sure about this?” he asked, though she knew he still unsure.
“I've never been more positive of anything else in my life, Devon.”
With a slight shake of his head, he stepped into her and took complete control of her body. “Then I should warn you first. This is my domain, and when we're in the bedroom, I'm in complete command.”
Her lips parted with her sudden inhale, her cheeks flushed, and her eyes grew wider at his declaration. Waves of shock and excitement rolled through her. “Okay.” Her reply came out as a raspy whisper.
WICKED SHADOWS. Copyright © 2017 A.D. Justice. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, resold, or transmitted in any form without written permission from the copyright holder, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.