Norah O’Malley has been alone for a long time. It’s been ten years since her father and four brothers shipped her off to be raised by her aunt. Seven months since she’s seen the guy who got her pregnant–who still doesn’t know. And it’s two weeks since she came home to Chicago and discovered none of her family wants to talk–or listen.
She never expected to walk into a tattoo shop seven months pregnant and get her socks knocked off by instant attraction. She can’t even see her socks. But Kai Ellis is big and gruff and sexy as hell, and if he has a past, well, so does she. Even more, Kai knows how to listen so that Norah feels just a little less alone . . .
All the chemistry in the world can’t help Norah make her decisions. And no sizzle of desire will make Kai believe in happy endings. But a little time with someone who understands might just change everything …
A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a private investigator, no one can handle the heat like the men of BOSS, Inc.
Megan O’Brien is at her wit’s end.
Her three-year-old son has been kidnapped. No police, says the ransom demand.
Fearing for her son’s life, Meg has no choice but to turn to her former bodyguard, Dirk Reynolds.
Dirk’s never forgiven Meg for the way she left him after their brief affair. But with bounty hunter Luke Brodie on his side, Dirk knows he’s got to help Meg rescue her son.
The few clues they’ve gathered send them spiraling into a murky world of big banking and international crime. Meg may be way out of her depths, but she’s seeing a side of Dirk she never
suspected—one no woman could possibly resist.
Justin Skaggs is on the road to anywhere—as long as it’s far from home—when fate throws a kindred spirit across his path.
She needs to get to Oklahoma…
Phoenix Montagno can’t believe her luck when she runs into the hottie from the bar. He’s the key to her getting everything she’s always wanted, but she can’t tell him that. Luckily he’s not interested in learning her story any more than he is in sharing his.
Both have secrets they don’t want to share…
It’s the perfect arrangement. No personal details. No talking at all. Just two strangers sharing the cab of a truck heading the direction they both need to go . . . until they decide to share a bed, too.
Blazing Miami sun. Cool classic cars. Dangerous undercover assignment. In Sidney Bristol’s scorching new Hot Rides series, the cars are fast and the romance is furious…
Aiden DeHart has a history—and secrets. His classic car garage is a front for an FBI operation. His current mission: get some evidence from a drug dealer’s ex-wife, then get out. Madison Haughton sending his engine into overdrive isn’t part of the plan, though, especially considering she might not be as innocent as Aiden thought…
Since her divorce from her sleazeball ex, Madison has sworn off bad boys, gotten some sweet tattoos, and become a star of Miami’s roller derby scene. But however fast she skates, her ex is always on her tail. When the sexy guy in the muscle car offers to help, he could be her ticket to safety—or a detour down a deadly road…
Zoe Westin may be a fire captain’s daughter, but feeding the people in her hometown of Fairview is her number one priority. Running a soup kitchen is also the perfect way to prove to her dad that helping people doesn’t always mean risking life and limb. But when she’s saddled with a gorgeous firefighter doing community service after yet another daredevil stunt, the kitchen has never been so hot.
Alex Donovan thrives on adrenaline, and stirring a pot of soup doesn’t exactly qualify. He’s not an expert at following the rules either, not even when they come from the stubborn, sexy daughter of the man who’s not only his boss, but his mentor. Determined to show Zoe that not every risk ends in catastrophe, Alex challenges her both in the kitchen and out. One reckless step leads to another, but will falling for each other be a risk worth taking, or will it just get them burned?
Order the book at:
“See?” Alex leaned a sculpted shoulder against the door frame, his cocky smile back in place and even brighter than before. “One hundred percent clean and sanitized, just like I promised.”
“Hmm.” She ran her fingers over the edge of the shelf in front of her, a ripple of shock working its way through her chest at the freshly scented air and the smooth, scrubbed surfaces. Ruler-straight rows of cartons and canned goods stood organized and ready to go, and as she dropped her gaze, even the buffed brown floor tiles seemed to gleam under her feet. “Well, it certainly looks up to code.”
“Wow, Zoe. Don’t oversell it.” Alex’s grin remained perfectly intact as he pushed off the door frame, gesturing grandly through the light shining down from overhead. “Come on. Don’t even try to tell me that the best you’ve got is ‘it looks up to code.’”
“It’s pretty clean,” she said, and damn it, that smile of his was infectious. Zoe knew better than to buy into his boyish charm—after all, sweet talk was Alex’s bread and butter, and he was clearly only trying to save his own skin.
Trouble was, he’d saved hers in the process. Her standards might be sky high, but she’d been so lean on man power lately that even before this morning’s rotten food debacle, the pantry had needed some TLC.
And Alex had given it a complete overhaul, all the way down to the baseboards.
“This pantry is a masterpiece,” he corrected, delivering her back to the snug confines of the shelf-lined space. “I bet you’d get perfect marks if the city health inspector walked through that door right this minute. In fact . . .” He broke off, sauntering to the center of the freshly scoured room. “I’d even go so far as to say you could serve a four-course meal, right on this very spot.”
Zoe bit back the involuntary laugh tempting the edges of her lips, her curiosity bypassing her caution filter as it made a beeline for her mouth. “Okay, I have to ask. How did you get it so clean in here?”
“Well, the main ingredient was elbow grease, but I wasn’t without help. You remember Tom O’Keefe, right?” Alex asked, and she did a quick Station Eight roll call in her head.
“Sure.” The paramedic had been with the FFD for the last few years. She didn’t know him quite as well as she did Alex and Cole and the other guys, but her father had always spoken highly of him, and in the handful of times she’d seen the guy at softball tournaments and department barbecues, O’Keefe had always seemed to live up to the praise. “But what on earth does he have to do with my pantry?”
Alex laughed in a low, butterscotch-smooth rumble, and the sound took another chip out of Zoe’s doubt. “As luck would have it, O’Keefe is really good at sanitizing small spaces. I guess you could call it a product of his occupation, with all those health and safety guidelines on the ambo. Anyway, I told him I needed a deep clean on the fly, so he walked me through a couple of tricks over the phone. And before you ask”—he paused to lift both hands in concession—“yes, I double-checked his advice against the food safety section of your kitchen doorstop, and yes again. Both the methods and the chemicals I used are all legit.”
“Oh,” Zoe said, the word a lame replacement for the already answered question she’d had preloaded on the tip of her tongue. But the last thing she’d expected was for Alex to come through, let alone hit a grand slam on the last-ditch curveball she’d lobbed in his direction.
“You didn’t think you could rely on me to get this cleaned up right, did you?” The question arrived without gloating or accusation, his smile turning wistful as he pushed his hands into the pockets of his broken-in jeans. Zoe tugged at the hem of her apron, smoothing the fabric even though it was already perfectly in place, but screw it. She’d never been a fan of dancing around the truth, and it wasn’t as if Alex didn’t already know the answer, anyway.
“To be honest, no. I really didn’t.”
One brow arched up toward his sun-bleached hairline. “I don’t believe in wasting time on anything other than honesty,” he said. “As for the rest, I’m glad I surprised you.”
She pulled in a deep breath to counter the bump in her pulse. Alex might be charming as hell right now, with that aw-shucks expression beneath the sprinkling of rugged stubble on his face, but he’d only helped her to help himself. Plus, she had bigger fish to fry—namely, that she had no fish, or protein of any kind for the rest of the day’s meal service.
“Well, a deal’s a deal. While I don’t expect you to repeat your mistakes, or make any new ones because you’re unprepared, this gets you off the hook for this morning’s mess.” Zoe shifted her weight over the floor tiles, her ponytail brushing over one shoulder as she tipped her head at the pantry door. “But if you’ll excuse me, I’ve still got to go figure out how to get through the rest of today’s meal service without the food we lost.”
Rather than taking a step back to let her pass, Alex straightened, keeping himself planted directly in her path. “No, you don’t.”
“I’m sorry?” She’d been scraping like mad for the last hour to come up with replacement options for the ruined ingredients, to little avail. Did he seriously think her job was so easy that she could work up lunch and dinner for a hundred hungry residents on a wing and a Hail Mary?
“You don’t have to worry about coming up with plan B. Not for lunch, anyway. I’ve got it covered.” Alex turned and jerked his chin at the pantry door in a clear request for her to follow, and the shock of his words had her so dumbfounded that she was powerless to do anything other than oblige.
“Okay.” She extended the word with the tone of a question as they crossed back into the brightly lit kitchen, coming to a stop by the stainless steel prep table acting as a makeshift island in the center of the room. “Meal service starts in an hour and a half, and we have nothing to prepare. Do you have access to some sort of magic food genie I don’t know about?”
“Something like that, yeah.” Alex pulled an iPhone out of the back pocket of his jeans, tapping the screen to life. After a handful of easy moves, he extended the phone in her direction, waiting silently as she took in the Web page he’d opened.
Zoe’s jaw unhinged. “You ordered pizza?”
“Look, I’m not even going to pretend I know how to make anything other than a mess in the kitchen, but you needed the food. I go skydiving with one of the guys who owns the pizza place over on Atlantic Boulevard, and he owed me a favor, so—”
“Wait.” She held up one palm in a wordless stop right there, although the free-for-all of questions flying around in her brain made practicing what she preached a complete and total no-go. She’d known he was slick, but . . . “You got twenty pizzas by cashing in a favor?”
“I got a deal on twenty pizzas by cashing in a favor,” Alex amended, propping one hip against the prep table and gesturing toward the swinging door. “But yeah. They’ll be here at eleven forty-five.”
Zoe handed his phone back over, unsure whether she should cry with relief or tread with extreme caution. “You know, if you’re not careful, I might actually start to think there’s a decent guy underneath all that attitude.”
Heat laddered up the back of her neck as she heard the implication of the words, but rather than take offense or trot out said attitude for a test run, Alex just laughed.
“Well. We can’t have that, now can we?”
Zoe’s smile appeared before she could stop it. “Is there anyone in Fairview you can’t fast talk into giving you what you want?”
“You mean besides you?” His blue eyes glinted teasingly, but it lasted for only a second before he said, “Listen, just because I don’t want to be here doesn’t mean I’m out to torpedo your kitchen, either. This community service thing might not be what either of us wants, but you gave me a second chance. And while I realize delivery pizza isn’t the meal you had in mind, I owed you one, and it really is the best I’ve got.”
An odd sensation twisted in her chest, welling up in a soft, involuntary laugh. “Was that supposed to be endearing?”
“That all depends,” Alex said, one corner of his mouth lifting into a dark and forbidden version of his all-American smile. “Did it work?”
About the Author
Kimberly Kincaid writes contemporary romance that splits the difference between sexy and sweet. When she’s not sitting crosslegged in an ancient desk chair known as “The Pleather Bomber,” she can be found practicing obscene amounts of yoga, whipping up anything from enchiladas to éclairs in her kitchen, or curled up with her nose in a book. Kimberly is a 2011 RWA Golden Heart® finalist who lives (and writes!) by the mantra that food is love. She resides in northern Virginia with her wildly patient husband and their three daughters.
A bodyguard, a bounty hunter, a P.I.–the men of Brodie Operations Security Service, Inc. are down for the job. . .
Sinners, whores, and sluts beware–your time is at hand: a faceless menace is threatening lingerie models on a cross country tour, and Ethan Brodie is there to defend and protect.
Ethan’s learned the hard way that beauty is no substitute for character. So even though Valentine Hart is one of the most breathtaking women he’s ever seen, he’s keeping his hands off and his eyes open. Or that’s what he tells himself.
Then one of the models is murdered, and the closer Ethan gets to the answers, the closer he finds himself to Valentine–and the hotter the pressure feels. There’s more to Val–more to the other girls–than he could have guessed. But one is keeping a secret that could kill them all.
Order the book at:
“I don’t know about you,” Dirk grumbled, “but I don’t know how much more of this I can take. I’ve been walking around with a hard-on for the past two hours.”
Ethan chuckled. When he’d seen Valentine Hart walk out in her tiny red lace panties and a bra that shoved up her breasts like a feast for a king, he’d had to fight damned hard to maintain his highly prized control. Damned hard. He almost smiled.
“You like that one, don’t you?” Dirk said. “Valentine. Gotta love the name.”
“Sounds like a stripper, and I don’t like her—I don’t even know her. She’s Samantha’s friend. Sam asked me to keep a special eye on her.”
Dirk laughed. “Well, you shouldn’t have much trouble doing that.”
Ethan flashed him a look. “Somewhere in your testosterone fogged brain you do recall there’s no mixing with the staff?”
Before Dirk could reply, one of the girls walked past wearing nothing but a silver thong and a strapless silver bra. She slid a sexy smile toward Dirk, and he groaned.
“Oh, yeah, I recall. I’m reminded every few minutes.”
The corner of Ethan’s mouth edged up. He could hardly blame his friend. He had never seen such an astonishing array of beautiful faces and drop-dead gorgeous bodies.
He looked up just then, caught a glimpse of Valentine in her cowboy costume, felt a jolt of lust so strong his body went rock solid and his nostrils flared. Long, honey-blond hair, full breasts temptingly displayed, nice high ass, and legs that went on forever.
Ethan clenched his jaw. Dammit. He was off women. And because she was a friend of Samantha’s, especially off that one. He wondered how the two women could possibly have anything in common, a homemaker like Sam and a lingerie model who flaunted herself half naked in front of a million men.
“We need to make a sweep,” he said, his voice a little gruff. “I’ll take the left wing, you take the right.”
Dirk nodded, and they moved off in opposite directions. An orchestra provided the music, country for this segment of the show. As a Shania Twain song began to play and the rehearsal continued, Ethan made a point of seeking out each of his men.
“Everything okay?” he asked Joe Posey, who was posted not far from the dressing rooms.
The black ex-cop just smiled, his eyes riveted on the beautiful ebony-skinned Amarika, standing to his left, talking to another girl. “My wife’s gonna get lucky when I get home tonight.”
Ethan bit back a groan. “At least you have a wife.”
Posey grinned. “She’s real pretty, too. And sexy. I won’t need to fantasize about one of these gals here.”
“That’s just cruel,” Ethan said.
Posey laughed. What? Big strappin’ fella like you? I imagine you got someone you could call.”
“I imagine.” But the more he thought about sleeping with some old flame, the less interested he was.
He thought of Valentine Hart and began to get hard. Damn. He hated when this happened, when his interest fixed on a particular female. It was exactly what had happened with Allison, and look how badly that had turned out.
Joe’s smile faded as he glanced around. “No sign of trouble. I’ll head downstairs, check the basement again.”
Ethan nodded. La Belle had its own men posted at each entrance, both inside and out. Ethan had spotted Beau Desmond a couple of times, along with his buddy, a blond guy named Bick Gallagher, who looked more like a surfer than a private cop. Fortunately, there was plenty to do so they rarely crossed paths.
Ethan’s men were mobile, moving quietly, keeping watch in and around the theater. All carried radios in case there was any sign of trouble, along with expandable batons. None carried firearms—though Ethan and Dirk would both be armed during the show tomorrow night.
Near the front entrance, Ethan spoke to Pete Hernandez, the short, muscular Latino, got the same answer he’d gotten from Posey.
“Not much going on. A couple of guys got past the outside guard. I saw them walk in. When the inside man tried to stop them, they got in his face. I was close enough to help.
We talked to them, calmed them down, suggested they come back tomorrow night if they wanted to see the show. They got the message loud and clear and left without any more hassle.”
“Nice work. The idea is to stop trouble before it can escalate into a serious problem. Better to use your head than your fists or that baton you’re carrying.”
Ethan figured Pete had passed his first test, hadn’t flown off the handle, had kept his cool and done his job.
“Keep your eyes open,” Ethan said as he walked away.
The rehearsal went smoothly, the fittings, the music, the staging and routines in all five segments. He’d been surprised to learn the Diamond Jubilee portion featured the girls in actual diamond necklaces worth hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars.
The jewelry, provided by David Klein Jewelers, an upscale national chain, would arrive in a Seattle Armored Transport vehicle, protected by four armed security guards.
“I don’t like surprises,” Ethan said when Carlyle told him.
“I especially don’t like surprises that involve that kind of money.”
“Sorry. I guess I should have mentioned it sooner. As far as we’re concerned, the jewelry’s just part of the costuming. It’s the Klein company’s problem to get the stuff in and out safely.”
“Something worth that much is an attractive nuisance. It poses a risk to everyone.”
“You’re right. Again, I apologize. We’ve been using the stuff in the show for the last couple of years without a hitch. I guess I got a little apathetic. The good news is, the jewelry won’t be worn today. It doesn’t arrive until just before the show tomorrow night.”
But diamonds worth millions added another layer of potential trouble for Ethan to worry about.
“I’ll make my men aware,” he said and took off to accomplish the task.
The day turned out to be shorter than he’d figured. By six o’clock on Friday afternoon the dress rehearsal was over. Carlyle wanted everyone to go home, take it easy, and get a good night’s sleep. He wanted the crew alert and the models rested and looking good for the big show tomorrow evening.
Ethan couldn’t imagine how twenty-nine gorgeous women could possibly look any better.
“We’ll celebrate when the show is over,” Carlyle promised the group of models clustered backstage at the end of the day. “You’ve all done a great job so far. Tomorrow night the world will see how beautiful you all are. And how sexy La Belle lingerie can make a woman look and feel.”
The group applauded and started breaking up. La Belle security was escorting the local models back to their homes, the others over to the Fairmont Olympic. Ethan waited until everyone on the stage crew had left the theater; then he and his men made a sweep to ensure no one was still inside after the doors were locked. They needed to make certain no one could hide and get to the women tomorrow night during the show.
Satisfied everything was in order, and leaving Beau Desmond and some of his men to do the final lockup, Ethan climbed into his Jeep and headed for his Belltown apartment.
He’d only driven a couple of blocks when his phone started ringing. He didn’t recognize the number as he hit the hands-free button.
“Ethan, hi, it’s Debbie Bryant.”
A woman he had dated a few times last year. “Hey, Deb. What’s up?” Debbie was the regional head of marketing for a big retail home decor company. She was based in Los Angeles but flew into Seattle every four months. Deb was smart, sexy, and interesting, and she had no expectations of anything more than a night out and a good time in bed.
“I’m only in town just today,” she said. “I thought maybe . . . if you weren’t busy . . . we might get together for a drink after work.”
He knew where a drink would lead, told himself to say yes. Maybe a night with Debbie would ease some of the sexual frustration he was feeling. “I appreciate the call, Deb. It’s great to hear from you. Unfortunately . . . I’m . . . on a job. Maybe we can get together next time.”
“Sure. Same goes if you’re in LA. You’ve got my number. Take care, Ethan.”
“You, too, Deb.” Ethan hit the disconnect button. He couldn’t believe he’d turned down Deb’s offer. Maybe watching all those half-naked women had addled his brain.
Whatever it was, it looked like he was going home alone again tonight. Ethan reminded himself he was off women. He told himself staying celibate for a while was exactly what he needed.
Ethan clenched his jaw and called himself a fool.
About the Author
Kat Martin is the author of twenty-one Historical and Contemporary Romance novels. She tackles many different aspects of her genre with settings ranging from the rugged West to the Antebellum South, Regency, Georgian, and Medieval England. Not one to shy away from change, she also tackles Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels which involve the paranormal. Some of her titles include Nothing But Velvet, Sweet Vengeance, and Dangerous Passions. These works have won a bevy of awards including a recent Romantic Times Magazine nomination for Best Historical Romance of 1998 for her latest release, Wicked Promise. She is also published in, among others, Germany, Norway, Sweden, China, Russia, and Spain.
Before starting her writing career in 1985, Kat was a real estate broker. During that time, she met her husband, Larry Jay Martin, also a Kensington author. After double majoring in Anthropology and History at the University of California at Santa Barbara, she found herself incredibly interested in the past. In fact, she and Larry often do research in the areas where their books take place. She remarks, “We like to stay in out-of-the-way inns and houses built in times past. It’s fun and it gives a wonderful sense of a bygone era.”
In May, Kat will release her next Historical Romance, Night Secrets. Following that is an upcoming Zebra release, a Contemporary Romantic Suspense entitled The Silent Rose, which will be out in August.
“It’s a ghostly tale of romance and intrigue that was based on a real life incident,” says Kat. “It’s a little bit scary, a whole lot sexy, and hopefully lots of fun to read.”