This specific ISBN edition is currently not available.View all copies of this ISBN edition:
"Are you afraid of the dark?"
The eerie text message was only part of a night to remember for security ace Shane Peters. One minute he was dancing with Princess Ariana LeBron, holding her in his arms at a gala attended by world leaders, the next he was fighting for their lives when the lights went out and gunmen held them hostage. Their demands were simple: Give them the princess.
For Ariana, duty and honor were everything. Until she met Shane. Minutes in the brash American's arms made her feel like a woman for the first time. But could the man who'd safeguarded priceless antiquities save her from the gunmen? With the lights low and the summer heat rising, he'd surely give the princess a night to remember.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Award-winning, USA TODAY bestselling novelist Ruth Glick, who writes as Rebecca York, is the author of more than one hundred books, including her popular 43 Light Street series for Harlequin Intrigue. Ruth says she has the best job in the world. Not only does she get paid for telling stories, she’s also the author of twelve cookbooks. Ruth and her husband, Norman, travel frequently, researching locales for her novels and searching out new dishes for her cookbooks.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
8:15 P.M., August 1
"May I see your picture ID, sir?"
The armed man made the request politely. But Shane Peters harbored no illusions about what would happen if he refused. he'd be hauled off to a cell in a Boston police station and held for investigation.
"Of course," he answered as he pulled his wallet from an inside pocket of his tuxedo jacket and extracted his driver's license.
The Secret Service agent checked the ID carefully, then asked for his Social Security number, which was matched against a list of guests cleared to attend the reception on the observation deck of the John Hancock Tower, New England's tallest building.
Since 9/11, the Boston landmark had been closed to the public. But one of the lessees had been instrumental in arranging an international trade agreement that had just been signed by the president of the United States. Tonight the observation floor was open for a reception in honor of the agreement, and guests had come from all over the world.
To commemorate the momentous occasion, President Stack and Vice President Davis would both be attending the event. Of course, that was highly unusual, since protocol dictated that they remain in separate locations as much as possible. But they would only be together on site briefly.
Because of the unprecedented joint appearance, the Secret Service had gone into overdrive on background checks for everyone scheduled to be in the tower–from the honored guests to the waiters and kitchen staff.
The line to pass through security moved slowly. Shane watched some of the formally dressed men and women being ushered through the metal detector. He knew that in his custom–tailored tuxedo, he could pass for a member of the upper classes. But he was also aware that men and women with any security experience tended to mark him down as "dangerous." So he wasn't surprised when he was singled out for the wanding treatment.
He struggled to stand cooperatively as he let the guy do his job. Too bad he knew the drill better than the man wielding the wand.
Shane owned his own high–powered company called Executive Security. That much was on the public record. But that was only the tip of the iceberg. He was also a member of Eclipse, an elite force that took on jobs too sensitive for the FBI or the CIA.
He and the other members of Eclipse had all met in the Special Forces. Most of them would be here tonight, although only some of them were actually on duty.
They hadn't been on a mission together in several months, and Shane was looking forward to seeing the guys. Of course, if they knew what "Wild Man Peters" was up to tonight, they'd haul him off to the funny farm before he made it into the reception room.
He repressed a grin as the guard sent him on his way—without even checking the special pocket sewn under the arm of his tuxedo jacket. Sewing wasn't one of his favorite skills, but he'd made the modifications himself, to keep the alteration secret.
He waited at the elevator, then rode upstairs with a nice selection of the rich and famous. Most of them had the look of confidence and well–being that money brought. It amused Shane to think that he could buy and sell most of them.
Between his security business and Eclipse, he'd made all the money he was ever going to need. He could retire to his very comfortable underground mansion in the White Mountains and keep busy with his electronics inventions. But inventor was only a small part of his job description. He was too restless to work in the lab every day.
Instead he thrived on challenges—like the one he'd set for himself tonight.
The elevator stopped at the sixtieth floor, and the glittering crowd exited, ready to party. Before they were permitted to enter the reception room, they were treated to a second security check.
Although some of the guests muttered about being stopped again, Shane had been expecting it.
This time one of the Secret Service agents recognized him and let him step through the metal detector. Instead, the agent singled out a balding insurance executive for the wand treatment.
After clearing the metal detector, Shane stepped aside to let another couple hurry past, then strode Rebecca York 13
toward the reception hall, where candles flickered in the center of white linen tablecloths. At the edge of the room, floor–to–ceiling windows gave a view of the city lights. The windows were part of the reflective glass skin that covered the whole building. Shane remembered that early in the life of the building, a number of them had fallen out and crashed to the sidewalk.
Note to self—stay away from the windows. "Champagne, sir?" "Thank you." He accepted a flute from one of the formally clad waiters. But after taking a sip, he set the glass down on one of the tray stands scattered around the sides of the room. Right now he needed a clear head. Later he could celebrate with some bubbly.
The reception hall was already fairly crowded, and he recognized dignitaries from countries as diverse as China and France. He looked around to see if he could spot King Frederick of Beau Pays. he'd been happy to see the king's name on the guest list. Before Frederick LeBron had taken the throne of his small Alpine country, he'd pursued a variety of interests. he'd earned several advanced degrees from the Sorbonne, in Paris, then made a point of taking some top–secret political and military jobs, just like a regular working spook. he'd been the translator on a hostage rescue mission to the Middle East with Shane, the men who now made up Eclipse and three other highly trained operatives.
The mission had blown up in their faces when one of the members had jumped the gun and gone in too soon. Luckily, they'd gotten most of the hostages out alive, although three had died, including the U.S. secretary of state.
Wishing he hadn't flashed on the gory details of that long–ago mission, Shane swiftly tried to rearrange his features into a more party–like alignment.
But thinking of LeBron had brought back disturbing mental images from the past.
Shane felt a cold chill ripple over his skin. Suddenly, with terrible certainty, he knew that something bad was going to happen here tonight.
As soon as the thought surfaced, he firmly shoved it out of his mind. He was nervous about his private plans for the evening. That was all.
Or was fate telling him that he'd better abort the harebrained scheme before he got into serious trouble?
He usually listened to his sixth sense. Now he cursed his unexpected attack of nerves.
Sorry that he'd put down the champagne flute, he looked around the room and spotted Ty Jones over by the French doors to the balcony.
The man was six feet tall. At two hundred pounds, he was fit and muscular, not a bodybuilder, just a Secret Service agent who stayed in shape.
As usual, his blond hair was falling across his forehead.
Ty's gaze swept the crowd, checking for anything or anyone that looked out of place. When he spotted Shane, they smiled at each other. Ty was one of the Eclipse team. But his day job was with the Secret Service, and he was with the vice president's security detail. Which either meant that the VP was already on site or would be soon.
When Ty went back to his surveillance assignment, Shane crossed to the special display that had been set up before any guests had arrived at the reception.
In a heavy Lucite case, guarded with a silent alarm, was the priceless Beau Pays sapphire that the first king of the small Alpine country had given his wife on their wedding day.
As Shane looked down at the ninety–carat gem, which was twice the size of the Hope Diamond, a man came up beside him. Shane recognized him as Preston Hyatt, an oil–company executive who was known for his own collection of fabulous gems.
"That thing should be under armed guard," Hyatt commented. "If it belonged to me, I wouldn't loan it out for a trade reception."
"Yeah," Shane agreed.
"I guess it's got state–of–the–art security," the man murmured.
"Uh–huh," Shane answered, repressing a secret grin. Supposedly the security system guarding the gem was flawless. But he'd used his covert skills to get up here earlier, and he knew that the precautions the guards from Beau Pays had taken were laughable—at least in the face of one of his newer inventions, a bypass system that would fool the alarm into thinking the protective grid was still in force.
Hyatt drifted away, and Shane stood for several seconds contemplating the gem—until the feeling of being watched made him turn. He expected to see one of the security men zeroing in on the case with the sapphire. Instead, a porcelain–skinned beauty in a gown that matched the sapphire–blue of the gem was staring at him from across the room.
He took in details like a camera snapping shots in rapid succession. Her hair was light blond and worn in an upsweep, decorated with a gold tiara as delicate as her features. Her eyes were light blue or green. He couldn't tell the exact color from this distance. She was small and slender, yet the way she stood, tall and straight, gave her a regal bearing.
The crowd of people around him dimmed to a blur. Suddenly he felt as if he'd stepped from the reception room into the middle of a dream.
What was that line from the old Broadway musical? Something about seeing a stranger from across a crowded room. And knowing that person was the one.
He felt as if a hundred–pound hammer had thunked him in the chest. His heart skipped a beat, then started up again in double time.
It was several heartbeats before he remembered to breathe, several seconds before his brain engaged again. When it did, one thought surfaced. He wanted to be alone with this woman in a bedroom, although the sudden lustful ache was nothing compared to the emotions flooding through him.
In the next moment, his memory for names and faces clicked into place. he'd never met her in person, but he knew who she was—and knew that he didn't have a chance in hell of being anything more than her casual acquaintance.
Princess Ariana LeBron was off–limits to the likes of Shane Peters.
ARIANA LEBRON STOOD stock–still, struggling to keep
her face from revealing any emotion as she stared at the tall, lean–bodied man on the other side of the room.
He was devastating in formal attire. She suspected he'd be just as appealing in a pair of faded jeans, T–shirt and scuffed loafers.
His shiny black hair was styled to perfection. His eyes were dark, too, and focused on her with a laser intensity that tied her stomach into an instant knot.
His name was Shane Peters. She knew that from her recent research.
To aid her in identifying the foreign dignitaries and others attending the reception, the State Department had supplied her with an annotated guest list. As she'd crossed the Atlantic in her private jet, she'd read up on many of the men and women who would be attending. Being prepared for any situation went with the job of heir to the throne of Beau Pays.
As she'd studied the information, she'd been especially interested in Shane Peters because her father had talked about him on more than one occasion. He was ex–Special Forces. A security expert. And also an inventor of specialized electronics equipment.
Of all the pictures she'd looked at on the plane, his had stopped her. he'd intrigued her. She'd taken in his sinfully long lashes, his ebony eyes, his perfect white teeth. Now she knew that the photograph had been a pale shadow of the flesh–and–blood man.
She could see that there was more to Shane Peters than a biography and the photo he'd slapped onto the information sheet about his company. An aura of danger surrounded him, and she knew instinctively that he'd be a bad man to have on the opposing side of any fight.
Which was one good reason for staying away from him, she reminded herself. Another was the pull she felt when she stared at him. He was a brash American, just the wrong sort of man for her. She couldn't date a man simply because she was attracted to him. Duty to her people and to her country came first.
Since her brother, Rolf, had died in a skiing accident four years ago, she was the heir to the throne. And since she would be thirty in two months, she'd selected a suitable fiancé from among the nobility of her country.
His name was Jean Claude Belmont, and he would inherit a dukedom. She had thought of practicality, not love, when making her selection.
From observing her own parents' polite and friendly marriage, she knew that love was just a fairy tale. You picked a mate because he fulfilled certain purposes. Like Jean Claude, who had a Ph.D. in government. He would father her children and give her advice when she needed his counsel.
He was home now, attending a meeting she'd had to skip to come here—a meeting of the committee setting up a program where poor women in her country could get free day care for their children while they entered jobtraining programs and then went out into the workforce.
But when her father's gout had flared up, he'd asked her to attend this reception in his place. And she hadn't refused because duty had been drummed into her since she was a child.
Still, for just a moment, she let herself wonder what it would be like to go off alone with a man like Shane Peters. What it would be like to let her hair down and do anything she wanted.
"Is something wrong, Your Highness?"
She blinked, coming out of her reverie and ruthlessly snapping off the fantasy. Turning to her bodyguard, Manfred, she flashed a brilliant smile.
"No. I was just admiring the Beau Pays sapphire," she said, smoothly disguising her state of mind.
"Yes. It looks stunning," Manfred agreed. "The centerpiece of the reception." "As it should be," she murmured, then took a slow, calming breath as she looked around the room, taking in the richly dressed men and women. The Americans, she noticed, tended to overdo the glamour scene, and the women often showed too much flesh in their choice of attire.
As she and Manfred talked, she couldn't stop herself from looking for Shane Peters in the crowd. He appeared to be circulating around the room, talking easily to people he knew. But she could tell he was keeping her in his sights.
Well, she knew he was brash. What did he think–that they were going to slip off into some private room together?
She felt her skin heat as she realized she'd been having exactly that thought. The wrong thought.
Or did she have an excuse for talking to the man? After all, he'd been on that mission with her father. That gave them something in common. And maybe he could fill her in on some of the details from that longago night that she'd never been able to get her father to talk about.
Still, the back of her neck prickled as she watched the security expert circle toward her, making it look as if she weren't in his radar at all. But as a princess, she had a lot of experience reading people.
Well, she didn't like being stalked. Maybe she could leave before he made his move. Right after the president made his little speech, she'd go back to her room at the Ritz–Carlton to study the Women's Workshop proposal.
She felt herself wavering again. The indecision wasn't like her.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description Harlequin, 2007. Mass Market Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0373692617
Book Description Harlequin Intrigue, 2007. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0373692617
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0373692617