Deadly Promises

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9781439191118: Deadly Promises
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THESE HEROES ARE 100 PERCENT RAW, DANGEROUS, AND . . . UNDENIABLY SEXY.

New York Times bestselling authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love, and Cindy Gerard and rising romance star Laura Griffin mix seduction and suspense in three irresistible romantic adventures. From sultry international jungles to the rugged terrain of the American Southwest, join the larger-than-life, scorching-hot alpha heroes of the Bureau of American Defense, Black Ops, Inc., and the U.S. Navy SEALs for all the pulse-pounding, heart-racing, toe-curling excitement. They’re cool under pressure, steamy under the sheets, and when the enemy strikes, there’s not a lethal mission these gorgeous men can’t handle. . . .

Just Bad Enough
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

Leave No Trace
Cindy Gerard

Unstoppable
Llaura Griffin

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About the Author:

SHERRILYN KENYON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of several series, including the Bureau of American Defense novels Born to be BAD, BAD Attitude, Phantom in the Night, Whispered Lies, and Silent Truth--all available from Pocket Books. There are more than twenty-five million copies of her books in print in over thirty countries. She lives with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.Visit her website at SherrilynKenyon.com.

DIANNA LOVE is the New York Times best selling co-author of the Belador urban fantasy series. BLOOD TRINITY, the first book in this new series, debuted on the NYT, USA Today, Publishers Weekly and Walmart best seller lists. ALTERANT, book two, will be released Sept 27, 2011. 
Visit AuthorDiannaLove.com for more on this author who rides motorcycles, loves to saltwater fish and enjoys meeting fans everywhere.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

One

Jeremy Sunn stood next to the gazebo in the middle of the park and glanced around the festival to be sure no one saw him where he normally wouldn’t be. Not on a Sunday off. Working undercover required patience, persistence, and... popcorn. He tossed a fluffy kernel into the air and caught the buttery delight in his mouth then eyed the Greek water-maiden statue.

The one he’d been lusting over for the past hour.

More like three weeks.

He’d staked out a lot of things in his undercover career with the BAD—Bureau of American Defense—agency, but never a woman for purely personal interest.

No one at the Festival of Emperors paid attention to him, probably because he’d dressed in jeans and a gray T-shirt instead of period clothing. Roman soldiers and women in togas hustled around trying to buy up the last deals of the day. The mid-July event drew traffic from across metro Atlanta to the historic square in Marietta.

And no one strolling past the water maiden in the last hour had noticed why that one statue was different from the other three, besides being the only female sculpture.

But he did.

Beneath all that caked-on makeup beat the live heart of a flesh-and-blood woman. One he had to get an answer from before heading back to work on Tuesday.

Hell of a way to squander his last day off for a while and ancient history wasn’t his forte, but he lived only a mile away and she was worth standing here waiting for the festival to end. He hoped.

A simple yes or no.

One answer had the power to... eat a hole in his gut.

Sweat trickled down his neck but he couldn’t be as hot as that water maiden posed silently amid three massive concrete sculptures of Greek gods.

CeCe Caprice just pretended to be a statue. She could go for hours without moving a muscle when she performed.

He could attest to how hard she trained daily at his gym in Marietta. Yep, every inch of that shapely body wrapped in a toga and posed with a baby doll also coated in white plaster was very much a living, breathing human... and one hot female.

That he couldn’t touch, damn it.

Correction. Wouldn’t touch. Not if he found out she really had meant to give him a “back off” signal yesterday after spending the afternoon planting some damn flowers in her yard.

At least, that’s how he’d read her odd reaction when he asked her out to dinner. Now he was starting to wonder if he’d jumped to the wrong conclusion when she hadn’t actually said the word “no.”

He’d never pressed a woman for anything so he’d backed off. Quick. Then regretted it when he missed her for the past twenty-four hours. He’d gotten used to sharing iced tea on her patio for the best part of three weeks, had never spent that much time just talking to a woman. The females he met were only interested in what he intended to do to their naked bodies.

But CeCe had hung on his words. And laughed at his jokes.

He hadn’t even kissed her or had dinner with her.

Twenty-four hours of no iced tea, no talking, and no smiles. He missed her. Couldn’t get her out of his mind for one day.

A woman had never spun him inside out like this.

Lust used to be fun, and short-lived. Not obsessive.

Three weeks at home recuperating from a leg wound—a souvenir of his last mission—hadn’t turned out anything like he’d expected. Limping to his mailbox the first day at home he’d expected nothing more exciting than his standard fan mail from bill collectors.

When the screen door on the rental house next to his burst open and CeCe strolled down her driveway, the first thing he’d noticed was the sweet belly button winking at him between a red half shirt and white shorts.

He’d thought one of his teammates from BAD had sent him a get-well-soon girl. No way could that little bombshell be his honest to God next-door neighbor.

His luck had never run that hot.

But she was indeed a new addition to the neighborhood. For the first time since moving there he regretted having to leave as soon as he healed.

CeCe had destroyed any operating brain cells he’d possessed the minute she smiled at him. Blue eyes had sparkled bright as sapphires tossed up in blazing sunshine. Every time she turned her head, he fought the urge to touch the wavy auburn hair that brushed her shoulders.

He woke up at night thinking about that thick mass spread across a pillow. His pillow. His bed.

But CeCe wasn’t the kind of woman you spent a couple of steamy nights with then walked away. He’d be the first to admit he came by women easily only because the women he met saw him as nothing more than a short-term sexual buzz. Something to hold them over until the real thing came along. He’d accepted that for years as a trade-off for not having to spend his life entirely alone.

Hell, he wasn’t long-term material. Not with his criminal history or his current occupation that required going back to prison on a regular basis.

And it wasn’t like he could tell a woman he got arrested and thrown in the joint as part of his job description for BAD.

Which was why he should be looking for fast, fun, and forgettable instead of waiting to talk to CeCe here, the one place she couldn’t disappear in her house and ignore him. He’d tried to do the same, to forget CeCe, but he’d spent three amazing weeks pretending he had a normal life because a sweet young woman shared iced tea and talked to him. She made him want a normal life. He just didn’t know how to go about making it happen. Of all the women who had climbed in his bed, he’d never desired one like he wanted CeCe, and he hadn’t even held her in his arms. Spending time with her felt too damned good not to try again to ask her out. To try to keep her.

No mission had turned his gut inside out like this.

He officially went back to work undercover in two days. Before that happened he would know where he stood with her. Had she turned down the date because she’d really had plans with her brother or because she wouldn’t date a neighbor?

He only wanted a date. A dinner, movie... hell, he didn’t know. Anything. Something.

But if CeCe told him no today he’d respect her decision and walk away... then ask BAD to relocate his residence while he was gone on the next mission so he wouldn’t have to face coming home to find another man on her patio.

Popcorn crackled inside the bag he crushed in his fist.

Damn it, he’d never been in knots over a woman before.

“Hey, J!” a familiar male voice yelled.

Jeremy groaned. What the hell was Blade doing here? He stepped away from the side of the gazebo he’d been leaning against and turned to find Blade covering the fifty feet between them with long strides. Most people thought the skinny six-foot, four-inch guy got his name from having a body that moved through crowds like a black knife slicing water, not because he’d carried a switchblade since grade school.

After being busted in a chop shop raid and doing a stint in prison, Blade returned home to start a legitimate body shop business. Rehabilitating a cat not to hunt mice would be more realistic, but he’d been straight for a year and swore he was going to stay on this side of the law. His Denzel Washington smile, charismatic tongue, and ever present sense of humor drew women faster than bees to a hive.

Jeremy met him when they landed in the same cellblock in a Florida correctional institute after Jeremy got picked up for possession of stolen goods. BAD planted the merchandise and dropped the dime on him via a snitch so Jeremy could expose the identity of a nasty guy who had tortured and murdered three teens who refused to steal for him.

A dirty, but rewarding, job most days.

“Whatcha doing here?” Blade glided up in blue jeans and a red T-shirt sporting a motorcycle design. “This ain’t your playground, dog.”

“Boning up on ancient history.” Jeremy peeked at his water maiden to make sure CeCe hadn’t come out of her comatose state yet, but she hadn’t so much as blinked.

“Speaking of boners, I got something right up your alley.”

“That’s not what I said.”

“But it’s what you’re thinkin’ about.”

“How do you figure that?” Jeremy crossed his arms.

“Your eyes are open.” Blade broke out a grin that destroyed any chance of staying pissed off at him.

Labeling Blade a “close friend” stretched the definition only because a true friend gave unconditional trust. Jeremy had learned at birth that anyone, even family, would eventually turn their back on you.

However, when it came to extending trust to someone other than Jeremy’s teammates in BAD, Blade was that rare exception.

“Now that we’ve determined your state of mind,” Blade continued with his line of trash talk. “Glad I spotted you. I got a sizzlin’-hot babe you don’t wanna miss, right over there.”

Jeremy looked in the direction Blade hooked his thumb over his shoulder. Two voluptuous smiling beauties dressed in costume were walking toward them through the middle of the park.

“Who’re they?” Jeremy hoped his unchecked irritation hadn’t come through, but introducing him to any woman right now was really bad timing. The last thing he needed was for CeCe to come out of her trance and see him flirting with another female.

But Blade noticed the smallest things sometimes and Jeremy wasn’t ready to let him know about his infatuation with CeCe.

“That black diamond in the Cleopatra outfit is Cleo. She’s mine.” Blade waggled his eyebrows. “That redheaded seductress is Shelilah.” He drew out the name Shuh-liii-luh in adoration.

“Shelilah? Is that even a real name? Did they have Shelilahs in Roman time?” Weren’t all these statues of emperors from Rome?

“Details, details. Her name’s probably Sheila.” Blade beamed one of his on-the-move smiles at the women and lifted a finger for them to wait a minute then turned to Jeremy. “Come on, man. You’re my lucky charm. These two are perfect. Right up your alley—hot women looking for some quick action then leaving tomorrow for Florida. All they want are a couple man toys for a night.”

A disposable date.

Jeremy had been disposable from the first hours of his life when his mother tossed him into the closest Dumpster. He hadn’t fared much better in all the foster homes after that. The only place that ever wanted to keep him had been juvie. He’d learned skills in there that put him on a path to fast money and hard time.

But all that stopped with BAD, or at least changed, since he now committed crimes only when ordered to for a mission.

Jeremy shrugged. “I’ll pass, but thanks anyhow.” He had only forty-eight hours left and intended to spend as much time as he could with CeCe if she gave him the green light.

This was his only chance. He could be gone for a week or a month.

By then, CeCe could be in someone else’s arms.

“Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you?” Blade growled and hooked his thumbs in the corners of his jean pockets. “I ain’t seen you with a skirt in two weeks. Thought you were healed.”

Three weeks, actually, to be exact. But who’s counting?

“I’m healed.” The wound in his thigh was sore but he could function. “Like you said, none that you’ve seen me with.” Jeremy glanced over at the CeCe statue, no idea what possessed him to want a woman who said she’d just moved away from home for the first time. She had a quick wit and wasn’t the least bit meek. Too sweet to be worldly or a quick fling...

“Come on, J. Get out of that damn funk you’ve been in. You don’t come charm these women I’m gonna revoke your badass license.” Blade grinned, which meant his devious mind was up to no good. “In fact, I’ll tell everyone in the hood you done turned pansy-assed on us and can’t get it up around a knockout woman no more.”

“You bite, you know that? Let’s go.” Jeremy resigned himself to making small talk until he could find a way to get out of Blade’s deal without insulting Shelilah and before CeCe left the festival, or saw him first.

Then what? Stroll back over to the statues when she came out of her trance and pretend he happened to be at the festival and, oh, what a surprise to run into each other?

Pansy ass.

SAM THE MAN clawed his way over a chain-link fence, dropped, and hit the ground running. Georgia humidity soaked his black open-collar shirt, his new one, damn it. He gasped for air, dodging between older clapboard houses just off the square in Marietta.

Quick glance back. They weren’t close. Keep moving.

The neighborhood canine chorus grew with every yard he disturbed. Sam toed a foothold on a rear gate of one yard and plunged into an unfenced one, finally.

A rottweiler lunged, teeth bared, but the six feet of sturdy chain attached to one honkin’-big doghouse held while Sam sprinted past.

He burst from the narrow alley between well-tended aging homes and slowed to a quick walk. Cars were tucked bumper to bumper along both sides of the quiet side street. Shouts and barking from behind meant his tail was gaining on him. Time to make some serious mileage. He broke from the manicured yards thick with landscape and raced down the sidewalk. Clutching the photo card he had to deliver, he cursed the friend he’d trusted.

The friend who’d set him up.

But since no one could be completely trusted, Sam had taken the precaution of a backup plan. Never knew when a deal would suck toilet water.

Starface’s two armed thugs hard on his ass pretty much flushed his day down the sewer.

Trusting the feds to come through in time had been a gamble to begin with, but maybe he should have set up the meet spot in advance. Now he was looking at bad odds, because the feds probably couldn’t get to him in time. He’d sent a text message on the run for them to meet him in Marietta Square. The crowds milling around some damn festival there today would cover him long enough for the feds to snatch him out of sight.

But when Sam reached the square in sixty seconds he doubted even Superman could make it here in time.

He sliced across Church Street to where the crazy-looking event was winding down, the crowd thinning. He slowed to a fast walk as he entered the historic square, searching for a spot to hide his prize. All the tents would be picked up tonight.

Damn, no help there.

The smell of fresh popcorn fattened the air. He had to be careful not to draw the attention of off-duty cops working the event. They’d get him killed and probably a few of them, too. Sam zigzagged against a sea of teens bundled in groups and couples strolling, oblivious of any danger. Some of the patrons wore shorts but others were in togas. Huh?

A dumpy Caesar wannabe glared when Sam bumped the short bastard’s bone-thin Cleopatra.

Sam clutched the tiny photo card, thinking. The feds would stick out like the Blues Brothers in this crowd if they were here, which they weren’t. He needed a plan C at this point and slowed, searching for a safe spot to hide the memory card that was no bigger than a quarter. He passed an eight-foot-tall train engine replica packed with kids using it like a jun...

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