Publication date: March 3rd 2015
Genres: Adult, Romance
Dangerous Passions: 12 Tales of Contemporary Sexy Hot Alpha Heroes — Cops, Navy SEALs, Marines, Military, FBI Agents, Secret Agents, Police Captains, Spies, and More
A romance multi-author box set and romantic suspense collections and anthologies of action and adventure, contemporary romance, military romance, romantic thriller, and sexy romance.
11 by Kylie Brant, National Bestselling Author: Five years after escaping from The Collector Mia Deleon stops hiding and teams up with security expert Jude Bishop to track her former captor. Jude’s efforts to help Mia are complicated by the growing attraction between them. Because their race to trail the sexual sadist brings Mia ever closer to the man determined to see his collection finally complete….
DANGEROUS CURVES by Nina Bruhns, New York Times Bestselling Author: A spec ops transporter for STORM Corps takes on drones, bad guys, and car chases on the coast of Italy—and falls for a beautiful scientist whose curves are far more dangerous than the road!
IN TOO DEEP by Opal Carew, New York Times Bestselling Author: Angel has been deep undercover in the mob for far too long. Four years ago, she was forced to betray the only man she ever loved. He barely got away with his life, and now he hates her. Too bad they’ve been partnered to work together. As man and wife.
SEAL’S EMBRACE by Elle James, New York Times Bestselling Author: Injured Navy SEAL and the critical care nurse he’s attempting to woo join forces to stop a terrorist attack at a military hospital in Germany.
BRIDGER’S LAST STAND by Linda Winstead Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author: When a one night stand makes Frannie a witness to murder and puts her in danger, Detective Malcolm Bridger refuses to let her out of his sight until the murderer is caught.
FLASH FIRE by Elle Kennedy, USA Today Bestselling Author: Navy SEAL Cash McCoy knows all about danger, but when it comes to the love of his life, this alpha soldier does everything in his power to keep Jen Scott happy and safe. When the tables are turned and Jen places herself in harm’s way for her job, Cash must learn to trust the woman he loves…or lose her forever.
INTO DANGER by Gennita Low, New York Times Bestselling Author: Navy SEAL, Steve McMillan, has been pulled from his team to work with CIA’s Task Force Two, where he’s assigned to deal with the “world’s most glamorous assassin.” Marlena Maxwell proves to be as seductive and dangerous as her reputation as the assignment becomes a game of cross and double-cross. Into Danger is the winner of RT Book Reviews’ Best Romantic Intrigue.
EMBATTLED HEARTS by J.M. Madden, New York Times Bestselling Author: For the first time in years former Marine John Palmer has met a woman that makes him feel like the man he used to be, before his catastrophic injury. When a stalker threatens her, it’s his job to remove the threat. Why does the possibility of having his heart destroyed scare him more than taking on a killer?
DEATHTRAP by Dana Marton, New York Times Bestselling Author: The only woman he could ever love, has a secret he could never forgive.
SHADOW OF THE HAWK by Julie Miller, USA Today Bestselling Author: A Marine whose soul is tortured by his mystical abilities puts his life—and heart—on the line to rescue a Plain Jane school teacher and her students from an archaeological field trip gone horribly wrong.
IMPOSTER by Karen Fenech, USA Today Bestselling Author: Chemist Dr. Eve Collins, wrongly accused by the CIA of developing a chemical weapon, learns someone has set her up as a scapegoat. That “someone” wants her dead.
(The Protectors Series – Book One)
(Author: Karen Fenech)
Eve left the Porsche and stumbled out onto the asphalt. She was still holding her phone and dropped it onto the pavement as she ran to the sedan.
She reached it and seized the lid just as the dark-haired man was about to slam it.
“You can’t move Richard’s body. Drive back to the nearest city and send the police.”
What was the name of the last place they drove through? She shook her head in frustration. She couldn’t recall it. She eyed the two men. “There’s a city about a forty minute drive east of here. Since you were on this road, you would have passed it as well.
There’s bound to be a police station there.”
The man slammed the trunk and turned to his companion. “You’d better get going. I’ll be in touch.”
The men acted as if she hadn’t spoken. Eve reached out and seized the dark-haired man’s forearm. Beneath the conservative gray suit was hard muscle. Instead of digging into skin, her nails bent. She bit down hard on her back teeth “Did you hear what I said?”
He met her gaze. “Every word. I’m afraid, however, that we will be removing the body.”
She could see the promise in his eyes, and her anger spiked another notch.
“Listen to me— ”
“You know me?” She searched her memory, but could not recall ever meeting him. He obviously knew her though, and though he had yet to harm her, that fact unsettled her, reminded her that this man and his companion had been following Richard.
Who were these men? Eve’s stomach went as tight as a fist. Her body went cold with apprehension but she knew better than to show it. She crossed her arms and narrowed her gaze on the dark-haired man who appeared to be leading the other man. “I asked you a question.”
“We’ve never met. I’m John Burke.” Burke indicated the man beside him. “This is Michael Lanski. We work for a division of the Central Intelligence Agency.” Burke withdrew a small folder from inside his suit jacket and opened it for her inspection. It was his picture ID. He replaced it, then repeated to Lanski, “Get going.”
Lanski got behind the wheel of the sedan, and Eve’s heart thumped. “Where is he going?” she asked Burke. “Why were you following Richard? What does the CIA want with Richard’s body?”
“We’ll talk on the drive to Rowland,” Burke said. “Let’s go, Dr. Collins.”
Eve narrowed her eyes on Burke. “You know where Richard and I were going?”
Burke gave her a level look. “Oh, yeah. We know a lot of things about you and Richard.”
Eve arched her eyebrows at the cryptic statement. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Before Burke could respond—if he’d intended to—Eve’s attention was drawn by the sedan. Lanski spun the car in a U-turn then, tires squealing, sped down the road.
Dust swirled in the air where the car had been an instant earlier, and Richard was gone.
Again, Eve felt tears burn. She forced them back and confronted Burke. “I asked you what the CIA wants with Richard’s body.”
“And I told you we would talk on the way to Rowland,” Burke said.
The sun had lowered and dusk had descended. In the interval between day and night, there was a stillness, a quiet time. In the silence, Eve became aware of the hum of the Porsche’s engine. She’d thought the car was disabled by the accident, but Burke or Lanski had started it. Obviously, Burke intended that they leave there in Richard’s vehicle.
Eve crossed her arms. “I’m not going anywhere with you, Mr. Burke.”
He braced his hands low on his hips. “Are you thinking to wait out here, hoping another car will come along?”
“Oh, no. I am leaving. You’re not. I’m taking the car. You should have gone with Lanski.” Eve’s cheeks warmed. “This isn’t over. If you won’t tell me what I want to know, I’ll get my answers from your office. I will get Richard’s body released. I will find out why the CIA even knows my name.”
Eve moved past him toward the car.
“You aren’t going anywhere without me.”
She glanced back at Burke. He hadn’t moved, but his eyes had hardened and she knew he meant what he said. He outweighed her by at least seventy pounds and topped her by a good eight inches. Did he intend to use physical force to detain her? When she’d been on the job, she’d taken down men of his size before. Still, he would need a reason to insist that she accompany him. He was an officer of the law, after all, not a thug.
She raised an eyebrow. “If you want to stop me, you’re going to have to place me under arrest.”
Burke reached into a back pocket and held up a pair of handcuffs. Eve’s lips tensed briefly.
“You have to be out of your mind, Burke. I’m a chemist not a criminal.”
“You set the terms, Doctor. We are going to talk. If I have to arrest you to do that, I will.”
“This is ridiculous. You can’t arrest me without cause.”
“Oh, I have cause.” He leaned in close to her, and his voice lowered to a near whisper. “You’ve been named in a terrorist plot, Doctor. The charge for committing an offence against your country is treason.”
By Caridad Pineiro – www.caridad.com
Jesse wasn’t in his bed when she walked into the room.
Closing the door and locking it behind her, she glanced around the large suite and noticed that he was out on the balcony that faced the beachfront.
Striding toward him, she stopped to put down the bag of take-out she had brought on a low coffee table in a sitting area near the windows and French doors leading to the balcony. She had dropped by her parents’ place again, received another helping of her mother’s soup and other goodies intended to help Jesse feel better.
While she wasn’t sure that there was any medical basis for thinking the food might assist, she knew that mentally it did her a world of good. It reminded her of her roots and the love her family had for her. Something Jesse seemed to have lacked, which saddened her.
Jesse, she thought, staring at his back as he stood facing the ocean. A strong wind was blowing westward, ruffling the shorter strands of his hair.
She hadn’t had a chance to tell him that she liked the change – the shorter hair and clean shaven face.
She wondered if had done it for her which caused a skitter in her midsection along with warmth farther below that he had cared enough to do it.
She had come to discover that about him. Despite all the tabloid gossip and bad boy antics, he cared about others. His sister. Mother. Possibly even the father that denied his existence.
Maybe even her.
She laid her hand over her fluttering midsection and walked to the French door. He seemed distant, a solitary figure looking almost lost against the vastness of the ocean before him.
Not wanting to intrude without welcome, she rapped on the glass door and waited for his reception.
He turned, his face grim and set in sharply chiseled lines. They relaxed somewhat as he saw her, grabbed the handle of the door and slid it open.
She stepped out onto the balcony and he closed the door behind them.
The wind increased the chill of a day that was quickly fading to night. Intense reds and purples painted the sky and the ocean had darkened to slate grey with the arrival of night.
“Cold,” she said and wrapped her arms around herself. Even though she still had on her winter jacket, the wind seeped beneath the wool, which made her wonder how he stood there in nothing but fleece sweats braving the wind. Once again staring out at the ocean. The white of the bandage at his temple a glaring contrast to his skin in the dim dusk.
“Aren’t you cold?” she asked and patted her arms to try and generate some heat.
He hunched his shoulders, shot her a half glance. “I wasn’t sure you’d come back.”
“I said I would. I needed to see how you’re doing.”
He gave another shrug, seemingly indifferent except she sensed undercurrents beneath. Dangerous ones.
“I’m here. I’m alive. Consider your obligation fulfilled.”
A self-defense mechanism? she wondered. Push her away --push what he was feeling away – in order to keep from being hurt?
Only as she had discovered after pouring her heart out to Carmen, it was no easy thing to keep him at bay. Somehow he had touched her. Infiltrated those areas she had thought safe.
Trying to shore up her defenses, she beckoned toward the bag of food on the table within. “I brought food. I thought you might be hungry.”
Some emotion finally cracked the stern lines of his face. A hint of a smile and glitter in eyes that had gone to slate grey. He took a long stride toward her, until barely inches separated them. Laying a hand at her waist, he bracketed her side with it, sending her insides quivering.
Jesse glanced down at her, sensing the tremor in her body.
She was as aware of him as he was of her. At his touch, her gaze had gone wide, revealing eyes that were nearly black with desire. When she moistened her lips, the last of his restraint disappeared.
He bent his head, whispered against her lips. “I’m hungry, but not for food.”
Then he closed the distance and kissed her. Dug his hand into her hair while he kept her from running with his other hand on her waist. There was a stutter, maybe a half-hearted protest against his mouth before she was answering his kiss, moving her lips against his. Slipping her arms around his back to press him tight.
Over and over their lips met until Liliana opened her mouth and invited him in.
He went willingly, lost in his emotions, needing so much more.
He slipped his one hand to the buttons on her coat, undid them and eased beneath the wool and her suit jacket to place his hand on her side. Her body was warm, the cotton of her shirt slick beneath his palm as he trailed upward until he was cupping her breast.
She moaned into his mouth. Needy. Hungry.
Unerringly, he shifted his thumb across the tip of her breast. Her nipple was hard and as he took it between his thumb and forefinger, she gasped and pulled away from him.
“Jesse,” she said and disappointment arose within him.
But then she said, “The bed’s inside.”
Sweet lord, he thought, swept her up into his arms, somehow slid open the French door and closed it against the chill before stalking with her to his bed.
He released her, allowing her to slide across his body as she returned to her feet again.
So many thoughts went through his head as she pressed against him, reached up and ran her hand through the short strands of his hair. So many thoughts that suddenly came spewing from his mouth.
“Bruno – “
“Is downstairs eating.”
“He may come up after – “
“I locked the door on the way in.” She raked her fingers through the shorter strands of his hair and gave a sexy half-smile, but it turned into a frown as her fingers encountered the gauze at his temple.
“They might have killed you,” she said, concern and anger warring in her gaze.
“They didn’t and I’m here, wanting you.”
“Why me, Jesse? You must have had your share – “
He placed his finger on her lips. “That’s in the past. I’m not that man anymore. Maybe I never was.”
Her gaze narrowed as she considered his statement, but relaxed as she said, “Fame didn’t change the real you.”
“I lost the real me for awhile, but I’ve found myself. And I’ve found you,” he said, bent his head and kissed her again only the kiss was gentler this time, not as urgent, although his need was just as great.
She opened her mouth, sampled the edges of his lips as she moved her hands to his shoulders. Shifted them across their broad width and down his arms to his hands. Taking hold of them, she brought them to her waist and murmured against his lips, “Touch me, Jesse.”
By: Linda Winstead Jones
The music came to an end, and they stopped moving. Bridger didn’t let her go right away, but held her hand and kept a steadying arm around her. “Maybe we shouldn’t blow up the jukebox after all,” he whispered.
Another selection soon took the place of the slow love song, and the spell was broken. Harsh sounds filled the bar, and Frannie jerked her head around to look at the jukebox. “That’s it,” she said, forgetting Reese and her lost job. Bridger’s arms fell away. “What?” He faced the jukebox with her, his entire body alert as he faced an unseen threat.
“That’s the noise my car’s making.” A man with a reverberating deep voice was repeating a short phrase, quick, choppy and harsh, the sound vibrating through tinny speakers. It sounded just like the engine of her ancient Buick.
Bridger relaxed visibly and led her back to the bar. “I don’t know a lot about cars, but I’d say that’s at least a five-hundred-dollar noise.”
“That’s what I was afraid of.”
They reclaimed their stools, side by side. The place was uncomfortably empty without the chattering women they’d listened to all evening. Frannie played with what was left of her drink.
It was melted, unappetizing, and she’d had her limit, anyway. But she didn’t want to leave. What did she have waiting for her at home? She loved her little house, but there was nothing—no one—waiting for her there. There were just messages from her mother and a little harsh reality, and she was in no mood to face either at the moment.
An old man, the last of the night’s crowd but for Bridger and Frannie, tossed a bill onto the table and weaved his way to the door, waving over his shoulder to Benny.
“He’s not going to drive, is he?” Frannie asked as she watched the man stumble, check the floor for a nonexistent hazard, and move on.
“No,” Bridger answered. “I’ve seen him around. He lives around the corner in that old department store they converted into apartments a couple years back.”
“Last call,” Benny said cheerfully, and they twirled around to face him as he placed two fresh drinks on the bar. “This round’s on me.”
The jukebox was silent at last. Benny was turning the chairs up on the tables that were scattered throughout the room, preparing to sweep up and close for the night.
Frannie didn’t want to go home. She played with the drink before her, stabbing at the frozen concoction with her straw and drinking nothing, delaying the inevitable. Bridger was gloomy again, as miserable as he had been when she’d first arrived and seen him sitting there staring into his drink. Maybe he didn’t want to go home, either.
They hadn’t talked about the shooting since he’d told her what happened, but it had to be on his mind. He’d saved lives today, but he’d also taken one. That couldn’t be easy. She glanced again at the gun he wore.
She liked Bridger too much. It wasn’t just that he was pleasant to talk to, or that he was a great dancer. He had a kind soul, and she’d known it after talking to him for five minutes. She sat beside a kind soul in a six-foot-plus body, a guardian angel with a gun strapped to his belt, a man who could love a woman and protect her from anything.
Two drinks and she was hallucinating. “Good night, Detective Bridger,” she said, a false brightness in her voice as she slid from the bar stool and put those ideas out of her mind. “Thanks for commiserating with me.”
He mumbled something that sounded like “any time,” but she couldn’t be sure.
“Good-night, Benny,” she said without looking back. “I’m going to make a pit stop and then I’m headed for home.”
She really didn’t want to go home, back to the house that was small and yet too big for one
person, back to the messages from her mother that she would eventually have to answer, back to the reality that she didn’t have a job anymore. She was at a crossroads, and she didn’t know where to go from here.
When she came out of the restroom, she was surprised to find Bridger waiting for her. He was leaning against the wall by the pay phone with his head down and his hands in his pockets.
As the ladies’ room door swung closed, he lifted his head.
When his eyes latched on to hers her heart skipped a beat. Malcolm Bridger had cop’s eyes: eyes that had seen too much and never missed anything. How could eyes like that be anything but lonely?
“I can’t let you drive home,” he said softly.
“I walked,” she said quickly. “I wanted to show that good-for-nothing car of mine that I didn’t need it. My house isn’t too far. I don’t think it took me twenty minutes to get here.” Of course, it had started raining on her when she’d been halfway to Rick’s. Maybe walking hadn’t been such a good idea after all.
“I’ll drive you,” he said, never moving from the spot where he’d planted his feet. She had the impression it was a statement, not an offer.
She was treading on very dangerous ground, and she knew it. She should play it safe, brush him off, call a cab, maybe laugh at him for good measure. Frannie Vaughn did not make a habit of picking up strangers in bars. She was a good girl, a cautious woman. Her mother had taught her well, by bad example if not design.
So why did she have the overwhelming desire to walk into Detective Bridger’s arms and ask him to hold her tight?
Why did she want to bury her face against his chest and breathe deeply once again?
Loneliness, certainly. Lust, maybe. She wasn’t particularly well acquainted with the latter.
...Steve McMillan liked kissing women.
Which was not what he should be thinking about right now. He looked across the room at his target. She was a lot taller than he’d expected; dressed in black leather, she made a striking figure standing against the bar, calmly sipping a drink. She didn’t look like she was waiting for someone. Her stance was relaxed, her smile a little bored. One or two men had approached with interested smiles, but she had sent them away with a few words.
In the dark corner of the bar, he’d been watching her for almost an hour now, and her patience seemed endless, because she hadn’t glanced once at her watch or looked around at the patrons. She didn’t fidget with her dark auburn hair. She didn’t make small conversation. She didn’t smoke. Once in a while she would turn around and lean back on her elbows to watch the baseball game in progress on a giant TV screen above the bar.
At exactly an hour later, she finished her drink, picked up the small suitcase by the bar stool, and walked off. She didn’t look back, so she missed the appreciative glances admiring her long, leather-encased, shapely legs. Steve stood up and followed. It was dark and cool outside. He pulled on his jean jacket as he looked around for the woman. She was nowhere to be seen. He turned the corner, keeping to the shadows.
He was a trained operative. He knew not to show his training. So he allowed her to have the advantage for now.
He was pinned hard against the wall, and a husky voice, whiskey-laced, drawled in his ear, “It’s been an hour, sweetheart. If you plan to make a move, you mustn’t make a lady wait.”
Steve angled his head sideways, and the light out of the windows was just enough for him to make out her face. Her eyes gleamed back, no fear in them. Her lips were temptingly close and perfectly shaped.
There were kisses that stole. And there were kisses that gave away secrets. Steve wondered which kind would persuade a hired assassin to reveal who her target was.
Her strength didn’t surprise him. After all, everything he had profiled about Marlena Maxwell showed a woman who knew how to take care of herself. What caught him by surprise was how his body responded to her. From his table watching her, he had appreciated her tall, sultry beauty, but up close and personal, the appreciation became a growing private interest.
“What’s the matter?” she asked, when he didn’t say a word. “Don’t you like it when a woman comes after you?”
“It depends on what she’s after,” Steve answered.
“Oh? Like what?”
“I don’t mind a lady after my body,” Steve said dryly, “but I do draw the line if it’s my dead body.”
She pushed an elbow hard against his lower back, forcing him to buckle against the wall. “Let’s not bicker over details. It would save me time if you introduce yourself,” she said, still in that husky drawl, “and I hope you don’t mind. I have to make sure you aren’t armed, sweetheart.”
Damn, but the woman’s elbow was sharp. The hard stucco of the building cut into the side of his face. “No problem,” Steve assured her. “Look all you want.”
She slid a hand into his jean jacket, checking for secret pockets. Then her hand glided down his chest to his jeans, obviously knowledgeable about the places a man could hide a weapon.
“Lower,” Steve suggested, reckless desire spurring him now, “and you might find something loaded.”
There was a pause. Her eyes looked into his for a moment, then she took up his challenge. And went lower.