He is a trained professional—but nothing can prepare him for the hottest mission of his life. Assigned to protect his boss’s daughter, British former SAS operative Malone Garrett breaks the first rule of covert surveillance—don’t make contact. And especially don’t take your mark out to dinner, then agree to a rooftop quickie. But now that Mal has Abby in his arms, he has no intention of ever letting her go.
Abby Baston told herself it was a hit and quit, a one-nighter with a hot, handsome stranger whose hands were trained to take action. Working undercover for the CIA, she can’t risk anything more. But when an international crisis ignites, Abby must make a call: trust Mal with her secret—and her heart—and partner up, or lose everything in a split second . . .
Five minutes into her short drive home, she passed another old beater Škoda with its hood up. She slowed down. It was pointing the opposite way, so it wasn’t like she could really offer him a ride. She was about to pass it, when she caught sight of the man, or more specifically, his jacket. It was bright red and emblazoned with MEDCIN SAND FRONTIERS. She pulled over. She wasn’t going to strand a fellow aid worker in the countryside at night.
“Ca va?” she asked.
“Eh. I’ve been better,” he replied in a deep voice with a distinct English accent.
“And you’re not French,” she said, slamming her door and striding over to him.
“Not even a little bit.” He straightened and blew out a sigh as he held his hand out to her. “Malone Garrett. Thanks for stopping.”
She shook his hand and looked into the engine. “Anything I can help with?”
He cocked his head and looked down at her.
A jolt of awareness flashed through her as he met her eyes. He was all man. Firm jaw, really blue eyes, way over six feet, and built to match. His jean-clad legs were long and clearly muscled. She suddenly wanted to see what was under his jacket and shirt…Her long-dormant libido kick-started in her stomach, sending unwelcome messages through her body. Jesus, girl. Get a grip.
“Are you good with cars?” he asked, a hint of a smile behind his words.
I can hot-wire them, siphon fuel from them, disable them, make them explode, and change a fan belt. But aside from that, not really.
“I’m good at giving stranded motorists rides back into town,” she said, as if she was admitting she knew nothing about cars.
“In which case, I’d be grateful to take advantage of that skill, if you don’t mind,” he said, closing the hood. He got back into his car, turned off the headlights, and grabbed a messenger bag from the backseat.
She got in her car and watched him in her rearview mirror. His accent did strange things to her. Maybe it was just speaking to someone who actually spoke English as a first language. Maybe it was something different. Holy hell. Did God send him because she’d been determined to meet someone? Or at least touch someone?
He opened the door and peered in. “Are you sure? I promise I’m not an ax murderer.” He smiled disarmingly, and for a second she considered that that was precisely what an ax murderer would say. She shrugged to herself. Anything to relieve the boredom of her life.
“Sure. Maybe you should be asking if I’m the ax murderer?”
A frown flickered across his face for a second and she laughed. “I’m not, I promise.”
He got in and put his seat belt on. “Isn’t that exactly what an ax murderer would say, though?”
She laughed again. “You’re the one who brought up ax murderers. Maybe I kill with a spork. Maybe you’re making me feel inferior with all your talk about axes.” She pulled onto the road and headed toward the flickering lights of the town about thirteen miles away.
“Then let’s drop the subject. Although, clearly, axes are superior in that line of business.”
She sniffed. “You haven’t seen what I can do with a spork.”
He laughed, a low belly laugh. “So perhaps I can take you out to dinner, to thank you for your assistance this evening. That way, I can see firsthand how proficient you are with cutlery.”
Emmy Curtis is an editor and a romance writer. An ex-pat Brit, she quells her homesickness with Cadbury Flakes and Fray Bentos pies. She’s lived in London, Paris and New York, and has settled for the time being, in North Carolina. When not writing, Emmy loves to travel with her military husband and take long walks with their Lab. All things considered, her life is chock full of hoot, just a little bit of nanny. And if you get that reference…well, she already considers you kin.