A sexy suspense spin-off to the DIRTY and DARE ME series…
Captivity has never been so hot and steamy
Former CIA operative Sean Devlin, shanghaied and forced to endure weeks of torture, has a choice to make. Give up the location of his ex-lover—who is dead—or die. Luckily for him, a guardian angel comes to his rescue. But will she save him or lead him deeper into danger?
Security specialist Brynn Blake rarely gets her hands dirty, but when she rescues a spy with a sought-after secret, she learns that he holds the key to her future. Should she trust the mystery man who sent her on this dangerous mission or Sean, who is slowly slipping into the fortified confines of her heart?
Brynn tried not to look, but if she’d learned anything over the past couple of weeks, it was that she could not resist ogling Sean Devlin. It was one thing to take on a professional mien while sponging down the flesh of an unconscious man who’d successfully faced down death, but when he was stripped to the chest with sweat glistening across his scarred yet mouth-wateringly sculpted abs and pecs while pumping iron…well, a woman had her limits.
“Hey, eyes up here,” he chastised, a saucy grin teasing the corners of his lips. “If I drop this barbell, I’m going to have to start my recovery process all over again.”
Brynn smirked. That might not be a bad thing. Her orders to keep him contained in the Barcelona beach house had not changed, but in a manner of days, the broken-winged bird of prey was going to fly the coop. He hadn’t revealed his intentions, but she had plenty of proof. And the worst part was, there wasn’t much she could do to stop him.
Delay him, maybe. Stop? Not with those biceps.
She adjusted her sunglasses, cleared her throat and widened her stance. She was supposed to be spotting his workout, not staring like a love-starved teenager. But what the hell did he expect? In record time, he’d transformed himself from a man with the strength of a kitten into a hunk on the brink of escape.
Technically, Brynn wasn’t a spy. But as she’d been raised by one and her company specialized in providing security for everyone from governments to corporations to somewhat shady conglomerates and cabals, she knew more than most. Computer hacking, installing spyware, tracking down and tracing missing persons were her specialty—so she was well aware that while she was sleeping or showering, Sean Devlin had hacked into her computer.
Not that she’d made it difficult. She’d softened her security protocols, anticipating that he’d target the only computer available in the villa. He’d told her nothing about why he’d been shanghaied in the first place, but his online activity at least gave her insight into what he planned to do next.
He’d searched for information about their current location. He’d explored transportation options and had combed through her emails, searching for communiqués using keywords that included CIA, Dante and Jayda.
Though she’d gleaned nothing specific from back-tracing his activity, she did know one important fact—he was days, if not hours, away from staging an escape. And with no incoming orders from Dante and no backup since she’d sent Marisela back to the States, Brynn was on her own in devising an incentive to keep him from leaving.
She glanced away again, trying to keep her mind on her mission while Sean grunted, puffed and pushed his body to limits normally reserved for a man much younger and much less damaged. Clearly, he was a man with a plan—a man willing to risk anything and everything for…what? Revenge? Retribution? Love?
She’d searched for information on “Jayda” and had found nothing. The name could refer to a place or be a codename for a classified mission, but from the determination in Sean’s face as he began a third repetition of bench presses, Brynn guessed the name belonged to a woman—a woman who meant more to him than his own life.
Maybe she was just being overly romantic, but Brynn had observed Sean for going on four weeks. He was a man of amazing discipline, but his power came from passion. When he wanted something, he worked beyond excruciating pain or insurmountable odds to get it. If Jayda was, indeed, a woman, then Sean would find her.
Possess her. Maybe even destroy her.
She sighed. She really had been alone with him for too long.
For all she knew, Jayda was the name of his pet fish. Or his sister, though she’d found no evidence of any other siblings—even Leo Devlin—in the many searches she’d done while sitting at his bedside. If Jayda was a woman, she was damned lucky. He’d stop at nothing to return to her. Maybe he’d endured the beatings and torture to protect her. Of all the possibilities she’d entertained since suffering radio silence from her friend at the CIA, that seemed the most plausible scenario. The only time she’d ever seen men push themselves to the edge like Sean was, it was for love.
Passion like that—all-encompassing and intense—made men do things they’d never consider possible.
She’d seen it with clients. With her parents. Even her brother had gotten caught up in an obsessive relationship that had nearly cost them the business—and Brynn her life.
True love could be deadly, making Sean Devlin a very dangerous man.
And the only way she could think to neutralize the threat was to chip away at his motivation. She had to make him forget, temporarily, what was driving him.
And the only counter-agent she knew for love was good, old-fashioned, raw and ready lust.
“God, it’s gorgeous here.” She slipped off her linen jacket, allowing the soft material to slide down her arms.
He froze mid-lift. “What?”
She hooked her jacket on her finger and slung it over her shoulder so he could get a full view of the flimsy silk shell she wore underneath.
“The weather, the blue skies, the sound of gulls, the rush of water.” She tipped her sunglasses down her nose and eyed him boldly. “The view.”
She watched for a sign—any sign—of reaction, but per usual, Sean Devlin proved elusive. He went back to lifting his weights, his gaze locked above him as if she no longer existed.
Well, that was an ego-buster.
Still, she wasn’t deterred. Sean was an expert at concealing information. And though Brynn wasn’t used to being ignored or spurned, his artful avoidance was interesting. At the very least, he was saving her from boredom.
She tossed her jacket over the Y-shaped weight bench brace, hooked her hands on her waist and arched her back while sighing sensually toward the sun.
She glanced at him, her face schooled into total innocence. “What’s so funny?”
“Funny? Absolutely nothing,” he said, resuming his intensive lifts of the barbell. “Heard from Dante today?”
He asked this question every afternoon. And every afternoon, she told him the truth.
But today, she changed her tactic.
“Wouldn’t I have told you if I had?” she replied.
She arched a brow. “We’ve been holed up here, together, for a month. I’d think you would trust me a little by now. I did save your life.”
“That you did,” he admitted, pumping the weighted bar up and down twice more before setting the whole monstrosity on the rack. She only barely retrieved her jacket before he smashed the sweaty metal on the hooks. “But you only did it on the orders of one of the most deceptive spymasters in the industry. Based on your friendship with Dante alone, I’d be an idiot to trust you too much.”
“You’re friends with Dante,” she pointed out.
“Exactly,” he said.
Brynn grinned. He was telling her not to trust him, but did he really believe her to be that gullible? The last man she’d trusted had left stipulations in his will that had set her and her brother against each other. And though she’d never truly trusted her brother, it had been his actions that had resulted in her debt to Dante in the first place. Ian had fallen in love with a woman who’d not only embezzled his half of their inheritance, but she’d put out a hit on Brynn to try and get the rest.
And then there was Dante. Yes, he’d saved her life, but he’d also sentenced her to four weeks with a man whose main goal was to escape.
In other words, she couldn’t afford to be the trusting type.
Most of what she knew about Sean was speculation, and none of it engendered confidence. He was a private investigator from Louisiana. He’d never been married and had no children. His mother had died while he was serving in the military, and his father…well, his father was a mystery she’d yet to solve.
Anything more, she’d have to find out without a laptop.
Otherwise, the only thing she knew for sure about him was that he was gorgeous, well-endowed, single-minded and driven by an unyielding dedication to breaking all records of physical recovery.
“Let’s get one thing clear, okay? I don’t work for Dante Burke,” she said. “I hardly know him. I’m simply doing him a favor.”
“Which means you owe him,” Sean deduced. “That’s even worse.”
Brynn frowned. “Haven’t you ever owed him anything?”
“I’m not the one asking for you to trust me,” he countered.
She snatched the towel he’d dropped on the patio and handed it to him, suppressing a flare of temper. “Just because I’m here at Dante’s request doesn’t mean we can’t share a little conversation now that you’re feeling better. I mean, don’t you think it’s time we make use of your newfound vigor?”
His eyes widened, but only for a split second. He took his time wiping away the rivulets of sweat streaming down his face. She turned toward the ocean but could feel his gaze on her backside.
Which was exactly where she wanted it.
Channeling her dormant femme fatale, Brynn unclipped the barrette at the base of her neck and shook her hair free.
“You know,” she said, “We’ve been roommates for weeks now and I don’t know anything about you.”
“Anything beyond what you read in my dossier, you mean,” he countered.
She smiled. “I never received a dossier. You’ve combed through my hard drive often enough to know that by now.”
The corner of his mouth lifted in a half grin. “Can you blame me? My only contact with the outside world is you and you’re not exactly chatty.”
“I can’t tell you what I don’t know.”
He stood and raked his fingers through his hair, which had grown past his shoulders. He’d tended to the scraggly beard that forested his face since his injuries, but he hadn’t shaved. Instead, he’d shaped the facial hair to emphasize the sharpness of his jaw and cover the distinctive scar that slashed above his lip.
“Oh, come on, Brynn Blake, owner and chief executive officer of Titan International,” he taunted. “Surely you know something interesting, even if it’s just about yourself. As hired companions go, you’ve been downright unsociable.”
She laughed. She’d been called a lot of things over the years but never a “hired companion.” Or unsociable. She had kept to herself since he’d come out of his drug-induced stupor, tending to him only when necessary and keeping her small talk to a minimum, but something about being incarcerated with a man she might have to betray had put her on her guard.
This type of operation was not her purview. Even under the best of circumstances, Sean Devlin was not the type of man she would secrete herself away with. He was concurrently mysterious, dangerous and vulnerable—as well as wily, clever and too sexy for the good of womankind.
She preferred men who were easy to enjoy and discard. Sean was a challenge. He’d use any snippet of information she inadvertently let slip against her. He had the capacity to play her as expertly as she might him. She was smart enough to fear that she’d tell him more than he ever needed to know simply because he asked.
And even worse, he had the power to get under her skin.
In fact, he might have already.
But despite her misgivings, she stepped into his personal space anyway, straight into the miasma of sweat and heat searing off his body.
She had a job to do—and having sex with Sean would serve double-duty. She could work off her sexual stir-craziness and keep him close for a couple more days.
All in all, it was win-win.
Even for him.
Hell, especially for him.
“What do you want to know about me?”