HIDDEN HEAT is available!
Sandy and Troy have returned to your favourite digital bookstores. (They’ll be returning in print in June.)
They have a steamy new cover, thanks to Candice of Flirtation Designs,
and a new description thanks to Carolan at The Blurb Wizard:
The masks we wear can hide our deepest desires…or reveal them.
Wedding rings, babies, commitment? No thank you. Working for a company that’s wall-to-wall, testosterone-fueled alpha males, Sandy Hallquist is in her element. By day, she’s the picture of calm, cool efficiency. Off hours, her inner adrenaline junkie is off the chain.
His whole professional life has been all about being invisible, but nothing about Troy MacPherson is real, not even his name. It’s the only way he can manage Hauberk’s international offices while hiding his other career: assassin. But in one moment of weakness, Troy’s carefully constructed mask begins to crack. Cracks that reveal his yearning for things he can never have. Family. Stability. Love.
Too bad they’re the last things on Sandy’s must-have list. By the time she realizes the heat between them will last a lifetime, his next mission could make him disappear from her life.
You can now purchase your copy (in digital) at your usual eBook providers:
Same great story that the reviewers loved!
“…almost too hot to touch” – RT Book Reviews
…a very complex and suspenseful story ~Slick, Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
……fabulous complex characters…The setting is so realistic that it’s almost impossible to believe that this isn’t real…hot men full of action…wish there were more to read. ~Terri, Night Owl Reviews
The sexuality, sensuality, passion and suspense blend together perfectly into a wonderfully engaging and entertaining story that keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. ~ Shannon, The Romance Studio
…a powerful and fun story full of all the emotion, sensuality and suspense that I’ve come to really enjoy in Ms. Braemel’s writing ~Chrissy, Romance Junkies
…HIDDEN HEAT is plump with sexual tension and thrilling drama…another exciting couple and edge of your seat plotting…an excellent, dark, and gritty plot ~Miranda, Joyfully Reviewed
2012 © Leah Braemel
TROY’S FINGERS CURLED TIGHTER around his glass as Sandy tugged her skirt down her thighs, rewarding that wolf in the blue suit with her beautiful innocent smile. “Hey, Scott. Do you know him? The guy staring down Sandy’s cleavage?”
Scott shifted to get a better view of the couple. “Not by name. He started hanging out here a couple weeks ago. Heard him bragging about working for some financial firm or something. Why?”
When Sandy placed a hand on the guy’s forearm and accompanied him to a booth at the back, Troy wanted to snarl. “Something about him sets off the alarm bells.”
“It’s your own fault if she goes home with him, you know,” Scott said quietly. “You could have gone up there and talked to her yourself.”
Flipping Scott the bird, Troy looked for some sign she was uncomfortable. To his disgust he found none. A half hour passed before Scott finished his drink and excused himself.
As the night wore on, Troy’s mood darkened. He had no justifiable reason to plow his fist into the overconfident fucker’s nose and wipe his smug smile off his face. It was none of his business the number of times the bastard’s gaze dropped to Sandy’s cleavage. Or how he’d placed a hand on her hip as if staking his claim.
Hidden in the shadows, he allowed himself to picture Sandy shrugging out of her blouse. He imagined her shimmying out of her skirt, letting the fabric puddle at her feet to stand in front of him wearing only a scanty bra and perhaps, if he were lucky, a lacy thong. First thing he’d do would be to lick the freckles above her breasts and let the spice of her skin excite his taste buds. Then he’d suckle on her plump nipples until they were hard, maybe he’d let her feel his teeth on them. Once she was moaning her pleasure, he’d fill his palms with those full globes of her ass and part her legs, bury his cock deep inside her.
His breath hissed through his teeth when his fingers brushed the hard-on pressing against his fly in his attempt to create more space in his trousers. Talk about a glutton for punishment, letting himself fantasize about her. Now he was in desperate need of a little hand action to ease the ache in his balls. If he didn’t get himself under control, he’d either spill in his pants or he’d be forced to seek the men’s bathroom and find his relief in a stall.
The asshole stood. Good. He was leaving.
Shit. Sandy was standing too. And taking the asshole’s hand. Three steps later Sandy slipped and Troy had seen enough. He slid from the booth, blocking their way before they could pass.
“I’ll take her home.”
Sandy huffed. “Troy, please.”
“You know this jerk, Samantha?” Asshole’s jaw tightened.
Now wasn’t that interesting? Sandy hadn’t given Asshole her real name. Troy sized him up. Manicured hands, not used to hard labor. The start of a pudge around the midriff. Desk jockey, at least lately. Not that it made him any less dangerous. The guy could be carrying a gun. Or a knife. Hell, he could be a former agent who’d been retired a few months too long but still retained the knowledge of how to incapacitate someone with his bare hands. “Yeah, she knows me. And I don’t know you. So why don’t you take a hike?”
“I don’t think so.” To his credit, Asshole placed himself between Sandy and Troy and stuck out his hand. “Mitch Young. And you are?”
Troy dropped his gaze to the outstretched hand and let it hang while he returned to meet Young’s gaze. Okay, so maybe he wasn’t a complete jerk. “McPherson. Troy McPherson.”
Young’s demeanor completely changed. He held up both hands and side-stepped Sandy. “Sorry, man, I had no idea she was married. She never said a word.”
Married? Why the fuck would the asshole think he was Sandy’s husband? Then again, who cared? Troy watched the man scuttle away before turning to Sandy, who glared at him. Rather than give her a chance to get away, he grabbed her wrist and hauled her out of the bar.
“Troy, stop it. You have no right to act like this.” Despite Sandy’s protests, she didn’t struggle against his hold. “Will you slow down, please? I’m in high heels here.”
He slowed but didn’t stop until they were beside his SUV in the parking lot. “Damn it, woman, you don’t have the sense of an overbred cocker spaniel, do you know that?” A spaniel with big blue puppy-dog eyes and soft wavy hair, lush curves and plump lips.
“Are you calling me a dog?” She flattened her hand against his chest and shoved him. At least she tried to shove him but ended up staggering backward herself.
“No.” He crowded her against his SUV, trying to ignore the way her breasts brushed his shirt, or the way her lipstick glistened in the moonlight. Focus, mate. “Have you ever met this Mitch guy before tonight?”
“No, but who I decide to have a drink with is none of your business. I’ll date who I want, when I want.”
“Then you can get together with him another day, but I won’t stand by and let you go off with a guy you don’t know when you’re drunk and not fit to make a decision.”
“I’m not drunk. I was drinking virgin daiquiris, for Pete’s sake.”
“Sure as hell looked like it to me from the way you were stumbling your way out of the bar. Shit, did you take your eyes off your drink? Maybe he slipped you a roofie.” He checked her eyes to see if she might be drugged only to have his hand slapped.
“Oh for heaven’s sake. I’m not drunk and I’m not drugged. Someone must have spilled a drink, my heel slid. That’s all. Besides, have you ever tried walking on four-inch heels? Do you know how hard it is, especially if some asshole is forcing you to keep up while he runs outside?”
He mentally took a step back, wondering if he had misjudged the situation. Then he made the mistake of looking at her again. Sparks of blue fire snapped out at him from those big puppy-dog eyes. Her chest rose and fell as she fought her anger. His body urged him to lower his head, to kiss her and capture her mouth with his, to draw some of that passion into his long-dormant soul.
A breeze whipped around the parking lot. She shivered and her nipples beaded beneath the silk of her blouse. As much as he wanted to be the one to warm her, he stepped back.
“Because you dragged me out here without giving me the time to put my coat on, asshole.”
Unable to argue her point, he took the jacket she clutched in one hand and held it open.
Her anger didn’t disappear precisely but it was joined by questioning bemusement as she slid her arms into the sleeves. “Thank you. I’m still ticked off with you, you know.”
Placing his hands gently on her shoulders, he turned her to face him. “Same goes. You need to be more careful about who you trust. There are some nasty types out there who will gobble a pretty girl like you up for a snack.”
He couldn’t resist playing with her collar as a way to cover his need to touch her hair. To touch her.
Her expression softened. “I know about the nasty types, Troy. I have to file the reports that agents submit, as well as sit in on the initial meetings with clients, which means I know exactly why they require bodyguards. I also volunteer with the Safe and Sound program. I’ve seen what those women have experienced before they made it to the shelter.”
When she shook her head, her hair brushed the back of his hand in a soft caress.
All his protective instincts bristled that she could be put in danger from one of those abusers. “Tell me no one’s been harassing you from there. None of the husbands who think it’s easier to blame you than himself.”
Her eyes closed briefly and a soft huff of exasperation escaped between her lush lips. “I’m fine. And stop trying to distract me about how you interfered back there. I’m still mad at you.”
Smart girl. He caught a strand of hair and rubbed it between his fingers. “He wasn’t your type.”
“And you are?”
Not hardly. “No. I’m the big bad wolf. That’s why you need to trust me that he wasn’t right for you.”
“What big eyes you have, Grandma?” Her lips compressed though the corners twitched as if she were trying not to smile. Then she tilted her head until her ear touched his thumb and the ground slid from beneath him. Why was it so hard to breathe from such a simple touch?
He gave in to impulse and lowered his head. Her eyes widened briefly, then they closed as he took the kiss he’d dreamed of for so long.
She tasted of strawberries and sugar. And everything good that must be found in heaven. Heaven became even more attainable when she slid her hands beneath his coat, around his waist and flattened them over his back, pulling him closer. He sank deeper into the kiss, her innocence a benediction, a cleansing of all his sins.
The Honda parked beside his SUV beeped and its headlights flashed, breaking the trance he’d fallen into. He couldn’t remember a time when he’d ever been so reluctant to break off a kiss, but he forced himself to lift his head. To step back.
As the owner of the Honda cleared his throat and gestured to the door Troy was blocking, he took Sandy’s hand and led her to the front of the car. She didn’t say a word as she followed, but the look of complete trust she gave him wracked him with both guilt and desire. Her tongue darted out to moisten lips swollen from his kiss. In what seemed to be an unconscious gesture, she touched a hand to smooth the hair he’d managed to further tousle. Is this what she’d look like waking up beside him?
Stop it. She’d run screaming if she knew you killed an unarmed man this morning.