The Complete Series

Book Cover: Hauberk Protection: The Complete Series Bundle
Editions:ePub: $ 8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3
Pages: 850
Kindle: $ 8.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3
Pages: 850

All six Hauberk stories will soon be available in one digital bundle.

From FIRST NIGHT a spicy short story of how security specialist Jodi Tyler and her boss Mark Rodriguez started their no-strings affair.

PRIVATE PROPERTY introduces Sam Watson, the owner of the HAUBERK PROTECTION Group as he helps his best friend Mark see the light about his relationship with Jodi.

Sam is the center of PERSONAL PROTECTION when his team at Hauberk Protection try to protect him from a stalker. By assigning him his own bodyguard--kick ass Rosalinda Ramos.

DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS has Sam's second-in-command Chad facing down his ex-wife Lauren as they avoid a killer out to get revenge.

HIDDEN HEAT follows Sam's assistant Sandy as she explores Troy McPherson's dual career-personality as both a good guy and an assassin.

And PERFECT PROPOSAL returns to Sam attempting to propose to Rosie. Except things don't go exactly as he'd hoped. Naturally.

 

Excerpt:

Thirty minutes later, a rhythmic noise had her peeking around the door. Wearing only a pair of shorts, Sam was working out on a rowing machine. His shoulder muscles rippled and his thighs bulged as he hauled on the pulley. Rosie stood in the doorway, entranced by a bead of sweat as it rolled down his forehead and slid down his neck.

The play of his muscles as he worked out made her imagine his chest flexing as he positioned himself over her, his arms planted either side of her head. She’d dig her fingers into those broad shoulders, feel his strength as he held himself above her. When he drove into her, she’d wrap her legs about his, feel the power of his thighs flexing as he whipped her into an orgasmic frenzy.

He’s your boss, her conscience hissed. She fled to the safety of the living room, wondering if she was fleeing Sam, or the strength of her desire.

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You’re just horny, she reminded herself. It’s been almost a year since you’ve been with a guy and now you’ve got the man of your dreams at your fingertips. You’ve been on a starvation diet and he’s a delicious hunk of cherry chocolate cheesecake.

Forty minutes later the sounds changed and the whir of the treadmill started, followed by a regular thumping that gradually sped up as his feet pounded on the belt. An hour more had passed when she heard the shower turn on in his bathroom.

She found herself prowling along the floor-to-ceiling windows like a panther trapped in a cage. He’d be naked, those four showerheads in his expansive bathroom were pounding his back with steady pulses of hot water. Water that would cascade over his chest, sluice down his belly and over his cock. A cock she wanted to—STOP IT!

When the water shut off, she turned her back to the room and pretended to focus on the lights of the city. But once he stepped into the room, the lights faded and all she could see was the reflection of Sam. Wearing only a pair of navy sweats and a towel wrapped around his neck, he prowled across the room to stand directly behind her. The broad expanse of his chest was still visible in his reflection for the top of her head barely cleared the base of his sternum.

“The view is beautiful, isn’t it?” he said softly. Except he wasn’t looking at the panorama of the city, he was looking at her reflection.

“Y-yes.” It took every ounce of her willpower to continue facing the windows, not to turn into the chest that formed a wall at her back, not to touch the scar down the middle of his chest, or the star-shaped bullet wound just to the left and ask him about it. She’d once asked, but no one, not even Chad, would tell her about the story of who’d put it there. She closed her eyes and forced herself to breathe slowly.

Closing her eyes only made her awareness of him worse. It let her focus on the warmth that flowed from him, enveloping her in a comforting blanket. While he hadn’t put on any more of that wonderful cologne he wore, she was aware of a scent underneath the smell of the soap he’d used. Every man she ever met from now on would be compared to the man standing directly behind her.

Her breath left her in a whoosh when he placed his hands lightly on her shoulders.

“You look like you’ve had a tough day, Ms. Ramos. You need to relax.”

Heck he didn’t even have to touch her, his voice alone could melt her bones and turn her into a puddle of goo at his feet. When his fingers massaged her shoulders, she couldn’t help but lean into his touch.

“That’s it, Rosie. Just relax.”

Her breasts felt heavier, warmer, the fabric of her blouse tightened over her nipples longing to be touched by the fingers that caressed her neck.

And then her cellphone rang, a unique ring she’d assigned to Chad’s number. Crap! How had she forgotten that she was not only Sam’s employee but his bodyguard?

Employee, not lover. Remember his type. Tall, lithe and beautiful. And if she added the news clippings and photos of his last girlfriend to the equation, rich.

She straightened her shoulders as she removed her Berry then, without looking at Sam’s reflection, took a half step sideways and fled to the kitchen.

 

COLLAPSE
Reviews:on RT Book Reviews:

(On HIDDEN HEAT) ...almost too hot to touch

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

HIDDEN HEAT: Nominated as “Best Romantic Suspense of 2012” by the reviewers at The Romance Studio for their annual Cupid and Psyche Awards (CAPA)

(On HIDDEN HEAT) 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.

Miranda on Joyfully Reviewed wrote:

DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS is wrought with heady emotions and explosive sex…a gorgeous love story that will break your heart and mend it all over again… a stand-out in the contemporary erotic genre.

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

Nominated as “Best Contemporary Romance of 2011″ by the reviewers of The Romance Studio”

(On DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS) Once again author Leah Braemel infuses her pleasurably sensual love stories with compelling characters, depth of emotion, delights of passion and the joy of love that equals a treat for the reader.

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

(On PRIVATE PROPERTY) …a wickedly delicious and daring story taken directly from most women’s fantasies…a raw sensuality that holds the reader captive from the first page..a luscious, fast paced adventure that is sure to please readers who enjoy an edgy and intense erotic romance…a refreshingly touching twist to the menage theme…

NOMINATED AS BEST EROTIC ROMANCE, and Leah for BEST EROTIC ROMANCE AUTHOR by the Romance Studio reviewers for the Cupid and Psyche Romance Awards

Lea on Blackraven's Reviews wrote:

Recommended Read! If you read Private Property when it was first released, it is time for a re-read. If you somehow missed this book, get it now. You won’t be disappointed.


Available August 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9959429-4-3

Length: 850 pages

Nominated as Best Contemporary Romance by The Romance Studio reviewers
Nominated as Best Contemporary Romance by The Romance Studio reviewers

Nominated for Best Contemporary Romance of 2011 by the reviewers of The Romance Studio

Nominated for Best Erotic Contemporary Romance 2009

Book Cover: Red Hot Holiday Anthology

I’ll be home for Christmas…to fulfill all your dreams.

This holiday, a Mountie is determined to get her man. A widow finds a fireman who ignites her passions again. And two men unsure of their commitment discover a happily ever after—and a blindfold—under their tree. No matter your desires, this collection of three shorts is bound to treat you to all the joys of the season.

Stories also available for purchase separately.

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Publisher: Carina Press
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Reviews:Annie on Under The Covers Book Blog wrote:

“All of the stories in this anthology have very sexy sex scenes, but I think this story really upped up the ante.”


Book Cover: I Need You for Christmas

Ryan Porter is a sculptor, and beneath his callused hands, even the most rigid metals bend to his will. So, too, does his girlfriend Megan—a confident, strong woman who delights in submitting to Ryan’s dominance in the bedroom.

Megan is a Mountie, and she’s spent the past few years in the arctic following her career dreams. Family obligations kept Ryan at home, but their love survived the distance thanks to several hot visits. A Mountie always gets her man, and Megan is bound and determined to keep Ryan.

Now Megan’s with Ryan for the holidays…but how long will this visit last? She’s always been willing to do anything Ryan desires, but will he finally tell her that all he needs for Christmas is her?

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Publisher: Carina Press
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Copyright © 2012 Leah Braemel

“There’s the beautiful Mountie who always gets her man.”

That voice! That sexy, half-mocking, gorgeous, friendly voice. Megan Sullivan searched the crowd waiting outside the baggage claim area for its owner. His long legs clad in trademark denim, Ryan Porter stood in the middle of the concourse, his mouth pulled up on one side in the grin that caused her knees to wobble every single time.

Pulling her biggest suitcase behind her and wrestling with the carry-on she’d balanced on top of it, she battled her way through the throng and hurried toward him.

Once she rounded the barrier, he wrapped his arms around her waist and lifted her off the ground in a full-body hug. “Hey, you. I’ve missed you.”

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Ignoring the amused spectators, Ryan lowered his head to capture her mouth with his. Pure male confidence, shouting to the world, “Yeah, she’s mine,” came through loud and clear from the hard press of his lips to the way his hands kneaded her ass.

When he finally pulled away, both of them breathless, Meg left her arms hooked around his neck, loving the feel of his body against hers. Her clit pulsed, needing to be touched by his long callused fingers. Her pussy heated and her nipples ached in anticipation of his mouth on them.

“That wasn’t an I’ve-missed-you kiss.” It had been a full-blown I-want-inside-you kiss.

“No, it wasn’t just an I’ve-missed-you kiss,” he corrected.

She rested her forehead against his chest, the long-seated loneliness that had plagued her up north finally leaching away. “I thought you were supposed to be in Montreal until tomorrow.”

“Are you kidding? And waste even one day with you?”

Meg’s breath stuttered when he cupped her head and kissed her again, this time softer, sweeter, showing none of the blatant possessiveness of the first kiss. This one whispered of need and desire. “I love you, Meg.”

“I love you too.” She loved the way he kissed, the way he felt against her, the way he made her feel feminine instead of the hard-ass bitch she’d been called far too often on the job. She loved the way he smelled of sawdust and… She leaned in and sniffed him deeper. “Why do you smell like roses?”

“Because Amy’s into her nesting phase.” His grimace and fake shudder made her laugh. “She’s making homemade soaps and shampoos, claiming they’ll be safer for the baby. So naturally she’s using us as her guinea pigs. Her latest batch is some hippy-dippy rose petal shampoo so me and Derek and Noah all smell girly-girl. I tell ya, pregnant women are seriously dangerous to us guys.” He dipped his head to whisper in her ear, his russet hair tickling her nose. “I’ll pay you to convince her to make something more manly.”

“You mean like new car scent or burnt motor oil?”

“Yeah, now you’re talking.” He rounded his free hand as if there were a basketball in front of his stomach. The laughter made his amber eyes almost glow though others might have blamed it on the bright sunshine streaming through the glass roof. “Wait’ll you see her. She’s out to here. Derek won’t let her get behind the wheel anymore, she’s gotten so big.”

“I can’t wait to see her again.” Amy had been her roommate in college and they’d become fast friends. When Amy had started dating Derek, Megan had found herself on a double date with Derek’s older brother Ryan. Though she’d expected to be bored when she’d learned Ryan was an artist, she’d been fascinated by his energy. After spending the night debating movies (he preferred art house movies where she loved action) and music (they both loved the same groups), he’d asked her for another date. Three months later, he’d asked her to move in with him.

Until a car accident had changed all their plans.

Ryan stroked the backs of his knuckles along her jaw. “You should be exhausted from your flight yet you’re even more beautiful than the last time I saw you.”

“I slept on the plane, and it’s not hard to look better considering I was just coming off a double shift last time.” Sexy was a tough look to achieve in her standard uniform. But it was only after he’d left that she’d seen her reflection and grimaced. Her hair had been sticking up on end, and she’d had a grease stain on her cheek from changing the tire on an old woman’s car. Definitely not the memory she’d wanted to leave him with, not when he’d been on his way to New York to meet his agent at some swanky gallery in Manhattan. Manhattan, where he’d been surrounded by women with carefully coiffed hair, pouty collagen-injected lips and mile-high legs made even sexier by stilettos she’d never manage to walk in without falling on her ass.

“I mean it, Meg. After all the delays, the changes in your schedule, the sixteen-hour layover waiting for the weather to clear up, you’re beautiful.”

“Thanks.” He looked pretty damned good himself, but then he always did. In addition to staying fit, he’d let his hair grow longer so now the russet waves flowed over his shoulders. It suited him. She reached up and stroked his jaw. “Why did you shave your goatee?”

“Amy and Sophie double-teamed me before I left for Montreal. They said I should shave it since the press was going to be at the gallery opening.” He leaned down and rubbed his clean-shaven jaw over her cheek. “Do you like it?”

“You look good.” Except she’d liked his goatee, especially when he was between her thighs, his tongue working its magic, the bristle of his facial adding an extra— Stop thinking about how great it would be if he fucked you in the front seat of his truck. About how he’d feel when you straddled him and lowered yourself onto his thick cock. How his fingers would dig into your hips, lifting and lowering you, as his mouth sucked your nipples, rasping his teeth over them. Her pussy tightened as she imagined him pounding into her, hitting all the right spots until her muscles tightened around him, clenching, spasming

Crap, that really wasn’t something to dwell on until they were somewhere private. At the rate her pussy was tingling in anticipation, drenching her panties, she might not wait for anywhere more private than a dark corner of the parking garage.

Ryan lifted the strap of her duffel from her shoulder and hoisted it over his own. “Pack much? What did you do? Bring everything you owned?”

“What? Is it too heavy for you, big guy?” She hid her grin. Wait until he learned she’d done exactly that.

Despite her protests, he wheeled her suitcase behind them down the long concourse toward the ramp to the parking garage. They chatted about the weather, the flight, all the usual humdrum stuff, but an electricity hummed between them, the little zing deep in her soul that tingled whenever he was near.


 

*HARLEQUIN COVER ART: Cover Art Copyright© 2010 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A. Cover Art used by arrangement with Harlequin Enterprises Limited. All rights reserved. © and ™ are trademarks owned by Harlequin Enterprises Limited or its affiliated companies, used under license.

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Jeriha on Coffee Time Romance wrote:

“This is not just another erotic hot Christmas story, but much much more…A must read…”  ~Jeriha, Coffee Time Romance

Sarah on Feeling Fictional wrote:

“…The ultimate feel good Christmas story…"

Annie on Under the Covers Book Blog wrote:

“All of the stories in this anthology have very sexy sex scenes, but I think this story really upped up the ante.” ~ Under the Covers Book Blog


 

 


Part of the Carina Press ™  2012 Red Hot Holiday Anthology, edited by Angela James.

If you like “hearing” your books, Audible has the entire anthology as an audio book.


More Reviews

reviewertoppick2Top Pick Review – Leah Braemel has the talent to bring her characters alive and her settings real… a big story that felt at least twice as long as it is.” ~Terri, Night Owl Romance

“a hot and passionate updating of the O Henry story, Gift of the Magi.” ~ Nancy G, My Odd Little World

One of the “Top 5 Favorite Holiday novellas” ~ Lit 4 Ladies

“…Definite red hot read!” Modokker Book Picks

“…without a doubt my favorite book of the anthology” ~Read Your Writes Book Reviews

“…steamy BDSM sex scenes, some serious pantie melters! It was also really sweet, I liked the characters and I felt their chemistry straight away. It was a really nice & easy read, I would really recommend it…” ~ Book Protagonist Book Reviews

“a wonderful addition to the anthology….the best novella in the anthology in terms of smoking hot sexy times.” ~ The Bookpushers

“This story was sweet, and hot…Terrific story. Escape Rating for I Need You for Christmas: B+” ~Reading Reality

“…beautifully written…Truth be told, I cannot wait to read this book again.” ~ Alyson, SnifferWalk Books

Book Cover: Slow Ride Home

Losing his father was hard enough, but now Ben Grady must face the fact that he and his brother may not be sole owners of their beloved ranch. To protect his family’s legacy, he’s forced to rely on the legal prowess of the woman who stars in his erotic fantasies: Allie O’Keefe. Ben’s never forgotten the illicit encounter they shared fifteen years ago—or forgiven himself for letting her go.

Allie thought she’d moved beyond the scandal that cost her Ben in the past. But working so closely with the seductive rancher arouses the wild child within the cautious woman she’s become. Though she tries to keep business and pleasure separate, Allie soon gives in to temptation, and discovers Ben’s sensual skills surpass even her X-rated memories…

Allie has every intention of leaving Bull’s Hollow forever after her investigation is complete. But there are a few complications. Not the least of which is that while saving the ranch, Allie’s lost her heart.

Published:
Publisher: Carina Press
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Copyright © 2013 by Leah Braemel

If someone had told Allie O’Keefe fifteen years ago that she’d set even one toe on Bull’s Hollow Ranch again, she’d have cussed them out. After she’d decked them. Which explained why Allie jammed her foot on the brake when she reached the ranch’s wrought-iron gate. Or maybe she stopped because of the man talking to a group of ranch hands in front of the ranch’s trailer office. It wasn’t just his weathered brown Stetson that stood out from the standard baseball caps the others wore. After a casual glance in her direction, he resumed talking.

Even from this far away she could tell who he was—Ben Grady, the first man she’d ever loved. Just as he had back in high school, he still managed to set butterflies fluttering in her stomach, although right now they felt more like boulders tumbling in a spin dryer.

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Ben Grady was the quintessential cowboy, from the way he stood with his thumbs hooked through a belt loop, leaving his fingers to drum on the worn leather of his chaps, right down to his dust-covered boots. He could step back in the 1800s and live in the Wild West with no problems. The only thing missing was the six-shooter at his hip.

He hasn’t seen you yet. You could still turn around. Plead with her boss once again to have someone else assigned to the case. Although all her previous attempts had earned her was a “suck it up, buttercup” comment from her boss.

Two of his men strutted over to ATVs parked neatly in a row by the bar while the other took the reins of the bay horse. Finally freed of whatever responsibility had been keeping his attention, Ben faced her.

One look at that straight nose and angular jaw and bam, her body softened.

Not good, not good, not good, she repeated. You’re not eighteen years old anymore. And you didn’t do anything wrong.

Right. She could do this.

Taking a shaky breath, she parked her car beside the mud-crusted white pickup, its dual rear wheels dwarfing her small sedan. Tucking her case beneath her arm, she picked her way across the gravel-strewn yard. She really shouldn’t have worn her heels today, but her pride wanted to show off that she’d traded in her work boots for kick-ass stilettos that stopped traffic. Her not-so-subtle see what you missed out on statement. Which would be lost if she twisted her ankle.

His gaze locked on her, Ben leaned against the stair railing in his oh-so-casual way. When they’d dated, she’d loved how he’d stop to watch her approach. Now she felt like a gazelle being stalked by a lion. No, not such a proud animal. The Gradys were scavengers. Vultures, ready to pick the flesh from the bones of anyone who got in their way.

He’d filled out from the rangy teenager she’d known. He’d always been strong, but his muscles were more defined, the light cotton shirt tight across his chest and wide shoulders. His biceps bulged as he gripped the stair railing, hinting at the strength to lift and haul both hay bales and stray calves.

Ben tipped his hat up with one finger and shot her a lazy grin that melted her a little inside. His gaze swept down her body, blazing a path even hotter than the sun, then returned to meet hers. The lines at the corners of his sky-blue eyes gave him a distinguished air.

“You’re early. I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour.”

His voice still had the low roughness that had driven her crazy, especially when they were lying skin-to-skin. Damn it, she’d gotten over him, so why was the ache in her chest back? She took a deep breath but the anguish didn’t ease.

Clutching her case tight under her arm, she stopped in front of him and shielded her eyes from the morning sun. “Hello, Ben.”

His eyes widened in shock. “Allie? What are you doing here?”

Her breath rushed out at the realization he hadn’t recognized her. If there’d been even a hint of friendliness to his voice, she might not have snapped, “I’m here to save your ass.”

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Slick Reads on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews wrote:

“Slow Ride Home is one of those rare romance books that while you get romance and hot and oh so steamy sex, you get a complete story that keeps you hooked from beginning to end.”

Terri on Night Owl Romance wrote:

5 Star-Top Pick Review  “The characters were absolutely perfect complete with imperfections and quirks…the romance couldn’t have been better…came together with passion and emotion.”

Lace on Blackraven's Reviews wrote:

Recommended Read – ” a plot twisting, heat sinker read…simply brilliant… I melted over the sweet hand holding just as much as I did those hot bedrooms/anywhere scenes…I want more”

E and MinnChica joint review on The Book Pushers wrote:

“Ben came across as the kind of stand up, loving and attentive hero that every woman loves!…super sweet, and incredibly sexy…I look forward to seeing this series continue” ~Joint review by E and MinnChica on The Book Pushers


More from reviewers of SLOW RIDE HOME:

USATodayRec

Slow Ride Home kept me enthralled. I became completely invested in Ben and Allie’s story and am looking forward to No Accounting for Cowboys, book two in The Grady Legacy series ~ Lea Franczak, USA TODAY

“This series opener has it all.  From the hint of mystery to the almost erotic romance, this series is one to look out for.” ~ Becca, BS Book Reviewers 

“…delicious battle of emotions, past feelings and twists and turns…”  ~Emily, Afternoon Bookery Emily also did a video review that you can view here

“SLOW RIDE HOME is the perfect read to heat up a cold winter night.” ~The Book Girl

“…strong and interesting characters…I loved it. Leah’s attention to detail and her emotion filled tale give this a 4 and a half moon rating from me.” ~ Kim Rocha, Book Obsessed Chicks

Deliberate Deceptions, book 3 of the Hauberk Protection series
Editions:Trade Paperback - First Edition: $ 9.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-1-2
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Pages: 200
ePub: $ 2.99
ISBN: 978-0-9959429-1-2

She’s guarding his body. He’s guarding his heart.

Hostage negotiator Lauren Miller is used to staring danger in the face. Now a vengeful former team member is targeting her and anyone she cares about, including her ex-husband. Although hiding them both in the same remote safehouse is risky, the plan could provide her with the perfect opportunity to make amends with the one man who has her heart.

Building Hauberk Protection into a success is the only thing that’s kept Chad sane since his marriage ended. He loved Lauren more than life itself and losing her left a hole that haunts him still. When he unexpectedly finds himself trapped with her, Chad can think of only one up-side—he can finally learn why she walked away without an explanation.

Except the heat that burns between them is turning their defenses to ash. As their passion rekindles, Lauren struggles to keep her focus. Especially when she learns that Chad wasn’t the only one being deceived. And those deliberate deceptions put both their lives in jeopardy.

Published:
Publisher: Somerlane Publishing
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Copyright © 2011 Leah Braemel
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication

Lauren stepped from the Brigade’s jet onto the tarmac, glad to be standing on firm earth after being in the air for almost ten hours. The smog-shrouded Washington Monument across the Potomac drew her attention, a calming beacon saluting her return. Would its people be as welcoming?

A sleek, black stretch limo sat with its engine running less than thirty feet away. The driver got out, his windbreaker unbuttoned to allow easy access to the weapon he always wore. After a quick check of the area, he opened the back door, allowing the devil himself to step out.

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Cooper Davis straightened his French cuffs and smoothed his perfectly pressed Armani suit before nodding to his driver. Anyone meeting him for the first time might buy his cover as an unassuming businessman, intent only on making a killing on Wall Street; she knew better. He strolled across the pavement with confidence and nonchalance, as if he were about to greet an old lover. Something he’d once suggested. To this day she hadn’t decided if it had been a test or a sincere proposition.

She turned her face when he bent down to kiss her so his lips brushed her cheek. One dark eyebrow quirked up at her evasion. “Welcome back, Lauren.”

“I’m done, Cooper. I want out.” Saying the words both soothed the jumbled thoughts in her brain while setting free the butterflies in her stomach.

“I figured you’d say that.” He gestured toward the Humvee. “Let’s sit inside while we discuss your future, shall we?”

She followed him to the limo, taking a seat facing him so she could read his facial expressions. As soon as the door closed behind them, sealing them into Cooper’s bulletproof, soundproof world, he leaned forward. “There’s a problem you should know about before you start planning on retiring.”

Problem to Cooper could mean anything from a paperwork snafu to the start of the next world war. From the way every cell in her body went on alert, it was probably more the latter than the former. “I was right, wasn’t I? Someone in the Brigade was behind those attacks.”

“Yes.” He stared out the window, his eyes narrowed. “Frank Harris.”

She sucked in her breath. Of all the Brigade’s operatives, Harris was both their best marksman and their best tracker. He was also currently the most unstable.

“From what we can gather, he discovered it was you who filed the complaint. He’s declared war on you, Lauren.”

“I need to leave then. Find a bolt hole. New York. L.A. San Francisco. Somewhere I can get lost in a crowd.”

Cooper nodded slowly. “It might work. But it’s also possible that Harris will try to get at you through people you care about, Lauren. What’ll you do then?”

People she cared about? She’d long been estranged from her only sister and her mother had died a decade ago. Which left… “Chad?”

“It’s a distinct possibility.”

No. It couldn’t be. Hadn’t she screwed up Chad’s life enough without making him the target of a vengeful ex-CIA operative? “But we’re divorced. We’ve been divorced for almost seven years now.”

“Harris was there when you and Thalia had that blow-up a couple months ago. He knows you didn’t want the divorce, and he knows you still love Chad. It’s possible he’ll use Chad as a way to control you or hurt you.”

“I never said I love Chad.” She’d never admitted it in words but… She thought back, desperate to remember exactly what had been said that day. Was the fight itself enough to tell Harris—and everyone else who’d overheard—how she felt?

“Maybe not in so many words that day, but you did discuss it with Doc Brewer at your last assessment, didn’t you?”

“Those files are private.” Her eyes widened at his implication. “Harris read them?”

He nodded. “We just discovered someone accessed them last month. We can only assume it was Harris.”

“You’ve read them too,” she whispered.

“I’m in charge of the unit, Lauren. I read everyone’s reports. But I didn’t need a report to tell me you still had strong feelings for Chad.” He chuckled darkly. “Luckily for you, the way you insisted on not being stationed back here in the States led everyone else to assume it was out of hatred for Chad, not love.”

“I didn’t want to come back because I wanted to avoid Thalia.” Not to mention avoiding the park where she used to take Emily for walks. The hospital where she was born. The Mall where Chad had proposed on the steps of the Lincoln Monument. The condo they had worked so hard to buy that had later become their prison thanks to the media frenzy after Chad had defied Bureau protocol.

“I didn’t know what Thalia had done until you two had that fight, Lauren,” Cooper said quietly. “If I had, I would have said something sooner.”

“Do you know what she did?” She blew out her breath in a slow stream, forcing her shoulders down.

“I know that she was the one who recommended you to Sir Ian when he was running the Brigade and arranged for you to stay out of the country. And I know she hired the solicitor in London so it would look to Chad as if you were seeking the divorce, not him.” He tilted his head as he observed her. “Am I right in assuming she’s the one who recommended you stay at Tranquil Pastures?”

“Yes. Damn it, I should have flown back here and talked to him face-to-face instead of believing her or that damned lawyer. I had no idea she hated me that much.”

“It’s not that she hated you, it’s that she loves her brother over everything else. And why wouldn’t you believe her? What reason would you have had to suspect she was lying when she told you Chad was with someone else, that they were living together?”

Not to mention how he’d never replied to any of the letters she’d sent him that first year or the ones from Dr. Maudsley either. Had Thalia found some way to prevent Chad from getting them? Did it matter anymore?

She closed her eyes in an effort to calm the maelstrom raging inside. At her anger at Thalia for interfering. Her disgust at not discovering the deception for all these years burned with glowing embers of long-simmering resentment. Her rage against Harris burned brightly, its flames licking hungrily at her patience

“Maybe she wasn’t lying. Maybe she just saw the inevitable. We were already in counseling. Neither of us handled Emily’s death well. With Chad facing the inquiry and all that press…he was better off without having me distracting him.” She settled back in her seat.

She’d mourned the loss of her marriage as much as she’d mourned her daughter.

“So you’re not interested in resolving any issues between you and Chad? Seeing if there’s still a chance of having a relationship with him?”

God, don’t give her hope. It would only be torn from her the way it had been before. She couldn’t take losing Chad again. “Just how would we do that after all this time?”

Cooper laid out his plans quickly and succinctly, hope rising in her soul with each step he revealed. The hopes mingled with the thought that he was crazy. Or brilliant. Maybe both. His plan would keep her safe, as well as Chad. Plus, it would let her finally see Chad again, to find out if he hated her for being so weak that she’d walked away when he’d needed her most. No, not walked. She’d run away with her tail tucked between her legs. Cooper was right—she needed to see Chad face-to-face one last time. If for no other reason, to apologize. And explain.

Icy fingers of fear doused the flames. What if Cooper’s plan didn’t work?

COLLAPSE
Reviews:Miranda on Joyfully Reviewed wrote:

Deliberate Deceptions is wrought with heady emotions and explosive sex…a gorgeous love story that will break your heart and mend it all over again… a stand-out in the contemporary erotic genre.

Dawn on daydrmzzz blog wrote:

GREAT LOVE STORY…Great sex and lots of emotion…

Slick Reads on Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews wrote:

...it made me teary eyed…has me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next book.

Shannon on The Romance Studio wrote:

Nominated as “Best Contemporary Romance of 2011″ by the reviewers of The Romance Studio”

Once again author Leah Braemel infuses her pleasurably sensual love stories with compelling characters, depth of emotion, delights of passion and the joy of love that equals a treat for the reader.


The 2017 print version of DELIBERATE DECEPTIONS contains a bonus story, the first time-ever-in-print PERFECT PROPOSAL!


Nominated for Best Contemporary Romance of 2011 by the reviewers of The Romance Studio

 


This book was originally published in 2011 by Samhain Publishing. The 2017 version has been re-edited and given a new cover, but remains substantially the same.