Courage is feeling the fear… then pouring on the throttle.
Abandoned or betrayed by everyone she ever loved, Sera Manning’s life spiraled out of control until a near death experience left her with a mission. Now a DEA agent, her sole focus — and her first undercover assignment — is to take down a drug cartel that’s manufacturing seductive, deadly angel sugar.
To do it, she needs access to Operation Black Abyss to establish a connection between the cartel and the Death Angels outlaw motorcycle gang. Which means she must pose as a couple with another agent who’s already deep undercover.
ATF agent Ryan Thomas desperately needs a female agent to maintain his cover in the gang, but the last thing he wants is a rookie agent jeopardizing his op. Especially one that is a sexy reminder why it’s a bad idea to get involved while on a case.
Living together, surrounded by crime, pretending their sizzling sexual tension is just for show is getting harder by the day. But as the mission comes to a head, the two fiercely independent warriors must decide which fear is worse. Losing their quarry… or losing each other.
Warning: Features a badass biker hero and kickass heroine who go at it undercover — and under the covers.
Sera shot Ryan a disgusted look. “No.”
They stood beside Ryan’s Harley in the parking lot of the Palms Motel in Clover City, on their way to The Patch for a night of drinking, partying and hopefully recording incriminating conversations. The sun had just set. Palm trees were silhouetted black against the deepening blue of the sky and the streetlights gleamed on the monstrous chromed-up machine next to them. Sera wiped her hands down her thighs.
He laughed. “If you’re not, you’re nuts.”
“Thanks very much.” Sera jammed her helmet onto her head and eyed the spoked wheels, the huge engine, the large, chromed mufflers tunneling underneath black leather saddlebags.
“Got your recorders?”
“Yes.” She’d received a crash course on how to use the surveillance equipment. Josh Witter insisted she had two, just in case. One tiny device was inside her cell phone; the other looked like an extra battery and was in the pocket of her jeans.
Ryan started the engine―a whine, a bang and then a rattling, bumpy idle. Sera closed her eyes briefly.
Ryan swung himself onto the bike then looked at her. She pressed her lips together. He arched a brow. “Sera?”
She gave a jerky nod then climbed on behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. God. He was big and muscular and warm, and as she pressed against him she could even smell the scent of the shampoo he used on his hair, clean and tangy.
Okay, she was a little nervous. The machine underneath them rumbled with power and speed. With a roar of the motor, Ryan pulled out of the parking lot onto Juniper Road. Glancing over her shoulder at the rapidly retreating motel, Sera saw the surveillance car driven by Josh pull out to follow them. It was reassuring to know that wherever they went, at least two other agents were sitting outside keeping an eye on things. But that only went so far, as she well knew.
The tranny shifted into second with a clank and a lurch, making her heart lurch too. Her arms tightened around Ryan. Good god in heaven. The choppy roar of the engine and the wind in her ears drowned out any other sounds as she clutched Ryan’s body and hung on.
She could not let on that she was nervous about riding on the Harley. The lack of control she felt hanging on to nothing but a black leather jacket while so exposed and vulnerable and flying down the street sent spears of panic through her.
On top of that, she was pressuring herself, like she always did. She really wanted to do a good job of this. She had to do a good job. She knew she could look after herself, but Ryan’s warnings about putting all their lives on the line had stuck with her, and she worried she could do something to screw up and get a whole lot of other people killed.
No. It wouldn’t happen. She had to think positively.
When they walked into The Patch, Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy pounded over the speakers. Ryan took Sera’s hand and led the way. She stuck close to him, not because she needed to, but because it looked good.
Several men greeted Ryan―or rather, Tommy, as she needed to think of him―with loud calls and raised beers. He led Sera to the bar and put his arm around her waist as they stood there and waited to be served. She tipped her head and smiled up at him and he smiled back.
Jesus. She hadn’t seen many smiles from him since the night they’d met in this exact place. She’d forgotten how sinfully melting-hot that smile could be. Thick, liquid wanting slid through her and down between her legs. She forgot to breathe.
He nuzzled her ear. “Okay?” he whispered.
Get a grip, get a grip. “Okay.”
She dragged air into her lungs and smiled at the bartender who slid two bottles of beer across the bar to them. Ryan tossed him a twenty-dollar bill and let him keep the change.
“Throwing money around,” she murmured.
“Makes them think I’m rolling in it,” he answered back, gaze fastened on her so that anyone looking at him would have thought he’d just said, “Let’s go back to my place and fuck each other stupid.” Hot eyes and a sexy smile seduced her. “They know I have to get that much cash from selling guns or dope.”
Q: What would you like readers to know about the book before they read it?
A: The idea for this story grew from the vague thought that I’d like to write a book about two government agents who meet when they’re both undercover and they have no idea who the other is. Of course sparks fly, eventually they find out the truth…but I had no idea this would grow into such a “big” story about bikers and drugs and a kick-ass heroine who has to learn that needing someone doesn’t mean you’re weak.
Q: What do you hope readers will take with them after they’ve read the book?
A: There’s lots to think about in this book! Good vs evil, passion vs apathy, independence vs loneliness…what makes one man who’s bold, confident, dominant and controlling become a criminal, while another man with the same characteristics goes into law enforcement to battle crime. Self-esteem and dependence vs confidence and independence. And going so far undercover that the facade becomes real and it’s hard to come out.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this book?
A: Oh you can’t make me answer that! Of course I love my heroes, and Ryan is so special – a bit wounded, tough and strong and dominant and controlling on the outside, but with a big soft caring streak on the inside. He’s passionate about his work and becomes equally passionate about Sera. But I love Sera too. She too is wounded and tries hard to be tough and strong and self-sufficient, but just like Ryan, she has a big soft marshmallow streak that annoys her because she thinks it’s a weakness. But it’s not.
Q: Is there a character who gives you fits and makes you want to go ninja?
A: Definitely Carly. I mean, I feel for her. I can relate to a certain lack of self-esteem, and a certain amount of body image issues, but to let herself be such a victim, to make her whole existence about keeping her man happy just…well, as you say, that just makes me want to go ninja!
Q: You may have noticed we like to include our favorite quote in our reviews of the books we read. What is your favorite quote from this book?
A: “He wasn’t dominating her in the sense that he wanted to control everything she did. He believed in her, which no one ever had. He respected her abilities and treated her like his equal. What they did in bed had nothing to do with that—and everything to do with it. It was all about the pleasure she got from the things he did. He knew what she liked, what she wanted, what she needed, and he gave it to her. She trusted him with her life, in any situation, including sex.”
Q: What’s up next for you?
A: Oooh! I have just contracted a three book series of connected stories with Samhain tentatively called San Amaro Singles. They’re set in the California beach city of San Amaro where the locals’ leisure time involves surf, sand and sun. And sex. These should all be out in 2013.
AND…I’m part of a four book connected-story series, also with Samhain, with three other authors – Erin Nicholas, Meg Benjamin and Sydney Somers – centering around a wedding…sort of! My book is called Jilted (there’s a clue about the wedding!) and it will be out in March, 2013.
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