For years he’s hidden in the shadows... watching... hunting. His attempts have never been successful, until now. And his game is just beginning.
Kendall Walker and her brother, Trace, share a passion for adventure racing. But when Trace is kidnapped by a psychotic figure from their past, Kendall finds herself immersed in an adventure race beyond anything she’s ever known. And if she doesn’t reach each checkpoint in time, Trace will die. She’ll do anything to get her brother back, even surrendering to a man intent on becoming her lover. Luckily for her, Dawson has other plans.
Special Agent Dawson Cade doesn’t know how his life went from complacent to complicated in what feels like a heartbeat. He has absolutely no leads on the bastard terrorizing Kendall, and he can’t stop himself from wanting to take her into his bed. He knows he needs to keep distant, but when circumstances force him to succumb to the desires of a man intent on possessing Kendall, Dawson must face the truth. He’s going to be Kendall’s next lover, even if she doesn’t know it yet. And as the race begins, he can only hope he’s able to save Trace, and keep Kendall from sacrificing herself, in a game where even victory has a price.
Dawson stood on top of the first peak, his chest heaving. They’d run for ninety minutes, climbing higher, and they were both winded. Kendall was standing beside him, her hands resting on her knees.
“I will never—drink whiskey—again.” She’d stopped twice along the path, brought to her knees as she heaved the remnants of her drinking spree across the ground.
“There’s always a price to pay.” He flashed her a sly smile. “Did it numb the pain last night?”
She could hear the knowing tone in his voice, mixed with a hint of satisfaction. He’d been more than hurt by her reaction, and she had a feeling he was enjoying the payback, perhaps a bit too much. “Not enough to justify the punishment.” She looked away, not wanting to stare at the self-righteous smile on his face. She motioned to the far side of the ridge. “Why do I have the feeling I know what’s next?”
“Because you do. The path jumps from this peak to the next. That can only mean he expects us to cross it on a rope.” He picked his way over to the edge. “You aren’t afraid of heights, are you, Kendall?”
“Not really, why?”
“Because it’s a long way down.”
Kendall peered over the edge. “Damn!”
“I’m sure it looks worse than it is,” he teased, climbing down a few feet to where the rope was anchored in the rocks. “I suppose we’ll have to trust him.”
“Why does that thought make me feel worse than the whiskey?” She jumped down and tugged on the line. “The anchoring looks secure, but there’s no way to tell about the other side.” She looked across the ravine. The rope was anchored well past the edge around a large tree, raising it several feet off the rocky terrain.
“Well, they say every true quest involves at least one leap of faith.” He picked up another box strapped to the rocks. “At least he was kind enough to give us each a harness and some gear.” He handed a set to Kendall. “I’ll go first.”
His voice was strong and she knew there’d be no debating his decision. It’d been an order, not a request. “As you wish.”
Dawson smiled and grazed his fingers across her cheek. “Every wish desired, isn’t that what you promised?” His eyes darkened and his breathing roughened. He moved closer, pressing his body against hers. Without thinking, she placed her hands on his chest, fisting the smooth material in her fingers. His heartbeat thrummed beneath her touch, as he hovered his lips next to her ear. “Too bad we didn’t get to finish what I truly desired.”
A punch of lust contracted her womb as Dawson smoothed his hands down her back and across the curve of her ass. His touch was firm and possessive, and she couldn’t stop a hungry moan from feathering across her lips. Had he really desired her? She’d tried to convince herself it’d just been a mutual impulse. But judging by the sudden bulge pressing against her stomach, it was clear his feelings ran much deeper.
She forced herself to swallow, feeling the saliva burn a path down her parched throat. She leaned into his embrace, rubbing her hips across his erection, smiling at the low growl that rumbled from his chest. He pulled her tighter, his lips feather soft against her ear.
“Dammit, woman. What is it about you that makes me forget about duty? Hell, I can’t even think straight when you’re around.” He eased forward and licked the skin behind her ear. She drew in a sharp breath, feeling his shaft harden further. “Can you feel what you do to me?” he asked, rubbing his erection against her stomach. “All I can think about is stripping you down and plunging inside before your clothes hit the ground.” He kissed her neck this time. “I swear you’re going to drive me crazy.” Kendall gasped as he cupped her mound in his hand as he pulled back, a wicked smile on his face. “Next time, Kendall. You won’t get away from me so easily.”
I hope you've enjoyed a taste of my sensual thriller. I absolutely love writing suspense, and I hope you'll join me on December 8th, when Checkmate hits the virtual shelves.
Until then, happy reading.
Romancing life...one adventure at a time.