Secrets and lies mean somebody dies.

No engineer alive can do what Gillian Faraday does in her California lab, and her newest weaponry project is poised to take the world by storm. Only one problem: a deadly enemy is demanding her invention in exchange for her brother’s life.

For months, Gillian has kept this secret, racing to beat the clock and save the youngest member of their family. Her FBI handler, however, knows she’s keeping something from him–something big–and will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Especially when Gillian escapes one night from under his ever-watchful eye.

Agent Theo Rochon can’t believe he’s chasing the woman who has become his best friend halfway across the world. He isn’t prepared for what happens when he catches up with her, and anger and distrust turn to a searing heat neither can resist.  

Gillian is determined to save her brother, but Theo refuses to compromise his asset’s safety. Together, they set out to finish a dangerous game that can only end in one thing: blood.

Coming 19 SEPTEMBER 2017 in digital and print.


Excerpt

Taking her shoulders in his hands, he allowed some of the awe he felt for her immense genius to show on his face. “You are…I don’t have the words, G.”

Faint color rose in her cheeks. “I know words. Maybe I can help you out.” The first hint of a grin tugged her mouth. “Are you thinking good or bad?”

“Brilliant. Incomparable. Astounding.” His growing smile matched hers until they were beaming at one another. Swearing in the Creole dialect he’d learned from his paternal grandmother, he kicked caution aside and grabbed Gillian around the waist, swinging her round and round until laughter bubbled from her lips. “Look what you did, cher.” Dieu, he was so proud of her, it threatened to mute him, deafen him. “Look what you did.

A giggle unlike any he’d ever heard from her filled the air around them. “Stop, Theo, put me down!”

“Never, you amazing creature.” But still he ceased spinning, letting her bare toes with their French-blue lacquer brush the tops of his oxblood wingtips. “You just changed the course of history, Gillian Faraday. This Blink thing, you—” He stopped, the air trapped in his lungs as the full import of what she’d done hitting him in a rush. “Jesus. Jesus, you can make airplanes disappear from the sky. Just…poof. Gone.”

“Yup.”

Setting her on her feet, he captured her face in his hands and drank her in. How, how was it possible that someone so young—only thirty years old—had so damn much living inside her brain? Someone he’d cooked for, gotten drunk, laughed with, made sweat. Someone who was so normal in so many ways, with her appreciation for B-movie horror and cheap beer and bi-weekly pedicures and reading romance novels, yet so very singular. “Gillian, cher, I—”

Her lips pressed hard to his as she stole the kiss, stole his breath and opened the floodgates he’d kept dammed deep inside for longer than he cared to admit. Not giving her a chance to second-guess her choice, he angled the gorgeous head he held between his hands and coaxed her mouth open for the dip of his tongue. This, this was his fantasy—that she would forget herself, forget who he was and force on him the intimacy it was dangerous to admit he craved. He wasn’t going to let her steal this from him now.

She tasted like heat and wicked, wicked promise. He stroked into her mouth, reveling in her surprising sweetness. Surprising, because she wasn’t all that sweet in life. He’d expected tartness, a kick to his bloodstream—and she was, oh, how she was, brutalizing him with every seeking lick—but not this silky, shuddering surrender against his body, all liquid limbs and shaking breaths.

Gillian Faraday melted at a mere kiss. Who would’ve thought.

Then she shocked him again by moaning deep in her throat and shoving her hands up under his shirt. The blunt tips of her nails dug into his waist, spurs on his bare skin as her body surged up against his. He felt her everywhere. Full breasts, soft stomach, sleek thighs, all of it pressed to his aching front while she scratched gently at him, an animalistic urging he understood.

He understood because he was an animal, too, cloaked under layers of civility and control and civic duty. Most days he subjugated instinct in favor of logic, and even now that logic rattled around in his brain, trying to knock some sense back into him.

Sorry, Logic. Not yet. Need a few more seconds of this, her.

When her glasses knocked his cheekbone, he pushed them to the top of her head before sliding his palms to either side of her throat. She kissed him with a hunger verging on wildness, testing his bottom lip with a gentle nip of sharp teeth, and he wanted to bite her in return. He wanted to bite her and lick her and pet her and fu— “Gillian.” A warning, a plea.

He couldn’t possibly be expected to stop this, not in a moment he’d been dreaming of for longer than was healthy. She would need to pull away, not him. Never him.

Except she didn’t pull away, merely whispered his name against his lips before dragging him forward, her steps retreating though she didn’t allow for any space between their bodies. He followed, of course he followed, hands trailing from her neck to her shoulders as her backside hit the workstation. Her touch disappeared from beneath his shirt, her head tipping back slightly as she boosted herself up onto the wooden surface with the lithe athleticism he’d helped her grow into over the past couple years.

She was so strong, so powerful, and he wanted her strong, powerful body naked and sweaty and riding his until they both exploded into a million ecstatic pieces. His cock hurt, damn it, practically pulsing against his button fly, but ignoring his erection was easy when the reward was her legs spreading to accommodate his hips. Like magnets, her fingers delved under his shirt again, as though she were addicted to the feel of his skin. His throat went dry, shivers of arousal rippling across his nerve endings as he cupped her chin in one hand and let her take ownership of his lips once more.

Gillian kissed him with brilliant enthusiasm, her mouth an open invitation to learn her taste at a molecular level, and he wasn’t fool enough to pass up the opportunity. He liked holding her in place for each stroke of his tongue and sweep of his lips, even more when his other hand finally heeded natural imperative and came to rest at the base of her spine—underneath her sweatshirt, where her flesh was firm and warm with a hint of cool perspiration. His tongue could take care of that, lick the salt from her skin; hell, he’d consider committing a felony for the privilege of feeling each delicate vertebra beneath the flat of his tongue.

He growled and took her mouth harder, no mercy in the kiss now that her hunger had thrown his own starvation into stark relief. His head pounded in time with his racing pulse, and though a part of him wanted to strip her bare and fall to his knees in worship, he needed a more immediate satisfaction.

Notching the hard ridge of his erection at the apex of her thighs, he thrust carefully, teasing them both with the promise of the real thing. Her lips ripped from his on a gasp, finding his jaw, then the pulse in his throat. The tip of her tongue swirled imperfect circles over the spot as her capable hands landed on his belt buckle.

When she sucked hard, Theo’s eyes nearly rolled back in his head.

His temple throbbed, pesky Logic making a reappearance just when his mind began to cede control to his body. They were in the Labs, not in his apartment, where he had always imagined making love to her for the first time. And there would be a first time for them, of that he had no doubt, not after the detonation between them here from a simple kiss. He refused to take her in her place of business, not when she deserved loving that proved she was more than an asset to him, and far more than a cog in the government’s bloodthirsty wheel. Gillian was all woman insofar as Theo was concerned, and it was the woman he wanted to take his time with.

Which meant stopping them both. He smoothed a hand over her cheek, gently urging her to lift her face and look him in the eye. “We can’t,” he murmured. Not here, not now. Not even tonight. But soon…very, very soon.

“Right.” Her hands stilled at his belt before jerking away as though burned. “Right, we shouldn’t.” Nudging him back with her knees, she hopped off the tabletop and settled her glasses on the bridge of her nose again.

She thought he meant forever, he realized. She thought he was stopping them both before they made a mistake, but this, with Gillian, could never be a mistake. There was plenty of time for him to address it, though, and maybe it was better for them to sleep on the ramifications of this abrupt change in their relationship—separately, damn it. So he didn’t correct her, instead scrubbing a hand over his scruffy jaw and trying not to stare at her kiss-stung lips. Tried not to lick his own as the hunger threatened to take over once more. “Tomorrow.”

Her gray gaze was wary on his face. “Tomorrow?”

“Uh.” Tomorrow, they would talk about this. Tomorrow, he would kiss her again, maybe even first thing in the morning. Yes, that’s how he was going to play it, leaving no room for question about what it was he wanted, when what he wanted was Gillian. He’d figure out the inevitable ramifications with the FBI…tomorrow. “Flying Blind. You’ll need to get me up to speed on how and why the project deviated.”

“Oh. Sure.” Her eyes dropped, her focus shifting to the drone behind them.

He saw her so clearly, her thoughts and fears obvious to him in this instant, and despite the fact that he was the one avoiding the conversation until they’d cooled off, he couldn’t resist reaching out to brush his thumb over her bottom lip. The soft give of raspberry-pink flesh as he swept from side to side led to the obvious wish—to feel her mouth wrapped around the head of his dick. When her tongue darted out to flick lightly against his skin, he found himself smiling down at her. “Let’s skip the run tomorrow and meet at Harry’s for breakfast instead.” He cupped her chin, enjoying the play of delicate bone and velvet skin under his fingertips. It didn’t surprise him, how much lighter he felt, the heavy pressure that apparently had always lived in his chest lifted. This wouldn’t be easy, but easy was overrated, and Gillian was worth it. “Are you ready to go home for the night, cher?”

Her shaky exhalation buffeted his chin. “No, I need to finish up a few things here first.” Pale irises met his. “Theo…what just happened—”

“Was always meant to happen.” His maman hadn’t raised a fool; he knew better than to ignore Fate when it was breathing down his neck. Bending, he pressed his lips to the corner of her mouth, a facsimile of the goodnight kiss he’d prefer to give her. “Harry’s Coffee Shop, tomorrow at seven.” Releasing her with no small amount of regret, he headed toward the elevator, pivoting on his heel to walk backward and level a deliberately sensual stare at the woman who owned his every waking thought. “And Gillian?”

Her chin lifted, almost defiantly. “Yeah?” Behind her was the drone she’d made disappear, all because of what lived inside her incomparable mind.

His woman was incredible. But what was most incredible is that Gillian Faraday was finally going to be his in truth, after all this time. “Don’t be late.”

2017 © Thrilled by Edie Harris


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