She’s got a broken heart… and a fully loaded arsenal.
Ex–army ranger Jim Morgan leads a team of elite mercenaries, but eighteen years ago in Paris, he was part of a black ops unit whose mission was to hunt down a rogue operative. In order to trap the criminal, Jim seduced Noelle, the man’s daughter—a ruthless act that cost him the love of his life and turned her into a mortal enemy. Now he can’t trust her, but he still desires her. He also needs her help….
Older, wiser, and unwilling to play the fool again, Noelle runs a group of highly skilled assassins. And she’s just been offered the hit of the century: Eliminate Jim Morgan. History gives them no reason to trust each other, but with their lives in jeopardy at the hands of a common enemy, the lines between love and hate are soon blurred. Now Noelle and Jim must face the past if they want to have a future—let alone a future together.
Their dance might have seemed innocent to the people around them, but each brush of their bodies heightened her arousal. Each time his palm grazed her tailbone, her skin sizzled. Each time his cheek brushed hers, her breathing grew more labored.
Still, no matter what Jim thought, she was a pro, and thus perfectly capable of suppressing her desire.
Of course, that didn’t mean she had to stop testing his ability to remain professional.
With a mischievous smile, she looked into his eyes and said, “By the way, the shower blow job you mentioned before? I orgasmed the second I swallowed that first drop.”
A strangled growl left his mouth.
And suddenly they weren’t dancing anymore. But still moving. Moving very, very fast, in fact, as Jim dragged her toward the staircase on the other side of the ballroom.
Morgan had no idea where he was going or what he was thinking. He ignored the inquisitive eyes boring into his back as he gripped Noelle’s hand and led her up the spiral staircase. He didn’t know where it led, or where they’d end up— all he knew was that if he didn’t get inside this woman right fucking now, he was going to pass out.
“Jim,” she said uneasily. “This isn’t the time to . . .”
She didn’t finish and he didn’t care. His lower body was aching, his cock so stiff he could barely walk. He was a man on a mission, his gaze focused straight ahead like a missile homing in on a target.
At the top of the stairs was a small landing opening into a wide hallway with half a dozen doors, but the red velvet curtain to their left was what caught his eye. Gripping Noelle’s forearm, he pushed open the thick velvet and immediately liked what he saw— a shadowy space the size of an opera box. No, it was an opera box, Morgan noted when he spotted the curved railing at the edge and the row of plush, red-upholstered seats.
He turned to Noelle. “Come here,” he ordered.
She stayed put. “I don’t take orders from cavemen, thank you very much.”
His gaze swept over her. He’d lied before. He was totally digging the dress. And the hairdo. The shoes. The vixen-red lipstick. Christ, he wanted to kiss those fuck-me lips more than he wanted his next breath.
“Come. Here,” he growled.
Just like that, his control snapped like a bungee cord. Forget breathing— his brain stopped working right along with his lungs, his vision nothing but a thick haze of lust as he grabbed her by the arm and yanked her toward the railing. He spun her around so she was against it, then moved in behind her and ground his aching groin over her ass.
Noelle’s moan cut the air, soft enough that he doubted anyone down below had heard it. And if they did, he didn’t give a fuck. He’d turned into an animal, a desperate, hungry animal with one thought on his mind.
He scrunched up her dress and shoved the material all the way up to her waist. She was still covered in the front, but naked from the lower back down, and when he glimpsed her bare ass, a groan left his lips.
“Oh Jesus.” He stroked her tight buttocks with his palm, then undid the button of his trousers.
Letting out a ragged breath, he reached inside his boxer-briefs and pulled out his granite-hard cock. With Noelle in front of him, he wasn’t worried about anyone catching a glimpse of the little soldier, but there was nothing shielding her. If anyone in the ballroom so much as craned their neck, they’d get a hell of an eyeful: Noelle bent over the railing, fingers curled over the cool steel, cleavage spilling out of her dress.
Cursing softly, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her backward, repositioning them so they were against the wall, several feet back and out of view of any guests.
The second he rubbed the head of his cock along the crease of her ass cheeks, she gasped in pleasure. “Oh God. Please.”
The quiet plea was enough to make him shudder.
Holding her dress up with one hand, he gripped her hip with the other and drove into her from behind.
It felt so criminally good he literally saw stars. Heat and moisture surrounded his erection, her inner muscles clamping around him like a hot, pulsing glove. The sexual excitement burning in his blood was stronger than any burst of desire he’d ever felt in his life.
But no, that wasn’t true. He’d experienced this same blast of need before. Earlier today, when he’d been balls deep in Noelle. Nineteen years ago, when he’d been buried inside the most beautiful girl in the world.
It was her. It was always her.
The realization spurred his emotions, propelled his hips forward. He slammed into her, struggling for breath, desperately trying to hold on to his crumbling restraint. But there was nothing controlled about this.
With Noelle, it was impossible to hold back.
His chin rested on her shoulder as his hips pistoned hard, his cock furiously thrusting into her tight channel, over and over again. Her unique scent drugged his senses, and the fine hairs at the nape of her neck tickled his cheek and made him shiver.
A moan slipped out when his next thrust hit deep. “Oh God,” she whispered. “More. Faster.”
The tempo went from fast to frantic, as he relinquished all common sense and gave in to raw, primal need. His balls slapped Noelle’s perfect ass with each demanding stroke, and he knew from her little mewls of pleasure that she was getting close.
When she threw her head back and trembled in orgasm, it was like stepping into a room engulfed in flames. His heart stopped and his body burned, and triumph blinded his vision, because it was so rare to watch this woman come apart. So rare to hear her throaty cry of surrender and see the sated slump of her delicate shoulders.
“Coming,” he ground out. “Oh fuck.”
The hot waves of pleasure started deep in his balls and shot out in every direction, turning his limbs to jelly and his mind to mush. His release filled her, dripped down his still-hard shaft, and even as he tried to catch his breath, he reached into his pocket for a black silk handkerchief and hastily cleaned them up before their clothes got ruined.
The climax had been so intense he still saw black spots, still had trouble breathing. With a hoarse groan, he withdrew from her tight sheath and tucked his semierect cock back in his pants. As he zipped up his trousers, the hem of Noelle’s dress slipped from his fingers, the silky material floating to the floor with a soft rustle.
“How about now?” Her voice shook slightly as she turned to face him. “Out of your system?”
“No,” he said thickly. “You?”
She opened her mouth, but was cut off by a sudden buzz of voices from the ballroom. Frowning, she tucked a strand of hair behind her ear and approached the railing.
Morgan followed her, resting both hands on the steel rail as he gazed below.
He immediately pinpointed the source of commotion. A small crowd had formed near the ice sculpture he’d been admiring earlier, and holding court in the center of the group was a man in a black tuxedo jacket and white dress shirt.
“I think our host is here,” he said.
Noelle nodded. “Looks like it.”
They watched from the box, but the new arrival was blocked from their view, surrounded by several taller men who didn’t seem inclined to move out of the way. Morgan glimpsed a head of dark blond hair, an aristocratic profile, and a flash of straight white teeth, but it wasn’t enough.
Annoyance filtered through him. “Let’s go downstairs. I can’t see shit from here.”
No sooner had the words left his mouth than the crowd parted to reveal the center of attention. Maurice Durand. The man was in his late sixties. Medium height, fair complexion, handsome face . . . that face.
Morgan couldn’t quite place the man, but he knew him. He wasn’t sure how, but— son of a bitch.
At that moment, Durand turned to speak to someone, offering Morgan a perfect view of his eyes.
He froze, unable to fathom what he was seeing.
The color of dark roast coffee, deep and intense and completely unsuited for that lily-white skin and light hair.
In his lifetime, Morgan had come across only two people with that particular combination of chocolate eyes and pale skin.
All the air seeped out of his lungs as his brain made the connection.
“Ariana,” he breathed.
Elle Kennedy is a RITA-nominated author grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University
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