Erik pulled Elena across the office and shoved her behind a heavy, burgundy velvet curtain, pushing in behind her just as the office door opened. Elena stiffened as he wrapped his arms around her waist and lowered his head, whispering. “Not a sound.”
She barely allowed herself to breathe. Every time she pulled air into her lungs, his clean, male scent entered her system and ran amok, creating a pool of need in her belly that was hard to ignore. Elena closed her eyes, her usual balls-to-the-wall style failing her as her body became almost painfully aware of every hard line of his tall, sexy frame pressed against her. She grew slowly cognizant of a sharp pain in her back, like something hard digging into her. She shifted slightly to get away from it and was punished with a big, warm hand spreading over her belly, pulling her more tightly against him.
Then another hardness started to bother her. She closed her eyes and prayed the guard would leave soon. Because Erik’s hand was making slow, deliberate circles over her belly and need was becoming a tight coil in her sexual core.
Beyond their velvet and lust prison, the guard’s footsteps were soft thumps on the thick carpet, his flashlight playing across the chaotic remnants of Phillip Osgood’s office. They could watch him move through the office from his reflection in the window glass. He was a short, roundish form with nondescript features, but he held a large flashlight in one hand and a radio crackled on his waistband.
Elena watched as the bright arc of light skimmed over the desk and stilled, the light illuminating the small drawer she’d laid on top.
She silently scolded herself for her carelessness. She’d assumed that, with all the other mess in the room, the guard wouldn’t even notice.
Judging by the movement of footsteps across the room…directly toward them…she’d been wrong. The radio crackled and a voice came over the line. “Everything okay, Ed? I was expecting you to check in five minutes ago.”
The flashlight swept the floor behind the desk, slithered over the chair Elena had shoved back, and danced inexorably toward the curtain where they hid.
Moving as slowly as she could with discovery breathing down their necks, Elena pulled her feet back and all but held her breath.
Erik’s hand slipped around to his back, where Elena had no doubt his gun was holstered.
The guard moved around the desk and stood looking down at the drawer. His labored breathing scraped through the silence, so close Elena expected to feel it on her face. He breathed with a wet, raspy kind of resonance which told Elena he was out of shape and that he was either a smoker or was coming down with a cold.
Either way she figured she could take him before he could report them to the voice on the other end of the radio. Her eyes on the guard’s form in the glass, she tightened her grip on her gun and then stopped, pulling air into her lungs and forcing herself to relax. She began to picture her attack in her mind.
A glide sideways, emerging from the curtain on the outside, away from Erik. She’d lift her gun and point it at the guard as she moved closer, demanding that he take his hand off his radio. Then with one, swift motion, she’d take the radio with her free hand and clock him over the head with the other.
The only fly in the ointment was Erik. And he was a big, damn fly. Because she knew he’d never let her risk a direct confrontation. He’d take a bullet himself before he allowed that. Her suspicions were confirmed as his arm around her waist tightened, snugging her up against him even as his other arm extended toward the edge of the heavy drape.
In the glass, the guard reached for his radio, pulled it free and lifted it toward his face.
The snap of controlled electricity broke the silence, the flashlight beam shot toward the ceiling and then slammed downward, and the guard jerked twice before falling, his radio flying out of his hand.
Erik stepped from behind the drape and reached out, snagging the radio with his right hand as he shoved the Taser back into his pants with the other. “Let’s go. The other guard will be here in about two minutes.”
They ran toward the outer office and ducked back through the glass doors. The up arrow beside the elevator down the hall lit up as they hit the stairwell at an all-out run. They sprinted down the stairs to the third floor. After checking the hallway to make sure it was empty, they emerged from the stairwell and tore down the hall to the office they’d originally breached. Elena stepped quickly through the window onto the ledge and started moving toward the front of the building. Erik emerged behind her. She could hear the soft scrape of his boots against the concrete.
A bright light came on below and an alarm sounded inside the building.
Elena forced herself not to panic as men with guns spilled from the front door and spread out around the grounds to the sound of shouted orders. She stopped and pressed back against the wall, just out of range of the security light that spread a golden cocoon over the front entrance.
Erik did the same, his broad chest heaving from the effort of running down the narrow ledge without falling.
She turned to him, shrugging slightly. “Oops.”
He shook his head but she noted the slight twitch of his wide mouth that told her he wasn’t totally unamused. “I don’t suppose you had a Plan B when you decided to do this?” he whispered.
She grinned, shaking her head. “I rarely need more than one plan.”
His brows lifted. “And yet…”
“This was your fault. If I’d been alone I’d have been fine.” The guilty memory of a misplaced desk drawer and chair swept through her mind but she pushed them aside. A soldier never second guessed her mission. The only option was to move forward and complete the operation.
Erik pulled something black from the waistband of his jeans and she frowned. Surely he wasn’t going to try to use the Taser from three floors up. Even if he hit one of the dozen men running around below them, they’d still have eleven guards with guns to deal with.
Elena tried to remember how many bullets she had left in her gun. Had she remembered to reload it before leaving home?
She jumped as Erik’s voice sounded next to her. “Intruders spotted on the south side of the building,” he said into the radio. “I repeat, intruders spotted running toward Elm Street on the south side of the building.”
He shoved the radio back into his jeans and jerked his head toward the corner. “Let’s move, DeVitis. There’s a piece of chocolate pie and a cup of coffee waiting for me at the diner down the street.”
Elena peered around the corner and saw that all but one guy had taken the bait and fled to the South side. It wouldn’t take them long to discover the ruse and they’d be back. She would have to take her chances with the one guy.
Slipping around the corner, Elena ran along the ledge, keeping an eye on the bulky guard standing on the outside edge of the light. The orange glow of a lit cigarette flaring into the night told Elena all she needed to know about the guy’s attention span. He was taking a break while his buddies chased down the bad guys.
She smiled, knowing his break was about to turn bad.
She quickly descended from the third floor, using the uneven bricks at the corner of the structure. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she crouched down, watching the guard as Erik slipped down behind her.
When Erik’s feet hit the ground he whistled softly and they tucked themselves into the shadows as the guard’s head jerked up, the cigarette bobbling between his lips.
Elena could envision cartoon bubbles above the man’s head as he considered what he should do next.
Who’s whistling at me?
Maybe I should investigate?
The guard’s head swiveled as if he were looking for someone else to do the job and then, when no cavalry appeared on the horizon, he reluctantly dropped his cigarette butt and ground it out before heading their way. The beefy guard held his pistol down by his side, his gaze narrowing as the shadows began to obscure his view of the ground around the base of the building.
He stopped a few feet away as if he sensed they were there and, as he reached for his radio, Erik shot him with the Taser. Elena and Erik pulled the guard’s twitching form into the bushes and took off running toward the fence. If they were really lucky Elena’s makeshift ladder would still be in place.
If not, well, Elena would have to use her yummy assistant as a ladder.
A not altogether unpleasant option.
Have you read Book 1 in the exciting La Fortuna DeVitis series? It’s only $0.99 now:
Nicola is just minding her own business, out for a fun night with her friends, when a man with a bedroom voice and deliciously broad shoulders decides she’s someone she isn’t. A heartbeat later, before she even has a chance to make sense of being called by another woman’s name, she finds herself flung over one of those broad shoulders and thrown into an existence that includes a lot of running for her life, dodging bullets, and realizing she’s the victim of a lifetime’s worth of secrets.
Franco has a very difficult job. He’s supposed to protect a strong willed heiress from the conspiracy that has plagued her entire life. Unfortunately, in pursuit of that goal, he accidentally grabs the wrong person. A woman whose feisty nature and insistence that she’s not his heiress have him on edge and off his game.
With menace nipping constantly at their heels, bullets flying and bodies showing up all over the place, Franco and Nicola must quickly put aside their differences and forge an alliance to stop the shadowy group which pursues them. But circumstances might build something much greater than an alliance between them, as distrust turns to affection and need transforms into something neither one of them is prepared to ignore.
USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes romantic paranormal/fantasy and mystery/suspense, creating stories that celebrate the joy of love in all its forms. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books and has been writing for over a decade under several noms de plume.
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