Mercenary Dmitry Romanov makes a living transporting packages for wealthy clients. He lives by only two rules. One, don’t ask what’s in the package. Two, don’t open the package. Those rules have made him rich and kept him alive. Now Dmitry is ready to retire, but when a former colleague asks for a favor and won’t take no for an answer, he agrees to one last transport.
Everything is going to plan until this package starts moving…. and he breaks Rule number two.
Widow Chloe Riggs is finally ready to move on and follow the bucket list her husband made her while in the last stages of bone cancer. First up on the list, a European vacation she and her husband had always dreamed of taking. But while conquering number three on her list—dance with a stranger beneath the Eifel Tower--Chloe gets more than she bargains for and ends up in the trunk of a car, gagged and bound.
Unfortunately, Chloe’s only means of escape is with the man who’s driving her straight into danger.
Dmitry has his hands full with the feisty American, not only is she testing his resolve to stay professional, she’s making him crave her hot body. Soon, the two give into their desires and blaze a hot path all over Europe while Dmitry tries to figure a way out of his predicament.
Can Chloe convince Dmitry to break all the rules and not only save her, but their future together? Or will his loyalty to the Bratva doom them both?
He’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever seen, dressed in what has to be a tailor-made suit, which means one of two things. He’s gay… or taken.
“Not gay,” Mario murmurs in my ear.
I glance at my best friend. “Are you sure?”
“Fairly certain,” he says in an even tone.
“Fairly certain? I can’t go with fairly certain,” I protest, even as Mario propels me in the guy’s direction. “Is your gaydar off or something?”
“I don’t have gaydar.”
“You should,” I insist. “You’re my SGBF.”
“What the hell is that?”
“Sassy gay best friend?” Mario and I have been friends since freshman year of college when he saved me from asshole frat boys trying to cop a feel while I was serving their table. Since Mario is six five and built like a brick shit house, they had no problem listening to his back-the-fuck-off suggestion.
He mutters something under his breath, turning me around as he does. “Texans aren’t sassy. We’re men, even when we’re into men. Besides, I like women, too.”
I almost snort, and then sober—something that’s a little hard to do considering how much I’ve already had to drink. Okay, I haven’t had that much to drink. Mario’s too protective of me. “What if he’s the one?”
“Then he’s the one.”
I dig my heels in, the four-inch stilettos Mario said would land me a man for my birthday, scraping them against the concrete floor. “But what about our pact? You know—when we’re thirty and still single because everyone sucks but us, we’ll get married and adopt kids?” Thirty is seven years away, but I’m pretty sure with my luck, Mario will be happily married on a dude ranch while I’ll be surrounded by cats that hate me.
“In the meantime, you need more life experiences. You need to complete number-one on your bucket list.”
Like lose my virginity for real. And by for real, I mean not by a doped-up hookup in which my freshman-year boyfriend fell asleep in the middle of sex because he’d taken too much of his allergy meds… Talk about a confidence killer.
“You could be the one to give it to me.”
He smiles, a nice tilt of his lips that does absolutely nothing for me. “Little friend, I love you, but like a sister. That guy has been eyeing you like a dog after a steak.”
“BGS could’ve been eyeing you.”
“Beautiful Guy in a Suit?” he asks.
I nod, but Mario slowly shakes his head. “Not a chance. Besides, I got my eye on a redhead with a tight ass and a short skirt.”
“You’re so greedy.” We’ve talked about Mario’s confidence in who he is. How he doesn’t give a damn about what anyone thinks of his love life. Most of the time, he’s into men, but on rare occasions, like tonight, he’s into women, too.
“Nope. Just feeling a bit adventurous tonight—so should you.” Whirling me around, he gives me a pat on the bottom. “Go get ‘em, sugar.”
Throwing my shoulders back, I strut my stuff straight to the beautiful guy in the suit. Unlike every rom-com I’ve ever seen or read, I don’t trip. I don’t fall into him.
I’m a graceful swan. A lady treading the boards so good that my momma would be proud I actually learned something during cotillion classes.
A guy rams into me, nearly spilling his beer all over my pretty dress. Instead, it hits my arm, running down it like warm water. “Son of a bitch,” I shout, and then turn fifty shades of red. My momma would kill me if she ever heard me cuss like that.
If I don’t get this off my skin, I’ll be sticky when it dries, and that’s something I can’t stand. I need to take a detour to the bathroom to scrub my arms like a doctor going into surgery. Which means, BGS will have time to leave before I can make my move.
I narrow my eyes at the half-empty cup of beer. “You couldn’t have been club soda or water, could you?”
“Sorry,” the guy says, leering at me, his eyes going straight to my boobs. “Be happy to clean it up.”
“She doesn’t require your help.”
I blink, my head tipping back at the same time. BGS has joined us, and dear baby Jesus in a swing, he’s even more beautiful this close. Nearly white-blond hair, piercing green eyes, cheekbones so sharp they could cut my dress right off, and lips so full they could suck… Well, hopefully, they could suck on my skin, the tips of my fingers, my nipples, my clit…
I rub my thighs together and try to focus on the conversation between BSG and Leering Beer Slosher.
“Hey man, I’m just trying to be a gentleman.”
“Gentlemen don’t purposefully run into women.”
I snap my head around. “You did that on purpose?”
He grins sheepishly. “You can’t blame a guy for trying.”
“Trying is talking. You know… initiating conversations. Like this.” I turn back to BGS. “Hi, I’m Chloe. Would you like to have a drink with me?”
BGS’s eyes dance, even while his mouth keeps that perfect line of don’t screw with me. “Nice to meet you, Chloe. As long as you’ll allow me to pay, I’ll have drinks with you.”
Swoon. Swoon. Swoon. “And that’s how it’s done, cowboy.” After I lace my arm—the non-beer soaked one—through BGS’s, we walk away.
“Did you really want to have a drink, or was I an excuse to get away from an unwelcome… admirer?” he asks.
“Both,” I admit. “I think he was harmless. Mostly. You never know these days.”
He leads me to an empty, private booth in the back, near the VIP section of the nightclub. I look around. Wait, this isn’t near the VIP section. This is the VIP section.
“Da. Some people are not who they seem.” He gestures for me to take a seat on a rather plush-looking sofa. After I inspect the area and sit, a server rushes over, her full attention on us
“What can I get for the two fo you?” she asks and I set to exploring the VIP section because I’m pretty sure I’ll never be invited to one again.
“Does that suit your taste, krasavitsa?”
“Krasavista?” I can’t help but ask. I have no idea what he’s ordered, but I’d rather know what language he’s speaking. Maybe Russian.
“It means beautiful,” he says, and my heart speeds up at his compliment.
“Oh. Yes, whatever he ordered is fine with me.” I sit back in the too-die-for-soft sofa and cross my legs. After a heartbeat or three, he joins me. “You never told me your name.”
Marquita Valentine is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Holland Springs and Boys of the South series. Since first taking the plunge in July of 2012 to self publish, Marquita Valentine has sold over a quarter of a million books around the world. She's appeared on the Top 100 Bestselling Ebooks Lists on iBooks, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes&Noble. She's been called "one of the best new voices in romance" (Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews) and her books have been accused of being "a sexy, fun, and slightly addicting contemporary read" (The Book Queen). When she's not writing sexy heroes who adore their sassy heroines, she enjoys shopping, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Married to her high school sweetheart, Marquita lives in a seriously small town in the south with her husband, two kids, and a dog.