NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
A Man with a Past…
Liam O’Donnell fled his native Ireland years ago after one of his missions ended in tragedy and he is accused of killing several of his fellow agents. Shrouded in mystery, Liam can’t remember that fateful night. He came to the United States in disgrace, seeking redemption for crimes he may or may not have committed. But the hunt for an international terrorist leads him to London and right back into the world he left behind.
A Woman Looking for a Future…
Avery Charles followed her boss to London, eager to help the philanthropist with his many charities. When she meets a mysterious man who promises to show her London’s fetish scene, she can’t help but indulge in her darkest fantasies. Liam becomes her Dom, her protector, her lover. She opens her heart and her home to him, only to discover he’s a man on a mission and she’s just a means to an end.
When Avery’s boss leads them to the traitorous Mr. Black, Liam must put together the puzzle of his past or Avery might not have a future…
I have this book as part of Masters and Mercenaries: The Early Ops which contains the first five books in the series. I am reviewing them individually as I read.
Being in London is hard for Liam, so close to where his life went to hell. His brother and several others dead before a bomb took out the building. He shouldn’t have survived but he did. He just can’t remember it all.
Avery has been working for a mostly reclusive philanthropist, Thomas Molina. A man who’s decided it’s time to be more active in his charity workings. There’s something fishy with some of the shipments and someone needs to get close to Avery and see if she’s innocent or not.
It’s decided that Liam should be the one to approach Avery and the rest of the team settles in as neighbors.
This is a favorite scene when Liam makes his move.
Mummies. She forced herself to concentrate. She felt a smile cross her lips. It was so much nicer when her rambling thoughts were about mummies and historical sites than bedpans and whether or not her legs would ever work again. Or where her baby was now that she wasn’t in her arms.
“It can’t be all that bad. I don’t think he minds being stuck in here.”
Avery started, a deep voice pulling her from the edge of a very dark thought. She turned on her heels and, as any sudden movement was likely to do, her weak leg buckled underneath her. She started the long trip to the ground, except this time she was headed straight for the ancient, probably priceless, mummy. God, she was going to set off all kinds of alarms and get kicked out of the museum and maybe out of England, and then she would have to find a new job and who would want a woman who’d been arrested for molesting mummified corpses?
And just like that, she stopped. Two big arms wrapped around her, lifting her away from the oncoming chaos.
Without even thinking about it, her arms drifted up and around his neck, fingertips brushing warm, deliciously firm skin. The dark-haired man she’d seen before, the one she’d fantasized about last night, held her in his arms. Curly, midnight-black hair and emeralds for eyes. He was dressed for sin in a black motorcycle jacket and a T-shirt that molded to his very well-defined chest. Did he have to buy them one size too small? Did he have to walk around like a big old gorgeous man cupcake when she’d been on a diet for so long?
“Lost the power of speech? Well, that guy’s ugly mug would do that to me, too.”
She’d thought for sure he was British. She’d fantasized about a lyrical accent coming out of his mouth, but no, his voice was pure Midwestern American. And she should say something since the man was still standing there holding her like she was his virgin bride or something. Virgin. She wasn’t. Unless it grew back after too many years of vaginal disuse. God, say something, Avery. “I’m so sorry.”
His lips curled up in a flirty smile. She couldn’t take her eyes off him. He was the single most beautiful man she’d ever seen. Even if that smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I think I’m the one who should apologize. I didn’t mean to startle you. It just seemed like it was time that I should talk to you. I’ve been following you around for days. We seem to have the same tastes in museums.”
He’d noticed her, too? That was odd. She typically blended into the background, when she wasn’t falling down. She was well aware she wasn’t a great beauty. She wasn’t horrific, but she fell into a bland attractiveness that usually required a forceful personality to go along with it in order to be truly pretty. She wasn’t exactly aggressive. She was more a “watch from a distance and dream” kind of girl.
There was no distance between them now. None at all. She could feel the heat of his body against hers, the hardness of his form. How long had it been since she’d been held? Touched? Nothing for years that didn’t include a therapist massaging muscles to keep them from atrophying. Her mother-in-law hadn’t touched her once since she’d discovered what Avery had done. No more motherly hugs. Even the few friends she’d had back home had treated her like she was fragile. No touching allowed or someone would break Avery. Gorgeous Green Eyes didn’t seem to think she would break. His arms were tight around her body, cradling her to his chest.
“Can I put you down? Do you think you can stand?”
She felt herself flush. She was making a complete idiot of herself. He’d only reached out because she’d fallen. Again. Would she ever again feel like she had control over her body? “Yes. I’m fine. I’m so sorry for the whole nearly killing a mummy thing.”
He set her on her feet, holding her until he seemed sure she was steady. He smiled down at her, definite amusement in his eyes. They seemed so much warmer now than a moment before. “I think he’s already dead, sweetheart. Now on the other hand, you nearly gave the security guy a heart attack.”
She gasped and looked around. Sure enough, there was the museum employee in his suit coat with his walkie-talkie at his side. His face was slightly flushed, but he’d taken his place again.
“Think nothing of it, ma’am. Women faint dead away at the sight all the time.” The security guard winked her way.
Avery gave him a smile. “Well, maybe Egypt is too much for my constitution. I think I’ll go have some lunch and fortify myself against the sight.” It was really time to retreat. Deep breath. Confident smile. She turned back to the hottie. That’s what all the girls back in the New York offices called someone who looked like Green Eyes. Hotties. They were right. She could really use a fan. “Thank you so much for the save.”
“Not a problem.” He seemed to be waiting on something.
It was an awkward moment, but then much of her life was made up of them. “Good-bye.”
She turned carefully and hoped she could make a graceful exit.
“So what sounds good? I think there’s a fish and chips place across the street.” Hottie kept pace, not that it was hard for him. He was so much taller. He probably took one stride to her two slightly awkward ones.
She stopped. He was doing the flirting thing. Why? He was obviously out of her league. She wasn’t good at stuff like this. He was far more gorgeous than Simon, and she couldn’t figure out why he was pursuing her beyond the obvious career implications. This guy didn’t even know her name. She decided to try to be polite. Maybe he felt sorry for her. “Thank you for the offer. I really can make my way. Thanks so much for the save.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied, not moving at all. He simply stood in front of the stairs, blocking her way. “You don’t like fish and chips? You do know you’re in England, right?”
“Yes, I know I’m in England.” Flustered. He was making her flustered. “I like fish and chips fine.”
He smiled broadly. “Excellent. I could use a pint. I need some fortification before we get back to the mummies, too. Seriously, these are some ugly dudes. Why would anyone want their body to last this long? I want to immediately be cremated.”
“It was part of their religion. They needed a body if they were to go to the afterlife. I’m pretty sure they didn’t imagine they would end up in a museum thousands of miles away with tourists ogling them.” She started to make an argument about tolerance for other religions, but that was really beside the point. “I didn’t ask you to go to lunch with me.”
He nodded, leaning out of the way so others could come into the hall, but still blocking her advance. “Yes, you forgot to. I admit it was rude, but I’ve decided to believe that you were distracted after your near miss with old Tut back there.”
“That wasn’t King Tut.”
He shrugged. “Yeah, I’m not enormously big on Egyptian history. So we’ve decided that you’re distractible and it totally affects your social skills, but luckily I’m a very focused guy and I can be polite enough for both of us. I can teach you how the polite world works.” He held out a big hand. “Lee Donnelly. I work in construction back in the States. I recently finished a huge renovation job back in Dallas and gave myself two months off to come visit some friends here in London. This is the part where you shake my hand and tell me your name and what you do.”
“Avery Charles.” He’d kind of put her in a corner. There was nothing to do except take his hand. She quickly found her own hand completely wrapped in his. Warmth flooded her system. He had strong hands, callused and rough from work, but so nice to touch. Lee. She liked that name. It was solid and masculine and simple. “I’m the personal assistant to a man who runs a charity fund.”
He nodded at her like she was a slow learner who had finally caught on. “See, that wasn’t so hard. And do you live here in London?”
She kind of wanted to run away, but she had the sudden sense that he would follow, and he would be so much faster. She was caught. Trapped. So why shouldn’t she enjoy the afternoon with the most beautiful man she’d ever met? There wasn’t any harm in it. She spent so much time alone that it would be nice to have a meal with a handsome stranger, and he was obviously at loose ends. He probably felt as out of place as she did and was looking for some company. Despite the fact that the employees of United One Fund were friendly, no one asked her to have lunch with them. They had their own cliques and friendships, and it would be that way everywhere she and Thomas went.
What could it hurt to make a friend? He was probably looking for someone to buy him lunch. It might be nice to have someone to talk to.
“I’m from New York,” she replied, allowing her shoulders to come down from around her ears. Now that she’d made the choice to get to know him, she found herself eager to ask him a few questions. “Are you from Dallas?”
“Not originally, though I’ve spent the last several years there. Wow. It’s getting late. Time flies when you’re having fun.” He moved out of the doorway, his hand moving in a graceful gesture. “Let’s go grab some grub as they would say in my neck of the woods. I’m starving.”
She followed him out of the museum, hoping all the while she wasn’t making a mistake.
Blake, Lexi. Masters and Mercenaries Bundle: The Early Ops (Books 1-5). Kindle Locations (9736-9804). DLZ Entertainment, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Full of suspense, drama, and sizzle this book has it all, CIA, MI6, plus twists and turns to keep you guessing.
I really love the continuity in these books, the characters are as intriguing as the story itself.
I think I’ll just keep reading this series until I’m caught up.
5 Contented Purrs for Lexi!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Books 1 – 5
NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn’t until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.