USA Today Bestselling Author
In what circumstance wouldn’t a knight want to rescue a damsel in distress? A former SEAL working for Legendary Securities, North Dockter has found the very circumstance that challenges even his stalwart, chivalrous ways. Nikki Beckwith is a firecracker who butts heads with him at every turn, refusing to follow orders or listen to his experience unless doing so suits her.
When she discovers someone is smuggling drugs through her company’s warehouse and her life is threatened, Nikki flees to her aging grandfather’s home in England to lay low and regroup. He’s always been there for her, and, if ever she needed a bolthole to make changes in her life, it’s now. Maybe it’s time to return to the States…particularly after meeting North and realizing the attraction between them is more than she believed possible.
But Nikki soon realizes that no place is safe after her grandfather is attacked in his home. Even with her gorgeous guardian angel hovering close by, will she be too late to make all the changes she’s envisioned?
The prologue of this book had me giggling a bit. Everyone seems to know that if Ice chooses your assignment you’ll find the right person for your happily ever after. Ice says she can’t promise North he’ll meet someone, and he agrees that it’s not something she can promise. We who read this series know better.
Ice informs him he’ll be heading to England in a couple of days. I seems their friend and supporter, Charles Beckwith’s granddaughter Nikki is in trouble. How much and what kind of trouble is unknown at the moment.
North is met at the airport by Anders who flew in from Germany where he had been working on another of Levi’s cases. Fortunately that one was still at the information gathering stage. Charles has sent a car for them and it’s obvious the driver has training, his eyes taking in everything.
Instead of taking them to Charles’ home, the driver makes a stop elsewhere. It seems MI6 has determined that they should be instructed on their behavior, and giving that task to Jonas Halpin. Although it was Badger and his crew that caused issues in England, it seems anyone acquainted with them was going to be talked to and warned against causing trouble. Something both Ander’s and North found interesting, was the fact that neither Charles or Levi gave Jonas any information. Jonas had spoken with both of them and still had no idea why the two of them were in England. I almost felt sorry for Jonas, almost.
Nikki Beckwith works for a small but profitable import/export company that is currently dissolving all contracts to close it’s doors. The owner has cancer that hasn’t responded to treatments. He has no heirs and couldn’t find a buyer. The event that sent Nikki running to her grandfather was being threatened by two men. All having to do with what both her and her bosses assistant believed was a clerical error. Unfortunately that order that appeared to be double what was expected, was exactly that.
North and Anders start the initial rundown on the business that shares the warehouse space, then decide they need to take a look at the order in question. Of course Nikki has no intention of staying behind.
This is a favorite scene as they approach the parking lot near the warehouse.
She was grateful for the darkness inside the vehicle to hide the rioting color heating up and washing over her face. She sighed. “That’s all right. I’m talking to myself.”
Anders chuckled in the back seat. “Glad you do it too. We’re well-known for it.”
Startled, she glanced at him in the rearview mirror. “Really?”
“I think everybody does it to a certain extent,” he said, “although I would really like to know the other half of the argument you were having with yourself.”
“That’s the thing about conversations with yourself. You don’t have to share them,” she said, effectively trying to buck him out of her head.
But Anders was persistent. “Well now, I’ll just have to make some wild guesses about it then.”
A little desperately she said, “Please don’t.” She watched as North lifted his hand in some kind of a movement, like a silent signal, which had Anders subsiding in the back seat. She wondered about the dynamics between the two of them. They obviously were good friends and knew each other very well. But had North suggested that Anders stop teasing her? If so, she owed North one. And, if he got them safely through tonight, she would owe him another big one too.
If he solved this nightmare she’d gotten herself into, the chances of repaying any of that were pretty slim. And how could she possibly leave her granddad for the US, given his health and temperament? Not that she saw him all that often even while living in the same proximity. Then the little devilish imp on her shoulder said, And how many times can you fly back and forth in a year? Probably more times than you came to visit him while you lived here.
And she was ashamed to admit there was some truth to that, but she and her granddad did talk all the time.
The imp responded with You could do that from the US too. Sometimes you have to follow your heart, and you’ve been wanting to go back for a long time now.
She had thought, at times, she’d go to New York, but she had overcome the luster of that landing spot for a while. She just didn’t have any better place to go. She thought maybe Kansas or even Maryland, although she didn’t know anybody in either spot. Her brother was in California and that appealed to just be close to him. There were just so many options available to her that she didn’t know where she would like to end up.
Beside her, North asked, “Where’s the parking lot?”
With a jolt she brought herself back to reality. She was driving toward the warehouse where she’d been threatened once already, in the dark with two men who had no problem with breaking in if she didn’t let them in. She pointed up ahead. “It’s right there.” She pulled in, drove to the far back and shut off the lights as she maneuvered into a parking spot.
“Are you sure we can’t get you to stay here?” North asked, still not moving from the vehicle.
She shook her head. “No, you need me.”
“Exactly why do we need you?” he asked.
“Because you won’t know which is our stuff and which is the other people’s stuff.”
“I’m sure it’ll be delineated somehow,” he said, “otherwise all the employees would be just as confused.”
She pulled the keys from the ignition, adding them to her purse. She turned a bit to better face North as they continued this conversation in the car. “We could have asked Stan. He’s our warehouse manager. But it’s Friday night, and he’s off for the weekend. Normally he checks the manifests, sends the paperwork my way, then arranges delivery to the customers.”
“So who checked off this excess shipment? And, if it was Stan, why wasn’t he alerted to it?”
“That’s a good question. I did ask him, but he had to take off right away. He told me that he’d get back to me. I never really got a chance to ask him again. But I presume because the Only the Best company always orders thirty cases, they assumed it was a second thirty this time. I just figured someone messed up somewhere.”
“Obviously somebody did,” North said. “The question is who and on which side.”
“I want to know what’s inside those boxes,” she said in a hard voice. “I want to confirm that whatever is being imported and exported is completely legal.”
“Do these come in trucks across the channel, or are they shipped over some other way?”
“Trucks. And we do a ton of paperwork to get it all to happen free and clear. This Brexit stuff will be a nightmare of paperwork for us. So, at the moment, it’s all still operating the same way. If England does eventually leave the EU, I’m sure the paperwork will be completely messed up for a while. But our company won’t be in business by then.” She stared at North. “How long will we wait here? This isn’t what we came for.”
He looked at her and smiled, his white teeth flashing in the darkness. In a gentle voice he said, “We’re waiting for Anders to get back and to tell us the coast is clear.”
Startled, she turned to look behind her into the back seat, but it was empty. She twisted to look at North again. “I didn’t even hear him leave.” North nodded. “Anders is like that. He’s very good at his job. And so am I.”
She sagged back into the driver’s seat, wondering when Anders could possibly have exited the vehicle without her knowing. “The interior light didn’t turn on.”
“No, it didn’t,” he said. “I disabled it while you were driving.”
She shot him another look. “I didn’t see you do that either,” she said quietly.
He held up a small machine in his hand. “With these new vehicles it’s more computer codes than anything overtly physical. I’ll fix it once we’re out of here. But, if we had opened the door, somebody would have noticed the light when we arrived.”
“We’re still blocks away,” she protested. “Otherwise what was the point of stopping here?”
“We were likely already being watched when we turned the corner back there, as it is a straight shot from there to the warehouse. So, as long as we’re just sitting here, people are likely to think we came here to hang out together.”
She gave a violent head shake. “No way we would use this as a necking point if you were a local. This is not a good area of town.”
“You mean, to cuddle?” He pivoted, snagged her in his arms and half dragged her until she was sitting in his lap. “That’s an excellent idea.”
She gasped and tried to wiggle away.
He whispered, “Don’t. We are being watched. You need to know that.” She didn’t need to know it would either be Anders or MI6.
She sagged against North, wrapped her arms around his chest and asked, “Are you sure?”
“Very sure,” he said. And he kissed her.
Mayer, Dale. North’s Nikki: A SEALs of Honor World Novel (Heroes for Hire Book 15) (pp. 49-53). Valley Publishing Ltd.. Kindle Edition.>
What they find in the warehouse is more than just the crates. Three men were there also. It wasn’t hard to guess they were there to move the merchandise.
I really love the way North and Anders handle evidence and what information they pass to MI6 through Jonas. They need to know exactly how deep and dangerous this trouble is. So they keep a sample of what they find for themselves.
North and Nikki’s attraction takes off after their visit to the warehouse, leading her to think returning to the US is something she could do. I definitely got a kick out of the way Charles and Nikki both handle Jonas.
I find I love Charles’ home, there’s far more than meets the eye as the danger escalates to his home.
This is a page-turning read with action and suspense, lots of interesting décor, and that simmer to sizzle romance I love.
I also loved the lead in to the next book Ander’s Angel, that is next on my TBR pile.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.