NY Times Today Bestselling Author
He’s not the man she thought he was.
But when danger lurks,
he’s the man she needs.
Any rookie on the force could verify if Charmed! is a legit etiquette school for businessmen, or…something else. But coming off a wrenching drug bust, Detective Kane McDermott’s captain gave him a choice. Take the fluff case, or take enforced time off.
The moment Kane meets Kayla Luck, he’s in trouble. She’s fierce, keen-eyed intelligence in a body built for sin. And when they touch, the jolt of desire reminds him it’s never wise to mix police work with pleasure.
Kayla is used to handling men who are more focused on her curves than her mind. But when her newest client arrives for lessons in foreign language and business etiquette, she’s the one who can’t tear her eyes off all those muscles wrapped in a sexy, double-breasted suit.
Dinner out leads to a hot night in bed, and Kayla falls hard and fast. Until she learns the business suit hides a badge, and she calls it quits. But Kane’s already lost his heart—and discovered she’s in danger. And if he can’t convince her she’s safe with him, he’ll lose the woman he loves.
Kane didn’t want this undercover assignment any more than he did the time off that was his other option. It shouldn’t be too difficult to tie the etiquette school Charmed to prostitution, right?
He knew something was off when he met Kayla, it seems the school is rebranding. The intel he had was outdated, and now he had to ad lib something more convincing. There’s definitely an attraction between Kane and Kayla and she agrees to a business dinner. One that ends with Kayla feeling humiliated and embarrassed.
Kane’s already written off the possibility of Charmed being a prostitution front when the 911 call comes in. Kayla was being grilled by a junior officer when he arrives on the scene.
Kayla is more than surprised and her sister Catherine is more than irritated as Kane takes charge.
This is a favorite scene.
“I already told you I walked in through the front door, and he jumped me in the back.” Raising her voice caused a set of drums to go off in Kayla’s head. She placed Catherine’s next attempt at first aid— a cold, wet, but thankfully wrung-out rag— against her scalp. She exhaled hard, fighting the nausea.
“The paramedics will be here any second.”
Kayla squinted at the young police officer as he spoke.
“Now back to what happened. He was looking for money, and you claim there is none.” The man stared at Kayla as if he didn’t believe a word she said.
Catherine stepped into the man’s direct line of vision. “Is this your first day on the job? Is that why you can’t see she’s the victim? Is this how they train you today, to attack the helpless? Look, buddy, cop or no cop, I want your badge number and then I want your badge.”
Kayla swallowed a groan at her sister’s attitude, yet she couldn’t understand the police treatment, either. Sirens began an insistent wail in the distance. At least she’d get an ice-pack rather than a barrage of questions she was too weak and nauseous to answer.
The officer eased back but not off. He lowered himself until he was at Kayla’s eye level. “Look, the guy trashed the back room and did a number on you. Obviously, he was looking for cash. Why? A little help from you will make things go easier.”
“For who?” Catherine jumped in. “She’s not going to do your job for you, and I want to know why you’ve been grilling her like she’s a criminal instead of helping the victim.”
“I’d like to know the answer to that, too.”
Kayla would recognize that voice anywhere. “Kane.”
He’d come back. A rush of powerful emotions hit her so fast her battered body and foggy mind couldn’t decipher them now. She pushed herself to a standing position and turned as quickly as the pain in her head would allow.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Catherine asked.
Kayla winced at her sister’s harsh tone. She never should have told Catherine even sketchy information about last night with Kane.
Kayla glanced at him. He stood in the entryway to the back room looking angry and dangerous, displaying the side she’d only glimpsed before. He ignored Catherine but when his gaze lit on hers, his expression softened.
He stepped toward her and held out his arms. She slid into his embrace. A comforting arm settled around her waist while the wall supported her back. “Well, Officer? Since when does the Boston P.D. grill injured victims?” he asked the junior cop.
The young officer flushed red. “I’m sorry, Detective, but…”
“Detective?” Kayla’s body went rigid as shock washed over her. Kane let out a groan.
This wasn’t the way he’d wanted her to find out. He hadn’t planned on her discovering his identity at all. But nothing had gone as planned since he’d laid eyes on Kayla Luck.
He’d been halfway to the station house door when the 911 call had come in and the captain had waylaid him in the hall. Concern for Kayla had blocked out common sense, so here he was— with a job to do.
He took in her pale skin, glassy eyes, and the red bruise on her forehead. He’d botched this case but no more. He took her arm despite her token resistance.
“Where are you taking her?” Catherine asked.
Kane glanced at the blonde he’d met briefly last night, the one with flashing green eyes who’d just given the junior officer a tongue-lashing. “To the nearest chair. What are you, her sister or her guard dog?”
She opened her mouth but Kayla interrupted first. “Catherine, don’t. He’s right. If I don’t sit I’ll be sick.”
He muttered a curse, then led her into the outer room.
With her leaning against him for support, Kane was reminded of last night. His body reacted with instant and urgent need. Ignoring her wasn’t an option, but acknowledging and distancing himself was.
Kayla accepted his help only until she reached the chair, then jerked out of his grasp and collapsed into the high-backed cushioned seat.
He knelt beside her. “Kayla…”
“What is it, Detective?” She spat the word like a curse. Her eyes remained closed, an effective physical barrier. He’d obviously added to the damage he’d already done. Her emotional walls were in place— just like his.
The paramedics came barging through the door, saving him from having to answer. As they examined her, he had time to reflect. He didn’t like what he concluded.
He’d put his emotions before his case. Worse, he put this woman at risk. He glanced at Kayla. Bad enough he’d slept with her, but believing for an instant he could have more than one night had been insanity. Foolishness that could only lead to destruction. He’d broken his cardinal rule: he’d gotten involved.
If he’d maintained a distance, he would have been thinking more clearly. He would never have let her walk out the door this morning. Kayla’s ignorance about illegal activities at Charmed! didn’t mean those activities didn’t exist. The captain was right. Kayla had gotten to him, and in the process, he’d compromised not only the case but her safety.
“Okay.” The paramedic in the blue jacket stood. “Looks like a concussion and some bruising in the neck area.”
A quick glance told him Kayla was still leaning back with her eyes closed in the large office chair. Red fingerprints marred the white skin on her throat, and Kane’s gut clenched in anger so strong it blinded him. No one had the right to touch her. Forcing his mind to clear, he let his gaze travel downward. She hadn’t changed out of last night’s clothes. She hadn’t yet been home.
Behind her, Kane saw Captain Reid enter the storefront. Kane turned to the paramedic first. “Hospitalization?” he asked.
“She refused, which is fine as long as someone’s around to watch over her and bring her in if necessary.”
“Someone is,” the sister chimed in.
For the moment, Kane ignored her. “Restrictions?” he asked the younger man.
“Complete bed rest, wake her every two hours, check coherence, understanding, pupil dilation… you know the drill.”
“Got it,” Kane said.
“No problem,” the sister retorted, eyeing Kane with a scowl.
With the paramedic gone and the captain getting briefed by the officer who’d arrived first on the scene, Kane turned his focus on Catherine. “You’re Catherine, right?”
“And you’re the dick who used my sister.”
He didn’t see any point in mentioning the using had been mutual. Kayla had been dressed and ready to walk out on him first. “You don’t know anything about it.”
“I know enough, and I doubt that official-looking guy in the suit would appreciate that you slept with a… what was Kayla, anyway? A suspect?”
“What makes you think that?”
“The way junior was grilling her.” She jerked her thumb toward the uniformed officer.
“Leave it alone, Catherine,” Kane warned her in a harsh tone.
She placed her hands on her hips. “Because you say so?”
“Because I promise you she won’t get hurt again.” He’d make sure of that.
Catherine narrowed green eyes that reminded him of her sister’s. “Prove yourself and we’ll see.”
Carly Phillips. Simply Sinful (Kindle Locations 779-838). CP Publishing.
Now they have to find the information the assailant was after.
An interesting beginning for this relationship and plenty of intrigue as it turns serious and sizzling.
5 Contented Purrs for Carly!
Click the Cover for Buy Links and More!
Carly Phillips is the N.Y. Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of over 50 sexy contemporary romance novels featuring hot men, strong women and the emotionally compelling stories her readers have come to expect and love.
Carly’s career spans over a decade and a half with various New York publishing houses, and she is now an Indie author who runs her own business and loves every exciting minute of her publishing journey. Carly is happily married to her college sweetheart, the mother of two nearly adult daughters and three crazy dogs (two wheaten terriers and one mutant Havanese) who star on her Facebook Fan Page and website. Carly loves social media and is always around to interact with her readers.