Christy Poff's Recommended Reads
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by Christy Poff
Description: Three amazing Christy Poff novels, all awarded Fallen Angel Reviews' prestigious Recommended Read! 1) A MATTER OF DECEPTION: Seneca Manion had everything he wanted -- especially in the only woman he'd ever loved. They looked forward to their marriage, although they believed they had been married in everything but name. Being taken from his hotel room hours before his wedding told Seneca different. Adrienne Hewitt loved Seneca and no one else. She didn't want the huge wedding but her mother had insisted. She woke the morning of the wedding to learn the love of her life was gone with no explanation, and with a secret. Can a matter of deception keep their love intact or will another man's evil destroy them and those they love? 2) THE SHADOW OF HER SMILE: Cole Dellacourt, a rich gambler to the world, works of an international law enforcement agency. The man he's been after for years, both professionally and personally, is making advances towards Ravenshire, a strategic property on the Scottish coast. Laurell Ravencroft is fighting to hold onto her birthright but the castle proves to be more valuable to Frank Sullivan and his illegal dealings. Cole helps Laurell drive him off when Sullivan is taken care of at a high-profile arms deal but it comes at a high price. Will the shadow of her smile be enough to keep them together or will the sins of the past destroy them? 3) AT CROSS ENDS: Mark Kincaid owes Graham Cross for two years captivity in the hands of Central American terrorists and the loss of his team. He accepts a presidential assignment unaware of his enemy's involvement. Riley Devane becomes an unwilling pawn in a madman's game of revenge against first her father then his enemy. She falls in love with the man sent to rescue her but there happiness is short-lived. How long with they be at cross ends before someone finally stops an international criminal? Three incredible books from Christy Poff, three Recommended Reads from Fallen Angel Reviews, one great low price!
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: June 2010
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [975 KB]
Reading time: 610-854 min.
June 11th, 1999
When the rehearsal dinner broke up, Adrienne Hewitt and her fiance said good night to their guests then took a walk in the courtyard of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Her parents had booked several blocks of rooms for the wedding party, immediate families and the out-of-town guests. Doing this, Maureen Hewitt felt she could make sure everyone would get to the church the next afternoon on time.
"The guys want to go out for a drink," Seneca Manion said, pulling her close.
"So do the girls."
"How about I knock on your door between eleven and twelve?"
"Sounds like a plan," she agreed, "but I want you right now so bad I can't see straight."
"Hold that thought, Blaze," Seneca said, before kissing his wife-to-be.
"I can't wait."
"Nor can I," he said, a hint of an Irish brogue appearing. Seneca had been born in Canada to an English father and an Irish mother. Tall, dark and handsome, he exuded sex though in reality, he was a very down-to-earth guy who didn't understand why women thought him special. I'm me he once told her. Together since childhood, Seneca had eyes for one woman and one only--Adrienne Hewitt.
He gazed into her eyes, his dark ones twinkling with devilment.
"I love you, Blaze," he said. "Remember, you always leave my heart blazing with desire for you."
"I love you, too," she said, smiling. "I wish all this was over and we could be alone together."
"So do I but we must keep the parents happy."
"You know I didn't want all this."
"I know but you'll be the most beautiful bride to ever walk down the aisle and I have the satisfaction of knowing you'll be all mine."
"I'm yours right now."
"And I am your devoted servant."
"Shh, let's get back. We'll go out for one last drink as singles then I will come to you and fuck you bloody senseless."
"Mmm, let's skip the drinks and go straight to the fucking."
"Great idea," he said, turning them around to go back to the dining room to find their friends and family.
"Hey, Seneca, come on!" Padraic yelled before he quickly joined them from across the courtyard.
"I've changed my mind. Adrienne and I have other plans," Seneca said, squeezing her hand.
"You'll have all the time in the world to be together after tomorrow night."
"I know, little brother, and I appreciate the sentiment."
"Aye, if I had a beauty like her agree to marry me, I'd hold onto her, too."
"You'll tell the others?"
"I'll give them a good tale then we'll hoist a few in your honor."
Padraic gave Adrienne a kiss then slapped Seneca on the shoulder. "Never a finer family than us Manions. See you later."
His little brother stood almost as tall as Seneca but had the body of a brawny football player, the complete opposite of his older brother. Padraic left them to meet with the others and when Seneca and Adrienne heard the small group laugh, they knew he'd given them a line of blarney so outrageous, it may have bordered on the truth.
"Now it's my turn."
"Adi, where have you been? The girls are waiting."
"I'm sorry, Ari, but I don't feel up to any more drinking. My head's pounding from the champagne at dinner."
"You're full of it!" Arianna Winterling, one of her bridesmaids accused.
"I am not," Adrienne protested in mock disbelief that her friend could accuse her of such a thing.
Ari laughed and winked. She gave them both kisses then disappeared into the bar.
"That was easy. Now, to sneak upstairs."
"Let's go, Blaze."
Making their way up to Adrienne's room had been easy. Seneca had found the employee stairwell and took her upstairs the back way. He checked the hallway seeing no one. They ran to her door, opened it and went inside, locking it behind them. Seneca couldn't wait, pinning her against the door.
Their kisses deeply passionate, the heat between them intensified. His hands slipped under the hem of her little black dress and shoved it up over her hips. Extremely low-cut, thin ties crisscrossed her chest to hold the ruffled neckline seductively together. Seneca loved this dress because of way the neckline draped off her shoulders and the bottom of it caressed her hips.
He kissed her neck, wanting more.
"I want you naked, Blaze," he groaned.
"Anything, Seneca," she gasped, his mere touch sending her over the edge in a heated frenzy. While he held her tight against the firm flat door, her hands slipped to his belt and the zipper of his pants, quickly undoing both. His groan told her what she needed to know.
"Do it, Seneca, please."
Seneca slipped the shoulders of her dress down the length of her arms baring her breasts to his attentions. He took her nipple in his mouth, suckling it before he did the same to the other. Somehow, she freed her arms from the garment and held his head against her breasts. His hot breath on her skin brought on the first of many tiny orgasms, Adrienne melting.
She snickered while Seneca fought his way out of his boots then his khakis and boxers--silk and sexy. He lifted her up then let her body slide onto his, sheathing him in her moist heat. With deliberate thrusts, he took her to another edge. Her dress bunched at her waist, her breasts brushed against his chest driving them both crazy.
With each thrust deep into her body, she gasped. Her breathing erratic, she felt the climax overwhelm her. She cried out his name, groaning as his pace increased. His release near, he kissed her.
"I'll never get enough of you, Blaze," he told her.
"Light my fire, woman."
He exploded into her, filling her with his essence--the future maybe.
"Seneca, my God..."
"Take what I have, Adrienne."
"Yes!" she screamed. "Yes!"
She wrapped her legs around him seconds before he carried her into the room to her bed. They fell onto it, still joined together. Seneca helped her take the dress off then he removed the rest of his clothes.
Adrienne sat up, her body impaled on his cock. She moved up and down stirring his desire more.
"That's it, Blaze, fuck me," he urged, squeezing her breasts. He filled her again after her body clenched his and took him once more.
"Let's elope, please. We can..."
"I'd love to."
"Please, Seneca," she begged before screaming his name again.
"I don't think your mother will allow it."
She fell to him, spent and happy.
"I know." She pouted. "I love you so damned much."
"I love you, too and I want to be your husband, lover and slave till death us do part. As far as I'm concerned, we're married already."
"I love you, Seneca, and I want to be your wife, lover and slave till death us do part. As far as I'm concerned, we're married already."
Suddenly, he flipped her on her back, lifted her hips and thrust into her again.
"Harder, my husband, please," she begged.
Seneca fell to her, their lips meeting.
"I swear I will love you like this every day for the rest of our lives."
"I promise the same."
"Blaze, I've loved you for so long. Hell, thinking about living without you makes me physically sick."
Seneca and Adrienne met when her father served as a British diplomatic attache to the Canadian government in Ottawa. When he received a reassignment to an office in Connecticut, Adrienne left Seneca with a broken heart. He went to college at the University of Connecticut in Hartford where he studied international law just to be near her.
Adrienne majored in history with an emphasis on nineteenth century America. They shared an apartment off-campus and basically felt they were married already just without the formalities. Their families could not have been happier about their relationship, waiting for the day they'd announce the date they wanted to make everything official and legal.
After graduation, they rented a house in Greenwich and lived together--happier than ever. They went through everything together including a miscarriage. Seneca stayed by Adrienne's side, their love growing more. When his parents visited with Padraic, they told everyone they'd set a date--June 12th, 1999.
Once she heard the news, Maureen Hewitt quickly began making arrangements. As with everything she took on, the affair grew to huge proportions.
"Mother, I don't want big," Adrienne remembered telling her.
"But we must, dear," Maureen stated. "Your father's diplomatic colleagues, the family--on both sides--your friends..."
"We want to do this for the both of you," Maureen assured her.
Adrienne gave up, her mother a very centered woman who always got her way--regardless. She knew all the right things to do and say--an elegant British woman. Lady Maureen Hewitt lived up to her title and position in society--even in the United States where her husband had worked for years with the British Ambassador.
Lord John Hewitt exemplified the British lord. He reminded Adrienne of Patrick Macnee's role in The Avengers--always the perfect gentleman. Adrienne loved her parents and Seneca's family, especially his brother Padraic--a huge relief everyone got along.
Now, the wedding would take place in a candlelight ceremony and they'd be happily married--in every sense of the word.
"Where are you?" Seneca asked.
"Just thinking about how gloriously happy I am."
"Me, too," he agreed.
She looked at the clock and groaned.
"You'd better get back to your room before she starts looking for you. Remember, you're not supposed to be here or see me before the wedding."
"I don't want to leave you."
"You know Mother--she'll get upset and start..."
"I know, don't remind me."
They laughed. Seneca lazily kissed her breast while he slid his fingers into her wet heat. Moments later, he had her on the edge, exactly where she wanted to be.
"Tell me what to do, Blaze."
He groaned once she whispered what she wanted in his ear.
"Anything," he said.
A while later, Seneca got up to leave. He dressed, his shirt unbuttoned and exposing his gorgeous physique. She walked him to the door, a short robe barely covering her sexy body.
"I'm glad I'm the only one who sees you like this."
"I'm glad no other woman catches your attention."
Seneca pulled a small box from his pocket, opened it and pulled out a diamond necklace--three diamonds in a row--his love for her eternal.
"Adrienne, I take thee to be my lawfully wedded wife, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, to honor and love even more until death us do part."
"Seneca, I take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, to honor and love even more until death us do part."
"I cannot imagine my life without you, Blaze. I will go to the ends of the earth to keep you safe. I never want to be separated from you--ever!" he told her while he clasped the necklace on her.
"I feel the same. I always have."
"I hate the lonely feeling and being physically sick when we're apart for an extended time."
"Seneca, I love you so damned much."
"I love you," he said, before taking her in his arms and kissing her.
"Mmm," she moaned softly.
"Close the door and lock it for the last time."
Adrienne nodded, closing the door between them and locking it, both knowing it would be the only way they'd ever end their evening of ecstatic bliss.
"I love you, Seneca."
"I love you, too, Blaze," he said before going down the hall to the elevator and returning to his room.
Seneca Manion slid the keycard into the slot before opening the door to his hotel room. He went in, locking the door behind him and hating the two floors separating him from Adrienne. He figured Maureen needed at least a little bit of the proprieties before she and John gave him their daughter. It bothered him some because they'd been together for so long though he understood considering the stuffiness of some of the members of the diplomatic corps. Hell, we're almost into the new century...
He poured a drink and downed it before stripping out of his clothes and taking a shower. He enjoyed the heat on his aching body though it did not even begin to relieve his ache for Adrienne. His cock throbbed wanting her more. After drying off, he slipped his long legs into pajama pants then stretched out, falling asleep and getting some much needed rest before Padraic woke him for breakfast with his groomsmen and their parents.
Several hours later, he heard a loud bang. Looking at the clock radio beside the bed, he saw it was almost half an hour until dawn. He turned to stretch out again, looking down the barrel of an Uzi.
"What the hell..." he asked when one of the black-clad masked men stepped onto the bed, his booted feet on either side of Seneca's legs.
"Shut up!" a voice ordered.
Seneca's mind raced, unable to comprehend what was happening. His heart pounding, he tried to dislodge the man standing over him.
"Don't move!" the same voice ordered.
"Shut up!" the man repeated, stepping to the center of the bed. Two others quickly pressed a piece of tape over Seneca's mouth then tightly bound his hands and feet. Seneca struggled to free himself, angering one of the two men who'd bound him. Grabbing him by the hair, the man yanked Seneca to his knees on the bed forcing him to look at the man giving the orders.
"Because you have to make this hard on yourself..." he started right before he took the gun to Seneca's face. The others pulled him back to a kneeling position, Seneca glaring at them.
"Blindfold," the armed man ordered.
Seneca tried to move overpowered by the stronger men. They dragged him to the center of the floor, forcing him to kneel again.
My God, they plan to execute me!
His mind raced, his heart pounded--Seneca Manion desperately trying to learn why this occurred. Several moments later, it didn't matter.
He heard the sound of a wheeled cart being pushed into the room and across the floor then the sound of it falling onto its side. A quick cool breeze gave him some idea of what would happen next. He took a hard hit to his side then felt the two men rolling him into the cart. A quick sting to his upper arm then the feel of sheets being thrown on top of him told him the hard truth--for some reason he couldn't fathom, someone had paid to have him kidnapped. Why? Why on the eve of my wedding? Oh, my God--Blaze!
Padraic Manion may have been the younger brother but he inherited the stockiness of his mother's Irish-Canadian roots. A tiny bit shorter than Seneca, he had a hard body from constantly working out and playing soccer every chance he could. He spoke with a hint of the Irish of his maternal forefathers while his brother spoke with the elegance of their British father unless his temper flared.
Their differences aside, he and Seneca were very close--closer than most siblings. In fact, even gorgeous Adrienne couldn't get past their unique bond, a relief to both men. The day a woman comes between us...
Padraic could dish out the blarney as well as any Irishman but when it came to his future sister-in-law, he held back loving the woman Seneca had loved for a good part of his life. He looked forward to standing for his brother at their wedding--both unique people.
Around eight on the morning of the ceremony, he left his room to go down the hall to where Seneca had been staying. Because of the deep doorjambs to all the rooms and the fact Padraic had to go to the very last door on the floor, he didn't notice until too late that someone had broken into Seneca's room. He cautiously entered the room, wishing he had a weapon while realizing he more than likely didn't need one.
"Sen, it's Paddy, are you all right?" he asked, cautiously entering the room. While making his way down the small entry hall, he pulled out his cell phone and called both hotel security and the police then his father.
"Da, I need to see you in Seneca's room. Something's happened but don't say a word to Ma until we know more."
Three men in workmen's overalls wheeled several laundry carts out of the hotel to a waiting white van. Only one cart went into the van, the others no longer needed. They drove away, the driver making sure not to arouse any undue suspicion. Once on the open highway, they drove to Boston and the docks.
The driver headed directly to the last warehouse on Pier 35. Once inside the building, they unloaded the cart, took out their cargo and set to the job of preparing it to be shipped.
Stretching their captive out in a long box, one slipped an oxygen mask on him while the other started an IV with sedatives in order to keep him unconscious for an extended period of time.
"Call the boss and inform him everything went according to his plan."
The other man nodded, pulling out his cell phone. After a very short precise conversation, he ended the call.
"He said to continue."
The other man nodded and picked up a long piece of wood. Placing it on the box, he nailed it in place before attaching several decals in different languages warning of the extremely fragile contents and the need for the box to sit by itself. The paperwork detailing the shipping instructions checked and signed, he placed the clipboard on the box and called the others to help move it to where it would be loaded onto a ship bound for the Ivory Coast.
Once the box had been placed in a back corner of the cargo hold, the man again made a phone call and received instructions to keep an eye on the contents and make sure the oxygen and IV did not run out over the course of the voyage. Two men went with it in order to work in shifts, the third taking care of the van and the building.
Twelve hours after the ship sailed, the warehouse mysteriously exploded taking the van and every bit of evidence with it. Investigators would have nothing to work with considering the extreme heat of the fire and the complete obliteration the blast caused.
When the container ship finally reached the port of San Pedro, several men joined the two onboard. They offloaded the box, placing it on another smaller ship for the last leg of its trip. Several hours later, the boat docked at a small pier on the Ile de Liberte, an ironically named French penal colony.
They removed their captive from the box, placing him in a chair in the center of a huge room lit by one lone light bulb. Securing him to the chair bolted into the floor, they left and locked the door behind them.
"Your delivery has been made and will be coming out of the sedatives in a short while. Your warden is ready to complete his part of the plan."
Once outside the building, the two men who had accompanied the box from Boston met with several guards who showed them to their quarters. Several moments later, shots rang out--the guards returned, the men did not.
The warden--Colonel Etienne Lesarde--sat in his chair and smiled. Up to now, everything had gone according to plans laid out by a mysterious benefactor. With a healthy balance in a Swiss bank account waiting for him when he retired, he could virtually do anything he wanted with the new prisoner and get away with it. On the island, the colonel personified law--his law.
Dealing with Michael Barnes, a convicted murderer or so his records would show, would be a pleasure--just like the other man who'd arrived in much the same way the year before. He poured a brandy, sat back and enjoyed it. In a few hours, his newest inmate would begin to learn what life on the island held for him. Life is good.
Vincent Sonsalla needed an in. He'd watched the diplomatic scene for years, targeting the right women--the ones whose connections would get him somewhere and give him the most advantages. Needing to remain aboveboard on the face of things meant finding the perfect wife.
He'd met with and had relationships with several women--one going so far as marriage. She'd given him the diplomatic immunity he sought plus a social status and money, Vincent enjoying all the advantages of the union. She died in a mysterious boating accident two years after their wedding. The autopsy stated the explosion as the cause of death though Vincent knew the truth--Hillary found out exactly what kind of a monster she'd married and confronted him. She threatened to go to the authorities, Vincent taking care of the problem she posed. Within days of her funeral, the outwardly grieving husband covertly began looking for another wife.
He took his time, milking his status as widower as far as he could and needing everything to be right. In the meantime, he went on with his shadowy arms deals, life perfect as long as he remained cautious.
While going through numerous society engagements from around the country, he found the perfect target--his next wife. Her parents were diplomats from Britain and she had a quiet elegance--exactly what he wanted. The only problem--getting rid of her fiance. But how hard could it be to get rid of a hard-headed Irish-Canadian? Using the date of their nuptials as his guide, he made plans--take out fiance, observe appropriate period of mourning then step in and sweep her and her family off their feet. A patient man, he had time--several years, in fact--though he wouldn't let things get out of hand.
He gathered reports on a daily basis regarding her and those close to her along with information on tensions in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and anywhere he could be of help. He didn't care who he brokered deals with as long as he made money. Besides, he never used the same name more than once when dealing and because he hadn't, he had not been caught.
Colonel Etienne Lesarde had been banished by the French government to the Ile de Liberte, or so he told anyone who'd listen to his story. He'd been assigned the wardenship of the island, an outpost located south of the Ivory Coast and, in the process lost his family when his wife took their young children, left him and divorced him. In turn, he took his misfortunes out on the prisoners.
He'd also found a lucrative side business taking in--as prisoners--people other high-paying clients wanted out of their lives. One man in particular kept his prison full. One prisoner who'd been his guest for several years came to the island compound because his employer didn't like having an Asian outdo him. He couldn't kill his nemesis but making him permanently disappear worked. Monsieur Carrera languished in his island home all but forgotten by the rest of the world.
He had a new guest arriving at any time, his prison ready. Mister X wanted the man out of his way in order to pursue his own interests. He didn't care how the prisoner spent his time in confinement or how long he lasted so long as Michael Barnes never left the island alive. Lesarde didn't care--his bank account healthy and his retirement secure.
"Colonel, the new inmate has arrived."
"Get him dressed and take him to interrogation."
Lesarde smiled to himself. If Mister X sent him more unwanteds, he'd ask no questions while looking forward to a rich life after he finally left the godforsaken hell he'd been sentenced to. He planned to find his ex-wife and teach her a lesson though he knew he couldn't send her to his island paradise. What a shame...
The new arrival brought the total paid for to twelve. Of them, three lay buried in unmarked graves, the last one who'd come the year before but still gave them trouble, one went crazy and now the latest. As deplorable as his position in life had become, Lesarde made the best of his situation while he thought the profits helped make it easier to handle.