Sapphire Blue [G.E.M.S. Book 1]
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by Kayla Janz
Description: Everyone has skeletons in their closet. Sapphire Blue has thirty-three. Should have been thirty-four but one shot missed... Sapphire, ex-hit woman, now security specialist for the G.E.M.S. (Gorgeous-Elite-Missions-Security) Agency, leads an ironic life full of danger by working in shadows. Instead of killing, she does everything to make sure her marks live. Blue's latest assignment: Keep Nathan Graves alive for the next seventy-two hours. Tough to do when the man makes the blood in her veins boil with a passion she'd buried long ago. On an arrogant whim, Nathan Graves left WITSEC thinking he was safe from the mob boss who wanted him dead. He thought wrong. Now he's on the run with a secret agent who looks more like a supermodel. With friends close and enemies closer, Blue struggles to keep her head and her heart where they belong?on the job instead of wrapped in Nathan's arms.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: January 2011
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [264 KB]
Reading time: 168-235 min.
"Get ready to dodge bullets, bombs and psychotic killers with Sam and Nathan as they go on the run in Sapphire Blue. It's hard to decide who is bad and good in Sapphire Blue. There are a wide range of characters with unique personalities in this novel? I really liked the premise of this novel and there were several really cool plot twists that I enjoyed?"
Miranda, Joyfully Reviewed
Sam had to keep an eye on her mark. Not an easy task in the crowded bar. Nathan Graves disappeared from her sight more often than she liked. She had been given a directive and she'd give her life to see that order completed.
Across the glitzy dance floor with the strobe lights flashing in tempo to the techno-rave music she could see the handsome man she was supposed to kidnap before the night was over.
Samantha "Sapphire Blue" Jones flipped her long, black hair out of her face. The spandex tank top and skintight jeans she wore left little room to hide weapons. The weight of her pistol tucked into her right knee-high black boot, and the steel blade in her left, gave little comfort. Very little. The bar crawled with security, uniformed and plain-clothed.
The directive rang in her ears. Kidnap and protect Nathan Graves. Why did Diamond want this guy protected? As an agent for the G.E.M.S. agency, Sam didn't question her boss--no one questioned Diamond. Everything stayed on a need-to-know basis, and apparently Sam didn't need to know. But that didn't stop her from wondering just the same.
A sweaty sausage-fingered hand clamped down on her left shoulder. Sam spun on reflex and surprised to see a familiar face, stopped short of ramming her fist into the big man's nose. "Bear? You know better than to sneak up on me like that." She grabbed the giant of a man in a hug as he lifted her off the ground to return the gesture. "Is that a gun in your pocket, or you happy to see me, big boy?"
His hearty laughter boomed and could be heard over the ear-splitting music. "Nobody fills out a pair of jeans like The Lady Blue. Heard you was dead. What you doin' in town, girl?"
Sam craned her neck to keep an eye on Nathan before she returned her attention to Bear. The gigantic man followed the direction of her gaze but didn't say anything. Sam noted the slight arch of one dark eyebrow as he waited for her response. "I'm here to see a friend."
The six-foot-six block wall of man with a shaved head, dark brown goatee and chocolate-brown eyes shook his head with so much force his gauged earlobes swung in tempo. "You don't have any friends, Blue. Who's the mark?"
She frowned, knowing she'd end up with permanent wrinkles in her forehead by the time she hit forty, and feigned resentment. "You're here and you're my friend, aren't you, Bear?"
The black leather vest stretched tight across his massive chest as he crossed his arms and glared down at her. Muscles on top of muscles bulged from the guy's neck down. If she hadn't known him for years and didn't know him as well as she did, Sam would have been intimidated.
"Cut the crap, Bear. What gives? You bouncin' for club owners now?"
"Yeah, I do--and I don't want trouble from you, missy. Trouble gets dealt with in the alley. You don't wanna go in the alley, Blue."
She patted the burly chest and felt the shoulder strap under his vest. Armed with two pistols not to mention his sheer strength alone, Sam knew better than to tangle with the giant. "I promise, Bear. No trouble for you. I'll be on my best behavior."
She turned to glance at Nathan again across the dance floor still seated in the booth with a group of men. She flashed the big bouncer her best smile. "Trust me."
Bear snorted and gave a half-smile, showing a gold canine as sharp as a fang. "Last time I trusted you and fell for that smile I spent a month nursing broken ribs in New Orleans."
Sam laughed and patted the solid chest again. "Ah, the good old bad days. I'm straight now, Bear. Honest. But I do need to ask you one favor, for old time's sake."
The big man rolled his eyes skyward but still had that askew smile on his face. "You owe me, not the other way around, sweetheart."
Samantha pondered this for a moment and toyed with the blue sapphire pendant around her neck. "That's probably true, but I really could use a diversion in about five minutes." She scanned the interior of the bar and guesstimated the time it would take her to get Nathan out through the kitchen before any of his companions noticed he was gone. "It only needs to be for a short period of time--say a minute, two at the max?" She could read the hesitation in his eyes.
"I've cleaned up, Blue, put that part of my life behind me. Kane, the owner of this place, he treats me real good here. Trusts me to keep the peace."
"And that's exactly what I want to do. I'm legit, Bear. The diversion'll ensure the peace is kept." She shook her head and held up her right hand. "I swear, if it doesn't go down exactly like I just told you I'll come forward and take full responsibility. You know me, Bear. I don't lie."
She knew the moment he caved.
His dark brown eyes softened and the gold fang disappeared back behind lips surrounded by the bushy moustache. "Michael closed the ticket on your head. Word on the street is you're dead. If I was you, I'd stay that way." He gave an affirmative nod. "In five minutes the lights will go out. You got ninety seconds. That's it, no more."
Sam nodded and lowered her gaze as an emotion she hadn't experienced in years threatened to close off her throat. She choked it back and stared him in the face. "I owe you one, Bear."
"No, honey, you owe me two. And one day I'll come to collect. You better move, the resident cougar of the Emerald Cactus is about to take a bite out of your mark."
Samantha spun around in time to see a busty platinum blonde way-past-her-prime-but-refused-to-admit-it drape over Nathan Graves. Sam groaned, Diamond's directive droned in her mind. Nathan Graves collected and stashed safely for seventy-two hours. No matter what or how.
"I gotta go. Thanks, Bear. Can we move that timeframe up to three minutes? I just had a brilliant idea and I won't have to hurt your huntress in the process. By the way, there's a silver PT Cruiser in the parking lot rigged to blow. You might want to call the cops. And before you ask, it wasn't me." She flashed him another bright smile. "It really is good to see you again, Bear."
He slid a business card with a phone number printed on one side, nothing else. "Keep this in case trouble comes a-callin'." The big man nodded and again the gold fang flashed in the strobe light. "Always good to see The Lady Blue alive and sexy as ever."
Sam winked, slid the card in her back pocket and made her way across the crowded dance floor, bobbing and weaving to avoid the gyrating bodies to the techno ear-splitting music.
The Lady Blue. She hadn't been called that name in years, nor had she missed it. The Lady Blue died. Sapphire Blue had been reborn in her place.
No time to dwell on the past, she had to deal with the present. She hung out at the edge of the dance floor copying the jerky movements to blend in. A glance at her watch confirmed her thoughts. Two minutes remained.
The blonde woman Bear had aptly named cougar appeared to have tentacles instead of arms. Sam almost laughed as Nathan tried to get out of her clutches. Hang in there, Mr. Graves. I'll have you out of here in...one minute, thirty seconds.
Sam stomped over to the booth and glared at Nathan. "So this is why you stood me up?"
The blonde let go of Nathan and every pair of eyes at the table including his stared at her. "Who the hell are you?" the blonde slurred.
"Who am I? Who are you and why are you wrapped around my fiance like a flippin' cloak?" Sam gave a hard look in Nathan's direction. She prayed he'd play along with her game and follow her lead. "Come on, Nathan, I'm willing to forget this whole thing if you come with me now."
"I'm...I'm sorry, honey. I forgot we had plans tonight." He peeled the blonde off him and started to rise from the booth. His companions guffawed and made snide comments as he stood beside her.
The blonde cougar wasn't so easily discouraged. "He promised to buy me a drink. I don't care if he's engaged or married with five kids, nobody walks away from Daisy."
Sam couldn't take her gaze off the hot pink lips or bouffant styled platinum-blonde hair. "Find another boy-toy, Daisy," she growled low enough for only the woman to hear. "This one's mine."
Daisy opened her bright pink lips to argue when the entire bar went black. Screams erupted from everywhere.
Sam shoved the woman backward and toppled her into the booth. She then grabbed Nathan's hand and dashed for the kitchen. "Follow me. I'm saving your ass." She only had seventy-five seconds left until the lights came back on.
Nathan followed without a word. His hand felt warm and strong in hers. Not at all soft, just enough calluses to make them perfect.
A shudder ran down her spine. Where did that thought come from?
Down the dark hall, through the kitchen, Samantha focused on guiding him out the back door and into the alley. They breached the door and continued to run to the end of the alley where she'd parked her car earlier. She pulled the keys from her pocket and deactivated the alarm. "Get in. I'll explain later."
Nathan stopped in his tracks and tried to pull his hand from her grip. "Look, lady, I thank you for saving me from the eight-armed creature from the blonde lagoon, but I'm not going anywhere with you." He managed to shrug loose of her grip and turned to walk away.
Samantha pounced. She jumped on his back and wrapped an arm around his neck. Using her other arm, she effectively cut off the blood supply to his brain. Thanks to her brothers, the sleeper hold was a technique she'd mastered years ago. Nathan crumpled to the ground before he'd managed to take two steps.
With a grunt she managed to half-drag, half-carry the unconscious man to her car and get him inside just as the neon light flickered to life over the back door of the Emerald Cactus. She pulled two nylon tuff cuffs from her rucksack and secured his hands behind his back then bound his ankles. The soft click of the door latch as she closed him in broke the silence of the night. Sam scanned the semidark alley. No one gave chase. The tension in her shoulders eased ever so slightly. Now to hide the man for the next three days.
Michael Armstrong sat behind the opulent desk in his home office. The leather of his chair squeaked underneath him as he listened to the soothing sounds of the New York Philharmonic Symphony piped into the room from hidden speakers. He rolled a cigar between his index finger and thumb, staring blindly at the smoke as it curled toward the ceiling. A satisfied smile turned the corner of his mouth upward.
After three long years, the little bastard popped up on radar. Anticipation roared through his veins as he gripped the arm of his chair until his knuckles went white. Millions of dollars, his dollars, were within his grasp. Joey and Slick would call in soon with their update. He snorted, leaned back in the leather desk chair and propped his feet on the glass-topped surface. The idea of torturing Kyle before he personally killed him warmed his belly.
Glendale, Arizona. Who's ever even heard of the place? And why would someone choose to live there? To hide from me...that's why.
The silver Blackberry vibrated across his desk. Michael grabbed for the phone. A text message from Joey appeared on the screen:
Woman beat us to the drop. Kyle got away. Ever see her before?
Michael opened the picture attachment and the blood rushed from his head so fast he became dizzy. "Not possible! Not fucking possible!" he roared. His voice echoed off the oak-paneled walls of his den. He threw the phone down and paced the thick Persian rug. Mind reeling, Michael glanced at the picture again, his heart pounding loud and hard against his ribs. "How many fucking times do I have to kill you, Samantha?"
He stabbed buttons on the phone and growled his impatience when the line didn't get answered on the first ring.
"Hello, handsome," a sultry voice finally answered.
Michael hardened at the sound of her purr. Visions of her pointed pink tongue darting out between blood-red lips as she went down on him made him throb.
"Where are you?" He coughed to clear the rasp from his voice.
"Entertaining." She giggled and then moaned in obvious sexual pleasure.
The tent in his trousers became more prominent as his stiff member painfully reminded him of what he craved. "I received a picture of the female agent who grabbed him. I want her dead."
"Resourceful little wench. Your boys were supposed to get there first. Don't worry, I have everything under control. I have a big surprise planned for her tonight." She gasped and Michael heard very distinct grunting noises and multiple moans through the receiver. He suffered a moment of jealousy at the obvious orgy on the other end of the line and licked his dry lips.
He stroked himself through his slacks to alleviate some of the pressure but only managed to make matters worse. He needed release. "You're sure?"
"You doubt me? After everything I've done for you?" Her pout held a hint of menace.
His shoulders relaxed a little and a chuckle rolled up from deep in his chest. "No, baby. Want you, but never doubt you."
She giggled again. "You hard now?"
"Oh God, yes," he groaned.
She sighed. "Think of me while you...take matters into your own hands."
The line went dead. Michael snubbed the cigar out in the crystal ashtray with shaking hands. Take care of matters with my own hands? Not happening.
The little tease ran around the world and had sex with whomever whenever she pleased. Michael Armstrong didn't play games. He rubbed himself through his pants again. She'd have to be taught a lesson, a slow and painful one. The thought made him smile and throb even more. The next time he saw her he'd take her so hard she wouldn't walk straight for a week.
Michael stroked his groin one more time, his thoughts a thousand miles away with the sexy little siren who'd been on the other end of the phone. He tossed the phone in his desk drawer and ventured upstairs to his vanilla-sex-missionary-position wife. Not his first choice, but she'd do for tonight.