Sexual Deceptions [Book 2]
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by Brenda Williamson, Rayne Forrest
Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Science Fiction
Description: In the year 2169 The fiery gaze of a total stranger fuels Rae Browning's overactive imagination. But when the drop-dead gorgeous man breaks into her apartment, Rae stops longing for excitement and adventure. Thaddeus Julius Light is a spy in the deep cold, his cover compromised, his life in danger. Rae Browning holds the key to what's going on and she doesn't even know it. Retrieving the data chip from Rae is easy, keeping her safe might not be. "Undercover Lovers" Government spy, Jenova Moorling is working undercover investigating a worldwide white slavery operation, but the process is daunting. There's no time for love. But when she kisses a man to maintain her undercover status, she suddenly decides all work and no play is a big problem. Derex Compton is in the right place at the right time. He has to tail Jenova and make sure she's doing an efficient job, but when she ends up a captive on a BDSM cruise ship, can Derex save her from men that enjoy torturing women to death?
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: April 2009
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [211 KB]
Reading time: 122-172 min.
TO BED A SPY
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The city sweltered in the August heat. Shady Central Park shook under the ominous rumbling of approaching thunder. Just freakin' great.
Rae Browning tossed the remnants of her bagged lunch in the trash and turned a dubious weather eye skyward. Dark clouds gathered to the southwest.
She wanted to walk across the original historic Brooklyn Bridge on her way home and enjoy her free afternoon. Now she'd have to take the subway home. God, she hated the claustrophobic aura of the underground subway in the summer. No sky, no breeze, just stale air, stagnant with the smell of sweat and illegal drugs.
Better to walk as far as possible, resorting to the rails if and when the rain actually fell. Not that she feared getting wet. They'd declared the rain safe again, insisting the huge skysweeping equipment developed in 2095 did its job cleaning toxins from the air. Rain no longer became polluted as it fell to earth.
Lightning streaked across the sky, followed by the sharp crack of thunder. Rae slung her tote bag over her shoulder and ran for the nearest subway portal. It didn't matter to her if she got wet, but being fried by bolts of electricity from above, was quite another. The humidity soared in an instant as large raindrops splattered on the sidewalk. Rae ran down the steps and into the subway station with scant seconds to spare before the heavens opened in a downpour.
Jostling with several dozen others to get though the gate, she managed to slap her palm on the keypad before a large, well-built man deliberately shoved her on through.
"Hey, buddy! If that didn't read, I'll get a hobo rider fine!"
"Sorry, miss," he mumbled, keeping his head down and his face turned away from her.
"Sure you are." Rae stalked away, intent on getting to the portal security to make sure she'd been scanned in properly. He followed her, that is, until he seemed to realize her destination.
"Good riddance," she muttered to herself as she approached the security station.
The attendant rescanned her palm print and assured her the record showed her as a legal rider. She thanked the officer and turned in time to see her train pull away without her. It didn't matter too much. She plopped down on the nearest bench to wait for the next one. In just a few minutes, the rumble of the approaching train vibrated the bench beneath her.
Rae stood to adjust her tote, never quite managing to get it up on her shoulder again as a stranger bumped into her. She staggered and he grabbed her, spinning her around. Shock coursed through her, fast on the heels of the realization it was the same man who'd knocked her through the gate. Like any good twelfth-generation New Yorker, she swung her tote and smacked him with it.
"Get away from me, you annoying perv! You're lucky I didn't get fined!"
The man released her with one hand and reached into his pocket. He held out a red credit--a fifty--the amount of the hobo rider fine.
"Again, my apologies." His smooth, mocking voice made the hair on the back of her neck rise.
Rae looked up at him. Cold, black eyes examined her. A scar across his right cheekbone gave him a sinister appearance. She shook her head.
"I don't want your credits. I want you to never bother me again."
"Not to worry, pretty lady. You've been most accommodating." He tipped his hat and walked away, blending into the crush of people exiting the train.
Accommodating? What did he mean by that? Maybe he liked getting hit with tote bags. It didn't matter. Rae watched him go through the turnstile and disappear up the stairs. He was gone this time and she had better get in the rail car before it left without her again.
As she turned to enter the nearest car, a lone figure moved in the shadows on the edge of her vision. Suddenly wary, she stared at the man. Whoever he was, he didn't belong beyond the security barrier, back where only rail workers were allowed. His long, black duster was more evidence he wasn't where he belonged.
He stood tall enough to be very noticeable in a crowd, maybe six three or six four, and lean. His golden blond hair hung silky and straight down his back to between his shoulder blades. Angry, deep-set blue eyes blazed out of the pale stillness of his face. She paused, one foot on the threshold of the car.
He moved suddenly, springing over the barrier with the grace of some great cat, crossed the distance to the car, and headed straight for her in long, purposeful strides. Rae's heart leaped into her throat.
She darted into the subway car and raced out the other side just as he entered the car. Rae timed it perfectly, and the doors closed between them. His angry gaze locked with hers, his lips pressed tightly together in a thin, tight line. Rae took a step back as the train lurched forward. He slammed his palm against the window.
To her enormous surprise, he smiled ruefully showing even, white teeth that had surely cost him a lot to get so perfect, and nodded to her as the train pulled away with him in it.
Rae bolted up the portal steps and ran out of the station. She kept running through the rain until she made it to her apartment, and safety, vowing to avoid the subway for at least a week. The people in the city grew weirder with every passing week. Thank the heavens she stayed in good condition or that run would have given her a heart attack.
She dropped her tote bag on the dining room table and tipped it over, dumping the contents. Cleaning it out was a daily ritual, made necessary by the bad habit of throwing everything from receipts to change to small purchases in it without any organization. Who had time for all that during the day? For sure, not her.
Tea. She needed some hot tea. She dripped water from her wild dash through the rain and the air conditioning chilled her. Well, that and the whole weird experience at the subway. What the heck was that all about, anyway? She plopped the teabag in hot water and let it sit on the counter to brew while she got into some dry clothes.
Finally more comfortable, Rae carried her tea to the table to reorganize her bag. She gave the tote a final shake and the red chip fell out. Damn him! She told him she didn't want that. Well, she had it and she couldn't afford to throw it in the trash. Picking it up to put in her wallet she realized it wasn't a credit chip, but some sort of glass coin, valuable simply because of what it was. She'd not seen a real, honest-to-goodness coin since she'd been a little girl, twenty-five years ago, and never a red one.
Why in the world had he dropped that in her tote?
Unless it was stolen.
Unless it was a forgery.
Unless it wasn't a coin but a tracking device.
"Stop it right now, Browning!" she told herself aloud. This wasn't a digiflick come to life and she wasn't a fearless super sleuth out to save the world from evil. She'd do the sensible thing and look it up on the infoNet. If it were stolen, she'd turn it into the authorities. Simple.
A new little voice whispered to her that nothing about the whole caper was simple. She closed her eyes and wished it away.
True, her fantasy life beat her real life, hands down and going away, but this was just too weird for even her imagination.
Ninety minutes later, she wasn't so sure about that. Her infoNet search turned up nothing. Zero. Zippo. Rae wasn't about to give up, though. Sooner or later, she'd figure it out. She dropped the coin into her jewelry box for safekeeping and willed herself to forget about it, and the incident at the subway.
She had a new murder mystery novel to read and everything else could wait.
* * * *
"I did not fuck it up! I couldn't take the shot! That girl was in the way!" The man known as Thaddeus Julius Light slammed his palms down on the teakwood tabletop. "I will not kill innocent bystanders to complete an elimination. I fucking do know what's at stake and I don't want to hear about it again!"
Commander Horatio Howe rose, going nose-to-nose with him, speaking with his well-known coolness.
"Obviously, you don't understand what's at stake, TJ. Engstrom must be stopped at all costs!"
"I refuse to believe we're at the point where it would be justified to kill an innocent woman, Howie. Engstrom knows we're on to him. He can't deliver his package with us so close."
Some of Howe's legendary calm slipped. "We fucking lost him, Thaddeus! You let some pretty piece of ass get in the way of doing your job!" He jabbed a pointed finger in the middle of TJ's chest. "Engstrom could be anywhere in the fucking city now, and that's your fault."
TJ took a deep breath and counted to ten. He understood the seriousness of his situation. The Company had a lot of man-hours and resources invested in stopping Engstrom from delivering the key to the highest bidder. And TJ knew the bid had been received and accepted.
He'd spent five years working his way to the inner circle of the cartel working to seize the World Bank. Engstrom had a data chip containing the codes to lock the World Bank out of its own computer system.
If all had gone according to plan, TJ would have carried out the elimination of Engstrom, retrieved the data chip, called for clean up, and vanished into another pre-arranged identity. Instead, pretty little Rae Browning had gotten in the way. TJ's com unit beeped. He didn't waste time on the pointless social amenities. He only knew his caller by his code name of Absinthe, and even that wasn't ever said on com equipment.
"You got him?"
"Yep. Right where he should be. He's too fucking easy, man."
An icy hand clenched the back of TJ's neck, one he knew well, one that woke him at night sometimes. "How easy?"
"He's kicked back in his rocking chair watching a digiflick and sipping cognac. What do you want me to do?"
"I'll get back to you." TJ snapped his unit closed, ending the call. No way would Engstrom just go home and settle in for the night.
Not unless he'd passed the data chip right under their noses.
Fucking hell. That's exactly what he'd done. He'd passed it to Browning, but how did she fit in? TJ ran her through intel and she was a virtual nobody. She wasn't involved. He'd stake his life on it. He had, in fact, already done so.
Rae Browning. Thirty-one on her last birthday. Of Scottish and German descent. Her family had lived in New York City since 2006 C.E. Paternal great-grandfather had been high up in city politics and left a little nest egg for the family, tightly controlled. Not enough for family members to retire on, but enough to help out with purchasing starter living arrangements. Rae occupied a small apartment in a quiet Brooklyn neighborhood paid for by the family holding company, classy but not extravagant by any stretch of the imagination. She worked as a secretary in a mid-level publishing company. No brushes with the law. No ex-husbands. A life so ordinary, so pleasant, it made TJ ache to have a little of it, only it could never be that way for him.
"What is it?" Howe demanded. TJ snapped back to the here and now. He couldn't let Howe know he'd already checked out Browning.
He would not be the one to inform his commander just how expendable Browning actually might be.
"Engstrom went home like he wasn't out and about doing dirty deeds today. We've got an agent watching him." Actually, Absinthe didn't work for the Company, but Howe didn't need to know everything.
Besides, at least two legitimate Company operatives shadowed Engstrom that Howe hadn't informed TJ of. TJ had discovered them on his own. The hair on the back of TJ's neck rose as his survival sense kicked in.
"I'm outta here, Howie. I need to get food, a shower, and some different clothes."
"Fine, fine. Get some rest, too. I can't afford to have you played out. If Engstrom makes a move, you'll be contacted."
"Thanks, man. I'll do that." TJ clapped Howe on the shoulder and walked tiredly from the room, shuffling his way down the long hall for show. Cameras were everywhere in the underground faculty that housed the Company headquarters in Manhattan.
He'd forfeited his life by missing Engstrom. Howe wasn't going to let it pass. One carefully placed phone call and the cartel would know the name of the agent in their midst, all done without Howe's hands getting dirty.
TJ was in deep trouble, no doubt about it. Good thing he had a few secrets of his own.
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