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by Honey Jans
Category: Erotica EPIC eBook Award Finalist
Description: FBI agent Donovan Steel is posing as the owner of Dominion, a BDSM club, to catch a serial killer. He's frustrated, horny, and striking out when a spicy bit of fresh air walks into the club. Amanda Powel, a tabloid reporter in disguise, causes a scene that attracts every red-blooded male in the club. Amanda, hoping to write a breakout story to get back into legitimate reporting, has made several unsuccessful forays into the sex club. The real Dom's are all leery of her and the wanna-be's just keep pissing her off. When a masterful hunk stalks her way, claiming her, she believes her luck is finally changing. Donavan decides to give Amanda a taste of BDSM to divert her and winds up hooked. Soon, they're both in too deep. Through clouds of suspicion and lust, they must learn to trust each other to solve the case.
eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, 2009
eBookwise Release Date: November 2009
58 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [225 KB]
Reading time: 139-195 min.
"Rescuing Amanda was a good book. I like how both Donovan and Amanda have past relationships that hurt them, giving them an air of vulnerability toward each other. I also like how feisty she was toward him and his domineering ways. Honey Jans definitely knows how to write some very steamy sex scenes." Danielle, Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
4 Cherries! "Rescuing Amanda is a fast paced and enjoyable read that has humor, great sex, and protagonists you'll love. Donovan is both infuriating and gorgeous, and Amanda is as saucy as she is sweet. When they banter back and forth you'll want to laugh, and when they get down and dirty you'll want to thank them. The element of suspense will keep you guessing and the tightly written material will snare your attention. A wonderful read that I enjoyed, I recommend Rescuing Amanda." Reviewed by Fern, Whipped Cream Reviews
"Fortunately, Ms. Jan's writing ability extends to Amanda too: her personality is definitely on the fun and friendly side. Are Amanda and Donavan the ideal couple? Based on the mishaps that seem designed to keep them apart, maybe not, or maybe they just need to figure things out for themselves. They certainly seem to have a lot of chemistry together. Rescuing Amanda is a cute and funny book, with great dialogue and irrepressible characters and entertaining scenes. I enjoyed the antics and interplay between Amanda and Donavan, and Amanda and just about everyone else, and I believe others will enjoy it too." Mickey, You Gotta Read Reviews
FBI Special Agent Donovan Steel sat at the end of the bar, covertly surveying the scene, waiting for all hell to break loose. All around him the party raged. Dom's, Subs, Wannabes and the unsuspecting, mingled in the bar before going to the private rooms below. It was utterly frustrating; in the week he'd been working undercover posing as the club's owner, he was no closer to catching the unknown subject who'd attacked women outside the club. Brought in at the last minute because he was a dead ringer for the club owner--little wonder, they were cousins--Donovan felt like he was playing catch-up, as the other agents had been in place for the past month.
His second cousin, Barry, was now in protective custody with his submissive, who'd been the unsub's (dubbed the Scarlet A Killer) latest victim. The fact Misty Roswell survived the attack had been carefully covered up. Now Donovan posed as the owner, waiting to nab the slimy bastard, and nothing was happening.
His lack of results was a tool for his detractors, like rival agent Brad London, who'd been pulled off the case. Assigned to the same turf, they had an unfriendly past, topped off by Donovan finding his ex-fiancee Celia in bed with the ambitious pretty boy last year. He'd never figured out exactly why London hated him and he really didn't much care, but now the bastard didn't know when to quit. He was still sniffing around, trying to get Donovan bounced, intimating he was a burned out, hard case who should be tossed out of the agency.
Shit, he didn't even really care what the brass thought of him, he wanted to get justice for the victims, and he was going to get it one way or another. The only problem was he sensed his time to solve the case was running out and all he'd seen for the past week was a lot of consensual BDSM preliminaries. For a man who'd been celibate since Celia cheated on him, it was frustrating as hell.
He was about to call it a night when a scornful female laugh from across the room snagged his attention. He turned to see an over-made-up blond standing at the other end of the bar in conversation with one of the frat boys who'd been drinking with his buddies, hoping to score. Although her back was turned to him, there was something about her that drew Donovan's attention.
His fascinated gaze ghosted over her shapely body from the rear, taking in her stiletto clad feet, long-long legs he could picture wrapped around some lucky bastard, and a sweetly curved ass. Then she turned and damned near dropped him to the floor as he took in her hauntingly beautiful face. Not classically beautiful, but he knew he'd never forget her.
Her mocking laughter obviously hurt the frat boy's rep with his friends because he leaned in toward her, his voice deepening.
"On your knees before me, sweet thing," he bellowed.
She smirked at him and swept an intrigued glance over the two submissive women in the room who were doing just that for their Doms.
"Dream on, asshole," she said, adding firmly, "And while you're at it, get lost."
Donovan watched her feisty reaction, amused and satisfied she could handle her twenty-something lothario. The stupid kid didn't even have a clue about the Dom/sub culture, and he could never handle a woman like the woman in red. Everything inside him tightened, waiting for the trouble he'd undoubtedly have to put out. Shit, she ought to wear a sign reading, TROUBLE. How had she sashayed past him unnoticed?
She laughed again, drawing the attention of every red-blooded male in the vicinity. Donovan tensed in reaction. Her provocative behavior was bait for the sharks that trolled these waters...Dom's or wannabe's who didn't have the finesse or the experience to treat a submissive right, like the kid who was now glaring at her. Although, why he should care if it was good for her, he didn't know.
He already had to run off a pesky tabloid reporter and his assistant, and this woman could create an incident that would bring them back. The newspapers were already clamoring for headlines; A beast stalks Chicago's private sex clubs. Where will he strike next? The tabloids were even worse, making up whatever the hell they wanted. If you believed them, aliens beamed down to do it. His jaw tightened. Hell, complications like the sassy blond beauty at the end of the bar he didn't need. Donovan set down his glass and prepared to go save her reckless ass.
Vince, one of the task force members acting as the bartender, stepped up to Donovan at that moment to top off his glass of mineral water. "I see you've noticed the new talent."
Donovan gazed at the man, warily noting the twinkle the other agent's chocolate brown eyes. Vince Crawford a tall, brawny African American was a good friend and a hell of an agent. He and the jokester worked together often enough for him to know Vince was about to give him some shit. "It'd be hard to miss her." He tried to keep his tone noncommittal and not let on he was more than professionally interested in the provocative blond bombshell. He turned back to look at her warily. Did she have any idea what kind of game she was playing? "Who is she?"
"I've been meaning to talk to you about her. I was told to watch out for her, she's a gatecrasher, third Friday night in a row. She's Amanda Powel, a reporter in disguise, from the Daily Sun."
Donovan's gut tensed at the disclosure. The mention of the seedy tabloid just made his day. Shit, hadn't he just run one of them off? A guy he'd caught lurking in the parking lot taking pictures of the patrons. Maybe the tabloid sent her in hoping she'd fly under his radar. They were dead wrong. Their Agent-In-Charge, Tom Ritter, a by the book hard ass wanted results, and a sexy reporter wouldn't help Donovan get the job done.
Everyone here was on edge. The club owner's submissive, Misty, was found assaulted and the two were whisked away into protective custody. Now the FBI was on the scene and knowing his past, Ritter had pulled him off another assignment to take point. It occurred to Donovan he'd been brought on as a scapegoat in case this case went south, which it showed every sign of doing.
He ignored the thought and concentrated on the troublemaker in his midst. "So the bleach blond isn't hers," Donovan murmured, unable to take his eyes off her. "Why does Ritter let her stay?"
Vince laughed. "The AIC didn't want the bad press throwing her out might cause. Anyway, she's so damned funny to watch. I've started putting together a blooper reel. Anyway, the real Doms know she's poison and, well, the wannabes are expendable."
Blooper reel, huh? His gut tightened even more at that choice tidbit of information. What kind of antics was she up to? Her gaze kept darting back to the private rooms, the provocative little snoop. He watched her nibble her lush lower lip and bit back a groan as his stupid dick twitched in response. He could feel her excitement from where he sat, coaxing his cock out of hibernation. Damn, she was probably itching to get an inside scoop, and a stupidly horny part of him ached to give it to her. After all, he did need to neutralize the possible threat she represented, and at the same time glean whatever information he could from her. Yeah, and she'd probably run a mile and a half if you touched her, stupid. His two failed relationships proved he wasn't any good with women.
"Watch," Vince murmured with a chuckle, motioning to the scene about to take place.
Donovan watched the frat boy lean into her to whisper something he couldn't hear. In an instant, he noticed the flash of annoyance in her eyes, a heartbeat before she tossed the wannabe over her shoulder with a judo flip. The bar went quiet as a tomb as she spun around, and stomped the fallen jerk's groin with her stiletto. His muffled groan carried through the air like an echo. The wannabe lay there gasping for a frozen moment, and then crab scuttled away from her.
"Call me if you ever get it up again," she yelled after him, taking in a shaky breath. She looked around her, hearing snickers, and blushed. Then she sidled to a spot closer to the back passageway.
Donovan watched Vince reach for the phone. "What are you doing?"
"Calling Ritter's cell, things are getting out of hand."
"Not so fast," Donovan said, not wanting his by the book boss to muddy the waters when he was fully capable of handling her. Yeah and you're itching to talk to her, a little voice in his head said. He squelched the thought, putting on his game face as he watched Vince pocket his sat phone. "I'll keep her out of your hair."
"You're in charge. I hope you know what you're doing, partner. Want to borrow my athletic cup just in case?" Vince asked with a dry chuckle.
"Since when have I ever needed that to control a woman?" he joked.
"I remember a certain little miss from Lebanon."
Donovan rolled his eyes at the mention of the terrorist who'd almost killed him. "That's ancient history, pal."
"Well history has a way of repeating itself."
"I don't think the reporter is likely to pull an Uzi on me. More likely she'll talk me to death." He pushed away from the bar and cut a harsh look at the frat boy's angry buddies. They'd been muttering darkly, gathering around their fallen comrade, and shooting daggers at the feisty reporter. "Beat it. She's mine," Donovan growled.
He'd stared down warlords and mercenaries around the globe--these snotty over-pampered college kids didn't stand a chance and they knew it. To a man, they paled...and slunk away. Satisfied, Donovan locked gazes with his new target and watched her take in a startled sudden breath. The snoopy reporter had good instincts; at least she knew when she was being stalked.
Good, she was aware of him. Her bright cornflower blue eyes widened with a sexual awareness he felt down to his twitching cock. Hell. Oh yeah, they'd be simpatico in the sack. Too bad, it could never get that far. He felt her fascinated gaze sweep over him like a caress and did his best to harden his resolve to get rid of her. * * * *
Amanda Powel felt branded, claimed, as the tall, dark and brooding hunk stalked her way. Who the hell is he, she wondered as he crossed the bar, moving with fluid power that took her breath away. She's mine, indeed. Now this was the genuine article, a real dyed in the wool Dom. The kind she'd researched until her formerly repressed hormones were sizzling. He all but screamed, "Who's your master?" making her gulp and reach for the glass of ice water she'd been sipping. Was it hot in here, or what? She resisted the urge to fan herself, knowing it would be a dead giveaway. The terrible thing was that she was vulnerable to his brand of sexuality. Her knees wobbled in response, and she plopped down onto the barstool before she did something really embarrassing, like fall at his feet.
Pouring though BDSM websites in preparation for her story was to blame for revving her previously nonexistent sexual engines, not the hunk stalking her way, she told herself firmly. Yeah right, and if you believe that I've got a nice bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you. Ignoring the warning, she forced her raging hormones back under control and met his bold gaze with one of her own. She couldn't afford to waste this golden opportunity. Actually, she could hardly believe her good luck. Her story was actually coming to her. Things didn't come this easily, especially since her career hit rock bottom last year.
The only men to hit on her during her previous visits to this swinging den of iniquity were young, cocky, and nervous--like the frat boy now icing down his balls. The other men; the quiet but commanding men, like the stud now closing in on her like a guided missile, left her alone. It was as if she had a neon sign saying 'Reporter' over her head. Gazing into the stud's stormy gray eyes, she noted his confidence, and cool intelligence. Not very manageable, she decided, but a valuable asset just the same. She'd handle him, take him just so far, and then walk away.
But the moment he stepped into her personal space, her pulse did a funny little skip, temporarily throwing her off her game. Talk about charisma, the intensity of his presence was powerful enough to make her tingle as she breathed in his masculine scent, sandalwood and him. They could bottle the stuff and make millions she decided, feeling another heat wave ripple through her. It felt like he owned the space and those in it; but he didn't own her, she had to remember that. She glanced at a submissive and her Dom a few feet away, who smiled at each other while he stroked her bare arm, and blushed. That was not for her. The first thing she had to do was make that crystal clear to the stud invading her personal space. She opened her mouth to tell him so, but his heartbreaker's grin made her lose focus again. Damn!
His smile widened. "You're never going to get back there, this way."
The blunt statement and his amused tone startled Amanda. "Back where?" she asked, feigning innocence.
"The bedrooms," he said.
Well hell. The sexy way he said bedrooms damned near made her swoon. Her nipples budded, but she did her best to ignore her stupid primitive reaction. Shit, he knew she was itching to get back there. This was so not good. Was she that easy to read, she wondered, frowning up at him? Apparently so, she decided, noting the twinkle in his eyes that turned him from dreamy to devastating. Boy would she like a big bite of that. "And who says I want to go there, Mr..."
"Steel, Donovan Steel, at your service."
As his warm honey-edged voice washed over her, she couldn't help easing a little closer. Damn, he was like catnip. Still, she was alert enough to know there was steel behind it. Low key, even friendly, but there was power behind it that made everything inside her sit up, take notice and want to come out to play. "Well Donovan Steel, who say's I want to go back there?" She knew he liked her challenge when he grinned.
He shrugged, reaching out to brush a tendril of hair off her heated face. "You won't get your story if you don't."
She instinctively leaned into his hot touch, even as her career-reviving story fizzled before her. Double damn, her cover was blown again. Why did this always happen to her lately? It wasn't fair, but she of all people ought to know that, having spent a few nights in lock-up on trumped up charges. The moment she got a hot lead these days, someone poached her story or outed her publicly. She blinked away the hot tears of frustration misting her eyes, refusing to let them fall. She couldn't afford to seem weak in front of the stud who continued to study her curiously.
She gazed up at his implacable expression, annoyed. How in the hell had he found out her identity? Even Ed Stark, one of her chief competitors at the Sun hadn't recognized her when she'd flounced past him on her way into the club tonight, so it couldn't have been him. She'd known there was a leak at the Sun but this was ridiculous. It was the third project of hers that had gone south. "Story?" she asked, the immovable hunk next to her, trying to brazen it out.
"Yes, story, Amanda. I hear this is your third try."
Unbelievable! The jerk even knew her name. She only hoped he didn't know she worked for the Sun. Her credibility would go right down the drain if he did. She looked deep into his intelligent gray eyes, but didn't see any mockery there, only fierce masculine curiosity, the kind that called to her. Her pulse sped up in reaction, and she could tell he noticed when his intense gaze ghosted over her tingling breasts and lingered. Maybe she could use his sexual interest to her advantage, at least temporarily. She knew once he got past her sexy disguise, the platinum blond wig and exotic makeup, it wouldn't last. To put it simply she was a Plain Jane who'd never had much luck with men. But getting Donovan to talk might tell her who'd betrayed her. "Who told you about me?" she asked casually.
He motioned toward the bartender. "Vince, he makes it his business to know everything about the club's clientele. You've made his blooper reel, twice from what I hear."
She cast a shocked look at the handsome black man behind the bar and felt her face heat with embarrassment. Crap! What a disaster. Vince the bartender stood close enough to eavesdrop, his warm chocolate brown eyes twinkling at her as he wiped the spotless oak counter. What a snoop, but as an investigative reporter she wasn't one to talk. She scowled back at him just the same, and was pleased to see him back off a pace. "Blooper reel, that's illegal."
Donovan shrugged. "Movie making is a hobby of Vinnie's. He likes to show them at parties, even though it pisses people off."
"Screw you," Vince said, without heat as he grinned.
"Right back at ya," Donovan said with a salute adding, "Give us some privacy, Vince."
Amanda watched the bartender frown at the demand, then nod, and move away to the other end of the bar. Amanda watched the causal, friendly byplay, intrigued. These two went way back, enough so they'd developed a kind of shorthand, which made her wonder, who Donovan was, a client, or maybe an owner. There wasn't any woman hanging on him and a glance at his finger told her he wasn't wearing any rings. When Donovan turned his back on Vince to gaze down at her resolutely, she felt alarmed.
"This is a private club. It's perfectly legal,"
Was there a threat behind the teasing rebuke? Shit, the thought of spending a night in jail made her quiver inside. As if he felt the vibrations going through her, Donovan eased closer, pressing her against the bar.
"Easy love," he said, cupping her cheek.
The way she felt around him was anything but easy, she decided with wry humor. All Amanda's self-protective vows went up in flames as she gazed into Donovan's eyes, thoughts of jail vanishing also. She licked her lip and saw his gaze sizzle as he watched. She sizzled right along with him, wishing for a crazy moment she were this kind of sexy woman. Remember your story! A little voice in her head yelled. "And whose rules would they be?" she asked, trying to think.
So he was the owner, one that guarded his privacy like Fort Knox. She smiled back at him, regaining her composure as her story fell right into her lap. Now she was getting somewhere. "In that case, Mr. Steel, would you be kind enough to grant me an interview?" * * * *