Book two of my Italy Intrigue Series was researched during an 11 day trip back to the country with my brother. Yes, the same one who left me behind the last time. He did much better the second time around, and I got another book out of the deal. *grin*
Hope you enjoy!
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Heat Level: Hot
Available at Amazon
Love him and leave him.
Nine months ago, undercover detective, Ispettore Evalina Gallo, protected her heart the only way she knew how, never expecting to see her savior-turned-one-night-stand again. When he returns to Italia—now a person of interest in an investigation of a local organized crime family—her personal connection to the rugged American gets her assigned to the case.
A second chance to make things right.
With his mother’s pleas ringing in his ears, Ben Sanders plans to retrieve a stolen bible his father shipped to Italy thirteen years ago, and then get out as fast as he can. But with the arrival of the beautiful detective, he suspects his mother’s desire to right past wrongs might not be the whole truth.
Destiny will not be denied.
Now, less than twenty-four hours after entering the country, he’s getting shot at—again. In a race from Milan to Rome to find the precious book before anyone else, time is ticking for the one-time lovers. Attraction burns hotter than molten lava, but amid secrets and half-truths, they must learn to trust each other if they have any hope of a future together.
One glance at the busy hallway between the suite and the lift and she went the opposite direction. He wasn’t too far ahead, but moving fast for the emergency stair exit.
His stride didn’t slow, and she broke into a run to catch up. The heavy exit door banged against the wall as she shoved through. “Where do you think you’re going?”
She managed to grab his arm on the landing between flights, but he jerked free. A second grapple caught the strap on his overnight bag. It slid from his shoulder and hit the landing with a thump.
“Let me go, Eva.”
After his pointed use of her full name since they’d come face to face at the café, the more familiar abbreviation was like a punch to the gut. Sucking in a deep breath, she renewed her determination to stop him. This time she was ready for his resistance and managed to get in front of him as he stooped for his bag. Short of pushing her down the stairs, he wasn’t getting past.
He straightened, strap held in his hand with the bag still on the floor as she took her stance. “Get out of my way.”
“Not until you give me some answers. Those men think you have something they want and were willing to kill you for it. And me.”
He dropped the strap to step closer. She tensed, but still wasn’t prepared for the lightning fast move that swung her around and pressed her back to the wall while he crowded her close with the length of his body.
She sucked in a breath as his eyes locked with hers, brilliantly blue in the morning light flooding the stairwell. Tension radiated from his rough grip. Experience reminded her he was unpredictable and passionate, yet despite the threatening stance, she was shocked to realize she didn’t fear physical harm at his hands.
As she stared, as they breathed together in the minuscule distance between them, a shadow of desperation darkened his eyes.
“Answers would be a good thing right about now,” he agreed, his voice low and gruff. “You first.”
“What are you investigating Fedorio for?”
The demand took her by surprise, and she stiffened. “I don’t owe you any—”
“The hell you don’t.”
Increased pressure on her arms spurred her into action. She wedged her hands between them, intending to force some space so she could break free. Quicker than before, he caught her wrists and forced her arms above her head. Her knee jerk reaction was countered by the full weight of his body pressing hers to the wall. An instant flush of sensual heat, combined with helpless fury, added fuel to her adrenalin.
“I came to Italy to pick up a book for my mother from her cousin,” he said, teeth clenched against her struggles. “Then you and Antonio show up to escort me around, and suddenly I’m getting shot at again.”
Her indignation spiked, but she was unable to gain any leverage for an effective counter-measure against his superior strength. She’d save her efforts for when he let his guard down and settled for a glare as she caught her breath.
“You think what happened up there was my fault?”
“You tell me. I was never booked at the Armani, and I never told Fedorio where I was staying. How else would anyone know where I was except through you and your partner? As I recall, he wasn’t so forthcoming with you on your last assignment, either.”
She opened her mouth to object, but realized he might be right. Antonio had called in their location, as well as ran the checks on Alisa and Nicholas Marshall. She didn’t believe Antonio was directly responsible, but had they somehow been the connection that led the two gunmen to the hotel?
“They could’ve followed you from your meeting yesterday,” she suggested, monitoring his expression for any indication he was lying.
“If that was the case, they would’ve been the ones to steal my bag, and it would’ve happened a lot sooner than the piazza.”
“How do you know it wasn’t them?”
“I suspect I’d have gotten more than just a scratch on my side. And if it had been them, they’d already have what they wanted.”
Indecision flickered in those blue depths, as if he wanted to tell her, but couldn’t quite bring himself to trust her. Doing so would prove he’d lied.
Then his gaze lowered to her mouth, and she realized the demons he wrestled were entirely different, but all too familiar. As he began to lower his head, the awareness she’d been desperately trying to ignore rushed forward to steal her breath and leave her light-headed. God help her, if he kissed her right now, she wouldn’t stop him. Her eyelids grew heavy in the charged silence, and his grip on her wrists eased.
The break in his concentration registered in her mind with a distinct click. She held still one more moment, and then the second before his mouth met hers, she wrenched her arms free, bucked her body against his, and managed the space necessary to escape his physical control.
A quick spin protected her back and she faced him, ready for his next move.
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