Read Amy's Advantage Online

Authors: Eve Jameson

Amy's Advantage

BOOK: Amy's Advantage
4.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Amy’s Advantage

Eve
Jameson

 

Book 5 in the Ilyrian Destiny series.

 

Amy is ready for something in her
life to be both right
and
easy. And it would be so easy to have hunky
Jordyn in her bed. Unfortunately, he’s preoccupied with keeping her safe from
homicidal alien Predators, maniacal telepaths and genetically engineered
Slayers who won’t stop hunting her until she’s dead. Sparks are flying, but
Jordyn is determined to ignore the heat building between them and complete his
mission, which ultimately means returning her to her homeworld.

But Amy wants Jordyn—right or
wrong, easy or hard. And she’s more than willing to take advantage of a couple
of days in his protective custody to seduce the man right out of his good
intentions. With the destiny of a world hanging in the balance, Jordyn needs to
focus on his task or risk losing everything.

 

Inside Scoop:
While Amy’s
story stands alone, you’ll want to follow the sensual adventures of the other
sexy Ilyrians!

 

A
Romantica®
paranormal erotic romance
from Ellora’s Cave

 

Amy’s Advantage

Eve Jameson

 

Prologue

 

Amy cradled Chloe in her arms, singing the silly nonsense
song that her daughter loved as she rocked her to sleep. She paused to kiss the
soft red curls on her baby’s head and Chloe murmured sleepily, clutching her
blanket and pressing her sweet, angelic face into Amy’s breast. Working hard
not to let her panic seep into the song, Amy continued to rock and make up verses
along the theme Chloe had picked tonight—a brave knight who rode a big pink
bunny and collected balloons for children.

She glanced over at the man who had grabbed both her and her
child and rushed them away from the River Walk. He’d said he was there to make
sure she made it to safety and briefly introduced himself as Jordyn Acylles, a
friend of the two men meeting Ellen and Aurora—though he hadn’t used either of
their names or the names of the men he was with. Friend…
right.
More like
a black ops commando guy from the way he operated.

He’d been gentle, but unyielding as he guided them away from
the Predator, but she didn’t for one moment believe they were safe. In the last
year, she’d come to realize just how precarious her situation was. Growing up,
she’d accepted what she’d been told all her life, which was next to nothing
other than she’d been orphaned as a baby and found by the side of the road by
an older couple, who didn’t want her, before being placed into the government
system.

After years of thinking she was on her own in the world,
she’d been shocked to discover that she did have family, sisters anyway, that
she’d never known. And apparently not only did she have sisters, she and her
sisters played a major part in a generations-old prophecy that determined the
fate of a world she’d never heard about either. An
alien
world.

At first, she simply refused to believe the whole
I was
an alien baby secreted away on a foreign world for my own protection
story.
But the narrative gained a great deal of credence when mutant hunters from said
homeworld tracked Chloe and her down in a public park.

Amy would give any amount of money to rid her mind of the
memory of the first time she’d been cornered by a Predator. The being could
have stepped straight out of a science fiction horror flick. Besides his size
and the foul aura that had seemed to ooze out of his every pore, the Predator’s
skin just hadn’t looked like it fit well. It was nothing specific, just an
overall appearance that it wasn’t quite right. A little too tightly stretched
in some places, too loose in others. But when he backed her against a wall and
a forked, black tongue had slithered out of his thin-lipped grin—

Amy shuddered and forced the memory away. At least the
encounter opened some deep-seated primal instinct she apparently harbored and
today at the River Walk she had felt the Predators’ presence before she saw
them. She had a hunch Ellen, the eldest and only sister she’d met so far, had
the same instinct, though she hadn’t put it in so many words.

Ellen had given her as much information as she could, but
she was only six when their mom had taken the world-hopping leap. Amy had a
feeling that Ellen had secrets of her own she wasn’t willing or able to share,
but she’d known and trusted Ellen long before she’d known she was her sister,
the whole whopping alien tale being the main reason, Ellen had explained, for
not revealing their relationship until the Predator forced her hand. After
having two Predators show up at the same time tonight, she couldn’t fault her
sister’s caution, regardless if it hurt her feelings.

She glanced over at the only other person other than Ellen
and the Predator she’d met from the alien world that was supposed to be her
home. He’d perfunctorily introduced himself, but had said little else. Not that
he’d had the chance over Chloe’s wailing. It had taken quite some time to get
her settled down enough to stop crying, get her fed and asleep.

After he’d escorted them back to the hotel and ushered them
into the room, he’d ordered room service and made a few phone calls on his cell
phone while she cared for Chloe. Now, with the lights turned low, he reclined
in another chair across the room with his eyes closed, but she knew he didn’t
sleep. Doubted he ever slept very deeply. In that way, he reminded her of
Andrew.

The thought of Chloe’s dad, though dead now over two years,
still had the ability to tear at her heart. Their affair had been intense and
consuming and left her marked for life with the knowledge of what love could
be. A soldier down to the marrow of his bones, loyal and solid, he had loved
her the way she hadn’t believed anyone could love her.

Her voice caught and trembled over the words of her song as
she thought how he’d have loved Chloe the same way. Jordyn opened his eyes and
looked straight at her. Accented by his thick dark lashes, the silvery gray of
his irises seemed to gleam with a cold light all their own. She looked back
down at Chloe and took up the song again, though the child had fallen fast
asleep.

They’d been foolish to plan an escape to Ilyria. And she’d
been the most foolish of all. After the Predator attack, she’d been so
frightened that she’d jumped at the chance to take Chloe to a place where
Predators were guarded against. A place where when she explained what it looked
like when it attacked, the authorities wouldn’t look at her as if she might
need a visit to the closest mental facility.

But after today, that had all changed. Ellen had been right
not to trust the Kilth. The look of horror on the man’s face was unmistakable
when he saw Aurora holding her daughter. The shock at finding what he thought
was one of their precious Mystic daughters already “mated” told her all she
needed to know. Her daughter would not be welcomed on her mother’s homeworld and
Amy would not leave her behind. She might have to fight off Predators in this
world, but she had and could. At least she wouldn’t be fighting an entire royal
family, whose power encompassed an entire civilization.

She snuggled Chloe closer, inhaling the smell of baby powder
and hotel shampoo and looked over at Jordyn again. His eyes were once more
closed. Escape would be easier without a toddler in tow, but it was not
impossible. Though the soldier the Kilth had sent after her and her daughter
appeared to be a formidable opponent—strong, fast and intelligent—he was still
just one man.

She relaxed slightly and pressed her shoulders back into the
chair, trying to find a more comfortable position. She’d always been good at
thinking on her feet. Adjusting her plan and improvising. One thing today had
taught her, Ilyria was not the safe haven she had hoped—
longed
—for it to
be. Once again, she would build a new life, only this time she’d have her
daughter to share it with.

Chapter One

 

Amy was having a hard time sitting still in the small hotel
room, even though it was getting late. She checked on Chloe for what seemed the
hundredth time since she’d laid her down, tucking the blanket around her
daughter, who was already well tucked before turning to size up the man who had
snatched Chloe and her from San Antonio’s River Walk.

Earlier, she’d fallen asleep with Chloe in her arms, but had
woken immediately when Jordyn tapped her shoulder and offered to lay Chloe on
the bed for her. She’d chosen to put Chloe down herself and since then, the man
had been fairly uncommunicative except to ask her preference for room service.
Presently he was sitting in the chair he’d pulled closer to the door, reading a
message that had just come in on his phone. He frowned slightly and thumbed a
couple of buttons on the keypad.

“How long are you going to keep us prisoners in this hotel
room?” Amy asked.

His frown became more pronounced as he looked up at her,
irritation flashing briefly in the silvery gray depths of his eyes. Not for the
first time, Amy found herself surprised by the unexpected nervous fluttering
inside her stomach at the intense penetration of his gaze. Every time he looked
at her, she was afraid he was seeing straight through her defenses and into the
very heart of her secrets. Holding her stare, he stretched his leg out and
leaned sideways to replace the cell phone in the front pocket of his cargo
pants.

Just when Amy was sure he wasn’t going to answer her at all,
he shifted forward in the chair, resting his elbows on his knees and loosely
interlocking his fingers. “Where do you want to go?” he asked.

That wasn’t the answer she was expecting. Crossing her arms,
she moved her weight over one foot and tilted her chin up. “Acapulco.”

The flat line Jordyn’s eyebrows had settled into lifted in a
surprised arch at her answer. “Acapulco.” It wasn’t a question, but a flat
statement, said in a tone that made it clear he thought she had completely lost
her mind.

“Yes.”

The light gray flecks in the man’s eyes glinted in warning
as he glanced past her to where Chloe was sleeping in the bed furthest from the
door. “Do you need to leave tonight?” he asked.

“Are you saying I’m free to go?”

With languid ease, he unfolded his large frame from the
upholstered chair and stood, every simple movement managing to exude a faintly
predatory aura. He reminded her of a mountain lion she’d seen once on a nature
show. The large cat had stalked its prey with a deliberate uncurling of muscle
even more frightening for being so rigidly controlled.

Jordyn’s gaze had remained on her even as he moved back
toward the door. She frowned as he reached for the door, wondering if he was
going to put Chloe and her out in the hall in an attempt to call her bluff.

Amy jumped at the staccato sound of a knock on the door,
feeling immediately foolish at the muffled “Room service!” call that came from
the other side. Jordyn checked the peephole before opening the door and
stepping outside to settle up with the waiter for the tray, keeping his boot in
the door to keep it from closing. Reentering the room with one hand balancing
the tray, he locked the door with the quick efficiency he apparently did
everything with. After setting the food on the table, he removed the metal
domes from the plates and the cellophane wraps from the tops of the glasses.

“I never said you weren’t.”

Amy blinked and dragged her gaze from the two steaks he’d
uncovered back up to his face. “Weren’t what?” she asked.

“Free to go.”

Amy glared at the solid wall of immovable muscle planted so
completely between her and the door. “Well, for some reason, I think that if I
tried to leave, you’d try to stop me.”

Jordyn’s eyes darkened, but he didn’t contradict her. She
opened her mouth to push her point when behind her, Chloe sighed and shifted in
her sleep. A sound so sweet and so innocent, it simply and suddenly undid her.
The bravado that for months she’d been wearing as a shield cracked and she
couldn’t hold Jordyn’s piercing stare.

Breaking eye contact, she turned her head and looked at her
daughter. Since Chloe had curled up in a tight little ball under the covers,
probably with her thumb stuck in her mouth, nothing but red curls poked out
above the bedspread. Amy tried to swallow, but her throat was too tight. She
hadn’t slept well in a month and she was tired, angry and the hope she’d put in
Aurora and Ellen’s plan had been crushed tonight.

She’d actually let herself believe that her prayers had been
answered.
Believed,
for god’s sake, that the unexpected revelation of
her lost heritage was the answer she’d been so desperately searching for and
she and her daughter would finally find a home they could call their own.
Hoping that they’d finally be safe, not only from the monsters stalking them
from Ilyria, but from the mistakes she’d made before. Before Andrew. Before
Chloe.

Closing her eyes, she forced back the rising tide of despair
that threatened to swamp her soul. She wouldn’t give up now. Couldn’t give up.
Not now. Not after she’d fought through so many battles already. She had too
many scars to just lie down and stop fighting, especially when she finally had
something truly worth fighting for.

It was the smell of him that alerted her that he’d moved
closer. A swathing scent of spice and heat that was both unexpectedly
comforting and alarmingly arousing. Her eyes flew open as he reached for her.
The touch startled her and instinctively she twisted her face away. His fingers
were warm and gentle as they caught her chin and turned her back to face him,
to meet his eyes.

“I will not hurt you. And I
will not
hurt your
child.” His hand dropped and he took a step back. “Ever.”

Caught by the intensity underscoring his words, Amy held his
gaze, searching for veracity behind his spoken promise. Something was there in
those silvery gray eyes of his that reminded her of Andrew. A warrior’s
strength found in a man who’d been tested and hardened in battle and who felt
no need to apologize for what he’d done or who he was. It was an unyielding
determination that came from understanding why a battle was being fought and fueled
by the fierceness of knowing it must be won.

As she stood before him, tendrils of heat slowly uncurled
low in her stomach and brought with them the yearning warmth she hadn’t felt
since the last time Andrew held her in his arms. The tender ache shocked her
and she inhaled a quick, harsh breath.

With a nod, she turned from him and picked up one of the
plates and one of the glasses of water and silverware. Instead of sitting at
the table to eat, she sat with her back against the headboard of the bed she was
sharing with Chloe and placed the water on the little table between the beds.
She didn’t want to sit at the small desk with this man and eat. It was too
intimate, too close. The knowledge that they were locked together in a small
room with beds as the prominent furniture didn’t help the intimacy issues.

Though he wasn’t as big physically as the other two men
she’d seen at the River Walk, the one who’d grabbed Ellen and the other who’d
taken Aurora off, there was a presence about him that filled the room. Afraid
wasn’t exactly the word she’d use about how he made her feel, but she was
skating the edge of too many emotions to set them all aside easily.

Jordyn pulled out the chair she had chosen not to use and
turned it so the back was against the wall. Stretching out his long, lean legs,
he crossed his arms over his chest and watched her eat. She was done with her
steak and halfway through her baked potato before she noticed he wasn’t eating.

With her fork, she gestured to the other steak. “Aren’t you
hungry?”

“I’ll eat,” he said. He looked pointedly at her nearly empty
plate and asked, “When was the last time you had a meal?”

Amy felt the warm flush of embarrassment creep up her neck
as she swallowed. “Lunch. I just eat fast. And a lot. For my size, anyway. That’s
what I’ve been told. I have a high metabolism and I always seems to burn it all
off quickly. I’m lucky that way, I guess. And this is a really good steak.”

The shift in Jordyn’s expression from serious to amused made
her realize she was rambling. Immediately she cut off the next thing she was
going to say and stabbed her fork into an asparagus spear.

God, she hated when she babbled like that. It happened when
she was nervous or embarrassed. Not a great time for her mouth to jump in and
make the situation worse. The redder her face got, the faster the words tumbled
out of her mouth. She gave a jerky wave to the remaining plate. “Go ahead.”

The corner of his mouth turned up slightly. “If you’re sure
you don’t want any more
¼

Amy shook her head and filled her mouth with vegetable to
keep her humiliation from increasing further.

Jordyn reached for the other plate and pulled it across the
desk, closer to him. She was grateful for the distance he kept. The sheer
intensity that constantly radiated from him was far more intimidating than size
could ever be alone. He took up too much space just by breathing.

He reached for the extra knife and fork on the tray and
looked up at her, catching her frowning at him. “Something wrong?”

“You’re breathing too much.”

If he was insulted by her comment, she couldn’t tell. His
expression remained neutral, as if what she said made perfect sense in the
course of their conversation. God, she needed sleep. Pretty soon even she’d
think she was crazy if she kept this up.

He cut up his steak with quick, definitive strokes. “When we
were coming into the room, Chloe called the birds on the wallpaper
fluudas.
Where did she learn that?”

Amy shrugged. “I don’t know. I think she just made it up.”

“Does she make up a lot of words?”

Jordyn’s tone was as expansive as it probably ever got, but
she had a sneaky suspicion that he wasn’t simply attempting casual
conversation. “No more than any other child, I suppose.”

“Do you remember any of her other made up words?”

Amy stopped eating and set down her fork. “No. Why?”

“It’s just a question.”

“Right.” She waited for him to expound, but he just held her
gaze, not flinching or giving anything away. She might as well be trying to
read a book through a solid steel wall.

They finished their meal in a silence that made Amy
extremely grateful and able to regain some semblance of control over her
nerves. The quiet had given her a chance to think and she realized she could
have already given away too much information about herself simply by the way
she had reacted to this man’s presence. If he knew who she really was, it could
seriously complicate her plan to get away from him and the so-called
destiny
Ellen had warned her about. She’d already learned what a fickle bitch Destiny
liked to be.

A quick, sharp pain pierced her heart, its familiarity
making it no less cutting. Three years ago, she had been standing on a
Charleston pier on a late June night, sure her future was drawing her in quite
a different direction. The humid, salty breeze had been blowing her unruly
curls into her eyes as Andrew flirted with her and made her laugh, the promise
in his dark eyes as irresistible as his tall, muscled body.

When he’d finally gotten around to kissing her, she’d
already been half in love with the man. He’d been home on leave, and by the
time he was shipping back out, she was
sure
she was in love with him. It
had happened before she knew it.

Another sharp pain shot through her at the memory of
Andrew’s sweet words and sweeter touches. Just as fast, it had ended. She had
gone with him to the airport, and as she watched him toss his backpack over his
shoulder and greet friends preparing to leave on the same flight, the love she
held for him flooded over her. Rushing up from the soles of her feet, the
feeling swirled through her lungs and made her lightheaded with the force of
it.

Surrounded by strangers, friends and family gathered for
their own good-byes that afternoon, Amy had watched Andrew shuffle through the
long line at the security screening, wishing she had told him how she felt the
night before as she lay wrapped in his arms. Just when she had convinced
herself that she had blown it, Andrew had turned and found her in the crowd.
The hardened expression of a man whose mind had already begun to return to the
battlefield immediately softened when his eyes met hers.

The noisy terminal and crush of people all dimmed, the one
bright spot in the world illuminating the man holding her in his gaze as
tenderly and thoroughly as he had in his arms for the last weeks. Emotion darkened
his already deep brown eyes. Catching her bottom lip between her teeth, she had
to blink back a sudden rush of tears when he mouthed the words
I love you.
Before she could say the words back, wave or even fully absorb what he’d said,
he winked at her and turned to follow his unit past the security checkpoint and
out of sight.

“Are you finished?”

Amy’s entire body jerked at Jordyn’s question. She’d been
staring down at her plate, so lost in the past that she hadn’t noticed he’d
gotten up and moved to stand beside her. He was frowning again, but there was a
soft concern edging his eyes and words.

“Oh.” Drawing in a quick, stabilizing breath to clear her
head, she forced herself fully back into the present. “Yes. Thank you,” she
said as Jordyn took her plate, set it with the other dishes already stacked on
the room service tray and put it all into the hall.

“If you want to take a shower, I’ll keep an eye on Chloe,”
he said, coming back into the room.

“I
¼
“ Amy let the
word fade, unsure how to answer him without giving anything away. At his
questioning look, she tried again. “It’s not
¼
I’m
not
¼
I mean my bag is in Aurora’s car,”
she said.

BOOK: Amy's Advantage
4.88Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Free Fall by William Golding
Wicked by Sasha White
Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony
No Way Back by Matthew Klein
Vagabond by Brewer, J.D.
SECRETS OF THE WIND by Charlotte Boyett-Compo
The Vanishing by Ruth Ann Nordin
The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers
Hold on to the Sun by Michal Govrin, Judith G. Miller