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Authors: Charlotte Boyett-Compo

HardWind

BOOK: HardWind
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An Ellora’s Cave Romantica Publication

www.ellorascave.com

HardWind

ISBN # 1-4199-0492-2

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

HardWind Copyright© 2006 Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Edited by Mary Moran.

Cover art by Willo.

Electronic book Publication: June 2006

This book may not be reproduced or used in whole or in part by any means existing without written

permission from the publisher, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.® 1056 Home Avenue, Akron OH 443103502.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales

is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the authors’ imagination and used fictitiously.

Warning:

The following material contains graphic sexual content meant for mature readers. This story has been

rated S-ensuous by a minimum of three independent reviewers.

Ellora’s Cave Publishing offers three levels of Romantica™ reading entertainment: S (S-ensuous), E (Erotic), and X (X-treme).

S-
ensuous
love scenes are explicit and leave nothing to the imagination.

E-
rotic
love scenes are explicit, leave nothing to the imagination, and are high in volume per the overall

word count. In addition, some E-rated titles might contain fantasy material that some readers find

objectionable, such as bondage, submission, same sex encounters, forced seductions, and so forth. E-rated

titles are the most graphic titles we carry; it is common, for instance, for an author to use words such as

“fucking”, “cock”, “pussy”, and such within their work of literature.

X-
treme
titles differ from E-rated titles only in plot premise and storyline execution. Unlike E-rated titles,

stories designated with the letter X tend to contain controversial subject matter not for the faint of heart.

HARDWIND

Charlotte Boyett-Compo

Trademarks Acknowledgement

The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the

following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

7-Up: Seven-Up Company, The

Agusta 109C: Agusta S.p.A.

Bell: Bell Helicopter Textron

BMW: Bayerische Motoren Werke Aktiengesellschaft

Chevrolet: General Motors Corporation

Dago Red: Garrett, John Individual

Demerol: Alba Pharmaceutical Company, Inc.

Desert Eagle: Magnum Research, Inc.

Dillards: Dillard International, Inc.

Dom Perignon: Schieffelin & Co.

Excedrin Migraine: Bristol-Myers Squibb Company

Ferrari: Ferrari S.p.A.

Glock: Glock, Inc.

Gulfstream: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Halston: Halston LLC Ltd Liab Co.

Hummer: General Motors Corporation

Lear: Learjet, Inc.

Lexus: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha TA Toyota Motor Corporation

Michelin: Michelin North America, Inc.

Ray-Ban: Luxottica Leasing S.p.A. Corporation Italy

Rohypnol: Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.

Seagrams: Pernod Ricard USA LLC

Sikorsky H-92 Superhawk: Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation

Styrofoam: Dow Chemical Company, The

Vistaril: Chas. Pfizer & Co., Inc.

Wicked Witch of the West (
Wizard of OZ
): Turner Entertainment Co.

Zorro: Zorro Productions, Inc.

HardWind

Chapter One

Dáire Cronin was a stone-cold killer with the sensual brown eyes of a matinee idol.

His smile could melt the hardest of hearts and the soft Southern drawl that flowed like

warm honey from his full lips could make heat pool in any womb. With a thick thatch

of glossy black curls, chiseled pecs accentuated with a crisp mat of wiry hair and an ass

that filled out his tight, faded jeans to perfection, he was every woman’s idea of a sexy

man.

As he walked along the sugar white sand beach at Panama City, the eyes of women

from four years of age and up—and the eyes of a few men—followed his slow progress.

The women stared because he appeared to be a little piece of heaven on earth. The men

stared because the tattoo on his left pectoral labeled him a man among men.

Barefoot, shirtless, his chest glistening with a fine sheen of sweat from the Florida

sun, he stopped at the shoreline and looked out across the Gulf of Mexico. He put up a

deeply tanned arm to block the glare from the late afternoon sun and the reflection from

the emerald water as it rolled to shore. When he did, the firm muscles of his back

rippled and many a sigh wafted on the early June air from his watchers.

The ship he’d come to Bay County to board was lying somewhere well off the

Florida coast, beyond the three-mile limit. A chopper would be sent the following

morning to take him to the ship.

Dáire lowered his arm and braced his hands on his lean hips. He was in no hurry to

meet the employer he’d come to Panama City to see. At that moment, the sun was

sinking and his belly was rumbling. He had reservations that were top priority to his

way of thinking.

Though there wasn’t a spare inch of fat on his honed body, Cronin loved to gorge

himself every chance he got with the finest seafood to be found on the Florida

Panhandle and Corinth’s was the best restaurant going. Trips to Panama City were

never complete without a lengthy meal delivered from the creative hand of Star

Kiernan, the restaurant’s owner. Dining at Star’s private table on savory shrimp scampi,

succulent lobster dredged in clarified butter and delicate, crusty crab Rangoon was the

one obsession in which the hired assassin allowed himself to indulge.

That and Star’s shapely body spread like a creamy, ivory delicacy upon ice blue

satin sheets.

“See anything out there you like better than yourself?”

Dáire shrugged without looking at the speaker. “Are you slumming or has the

master allowed you to slip your leash?”

“Funny.”

5

Charlotte Boyett-Compo

“Wasn’t meant to be,” Dáire said. He turned to the retired FBI agent who worked

with him and looked him up and down. “You’re going to be a hurting puppy by

morning, Jackson.”

Daniel Jackson glanced down at the redness staining his arms. “Yeah, well, you’ll

still be a pretty boy, now won’t you?”

“My mama always said pretty is as pretty does,” Dáire replied.

“My mama always said that too,” the ex-Fibber agreed with a sigh. He looked out

over the water, reached up to tug his Ray-Bans down so he could get a sharper view of

the ocean. “The
HardWind
out there yet?”

“I imagine it is.” He shoved his hands into the pockets of his jeans. “You really

should put some zinc oxide on your nose if you want to keep it attached to your ugly

face.”

Jackson reached up to gingerly finger his proboscis. He winced. “Never have cared

for its shape all that much anyway.”

Cronin chuckled and started back up the beach. “I can understand that.”

Jackson watched the women watching the man beside him and sighed again.

“Don’t you ever get tired of putting the rest of us men to shame?”

“Nope.”

“Bastard,” Jackson said. “What’s on the agenda for this evening? The usual?”

Dáire nodded. “And no, you aren’t invited.”

“Aw, come on, Dairy Crow,” Jackson complained, using the nickname he loved to

use to irritate Cronin. “I could use a decent meal.”

“Have Uncle Sam buy you one then, Jack Off,” Dáire threw right back at him.

“You’re getting a whopping retirement check, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, right,” Jackson snapped with a roll of his eyes. “I’m skin and bones here.

Have you no heart?”

“Of course I do. A black one as I remember you once telling me,” was the reply.

“You’re going to make me beg, aren’t you?” Jackson grumbled.

Dáire stopped walking and turned to look at the ex-Fibber. “Did your mama ever

tell you a man is known by the company he keeps? I want a woman’s admiration, Jack

Off, not her pity for having to sit at the same table with a Neanderthal like you.”

“Screw you and your little dog too,” Jackson said, batting his nearly non-existent

eyelashes.

Dáire shook his head. “You’re a disgrace to G-men everywhere with a potty mouth

like that,” he said.

“Speaking of screwing,” Jackson said as he stumbled in the sand, “did you hear Star

has a new boyfriend?”

Dáire frowned. “Who told you that?”

6

HardWind

“Now and again we retired G-men learn a thing or two before you ultragovernment spooks do,” Jackson quipped. “In this case, our boss informed me of the

executive-type yuppie person Star’s been keeping time with since last you shared her

bed.”

“When was this?”

“A few weeks ago when I came down to make sure your place was in order.”

Jackson wagged a finger at Dáire. “See how I’m always thinking of your welfare, Dairy

Crow?”

“That’s when you learned about this dude?”

“It surely was.”

“And he is…?” The question was asked in a cold, carefully modulated tone that was

all the more lethal for its softness.

“You gonna ask me to join you for supper?”

“You gonna go dressed like a color-blind refugee from a seventies disco?”

“Nah, I’ll dress up pretty for you, lover,” Jackson answered with a pucker of his

lips. “Might even put on a tie if you really, really want me to, but I doubt it.”

“What’s his name?”

“Are you ready for this?” Jackson asked, his lips twitching. “He even has a yuppie

moniker—Brighton Tyler Boyd III.”

“Bright Boy, huh?” Dáire asked, picking up on the possible insult he could aim the

faceless intruder’s way.

“You’re a hoot,” Jackson said, annoyed that he hadn’t thought of the slight first.

They continued walking past families packing it in for the day, amused at men

burdened down with vinyl floats, folding chairs, thermos jugs and picnic baskets while

their wives yanked reluctant children in their wake, the youngest in their sunburned

arms. The men gave Dáire the quick once-over—their mouths tight, their eyes wistful at

his youth and sheer male beauty. The wives’ stares were longer, filled with lustful

longing. Even the children stared at the tall, dark-haired man as though they knew he

was something their fathers would never be.

“You make it a living hell for us mortal men, you little shit,” Jackson mumbled.

“So get plastic surgery,” Dáire suggested.

Jackson snorted. “I’d need an extreme body makeover
and
with another man’s body

to look like you.” He fingered the love handles beneath the wild floral shirt he was

wearing hanging over his beige safari shorts. “Make that two men’s bodies.”

BOOK: HardWind
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