Authors: Tymber Dalton
Dive charter captain Mitch Jackson is ready to divorce her cheating ex and take a chance on romance with friend and business partner Ed Grey. She's tired of her love life being on hold. Truth be told, she's always carried a torch for Ed, but worried that their age difference made Ed think of her as the kid he knew.
Ed has silently loved Mitch for years. Her impending divorce will finally give him a chance to voice his true emotions. Unfortunately, life is never that simple. When they stumble upon a sunken drug vessel, a desperate criminal who's closer to them than they realize wants to send Mitch to a permanent watery grave.
Now, Mitch and Ed are on the run from a wily serial killer intent on stopping Mitch from testifying. Will their love survive a murderer's vengeance, or will he spill their blood on another Red Tide?
Note: This book contains excessive violence.
Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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IMPRINT: Erotic Romance
Copyright © 2012 by Tymber Dalton
First E-book Publication: June 2012
Cover design by Jinger Heaston
All cover art and logo copyright © 2012 by Siren Publishing, Inc.
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For my Hubby. Thank you for everything you do for me!
Some of the characters in this book also appear in
Out of the Darkness
, also available from Siren-BookStrand.
Copyright © 2012
Friday, September 8th
The hunt was on.
He strolled down Seventh Avenue, studying the crowds ambling along around him. Recently refurbished streetlights brightened the main thoroughfare. Varieties of music from punk rock to sexy salsa echoed off the brick facades. Ybor City, a predominately Cuban historic district on the outskirts of downtown Tampa, was at its best in the evenings.
It felt like a typical late-summer Florida night—sultry, muggy, hot. Earlier that afternoon it rained, a quick shower that teased with its brief ferocity, but only enough to leave residents with the sensation of breathing through damp cotton.
Pausing in the shadows of an entryway, he dug another boiled peanut out of the nearly full bag he carried. He evaluated the crowd around him, and with his eyes searched, sorted, selected, discarded—on the prowl in an electric jungle.
He almost made up his mind to end his hunt when he spotted a young woman leaving the club across the street. She stood in the doorway, a nearby neon beer sign casting red shadows across her harried face. Nervously, she glanced first up and down the street, then at her watch. She brushed delicately at her nose several times before digging a cigarette and lighter out of her worn purse. After lighting the cigarette, she took a deep drag, holding the smoke in for a long moment before letting it out.
Looks like someone’s running a little late with her fix.
She wore a short black leather mini, a low-cut red sleeveless sweater, and matching spiked-heel pumps. A string of white beads hung between her breasts, and a pair of oversized gold hoops dangled from her ears. Her blonde hair framed a tired face that, under makeup applied a little too heavy, wore the cagey, haunted look that undercover cops never successfully duplicated.
The prostitute finished her first cigarette and lit another.
The hunter studied her for several minutes from his side of the narrow street. A few minutes later, she angrily threw the butt to the ground, stomping it out before heading east down the sidewalk.
He crossed Seventh and followed her, catching up with her at the next corner where she stopped to scan the street again. He stood close enough to smell the cloud of beer oozing from her. Now he could tell from her dark roots that her blonde hair was as fake as her red lacquered nails, both in need of a touch-up.
Stepping up next to her, he offered the bag of peanuts. “Lose someone?”
She jumped, momentarily alarmed, then relaxed as he smiled. “Well, sort of.”
She shook her head.
“Do you…need a ride?” He held her eyes with his, boring deep inside her, the hunter in him searching for the right buttons to push. He wanted her. She’d be perfect.
The prostitute considered him for a moment. “What exactly do you have in mind?”
He shrugged as she finally reached out and took a peanut. “I don’t know. What would you suggest?”
She seemed to warm up to him a little. He watched her eyes as she appraised him. “Well, I’m a little…late taking my medication. My ride was supposed to bring it.”
He knew he didn’t quite have her trust. She still thought he might be a cop. He flashed her a smile. “I just happened to be coming out of that club over there”
“when I saw you. I thought I’d take a chance. Frankly, I thought you might be a cop. I just got divorced, and I’ve never done this before. It’d be my damn luck to pick the wrong person.”
That was one of his favorite lines, and almost always worked. Especially when he lowered his gaze to the pavement while still watching her from the corner of his eye.
She smiled and her shoulders dropped a little as she relaxed.
He knew he almost had her. He sensed her sizing him up and knew what she saw—slightly curly blond hair and boyish blue eyes, charming smile, a teddy bear image. It was a look he’d perfected, a camouflage that served him well.
“Want some company?” she asked.
“Depends on what you want. I’ve got some good stuff back in my car I’ll share with you, but what else?”
She smiled. “How about I treat you right? An hour for a hundred. If you share with me.”
“Sounds like a deal to me.” The hunter led his prey back to the parking lot. Her eyes widened when he pulled out his keychain and disarmed the alarm on the red Porsche.
“Ver-ry nice.” He opened the door for her. Inside, she caressed the leather upholstery.
The car barely shifted under his weight as he slid behind the wheel. Reaching across her, he opened the glove box. Inside lay a small packet of white powder. He offered it to her, along with a crisp hundred dollar bill from his wallet.
Her eyes widened again. “Hey, that’s great.” She quickly set to work. It only took her a moment to cut lines on her compact mirror and snort them through the rolled-up bill. He watched her lean back, a blissful smile on her face.
“Oh, that’s delicious,” she finally said. She returned everything to her purse, along with the coke she had left over, and turned back to him. “By the way, my name’s Denise.” She held her hand out and, to her obvious surprise, he kissed it.
She eyed him, appraising him. “What should I call you, sweetie?”
He smiled again. “John. Just call me John.”
Her laugh bore the shrill edge of a high. “Okay, ‘John.’”
He drove them south, past the port, then east down Causeway Boulevard, to a vacant lot. He parked near the water, where they were concealed from the highway and passing cars by a screen of mangrove trees.
“That was good stuff, hon,” Denise purred.
“Only the best.” He reached up and stroked her chin. Then he moved his hand around to the back of her neck and weaved his fingers in her hair. “Now, let’s get down to a little business.” He pulled her toward him and guided her down to his lap.
Denise stroked him through his pants. “I think I like doing business with you.” She unzipped his fly, and he groaned when she took him into her mouth.
He enjoyed himself for a few minutes, then glanced at his watch. He tapped her on the top of the head and she sat up. He got out of the car and went around to her side, opening the door and taking her hand to help her. Leading her around to the front of the car, he pushed her down on the hood and hiked her skirt up around her hips, not surprised to find she wasn’t wearing any panties.
Using his hand, he played with her pussy, making sure he’d gotten her genuinely hot and wet as he stroked her clit. In a few minutes, she begged him to make her come. That only served to increase his need.