Authors: Jianne Carlo
Tags: #Romantic Suspense
Warning: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be scanned, uploaded or distributed via the Internet or any other means, electronic or print, without the publisher’s permission. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000 (http://www.fbi.gov/ipr/).
Published by The Hartwood Publishing Group, LLC,
Hartwood Publishing, 400 Gilead Road, #1617, Huntersville, NC 28070
Copyright © 2015 by Jianne Carlo
Digital Release: April 2015
Cover Artist: Georgia Woods
All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination, or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Retired SEAL Satan ranks liars and talk show hosts lower than ambulance chasers on his list of contemptible occupations, so he goes AWOL when his mansion’s the site of a New York blueblood charity auction. He returns home after the event is over, and his doorbell rings. The stunning redhead at the door’s late for the auction. He invites her in with the intention of wooing her to stay.
Angel Dare, darling host of the NY talk show circuit, plans to avenge her brother’s murder. She doesn’t expect to come out of her mission alive.
The instant, powerful attraction to Satan stuns her. When he seduces her into spending four days with him having nothing but monkey sex and fun, she agrees. Better to go out with a bang—or four days of it—than a whimper.
Long ago, Satan resigned himself to a solitary life. Angel dropkicks that notion into another galaxy, but she won’t commit to a relationship with him. When she leaves, he discovers that his Angel’s nothing but a rabid liar and a low-life talk show host. Furious, he resolves to cut her out of his life.
Then Angel goes missing while she’s playing carnival in her homeland, Trinidad. Jess, Satan’s buddy’s wife, begs him to find her friend, Angel. Why should he bother with the deceitful woman who abused his emotions?
To the Angelica in my life—my mom, the strongest woman I know.
Writing Satan and Angel’s tale was a double pleasure for me, because I set part of the tale in my homeland, Trinidad and Tobago.
The Junior Parade, the Panorama finals, the upside down Trinidad Hilton, Power Boats, Sail’s Inn, “down de islands,” and Balmoral Bay are Trini events and places.
I spent many a summer vacation at an island home similar to the one described as “Dolphin Paradise,” but alas, Dolphin Paradise does not exist. All of the Trinidadian characters are entirely fictional, and there is no Channel Ten or WBCN.
The Trini food, however, is both real and scrumptious.
Satan, aka Lorcan McGuillycuddy, had no intention of sticking around for the arrival of the rabid talk show host who was the “star” of the silent charity auction being held in his Long Island home tonight. Talk show hosts ranked lower than ambulance chasers on his list of contemptible occupations.
“You going AWOL already?” Devil jammed an open palm against the back door’s frame, effectively blocking Satan’s escape route.
“Text me when you’re leaving.” Satan stared at Devil’s arm. He lifted a brow and trapped his buddy’s gaze.
“For chrissake, you can’t leave now.” Devil dropped his hand and shifted to the right. “Jess is going to be pissed.”
Satan gritted his molars. “Give your wife my apologies. Not in the mood, Devil. Don’t get in my way.”
Devil inspected him. “You okay?”
“I will be once I get out of here.” Satan grabbed his jacket from the cherrywood coat stand, shrugged on the worn leather, and tipped his fellow Hades Squad member a salute. He stomped onto his back porch and shut the door.
Satan shoved his hands into the side pockets of the bomber-style jacket, marched across the wide deck, and took the stairs leading to his expansive backyard two at a time. The weather forecast predicted snow, but the expected cold front had stalled in the Midwest, and the stormy skies pissed a misty rain down on him.
He welcomed the discomfort, embraced the damp chill soaking into his pores, because any sensation was better than none. Beneath his booted feet, the remnants of his summer lawn crunched, the crackle akin to thunderbolts in the sudden quiet.
The briny perfume of the ocean filled his nose, and he quickened his pace, making it to the fence in less than thirty seconds. Satan tilted his head back. A moist, icy gust whipped the hair back from his face.
A dogged restlessness gripped him. Revenge should’ve curbed the bitterness and regret corroding his core, should’ve taken the edge off his rage. It hadn’t. The anger roiling his belly was self-directed. He unlatched the gate to the beach, stepped onto the grassy sand, and rebolted the metal lock.
The protracted trudge to the beach soured his mood further. Memories of his last deployment as an active SEAL twenty-one months earlier swamped his thoughts. Guilt assailed him.
He was the sole reason Farida had been stoned to death—murdered by Malik Mansoor and his terrorist comrades. The ISIS jihadists forced Farida’s entire village to take part in the stoning while her parents, Satan, and siblings watched. Killed by her own rapist and shamed as a fallen woman.
The village Farida lived in was American friendly with the exception of a few angry young men. Farida volunteered at a regional missionary-run medical center once a month. Since the center was a terrorist target, Satan and his team accompanied Farida’s father and brother when they escorted her to the center.
It was a long trek to the center during which Satan became friendly with both Farida’s brother and father. As was the custom, even though Farida sat in the back of the vehicle with them, Satan never addressed Farida directly.
A suspected terrorist, one Malik Mansoor, approached Farida’s father for her hand in marriage. Farida’s father rejected Malik’s proposal.
Malik isolated Farida in an attempt to court her, and when she spurned him, he became enraged and raped her.
Unaware of what had happened, Satan nevertheless noticed a drastic change in Farida’s behavior. While she rarely spoke during the journey, she had a tendency to giggle at jokes. He’d begun cracking knock-knock jokes mainly to practice his Uzbek, a difficult local dialect, but also because he liked her shy smiles.
Then he caught her crying at the back of the center and persuaded her to tell him what was wrong. She was pregnant and terrified to tell her father what had happened. Satan encouraged her to tell him immediately and offered to be there to support her when she did.
Malik had been one step ahead of both of them.
He hated those two words. If only he had acted on his instincts, Farida would still be alive. He should’ve taken her and her family out of the village pronto and brought them back to the States.
Waves pounded the beach ahead of him, the morbid blackness of the night broken only by the white-capped crests hammering the rocky promontory to the left of him. He had slogged a good couple of miles. The halfway point to the bay loomed not fifteen hundred feet ahead. Satan pulled up his collar, zipped the leather, and fought the blasting breeze and his regrets. He had returned to Afghanistan over the recent Thanksgiving holidays to exact revenge.
It had been injudicious, precarious, and egotistical to leave a calling card, but he wanted all the members of Malik’s terrorist cell to know what would happen if a single villager was harmed—in any way whatsoever.
Satan’s phone vibrated when he was halfway around a horseshoe-shaped bay. His fingers, icy and stiff from the glacial wintery squalls, made him fumble, and he almost dropped the cell.
He thumbed, “
The answer came back not seconds later.
Raised over 100K. Jess says thnx.
He pocketed the phone, pivoted, and broke into a sprint. Maybe if he exhausted himself totally, slumber wouldn’t be so elusive. He hadn’t slept through an entire night in over twenty-one months. By all odds, his reflexes should be dulled and his mental acuity diminished. No one had noticed a fucking thing wrong with him. Not even Sinner, aka Linc Chapman, his childhood best friend.
When he stepped into the kitchen, the warmth and stale food and alcohol aromas made him grimace. He hung up his coat, retrieved his cell from the pocket, and stared out the picture window behind his pub-style high table. Ending Malik’s life and all but three of his gang hadn’t given him one iota of satisfaction.
Satan flinched when the doorbell rang.
Jess must’ve forgotten something.
Satan slammed the three old fashioned deadbolts that secured his backdoor and headed for the main entrance to the home that had been in his family for two generations. A quick glance at the ornate grandfather clock, a handmade Rolex dating from the eighteenth century, in the palatial and imposing foyer confirmed his mental calculations. Five minutes to ten.
Ding, dong, ding dong.
“Hold your horses, Devil,” Satan called out, jammed his phone into his back pocket, and opened one side of the mahogany double doors.
He did a double-take.
For there, standing on the black and white patterned marble landing at the top of the stair, stood a striking flame-haired stranger wearing the epitome of the little black dress. She had skin that defined the word porcelain. The eyes staring at him were of an impossible hue, a true powder blue. Her scarlet lips, the top one pouty and plump, the lower wide and generous, drained all the blood from his brain.
Satan’s groin tightened.
“Hi. I’m supposed to meet Jess Blaine here tonight.” The woman extended a hand. “I’m Angelica O’Malley.”
On autopilot, Satan shook her hand. Static electricity crackled when their palms met, and he tensed his pelvic muscles when his cock went rigid. Not since college had he reacted so strongly to a female. “Lorcan McGuillycuddy.”
A fierce jolt of deprivation hit him when she wriggled her fingers free of his and hugged her arms. Her bare, toned arms.
The meager gray cells still functioning had him noting the absence of a coat on her. He pushed the door wide, gestured for her to enter, and swept a glance down the long driveway leading to the wide
. No sign of a vehicle.
He closed the door and turned to face her.
“It’s a tad on the quiet side.” She crinkled her nose and squeezed her eyes shut before staring right at him again. “I missed the whole thing, didn’t I? I was in L.A. yesterday, my plane was late, and my cell’s dead. The limo driver offered me his, but who remembers numbers anymore? Do you live here? May I impose on you for a few minutes longer? I’m afraid I need to use your, um, bathroom.”
He wondered if she gave head. With lips like hers, it’d be a sin if she didn’t.
She grazed her fingers over his forearm. “I’m babbling, aren’t I? Um…the bathroom?”
He couldn’t drag his gaze from her red nails. Visions of her hands on his dick interrupted his processing of her constant stream of sentences. The bathroom. She wanted to use his bathroom. Fuck, he’d sell his left nut for a chance to lather her generous rack. “Let me show you the way.”
With the full knowledge he had no right to do so, Satan set his hand to the small of her back. Angelica O’Malley had the body of a centerfold. Voluptuous and curvy, the stretchy onyx number she wore together with the ruby red four-inch stilettoes had him conjuring her shedding clothes to the tune of
A whiff of her perfume teased his nose. “Shalimar?”
She stumbled, he tightened his grasp on her, and when she craned her neck to meet his gaze, the Satan in him surrendered to temptation, and he brushed his lips over hers.
Her mouth parted, and he slid his tongue into her heat.
She shoved at him.
Bemused, he gawked at her.
“I really do have to go.”
Satan shook his head, but the physical action didn’t break the sexual cobwebs clogging his mind. “The bathroom. Right.”
Not for a second did he consider releasing her from his hold. He forced himself to continue walking down the hallway and halted at the open door to the powder room. “Would you like a glass of wine? Or would you prefer a cocktail?”