Publication Date: June 4, 2018
Genres: Adult, Romantic Suspense, Organized Crime. Erotic, Heist Romance
1. trick or deceive.
• obtain by deception.
She was named most appropriately.
Cozen Taylor has more than earned her place as one of North America’s most successful thieves. Her name is whispered amongst criminal elite as the go-to thief when someone needs a heist.
She has never failed.
A call from the Miami-based Astor family could change all that with a job that seems almost impossible to complete. The mark should be simple—a stolen family heirloom, the man who has kept it hidden for over twenty years, and six months to return the piece to its rightful owners.
Nothing is ever that easy.
Three-hundred million for a successful heist. No smart thief would turn the offer down. Cozen didn’t expect a complication like him to put a kink in her plans, though. Sargon Makri—tall, dark, gorgeous, and entirely dangerous. For her life, her heart, and for the success of the heist.
The last thing Cozen needs to be thinking about is Sargon, and how she can get him into her bed … especially when he just happens to be her mark’s bodyguard. The thrill of the job has never been more addicting to Cozen, and she will risk everything to make the heist a success.
But at what cost?
From author Bethany-Kris comes a whole new world. A North American network full of criminals battling to stay on top, and painting the streets red in war as they dabble in the game of betrayal. Malicious, cunning, forbidden, and violent—welcome to The Empires and Badlands.
Then, he held out a black velvet box. It was the size of his palm with two tiny hinges on the other side. She didn’t immediately reach out to take the box, instead letting Sargon decide what she was supposed to do with it.
“A gift,” he said.
She didn’t even pose it as a question.
Sargon tried to smile, but it just ended up looking like a half sneer. “Yes, from Jett. Open it.”
Cozen flipped the top open on the velvet box, and eyed the golden piece resting inside on crushed velvet. Two thin ropes of gold connected by dangling gold bars. It was a simple design, but still beautiful. A piece that could be layered, or worn by itself.
“He thought,” Sargon said, “that it would match the ring on your thumb.”
Instantly, Cozen withdrew her hands from the necklace in the box, and covered the ring on her thumb to hide it.
“He notices everything,” Sargon added, “and he found that you don’t take the ring off. He figured you might like something to accentuate the ring, and compliment it at the same time.”
“It’s beautiful,” she said.
That wasn’t a lie.
“Would you like me to help you put it on?” Sargon asked.
The last thing Cozen needed was this man’s hands on her body. Her stupid desire spoke up before the rational part of her brain could.
“Yes, I would,” she said.
Cozen got a nice show of Sargon’s fast reflexes as he yanked the jewelry out with one hand, snapped the lid closed on the box at the same time, and in a blink, had discarded the box to his back pocket. Never once did he take his eyes off her.
Stepping closer, he moved behind Cozen, and allowed the necklace to dangle over her throat. At the first graze of his fingertips along her skin, she sucked in a fast breath. Her best bet was to talk while he worked as to keep her libido in fucking check.
“Sargon—where does that come from?” she asked. “The name, I mean.”
“Persian, mostly, and my bloodline comes from Iran.”
“Huh. And how did you come to work for Jett?”
Talking wasn’t really helping all that much. She could still feel his fingers sliding over the side of her neck where her pulse raced in her throat.
Sargon’s fingertips pressed softly into the spot, showcasing her traitorous emotions to him. To his credit, he didn’t mention a thing.
“He stumbled upon me, you could say,” Sargon murmured in her ear. “As most of my bosses do. I am—sort of—a jack of all trades. I never settle in one place for long, and there’s always something new on the horizon. It keeps me entertained and never bored, anyway.”
Cozen closed her eyes, and briefly sucked in a deep breath. She hoped it would help to settle her. It really didn’t. She was still just as turned on and unsettled by Sargon’s close proximity has she had been seconds before.
This man was going to be a problem for her.
A big one.
“Relax,” Sargon said behind her. “Calm your heart.”
“Perhaps you should stop touching me, then.”
“Ask me to, and I will.”
It was Sargon’s phone ringing that sent them two of the moving feet apart, but it was the caller who sent them out of the apartment.
Jett was waiting.
Cozen nearly forgot.
Sargon was dangerous, she knew.
In more ways than one.
Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to four young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.
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