Some would kill to know what Sophie Kingston knows. Rich and powerful people will do anything to possess the secret, but not even Sophie realizes how much danger she is in—or how far they will go to hunt her down and take it from her. But when she sees a murder no one can prove, the threats to her life keep coming.
Pietr Sauvage is neck deep in the hunt for The Fortunate Buddha when a lead draws him to New York and thrusts him into the life of art history specialist Sophie. What began as a favor turns into a desperate need to protect the sexy curator from the dark web of deception threatening to pull her under.
Too Many Thieves…
Lost in the shadow of intrigue and danger, Sophie must learn to trust Pietr, a man with an agenda, a man she can’t help but desire, before the ruthless thieves steal their only chance.
Raising the stakes heightens the attraction…
The last lock gave and Sophie leaned on the door and opened it. Her bag weighed hard on her shoulder and all she could think about was a shower or a bath and a good night's sleep. Then back to the museum to her archive and to making sense from chaos. Dr. Hinkley could come back from his sabbatical and it would turn out to just be too many episodes of her favorite crime shows infecting her with their gestalt.
She pushed inside, purse sliding down her arm and dropping on the floor. Hitting the lights with one hand, she shut the door with the other and snapped the locks into place, one at a time. It took her a moment to focus, to see the man sprawling in relaxed pose on her sofa, his ankles crossed, one over the other.
Dark hair tumbled over a ruggedly good-looking face of chiseled features under a growth of stubble. His eyes were soft amber, like fine liquor and his lips were full and even as they spread into a smile.
“Bonjour, cheri.” The lilting French rolling off his tongue sounded as sexy as it was unexpected.
She opened her mouth and screamed, scrambling for the door locks and just as she wrenched open the door, he leaned past her and pushed it closed.
“I'm sorry, Professor Kingston, I didn't mean to startle you.” The heat of his body burned into her as he pressed her against the door.
Sophie stared at him. The shooter’s French from the museum washed over her. But this man was taller.
“What are you doing in my apartment?”
“I need your help.”
“Breaking into my apartment is a bizarre way to ask for help.” How do I sound so very calm? Her heart beat against her ribs like a hummingbird desperate for escape.
“Oui.” Tall, dark and French had the grace to look abashed. “My apologies. I waited at the museum for a few hours, and then outside your apartment building. I admit, I got a little tired. I came inside to see if you'd gone out of town, but fortunately, here you are.”
Sophie's mouth fell open further. Her heart stuttered over his grin, but quickened at the sense of outrage.
“Are you going to let me go?”
“Are you still going to scream?”
“I'm thinking about it.”
“Well then, I shall hold you here until you have considered the options. Oui?”
“My options?” Sophie's eyebrows climbed. Was this man for real? Outrage smothered fear. “My options? You broke into my apartment. You're holding me against my will. You just confessed to stalking me. And you want me to consider my options? Are you out of your mind?”
The bastard grinned. Grinned! A broad, toothy, flashing grin that sent shivers up her spine. Her stomach flipped over. He brushed so close the scent of his aftershave tickled her nostrils. She fought the urge to take a deeper inhale, to taste the flavor of the man on her tongue.
“I've been accused of worse, cheri. Fortunately for you, I am not insane. But I do need your help and I do need to talk to you without you screaming for help and putting us through a long night of uncomfortable questions.”
“I suppose you have a counter offer?” Had she gone completely insane that morning? Imagining a coworker felled by a bullet? A day of bad coffee and questioning at the police station? She was hungry. She was tired. Maybe that explained why she would entertain this lunacy.
“Of course. Dinner. Some wine. A conversation. After which, I go away and you get some sleep.” Her uninvited guest trailed a finger down her cheek, sending shivers radiating across her flesh. “And forgive me cheri, but you look very tired.”
“I've had an abysmal day. I am not in the mood for entertaining much less having a meal with someone I don't know and who broke into my apartment and is currently threatening me.”
“I am not.”
“Yes. You are.” Sophie punctuated the words with a hard shove against his chest. To her surprise he stepped back, nimble as a cat and held his hands out wide.
It was her chance. She could slip out the door and make a run for it. If nothing else she could yell her lungs out. She knew all of her neighbors. Valorie across the hall with her five kids would call the police in a heartbeat.
But Sophie didn't yell.
She didn't yank the door open.
She didn't bolt.
“What's your name?” Sophie asked instead.
“Then we chat? Perhaps over wine?”
“No, then I check your references and perhaps we meet tomorrow for coffee.”
He laughed then; a long, inviting, warm chuckle that beckoned her to abandon caution for the sheer exhilaration of leaping.
“I am not sure what references you intend to check. Is there a database for cat burglars?”
“Is that what you are?”
“An outdated term to be certain, but I rather doubt that you will find me listed under some typical B & E reference of a library database.” His too sexy mouth twitched. He enjoyed the banter.
Call me crazy, but so am I.
“Then maybe Interpol would be a better reference point.”
“You wound me little bird. Interpol is extremely low brow for someone of my caliber.”
“And I only have your word for that.” Sophie countered.
“True.” He stepped back, giving her more space and still, Sophie didn't make a run for it. Despite her better judgment, the Frenchman intrigued the hell out of her tired mind, arousing her curiosity. He aroused a lot more than her curiosity, but she ignored that traitorous thought.
Sophie studied the man standing in the middle of her living room. Surrounded by the muted, antique colors of soft golds and browns, he was a splash of color, vibrant, alive and very raw. The twinkle in his eyes teased her, dared her.
“Why are you here?”
“No. Physically. Here. My apartment. Why are you here?”
“Call me quirky, but I think that's exactly what this situation calls for.”
His laughter washed over her. The corners of Sophie's mouth tugged wider. She loved the sound of his laughter and her smile spread wider at the sound of it.
“My name is Pietr Sauvage. I am here because I need your help.”
Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.
Website / Facebook / Twitter