The Business of Strangers (Silhouette Intimate Moments #1366)

The Business of Strangers (Silhouette Intimate Moments #1366)

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by Kylie Brant

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She didn't know her name, didn't know her nationality. The newly manufactured "Rianna Kingsley" only knew that her martial-arts skills and weaponry and assassination techniques went far beyond the average person's....


The men who'd tried to assassinate her all shared one common trait: a tattoo of a



She didn't know her name, didn't know her nationality. The newly manufactured "Rianna Kingsley" only knew that her martial-arts skills and weaponry and assassination techniques went far beyond the average person's....


The men who'd tried to assassinate her all shared one common trait: a tattoo of a winged horse, exactly like the one on her ankle. Where had it come from--and what did it mean to her survival?


It was dangerous for Rianna to share too much with anyone--much less the criminal hired to kill her--but she couldn't resist Jake Tarrance's arms, his bed. With her shadowy past hot on her heels, would Rianna's business with Jake be passionate...or deadly?

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Silhouette Intimate Moments Series , #1366
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The Business Of Strangers

By Kylie Brant


Copyright © 2005 Kylie Brant
All right reserved.

ISBN: 037327436X

Six Years Later

Sheriff Kingsley motioned for attention from the deputies and raised a hand to begin the signal. On the count of three, the deputy in front used the entry device to blast the door twice, then stood aside as the sheriff raised a booted foot to send it crashing against the opposite wall. The four people inside were already scrambling.


Kingsley went into the farmhouse, followed by Deputies Cook and Ralston. The scene inside was chaotic, the shouted orders mingling with the cries of the suspects. One went for his weapon and the sheriff brought up a rifle, sighted and shot with one fluid movement. The man slumped against the wall, hand clamped to his wounded shoulder. Another was attempting to flee through an open window, and Kingsley let him go. Deputies were stationed all around the house. He wouldn't get far.

"Hands in the air. In the air! Don't make a move toward that weapon!" Three other officers raced by to secure the rest of the house. Kingsley kept the rifle trained on the drug dealers they'd surprised, as Deputies Simpson, Cook and Ralston cuffed them. Only then was the weapon lowered and handed to another deputy.

"Need some help there, Ralston?" Kingsley asked.

The hulking man the deputy was attempting to pat down was huge, over six and a half feet tall, and even in restraints he wasn't proving cooperative. It had taken two officers to put cuffs on him, and he was still actively resisting. Kingsley started forward to assist.

"I got him." Ralston's sullen, barely civil tone was familiar, as it was the one he'd used to address the newly appointed sheriff for the last six weeks.

Because it appeared that the deputy had subdued the man, Kingsley drew on some latex gloves and approached the coffee table. Amid piles of bills was a clear bag containing what looked like shards of glass. Picking it up, the sheriff gave a low whistle. "This just might turn out to be a major bust."

Simpson craned his neck to look. "What is it? Coke?"

"Looks like crystal meth to me." Kingsley dropped it into the evidence bag another deputy produced, while the wounded suspect snarled, "It ain't ours. You planted it. We'll all testify to that." He looked around at his companions, as if for support.

"Better hope none of your prints is on it then, genius." To the deputies, Kingsley said, "Get them in the cars. Simpson, once the medic has your prisoner stabilized, take him to the ER."

One by one the officers led each cuffed man outside. But when Ralston passed by the sheriff with his prisoner, the deputy seemed to stumble a little, loosening his hold. The suspect used the opportunity to pull away, lowering his head and then swinging it hard, connecting with Kingsley's face.

Two deputies leaped to assist, but it wasn't necessary. Kingsley grabbed the man's shirt, using his forward motion to flip him to the floor, and placed a foot on the back of his neck to keep him there. It usually wasn't all that difficult to ignore Ralston's attitude, but the smirk on the deputy's face, coupled with the pain from the blow the suspect had landed, had the sheriff calling, "Meyer. Backstrom. Take over for Ralston here."

The order brought a familiar glower to the deputy's face. "That's not necessary, Sheriff. I've got him under control."

"No, Deputy, I've got him under control. Back away." Reluctantly, Ralston stepped aside to allow the other two officers to accompany the suspect to the car. Only after all the cuffed men had been taken outside did Kingsley turn to the deputy.

A hand on his arm stopped Ralston as he started to shove by. "No harm done this time, but making mistakes like that with suspects can get other officers injured or killed. Don't let it happen again."

The deputy wheeled around, his thin face flushed and his eyes narrowed. "Is that what you big city hotshots call a mistake? Reading your press, I figured a cocky dyke like you could take this whole crew single-handedly."

Kingsley nodded. "If I had taken them on, one of the first things I would have done with a large struggling opponent would be to incapacitate him completely. Sort of like this." A stiff-fingered jab to a neural pressure point at the base of Ralston's throat had the man sinking to his knees, both hands clasped to his neck, his breathing strangled.

Sheriff Rianna Kingsley stepped around him. "I wonder which will bother you the most now, Ralston. That you're working for a dyke sheriff or that she just kicked your ass?"

It was hours before the arrest and booking procedures were completed. There were reports to be filed, evidence to be labeled and bagged and phone calls to dodge. All of those calls had come from Eldon Croat, local county commissioner and primary reason Ria had been appointed to fill out the prior sheriff's term. She was in no mood to listen to the commissioner's jubilant crowing at this latest bust, or about his own brilliance -- even when that "brilliance" had to do with his hiring of her.

Her cheek throbbed where the suspect had nailed her, and the ongoing hostility from Ralston hadn't improved her mood. The man had been a major pain since she'd taken the job six weeks ago, and ignoring him hadn't helped. She doubted she'd improved matters any by embarrassing him in front of some of the others, but it had been completely satisfying for her, so that was something.

She glanced at the clock. It was after six. Saving the report she was typing at the computer, she stood and hung up the navy SHERIFF windbreaker she'd discarded earlier, along with the body armor. Grabbing her purse, she headed out. What she needed right now was a thick steak, two fingers of Scotch and the privacy to enjoy both. That meant traveling beyond the confines of Tripolo, Alabama. And probably even outside Fenton County.

Marlyss, the big blond secretary/dispatcher, looked up from her paperwork as Rianna walked by. "Leaving for the night, Sheriff?"

"Going out for a bite. Where's the best steak to be found around here?" She'd already learned that Marlyss considered herself a culinary connoisseur. From her talk on Mondays it appeared she and her husband's primary socializing on the weekends centered around discovering new restaurants. Her girth was testament to the success of her search.

"Shakers is about ten minutes from here, and they do a decent fillet. Things can get pretty rowdy there on the weekends, though."

Ria recalled the name. She'd sent a couple deputies on a call there last weekend. "What about outside the county?"

Marlyss reached forward and opened a side drawer on her desk. "If you want to drive on over to Phenix City or even Columbus, Georgia, I've got a few menus from places we've enjoyed. You're welcome to take them with you and decide. Bring them back when you're done though, won't you?"

Recognizing the gesture for what it was, Ria took the menus. She wasn't about to turn aside one of the few offers of genuine friendliness she'd encountered since coming here. "I'll do that, Marlyss. Thanks."


Excerpted from The Business Of Strangers by Kylie Brant Copyright © 2005 by Kylie Brant. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

The mother of five children, Kylie Brant claims she began writing to save her sanity. Plotting stories became her method of escape from the reality of constant ball games, chauffeuring kids, and refereeing "minor" disagreements between her perfect offspring.

In 1992 she was elated to get a call from Silhouette offering to buy her second novel. Home with laryngitis at the time, she still managed to croak out agreement, and her career was born. A few months later she went on to sell Rancher's Choice, the first manuscript she'd written.

Kylie is married to her high school sweetheart, and they make their home in Iowa. She insists that all her heroes are based on her husband of 23 years because he possesses that most heroic of make qualitiesÿ-- ironing skills. Those abilities come in handy, as she juggles a full time teaching job with writing and a family.

Doing things the easy way has never held much appeal for this multi award-winning author. She graduated with high honors from the University of Northern Iowa. A graduation photo shows her in cap and gown holding her two sons, one aged 16 months and the other three weeks. She went on to obtain a teaching job working with learning-disabled children while completing her master's degree at night and during summers.

"There was a time in my life when I could imagine myself as a life-long student," she recalls. "I actually toyed with the idea of pursuing a doctorate. But instead, my life took a spin and I ended up writing romances. I've never regretted it!" Her family has since been completed by the birth of another son and a set of twins, a boy and a girl.

Kylie's books are regularly featured on bestseller lists such as Waldenbooks and B. Dalton Bookseller. With over a million copies of books in print, her novels have been distributed in 20 countries and released in seven languages.

Family and friends are the main focus of Kylie's life. When she isn't writing or teaching, she enjoys reading and flower gardening. She loves traveling, preferring beach, ocean, and room service. Readers may write her at: P.O. Box 231, Charles City, IA 50616.

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Business of Strangers (Silhouette Intimate Moments #1366) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
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'Angel' washed up on the beach of Santa Cristo. She had two bullets in her back and had spent hours in the ocean during one of the worst storms of the year. A local found her in the early dawn and nursed her unexpected guest back to life. Angel could not remember what had happened to her. She could not even recall her own name. However, she discovered that she had a familiarity with weapons, Dim-Mak combat and assassination techniques, and was fluent in at least six languages. Whoever had tried to kill her came back to finish the job. When he failed, another came. The assassins had one thing in common. Each had a small tattoo, an intricately detailed image of Pegasus - just like the one on her ankle. Angel made herself disappear. Six years pass. ......................................... She is now Sheriff Rianna 'Ria' Kingsley of Tripolo, Alabama, newly appointed. Ria keeps people at a distance. She has no real friends. The only person in the world who knows that she is not what she seems to be is Benny, and they have never met face-to-face. Benny has never asked questions. For that, Ria has made his bank account grow. It was Benny that made her new identity. He is a computer genius. The best 'cracker' she has ever found. Only six weeks into her new career and the local county commissioner is patting his own back for hiring Ria. The new sheriff has busted more drug rings and dealers than any before her. ....................................... Jake Tarrance owns a restaurant in a nearby county. It is one of the few legal businesses he has. Most of his income is obtained outside the law, but there is never any proof. Jake has eyes and ears everywhere, including within the nearby prison walls. Ria dines there one night because it is outside her jurisdiction and no one knows who she is. She can be alone. Of course, Ria and Jake are instantly attracted and neither knows the occupation of the other. They find out too late. Their relationship might have ended there, except Ria finds another lead on the tattoo. A lead that might finally tell her who she was over six years ago and what happened that stormy night long ago. Yet by following the tattoo lead, Ria would lead the group of assassins right to her door. .................................................................... ...................... ***** Once you begin reading this book, you will not be able to pull yourself away. The suspense begins on page one and continues until the last page has been turned. The best thing you can do is to order out for pizza and tell your family not to bother you unless the house is burning down. Only then should you get comfortable and open to page one. Otherwise you will snappish every time something interrupts your reading, your mind on nothing but getting back to the book. Yes, Readers, this story is THAT good! Highly recommended reading! *****