Deadly Desires

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Christopher follows Deadly Pursuit with a notably less steamy romantic suspense adventure. Kira Gregory walks out on her recently arrested drug-dealer husband, Kareem. Shortly afterwards, he’s killed in a gas explosion while under house arrest. Freed from worrying about the jealous Kareem, two men begin to pursue Kira: drunken Kerry Randolph, the snitch who gave away Kareem’s operation, and Special Agent Dexter Brady, Kira’s government confidant and the man who took Kareem down. Suspense and paranoia thread through the book, as Kira keeps thinking Kareem is still alive and secretly watching her. Brady’s protectiveness of Kira and willingness to break protocol to pursue the relationship feels opportunistic, inappropriate, and creepy even when Kira finally welcomes it, leaving this installment devoid of sizzle. (Oct.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780758235459
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 342
  • Sales rank: 370,397
  • Product dimensions: 4.28 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Read an Excerpt

DEADLY DESIRES


By Ann Christopher

DAFINA BOOKS

Copyright © 2011 Sally Young Moore
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-7582-3545-9


Chapter One

Cincinnati

Kareem Gregory didn't know who he wanted to punish first: his wife or his lieutenant.

The bitch. Or the snitch.

In a world full of liars and cheats, he'd relied on a handful of people, and this was the thanks he got for his faith and trust. His wife, Kira, had walked out on him, and his right-hand man, Kerry Randolph, the man—the one fucking man on earth—who'd seen the naked underbelly of Kareem's drug empire, had flipped on him.

Was that undying loyalty? No. Was that till death do us part? Hell no.

That was betrayal, the worst possible crime against him.

The punishments would reflect that.

"We need you to empty your pockets and put your jewelry in here, Mr. Gregory."

The voice interrupted his thoughts and cut through his rage and bewilderment, putting him squarely back in the here and now, which was the last place he wanted to be. Here was the US Marshal's office, where the DEA brought you for after-hours processing when you had the misfortune of being arrested for possession of approximately two hundred and fifty kilos of coke and horse with intent to distribute. Now it was about eleven o'clock on the night that should have been the greatest of his life.

Oh, yes. Just this afternoon, he'd been acquitted at his retrial on money-laundering charges and, better than that, one of his men had hit the DEA agent responsible for Kareem's entrapment and conviction in the first place. Just this evening, he'd been hosting a little celebration dinner and toasting his success with the finest champagne his world-class wine cellar had to offer. Just a few short hours ago, he'd been free and clear, with his entire life ahead of him, his wife by his side and everything to live for.

But that was before Kerry flipped and led the feds to the drug warehouse, where they'd found about seven million dollars' worth of his shit. Before the DEA broke down his front door and raided his house. Before his beautiful wife packed her little bags and walked out. Before Special Agent Dexter Brady knocked Kareem to the polished floor of his own damn house, put his booted foot in the middle of his back, and handcuffed him like a street-level dealer.

Now here he was, once again at the mercy of these little government fuckers who didn't have the slightest idea who they were dealing with. Once again reliant upon the nonexistent skills of Jacob Radcliffe, the high-priced lawyer bitch who was standing right there, watching the proceedings with his aw-shucks, Howdy Doody red hair, blue eyes, and freckles, useless to prevent Kareem from spending tonight at the Justice Center with the common criminals. Once again being searched, fingerprinted, photographed from all sides and numbered like a cattle farmer's prize bull.

"Mr. Gregory?" the DEA youngster, or marshal, or whoever the fuck he was, slid the blue plastic box across the table toward him and tried again. "Your personal items?"

Kareem glared at the punk, enjoying the slow drain of color from his face and the way he tried to jerk up his chin in front of his superiors, acting all brave and shit when really he was beginning to understand the situation here.

Here was the situation.

Kareem was like a Siberian tiger. Siberian tigers didn't belong in cages. You could catch one, yeah, and throw it in a cage, and sometimes you could even keep it there for a while. The tiger might sit quietly and eat his three squares a day. But the thing about both tigers and Kareem was this: they had fangs, claws, and unholy power. They chose the right moment to strike, and then they tore their captors to shreds and ate their flesh when everyone least expected it.

Kareem channeled all of this into his silent gaze, and he stared the youngster down until finally the kid looked over his shoulder and shot Brady a What should I do now, boss? look.

Brady edged forward, ready with a smirk and a taunt. "What's wrong, Kareem? Afraid to trust us with your sparklies?"

"That's unnecessary," Radcliffe told Brady.

Wow. Two words out of his lawyer's mouth. What was that—a thousand dollars or so tacked onto Kareem's legal fees?

Kareem ignored Radcliffe—he'd deal with him later—and focused some of his fury on Brady because there was plenty to go around. Brady was the DEA bloodhound who'd been sniffing after Kareem for years. Brady was the one who'd been working with Kerry and got him to flip on Kareem; he could feel it in his gut. Brady was the one who'd led the raid tonight and riffled through all of Kareem's precious belongings.

Brady needed to be brought down.

Later for that.

For now, he had to show the feds that they couldn't rattle his cage, no matter how they tried. So he shrugged, ignored the slight shake in his hands, and reached up to unscrew the first of his three-carat diamond studs. Then he tossed it into the box and went to work on the other one.

"I'm not worried. Who can you trust if not the United States government?"

"Funny," Brady said. "Don't forget the Rolex."

Kareem unhooked the heavy clasp, slid the watch off his wrist, and dropped it into the box with a satisfying clunk. Fifty thousand dollars' worth of gold and diamonds had a nice weight to it, and he'd miss the watch. Especially if, as was looking pretty likely, the feds seized it along with his house, his cars, and every damn thing he owned down to his dirty drawers and used toothbrush.

Ah, well. Possessions could be replaced.

Except ...

The plain platinum band on his ring finger, the one he'd never taken off.

That was priceless, even if his wife was a faithless bitch.

He wasn't a fan of plain when it came to jewelry, but Kira picked the bands, and he'd made it a habit to buy Kira whatever she wanted. At least he had. Before she walked out on him.

He grabbed the shining band, meaning to slide it off, but it didn't want to budge and he didn't really put his heart into pulling it over his knuckle. These rings bound them together, him and Kira, and when they put them on, he'd meant it to be for life. Oh, sure, there'd been other women, but he'd only ever have one wife. One partner. One Mrs. Gregory.

"That too, Kareem," Brady said. "We haven't got all day."

Kareem looked up from his hands to find Brady still watching him, but with sharper eyes that put Kareem's instincts on alert even if he wasn't sure why. He tugged the ring off and polished it between his fingers, his heart oddly tight. Kira always did that to him—trapped him between emotions like pride and exasperation, love and hate, fury and longing.

Much as he wanted to hurt Kira for walking out on him, punish her, to teach her a lesson she'd never forget, to show her that he was in charge and always would be, he wanted something else more.

Why couldn't she just love him the way she once did?

"You know what this says on the inside, Brady?" he asked, holding the ring up.

Brady's eyes narrowed with clear annoyance and banked curiosity. "Do tell. Since we don't have anything else to do tonight but listen to your stories from memory lane."

"It says Forever and a Day. That's how long she'll be my wife."

Brady's lips curled with amusement. "Looks like she didn't get the memo on that. Judging from the way she packed her bags and walked out while you yelled for her to come back. Just saying."

They watched each other, he and Brady, and the fine hairs rose all up and down Kareem's arms, probably because Brady didn't flinch or turn away. He had the unwelcome feeling that if he so much as blinked too loud, Brady, despite his Boy Scout soul, would cheerfully pump a round or twenty into him and then talk his way out of it with a judge and be home by dinner.

This animosity between them—it was as personal as Kareem's taste in condoms.

Brady was, therefore, a serious problem. Maybe the most serious one Kareem had ever faced. But he wasn't going to punk Kareem. Not tonight, or ever. So Kareem rolled his shoulders and matched Brady's unconcerned smile with one of his own.

"Kira knows it'll take more than a packed bag for me to let her go," he said.

And watched the color drain out of Brady's face.

Chapter Two

The ancient Tercel spluttered and lurched, clearly trying to give up the ghost and take its place in the great junkyard in the sky. "Come on." Kira Gregory shot a quick prayer up to God, who surely wouldn't bring her this far and then leave her stranded. "Come on."

With rising desperation, she stomped the brake pedal and hoped for the best, which would be something other than the car slamming into the SUV parked just ahead. The car halted, which was great, but the pedal refused to unstick itself from the floorboard, and a freshly acrid wave of burning oil hit her nostrils.

Worthless piece of junk.

One day, when she wasn't consumed with the bare necessities of life—like finding a safe place to stay for the night and trying to divorce her husband without getting killed in the process—she'd spend a little time cursing the used car bastard who sold this so-called vehicle to her, the mechanic who'd examined it and reassured her it was in decent shape, and herself for being desperate and gullible enough to fall for the shiny coat of navy paint and believe either of them.

So this was the freedom she'd fought and prayed for these last months: scared spitless, driving around in the middle of a black and frigid night, protected only by her frayed wits and the negligible body of a car that should be crushed and recycled at the first opportunity, with only her year-old beagle, Max, for company.

Nice.

And well worth all the risks she'd taken to get to this point.

A burst of hysterical laughter shot out of her mouth before she could control it, earning her a surprised sideways glance from Max, who sat in the passenger seat. It got worse when she thought of her previous car, a brand-new Mercedes S-Class sedan that would die of shame before it did anything as tacky as leak a fluid.

The laughing might have gone on forever, but another wave of light-headedness hit her, making the parking lot do a crazy swirl at the edges of her vision. Unconsciousness beckoned—it had been beckoning a lot in the forty-eight hours since Kareem attacked her—but she did everything she could to fight it off. If she passed out in this neighborhood, there'd be nothing left when she woke except for the seat she was sitting in and the car's frame up on cinder blocks.

God, she was tired.

Giving herself a quick second to pull her sanity back together, she leaned against the seat and closed her eyes. Deep breath. Another deep breath.

Okay. Better.

No self-pity, she reminded herself. At least she had a car that was hers, free and clear. The car she'd left behind when she walked out on Kareem earlier tonight was a) bought and paid for with drug money; b) Kareem's; and c) probably being seized and impounded by the DEA right this very second. The Tercel wasn't new, pretty, or reliable, but she'd paid for it with the honest proceeds from her grandmother's ruby ring (and God knew pawnbrokers never gave you real money for anything), so that was something to be proud of.

Besides. Oprah never wasted time feeling sorry for herself.

Oprah would say something like, "What I know for sure is: My slave ancestors didn't have time to feel sorry for themselves when they were working in the cotton fields, so what do I have to complain about?"

Words to live by.

Well, what Kira knew for sure was that she couldn't sit here on her butt all night. "Wish me luck," she told Max, who yawned with the startling unfurling of a pink tongue that seemed a yard long. "You stay here and be quiet. Okay?"

Max whined, then dropped to a curled ball with his chin on his front paws.

Right.

Pausing only to grab her purse and do a sweeping 360-degree glance in all her mirrors, making sure there were no signs of movement, she got out and immediately felt as vulnerable as a pig in a sausage factory. Pitiful as the car's protection was, it was better than nothing. Out here, there was nothing but the frigid sting of winter air in her lungs, the prickly feeling of unseen eyes, and a thousand and one places for someone to hide, to stalk her before lunging.

Crazy? Probably.

Kareem was downtown being processed right now.

So he couldn't be stalking her right now ... yeah, sure.

But what about his legion of minions, any one of whom was ready to answer his beck and call and do anything from wipe his ass to stalk his wife for him?

That was a whole 'nother story.

Squaring her shoulders, she strode across the parking lot, through the double glass doors and into the sorry excuse for a lobby/registration area. Just to lift her spirits, it had weathered orange carpeting, brown vinyl chairs, a plywood coffee table, and, honest to God, a condom-vending machine wedged between the snack-and cigarette-vending machines. Wow.

Behind the counter sat a white-haired man who'd last seen young about the time Lincoln was elected president. Rubbing his bleary eyes with weathered hands, he gave her a quick but appreciative once-over, then nailed her with a stare that would only be considered welcoming if you were an escapee from the seventh ring of hell, and waited for her to speak.

"Hello." Infusing her voice with cheer and light, she reached into her purse and pulled out some cash. "I'd like a room for the night, please. Nonsmoking." The last part was probably pushing her luck, but, hey, a girl could hope.

It was no surprise that his voice sounded like Louis Armstrong with laryngitis. "Seventy dollars," he informed her.

This place would need to be razed, burned, and rebuilt from the ground up before it was worth even thirty-five a night, but Kira quashed her outrage and counted out the bills. This was further than she'd gotten at the other two motels, and she was almost home free—

"Oh." Yawning, her charming host scratched at the four inches of gut that hung over his peeling belt and treated her to a glimpse of his cavernous mouth. "And I'll need to swipe your card."

Kira froze, struggling to keep her pleasant smile in place.

Shit.

"Of course," she said, and reached for her wallet, which was what a person did when they had a credit card. She did not have a credit card. Well, that wasn't entirely true, was it? In her old life, the one she'd left mere hours ago, where her husband, the sociopathic drug kingpin, kept her short leash in his fisted hand, she had every platinum card under the sun. And Kareem tracked her spending the way marine biologists track tagged killer whales.

Kareem would find her eventually. But she wouldn't make the job easier for him by leaving a trail of bread crumbs to her motel door.

Shit, shit, SHIT.

"Oh, no." Making a show of it, she rummaged through the wallet, and then through the pockets of her purse. "I can't find ... Oh, no. Oh, man. I think I left it at the quickie mart at the gas station. I got snacks. Oh, man."

Mr. Friendly wasn't moved by either her keen acting skills or her plight. Staring at her with indifferent eyes and looking like he was anxious to resume his nap, he said the dreaded words: "I need to swipe your card. In case of property damage."

Right. Because if she, say, spilled coffee on the disgusting carpet in this dump, God knew it would be up there with a fire in the Sistine Chapel in terms of human tragedy.

"I understand." She smiled to show there were no hard feelings. "Why don't I give you cash for two nights? Will that cover it?"

Another yawn. "We need to swipe the card. It's policy."

This had been the end of the matter at the last two motels. The insurmountable brick wall that sent her scurrying back to the Tercel with her tail between her legs. But not this time, buddy.

She was at the end of her rope. In the last twenty-four hours, she'd taken her final nursing exam, tapped into her precious secret savings and bought the lemon that passed for a car, driven and hidden said car near campus, then walked back to the used car lot and driven her Mercedes home. There, she'd stayed in her room while Kareem threw himself an impromptu and celebratory dinner party following his acquittal on money-laundering charges, stayed in her room a little while longer while the DEA raided and tossed the house, left her husband for good, and spent the last couple of hours driving around, trying to find a motel that didn't require a credit card and also wouldn't subject her to devouring by bedbugs.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from DEADLY DESIRES by Ann Christopher Copyright © 2011 by Sally Young Moore. Excerpted by permission of DAFINA BOOKS. 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.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2011

    PROTECTED By Desire.....LOVE Perfected in the End!!!

    OMG!!! Ann Christopher does it again! In the sequel to Deadly Pursuit, "Deadly Desire" is not only filled with all the things that makes a book a page turning bestseller like fantastic plot/storyline, filled with suspense, action, drama, sweet romance, and Hot, Hot, Hot, SEX, but also the things that make you go Mmmm. I could not put this book down once I started reading. Overwhelmed with every emotion imaginable, even to the point of feeling sorry for Kareem's mother, briefly...very briefly I have to add, because I was truly satisfied with the end results. The Chemistry between Kira and Brady leaped off the pages right into my heart and soul, and had me praying for healing, redemption and LOVE for them in the end. There is so much more I can say about this book, but I'd rather "HIGHLY RECOMMEND" that you read it for yourself. My one and only desire is that Ms. Christopher will allow Kerry to tell his story and find a LOVE of his own! Truly fabulous book! Well done Ms. Christopher!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2012

    Loved it

    First deadly pursuit then deadly desires. Great plot. Great characters. Love from ashes. Hope there can be another story. Maybe Kerry turns his life around. Or the hispanic hottie in the first book finds true love too. Bring it on. I want more. Loved both books. Buy them and enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2012

    Excellent Book

    Very good book. You will enjoy.

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  • Posted October 21, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Page turner

    I couldnt put it down. Ann did an awesome job, i was on the edge of my seat!

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