Rockfort Security operative Shane Gallagher has been brought into S&D Systems to find a security leak. Confidential information has been stolen, and Shane suspects Elena Reyes, a systems analyst with the access and know-how to pull it off. As he finds excuses to get close to her, their attraction is too strong to ignore, but how can Shane trust the very woman he's investigating?
Or Not to Trust
Elena has spent her life proving herself, but now she's risking it all: everything she's worked for, and her growing feelings for Shane. Much as she wants to trust the devastatingly sexy, hard-as-nails investigator, she can't let herself fall for him...the stakes are too high.
Praise for Bad Nights:
"A heart-in-throat thriller and a soul-satisfying romance"-Long and Short Reviews
"Tense and intriguing...a suspenseful, visceral reading experience." -RT Book Reviews
"Absolutely riveting...a brilliant stroke of genius." -Night Owl Reviews, Reviewer Top Pick
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca York's writing has been compared to Dick Francis, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Maggie Shayne. Her award-winning books have been translated into twenty-two languages and optioned for film. A recipient of the RWA Centennial Award, she lives in Maryland, near Washington, D.C., which is often the setting of her romantic suspense novels.
Read an Excerpt
"I don't want to kill you."
Bueno, Elena Reyes thought as she flicked her gaze from the man's eyes to the automatic pistol he held in his hand and back again. Dios, if she'd only gone to the human resources department in the morning instead of after lunch, she wouldn't be in this fix.
She'd been in the front office talking to the receptionist, Lisa Walters, when they'd both heard loud voices in the back.
"That's Joe Duckworth," Lisa had murmured. "He was let go last week, and he came storming in to talk to Mr. Perkins."
As the volume of the altercation increased, the women had exchanged glances.
"Maybe I'd better come back later," Elena had said, taking a step toward the door.
Before she could leave, Mr. Perkins had stumbled into the reception area, with Duckworth behind him, holding a gun.
And now Elena and the human resources staff were gathered together in the reception area, listening to the man's rambling demands. Air-conditioning poured from the vents in the ceiling, making her feel as if someone had pushed her into an open grave. She wanted to rub her arms with her palms to warm herself, but she kept her hands at her sides.
Don't draw attention to yourself. Blend in. Those were rules she'd unconsciously followed since before her parents had brought her to the United States.
The gunman kept speaking in a high, whiny voice that grated on her ears and her nerve endings.
"But you don't understand the position I'm in. What other choice do I have?"
She wanted to answer, but she kept to her previous decision and let him do the talking.
Yes, that was safer. His eyes told her that he wasn't sure what he wanted, although he was prepared to do whatever was needed to get it.
"Everybody stay calm," he said.
Sure, when he could blow them away at any moment.
In the past twenty minutes, she and the other hostages had learned a lot about him. Joe Duckworth had been a loyal employee of S&D Systems for two years after moving to Maryland from North Carolina. His wife had hated living in a crummy apartment in the North so she'd gone back home to her family. Joe had been driving back and forth on weekends, trying to get her to change her mind. That had taken a toll on him, and it wasn't his fault that his work had suffered.
In the past few minutes, he'd switched from his life story to his demands. He wanted his job reinstated. He wanted back pay. He wanted the respect that was due a man of his considerable talents. He'd been on the phone to Lincoln Kinkead, president of S&D. So at least management knew what was going on up here. But the survival of the men and women trapped in the HR department, herself included, depended on a lot of factors.
Had Duckworth already gone too far to back down? Had his wife come back for a visit? Was she lying dead on the kitchen floor? If so, he had nothing more to lose, and this rant was just his way of working himself up to the big moment when he killed himself and took a bunch of innocent S&D employees with him.
Madre de Dios. The Spanish phrase brought a flash of annoyance. She'd worked hard to think in English. And she always did, unless she was under stress.
She risked taking her gaze off Duckworth for a moment, checking out the six other hostages in the room. There were five women and one man. Mr. Perkins, the sixty-year-old head of personnel, and five much younger female employees who worked for him, including Lisa, the receptionist, a slender brunette wearing a white blouse and black slacks. She was the one who looked like she was going to do something stupid. Elena tried to catch her eye, but the woman was staring into space with a fixed expression on her face.
Relax. Just relax. Don't do anything foolish.
Elena repeated the words in her head, trying to project them toward Lisa, but the woman didn't seem to be getting the message.
She made a moaning sound, and as Elena watched in horror, she leaped out of her chair behind the reception desk and ran for the door. Before she reached it, Duckworth shot her in the back, and she went down, her face pressed against the gray vinyl tile floor.
The rest of the captives watched in frozen horror, but Elena couldn't simply leave her lying there.
"I have to help her," she said in a voice she struggled to hold steady. Forcing herself to walk slowly, she crossed the room and knelt by Lisa. The woman's breathing was labored, and blood stained the back of her white blouse.
"We need something to stop the bleeding," Elena said. "She left a jacket on the back of her chair. Someone bring it to me."
One of the other captives brought Elena the jacket, and she folded it up and pressed it to Lisa's back, wishing she could do more for the woman.
"Just take it easy. You're going to be okay," she whispered.
Lisa moaned and turned her head, giving Elena a pleading look.
"Let me find something to cover you." She turned to the woman who had brought the jacket. "Can you apply pressure?"
She gave a small nod.
Straightening, Elena looked around at the anxious faces watching her, then searched for something to use as a blanket.
As she surveyed the room, she flashed back to another time when her life had been in danger. Then she'd been a little girl, with no idea how to save herself. Now she was older and, she hoped, wiser.
It had been back in San Marcos, where her family had lived before they'd come to the U.S. as political refugees eighteen years ago.
It had happened on one of the local shopping days, which was nothing like shopping in North America.
She and her mother and brother, Alesandro, who was two years older than Elena, had gone to the open-air market in the town square near their home to buy food and look at the used clothing that got shipped south from the United States. Momma had bought tomatoes and squash, and they were heading for the fish stalls when a squad of soldiers came running through the crowd, shouting orders and pushing people aside. They were looking for rebels who had dashed between the stalls, trying to escape from the troops.
The soldiers found the rebels, and the two groups started shooting.
Momma rushed Elena and Alesandro toward the edge of the market, but at the first sound of gunfire, she pushed Alesandro to the cracked pavement and covered him with her body. Elena huddled next to them, shielding her head with her arms and shivering as bullets flew around them. When the shooting stopped, a lot of rebels lay bleeding on the pavement, along with a few soldiers and some unlucky civilians who had gotten caught in the crossfire.
As soon as the government troops let the shoppers go, Momma whisked Alesandro and Elena home. But Elena would never forget that day. Not just the terror of the gunfight but the knowledge that her mother had been focused on saving her son-not her daughter.
Until then, Elena had sensed only that her brother was more important to Momma and Papa than she was. The gun battle at the market left her with a sharp pain in her stomach.
After that, her parents began making plans to get out of San Marcos. When she listened to them talking in low voices at night about their arrangements, she couldn't shake the secret fear that they would leave her behind.
But to her vast relief, they'd brought her to the United States with them, where she prospered, always trying to prove to them that they should love her as much as they loved her brother.
Well, that had been early motivation. Later the drive to succeed had been for herself alone. She'd worked hard to learn English, gone to Montgomery College on scholarships, gotten a degree in computer science, and been hired by S&D in the information technology department. She'd already gotten promoted, and outside of work, she'd been doing equally well. She had her own apartment. She was completely self-sufficient. And she'd been able to buy herself nice furniture, nice clothing, and a nice car.
Now the life she'd made for herself might be snuffed out because she'd come up to the HR department to check on a malfunctioning communications link.
Unfortunately, Duckworth had already been in the back, making demands and babbling about why he thought S&D had screwed him.
He was watching her as she crossed to the coatrack, but he was still talking to the room in general. She longed to tune him out, but she forced herself to pay attention to the flow of words, listening for clues to his state of mind. As she returned to Lisa with a raincoat, he started to pace back and forth, making her think that his mental state was deteriorating.
He moved the gun from his right hand to his left, shook out his wrist, and clasped the weapon in his right hand again.
All eyes were focused on that shift. But as Elena kept her gaze on the gunman, she saw something that made her heart stop, then start up again in double time. Duckworth was standing with his back to the window, and there was a flicker of movement behind him where there should be nothing to see-unless it was a bird or a plane-since they were on the eighth floor of the S&D building.
As she stood with her breath shallow in her lungs, a face emerged behind Duckworth, a man with medium-length dark hair, wearing a running suit and protective goggles that partly obscured his face. She was sure that only one man at S&D would do something so daring-and crazy.
Shane Gallagher, the new head of security.
He'd been at the company for a few months, and he'd come around to interview a lot of people in the workforce. He'd said he wanted to get familiar with the employees, but she had the feeling he had some hidden agenda that he wasn't sharing. Which was one of the reasons she'd been cautious around him. The other was that she was attracted to him, which was dangerous, as far as she was concerned. He was a tough, no-nonsense guy who reminded her too much of the military officers back home. She should stay away from him. Without being obvious about it, of course, because that would make him wonder what she had to hide.
But now he was here-poised to do something about the hostage situation.
He was hanging on to a rope. With one hand, he pushed the goggles onto his forehead and looked into the room. She saw him focus on Duckworth, then flick his attention to her. Across fifteen feet of charged space, their eyes met. He held her gaze, and she was fairly sure she knew what he wanted her to do-keep Duckworth's attention away from the window. While Gallagher did what?
As he pulled the goggles back over his eyes, her heart started to pound so hard that she felt like it would come through the wall of her chest.
She dragged in a breath and let it out, then cleared her throat.
As soon as she made that small noise, the gunman's attention riveted to her.
She licked her lips, her mouth suddenly so dry that she wondered if she could speak, but she managed to say, "Excuse me."
"What?" he snapped.
"I have to go to the bathroom."
"That's too damn bad."
"This is making me nervous. Couldn't you just let me go to the ladies' room?"
"You're kidding, right?"
Behind him, Gallagher was moving. He held on to the rope and swung away from the building, then came flying back, feet first, the metal tips on his shoes gleaming in the sun as they aimed at the window. She heard a tremendous splintering crash as the glass broke and Duckworth whirled, his gun raised.
She was the only other person in the room who moved as Gallagher smashed through the window, flying at Duckworth like a giant bird of prey, but feet first.
Still, the gunman wasn't going down without a fight. He had a clear shot at the unexpected intruder, but just before Duckworth fired, she sprang forward and leaped onto his back, her weight pulling him down so that his gun discharged below the level of the window.
"Bitch," he shouted as he gave a mighty heave and shook her off. She crashed to the floor as Gallagher fired back, hitting Duckworth at point-blank range.
As Gallagher landed next to the gunman, Elena pushed herself to a sitting position. Turning her head, she saw the security chief bending over the man on the floor, who lay unmoving in a pool of blood.
"He's done. It's over," he said as he got up and addressed the hostages. "Is anyone besides Miss Walters hurt?"
None of the shocked people in the room spoke or moved.
The door burst open, and paramedics ran in, heading directly for Lisa, who still lay on the tile floor where she'd fallen.
Elena watched in confusion. "How did they get here so fast?" she asked.
"You were on audio the whole time," Gallagher explained. "They came up here without making any noise, and they were waiting in the hall." As he focused on Elena, he caught his breath. Coming down beside her, he touched her face. When his hand came away, she saw blood on his fingers.
"I don't think so," she whispered, even as she struggled to figure out if it was true.
"Don't get up yet," he said when she started to stand. He inspected her carefully. "I think it's Duckworth's blood."
He helped her to her feet and kept his hand on her arm as he led her into the hall, then a few yards away into the ladies' room, where he turned on the water in the sink and grabbed a wad of paper towels from the dispenser. Gently he washed her face and inspected her blouse.
"There's blood on your shirt. I guess Lincoln Kinkead owes you some new clothing."
She nodded numbly. Then finally the realization of everything that had happened hit her, and she felt her knees buckle.
Gallagher caught her as she started to fall, wrapping his arms around her and holding her against his muscular body as he stroked his hands reassuringly up and down her back. For a moment she let herself lean into his hard body.
"You did great in there," he said. "Just what I needed you to do."
She was shaking now, and she struggled to bring herself back under control. She should pull away from him, she knew. But she stayed in his arms. "I was scared."
"Everybody was, but you were the one who wasn't afraid to act. You didn't panic."
As she listened to the admiration in his voice, she let her head drift to his shoulder, and her hand anchored itself at his waist. A voice in her brain told her she shouldn't be so intimate with this man. She shouldn't be holding on to him as if they were lovers, but under the circumstances, she thought she was entitled to the comfort. And maybe he needed it too after what he'd done. He'd risked his life to get into that room. That couldn't be part of his job description, but he'd gone ahead and done it.
"You were brave, too," she murmured.
He answered with a rough sound, and she was fairly sure he didn't want to discuss his bravery.
"You heard everything?" she asked, changing the subject.
"Yeah. I was listening in. You told him you needed to go to the bathroom."
She felt her face heat. "I didn't know anybody could hear us, or I would have thought of something else."
"I don't know."
"Kinkead doesn't advertise he's got the building wired for sound. And, by the way, I didn't thank you for jumping on the bastard's back. You probably saved me from being hit."
Someone knocked on the door. Before either she or Gallagher could respond or break apart, the door opened, and Bert Iverson, the assistant security chief, strode in, giving them a long, considering look as he took in Elena standing in Gallagher's embrace. There was something about Bert Iverson she didn't like, something she couldn't articulate.
Elena felt Gallagher stiffen, pretty sure he didn't much like the scrutiny, either. As he eased away from her, she reached out a hand to steady herself against the sink and realized with a start that she and the two security men were standing in the ladies' room. Truly, she didn't even remember coming in here.
"Elena had some blood spatter. We were cleaning her up, and she got a little shaky," Gallagher said.
"Yeah," Iverson answered. He flicked his gaze to the front of her blouse, then back to the security chief. "I thought you were going to get killed, bursting in there like that. I mean, dangling outside the window and then crashing through with those steel-tipped boots. And your bulletproof vest wouldn't have saved you if Duckworth had aimed for your head."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Betrayed by Rebecca York is the 2nd book in her Rockfort Security series. I enjoyed the first book of this series, and was looking forward to reading this. Happily, Rebecca York continues with another suspenseful and captivating action packed story. Shane Gallagher, whom we met in the last book is our hero and from the get go, he is the kind of hero we all want to save us, not to mention, totally swoon worthy. Elena Reyes is our heroine, and she was a sweet and charming one; not the usual kick assed heroines. The story starts with a bang, as while in HR, Elena overhears someone threatening the director, and before she could walk out, they are all hostages. Flying through the window comes our hero, Shane. During the scuffle, Elena manages to help him stop the intruder. What follows is a very exciting story, where Shane and Rockfort Security have been contracted to find the mole in S&D, who is leaking confidential information about a new product. What Elena doesn’t know is that she is one of the suspects, since she works in the IT area, where the leak is suspected. Having been literally thrown together, Shane and Elena find themselves attracted to each other. In a short time, as the danger escalates, someone is after Elena to get them the information they want, and they are threatening to hurt her brother. Shane realizes that Elena is not the real culprit, and works with her to find out who is. In a roller coaster of a ride, at every turn, they are attacked, and barely escape with their lives. Rather than give any spoilers, I will only say that this was an enthralling adventure, with pulse pounding action. Shane, Elena and the other members of Rockfort Security must be a step ahead to find the true perpetrator. There are also some twists along the way. The romance between Shane and Elena started off sweetly, as she was a virgin. But then it became very steamy, as they both could no longer hold back their lust. They made a great couple. Rebecca York does it again with another exciting romance suspense that will keep you turning the pages until you reach the end. I finished this book in one day. I totally recommend you to read this series.
J: Cheesy ending but still a very exciting, suspenseful and even romantic story. I think I'll read another by this author.
Hott Synopsis: Betrayed. Elena Reyes has been betrayed every time her parents chose her brothers safety and happiness over hers. Betrayed. Shane Gallagher was betrayed when his wife chose to sleep in another’s bed. Betrayed. Company secrets have been stolen and employees are turning up dead. Can these two trust each other long enough to stay alive? Hott Review: Like strong males that want a woman who is sweet and tough? This is the book for you! I really enjoyed the suspense in Betrayed. There wasn’t too much of a mystery, but this was action packed and filled with adventure!! There were several areas of steam in this novel, none was very long nor terribly descriptive. This book won’t be for everyone. I believe that some will fault Elena for her actions and believe that she’s weak because of her choices. More… Author: Rebecca York Source: Sourcebooks Casablanca via Grade: A Steam: Adult +, Setting: Maryland Series: Rockfort Security, 2
A pretty good RS book. I enjoyed the turns the book took and didn't see who one of the bad guys was. I was heartbroken by the tragedy delivered ultimately to Elena. One of the things that sort of frustrated/annoyed me was Elena's constant "Oh, I'm supposed to be a good girl because of my upbringing" which was repeated to the point I felt it was a major hang-up, not just her upbringing. Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
While I love a good romance book, this book is so much more than that. The drama and suspense was what really held my attention. I loved the intrigue of not knowing who the bad guy really was. I was pretty sure Shane was a good guy, happy to say I was right. Yet, I was kept on my toes guessing who was really behind the chases and gun fights just to get a program from Elena. The surprise at the end was worth reading the entire book. Shane and Elena’s romance was interesting. I had a hard time with Elena seducing Shane and giving him her virginity so quickly. Also the circumstances of their first time were just off to me. As the story continued I could see more and more how their feelings kept growing. It was also hard for me to believe that Elena would brush off her parent’s strict upbringing at the first hot guy that wanted her. I enjoyed their stories, but a lot of it seemed a little off to me. I enjoyed Betrayed, reading it in less than 24 hours. I would recommend it to someone looking for a quick and easy read.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Betrayed is the second book in the Rockfort Security series. It features Elena Reyes, who works in IT at S&D Systems. Shane Gallagher is brought undercover into the company because someone is after a valuable program. Everyone is a suspect and under investigation, but none more so than Elena, who has the ability & access to steal the information. A harrowing incident at work, they go out to eat a couple times. Shane is attracted to Elena, but doesn't completely trust her. It is put to the test when they are forced to go on the run, in order to discover who is after the revolutionary software... and to save their lives. Fast paced suspense involving a brave, loyal woman and a tough, resourceful man, who go from lusting to loving while fighting against the odds.
I usually really like York's writing style,but for so reason this book just didn't grab me as much as her other books I've read. Maybe it was the way every single thing was described to me leaving me with nothing to imagine for myself. Maybe it was that I never really felt any chemistry between Shane and Elena. And I was completely disappointed with their first sex scene. There was about three paragraphs and nothing exciting about it whatsoever. The dream sex was so much more descriptive. I could never really get to the point where I liked Elena. She was just way too naive and beaten down by her paranoid weird ass family. Shane was all strong silent and distrustful of women, including Elena, but then threw himself at her declaring his love. Just didn't feel it. Saying all that I still read the book and thought it was okay but definitely done before. I'll be reading the next book in the series and really hope its better then this one. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.
BETRAYED by Rebecca York is a fast paced Romantic Suspense. #2 in the "Rockfort Security" series, but can be read as a stand alone, with re-occurring characters. See, "Bad Nights". Shane Gallagher, Rockfort Security operative, and sent to investigate S&D Systems, due to a security leak. Elena Reyes, a systems analyst, who is suspected of stealing confidential information. What will one due to protect a sibling, deserving or not? All is not as it seems. Trust or not to Trust, that is the question! Fast paced Romantic suspense, thrill ride from beginning to end. Ms. York holds the reader in suspense while she weaves her way around passion, danger and the mystery of stolen information. With just the right amount of romance, sensuality, trust, secrets and danger, you can't go wrong with "Betrayed". Loaded with tension, action and compromise. The characters are enduring, engaging and captivating. The storyline is intriguing as well as suspenseful. Well done! I can hardly wait for the next installment in this fast paced, action packed suspense tale of intrigue and romance series. Received for an honest from the publisher. Rating: 4.5 Heat Rating: Mild Reviewed by: AprilR,courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
Betrayed is a high velocity story based around corporate espionage. Shane Gallagher and his firm is hired to uncover the person(s) responsible for stealing company development secrets. Elena Reyes is in the perfect position to be the person behind these thefts. Shane is magnetically drawn to Elena and his interest isn't just as a suspect. But the deeper he digs the more the clues point toward Elena. Guns blaze and someone will stop at nothing to get the next best program technology even if they have to kill, betray and blackmail to get it. Although there is quite a few repetitions in the characters thoughts, both Shane and Elena had some other character issues as well. Shane has serious emotional damage that created major trust issues while Elena is portrayed to have extreme intellect but also an uncanny naivete. That didn't really work for me, you can't be that naïve and be that smart. My biggest character connection issue was the instalove relationship. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed the guns blazing, running for your lives, solve the mystery before your doomed plot. You can't help but be caught up in the fast paced, action packed, explosive scenes. Betrayed definitely provides the bang for those of us who enjoy a high speed adventure. I give Betrayed 3 1/2 action stars.
Usually I don't pick up a novel that is in the middle of a series if I haven't read it's predecessors. But I made an exception for this one and I'm glad that I did. And this is the first book that I've read by Rebecca York ... I'm now looking forward to more things from her. At least the next in this series. First, I was REALLY impressed with the beginning sequences. She used the word blood spatter. Spatter. Unlike most authors who use splatter or splash or whatever. Hey, don't shy away now, this is just a small part. Very small part and not the focus of the book but it was the use of the correct term that made me love the author in the first handful of pages. Don't look at the screen all weird, wondering why I'M weird. My dad was a criminalist (crime scene investigator) when I was growing up and I had a totally un-normal childhood because of it. For one of my science fairs, I did bullet identification and at another one, blood spatter. Yeah, it was creepy. My teachers probably thought that I was psychotic. But it's what I grew up with ... heading to Dad's lab to check stuff out. Anyway ... that's why I was so impressed with the correct words. It really had no influence on my rating, but I was tickled, so I wanted to mention it. Okay, let's see ... I really liked the characters. You really got to know where they came from and why they act like they do and all of that. There were some times that I thought their rationalization for some actions were a little shallow. I think that some scenes could have delved even further ... gotten grittier. But it didn't ruin the book. There were a few surprises, for the most part, I kind of picked pretty much everything out. If you can still enjoy a novel when you know what is going to happen, that says a lot. I really wish that we could have gotten to know some of the secondary characters a little more - I would have been okay if the novel had stretched out a little longer so that I had a bit more background. All in all, this novel got me interested in the series and I'm pretty interested in reading the next one and pretty much anything else that York comes out with.