As the head of a secret government task force, commonly referred to as the “dirty dozen,” Scottie Giardi is as tough as she is professional. But this skilled operative has her hands full keeping Logan Blackstone in check while his brother completes a dangerous mission. Logan is big, strong, sexy, and determined to find the twin brother he’s never met. More amused than intimidated by Scottie’s undercover games, he’s ready to play, offering a taste of sweet temptation in the bargain.
An ex-cop on a deeply personal mission, Logan isn’t about to tolerate interference, even if Scottie is gorgeous and could easily make him forget his business. She may have the upper hand while they’re locked up in his mountain cabin, but the fire in her eyes tells him the desire she feels is real. Their mutual attraction is about to take them into the dangerous, vulnerable places of the heart, where there’s no turning back.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Deep Autumn Heat, Callie’s Cowboy, and About Last Night.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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In the end, it was the Grinch that made her cry.
“This is ridiculous.” Scottie Giardi punched the off button on the remote, tossed her wadded-up tissue on the coffee table, and dragged herself off the couch. She wandered over to the glass doors that led to her tenth-floor balcony and watched the large, wet snowflakes drifting relentlessly downward, blanketing the downtown streets and buildings, promising that tomorrow morning the children of Denver would waken to a white Christmas. Soundless and glittering with light, the city looked even more magical than Dr. Seuss’s Who-ville.
She leaned her aching forehead against the glass. “Bah humbug.” But the catch in her voice gave her true feelings away.
She closed her eyes. The steady beat of her pulse clicked away in her head like an alarm clock, each beat the same, giving no clue as to which tick would be the last one. Then BOOM! One day the bell would ring, and it would be too late.
Too late for friendships. Too late for love. Too late for children. Too damn late.
She turned away and stalked to the bathroom. She didn’t want love. She didn’t need friendships. And she had long ago come to terms with the fact that she would never have children. A hot shower and a cold drink would loosen the tension that had been plaguing her all evening.
As head of a secret government task force, known privately as Delgado’s Dirty Dozen, she was always on call, but they were in the final phases of rebuilding and restructuring the team. The few assignments they were currently handling were all running smoothly.
There was very little chance anyone would need her tonight. The thought made her eyes suddenly burn. She blinked hard several times and yanked on the shower.
The steaming spray beat down on her head, pounded into her shoulders, ran over her face. She tried to relax, but it felt as if every muscle she had was an individual knot. What in the hell is wrong with you, Giardi?
If she hadn’t felt so much like crying, she would have laughed. How many times had she heard those exact words?
The voice that echoed loudest in her mind was her father’s. Followed closely by her late husband, Jim’s. A humorless smile trembled on her lips. No doubt they’d both be amused to know their harsh indictments haunted her in death every bit as much as they’d haunted her when both men had been alive.
She abruptly shut off the shower, snagged a towel, and rubbed her body with brisk strokes. She knew better than to think she could rub away the memories as easily as she could the water droplets, just as she knew she’d keep trying anyway. Especially tonight.
Eleven years. It had been exactly eleven years since her father and Jim had been shot in the line of duty, and she’d yet to feel remorse. Guilt? Yes. Self-recrimination? Boatloads of it. Relief … Oh yes. So much so, she still felt the rush of it now, all these many years and miles later. Which circled her right back to the guilt.
She pulled on a Washington Redskins jersey, then headed for the kitchen. Sipping a glass of chilled zinfandel, she avoided looking toward the balcony doors and flipped on the TV. CNN was always good for a distraction. She hated admitting she needed one.
If she couldn’t escape to some faraway place where they’d never heard of snow, much less Christmas, she could watch it and wish she were there. But instead of finding sanctuary with some hard-edged reporter spouting gritty details of this week’s current country in crisis, Cindy-Lou Who blazed onto the screen, looking up at the Grinch with her wide, innocent eyes. Scottie went to stab at the channel button, but somehow her fingers wouldn’t move. And the screen was all blurry. It took several seconds for her to realize she was crying.
Anger didn’t come to her rescue this time, nor did self-disgust. There was no escape. God knew she’d tried them all.
For the first time in ten years, since she’d left the Metropolitan police force in Washington, D.C., and taken Seve “Del” Delgado up on his lifesaving offer of a place on his special forces team, she had no convenient corner of the globe to run to. Earlier this year, Del had been forced to reveal his background during testimony in a mob trial. For his safety and that of the team, he’d received a new identity, a new face, and had left the team in her hands, never to be heard from again.
Only now did she realize it hadn’t been ten years of freedom, but ten years of escape.
The sudden jangle of the phone made her jump. She swore at herself, then went on full alert as it registered that it was her private office line ringing. Bless you. She moved swiftly to the small office next to her bedroom, shamelessly not caring what emergency awaited on the other end of the line.
With utter relief, she let her mind slip back to her job, dismissing the hours of painful introspection as if they’d never existed. Safe once again in the sanctuary of her work.
She lifted the phone to her ear and waited for the current code to be recited. The code came. It was the voice that delivered it that stunned her into complete silence.
“Giardi, I know it’s a shock to hear my voice, but I’m short on time. I’ll explain later.”
“Del?” Her voice was a stunned whisper.
“Sí,” he responded in his usual clipped tones. “Now listen closely. We have a problem.”
“We?” Scottie straightened, her mind focusing quickly as the initial shock wore off. “We have a problem?” Her tone was just as abrupt. She’d learned more than espionage tactics from the man on the other end of the line.
A short pause followed. “Yes, we.”
Scottie had often speculated that Del was still somehow involved with the team. She’d always had a niggling sensation that he was hovering somewhere, keeping an eye on her and his precious Dirty Dozen. What was left of them anyway. The fact that he had the code, a new one she’d just put into the system earlier that evening before finally making herself leave the office, proved he was doing a lot more than hovering—and from an inside position.
“Pack for Code Yellow, there will be a private transport waiting for you at the airfield on tarmac three.”
Scottie didn’t question the feasibility of flying out of Denver given the current weather system. If Del had a plane on standby, then it could fly her out. “Destination?”
Their caseload was minimal at the moment. They had only three assignments running. One of them was in Montana. Lucas Blackstone was heading it. He was the last original team member still in the field. She stifled the swift pang of envy.
“Situation?” she asked.
“We don’t have a code for this one.”
That got her attention. “Excuse me?”
“Seems Blackstone has a brother. The brother has been searching for him and somehow managed to track him all the way to Montana.”
“To the Brethren? How did this guy find him? Not from Lucas.”
“That’s what we want to find out. And no, to our knowledge Lucas has no idea of this guy’s existence.”
That part didn’t surprise her, but she breathed a sigh of relief. One of the mandatory qualifications for becoming a Dirty Dozen team member was that one have no family, no friends. Invulnerable. “Who fell down on the job then? Why the hell didn’t someone notify me? We could have had the brother picked up before he ever got so close.”
“Well, we didn’t know what was going on at first.”
“There’s that we again. Del, I’m thrilled to hear your voice, but I’m not real happy here.”
“There’s no time to go into that now. The reason we didn’t pick him up right away was because we didn’t know it was his brother. We thought it was Lucas.”
Scottie rubbed her temple. “What?”
“Lucas Blackstone has a twin brother. As in identical twin.” He didn’t wait for her reaction. “Name is Logan Blackstone. He’s a slippery hombre. Way too smart for his good or ours. You know we’re in the critical stages of this mission.”
“Apparently there’s a lot I don’t know,” she said. “I didn’t realize my job came with marionette strings, Del.”
He let loose a string of invectives, all in his native Spanish. She fought a sudden smile. She probably wouldn’t recognize him now if she bumped into him in broad daylight, but there was no doubting he was Seve Delgado.
“You’ll get no apologies from me on this, Giardi. You will get an explanation. But not now. This Brethren thing is going to blow wide by New Year’s Eve. Blackstone sent word out that the cult leaders are planning a Jonestown at the stroke of midnight.”
Scottie’s anger and irritation fled. “But we thought—”
“We thought wrong. The drugs they’ve been smuggling down across the border from Canada aren’t for distribution. They’re for—”
Del didn’t have to confirm. “Normally, I’d say let the crazy bastards kill themselves, including Senator Gladiston’s idiot daughter. But we have an official count of sixteen children. Most under age seven.”
“Sí. We have to get them out. Our original cover of rescuing the good senator’s daughter still gives us the perfect in. If all goes right, we can make everyone happy. I want you to get to Logan and do whatever you have to to keep him the hell out of the way until Lucas wraps this up. If any of the Brethren sight Logan and mistake him for Lucas …” He didn’t have to spell out the implications of having a look-alike blunder unknowingly into such a delicate situation.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book starts out very well. Heroine is the commander of a special forces group (Dirty Dozen - silly name) and she breaks into a cabin to neutralize a possible threat to their most recent operation. This threat is a gorgeous hunk asleep naked in the cabin's only bed. After a brief tussle she injects him with a drug and handcuffs him to the bed. This guy is no dummy and manages to turn the tables on her. In between there is lots of very witty dialogue and I really liked both characters. Somewhere around the 2/3 point when they both start revealing their pasts to each other, it started getting boring and lost its freshness. Too bad, there was lots of good potential. Very steamy too. (Grade: C)
I am the pescration of light. Parents: Helios and ?. Age:14. Wants to become the ruler of everything. Has a light shin compextion. Wepons: The Swoard of Light. Abtties: I able to control light.
Name; Sun Winner. Age; 14 Appearance; Mediam height, blonde hair and blue gold eyes. Pale. Weapons; Bow with flaming arrows, Daggers, and LightningBlade. Godly Parent; Zues and Hera. Other; Ask.
At 'archery wars' res 3
At cafe res 2
Dark Knight Author: Donna Kauffman Published by: Loveswept Age Recommended: Adult Reviewed By: Arlena Dean Book Blog For: GMTA Series # 4 Rating: 4 Review: "Dark Knight" by Donna Kauffman was indeed a good romantic suspense contemporary read. It was the fourth series in concluding to this series. This novel was another one of her well written novels that you will find yourself being pulled into this fast read especially in the cabin scenes, the battle between this hero and heroine(Logan & Scottie) was the perfect foreplay with the perfect background in their developing romance. It starts... "Scottie Giardi took over when Seve Delgado went into witness protection, during Santerra's Sin. Now as head of the secret government task force known as the Dirty Dozen she rarely works in the field. However, on Christmas Eve she receives a very mysterious phone call from Seve warning her one of her operatives, Lucas Blackstone, is in danger. Apparently, the danger comes in the form of an identical twin brother, Logan Blackstone. Scottie's mission is to contain Logan, by any means necessary,...until Lucas completes his mission." The characters are all well developed that will keep you truly entertained only to get a good conclusion to the series. I found "Dark Knight" a good novel that I would recommend as a good read.
ABOUT THE BOOK: A rogue warrior who challenged her to taste the pleasures of surrender. . . He was her mission, a midnight capture she'd trained for, but Logan Blackstone sensed her presence in the isolated cabin--and pinned agent Scottie Giardi to the bed! Utterly primitive, stark naked, and dangerous in every way that mattered, Logan demanded the truth in a voice as seductive as it was lethal. Recklessly aroused by this dark god, Scottie responded with potent abandon, but once he'd claimed her soul, would he keep it? Fierce and mesmerizing, achingly intense and breathlessly sensual, Donna Kauffman's sizzling story of perfectly matched adversaries is one of her wildest--and one of her best! He tantalized her, overwhelmed her, and taught her the exquisite thrill of losing control, but could a woman who never played it safe find sanctuary in this renegade's heart? REVIEW: Ms. Kauffman has the goods and talent to create extremely like-able characters. The beginning managed to capture and ensnare me into pushing forward. The humor was irresistible and the sex appeal simply phenomenal. I loved Logan and Scottie and found myself wishing for these two to get together and loving every bit of build-up. Opening chapter: “He grumbled something, then wrenched onto his stomach as if some invisible force had shoved him. Her mouth went dry. A coil of white linen between his legs was all that covered him. Somewhere she found enough spit to swallow. But she couldn't dredge up a denial. She wanted that sheet gone. In fact, she curled her hands into fists against the temptation to step into the room, grab the sheet and tug it the rest of the way off of him. The man was simply too glorious to be covered. He deserved to be naked. He had the kind of sprawled grace that would make artists of any medium salivate.” Oh. My. God. Enough said? I think so. Now, you may be wondering why if I liked it so much, I’m giving it only 3 and ½ stars. Well the reason is this. We had a good rhythm going, the buildup and suspense was great and then when suddenly Logan is needed to go into an undercover mission? It cuts to several weeks later. I felt cheated out of the story, out of what happened when he went on said meeting and met up with his brother. It was a bit of a letdown, but outside of that, the writing is great and the romance was spot on. I will try out another book of hers and hopefully, this time, I’ll get the full scoop.
Thanks to the publisher, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for the chance to read this! This review contains a small spoiler for #1 book. This is the fourth book in the romantic suspense Delgado's Dirty Dozen series by Donna Kauffman: Dark Knight is a re-issue of a Loveswept Classic Romance #882 originally published in 4/98. Delgado's Dirty Dozen #4 (Scottie Giardi's story). It is a stand-alone story but you will enjoy the others books in the series. Scottie Giardi took over when Seve Delgado went into witness protection, during Santerra's Sin. Now as head of the secret government task force known as the Dirty Dozen she rarely works in the field. However, on Christmas Eve she receives a very mysterious phone call from Seve warning her one of her operatives, Lucas Blackstone, is in danger. Apparently, the danger comes in the form of an identical twin brother, Logan Blackstone. Scottie's mission is to contain Logan, by any means necessary,...until Lucas completes his mission. Logan's father deathbed confession revealed that he had a brother...an identical twin brother. Now Logan will stop at nothing to reunite with his brother. As a second-generation cop he has the knowledge and resources to track down Lucas; he succeeded in tracking him down - only to discover his brother is a member of cult, the Brethren. I loved the cabin scenes, they are well written and pull you into the action. The battle between them is the prefect foreplay - it is the prefect background for their developing romance. This was a good conclusion to the series; even though there were additional character stories she could've written. Who knows...now that these have been re-issued...maybe we will see future installments.
Dark Knight by Donna Kauffman 4 STARS Dark Knight is the 4th book of a series dirty dozen. I did not realize the order of the books till now. I have read them at of order.But they can all be read so far alone. This is a Loveswept classic. Scottie Giardi is now in charge of the Delgado's Dirty Dozen after her boss Del testified in court and had to leave to get plastic surgery and new identy. Delgado's Dirty Dozen is a secret goverment task force. That was started by Seve Delgado. You have to have no relatives and ties to work on the task force. It started with 12 members but as they fall in love they have to stop going out into the field. Scottie gets a call Christmas using the secret code that was just entered and was surprised to hear her old boss Del calling to give her assignment that she needed to do now. She was to fly to Montana even in the snow storm. Her agent Lucas Blackstone was in trouble. Lucas Blackstone was undercover and all of a sudden he is being searched by his twin. No one knew he had a twin till now not even Lucas. His twin Logan Blackstone is hunting him down and found him in Montana. No one should have known that he was in Montana undercover and Logan could get his twin killed if he was not stopped trying to reach him. Logan has to be kept out of the way for 7 to 10 days. Scottie also needed to find out how he got information to find his twin. Scottie makes it to the cabin in Montana and finds him in bed naked dreaming. Scottie goes to try and drug him but he wakes up and tries to stop her. While he is out of commission gets handcuffs on him Logan is not just a former cop and now bar owner. He has secrets and talents that match Scottie. He gets some control over and over until he makes a deal with Scottie. Scottie does not want to hurt Logan but will kill him before she lets him endanger his brother and 16 innocent children. Logan does not want to hurt Scottie but he wants to find and meet his brother his only relative. He suspects that Scottie is goverment issue. (I don't know Lucas's story I wonder if that is a book I missed. would like to know more about his mission.) Thier are a few love scenes in this novel. I would love to read more books about the dirty dozen. I was given this ebook to read in exchange of honest review from Netgalley. 9/10/2012 Publisher: Random House Publishing Group Imprint Loveswept 240 pages