"Kate SeRine knows how to pack a punch!" --Donna Grant, New York Times bestselling author
Luke Rogan's assignment is simple: secure young Elijah Scoffield and his mother and bring them back to headquarters--just an ordinary mission for an operative of the Dark Alliance. But Elijah is no ordinary kid. He's the grandson of one of the country's most influential politicians--a man privy to the Alliance's most valuable secrets, including its centuries-long connection to the Knights Templar. And someone else is attempting to capture the boy--someone who's proven he doesn't give a damn about collateral damage. . .
Heartbroken at the lies that tore her world apart, Sarah Scoffield will do anything to protect her son--even if that means teaming up with a deadly stranger. But Sarah soon finds herself falling in love with her dark hero. And as danger stalks ever closer, the fiery desire that claims them awakens in Sarah passions she'd thought dead and buried long ago. . .
"A rising star in romantic suspense, Kate SeRine combines action and romance to deliver a dark and sensual story that will keep readers turning the pages. Deceived is must-read." --Cecy Robson, 2016 Double-Nominated RITA® Finalist for Once Pure and Once Kissed
"One hell of a story." --The Romance Reviews on Grimm Consequences
"SeRine takes her lucky readers on a nonstop thrill ride!" --RT Book Reviews
"A fabulous kick off to the new Dark Alliance series by the always imaginative Ms. SeRine!" -- The Romance Reviews (Top Pick)
"This sexually-charged, action-packed romantic thriller is the introduction to an intriguing series sure to wow not only romance lovers, but suspense, mystery, and thrill seekers as well!" --Happy Ever After Romance Book Reviews
"Ms. SeRine writes an amazing story that is full of suspense, twist and turns, darkness, and romance." --Alpha Book Club
"This was a great suspense filled romance!" --Romance Book Reviews For You
"High suspense, flammable chemistry and amazing characters pack this addicting page turner. I loved Deceived. It had the perfect balance of story, steam and heart!" -- Tome Tender
"I am already anxiously waiting for the next book in this series!" --Robinson Reviews
"Ms. SeRine writes an amazing story that is full of suspense, twist and turns, darkness, and romance." --Alpha Book Club
"I love action-packed and well-written suspense and Ms. SeRine brings it in spades. . .It's high octane action from the very beginning." --The Sassy Bookster
"This book has it all . . . mystery, suspense, romance, and danger. It had me sitting on the edge of my seat." --Behind Closed Doors
"Hot in and out of the bedroom!" --Books That Hook
"SeRine managed to give me a suspenseful thriller perfectly balanced against the steamy, adorkable romance." --Caffeinated Book Reviewer
"Deceived is a suspenseful, mysterious and dark story that hooks you fast. . .If you are looking for a romantic suspense with an edge, this book is a great pick!" -- Francoise's Reading Corner
"Deceived will hook you from the first sentence, luring you in by the end of the first chapter and leaving you captivated until the very end." --Angela's Reading Cave
"Romantic suspense at is finest." --The Book Junkie Reads
"Murder, mystery and suspense with a good dash of romance and sexy times. I love this one." -- Scandalicious
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Kate SeRine
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 Kate Serine
All rights reserved.
This son of a bitch is going down.
Luke Rogan casually rose to his feet and tucked under his arm the newspaper he'd been using to disguise his interest in the deplaning passengers. The guy he'd been watching for had taken his sweet fucking time making his way down the narrow tunnel that opened into the bustling terminal, but the wait would be worth it if it meant getting the chance to thin the herd of one more useless waste of space.
God, it felt good to be out of a three-piece Fioravanti and back in the field. He'd spent the last three months sitting in board meetings, shepherding a merger between two of the world's leading technology companies to make sure everything went off without a hitch, but since the deal finally closed just two days earlier, he was itching for action.
He felt an immense sense of pride when it came to his track record as a consultant for Temple Knight & Associates. The status he'd gained as a titan of hardcore corporate negotiations was five years in the making, and he'd earned every damned ounce of that reputation. But it was this aspect of his job, the clandestine consulting arm of the operation, that he loved the most.
And the man about to be the recipient of Luke's more dubious talents couldn't have been a more worthy beneficiary.
The name had taken root in Luke's memory like a putrid fungus. There was no place in society for sick pervs who committed rape on the women who worked for them and called it "job security" and "career advancement." But the reason he'd come onto Luke's radar had nothing to do with those transgressions — although they certainly added fuel to the fire — and everything to do with the guy's habit of selling off top-secret technology to the wrong people, the kind of people who wouldn't think twice about using said technology to take out half the United States just for shits and giggles.
When all the legal channels to take down Richter had proved to be paved with hush money, Luke had received the go-ahead to move in and put a permanent end to the unscrupulous bastard's operations.
As Richter made his way toward baggage claim, Luke followed at a comfortable distance, his small duffel bag slung casually over his shoulder, his sharp gaze trained on the guy's back. Luke kept his pace unhurried, making sure not to draw too much attention. As a six-foot-four wall of muscle with a complexion just a shade lighter than that of his Cheyenne mother, he had a hard enough time blending in.
Apparently, Richter had no such concerns. That cocky asshole swaggered through the airport like his shit didn't stink, clutching his too-expensive briefcase loosely with one manicured hand while the other was tucked in the pocket of his power suit. The only thing missing was a fake New England accent and some Botox. The son of a bitch had some serious bankroll goin' on, that was for damned sure. Apparently, being a coward and a traitor was a lucrative gig.
Luke grunted in disgust and murmured, "I'd be happy to take out this dude just for being a tool."
A quiet chuckle came through the earpiece Luke wore, letting him know his wingman, Jack Grayson, had heard him. "I'm with you there, brother," Jack replied, his smooth British accent belying his deadliness. "Let's get this over with and get the hell outta here."
Luke couldn't help the smirk that curved his mouth. "Copy that."
As soon as he did what needed doing, Luke would board a private jet back to Chicago, leaving no trace that he'd ever even set foot in the Pacific Northwest — and that was just the way he liked it.
God knew there wasn't anyone back home to miss him or wonder where he'd gone. The only ones left who might think of him now and then knew they were better off without him around bringing trouble down on them. At least, they should. He'd told them that often enough.
No, the only people who needed to give a flying fuck about where he was at any given time were his fellow Templars, his by-the-book commander in particular. But he knew that any concern they might've had for his whereabouts was out of necessity, not some sentimental attachment that was just bound to disappoint them anyway.
There was a reason the New Order of Templars that had formed after the Order's dissolution in the Middle Ages called themselves the Dark Alliance. They were a seriously badass group of men who'd pledged their loyalty to the Alliance. Because of the inherent dangers of what they did and the potential danger to the people they cared about, the Templars essentially chose to "go dark," cutting themselves off from nearly anyone and everyone they'd ever cared about in order to serve a greater purpose. Oh, there were a handful of exceptions, but Luke didn't see the point. Who needed the distractions? Having a singular focus suited him just fucking fine.
"You on him, Luke?" Jack asked over the com.
"Affirmative. Headed your way." Luke adjusted his black baseball cap a little farther down over his forehead and grabbed his shades from the inside pocket of his black leather jacket as he followed the mark through the pneumatic glass doors and into the surprisingly bright October sunlight.
Richter was only a few feet ahead of him as Luke's long strides closed the distance between them. Richter hailed the sleek black limousine that was slowly pulling toward the curb and raised his arms to his sides in a gesture of impatience when the driver didn't immediately hop out to open the door for him.
"Here, let me get that for you," Luke said, his deep bass nearly causing Richter to jump out of his skin.
Richter's brows drew together in a frown as he gave Luke the once-over — well, his brows drew together as much as they could.
Richter looked like he was about to say something shitty to Luke, but he must've thought better of it after sizing him up. "Uh ... thanks. Good drivers are hard to find, I guess."
"So I hear." Luke pulled open the door and jerked his chin toward the back seat.
Richter gave him a nervous smile and slid inside, more than a little startled when Luke slid in after him. Luke dropped his duffel bag on the floor and pulled his SIG Sauer from the holster under his jacket in one swift movement, training it on the center of Richter's chest.
"Oh my God!" Richter screeched, not so cocky now. "Please don't kill me! Listen, I'll give you whatever you want!" He fumbled at the clasp of his Rolex. "Here, take my watch. It's worth at least thirty grand."
Luke held up his left wrist. "Got one." When Richter's face went slack, the color draining from his skin, Luke growled into his com, "Move out." The car slowly pulled away from the curb, merging into the other traffic.
Richter glanced toward the divider window, his eyes going wide. "Where's my driver?" he demanded, fear allowing him to suddenly grow a pair. "Who sent you? Was it Moretti? That fucking bastard! I didn't steal his designs. He can't prove a goddamned thing!"
Luke removed his shades and stowed them in his jacket pocket, his SIG still trained on Richter. "I don't know anybody named Moretti, but it sounds like I'm doing him a favor."
"Then what the hell is this?" Richter demanded, his pallor replaced by the blood rising up from his neck, making him look like an overfed tick about ready to pop. Richter swallowed hard and his voice was raspy when he said, "This is about the bullshit rape allegations, isn't it?"
Luke didn't answer right away, letting Richter stew in his fear. Finally he said, "This is justice, Richter. I'll let you figure out which of your fuck-ups is gonna be rectified today."
Luke saw understanding dawn on the guy's face, and wasn't surprised when Richter began to tremble. "Where are you taking me?"
Luke shrugged. "I'm not driving."
They rode in silence for several minutes, Richter's gaze darting from Luke's face to the gun and back again, before Richter finally hissed, "If you're going to kill me, why don't you just get it over with?"
"Hard to talk when you're dead," Luke drawled.
Richter eyed him warily. "So ... you aren't planning to kill me?"
Luke leveled his gaze at him. "Didn't say that."
When the limo finally came to a stop, Luke grabbed Richter by the scruff of the neck, dragging him out of the car. Jack Grayson slid out from behind the wheel and nodded toward the dilapidated boathouse on the eerily deserted wharf. The roof was half caved in, and the stench of rotting fish and mildew was enough to make Luke gag. And if that wasn't bad enough, the squawking of seagulls was like the wailing of disgruntled spirits who'd risen from their graves to seek revenge upon the living. He suddenly found himself thinking about the stories of the little people — Vo'estanehesono — that his mother had told him when he was a child and wondering if maybe there'd been something to them....
It was creepy as shit, even to Luke. Richter had to be pissing himself.
When they entered the boathouse, Luke ducked under the door frame, which had come apart and was hanging at an awkward angle. The remnants of old fishing boats crowded the perimeter of the boathouse, the crafts having been taken apart long ago and used for scrap, making it look like the building had been the site of some jacked-up nautical autopsy. Thick spider webs clung to the rafters, and Luke fought back a shudder when he heard the scrabble of rats scurrying into the shadows to avoid the intruders.
Waiting inside was a man whose hair had once been dark but was now peppered with white. Although Luke knew the man to be in his mid-sixties, the guy still had the bearing of a soldier and the physique of a much younger man.
Senator Hal Blake had traded his combat fatigues for a suit and tie long ago, but he was still a man to be reckoned with. And if he'd taken the risk to show up for the op in person, not bothering to put some distance between himself and the meeting with Richter, there was no way in hell Richter was walking out of there alive.
Luke cursed under his breath and glanced at Jack, wondering just what the hell they'd signed up for. This was more than an attempt to wrangle a confession out of Richter and turn it over to the feds. This was personal.
Beside Blake was a petite woman in jeans and a white button-down, her thick dark hair pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail. If Luke had to hazard a guess, he would've placed her in her mid-thirties, but a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose made her look younger. Her piercing green eyes pegged Richter with hatred so intense, Luke had the impression she wouldn't have hesitated to take out the asshole herself if given the chance.
"Senator Blake," Jack said with a nod of greeting to the man.
The senator's calm, practiced gaze met Richter's. "So this is the man who sold out his country and didn't even have the balls to own up to it." Blake then turned to the woman at his side. "Mr. Richter, I believe you've met my daughter, Madeleine Blake, formerly of the FBI."
"Formerly?" Jack muttered. "What the hell's he talking about, Maddie?"
Maddie? What the hell? How does Jack know the senator's daughter?
"My career's over," she snapped. "Seems my investigation was an embarrassment to the Bureau and they thought I'd be better suited to a desk job. It became apparent very quickly that Richter had gotten to my bosses, too, so I told them to take their dirty money and shove it up their collective asses."
"Listen," Richter interjected, the pitch of his voice higher now that he was backed into a corner. "This is all a big misunderstanding."
Maddie strode forward, her chin jutted, ready for a fight. Richter stumbled back to get away from her advance, but Jack blocked his retreat, grabbing Richter by the back of the jacket and forcing him to face her.
"You pathetic piece of shit," Maddie hissed. "You handed over technology that the government had been developing for decades, plans for defensive weaponry that could've saved millions of lives. Men died protecting that information and you just went and pissed on their graves. How dare you stand there and tell me it was all a misunderstanding? Fuck you!"
Luke jerked back a little when Maddie punched Richter's face.
"Your father asked for justice, Maddie," Jack said, pushing Richter toward her. "And we will provide it. It's your call as to how."
"Listen," Richter blubbered, "I'll tell you whatever you want to know! Just don't —" Richter suddenly jerked, blood spraying both Maddie and the senator.
A startled curse tore from Luke as he instinctively lunged forward to grab the senator and shove him behind one of the skeletal boats for cover. "What the fuck is going on, Jack?" Luke demanded into his com. "Who else knew we were here?"
"Hell if I know," Jack grunted as more shots rang out, splintering the wood near Luke's head. "We need to get Maddie and Hal outta here."
"Copy that," Luke barked. "Head for the car, and I'll cover you." He popped up over the edge of the boat and fired off three rounds in the area where he'd seen the bullets coming from. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Jack and Maddie making for the car and fired two more shots, making sure they got inside before dropping back down behind the boat.
Rapid gunfire tore into the boathouse, sending chunks of wood flying. Time to go. Luke turned toward the senator, ready to grab his arm and pull him to safety, but stopped short when he saw a pool of red spreading across the senator's chest. "Ah, Christ," he hissed. Then into his com: "The senator's been hit. Repeat — Blake's been hit. I need an evac, Jack."
"Elijah," the senator gasped, his chest heaving in panicked breaths. "They'll come for him."
Luke shook his head, not understanding the man's ramblings, and pressed the heel of his hand against the wound in the senator's left shoulder. "Hang in there, Senator."
"That bullet wasn't for Richter." The senator covered Luke's hand with his own, grasping it so hard Luke's bones ached. "Please — they know. They'll come for Eli."
Luke frowned and was opening his mouth to ask who the hell Eli was when he heard the limo's tires squeal just outside the boathouse. "That's our ride," he mumbled instead, grabbing the senator up and pulling his arm over his shoulders. He half-carried the guy out of the broken-down door, keeping low, not surprised as bullets rained down on them, pinging off of the limo. Maddie returned fire, offering what cover she could as Luke shoved the senator into the back and dove in after him.
"They're in!" Maddie yelled, banging on the divider.
The limo instantly lurched forward, the tires squealing and throwing gravel into the air as it sped away.
Maddie dropped to her knees at her father's side and lifted his suit jacket to examine the wound. "We've got to get him to a hospital."
Luke grabbed his duffel bag and tore open the zipper, grabbing the first shirt he saw and wadding it up. Blake cried out when Luke pressed the shirt to his wound. "Hold this," Luke ordered Maddie. When she took over, he rummaged through his bag, quickly locating the field first aid kit.
"What the hell have you gotten yourself into, Blake?" he muttered, waving Maddie back from her father. He tore open the senator's shirt and quickly assessed the damage, checking for an exit wound. The bullet must still be inside him. Luke tore open a packet of quick-clotting powder and poured it onto the wound to slow the bleeding, ignoring the senator's pained cry when the chemicals made contact.
Luke placed a thick gauze pad on top of the hole in the senator's chest near his shoulder and pressed down hard with a glance at his watch to mark the time. "Who else knew you were meeting us here, Hal?"
"Jesus Christ," Maddie hissed at Luke. "Do you really think now is the best time to question him?"
Luke met her gaze, not bothering to sugarcoat it. "Might be the only chance we get. Unless you want to start talkin' for him."
The divider window came down at Luke's angry outburst. "Lay off, Rogan."
"Bullshit!" Luke shot back. "I don't know what kind of grab-ass side action you've got going on with the senator's daughter, Jack —"
"Hey, screw you!" Maddie snapped, talking over his tirade. "My relationship to Jack is none of your goddamned business!"
"— but somebody just took out the guy we were sent to get a confession from," Luke continued, ignoring her. "And then the senator tells me the bullet was meant for him and not Richter. So somebody want to tell me what the fuck is going on?"
Jack glanced over his shoulder at Maddie, who immediately looked away and turned her attention to her father. "Dad, who do you think shot you?"
The senator's face was growing dangerously pale and his eyes were losing focus, but Luke could see him trying to hang on. "They've been hounding me for months," he panted. "Threatening violence if I didn't give them the locations."
"Locations of what?" Luke asked.
The senator's gaze shifted to meet his. "The treasures."
Senator Hal Blake wasn't just a friend to the Alliance; he was one of them, one of their most loyal operatives embedded in the government to help guard the freedoms and liberties that the Templars were sworn to protect. He was also one of the Guardians of the various treasure caches that funded the Templars' operations. If he was getting threats of any kind, why the hell hadn't he said something about it?
Excerpted from Deceived by Kate SeRine. Copyright © 2016 Kate Serine. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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