Even good guys need to be bad sometimes . . .
FBI agent Nate McIver hasn’t been able to get sexy, impetuous Maddie Worth out of his mind since the last time he saw her at a wedding. If only she wasn’t his best friend and colleague’s sister. That’s about the only thing that gave him the strength to back away from the steamy encounter they shared. But now
take-no-prisoners Maddie wants his professional help. And with her life on the line, all bets are off . . .
Maddie’s overprotective brother may have had her blackballed from getting into the FBI, but he can’t stop her from conducting her own undercover operation—whether it’s between the sheets with unforgettable Nate and his abs of steel—or on the streets, trapping a notorious drug lord. And when she combines the two, the result is explosive for everyone involved . . .
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|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.48(d)|
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Her hands moved down his chest and trailed over his stomach to his belt buckle, leaving a wall of fire in their wake. His nerve endings throbbed with desire. Her head tilted back to rest against the hotel room door, and her legs parted in the short red sequined dress. He moved closer, his hands shaking with the need to touch her. This was wrong. He shouldn't be doing this. Shouldn't be anywhere near her. Every atom in his body screamed at him to walk away, to resist.
God help him, he fucking couldn't.
"Kiss me, Nate." Her pale pink lips softened, and her cheeks darkened. Her chestnut hair framed her face, the pupils in her dark blue irises dilated. She was a walking wet dream and one that had filled his nights for too long.
He needed to leave. Getting involved with Maddie Worth was a bad goddamn idea. His eyes fell to her breasts, her taut nipples pressed against the material of her dress. His jaw worked and he dragged his eyes up to her full, pouty lips.
"Fuck it," he breathed and brought his lips down over hers. Her hot wetness filled his mouth, making his dick throb. A moan sounded in her throat, sending a tremor through his body. His hands landed on the smooth curve of her hips. He dropped his palms to her thighs and his fingers brushed the bare skin beneath her dress. He lifted her in his arms and her ankles swept around his waist, cradling his junk between her legs. His body hummed, the roar of blood thundered through his ears.
Her fingers threaded in his hair, and her tongue sank into his mouth, moving easily over his. He ground into her, rocking his groin against the thin material of her panties. His dick expanded until it threatened to explode. He wouldn't last long. One, two minutes tops. That wasn't how he'd envisioned a night with Maddie. He wanted to lay into her over and over again, to kiss every inch of her, to make her whimper and scream in pleasure. Not blow his load before he could even get inside her.
He pressed her back against the wall beside the door, and his body sank against her. If he didn't take her now, he would embarrass himself. His tongue molded to hers, and her back arched against the wall, pressing her harder against him. His heart pounded and guilt swirled through his brain.
He was a scumbag. This was the last woman in the world he should be with, and yet she was the only one he wanted.
"God, Nate. I need you now," she panted. Her hips pulsed hungrily against him. He pulled his head away and buried his face in the crook of her neck. The soft, sweet scent of her flowery perfume invaded him. Fuck, he'd never get that scent out of his head. Her hands moved down his back, around his waist and to his zipper. He squeezed his eyes shut until pain surged through his temples.
His hands tightened on her hips, and slowly he lowered her to her feet. With heels on, the top of her head met his nose. Her eyes, wide and wild, flew to his.
"What's the matter?"
He rubbed his hand over his face and shook his head.
"Nate, what is it?" Her fingers dug into his forearm. Goddammit, he'd never left a woman hanging in his life. He couldn't look at her. Couldn't bring himself to see the disappointment in her eyes. She shook his arm impatiently.
"I can't do this, all right? I can't. I'm sorry." He broke out of her hold and unlocked the hotel room door. Her hands slammed into his back, jerking him forward. The shove wasn't hard, but it was angry.
"Are you fucking kidding me? You're walking away?"
He swallowed a ball of self-disgust and focused his gaze on the door. "I'm sorry, Maddie." He opened it and slipped out.
"Nate!" she cried. He pulled the door shut behind him and strode to the elevator. The bright fluorescent lights did nothing to wash away his lust.
But that's all it was ... lust. Wasn't it? He gritted his teeth and punched the elevator button.
He wasn't so sure.CHAPTER 2
Nine months later.
A shiver of disgust rippled over Maddie's skin. Her six-inch heels scuffed across the pavement and her feet throbbed. She scooped her hair off the back of her neck and dropped it over her shoulder. His hands had been all over her tonight — serious progress. But the second she got home, she was going to scrub her skin raw. A horn blared from the dark street ahead and a car whizzed past. The smash of a beer bottled sounded behind her. She didn't turn around.
She dug her hand in her black shoulder bag that matched her skimpy, black dress and pulled out her keys. She enjoyed dressing sexy every once in a while, but prancing around the club with naked dancers on stage and bringing drinks to sleazy punks was not her cup of tea. But she was almost done. She'd spent two months laying bread crumbs, and the stupid oaf was finally showing interest other than wanting to take her in the back room and screw her senseless. She shuddered. One day, she'd have to sleep with Carlos in order to keep up the charade. Her finger pressed the unlock button and the headlights of her sleek, black Mercedes flashed at her.
She opened the driver's side door and her bare legs slid over the warm leather. Goosebumps raced over the back of her neck and she slammed the door and locked it. She swallowed and closed her eyes. This assignment had her on pins and needles. It wasn't like her other investigations in the past. This one was more than just work, more than putting a bad guy behind bars. This one struck a nerve. And if Carlos found out what she was up to ... he would kill her.
An arm closed around her throat from behind her, crushing her back against the seat. Her heart slammed against her breastbone and her fingers gripped the black sleeve that surrounded her. Her chest screamed for air, but not a sound left her mouth.
She wouldn't die like this.
She twisted against the arm, hurling herself forward, but he held her tight. Her fingernails dug into her palm and she shot her fist over her shoulder, connecting with his face. It was enough to loosen his hold. She yanked his arm forward, gripped his fingers, and bent his wrist back toward his elbow. He yelped.
"Christ, Maddie. It's me," he growled.
Her gaze flew to the rear-view mirror. Fiery hazel eyes met hers. Her chest expanded on an exhale and she whipped around in her seat. Her eyebrows snapped down.
"You stupid —"
"Hey, easy now. I was only trying to help you. What the hell are you thinking getting in your car without checking the back seat? Are you trying to get yourself killed? Because that's how easily it could have happened."
Her anger settled to a low simmer. Nate McIver made her blood boil like no one else. He pressed her buttons, teased her, and worst of all, wouldn't touch her with a ten-foot pole. Oh no. Nate was too noble. Too good of a friend to give in to the attraction that burned between them like a flashfire. And he wasn't her friend. Barely, anyway. He was a coward and a jerk ... but he was here. He'd shown up when she'd needed him. The only one she could trust right now.
His dark blond hair was shorter than usual, giving him a more clean-cut appearance aside from the light shadow that grazed his jawline. He'd always looked the epitome of a surfer-boy. Though the longer hair had been sexy, the shorter hair suited him better. He massaged his arm and a grimace drew his brows together.
"You're lucky I didn't kill you," she breathed. She'd been ready to. Her stomach flipped over at what Nate had said. Had it been someone who had wanted her dead, she could have been sporting a bullet wound in the back of her head right now. Maybe her brother Ethan was right. Maybe she was in over her head after what had happened with her last undercover operation.
She set her teeth. No. This was different. She'd been young then, only twenty-three and fresh out of college. Her youth had landed her a rare, early undercover position in the investigation of a college drug bust. She'd slipped up and the dealers suspected her, which resulted in a school shooting. She should have been the only target, but instead six other innocent lives were lost. She'd been shaken and vulnerable and had taken a few months off. But that was years ago. She had many successful missions under her belt during her time in the Criminal Investigation Unit. Now she — and her lieutenant — knew she was ready for bigger cases.
Her experience with the school had only flamed the burning urge to serve and protect. She'd had to work her ass off to prove herself, and now she was a detective with the Narcotics Unit. Ethan still thought she was investigating insurance fraud — he would flip his lid when he found out she'd been sent undercover to Miami to take down Carlos Santiago. The streets of Miami would be cleaner and safer without Carlos's pollution of cocaine getting into the hands of adolescents. Putting him behind bars was her sole mission and she'd be damned if anyone would stand in her way. Nate included. She was getting closer and closer to Carlos by the day, and all she needed was to find out when and where his next drug shipment would come in. Once she had that, Nate's team of FBI agents would ambush him at the hand off — and voilà. Carlos would be put away and she'd be on the fast track to her career as an FBI agent.
Nate massaged his eyebrow. "I'm glad you're on your toes, but you're lucky I wasn't Carlos." The interior light switched on as Nate climbed out of the back seat, shut the door, and rounded the car to the passenger seat.
He stepped into her car and shut the door, cutting off the warm breeze from outside. His scent filled the interior of the car, mixing with the faint smell of new leather and the vanilla air freshener. His cologne was light and woodsy and tickled her nostrils. Her fingers curled into a fist. That scent had haunted her dreams. It was the only memory she had of that night other than pure rage ... and longing. Nate's eyes dropped to her hand on the console.
"Don't you dare hit me again." His eyes sparked playfully at her and his knuckles brushed over hers until her hand opened.
She curled her fingers and pulled away. Hitting him had felt good. But it was the effort it took not to climb over the seat and straddle him that she fought with. He pulled his seatbelt across his chest and clicked it into place.
"I see you're being inconspicuous with your hundred thousand dollar car. Did it ever occur to you that a waitress wouldn't make that kind of dough? And that Carlos might get suspicious?"
Maddie drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. She hadn't expected him to show up tonight. Their agreement had been that they would stay as far away from each other as possible until this was over. Desire swirled in her belly. She didn't need the distraction of Nate any more than he wanted to be around her.
"Yes, I did think of that. I also thought it would be worse if he found out that I have money and didn't tell him. This way, I have nothing to hide."
His mouth twitched. Something sparked in his eyes ... appreciation? As quick as it had appeared, it was gone. The glow from the outdoor lights that lined the concrete building caught the sharp green in his irises. His lips curved, revealing a glimpse of his teeth. Her pulse skidded to a halt. God, she could still taste him. Nine months ago, they'd come inches away from mind-blowing sex before he'd run away with his tail between his legs.
"I see. You're hiding in plain sight?"
He lifted a shoulder. "Could work. Let me know how that goes." His tone dripped with skepticism. "We'd better go before someone sees us. Head down the strip, my hotel isn't far."
Maddie moved her tongue along the inside of her cheek, buckled her seat belt, and started the car. "Didn't you rent a car?" She backed out of the parking spot and turned toward the road.
"Yeah, but I took a cab. Just in case someone saw me with you and got suspicious."
"Why did you come here anyway?" She eased out onto the road. "You hassle me about not being careful, but if someone sees us together it could blow everything."
He settled back in his seat and stretched his legs out. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched his gaze slide over her body. Her knees clenched together and her hands tightened on the steering wheel. She shouldn't want him as bad as she did. Especially when he had blown her off after her sister's wedding. Who did that? Who takes a woman to a hotel room and then runs away? He wanted her. The glint in his eyes whenever he was around told her that. But he was too damn scared of her — and Ethan. She wasn't like most women who occupied Nate's company. Nope. She intimidated Nate and it was probably for the best. If she hooked up with him, the shit would hit the fan. She didn't care, but he sure did. Enough to get her hot and panting and then leave her hanging and in need. That was another thing she hadn't expected from him. Nate was a bit of a ladies' man, so not following through with her really ate at her.
"I figured it was better than coming to your house. Has he made a move yet?" Nate's tone turned hard, and Maddie kept her gaze on the road. Disgust filled her at the memory of Carlos's meaty hand sliding up the back of her dress.
"Yeah, he did. Who would have thought Carlos Santiago has bigger balls than you?"
Nate shook his head. "You can't let shit go, can you?"
She laughed; the sound belied the ache in her heart. "Oh, believe me, I let it go. Your loss anyway."
He groaned. "Dammit Maddie, I wasn't going to bring this up, but you're asking for it. I don't appreciate you blackmailing me into this. For one, I'm lying to my best friend because of you. And two, I had less than a damn month to organize a team for this and I don't even know if we're going to make it happen yet."
"Get your panties out of a bunch, you're not lying."
Nate scoffed. "It's lying when I'm sneaking around with my best friend's sister." Silence hung in the air. Her palms turned damp on the smooth steering wheel. She wet her lips. The light ahead of her turned red and she brought the car to a stop. Slowly, her gaze dragged from the road to Nate. His shoulders were too broad for her sleek sedan. In the tight quarters, he invaded her space, even though every breath he took screamed that he didn't want to be close to her.
Nate's head rested in his hand and he massaged his temples. Guilt washed over her. When she'd called him a month ago, she hadn't given him much choice. Blackmail was a bit of an exaggeration. The light turned green and she brought her gaze back to the road and accelerated.
If you don't help me, I'll tell Ethan we slept together. Her own words echoed through her head. She grimaced, and nausea pitched in her stomach. Okay, so maybe it had been blackmail. She hadn't meant to put that on him, but she hadn't been serious ... well, not really. Besides, the delicacy of the case had made it risky to let the FBI in on their investigation too soon. Lieutenant Jack Davis had wanted to use his own contacts, but she'd insisted on working with Nate. There was no way in hell she'd trust anyone else in the FBI. The people within Carlos's circle were like a scattered basket of snakes. One could be lurking anywhere at any time.
An apology burned her tongue like a match. "You're the only person I felt comfortable asking for help." Heat crept up her chest at the admission. It was as close to an apology as he would get from her.
Nate moved beside her and her body tightened. "You felt comfortable because you knew I couldn't say no?"
Her patience sizzled. "No, damn you. You're the only person I trust other than Ethan, all right? And we both know how he would feel about this."
"And he's right. He'd fucking kill me if he found out I went behind his back."
Maddie rolled her eyes. "For god's sake, where did this conscience come from? I'm a grown woman, I don't need my brother's permission for anything — nor do I need yours."
"Yeah, I know." He sighed. "Fuck, we can't last five minutes without arguing."
A lump hardened in her chest. Was that why he kept her at arm's length? She wasn't one of the frilly bimbos that normally filled his bed. She was strong-minded and sharp-tongued, and not many men could handle it. Was it the same for Nate?
He shifted in his seat again and rubbed his hands together. "All right, enough of that. We're here now, and the sooner we get this shit done the better."
Nate's hand closed around her bicep and gave her a light shake. "See, look at that, we agree on something." His words took some of the bite from his last ones.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Exposed"
Copyright © 2019 Samantha Keith.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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