Who would’ve thought that a British hitman would fall in lust at first sight with an American felon? It could become deadly for both.
Aiden Moriarty is a Florida ‘herbalist’ who works with a performance-enhancing drug used by many athletes. One of them is baseball star Ivan Salerno, who was caught using the drug and is now on the brink of getting suspended. Because of Ivan’s connections with a rogue mob boss, Aiden is taken into a witness-protection program, working along with baseball higher-ups until he testifies.
The mob boss, Augustine Ora, has hired former British military officer and his best hitman Devlin ‘Brit’ Crawford to do the job. Ora has instructed Devlin to go to Miami, kidnap Aiden and take him to the local airport to be transported to Havana, Cuba, to be executed by Ora’s top officers.
However, when Devlin receives the email, the pictures of the blue-eyed felon catch his eye and he is moved to go in a different direction. Instead of delivering Aiden to the airport, he has thoughts of taking him away and saving him from Ora’s wrath.
This move puts himself and Aiden, as well as his assistant, Miranda Ashley, in huge danger. Will Devlin keep Aiden safe despite the odds, or will he fail, causing Ora and his men to come after him?
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Copyright © Michael Mandrake 2015. All Rights Reserved, Totally Entwined Group Limited, T/A Pride Publishing.
London, England, 8.55 p.m.
“I s’pose we’re done here?” Devlin Crawford leaned back in his chair, facing his boyfriend—or make that ex-boyfriend, since he’d taken him out on a date specifically to break up with Devlin.
William Gather looked sheepishly away from Devlin, not meeting his gaze. “Look, I’m sorry, Dev. I can’t handle you being gone all the time on these secret jobs. It’s killing me not knowing what you’re doing or who you’re doing it with—”
“Who I’m doing it with?” Devlin burst out in hysterics. “Are you jealous, William? If you are, you shouldn’t be. In all honesty, most blokes are afraid of me. They think because I’m a tall, well-built black man I’ll pummel them after I plow their arses into the nearest leather sofa. And then they hear me speak and find out I’m college educated, making a little over six figures doing”—he hesitated to say more—“whatever the fuck I do, but none are even remotely interested. Like I say, I give off that aura of fear and intimidation, but I’m neither of those.”
To distract himself from the lie he’d just told, Devlin reached for the bottle of fine white wine and poured a glass for William then for himself. “You’re being absolutely ridiculous, but if you’re telling me you want to leave me because of my job, suit yourself. I will do nothing to stop you.”
William’s face pinked and he accepted the drink. He swirled his glass around, seemingly thinking about what Devlin had said to him. “I don’t think I am, Devlin. I care for you a lot, but you’re gone weeks on end and you can’t even tell me where you are.”
Devlin rolled his eyes and his mouth tensed. He’d hated it when this conversation had come up with any of the guys he’d dated in the past. “I explained this to you before we started seeing one another. My job is top secret and I can’t reveal much for fear anyone around me might be affected—and not in a good way.”
William sighed after taking a long sip. “Well, I can’t handle that, Devlin. I want us to have total open communication throughout the relationship. You’re gone too often. You can’t talk about where you are. You don’t call much and when you do it’s like speaking in code or something. I can’t handle that anymore, Dev.”
“Then leave.” Devlin glared at William from across the table and finished his drink. No way would he be upset about his relationship failing when this man was being totally unreasonable. Besides, he had to talk with the boss again to go over his next job—kidnapping a certain someone in the States and taking him somewhere so they could do whatever the hell they wanted with him. No doubt something involving drugs, and he’d mentioned being paid handsomely. Who needed a man when he could buy one for a night or two?
“Fine.” William rose from the table, throwing a couple of notes down. “Goodbye, Devlin, and don’t bother calling me back because I won’t answer.” He stormed away from the table in a huff.
“Bye.” Devlin saluted William mockingly, shook his head, then glanced at the notes on the tablecloth. “You’ve always been such a cheap bastard, William Albertson.” Devlin plucked a couple of bigger ones from his pocket and tossed them on top of William’s offerings. “We didn’t even get to have dinner, but I suppose it doesn’t matter.” Devlin scooted the chair in the opposite direction and got up, buttoning his jacket.
“Sir, sir, um…” The waitress called out to him, looking perplexed. “You and your partner aren’t dining this evening?”
“No, ma’am, we are not. Just consider this a nice tip for a job well done on your part. Keep the rest of the money for yourself, luv, and a word of advice… Don’t get involved with cheap men. They’ll take advantage and leave you when they don’t get their way.”
Devlin winked at the young woman and heard her sigh as he walked toward the door of the fancy establishment.
I’ve still got it.
Devlin smirked to himself and adjusted his scarf around his neck to protect himself from the damp evening air. Once he’d made it to the exit, the strong wind gust nearly blew him and the door away.
“Bloody London.” Devlin clicked his tongue against his teeth and glanced up at the heavy amount of gray clouds in the sky. He hadn’t turned on the television to watch the weather, but by the looks of it, a heavy rainstorm was about to occur.
Devlin hadn’t driven, thinking he would be spending the night with William prior to returning to his loft to pack for his next trip. Now, with those plans foiled, the most important thing was to get back to his place without getting soaked.
Just as the first few drops fell on his head, Devlin placed two fingers in front of his lips and whistled for a cab. When he put his hand out, one rounded the corner, nearly splashing him with the excess water in the gutter.
Devlin hopped back and frowned. “Watch it!”
The cab driver rolled down his window. “Sorry, sir. Where ya off to?”
Devlin hopped in, closing the door behind him. “Meranti House on Lehman Street, please.” Devlin recited his address and brushed the small pellets of water off his overcoat.
“Right away, sir.” The driver seemed to perk up when he heard Devlin speak of the nicer location. People were always surprised when he said he lived in one of the most affluent spots in London. Even more so when he pulled out the large wad of bills folded inside a gold money clip.
Devlin had long tired of people misjudging him because of the color of his skin as well as his muscular build. Immediately, they assumed him to be a poor thug from the London ghettos instead of the child of a wealthy businessman.
That was the thing about his current position with Boss O, as he called him. He made no assumptions and he knew Devlin’s talents as a weapons expert along with his propensity to perform tasks without getting caught. Augustine Ora acknowledged Devlin as an intelligent bloke, and he used it to benefit them both. Devlin liked that and he appreciated being called his head honcho because he liked to feel needed.
That, along with various other tasks Ora asked him to execute, made Devlin’s days a lot easier to deal with. It also filled the void of not having a solid relationship with someone, something that had eluded Devlin for most of his adult life.