I loved her. She left me. She betrayed me but now it's time to open the closed doors. I'll tell her my secret if she tells me hers. Our history, is more than lies. It's our story, and I will do whatever it takes to reveal it all. I'm the Assassin, She's The Poison Princess. We're going to kill the bad guys, but we're still deciding if we're enemies. The one thing for certain, is we're both going to strip down and get bare.
***Part two of the sexy, thrilling three part Poison Kisses serial****
About the Author
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is the author of the highly acclaimed Inside Out series. In addition, both her Tall, Dark and Deadly series and The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series spent several months on a combination of the New York Times and USA Today lists.
Since beginning her publishing career in 2007, Lisa has published more than 40 books that have been translated around the world. Booklist says that Jones's suspense truly sizzles with an energy similar to FBI tales with a paranormal twist by Julie Garwood or Suzanne Brockmann.
Prior to publishing, Lisa owned a multi-state staffing agency that was recognized many times by The Austin Business Journal and also praised by Dallas Women Magazine. In 1998 LRJ was listed as the #7 growing women owned business in Entrepreneur Magazine.
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Amanda and I sit in the lounge of the private jet carrying us from Vegas to Texas, facing each other, Amanda's Oriental Shorthair cat, Julie, in a carrier that is buckled into the seat next to her. The end of that damning voice mail from Amanda's dead mother lingers in the air between us now, echoing in the hum of the engines. Hours of running from our enemies is apparent on my blood-stained jeans and a borrowed T-shirt that covers the bandage on my arm, the wound beneath it left by a bullet. Amanda is not much better for the wear, having replaced her skirt and blouse for a pair of souvenir store sweats, her long blonde hair wind- blown and tangled. The craziness of the past eight hours led us here, to this plane, to that call that takes us back to the past, to three years ago when we'd both received a phone message at almost the same moment. My call had been directly related to Amanda. Her call, the one that she just played for me, was a warning about a kill order on Amanda's head, which named her assassin as me.
"What were your orders?" Amanda asks, repeating a question she's already asked but I have yet to answer.
I stand, and by the time I'm on my feet, Amanda is on hers as well. Our actions and skills are not what pit us against each other as trained killer to trained killer, but rather, the circumstances do. Instinctively, I know she does not want to kill me, at least not now, and I have no doubt she knows the same of me. We both want answers. We both want to fuck again, and we both wish like hell we didn't. My hands come down on her waist, and I use my bigger body to turn her. In a few steps, I have us in the tiny hallway behind the seating area, her pressed between me and the wall.
"My orders mean nothing," I say. "You leaving, you running instead of trusting me, does." Her hand closes down on the butt of my gun and my hand immediately covers hers. "You don't want to do that."
"Don't I? Because I'm really thinking I do. When did you accept my kill order? Before or after you fucked me night and day for three straight months?"
Anger ripples through me and I shackle her wrists and not gently, pulling them between us and pulling her to me. "If you believed we were a lie, then that's about guilt and a crime. That's not me. That's not who we were."
"My mother named you, Seth Cage. You. No one else. Just the man in my bed."
"Someone inside the CIA leaked my identity as the intended contract holder before I ever got the call. That means nothing."
"But you taking the order means everything and we both know you took it."
"If I didn't take that order someone else would have. And I would have told you I held it. You should have come to me."
"So that you could kiss me, and make me believe you loved me, long enough to kill me?"
"I would have kissed you and proven that I loved you."
"Love," she says dryly. "Right. You said you loved me and that makes it all better." She doesn't give me time to respond. "Why did the agency tell you to fuck me? What did they want?"
"You were never my assignment. Ming was, just like he was yours."
"You keep forgetting that I now know that you were always the Assassin. You can't tell me that I wasn't paired with you without the intent of you killing me."
"Exactly my thought when I got that call. Why did the agency turn on you? And what happened to make them do it when we had Ming within a hair's reach?"
"I have no idea. I did nothing but serve my country from the day I was born."
"And yet, when you were in trouble, you ran from me."
"You held my kill order."
"And I seem to remember you once telling me you'd trust me with your life."
"You, Seth. Not the secret assassin I didn't know you to be."
"If you really believed I betrayed you, you would have come at me."
"You had months to plan my murder. I had moments to digest the fact that you not only betrayed me, and fucked me over and over, quite literally, but you also held the kill order for me and my parents."
"I told you, I took that order so no one else would get it. And they didn't offer me your parents' order. I called in after I dealt with Ming, and tried to get it, but they said they were already dead."
"Wait. You're telling me that my parents died the night I left you?"
"Yes. They did."
"Then no. They are not dead. My mother left me another message seventy-two hours after that order was issued. I have the recording."
"Have you talked to her since?"
"No, but I expected that. Ghost protocol means we fake our deaths."
"But you didn't fake yours," I point out.
Her chin lifts, her gaze colliding with mine. "Maybe I wanted my would- be assassin to show up so I could face him. So he had to face me."
Something sharp and hard cuts through me. "I would have been here sooner, sweetheart," I say, my hand sliding under her hair, to cup her neck and drag her mouth to mine, "if you wouldn't have hidden so damn well."
"Maybe I wasn't ready for you. Maybe I am now and I sent you an invitation."
"Invitation accepted, Poison Princess. I'm right here. What are you going to do with me now?"
"Nothing until Franklin's dealt with. Then, we face off. Then we conclude our story."
"Until then, we tolerate each other."
My mouth lowers, lingering a breath from hers. "And how do you suggest we do that? By fucking?"
Her fingers curls around my shirt. "As long as you know your kisses will never make me trust you again."
I kiss her, a deep stroke of tongue against tongue before I say, "And your kisses will never make me trust you again."
I kiss her again, the same deep stroke of tongue before I pull back, letting the taste of her linger on my lips, our breaths mingling. "Did we ever trust each other?" she whispers.
I pull back, my gaze meeting hers. "Yes. We did."
"And now there is none. Now we're enemies. And you —"
"Loved you," I say, my lips brushing hers. "I loved you, Amanda." And with that gut-wrenching confession, my mouth closes over hers once more, and while I don't normally allow myself the dangerous luxury of anger, or hate, I feel those things now. I kiss her with those things in my mind, and on my tongue. I let them bleed into her mouth, bitter and harsh. She betrayed me. She betrayed Danny. She may well have betrayed her country and still, I fucking love her as much as I hate her.
And what I taste on her lips is accusation. She kisses me like I'm the man who betrayed her. Like I'm the man who would have killed her, and it just pisses me off all the more. I tangle fingers roughly in her hair, pulling her head back, forcing her gaze to mine. "It didn't have to be this way. I didn't say I loved you. I did. And you loved me."
"Yes," she whispers. "I did and that kind of emotion is dangerous. I realized that when I heard your name on that recording and didn't know what was real or fake. And if it was real, if I was wrong to leave, then you are asking the same thing. There's no coming back. We will never trust each other again."
"You're right. There isn't. So we focus on the one thing neither of us can fake. Pleasure. Fucking." I lean back, my legs shackling hers, and reach for my holsters, unhooking them. Shrugging out of both, I set them on the seat around the corner to the left. "No guns. Just us."
"Fucking," she says. "Not fucking each other?"
"I'm damn sure going to fuck you, sweetheart. And I'm perfectly fine with you fucking me as long as you do it naked." I snag the hem of her silk tank she'd hidden under a hoodie earlier. "Just remember. Poison me too soon, and my tongue will never get to all the places you like it."
"I'm not going to poison you," she says. "At least, not yet."
I believe her. She won't poison me. Not now. She might try later, but that works for me. And even if it didn't, I still want to fuck her and I'm going to. I tear her tank over her head, my attention shifting to the swell of her breasts in her lacy black bra, my fingers shoving down the material and teasing her nipples. She pants out a breath that I swallow, brushing my lips over hers. "Now we fuck hard and do it again."
"Yes," she whispers and then we're kissing, crazy-hot kissing, drinking each other in, like we're never going to get a drink again. And maybe we won't. Maybe one of us will die before this night is over. But that's how we always fucked and loved. Like there would be no tomorrow.
Her hands shove under my shirt, soft and warm, in that way that I am only warm when this woman touches me, and I tug my shirt over my head, tossing it aside. Her hand comes down on my bandaged arm, her eyes lingering there, the plane shaking around us.
"Amanda," I say, her gaze lifting to mine.
"You aren't invincible. One day one of those bullets will hit the wrong spot."
"Is that another threat?"
"No. It's another reason not to love me."
"I didn't think you needed another reason."
Her hands move to my shoulders, her eyes darkening, unreadable, as her palms flatten on my shoulders. "Let's get back to fucking."
"Yes. Let's get back to fucking."
I reach up and unhook the front clasp of her bra, and she shrugs out of it, my gaze raking over her high, full breasts, her rose-colored nipples puckering with the cool air and my hot stare. My gaze lifts to hers, the collision of our stares electric, but a sudden jolt comes from turbulence that sends my hands to the wall above her head, and her hands to my waist. It's then that I feel the rasp at her finger, which I know to be a film of poison she keeps there. From watching her work, I know that she could use it to kill me with one quick move.
I grab Amanda's hand and hold it up, that poison film now between us. "You wanted me to know it's there."
Her eyes radiate with a mix of challenge and familiar heat. "You already knew it was there," she says.
She's right. I did. Just as she knows that I can kill her before she can ensure I hit the ground, and that idea is darkly arousing. I turn her to face the wall, forcing her hands to its hard surface, my body framing hers. "I can kill you. You can kill me. It was always part of the high that was us, now wasn't it? It turned us both on." My hands come down on hers, my lips near her ear. "You're mine right now," I say, nipping her ear, and not gently. She sucks in air, her body arching into me, not away from me, refusing to give me any sign of submission. "I could do anything to you and you couldn't stop me," I add. "Are you afraid of me, Amanda?"
"I'll kill you before I fear you."
"But I'm the Assassin, remember? You ran from me."
"I left you. That's different than running."
She's right. It is. And I don't know which premise I dislike the most. Her running or her simply choosing to live in that shithole of an apartment like the fugitive she became. Like a woman with something to hide, something I may not like. Shoving aside that premise, I focus on exactly what I said I'd focus on: fucking her before she gets the chance to fuck me again.
Snagging the waist of the sweats she bought in the souvenir shop when we were on the run earlier, I squat down, dragging them down her hips, her thigh-highs from the skirt she'd worn earlier still in place. Wrapping my arms around her waist, I lift her, shoving aside the sweats, and with a little extra effort, I slip off her sneakers with them.
I set her down, and turn her to face me, my hands bracing her hips. My gaze meets hers as I grip her panties. "I wonder if you still taste like my kind of poison." I rip away her panties, and I don't wait for a reply. I lick her clit and she breathes out, her lashes lowering, hips arching. My cock thickens, but I deny her what she wants, what I want, which is my mouth on the most intimate part of her. Instead, I press my lips to her belly, my gaze lifting to hers, and when she offers me a heavy-lidded look of anticipation, I say, "I'm not ready to find out just yet."
"Yes," I say. "It is." I stand up, my hands caressing a path up her body, until my palms cup her breasts. "But we both know that's how you like me."
She gives a tiny pant, her hands covering mine. "I really hate that I want you right now."
I tangle fingers in her hair, dragging her mouth to mine. "Show me. Show me this hate you feel for me."
And I'm not sure who moves then, me or her, or both of us, but our lips collide, our tongues tangling, stroking, but it's not hate I taste. It's not anger I feel anymore. It's that something, that indescribable something, that is what happens between us. Drugging and addictive, it tastes and feels like every sin I should run from, but can't help but indulge in. And when I tear my mouth from hers, when I pull back to look at her, the impact of our connection is a force like none other in my life. I feel this woman in ways I never wanted to feel another human being. I want to fuck her. I want to protect her. I want to own her. I want to watch her come while she pants out my name.
I reach down and tease her nipples again. Her lashes lower, her hand going to the back of her neck, in her hair, just one of the sexy, familiar things she does when she's aroused. I lean in and kiss her neck, tugging her nipples now, and when she moans, that sound tells me a story that is about more than pleasure. It's about how easily she gives herself to me now, when that wasn't always the case. It's about inherent trust she might deny, but it exists. It's about her daring to surrender to me, us, and whatever comes next is a prelude to me demanding more from her, now and later.
I pull back, wanting to see that heavy-lidded look again in her eyes, the look that I know follows surrender. Her hands go to my arms, her gaze lifting to mine, a flicker of something sharp in her eyes, here and gone, before she says, "Seth Cage. The Assassin." And I see that reaction for what it is: She's trying to pull herself back from that surrender. Reminding herself not to trust me.
And I'm not going to let that happen.
I cup the back of her head. "The only assassin you'll ever know," I say. "The only one that will ever get the chance to kill you."
"You always were a romantic," she replies, her hand flattening on my chest.
"Your kind of romantic."
"More like my personal poison," she says, but before she's ever finished the words, I'm kissing her again, maneuvering us out of that hallway and into the lounge area, but we don't stop kissing. I'm undressed in a few shoves and tugs, and then I mold us together, three years between us, but nothing else. I sit down on the bench as I had that first night we met and fucked on the plane. She straddles me, hands on my shoulders, our foreheads coming together, and for several beats, or a minute, or longer, we linger there, breathing together.
"I need —" I begin.
"Me, too," she whispers.
We're not talking about fucking, but about each other, the past, the way we were, but we're lost and I don't know if we can be found. I just know that I need to feel her close. I need to be inside her and I wrap my arm around her waist to lift her. My free hand grips my cock, pressing it to her sex, and inside her. Wet heat consumes me until I'm buried in her, and when we look at each other, a world of hate, love, and damage radiates between us, somehow all as right as it is wrong. But then that is how it always was for us. Right. Wrong. So damn right.
"Deja vu," I say softly, hands settling on her waist. "The past comes full circle. Right back where we first started fucking each other." And again, I'm not talking about sex.
Her lashes lower. "I hate so many things about this moment," she whispers, her voice tormented, her expression all shadows and secrets.
I slide my hand under her hair, my hand cupping her neck, her pale green eyes opening, meeting mine as I ask, "But do you hate me?"
Her answer is no answer. She presses her lips to mine, and what I taste on her tongue is still not that hate she claims. It's not the accusation of past kisses. It's that need we've both proclaimed. The kind of need that demands satisfaction but can't be sated. The kind of need that I felt every day since she left, and that every woman I fucked since couldn't satisfy. The kind of need that feels like it's a part of you, like your next breath that saves you, but in another moment, steals it away. And so you draw in another and another. And that need, that all-consuming need is what takes hold of us, the pulse behind every touch and kiss, but this is not the wild fucking I thought I'd craved. It is intense, every touch, a collision of my need and want. Hurt and betrayal. Desire and lust that builds and builds, a fire that begins to rage, turning into something that is wild, primal.
Excerpted from "Poison Kisses Part 2"
Copyright © 2018 Lisa Renee Jones.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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