Evanne Lorraine
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Teaser Tuesday

December 1, 2009 | Teaser Tuesday

A little later this month Wicked Business releases. Just for dangerously sexy fans here’s the first peek at the unedited first chapter….

DJ went by her initials because she flat out hated her name. Desiree Joy made her sound like some kind of party girl. Dangerous Justice would’ve been a much better fit for her initials. At least in her dreams.

She was all about serving her country, fighting the war on drugs, and making a difference. Maybe, her reasons were more personal than noble. But, that was totally her business. The only snag was that she was still waiting for a chance to prove that she could handle an important assignment.

Her determination had nothing to do with a superhero complex and she wasn’t a bleeding-heart do-gooder. Not even in the same area code. She still lived in the rundown flat where she’d been raised–on one of the meanest street in New York.

A talent for languages had gotten her foot in the door with DIE (Domestic Intelligence Emphasis), the hardcore homeland branch of the CIA. Recruited by the agency right out of college, she’d sailed through training with excellent evaluations.

Fast-forward three years, she was still translating phone conversations, emails, and occasionally an honest-to-God document.

For added thrills, now and then she got loaned to the forensic accounting team when the financial records were in Portuguese, Spanish, or French. Her lowly role provided a steady stream of dull with some boring tossed in to keep things from getting too predictable.

The reality, at least for her part, of the spy biz was zero glamour and less excitement. Sure, the work was important, but it was still a hell of long ways from kicking dangerous criminal butt.

She’d never risked anything more than eyestrain, paper cuts, and a spreading ass from pouring over transcripts and sitting in staff meetings. Stubbornly, she worked on her field craft skills in hopes that someday she’d get out of the office.

When she’d first started at the agency’s local branch, she’d fully expected to hot sex to be part of her exciting new life. Somehow, three years had vanished without a single dangerous lover.

Not that she’d expected to get to be super-spy-girl right away. But, more of the same had gotten old. Worse, the rut was starting to look like a permanent career–an endless track of never going to be anything special.

Finally, she’d been sent to the field. The assignment was not exactly exciting. She worked second shift on a standard surveillance op, viewing live video of a suspected drug dealer and money laundering low-life.

Nothing had really changed, except the scenery.

The scenery was excellent. Too excellent. Now, she had new problems.

With her nose pressed to a virtual window, she ached for a man she shouldn’t want, and could never have. Crushing on criminal was beyond stupid. Career killing choice came to mind. Crazy fit so well she was getting edgy about her own sanity.

Just watching seemed safe enough. Fat chance she’d get to do anything else. Her boss had flat out told her the only reason she’d been assigned to the case was because she was one of only a handful of agency employees, who spoke Portuguese.

Still, spying on Eduardo was totally a step up from paper pushing. Watching him was definitely not a hardship. The man was all prime male flesh, muscle, and bone. To her disappointment, during the week that she’d been viewing the live feeds of his apartment and office, nothing exciting had happened.

Agency scuttlebutt had it that the man’s dirty deeds and criminal actions all happened off-camera at a private club. None of the DIE hotshot field agents had succeeded in breaching the club’s security. Though, not for lack of trying.

The laptop’s screen glowed to life, switching off her wandering thoughts. The motion activated video cam, turned on when the subject returned to his office. DJ sat straighter, focusing on the laptop’s display as he shrugged out of his jacket. She fought for professional detachment, but illicit excitement bubbled through her veins as she watched him roll up his sleeves.

Come on, big guy loosen that tie. Let’s get comfy. Everyone else has left for the day and it’s just you and me.

She smothered a sigh of disappointment when the tie stayed right where it belonged. Dutifully, she watched for another two hours as he continue to work, fully dressed. Finally, he rolled down his shirtsleeves, straightened his tie, and then shrugged into his jacket.

The man was never going to strip in his office. But, hope wasn’t dead. He might take it all off at home.

Purely to stave off terminal boredom, she narrated his nightly exit routine under her breath. “Don’t forget the cell phone. Drop it into the right jacket pocket. There you go. Slip the laptop into its case. Okay, call for your car.”

Senor Torres followed the script flawlessly. It was just plain wrong for a man so mouth wateringly gorgeous to be so predictable.

She sighed. She shouldn’t be thinking of the subject as desirable. But hell, she wasn’t a machine. Any sane woman, forced to watch him hour after hour, would’ve been attracted to the man.

The occasional burst of profanity aside, he could’ve passed for a saint. Everyday, she worried that the agency would figure out they were watching the wrong guy. Then, she’d miss out on her one chance to actually do something, before getting sent back to the office–chained to her desk forever.

She sighed again and stretched, working out the kinks that had settled in her back and shoulders from sitting in the same position for too long.

The evening commute took him fifteen to twenty minutes. Plenty of time for her to make a cup of peppermint tea, check her messages, and settle in for another five hours of scenic, but mind-numbing dullness before her relief came on duty.

Shortly, DJ blew gently across the top of the still scalding tea. When the subject breezed through the apartment’s entry, she checked the time, exactly seventeen minutes after leaving the office.

Then, something new happened.

Carefully, she sat down her tea and leaned forward.

Once home, he always used his landline to make and take calls. But this evening, he was talking on his cell phone. Mostly grunts she had no way to interpret. The call ended abruptly when he closed his phone, turned it off, and then pitched the blameless bit of technology across the spacious living room. She had no trouble understanding the stream of profanity that followed.

Fortunately, the surveillance equipment was activated by sound or motion, automatically tracking an angry Eduardo as he crossed to his bedroom. The suit jacket sailed across the room, rapidly followed by shoes, socks, and shirt.

DJ’s fingers trembled as she corrected the camera angle away from the flying clothes back to Eduardo. Her conscience whined about invasion of privacy, but she shushed it, telling herself it was her duty to keep the subject under observation.

The body, which had looked lean and stylish in his expensive suit, stunned her with sleek bronzed skin molded over carved muscles. His broad shoulders were strictly natural, not the work of a clever tailor. His chest wide, well defined, and decorated with a provocative diamond of black hair. A trail of the dark body hair arrowed downward, bisecting rigid abs and making her mouth water with anticipation.

No way was drooling one of her job requirements. She shut her mouth firmly and swallowed hard as he impatiently unbuckled his belt.

Trying her best to act professional did nothing to stop her body’s responses. Her heart accelerated, her breathing grew shallow, and her insides heated to the melting point.

For a week, she’d dutifully watched him from three PM till eleven PM when Delaney came on duty. Never once had Eduardo removed more than his coat and tie before disappearing into the master bathroom. When he emerged, his luscious body was covered by a terry robe. Invariably, he killed the lights, presumably losing the robe, before slipping into bed.

She’d bitten her tongue to keep from quizzing Delaney about what Eduardo wore when he got out of bed in morning. Even if she could figure out a legitimate reason for asking, confirmation that he slept in the nude wasn’t going to help her.

But, now her curiosity was going to be satisfied. She uncrossed her legs, and then immediately crossed them again, reversing leg that had been on top to the bottom.

Two seconds later, she’d shifted back to her original pose.

The belt was history. Eduardo flicked open the waistband’s fastening, moving on to the fly’s inner button. The waist gaped open, revealing another, lower waistband.

She leaned closer to the monitor, wishing it were a gigantic widescreen display instead of a seventeen-inch laptop. Her mind leaped ahead of the strip show–did he wear boxers or briefs?

Her chest constricted, making her all but pant just to breathe.

The assignment, professional detachment, and even the agency dropped off her radar as she stared at the widening gap of his slacks.

The phone rang and she jumped, jostling the card table. She made a grab for the sliding laptop. Saved it. But, her tea sloshed, wetting the table, her, and the carpet.

She raced for paper towels to mop up the spill. Cheeks heating, she realized the ringing phone had been Eduardo’s– not hers.

Good thing that no one was watching her.

With a ragged breath, she discarded the soggy paper towels and refocused on the screen. Too late.

His trousers lay puddled on the floor. The crucial question of boxers or briefs remained unanswered. The door to the master bath shut with an irritated slam.

Eduardo had left the camera’s coverage range.

The master bath was the only part of the penthouse not under surveillance.

Desiree whimpered aloud with disappointment.

When he reemerged, he was freshly shaved and fully dressed in an evening suit.

Of course, the evening clothes would come off eventually. On Delaney’s shift, or at some lucky woman’s place, or maybe at Vito’s, the private club he allegedly visited.

A twinge of envy pinched her at the thought. Despite the inappropriate jealousy–dear God, she didn’t even know the man–honesty forced her to admit she’d love to have seen a little more of Eduardo.

She was a voyeur.

The realization hit hard. Had she always been this way? And simply not realized it? Maybe, she’d chosen to work for the agency because of her latent perversion and not for the reasons she’d believed.

Or maybe, it was just Eduardo watching that was so addictive.

Eduardo retrieved his cell phone, thumbing through the menus until he found the photo Miguel had sent earlier in the week. A grin quirked the corners of his mouth. His fishing expedition had paid a lovely dividend.

The investigation he’d authorized, seeking proof that would convict his father’s killer, had revealed unexpected details of the agency’s surveillance. The newest team member, Desiree Joy Tyler, was inexperienced. In fact, this was her first field assignment. She’d been included for her language skills. Something he needed to remember. With her listening, there was no need for a translator. And no delay.

He studied Desiree’s already familiar features. She was exquisite. Every time he looked at her, he had to remind himself sternly she was the enemy.

And yet, no less an authority than, the great General Sun Tzu had said, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Excellent advice.

She was one enemy he absolutely wanted to keep close. His lips straightened while he reluctantly turned off the display, and then pocketed the phone.

As his evening unfolded, staring at the government’s spy turned out to have been the highpoint.

It had started with his brother-in-law’s call for help with his wife. Eduardo’s sister, Elena constantly added fresh complications to everyone’s life. Julian sounded more fed up than worried, although it made no difference. If his family needed him, Eduardo went.

And then he’d still have to placate his mother. Determined to take her place among the snobby grande dames of NY society, she’d demanded his presence at a charity gala she’d arranged.

The day had already been long. The business that supported his family’s luxurious life style required hours of his attention. However, honoring his beloved grandfather’s dream of a Torres foundation took even more time than the legitimate Torres investments.

No matter how many hours he’d already worked, his family still came first.

As the oldest capable male, he was the head of family. And the point man for every crisis. It was what he’d been born to do. Even if he could have, he wouldn’t have shirked a single responsibility.

Although, it would be nice if Elena stabilized. He’d hoped that her marriage to Julian would help temper her wild behavior and erratic moods. Hell, if she’d simply take her meds and stay away from the alcohol. Not. Yet.

And now, he had a new worry. How much longer would his brother-in-law wait patiently for Elena to get her act together?

Desiree’s image flickered in his mind, reminding him how long it had been since he’d had a chance to do anything wild.

He shifted, suddenly uncomfortable in his clothes, which gave him his answer. Too long. Much too long.

Impulsively, he pulled out his phone and dialed. “Midnight, my usual room. She must be slim with dark hair and green eyes.”

Vito chuckled. “Of course, it is my honor, Senor–“

“No names,” Eduardo cut him off sharply.

“Never,” Vito assured him, his tone slightly offended.


“It is my pleasure,” Vita chuckled, back to his normal amiable host mode.

Eduardo ended the call, irritated by Vito’s oily fawning, and more irritated with his own weakness. However, he was too smart to keep fighting a hopeless battle with the hunger the little agent had stirred in him. Better to take the edge off before dealing directly with such a dangerous temptation.

A few minutes later, Miguel pulled the limo to a stop close to the side entrance of the luxurious Conquistador Hotel. Rapidly moving through the access corridor to the bank of elevators, Eduardo stepped into a waiting car and punched in the floor Julian had given him. The ride went quickly, seconds later he rapped quietly on the suite’s door.

Julian opened the door cautious crack, and then flung it wide when his features eased in recognition. “Thank God.”

Scanning the room, Eduardo asked, “Where is she?”

Disgust twisted his brother-in-law’s mouth. “In the bathroom.”

Elena was sprawled on the tile floor, snoring softly. The side of her head resting in a puddle of her own making. The combination of vomit and gin assaulted Eduardo’s nose and made his stomach roil. He swallowed hard, conquering an urge to worsen the reeking mess.

“I’m leaving,” Julian said not bothering to disguise his revulsion.

Ignoring, his brother-in-law’s announcement, Eduardo shrugged out of his jacket, rolled up his sleeves, and snagged a towel from the rack, dampening it with warm water. “How did you find her?”

“She got scared and called me,” Julian said sullenly.

Swabbing his sister’s face, he nodded grimly. “This is good.”

His brother in law raised a skeptical eyebrow.

Eduardo continued evenly, “She reached out to you. This means that she still wants to live.”

Shrugging, Julian turned away. “She’s used up her chances with me.”

“I’ll take care of her,” Eduardo said calmly.

After cleaning her and the bathroom, he called Miguel, and then carried his sister to the car, tucking her in carefully before seating himself. “The clinic, please, Miguel.” He smoothed damp curls away from his sister’s too pale face, before dialing her doctor.

He was going to be late for the gala, which meant disappointing his mother. Inwardly, he cringed at the coming scene.

However, a glance at his sister firmed his resolve. If Elena were herself, she would never hurt their mother. So, he would keep his sister’s secrets and take the blame for being an inconsiderate son. This was a far better answer than stealing his mother’s peace of mind by telling her that Elena had tried to kill herself again.

Once his sister had been checked in to the private clinic and he was satisfied that she was resting comfortably, Eduardo returned to the car. Miguel held the door, handing him a fresh shirt without comment.

The remainder of the trip to the gala was spent changing shirts, retying the requisite black bowtie, and shrugging back into his evening jacket.

He slid into place next to his mother, during the orchestra’s break. “Can I get you something from the bar?”

Isabel turned toward him stiffly, narrowing her eyes. Then, she forced her features to relax and smiled pleasantly for the benefit of the crowd milling around the ballroom. “Where have you been?” She didn’t give him a chance to reply before continuing, in a low, cold voice at complete odds with her gracious expression. “How could you embarrass me like this? What a cruel and ungrateful son you are. I don’t know what I did to deserve such treatment.”

Marrying his father came to mind. When she paused for breath, he only said, “I’m sorry mother. A work matter came up–one that could not be postponed.” Close enough to the truth, protecting the family was always job one.

Too often, it felt like an impossible assignment.

His grandfather’s failing health hadn’t softened his insistence that every dollar Carlos, had made illegally must be returned to the people he’d stolen from. The Torres foundation had been established to facilitate the enormous redistribution of wealth. The sheer size of the undertaking took Eduardo many hours from each day.

His mother was determined to secure him and his sister a place in society. Her charm and beauty were only exceeded by her stubbornness, perhaps she would succeed despite Elena’s self-destructive choices, and his own lack enthusiasm for what passed as amusements among the set his mother was determined to join.

His sister’s bi-polar disorder was exacerbated by both alcohol and recreational drugs, facts she understood well. However, she’d been unable to control her addictions.

And his father’s death hadn’t put an end to the government’s investigation, which pried into every facet of their lives, making his tasks more difficult and stealing his peace of mind and privacy.

Fortunately, Eduardo liked a challenge.

“Miranda, dear,” his mother purred, pinching his sleeve to hold him in place. “My son, Eduardo.”

“So nice to meet you,” he said politely.

A tall brunette met his eyes with laughter sparkling in hers. “It’s certainly nice for me to finally meet the elusive Eduardo. Your mother always sings your praises.”

“Hardly elusive,” he said, trying to imagine his mother complimenting him.

“Oh, but you are most certainly elusive,” Miranda disagreed, laughing up at him. “Last week, your mother promised you’d attend the symphony opener. You have no idea how many women were depressed by your failure to materialize, and then the week before that…”

While Miranda recounted his sins of omission, the orchestra returned.

“Please excuse me, I need to rest,” his mother said with a small smile, already stepping away from them.

He followed her. “I’ll escort you.”

“No, don’t be silly.” She turned, addressing Miranda, “Such a considerate son. You can tell a great deal about a man by the way he treats his mother. Now, go on and dance you two–that’s what parties are for.”

Dancing with Miranda was more comfortable than he’d expected. She followed his lead flawlessly. Better, she didn’t pester him with small talk.

While they moved around the ballroom, a part of his mind automatically evaluated her as a potential wife. Attractive, confident, and agreeable–the woman possessed many of the qualities he wanted in a mate, including his mother’s approval.

There was no spark, but he was far from a callow romantic. He had little time for courtship or games. However, he was a cautious man. He had to be. And he would need to assure himself that her suitability was more than an appealing façade.

The song ended, he took her elbow, steering her back toward his mother with a brief apology. “Please forgive me, I have another engagement.”

His mother frowned for a second, caught herself, and then smoothed her features into a pleasant expression.

Miranda stepped forward, taking his arm. “I’ll walk out with you.” She didn’t speak again until they were well away from his mother. “Are you running from your mother or from me?”

“Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” she said with a small laugh.

“Neither, I have another appointment.”

“At eleven?” She arched an eyebrow in unflattering disbelief.

“My business doesn’t keep conventional hours,” he said stiffly.

She stopped moving.

To his annoyance, he followed suit, allowing the light hand on his sleeve to slow his steps.

“She must be very beautiful.”

“I wouldn’t know, it’s a first meeting,” he said with uncharacteristic candor.

Something suspiciously like relief softened Miranda’s posture. “I see.”

Her easy acceptance of the situation almost won her an invitation to dinner. However, an image of his tempting little watcher flashed in his mind’s eye and the invitation expired before it was issued.

Miranda’s posture stiffened, however she held out her hand and her mouth curved. “I won’t be waiting for your call then. Though, you are an intriguing man, everything your mother boasted, and more. You might’ve been fun. It was lovely meeting you, Eduardo.”

A frisson of regret flitted through him–a different time and place. The feeling faded quickly. The gracious, amusing Miranda would find someone else. She’d made the smart choice. She would have been unhappy with him. No matter what she said, she would have wanted more than he could ever give. And she absolutely would not have wanted what he had to offer a woman.

DJ checked her watch for the sixth time in as many minutes. Half an hour till midnight. Where was Delaney? He’d never been this late before. This time of night, traffic couldn’t be blamed. Though, maybe he’d been in an accident. She glanced at the vehicles crawling along the street below. The cliché was true, the city never slept.

The live feeds from the Torres apartment and office had both been black and silent since the cleaning crew had finished with his office more than three hours ago. She’d tried Delaney’s cell three times. Maybe, she should call the agency. She hesitated, not wanting to cause trouble if he’d just been delayed.

It wasn’t like she had a hot date. She could wait awhile.

The monitor flickered to life.

Instantly, all thoughts of Delaney no-show left. She stared intently at the display as Eduardo’s front door opened.

He was perfectly decent, not even a little disheveled. As she watched, he loosened his tie and undid the top button on his immaculate white shirt. Immediately, her heart sped up and there was no way she could pretend her excitement was anything other than good old-fashioned lust.

Her cell rang, which was totally lousy timing on Delaney’s part. She answered it without even glancing at the display. “Where are you?”

“Ah, wrong question, kitten.”

Eduardo’s deep chuckle reverberated through her whole body, sweetened by the endearment. She licked lips gone suddenly parched.

Posted by Evanne @ 5:00 am  

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