Since you’ve all been waiting so patiently (or maybe impatiently!) I thought I’d share a taste of Dangerous.
This is excerpted from D: Part 1 of Dangerous.
©2013 Ella Ardent.
At night, it was quiet around the building where Kendra worked, but that didn’t trouble her. She’d been there at night before, and she knew nothing interesting ever happened in this industrial park. She unlocked the back door and stepped into the quiet of the factory. There were some lights left on for security, but it always amazed her how still it could be when the sewing machines weren’t running.
“Hey, Vinny!” she shouted, as much to let the security guy know she’d arrived as to summon him closer. He was probably asleep by the vending machines in the lunch room, as usual.
Vinny didn’t reply, but Kendra didn’t bother interrupting his snooze. It would be simpler if he just slept through her little errand.
She made her way to Leon’s office and unlocked the door. It had been locked by some security company as soon as the announcement was made, and their guard had stood outside it all day. Kendra had to wonder what the new owner thought was in there.
She stood in the doorway of Leon’s office for a moment, startled by the way it had already changed. It didn’t smell as pungently of his cigars anymore, and the surface of his desk was tidy for once. He’d been a nice man, a good thirty years older than her, a bit eccentric but kind. A decent boss. An uninspired businessman. It had been so frustrating to watch him let everything slide, just because he couldn’t be bothered to change.
She had to get a move on. She really didn’t want his wife to know about the pictures.
About their naughty little secret.
Kendra went straight to the large filing cabinet on the wall opposite the desk. She didn’t need extra light either—the light coming through the windows from the streetlights outside was plenty. She unlocked the cabinet, slid open the top drawer and worked through the labeled file folders.
The file was gone.
Kendra frowned. She couldn’t have missed it. It was fat, given Leon’s enthusiasm for their little game, so it couldn’t be hiding between other folders. Had Leon taken it out for a peek and put it back in the wrong place? That man never had been able to keep anything tidy, although it hadn’t ever mattered as much as it did now. Kendra shut the drawer and opened the second one, working through its contents too.
The file wasn’t in the third or the fourth drawer either. Kendra went back to the top drawer and double-checked. By this point, she was starting to panic. No one could see those pictures!
But the file wasn’t there.
Could it be in his desk?
She pivoted, intending to go and look, only to have a flashlight shine directly in her eyes. “Looking for something?” a man asked quietly and Kendra nearly had heart failure.
She could see his silhouette against the windows and wondered where he’d been standing when she came in. He was taller than her, broad-shouldered and trim. His voice was deep and a bit rough, enough to have been sexy under other circumstances.
She bit back her fear and spoke with authority. “Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“I could ask you the same thing.” He spoke deliberately, his voice so low that it gave her shivers. He seemed to be assessing her, and for some reason, it made her tingle.
“But I asked first,” she replied, and felt like an idiot.
He chuckled, enough to make Kendra dread what he might say. He lowered the flashlight and set it on the desk, so that he was partly illuminated. Kendra swallowed. His hair was dark and cut short, and his eyes narrowed as he watched her. He was gorgeous and he knew it, the knowing expression in his eyes and his slight oh-so-confident smile making her mouth go dry. He was wearing jeans and a dark jacket, boots and gloves.
He was completely still, utterly intense, and Kendra thought of a predator on the hunt. She had the definite sense that he was in control of the situation, which was backward enough to make her mouthy.
“Who are you, and what are you doing here?” she demanded again.
“Consider me the new security guard.” He came around the desk, walking toward her with an athletic grace that was mesmerizing. He seemed to be perfectly at ease, while her heart was pounding as if she’d run a marathon. He was a lot taller than her and totally built. Kendra licked her lips without meaning to do so, and he smiled just a little.
She’d love to see under that T-shirt.
“What happened to Vinny?”
“Gone for coffee.” He leaned one hip on the edge of Leon’s desk, then stretched out his legs, crossing them at the ankles. Kendra couldn’t tear her gaze away. He had to be the sexiest guy she’d ever seen. Gorgeous and a little bit dangerous.
She looked to his face to find him openly studying her. “And you would be Leon’s assistant.” There was no question in his tone.
“How do you know that?”
He gestured to her hand and she caught a glimpse of a watch that was far too expensive for a security guard’s salary. Who was he really? “You have the keys.” He arched a dark brow. “Leon said you were dedicated. I assume that’s why you’re here at night.”
“Right. Just finishing something up.” Kendra took a step back, sensing trouble.
“Or maybe you were looking for something,” he suggested softly, his gaze flicking to the top of the desk. It wasn’t clear anymore.
There was a fat file folder, right on top.
She made a snatch for it, but he caught her wrist in one hand. His grip was firm, holding her captive but not hurting her. His skin was warm, and his cologne was so enticing that her toes curled.
“That would be it, then,” he said softly.
“Where did you get it?”
And more importantly, had he looked inside?
He smiled slightly, telling Kendra all she needed to know.
His grip on her changed, his thumb sliding across the soft skin on the inside of her wrist in a caress. It was more than a little distracting, especially with him so close. Kendra found herself watching his firm lips, waiting for him to say something in that gorgeous voice again. “It was right there,” he said mildly.
It took Kendra a moment to get her mind out of the gutter and think about what he’d said. No. The folder hadn’t been on the desk when she’d cleaned up the office earlier in the week. It hadn’t even been there when she’d walked in. He was watching her closely, though, daring her to challenge him.
It made her want to surprise him, just to see how he’d take it. She could already guess he liked to be in control and was contrary enough to want to challenge that.
“No. It wasn’t.” She pulled her wrist free and folded her arms across her chest. “So, what did you think?”
“I haven’t looked yet.” He arched a brow. “Should I have?”
“Liar. You did look.”
He laughed, as much out of surprise as amusement. He looked both perfectly sexy and smug. Confident. He moved a little and Kendra saw that his jeans were stretched taut over his erection.
He had looked.
And he had liked.
Kendra smiled, feeling as if the game was a little more evenly matched.
Their gazes locked and held, the intensity of his sending a jolt through Kendra.
“We’re alone,” he whispered. “But only for a moment.” His eyes glinted. “Should we make it count, Miss Jones?”
She knew exactly what he meant. Her gaze fell to his mouth and he smiled a little more, as if in perfect agreement.
It was crazy. It was impulsive. She had no idea who he was, much less what he wanted. But Kendra hadn’t had a good kiss in a long time. She was pretty sure this stranger knew his way around kisses, and she was also certain she wouldn’t see him ever again. She could arrange to make that happen, if he was a new night security guard.
Life was all about taking chances.
Kendra stepped closer and lifted her hand to his cheek. She heard him catch his breath in surprise, looked into his eyes and felt a little bit of stubble under her fingers. She smiled at him, took a deep breath of his cologne, then touched her lips to his.
She had one second to like that his lips were firm and warm, then he took control.
His kiss was every bit as good as she’d hoped.
So good that Kendra didn’t want it to end.
Excerpt ©2013 Ella Ardent.