Caught between desire and loyalty…
Derek DiMarzio would do anything for the members of his disgraced Special Forces team—sacrifice his body, help a former teammate with a covert operation to restore their honor, and even go behind enemy lines. He just never expected to want the beautiful woman he found there.
When a sexy stranger asks questions about her brother, Emilie Garza is torn between loyalty to the brother she once idolized and fear of the war-changed man he’s become. Derek’s easy smile and quiet strength tempt Emilie to open up, igniting the desire between them and leading Derek to crave a woman he shouldn’t trust.
As the team’s investigation reveals how powerful their enemies are, Derek and Emilie must prove where their loyalties lie before hearts are broken and lives are lost. Because love is too hard to come by to let slip away…
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Praise for Hard to Come By:
“Rough sex and explosive fights power Kaye’s third Hard Ink novel, a thrilling adventure that feels more like an action movie with a romantic subplot than a typical contemporary romance. New readers will head straight for Kaye’s backlist after powering through this installment.” ~Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“TOP PICK! If you’re looking for danger, gritty action, and sizzling passion, then Kaye has just the book and the series for you.” ~RT Book Reviews Magazine
Manny exploded so hard out of Emilie’s front door that the Plexiglas in the storm door shattered into a spiderweb design. And three big, male bodies came rushing across the yard toward them.
Emilie was right in the middle of it all.
Her gaze zeroed in on her brother stalking toward her with a baseball bat and a wad of newspaper scraps he threw into the air. The paper fluttered on the breeze. “What did you do with it?” he growled, marching toward her. Emilie rushed backward.
“Freeze!” came Derek’s shout. “Hands on your head and freeze.”
Manny pulled a gun and waved it in a wide circle, firing off two rounds that sent the guys ducking for cover. A return shot caught Manny in the shoulder but he didn’t react to it at all. It was like he didn’t even feel it.
Emilie’s foot caught in a divot in the grass and she tumbled backward onto her butt. Hard. “Manny, no!” Emilie said. “Put your gun away. Nobody shoot! Please, nobody shoot!”
Was her brother really going to beat her with a bat? Was he really this far gone? Sadness ripped through her because the answer was staring her in the face. He lifted the bat.
Another shot hit his arm, blood spraying on the grass, but it didn’t deter Manny nor stop the bat from its downward arc.
A body landed atop hers, knocking the air from her lungs. And then a loud, metallic clang rang out.
Derek had raised his leg to take the hit with his prosthetic limb.
In a quick series of moves, Manny spun to a position behind Emilie’s back, and pointed his gun down at the two of them. “Drop the weapons or he gets a bullet to the brain. You might get me, but I’ll get him, too.”
Oh, God, no! “Manny, just go,” Emilie cried.
“Not going anywhere ’til I have my money, my guns, and my drugs. So it looks like we’re at a fucking stalemate,” he said, voice twisted with anger and hate. He placed the gun’s muzzle against the back of Derek’s head. The sight made her nauseous. “Where is it, Emilie?”
“I don’t have it, Manny. I didn’t even know you had anything down there,” she said, thinking on her feet . . . or back. “I was kidnapped by a city cop yesterday. He took me to a storage facility in Baltimore. Knew all about both of us. I barely got away with my life,” she said. “Maybe he’d already been here before that all happened,” she said, desperate for him to believe the lie.
“Fuck! Fuck!” Manny yelled, punctuating his outbursts with jerks of the gun against Derek’s skull.
Between her anticipation of the shot and her inability to draw deep breaths due to Derek’s weight atop her, Emilie was starting to see spots floating around the edges of her vision. He swung the gun in an arc toward the other men. “Wait a minute,” he said, eyes toward where she thought Beckett stood. “I fucking know you,” he said, waving the weapon.
“Shit,” Derek bit out.
“You know me, too, motherfucker,” came a voice from behind them.
Manny whirled, fired three times in the direction of the voice, and raced for the Suburban, firing wild shots behind him as he fled. Emilie braced for the searing impact each time, or for Derek to cry out in pain, but neither happened.
The Suburban rumbled to life and pealed out of her driveway, engine racing. Derek rolled off her onto his stomach, weapon drawn and firing after the vehicle. Gunfire rang out all around. Emilie curled into a ball on the grass and covered her ears with her hands. Eyes closed, she could almost convince herself she was listening to a fireworks display, there were so many pop, pop, pops.
And then it stopped, and only the sound of the roaring engine in the distance cut the evening air.
Head ringing, Emilie rolled to her hands and knees and scrabbled toward Derek. “Are you okay? Oh, my God, are you okay?” she asked as she reached him.
About Laura Kaye:
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over twenty books in contemporary and paranormal romance and romantic suspense. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.