In the Phoenix club, fantasies come to life, but he wants her for real, and he’ll do anything to prove it in this deliciously sexy romance.
Lottie Harlow spends her days as a dog walker and her nights losing herself in wild fantasies at Phoenix, a members-only, voyeuristic sex club in New York City. Her anonymous existence is precisely planned. She must lay low, or risk facing the consequences of her family’s criminal past. She’s a ghost, and she likes it that way. But detective Hunt Walker is determined to uncover her secrets…
Hunt has always loved his nights at Phoenix, but they’re no longer enough. He wants more. He wants a relationship. He wants Lottie. He’s wanted her for years. The only problem? Lottie keeps him at a careful distance, never letting him get too close, ignoring the sizzling heat burning between them. He knows she’s intrigued by him, but she’s scared. He just can’t figure out why… But when enemies from her past come seeking revenge for her family’s deal gone wrong, Lottie’s secrets are revealed, and so is the explosive passion they’ve been fighting.
Soon, lust leads the way to love, but when Lottie’s brothers start threatening her, the line between right and wrong is blurred. Hunt becomes torn between his duty to his badge and his need to keep Lottie safe. But he’ll only get one chance to prove to Lottie that she’s worth fighting for… and that their love is worth the risk.
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Read an excerpt below!
“Tell me who you think broke into your condo,” he said firmly.
She shook her head, forcing her shoulders back. “I don’t know.” She knew better than to totally write off her family, but she couldn’t think up a good enough reason why they’d break into her condo after all this time. Plus, she had paid a lot of money to ensure she was never found. For the first couple of years she’d been in New York City, she’d always looked over her shoulder, worried they’d catch up with her, demanding the money she’d stolen. But no one ever came. After the third year, she stopped looking, feeling safe in her new identity.
Hunt dipped his chin, bringing his eye level down to hers. “No idea at all who it could be?”
“Nope,” she said, striding off before he could look too deep and find answers that she couldn’t give him.
She felt his gaze following her, reading right through all the things she wasn’t telling him.
When he finally caught up with her on the way back to her condo, he blessedly shifted subjects. “Come stay with me until we catch the person responsible,” he offered.
Cars honked at each other as she shook her head adamantly. “Like hell they’re making me afraid of my own home.”
“Then I’ll take your couch. It’s not safe, Lottie.” When they stopped at the corner of the street and waited for the light to change, he arched an eyebrow. “I have a gun. You do not.”
“Good point,” she said. This spelled all kinds of dangerous, but Hunt would not relent, and she refused to leave her condo. “Okay, you’re right; it’s safer,” she conceded, knowing her limitations in protecting herself if someone broke in again. “I appreciate the offer.”
“Think nothing of it,” he said and began crossing the street. “We can grab my overnight bag before we go back to your place.”
All of this seemed unnecessary, but she realized as she inhaled the greasy aroma coming from the hot dog stand, that for the first time since she opened her condo’s door earlier, she could breathe a little easier.
When they arrived at the condo a half an hour later, the forensic unit was packing up. She sighed as she took in the state of the place. What a mess! Figuring she had to start somewhere, she moved to the living room, picked up the cushions off the floor, and placed them back on the couch.
After a short conversation, Hunt shut the front door behind the last cop and locked it. He moved to the liquor cabinet in the corner of her living room and poured them both a double shot of whiskey. He handed her the glass and watched her with a stern look, his well-crafted cop look. “Time’s up, Lottie.”
“I’m not sure what you mean.” She sipped her whiskey. A big, long sip.
His mouth twitched, but that was the only break in his intensity. “I rather enjoy when you make me work to know you. But I’m afraid, like I already said, time is up. Tell me what you’re hiding.”
She swallowed. Part of her wanted to tell him everything. Explain her entire past. But if Hunt knew about her past life as Marissa Ricci, and that she’d had her true identity buried, he’d have to tell Rhys. Then Archer would learn that she’d lied to them. She’d never be allowed back in Phoenix. She loved her new life, and that included her sensual life in Phoenix, and her friends who also belonged.
The air seemed too thin as Hunt took another step closer, erasing the distance between them. “I know there’s a reason you have refused, from day one, to not act on what’s between us. And I know that reason is tied to your break-in today.”
She looked to her glass, avoiding his penetrating stare. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
His fingers dragged against her jawline before he cupped her chin, forcing her to meet the strength in his gaze. “Let me help you.”
She needed to shut this down. Now. Hunt was too smart, too insightful, too damn trained. Her heart began to hammer, making the room feel smaller and smaller. He’d peel all her layers back and expose all her secrets. She couldn’t allow that.
“Lottie,” he said, a pillar of strength.
Suddenly it occurred to her she knew exactly how to distract him. Ignoring the consequences, she placed her glass on the table and grabbed his shirt, pulling him closer. Before she could second-guess herself, she sealed her lips on his. He stiffened, seemly momentarily surprised, until he softened, wrapping his arms around her, bringing her tight against him with a low groan.
Her lips opened, and his followed, but he never quite gave her the kiss she suddenly, desperately needed.
When he broke away a few minutes later, he chuckled against her lips. “Shutting me up, huh? All right, Lottie, I’ll go along with that.” His hands fell to her hips, and he gave her a push until her back hit the wall. She gasped. Need stormed through her as his eyes darkened with arousal. “For now.”
Frenzied thoughts filled her mind as his mouth met hers again, but when he took over the kiss, her thoughts simply faded into nothingness.
She parted her mouth, and his tongue invaded, sliding against hers. His kiss was skilled, determined, and left her dripping. She slid her hands over his strong, flexing arms, shoulders, up his thick neck to the back of his head, running her fingers across the shaved hair.
He groaned, breaking the kiss so his lips could travel along her neck. His hand threaded in her hair, and she rolled her hips, heat pooling low in her body. His tongue flicked her ear lobe, and she moaned, a tease of how that tongue would feel elsewhere. “Can I touch you?” His breath tickled across her ear.
The game was dangerous. And yet, and yet…she couldn’t stop from playing now that she felt him…tasted him. “Yes.”
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About Stacey Kennedy:
Stacey Kennedy is a USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romances full of heat, heart, and happily ever afters. With over 50 titles published, her books have hit Amazon, B&N, and Apple Books bestseller lists.
Stacey lives with her husband and two children in southwestern Ontario—in a city that’s just as charming as any of the small towns she creates. Most days, you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family or venturing into the forest with her horse, Priya. Stacey’s just as happy curled up indoors, where she writes surrounded by her lazy dogs. She believes that sexy books about hot cowboys or alpha heroes can fix any bad day. But wine and chocolate help too.
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