Diamonds smuggling, a handsome kingpin, and saucy reporter determined to bring him down. Sounds like MuseTracks’ guest Jessica Lauryn has an adventuresome romantic suspense on her hands. And guess what? She’s brought us an excerpt.
As both an author and a reader alike, I am drawn by dark heroes, heroes who, though villainous as they may be, are also masters of enticement. In The Pinnacles of Power Series, I’ll introduce five of these men, all villains in and of their own right, each of which is driven strongly by his ambition and greed. In each five edge-of-your-seat stories, we’ll see if these said-villains can come to reform, becoming heroes that their heroines can love.
In Dangerous Ally, the first release in my exciting romantic suspense series, Lucas Ramone, leader of a diamond smuggling operation called Project Gemstone will come head to head with top New York Times Reporter Lilah Benson. Lilah, younger sister of Lucas’s ex-fiancé, swears she has no interest in the handsome, cunning young billionaire and sets out to write the story of a lifetime, which will essentially win her the admiration of all those around her, her father most especially. But Lucas, a practiced con artist, has other ideas. He decides to set a trap for the savvy journalist, playing at her very point of vulnerability. His plan? A steamy, surefire seduction…
Dangerous Ally is a story about temptation, a forbidden attraction between a hero and heroine who, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, ought to hate one another. What man wouldn’t despise the woman responsible for trying to destroy his enterprise, in turn, what woman wouldn’t despise the man who tried to lock her sister into a marriage she didn’t want? But as feelings deepen and stakes rise, Lilah realizes she must turn to her mysterious adversary, even knowing he is a dangerous ally indeed.
“Lilah, you’re a guest in this room, as well as this house,” Lucas said. “You don’t have to turn down my bed. That’s not why you’re here.”
He came toward her, taking her hands in his. He lowered his voice. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”
Of course it wasn’t what she wanted. Dear God, she wanted him to rip the nightgown from her body and kiss every last inch of her skin! But if she stayed with him another night, that was exactly what was going to happen. She was beginning to forget why it was a bad thing.
“Have I done something to upset you?” Lucas asked, brushing her face with the tips of his fingers.
She shook her head, doing her best to ignore how warm he was making her feel. “Not at all. You’ve been wonderful to me, Lucas. Nicer than any guy’s ever been. I just can’t stay in this room another night. I’m afraid if I do, that I’ll…”
“If you do, that you’ll what?” He tipped her chin, forcing it upward. It was the first time he’d ever been rough with her. Or anything less than gentle for that matter. “You’re afraid I’ll take advantage of you?”
“Of course not. I—”
“Force you to be with me? Coerce you into a marriage and lock you away, like Lena believed I was going to? Maybe I haven’t changed, Lilah, and you saw what you wanted to in me to justify your own feelings. Go ahead. I won’t keep you when it’s obvious you’re no longer comfortable here.”
Her cheeks flamed with anger as she deliberately thought up the meanest thing she could say back. “Maybe you really are the monster everyone says.”
“If that’s true,” Lucas demanded, “then why didn’t it bother you last night? You’ve slept in my bed for two nights, not showing the slightest indication of fear. So why don’t you tell me the real reason you’re reluctant to stay here tonight?”
Lilah was dumbfounded. What could she say? That she couldn’t sleep in the same bed with him because she wanted him so badly it kept her up in the middle of the night? That she thought constantly of touching him, of inching her way against his body, of making the mistake she’d sworn she wouldn’t since the day they’d met?
“Do you think it was easy for me,” Lucas asked, his voice falling to a whisper, “lying next to you the last two nights, knowing you were right there and I could just reach out and touch your soft skin? No other man in his right mind would have undergone that amount of torture. Yet, I behaved like a gentleman. I did that because I care about you.”
His tone grew angered as he released her. “I can’t do it another night. If you stay with me, I won’t hold back. I’m giving you a choice. You can leave right now, and I’ll never pressure you about this again. It’ll be like it never happened.”
Lilah eyed the door, her last chance for escape. The sensible thing to do—the only thing to do—was leave, and never look back. But her legs remained in place. Her body ached with heat at the wicked thought of Lucas touching her, of him kissing her neck and throat, the sensitive spots behind her ears. She was dying for him to hold her against his body, to admire his broad chest. She’d never even seen him without a shirt.
“What are you waiting for?” he asked impatiently.
She took a deep breath. “I’m not leaving,” she said firmly.
“Then you leave me no choice,” he said and pressed his warm, open mouth against hers.
For five lonely years, diamond smuggling kingpin Lucas Ramone has hidden himself from the world. With a father who has baited him all his life, made a game of trying to trip him up at every turn, Lucas will do whatever is necessary to protect what is rightfully his. What he isn’t prepared for is Lilah Benson…
Upon accepting a job in the home of her sister’s maniacal ex-fiancé, reporter Lilah Benson believes she has finally found the perfect way to make her mark on the world. Exposing the criminal endeavors of Lucas Ramone won’t soon be forgotten. But as she comes to know the man who was supposed to be her adversary, Lilah is tempted by a passion far stronger than the desire to see her name in print…
Power and control are tools of survival, critical in a world of thievery and deception. Lilah, an innocent in a land of criminals, may be the one person capable of bringing Lucas to his knees. But Lucas will stop at nothing to keep his empire secure.
He will have it all: His Fortune, His Legacy, and Lilah Benson in his bed…
For more on Jessica, visit her website at www.jessicalauryn.com
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