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Skin Tight - Ava Gray

Paperback

Published: 1st June 2010
For Ages: 18+ years old
Ships: 7 to 10 business days
7 to 10 business days
RRP $15.99
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Uncovering the truth is her specialty.

As a forensic accountant, Mia Sauter could usually tell when people had something to hide. She made her living exposing secrets while concealing her own. Then, in Vegas, she met a clever, ruthless man who called himself Addison Foster. One year later, she’s still haunted by his betrayal.

He’s a natural born liar.

The truth of him had long ago been buried. Foster was only one name of many; he’d been so many men, he’d lost count. Reinvented as Thomas Strong and hell-bent on revenge, his mission is about to be compromised by the one woman capable of exposing him…

Reunited, they confront the explosive chemistry still crackling between them. But their chance meeting will have consequences, for a ruthless madman has his own deadly agenda. The question is—if they survive the fallout, will he choose love over vengeance?

Prologue

One year ago, Las Vegas

From her concealed position on the stairs that led to his apartment, Mia Sauter watched Foster’s gold Nissan pull into the assigned space. He drove as he did everything else: cautiously. She noticed how he surveyed the parking lot before he committed to exiting the vehicle. If need be, he could use the door as a shield. She wondered where he’d learned such self-protective behavior and why he needed it.

Oh, it made a certain amount of sense, given that he worked in security. Maybe he had a background in law enforcement or the military; he had that bearing. Though he stood no more than average height, his body held a dangerous edge, as if hard, lean muscle lay beneath his urbane exterior.

There was a precision about him. Some women wouldn’t find him attractive; his features were craggy rather than regular. He had an unruly thatch of light brown hair that looked as if it might wave if he didn’t keep it cut so short. But his eyes were unforgettable—an eerie glacier blue, ringed in silver. When the light hit them just right, they almost seemed to glow. His intensity proved a lure she’d been unable to resist a few days ago.

How humiliating. Still, she had nowhere else to turn.

The apartment complex gave her no clue as to his personality, whether he was, in fact, a man she could trust with her life. Tan stucco and adobe buildings were surrounded by palm trees. If it were daylight, she could have seen the glint of blue water from the community pool. At night, however, there was only the black velvet sky overhead and the glimmer of distant city lights.

Mia knew the moment he spotted her. Foster stiffened and then slammed the door, stalking toward her with a lethal grace that got her blood pumping. Another woman might miss how thin the veneer of civilization ran with him, but she saw the conqueror in the angry, sensual lines of his mouth.

She pushed to her feet, trying not to think of the brutal way he’d rebuffed her. In that moment, she’d felt like the awkward, geeky girl she’d outgrown years ago: one too smart for anyone to look at her twice, who preferred books to boys and had an unfortunate habit of pointing out other people’s faults. Feeling sick, she shoved the awful sensation aside. She wasn’t that person anymore—she’d learned some tact and sensitivity to balance her intellect—and she wouldn’t let him do this to her.

Her friend was in trouble, and she’d do anything she had to in order to help Kyra. No friendship had ever meant so much to her. Not to mention, she had her own safety to consider, so she couldn’t permit personal issues to cloud the situation.

“You told me not to come to the casino again.” Mia was pleased to hear the conversational tone, despite agitation from several sources.

“Right.” He bit the word off. “That would be a bad idea. Have you been here long?”

She could tell he didn’t want her here. His body language made that obvious, but being in trouble in a strange city limited her options. Mia tried to pretend everything was normal: that her best friend hadn’t disappeared and she didn’t have men watching her every move.

“No, the cabbie dropped me off five minutes ago. I’m sorry for dropping by like this, but I wasn’t sure you’d take my call. Can I come up?”

In the dim light, close up, he looked weary and conflicted, as if he didn’t know what to do with her. He’d made it clear how he felt about her, and she hated the necessity of asking his help. But Kyra’s life hung in the balance, and Mia had no pride where her friend was concerned.

“That depends on what you want.”

“Protection,” she said baldly. “I think someone’s after me, and I didn’t know where else to go.”

That news rocked him visibly. His eyes shone silver in the headlights of a passing SUV. He tensed until it went around the bend to park at a different building. Mia tracked the movement as well, his tension sparking a like reaction in her. When the red taillights faded from view, she glanced back at him. He was studying her as if she might bite him.

Well, it was an idea, one she’d entertained a few days ago, before he made his antipathy crystal clear. Maybe she wasn’t a femme fatale, but she’d never had a man react as if her touch carried a contaminant from which he’d never get clean. Generally men’s response ran toward indifference.

Foster seemed to reach a decision. “Let’s go for a ride.”

“Isn’t that what the mafia says to people right before they disappear?” she joked.

Without answering, he led the way back to his car. He had a hardness you didn’t usually see in white-collar workers. She could see him on the deck of a ship or giving commands on a battlefield, not overseeing the day-to-day business at the Silver Lady. When she’d first spotted him in the casino, a shiver of pure attraction had surprised her. He’d worn his dark suit with elegance, but she’d sensed the raw power of him from the first. She wasn’t the type of woman who took one look at a man and wanted him, especially when she needed to focus on finding her friend.

Mia got in the Nissan without urging. She figured he’d know what to do. He had more information about Kyra than he’d shared; she would stake her life on it. Now that she’d gotten in the middle of things, she had to trust him.

He made a call before he joined her. Since he was turned away, voice low, she couldn’t make out what he was saying. That made her a little uneasy; what did she know about him, after all? Eventually, he hopped in and started the car.

The radio kicked in, playing a song from the eighties. She didn’t know where they were going, and he didn’t say. She studied his profile, admiring the clean, strong line of his jaw. He wasn’t handsome, but he had something better: a sharp but solid appeal that said he could weather anything. She liked his eyes. Mostly, they were like cool mountain water, steady and calm in a crisis. Right now, she was glad of that.

“I wish you hadn’t gotten involved in this,” he said, after ten minutes of driving.

The neighborhood had become suburban, and her nerves were prickling. But maybe he’d asked a friend to shelter her for the night. She obviously couldn’t stay at his place. Based on past precedent, she could only surmise that they were watching him as well.

“Me, too. Where are we going?”

In answer, he pulled into the driveway of an ordinary house. The windows were dark, and she saw no sign of welcome within. Her misgivings flared to life.

“I’m sorry.” The regret in his storm cloud eyes puzzled her. “But there’s nothing else I can do.” He leaned over as if to touch her cheek, but he pulled his fingers away at the last moment, contact aborted. “I wanted that kiss, by the way. More than you know.”

Her cheeks fired, and his words confused her enough that she spent precious seconds weighing the wrong comment. “Nothing you can do about what?”

“They won’t hurt you. Just keep calm, do as they ask, and everything will be fine.”

“They, who?” she demanded, her voice gone shrill.

But he turned away, hands firmly on the wheel. Whatever came next, Foster made it clear he wouldn’t help her.

Someone jerked the passenger door open, and then a masked man pulled her from the car.

ISBN: 9780425235164
ISBN-10: 0425235165
Series: Berkley Sensation
Audience: General
For Ages: 18+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 321
Published: 1st June 2010
Dimensions (cm): 17.4 x 10.6  x 2.794
Weight (kg): 0.16