Emily Boysen is sick of low-level bounty hunting jobs that don’t pay her rent, and sick to death of her ex-boyfriend taking credit for her work. Ready to claim her due, she takes on the quarry of a lifetime, the notorious Fernando Bonavita. But instead of the fugitive, she captures his sexy younger brother, Javier.
Javier Bonavita never wanted to know the truth about his older brother’s activities, instead protecting him out of loyalty. When he uses his hacking skills to pose as Fernando, he never expects to uncover crimes he can’t stomach. Beautiful Emily has no idea how glad he is to be in her custody—as long as he’s her prisoner, he doesn’t have to face his brother.
Passion flares between Emily and Javier, and soon he’s putting the handcuffs on her. Suspicion grows along with their feelings, though. A sinister plot centers around Fernando, and untangling it will test their loyalties to the limit.
Javier’s smart phone buzzed in his pocket. He paused his video game and glanced at the screen. The vibration originated from the custom application he’d written to monitor the motion sensors he’d set up around the perimeter of his brother Fernando’s house. Returning his attention to his computer, Javier quit the game and pulled up a view of the exterior cameras.
A girl was crawling beneath Fernando’s hedge. Even with the cameras, Javier would never have seen her if the motion sensor hadn’t pinpointed her exact position. She held her body low, wore clothes that blended in perfectly with the hues of the yard’s greenery, and moved slowly enough that she wouldn’t attract the casual eye.
Plans and strategies tumbled through Javier’s head, but he remained still for a moment, frozen by discomfort. No jilted lover Javier could imagine would act this way, approaching the house like a single-member SWAT team. He squinted at the grainy image of her. He supposed she was a woman, not a girl, but she was a slip of a thing. Her body seemed slight in comparison to the thick, tawny hair bound at the back of her head. Skin only a shade lighter than the hair peeked out of the camouflage clothes in a few places—Javier caught a glimpse of a light brown shoulder blade and the back of a thigh. He remained glued to the screen, fascinated by her strange grace. She didn’t seem like his brother’s type at all.
Javier cleared his throat, struggling again with suspicions he didn’t want to acknowledge. But what harm could it do to play along? That girl couldn’t hurt him, and more than anything he wanted to repay Fernando for all the years he’d looked out for his kid brother. It wouldn’t hurt to earn recognition as an adult in the process. Maybe if he could gain Fernando’s trust he’d be rewarded with true explanations instead of obvious fabrications like this one.
Javier glanced down at his clothes. He should really be dressed as Fernando, but hadn’t had the patience to wear suits when he didn’t have to. He frowned at the image on the screen. He’d locked all the doors and the ground-floor windows were sealed and made of shatter-resistant materials. He had a minute before he had to decide his next step with the girl.
He went to the closet, stripping off his T-shirt on the way and stepping out of his jeans. Fernando’s clothes hung a little loose on him—their bodies were close, but the tailored touches Fernando had added emphasized his thicker physique. Javier was slightly taller and slightly leaner. He found a pair of dark-gray pants that fell far enough down on the leg and looked okay in the mirror. Javier turned to the dress shirts and found himself confronted with a dizzying array of fits and colors. How did his brother deal with all this complication every morning? And why did he care so much?
Javier shook his head at himself and reached for the nearest one, only to freeze at the sound of Fernando’s upstairs bedroom window sliding open. Had the woman really climbed up here in a matter of minutes? She hadn’t been carrying any gear.
He shrugged on the shirt and stepped out of the closet, still buttoning it. She stood just inside the window, her stance wary and her eyes on the computer screen. Handcuffs and restraints swung from the belt loops of army-green short-shorts. Her gaze flicked toward him, her blue eyes large and bright against the sandy backdrop of her face. She wore no makeup, but a generous scattering of freckles added plenty of interesting color and shape to her features. A smile spread over Javier’s face before he could think the situation through.
The interloper scowled in response, producing a can of mace. “You think this is funny, Bonavita?”
Javier held up his hands quickly. He didn’t want to get sprayed. But he couldn’t back down completely or the game would be up before it had even begun. He imitated the cool confidence his brother always possessed. “You wanted to see me so badly you couldn’t knock?”
Her frown deepened. “You watched me approach the house on video monitors, and decided to…change your clothes?”
“Couldn’t let you think I didn’t care about our date.”
She glanced at the monitors and shook her head, her lips forming the word “stupid.” Javier cocked his head, but before he could ask she brandished the mace more fiercely. “Take whatever weapons you’ve got and put them on the floor.”
“What you see is what I’ve got.”
“Yeah, I’m going to believe that.”
Javier shrugged. “If you want to strip-search me, I won’t stop you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Pig.”
“Then I guess we’re going to stand here all day.”
The woman sighed and set down the can of mace. Javier’s body relaxed, but before he had a chance to enjoy it he was on the floor, the woman on top of him. She couldn’t have weighed much, but she knew how to make her body heavy. Her legs wrapped his thighs in an intimate hold that kept him immobilized, and the blade of her forearm wedged under his chin threatened his windpipe.
Javier gasped from the shock of his back crashing to Fernando’s hardwood floor, but recovered as quickly as he could. “Beds are much more comfortable.”
“In your dreams, Bonavita.”
Moving with practiced confidence, she rolled Javier onto his side without relaxing the strength of her hold. She snapped a set of handcuffs around his wrists.
“Whoa, whoa. Baby, let’s talk about this.”
“Very funny. Like you don’t know why I’m here.” A light layer of sweat had appeared along her neck. She smelled wild and powerful, like leaves, salt and sun. Javier knew he should be more concerned about himself, but he couldn’t get his mind off the idea of her lying on top of him for an entirely different reason.
She returned Javier to his back, the position forcing his cuffed hands to dig in to his spine. He curled up to remove the pressure, but a sharply placed knee to his chest forced him back down and pinned him. “Woman, you are serious.”
“Are you just figuring that out?” Her hands slid inside his shirt. For one delicious moment, Javier’s eyelids fell shut and he shivered at her touch. She stopped moving and he opened his eyes slowly to confront her solemn stare. “You are enjoying this way too much,” she said.
If his hands had been free, Javier would have tried to enjoy it a lot more. He’d forgotten how it felt to roll around with a woman, forgotten the sensation of soft, warm flesh against his own. Sure, the situation clearly meant serious trouble for Fernando, but Fernando wasn’t here, was he? Javier felt wild and invincible. He grinned up at the woman. “How could I not? Look at you.”
She glared, but her cheeks turned rosy, bringing out a clearer view of her abundant freckles. “Wonderful. The first man to be stunned by my good looks happens to be the most dangerous quarry I’ve had in years.”
Annabeth Leong has written erotica of many flavors. She loves shoes, stockings, cooking and excellent bass lines. She always keeps a new e-book loaded on her phone and a paperback stashed in her purse, but her eyes are still bigger than her stomach whenever she visits a bookseller. She blogs at annabethleong.blogspot.com, and tweets @AnnabethLeong . Watch for her next contemporary erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave, Get Laid.