A couple of months ago I read my first Helenkay Dimon book and was hooked on her story telling. Now I can’t get enough of her and want to tell everyone to read her books. Her latest book comes out on Tuesday and I have a sneak peak for you.
After a grueling assignment with the black ops force known as the Alliance, Weston Brown is craving downtime. Instead, he’s pulled into his deadliest operation, in the one place he never wanted to see again. No-nonsense and so damn hot, Lexi Turner lied to get him to her mountain clinic in Pakistan. But the threat is terrifyingly real.
Lexi has been asking too many questions, drawing the wrong kind of attention. As soon as she lays eyes on West, she can tell he’s quiet—yet tough—and has a rescue complex which will come in handy for going up against the world’s most ruthless gunrunners.
Cut off from the rest of the Alliance, Lexi and West navigate the brutal terrain and a primal sexual attraction. Sticking around has never been West’s way, but now he’ll use every resource to keep Lexi by his side, safe from a killer who leaves no loose ends behind.
“What are you doing? Why are we stopping here?” The words sounded labored, as if she struggled to get them out.
He didn’t want to scare her, but shaking some sense into her quickly moved up his To Do list. “I’m thinking you’re confused by the definition of the word quiet.”
She thumped a fist against his chest. When he didn’t move, a certain wariness fell over her. Narrowed eyes and lips in a thin line. “Are you always this difficult?”
“Yes.” Better that she knew now. The next few hours would be rough for her. He’d keep her safe but he couldn’t promise she’d enjoy how he made that happen.
“At least you’re honest.”
Jesus, that mouth. Always moving and so fucking hot. A sudden kick of need to taste her hit him out of nowhere. “Uh-huh.”
He shook his head to knock the stupid thoughts out. The intelligent eyes. The sharp comebacks. The way she walked, slow and lingering, with her hips rocking a gentle sway from side to side.
Not that he noticed.
He put a finger over those lips. “Wait.”
Even on the verge of losing his mind, he heard it. The rumble of male voices hit him first.
Low but there. Then the footsteps, crunching against the stones and not bothering to hide the trail straight to them. As the sounds drew closer, West pressed her tighter against the building, covering her body with his and ignoring the heated friction as they rubbed against each other.
“What are you doing now?”
That fast he clamped his palm over her mouth. Her cheeks heated under his hand as she pushed against his chest. When he put his finger to his lips, she stilled. She morphed from pissed to something else. Her nails dug into his skin through two layers of clothing and her eyes widened as her gaze locked on his face.
He mouthed, It’s okay, and she nodded. Dropping his hand, he reached for his gun. With his body still pressed into hers and one hand balancing on the wall next to her head, he waited. Listened. Prepared to shoot then grab her and run like hell. He’d carry her if he had to.
Seconds ticked by. The voices grew louder and his finger inched closer to the trigger. Taking down two wouldn’t be a hardship. The numbers didn’t faze him. But handling hostiles while guarding Lexi from stray bullets was a bigger concern.
He widened his stance, covering as much of her body as possible with his. He’d slide off her and … but then the voices faded. He strained to hear the conversation. To pick up snippets. The footsteps retreated and the wind covered every sound except her heavy breathing.
When a tremor ran through her and into him, he glanced down. One of her hands rested on his belt and the other clenched his hand, an inch away from his gun. Both were a problem. One needed to stop right now … but for some reason he mentioned the other one. “Don’t touch my gun.”
“A man’s weapon is sacred.” True, but his mind flicked away from the small armory he carried and back to her. A smartass comeback caught in his throat. Something about what he wanted to do to her once they were somewhere safe.
“I’m not touching that comment.” Her hands dropped to her sides and her back stayed pressed deeper into the wall. “Just don’t shoot everyone who crosses our path.”
“I can’t promise that.”
She froze. “Try.”
He shrugged even though the adrenaline pulsing through him called for him to d osomething else. “If they start it …”
She treated him to one of those long and tortured sighs. “I know you’re big on death and all, but—”
That shook him out of his poorly timed lust. “No, I’m not.”
The sighing turned into a frown. “You’re also a bit of a pain in the ass about not letting me finish a sentence.”
The woman had a point, but he refused to smile. Not while they were out in the open. He couldn’t afford to let her think the danger had passed.
“Go ahead. Say whatever you want to say.”
“You kill for a living.”
He hit the brakes a second time. “I don’t.”
An innocent sounding question but an insult nonetheless. He fought for a purpose. He had a debt to repay, and somehow he’d bank enough goodwill to extinguish it. “I’m not a fucking mercenary.”
He expected her to back down. He barked, women cowered. The cycle rarely broke down on him. His size and tone combined and people made assumptions. He used them to his advantage.
She eyed him up, letting her gaze wander over his body, over, around, and down. “You look like a former soldier.”
“I’m a retired Marine.”
“Aren’t we saying the same thing?”
He bit back a string of profanity. “Not even close.”
The whole checking-him-out thing continued for another few seconds before she folded her arms over her stomach and leaned into him. “I’m starting to think you like to argue.”
Between the talking and the touching she had him spinning. “Not really.”
“Was that supposed to be funny?”
This woman was going to be the death of him. Rather than yell or order or knock her out and throw her over his shoulder—which was pretty damn tempting—he reached for the last bit of patience he could muster. “We need to get you to—”
“I have a place.” She smiled at him. “Yeah, see? The interrupting thing is annoying, isn’t it?”
No way was he answering that. “We have a set rendezvous site.”
“You find it on a map, big guy?”
He planted both hands against the wall and stared down at her. Maybe intimidation would work. God knew nothing else had with her. “Excuse me?”
“Have you ever even been here? To Pakistan, let alone Skardu?” Instead of backing down she poked him in the chest. “Do you know anything about the people, the area? I happen to live here part of the year.”
This is the kind of shit that happened when he got dragged into a conversation. But this was not a topic he planned to have with her now or ever. “Yes.”
Her head snapped back and she swore when it smacked against the building. “What question are you answering?”
Much more of this and she’d injure herself. He slid a hand under her head to keep that from happening. Soft hair fell over his fingers and he massaged the spot where she hit. “I’ve been here before.”
“Don’t sigh at me.” Most of the heat had left her voice but the color in her cheeks brightened. “Wait, do you mean in Pakistan?”
“Yes but also right here.”
“Skardu?” She whispered the word.
Yeah, that was enough of that. He slipped his hand out from behind her. “Can you move?”
Anger flashed across her face again. “What kind of question is that?”
She was so damned prickly. Talkative and sensitive and hot … Jesus. He exhaled, long and loud enough for her to know he was done with this. “A simple one.”
He held out his hand, surprised when she threaded her fingers through his. Not that he intended to walk this way. They weren’t on a date. This was combat. But he needed her to follow his direction, and since telling her to do things didn’t work, he tried showing her.
“What’s happening right now?” Her words stumbled but she didn’t shrink away from him.
“Follow me.” He guided her hand to his back and hooked her fingers under his jacket on the top of his belt. “Preferably without all the whining.”
“You’re wearing a vest?”
He assumed she meant the Kevlar. “Of course.”
“Should I have one?”
He let the question sit there because she wouldn’t like the answer. Rather than batter him with a million more comments, she treated him to a few blissful minutes of quiet. Shortening his stride, he maneuvered them away from the building and through the overgrown yard separating the office from the shed on the other side of the fenced-in property. She stumbled into his back and he stopped until she regained her balance.
He kept his hands free for his weapons and scanned the area as they moved. She walked so close to him, so tight against his back, she kicked the heel of his boot several times. Knowing she had to be scared, he ignored it. Pretended he didn’t feel it. Even the kick that had him wincing.
The shed door opened without trouble. He’d conducted a quick surveillance. The lack of a lock made an out of the way property the place perfect for a rendezvous spot. He ushered her inside and sat her down on a stack of boxes. After a few seconds of hugging her bag to her chest she dropped it on the floor.
The place reeked of fish, which explained the rod that poked into the side of his head. If there was a light, it was staying off. The only brightness came from the cracks in the wall where the security lights beamed in.
She rubbed her hands together, blowing on them before tucking them under her armpits. “I should have picked Josiah. He’s smaller but seems nicer.”
“Nice won’t keep you alive.”
Some of the tension snapping between them decreased. West didn’t know if that was good or bad. With his luck, she’d fall asleep on him.