Dangerous Secrets. By Lisa Marie Rice. Small-town librarian Charity Prewitt never dreamed she'd meet and fall in love...
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Tags: Lisa Marie Rice avon secrets dangerous 9780061208607
Added: 1 year ago
From: Book Info
Lisa Marie Rice (Author)
Series: Avon Red
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Avon Red; First Edition first Printing edition (July 1, 2008)
Small-town librarian Charity Prewitt never dreamed she'd meet and fall in love with a man like Nicholas Ames. The handsome, rich, charming, sexy-as-hell millionaire blew into tiny Parker's Ridge, Vermont, and immediately rocked her world. Powerful, sensual, the perfect man, Nick knows all the right words - and all the right spots to touch, sending her soaring to dizzying new heights of ecstatic abandon. Never before has prim and proper Charity leapt into bed with a perfect stranger - and now that she's there with him, nothing is going to drag her away!
But Nick Ames is not who he claims to be. In truth, he is Nicholas Ireland - the one they call "Iceman." A former Delta Force operator, now a high-level undercover agent, he will do whatever his government asks of him - lie, seduce, betray . . . even kill, if necessary - for the sake of the mission. And this time his mission is Charity Prewitt.
Suddenly one woman has broken down his chilly restraint and ignited his passions completely. And before the erotic dream turns into a nightmare, will Charity be able to melt the Iceman's cold, cold heart?
"Read any good books lately?"
The pretty young woman stacking books and sorting papers in the Parker's Ridge County Library turned around in surprise. It was closing time and the library wasn't overwhelmed with people at the best of times. By closing time it was always deserted. Nick Ireland should know. He'd been staking it out for a week.
"Oh! Hello, Mr. Ames." Her cheeks pinked with pleasure at seeing him. "Did you need something else?" She checked the big old-fashioned clock on the wall. "We're closing up, but I can stay on for another quarter of an hour if you need anything."
He'd been in that morning and she'd been charmingly helpful to him. Or, rather, to Nicholas Ames, stockbroker, retired from the Wall Street rat race after several years of very lucky investments paid off big, now looking to start his own investment firm. Son of Keith and Amanda Ames, investment banker and family lawyer, respectively, both tragically dead at a young age. Nicholas Ames was thirty-four years old, a Capricorn, divorced after a short-lived starter marriage in his twenties, collector of vintage wines, affable, harmless, all-round good guy.
Not a word of that was true. Not one word.
They were alone in the library, which pleased him and annoyed him at the same time. It pleased him because he'd have Charity Prewitt's undivided attention. It annoyed him because...because.
Because through the huge library windows she looked like a lovely little lamb staked out for the predators. It had been dark for an hour up here in this frozen northern state. In the well-lit library, Charity Prewitt had been showcased against the darkness of the evening. One very pretty young woman all alone in an enclosed space. It screamed out to any passing scumbag - come and get me!
Nothing scumbags liked better than to eat up lovely young women. If there was one thing Nick knew with every fiber of his being, it was that the world was full of scumbags. He'd been fighting them all his life.
She was smiling up at him, much, much prettier than the photographs in the file he'd studied.
"No, thank you, Miss Prewitt," he answered, keeping his deep, naturally rough voice gentle. "I don't need to do any more research. You were very helpful this morning."
Her head tilted, the soft dark-blond hair brushing her right shoulder. "Did you have a good day, then?"
"Yes, I did, a very good day. Thank you for asking. I saw three factories, a promising new Web design start-up, and an old-economy sawmill that has some very innovative ideas about using recycled wood chips. All in all, very satisfactory."
Actually, it had been a shitty day, just one of many shitty days on this mission. A total waste of time spent in the surveillance van with two smelly men and jack shit to show for it except for one cryptic call to Worontzoff about a friend staying safe.
Nick smiled the satisfaction he didn't feel. "So. It's closing time now, isn't it?"
She smiled back. "Why, yes. We close at six. But as I said, if you need something - "
"Well, to tell you the truth..." Nick looked down at his shoes shyly, as if working up the courage to ask. Man, he loved looking down at those shoes. They were three-hundred-dollar Italian imports, worlds away from his usual comfortable but battered combat boots that dated back to his army days.
Being Nicholas Ames, very successful businessman, was great because he got to dress the part and Uncle Sam had to foot the bill. He had an entire wardrobe to fit those magnificent shoes. Who knew if he'd get to keep any of it? Maybe the two Armanis that had been specially tailored for his broad shoulders.
And even better was dealing with this librarian, Charity Prewitt, one of the prettiest women he'd ever seen. Small, curvy, classy with large eyes the color of the sea at dawn.
Nick looked up from contemplating his black shiny wingtips and smiled into her beautiful gray eyes. "Actually, I was hoping that I could invite you out to dinner to thank you for your help. If I hadn't done this preliminary research here, with your able help, my day wouldn't have been half as productive. Asking you out to dinner is the least I can do to show you my appreciation."
She blinked. "Well...," she began.
"You have nothing to fear from me," he said hastily. "I'm a solid citizen - just ask my accountant and my physician. And I'm perfectly harmless."
He wasn't, of course, he was dangerous as hell. Ten years a Delta operator before joining the Unit. He'd spent the past decade in black ops, perfecting the art of killing people.
He was sure harmless to her, though.
Charity Prewitt had the most delicious skin he'd ever seen on a woman - pale ivory with a touch of rose underneath - so delicate it looked like it would bruise if he so much as breathed on it. That was skin meant for touching and stroking, not hurting.
"Ms. Prewitt?" She hadn't answered his question about going out. She simply stood there, head tilted to one side, watching him as if he were some kind of problem to be sorted out, but she needed more information before she could solve it.
In a way, he liked that. She didn't jump at the invitation, which was a welcome relief from his last date - well, last fuck. Five minutes after "hello" in a bar, she'd had his dick in her hand. At least she hadn't been into pain like Consuelo. God.
Charity Prewitt was assessing him quietly and he let her do it, understanding that smooth words weren't going to do the trick. Stillness would, so he stood still. Special Forces soldiers have the gift of stillness. The ones who don't, die young and badly.
Nick was engaging in a little assessment himself. This morning he'd been bowled over by little Miss Charity Prewitt. Christ, with a name like that, with her job as chief librarian of the library of a one-traffic-light town, single at twenty-eight, he'd been expecting a dried-up prune.
The photographs of her in his file had been fuzzy, taken with a telescopic lens, and just showed the generics - hair and skin color, general size and shape. A perfectly normal woman. A little on the small side, but other than that, ordinary.
But up close and personal, Jesus, she'd turned out to be a knockout. A quiet knockout. You had to look twice for the full impact of large light-gray eyes, porcelain skin, shiny dark-blond hair and a curvy slender figure to make itself felt. Coupled with a natural elegance and a soft, attractive voice - well.
Nick was used to being undercover, but most of his jobs involved scumbags, not beautiful young women.
Actually, this one did, too - a major scumbag called Vassily Worontzoff everyone on earth but the operatives in the Unit revered for being a great writer. Even nominated for the friggin' Nobel, though, as the Unit knew well but couldn't yet prove, the sick fuck was the head of a huge international OC syndicate. Nick was intent on bringing him down.
So on this op he was dealing with scumbags, yeah, but the mission also involved romancing this pretty woman - and on Uncle Sam's dime, to boot.
Didn't get much better than that.
"All right," Charity said suddenly. Whatever her doubts had been, apparently they were now cleared up. "What time do you want to pick me up?"
Yes! Nick felt a surge of energy that had nothing to do with the mission and everything to do with the woman in front of him.
"Well..." Nick smiled, all affable, utterly safe, utterly reliable businessman, "I was wondering whether you wouldn't mind going now. I found this fabulous Italian place near Rockville. It has a really nice bar area and I thought we might talk over a drink while waiting for our dinner."
"Da Emilio's," Charity said. "It's a very nice place and the food is excellent." She looked down at herself, frowning. "But I'm not dressed for a dinner out. I should go home and change."
She was wearing a light blue-gray sweater that exactly matched the color of her eyes and hugged round breasts and a narrow waist, a slim black skirt, shiny black stockings, and pretty ankle boots. Pearl necklace and pearl earrings. She was the classiest-looking dame he'd seen in a long while, even in her work clothes.
"You look - " Perfect. Sexy as hell. He bit his jaws closed on the words. Ireland, roughneck soldier that he was, could say something like that, but Ames, sophisticated businessman, sure as hell couldn't. Even if it was God's own truth. "Fine. You look just fine. You could go to dinner at the White House dressed like that."
It made her smile, which was what he wanted. Her smile was like a secret weapon. She sighed. "Okay. I'll just need to lock up here."
Locking up entailed pulling the library door closed and turning a key once in the lock.
Nick waited. Charity looked up at him, a tiny frown between her brows when she saw his scowl. "Is something wrong?"
"That's it? That's locking up? Turning the key once in the lock?"
She smiled gently. "This isn't the big bad city, Mr. Ames."
"My friends call me Nick."
"Okay, Nick. I don't know if you've had a chance to walk around town. This isn't New York or even Burlington. The library, in case you haven't noticed, is full of books and not much else besides some scuffed tables. What would there be to steal? And anyway, I don't remember the last time a crime was committed in Parker's Ridge."
The elation Nick felt at the thought of an evening with Charity Prewitt dissipated.
Parker's Ridge housed one of the world's most dangerous criminals. An evil man. A man directly responsible for hundreds of lives lost, for untold misery and suffering.
And he was Charity Prewitt's best friend.