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Once upon a time, there were three little girls. Charity. Justine. Anna. Individually, they’re lethal weapons. Together? They’re the force to be reckoned with at Liberty Investigations. Their bodies may be made for sin, but everything else is for kicking ass…
Former model-turned-martial arts expert, Charity Keone is used to people thinking she’s just a pretty face. They usually figure out the “oh crap” part just after she turns them into human pretzels and hauls them off to jail. And it’s clear her latest client, shipping magnate Daniel Williams, is one of those guys who thinks she’s all looks—until she saves him from a shooter. He responds passionately, and Charity…lets him. Whoa, baby. Suddenly Charity’s wondering just whose body needs guarding…
Growing up on the streets can make a guy wary, but nothing like the way Charity’s got Daniel on his toes. Everything about her, from her Ivy League smarts to her criminally luscious bod, has him thinking less about the guys who want to take him out and more about showing Charity a few of his own moves. Lips-on-the-neck moves. Hands-everywhere moves. Pleasure-till-we-both-need-pain-medication moves. As long as he can keep his secrets safe from her it should be fine. But putting your life in the right hands is one thing, trusting your heart to them is something else…
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“I doubt you’re wrong. I can’t really help you unless I know all the facts,” she said. She got up from the computer. They’d had clients before who didn’t do a full disclosure. To be fair, the way their agency was set up they usually worked with clients who were hiding something. Or who had done something illegal. And couldn’t go to a government agency.
“Until I know for sure, I’ll keep it to myself.”
“I feel silly calling him your enemy.”
“It’s not too late to change your mind and stay here in D.C. In fact, now that I’ve seen your home I think it would be wise for you to stay here.”
“Yes, it is too late. I’m not hiding out while you go set yourself up.”
“For one thing I gave my word. And Liberty Investigations never quits until the job is complete.”
“Your word is your bond?” he asked.
There was a tone in his voice that she couldn’t place. “Yes, it is.”
“I like that about you.”
She arched one eyebrow at him. Knowing she should just let this drop but unable to resist a little flirting. A little chance to see if she could get the upper hand with him the way he had with her when he’d kissed her in his car.
“What else do you like?”
“That you’re tougher than you look.”
It was exactly the right thing to say. She didn’t know if he’d someone stumbled on to that secret of hers or if he was being genuine and she didn’t care. For once she was going to just go with the flow. She wasn’t going to analyze it.
“But not tough enough to know the name of your blackmailer?”
“Let it go.”
“I can’t. I’m stubborn when it comes to things like that.”
He walked around the command center, pacing like a caged animal. She realized she was pushing him and she didn’t have any idea how he’d react.
“I can’t stand this…waiting.”
She glanced at her watch and then went back to the computer. She text-messaged Justine to get an estimate of when the plane would be ready. Two hours, was Justine’s response.
“Did you mean what you said earlier about sparring with me?”
“I always mean what I say.”
She rolled her eyes. “Come with me.”
“Where are we going?”
“To my workout room. I think it’ll be a nice distraction from all the waiting.”
“I can think of a few other things that would distract me.”
“Yes, but I’m not into casual sexual encounters.”
“I promise it won’t feel casual.”
She could believe that which was precisely why she was leading him up the stairs and down the hall to her workout room.
She opened the door and nodded toward the changing room on the left. “There should be a gi in there that will fit you.”
“I can fight in these clothes.”
“We’re not fighting we’re sparring. There’s a difference.”
“Not to our enemies.”
“Do you want spar as we are?”
He crossed the mat to her. “I don’t want to spar at all. Get your things so we can get to the airport.”
“Daniel, I’ve heard that the gut should be our inner compass. And right now every instinct I have is telling me we need to give the team time to go over that plane.”
“I don’t want to hide. And my enemy will definitely know that I’m hiding.”
“We’re not hiding, we’re regrouping.”
“Then why the sparring?”
“To distract you. I can feel the anger pulsing through you.”
“You seem outwardly calm but there’s a tension in your shoulders and a real fire in your eyes. If you don’t want to spar with me, you can beat the hell out of that punching bag. But I think you need to do something before we get on the plane for five hours.”
He stood still in the center of the room. Watching her and she wondered if she said too much. If she shouldn’t have kept her opinions to herself, but she’d never been one to stay silent.
“You might have a point.”
“I’ll let you in on a little secret,” she said to distract him.
“I’m always right.”
“Funny thing, so am I.”
“Well we can’t both be this time,” she said.
“Exactly, so pack your things and let’s get out of here.”
“Why are you so stubborn about this?”
“Because he’s taking down my house, Charity. Every time I evade him or his assassins he goes after someone else close to me. I’m not going to let go of my anger because it’s what I need to make sure I don’t lose focus.”
“I can’t see you losing focus and everyone needs to breathe to keep their center, their balance.”
“Not everyone. I need a fight. A real fight with my enemy. And no matter how tempted I am to spar with your, I don’t think this is the right time.”
“Give me his name and we’ll leave.”
“You’re not in charge,” he said. “And we’ve already been over this.”
She was smart enough to know when to back down. And she knew Anna was working on Daniel’s past. She’d find this person who was threatening them and then maybe Charity would find the answer as to why he was reluctant to name his enemy. And maybe even the real truth as to why he didn’t want to gather his strength before confronting his enemy again.