A battle for control turns explosive as a beautiful con woman takes a bad-boy biker hostage in this edgy, seductive novel set in the world of Everything I Left Unsaid (“Toe-curlingly sensual.”—Katy Evans) and The Truth About Him (“Absolutely one-click worthy”—J. Kenner).
The only thing that matters to me is rescuing my sister from the drug-cooking cult that once enslaved us both. I’ve run cons my whole life, and I’ll use my body to get whatever I need. Max Daniels is the last connection I have to that world, the one person reckless enough to get involved. Besides, now that his brothers have turned on him, he needs me too.
The deal was supposed to be simple: a place to hide in exchange for rescuing my sister. Now he’s my prisoner. Totally at my mercy. But I’m the one captivated. Enthralled. Doing everything he asks of me until I’m not sure who’s in control.
We both crave the heat. The more it hurts, the better. But what if Max wants a different life now, to leave the game . . . to love me? I thought I knew better than to get burned. Now I’m in too deep to pull away. And the crazy thing is . . . I don’t want to.
A man coming out of the back hallway where all the secret rooms were bumped into my shoulder, knocking me against the wall.
“Sorry,” he said and that voice . . . fuck. That voice.
My stomach jumped into my throat.
Max Daniels, you are not supposed to be here.
“You all right?” he asked in the low, rough drawl.
“Fine,” I said, trying to pitch my voice differently so he wouldn’t recognize me. It’s not that we’d talked a lot. But some. Enough.
I’d liked Max Daniels, the president of the Skulls MC. Which really just made him the president of a whole lot of barely functioning, criminal-minded assholes. But you know . . . whatever. People needed to find their family wherever they could. I get that.
But a few weeks ago Max had left.
Vanished. Just when the parties in this drug deal were showing their true colors and the scope of this operation was revealed. This wasn’t small time. This was international. This, when it went bad—and frankly how could it not—was going to send everyone to jail for a very long time. And anyone with a brain or a will to survive would run far from this nightmare.
Max had been the only one to leave. Which, frankly only told you how stupid everyone else was.
And I had been glad he was gone. Hoped he was safe.
But then he came back, pulled back to this part of the world by his brother, his real brother, Dylan. Which, again, I totally understood. For some people family ties were the strongest. Even when they were dragging you down to hell.
So, here he was, hand on my elbow, lifting me away from the wall he’d shoved me against.
I doubted he’d know me by touch. He’d not been much of a toucher, but when I was working as a dancer, sussing the place out, getting the lay of the land as it were—he’d seen plenty of me. All of me, really.
There’d been that one night he broke his usual routine of ignoring the girls and sat down in one of the big chairs right at the edge of the stage. I caught his eye from the pole and it had been like the rest of this bullshit club fell away. My sister—gone. Drug deal, Lagan, Max’s “brothers”—all gone.
It was me—my body spread open, laid out. And his eyes—looking their fill.
He grinned at me while I danced. Smirked, really. Those lips twisted in his beard. His blue eyes burned right through me.
I know you, his expression told me. I know every dirty inch of you. I know the shit you’ve done and the shit you’re going to do and I will fuck you till you cease to care.
I will punish you, so you can stop punishing yourself.
The music ended and I walked off the stage, and I expected him to come tearing back to the dressing room. I was shaking and wet and wanted him to bend me over the makeup table and make good on the promise his eyes had been making me.
Punish me. Because I can’t keep doing this on my own.
But he never came back there.
And when I went back out to give some half-assed lap dances and serve drinks, he was gone.
After that, I’d known the second he walked into the club. I’d feel his gaze, weightier and sharper than the gaze of other men. It had taken me a long time to get used to it. To stop hating it. Because it had felt like he was looking right into me. Right into my head.
A few days of that and I’d fingered myself raw. Found every woman in the place who’d been eyeballing me and fucked them raw.
Nothing seemed to help.
He never asked for a private dance, a trip into that back room, and I’d told myself I was glad.
But I was lying.
Because after he’d vanished, I’d missed it. That all-seeing, blue-eyed gaze. I craved it. Craved him.
Yeah, yeah, I know.
Like I needed an affair with the dangerous president of a motorcycle club on top of everything else. But drama is kind of my thing. It’s status quo.
And now he was here. Tonight. And the fact that his hand was practically burning a hole through my hoodie made me want to drag him back into that private room down the hall and fuck the stress tears right out of myself.
Frankly, the solid weight of his hand, the scent of his body—cigarettes and leather and something remarkably clean beneath that—made me want to tell him everything.
Tell him to leave.
Go. Leave. Before I get you killed.
But the truth was I didn’t know where Max’s loyalties lay. Lagan liked Max. And Max seemed to like Lagan.
And if Max stood in my way, trying to save Lagan, I was going to have to kill him.
“You okay?” he asked, pushing against my shoulder like he was trying to get me to look up.
No. Decidedly. No.
“Fine. I’m fine.” I shrugged away from his touch and walked down the hall toward the bathroom. When I was sure he couldn’t see me, I wiped away my tears with rough hands.
He’s an asshole, I told myself. All of them are. Everyone who might get hurt in this stupid thing deserved it.
M. O’Keefe can remember the exact moment her love of romance began—in seventh grade, when Mrs. Nelson handed her a worn paperback copy of The Thorn Birds. Writing as Molly O’Keefe, she has won two RITA awards and three RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and two children.