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“So that’s how it’s going to be is it?” He grinned and pulled her back on top of him.

“That’s right.” She laughed and started a trail of kisses down his neck to his chest.

“You think I’m some kind of machine?” Dane asked.

She giggled and opened her mouth to say, hell yes she thought he was, but they were both interrupted by a loud, insistent banging at the front door.

Dane threw back the covers and yanked on a pair of boxers. Then he reached into the drawer of his nightstand, and withdrew a hand gun.

“Stay put.”

Ignoring his orders, Calista followed him and listened at the door. Somehow she doubted her stalker would knock on the front door. When she heard Nikolai’s familiar voice she walked out.

“What’s going on?” She looked from Dane to Nikolai questioningly. They had been discussing something. Something she wasn’t meant to know about. A strange sensation settled like a rock in the pit of her stomach.

“I’ve been trying to reach you for the past couple hours and neither of you have been answering your damn phones! Now I see why.” He looked from one to the other, obviously taking in their disheveled, half-clothed appearances.

She glanced down and grimaced. Maybe she should have put on something more than one of Dane’s T-shirts. Nikolai spared Calista, but cast Dane a withering look before he stalked to the kitchen.

“I need a few minutes alone with him.” Dane sighed and pulled Calista against his chest.

“I guess that’s okay. I need to do something about this birds nest on top of my head anyway,” she murmured against his hard body.

When she turned to leave, Dane pulled her back into an embrace and softly pressed his lips against hers. It wasn’t particularly intimate, but it was enough to send spirals of heat down her middle.

“I need you to know something. Whatever happens between us, I need you to know that what I feel for you is real. More real than anything in my life.”

Everything he said seemed to be in code. She nodded against his chest, even though she had no clue what he was talking about.


“What the hell are you doing, Dane?” Nikolai asked through clenched teeth.

“This isn’t like you, man. What if something had happened? I had no way to get in contact with you, none of us did.”

“I didn’t realize my phone had died.” Not that it was an excuse.

His cousin was right. This wasn’t him.

“Just because you’re busy fucking her—”

Something primal burned in Dane’s gut. Before Nikolai could continue, Dane slammed him against the wall and wrapped a hand around his neck. His voice, low and menacing, might have terrified anyone else. “Don’t you ever talk about her like that again.”

Nikolai didn’t make an attempt to move, so after a few seconds, Dane released him, although he didn’t give him an inch of breathing room.

Nikolai’s entire body shook when he spoke again. “We both decided to start this company. You can’t fuck up our first big job.”

When Dane didn’t respond, he continued. “I’m willing to bet you didn’t tell her about Berlin.”

His gut twisted, but he refused to dwell on that. For now, he could only focus on keeping her safe. When the truth came out he’d face it. Until then, he would only think about his time with Calista. However limited it was.

For several minutes neither man spoke. They just stared at each other in heated silence. Since Dane was the one who screwed up, he broke first. “It’s obvious you’ve uncovered some new evidence, so let me have it.”

Nikolai grumbled something unintelligible. “My contact at the police department gave me some interesting information. There was a hit on the unknown blood at the spa. The DNA matched a man by the name of George Angel.”

Dane’s earlier hopes fell. That name wasn’t on any of their lists.

Nikolai must have read his defeated expression. “Wait, let me finish. This guy knows way too many things about Calista for him to be an average Joe off the streets. So, I started thinking. I cross referenced his DNA, and surprise, it matched a certain man by the name of Mike Valpas.”

“Matched? They’re twins?”

Nikolai shook his head. “No, I should specify. It wasn’t an exact match, but there are too many similar alleles for them not to be related. George Angel is Mike Valpas’s brother.”


“It would appear so. I’m not sure of the connection, what with the different last names, but I’m working on it. This guy isn’t in our database, but he was arrested a few years back for not paying a few hundred parking tickets in New York. After the match up with Mike, I hacked into NYPD’s system and came up with this name. There isn’t much on him. No last known address and the pictures of him are at least six years old.”

“He killed his own brother?” Dane gripped the side of the kitchen table. If he hacked up his own brother, he would stop at nothing to get to Calista.

“That’s what it looks like. Ironically that’s where he made his biggest mistake. Without that piece of the puzzle I never would have thought to cross reference his blood, and since he was never convicted of anything criminal, chances are we never would have made this break.”

Dumb luck certainly counted for something in this business.


Calista ventured out into the living room when she heard the front door slam shut.

Dane looked up when he saw her and grimaced. “Don’t worry. He’s angry with me, not you.”

She half smiled and slipped her arms around his waist. “I kind of figured.”

“I’m inclined to place some of the blame on you though.”

Her lips curved in to a slight smile. “And why would you blame me?”

“If you hadn’t seduced me and caused me to lose focus, I would have realized my phone died.”

“Seduced you?” Calista playfully punched his arm. “If I recall correctly you laid all the cards on the table when you told me your door was always open. I just took you up on your offer.”

“I’m glad you did.” His eyes darkened and she sucked in a quick breath when he pulled her tighter against his chest. The playful mood completely disappeared.

Knowing where this was headed, she lightly pushed on his chest and took a step back. If he started kissing her, she’d lose all focus. “Before we get carried away, I need to talk to you. I got a call while you and Nikolai were going at it in the kitchen. We’ve been invited to a party.”

At his look of aggravation she pulled him down onto the couch. “Aidan is throwing a birthday bash for one of the guys in his band. After talking to him I realized that everyone on our list is going to be at that party. This opportunity is too big to pass up. This could all be over soon.”

Dane muttered something foreign.

“What was that?” The night before he’d uttered foreign words but she’d been so caught up in her own bliss to worry about it.

He shook his head and half smiled. “Don’t worry about it.”

She pursed her lips and moved back a few inches. “You said something last night I couldn’t understand either. What was it?”

His grin turned into a full fledged smile, but he still didn’t respond.

“Well?” Agitation bubbled up inside of her. The smirk on his face wasn’t helping.

Inching closer, he pulled her towards him so that she sat directly in his lap. He leaned in, like he wanted to tell her a secret. His lips brushed lightly against her ear.

“I was speaking in my native tongue, and I was thanking your creator for giving you such a beautiful, tight body. I also said I like it when you ride me hard, and…”

Her cheeks flamed at his words. “Okay, I get it. Can we please get back to discussing the party?”

He groaned. “Fine, when and where is this party?”

“Tonight.” She held her breath. He might hold the short notice against her.

“And he couldn’t have given you more notice?”

“They’d planned on being back in Boston, but since they’re still here…” she stopped talking when she realized he didn’t want excuses. He just wanted his frustration made clear.

He massaged his temple and sighed. “Fine, where?”

“Actually, I think that part is going to make you feel better about this whole situation. The party’s going to be at Amber’s restaurant.”

“That’s the blonde friend, right?”

“Yes.” She smiled when she realized that he wasn’t arguing but asking for details.

“Let me make a few calls. Do you think Amber will have a problem with my men showing up early to review the layout and examine the exits?”

“Does she have a choice?”

“Not really.”

“I’ve already let her know. I called her immediately after Aidan called me. I knew exactly what your orders would be.” She mock saluted him and pivoted on her heel.

“One more thing.” She turned back and smiled seductively. “Don’t take too long.”

Chapter 14

Lena Stavaros critically assessed her appearance in the mirror. Her makeup was perfect and she wore a sleek black dress that hugged her in all the right places. She glanced back at Billy, sprawled on the bed in their hotel room. He stared at the television, looking bored as usual. In the beginning of their relationship she’d been drawn to his flippant, brooding, attitude. Now she found him tiresome. To top it off, the sex that had been so hot at the beginning was nonexistent. Tonight she would find someone new.

“You don’t have to come to this party,” she snapped.

When he didn’t respond she continued, mainly to make conversation, and hoping to start a fight. If he didn’t come to the party she’d be free to hook up with anyone she wanted.

“Unfortunately Calista Kingston will be there. I thought after that incident at the salon she’d be laying low for a while.”