Eeee you guys! Today we have an awesome exclusive excerpt from Elle Kennedy. Midnight Games won’t be available until August 6, 2013. And in fact, the cover isn’t even up at amazon yet! (Also, can you believe it’s the fourth Tuesday of the month?! Picture me running around in a panic, flailing. I NEED MORE TIME!) Also good thing. Ms. Kennedy has visited ALBTALBS before, or she’d probably be scared now. XD
A master of disguise, Isabel Roma spends her life pretending to be other women. Normally, her emotions are reined in tight—but sexy mercenary Trevor Callaghan has a knack for getting under her skin. The elite operative’s quiet strength and raw magnetism affect her in ways she’s never felt before, a distraction that can quickly turn deadly in their dangerous line of work.
After putting his tragic past behind him, Trevor is ready to focus on his future—and he damn well intends for Isabel to be in it. When their entire operation is thrown into chaos, Trevor enlists Isabel’s talent for deception. And as they attempt to save their team in a world where the stakes are high and the danger is grave, Trevor must convince Isabel that the woman beneath all the disguises is the one worth having….
“Holy shit, Holden’s wife is hot.” Ethan Hayes spoke in a low murmur, his hazel eyes glimmering with appreciation.
Trevor Callaghan shifted his attention from the pool table to the raven-haired woman taking up residence on the other side of the game room. This was the first time any of the team had met Holden McCall’s wife, and Trevor had no idea why Holden had hid the woman from them for so long. With her wavy black hair and dark eyes, Beth McCall was drop-dead gorgeous. She was also shy, soft-spoken, and completely oblivious to the sex appeal radiating from her tall, curvaceous frame.
“She’s really nice too,” Ethan added. “She offered to give me some cooking lessons.”
Trevor furrowed his brow. “Why would she do that?”
“Because she’s a chef, dumb-ass.”
Somehow it didn’t surprise Trevor that Beth had so easily opened up to Ethan when she’d barely uttered ten words to anyone else at the compound since she and Holden had arrived earlier this morning. With his preppy good looks and unassuming demeanor, Ethan came off as the least threatening man on the planet. But the rookie was far deadlier than he let on, a marine with razor-sharp instincts and honed skills that made him a real asset to the team.
Make that teams. As of three months ago, Jim Morgan had expanded his operation. Apparently soldiers for hire were in greater demand these days, and since Trevor’s boss was as business-savvy as he was lethal, he’d recruited a second team of operatives. Headed by a fellow mercenary named Castle, B-Team—as Trevor and some of the others mockingly referred to it—was currently in the field working an extraction, while the self-proclaimed A-Team indulged in some R&R at Morgan’s compound near Tijuana.
Trevor still found it disorienting to wake up, peer out the window, and not see the Rocky Mountains looming in the distance. He’d lived in Colorado his whole life, calling it home even when his stint in the army had taken him far away and for long periods of time. But even though he got homesick every now and then, longing for the crisp mountain air and the four distinct seasons that Mexico seemed to lack, he knew that relocating to the compound had been a smart decision. He’d needed to leave that empty Aspen condo. He and Gina had purchased it together. They’d turned it into a home. Their home.
But Gina was gone, dead for more than two years now. It had been time for him to move on, which was why he’d sold the condo to Luke Dubois. The former SEAL was currently off rotation while he got settled in the new place.
It brought a bittersweet pang to Trevor’s gut, knowing that Luke and his girlfriend, Olivia, were building a life together in Aspen. The life that had been stolen from him and Gina.
He was happy for his teammate, though. And living on the compound wasn’t bad. He was surrounded by friends, he had a top-notch training facility at his fingertips, the weather was nice year-round, and their housekeeper, Lloyd, was actually a damn good cook.
Oh, and whenever irritating thoughts of Isabel Roma crept into his head, he could easily vanquish them by challenging one of the boys to a Mexican-rum-drinking contest.
Fuck. He’d promised himself he wouldn’t think about Isabel today.
The woman was definitely messing with his head. Big-time.
“You taking your shot or what?” Kane Woodland inquired in a dry voice.
Trevor looked at the sandy-haired man on the other side of the pool table, then at the three lone balls sitting on the green felt. “Eight ball, corner pocket,” he said absently.
“Good fucking luck. No way you’re sinking that.” Kane held up his palm to the redhead by his side. “High-five me, sweetheart. He’s about to scratch on the eight ball.”
Abby Sinclair narrowed her honey-colored eyes, assessed the table, and shook her head. “He’ll sink it. Won’t you, Callaghan?”
He met the redhead’s astute gaze. “Wouldn’t have called it if I thought otherwise.”
And then he bent forward, lined up his cue, and snapped the eight right into its designated pocket—without scratching.
Kane cursed under his breath. “Damn it. Double or nothing.”
“No way,” Abby interjected. “You’re already out five hundred bucks and two nut shots.”
“Nut shots?” Beth McCall’s curious voice sounded from behind the group. The black-haired beauty approached the table.
Her husband was rolling his eyes as he came up beside her. “Instead of money, they bet each other a kick in the nuts,” Holden explained.
“Or a punch,” Ethan said helpfully. “It’s the loser’s choice.”
“And my loser husband will be getting kicked or punched in the balls today. Twice,” Abby muttered.
Ethan snickered. “You’re just mad because you won’t be the one doing it.”
Trevor wasn’t used to hearing the word “husband” come out of the redhead’s mouth. A few days ago, Abby and Kane had stunned everyone by nonchalantly letting it slip that they’d secretly tied the knot last week. No wedding, no reception, not even a heads-up—the couple had simply driven to the justice of peace in town and gotten hitched without telling a single soul.
The covert ceremony didn’t exactly come as a surprise, though, since Abby Sinclair loathed being the center of attention. The woman avoided fuss and fanfare like the plague.
Also not surprising was how she began to edge away from the pool table the second Beth McCall got close. Abby had been living on the compound for more than a year now, but the former contract killer still didn’t seem comfortable being part of the group. Or being around other women. The only females Trevor had seen her drop her guard around were her ex-boss, Noelle, and her fellow chameleon, Isabel.
Grinding his teeth, he pushed aside the latest thought of Isabel and handed his pool cue to Ethan.
“I’ll collect my reward later,” he told Kane. “First I need a word with your wife.”
“Hands off, Trev.” Kane’s green eyes twinkled playfully, but the note of menace in his voice didn’t go unnoticed.
Yeah, right. Trevor had no intention of putting the moves on Abby Sinclair. She was beautiful, sure, but he didn’t have a thing for ruthless redheads.
Only cowardly blondes, apparently.
A sigh lodged in his throat. No, that wasn’t true. Isabel Roma was the strongest woman he’d ever met. He’d dropped that nasty C-word during his last phone call with Noelle only because he’d hoped that being accused of cowardice would spur Isabel into finally returning his calls. Hadn’t worked, though. She was still “deep cover” and couldn’t be reached.
Bull fucking shit.
“What do you need, Callaghan?” Abby asked as she followed him out of the game room.
“What do you think I need, Sinclair?”
They stepped into the spacious hallway and headed toward the set of tall oak doors that opened into the great room. The huge chalet-style space was Trevor’s favorite room in the house, probably because it reminded him of the ski lodges his family had vacationed at when he was a kid. Crisscrossed wooden beams made up the massively high ceiling and the floor beneath their feet was a shiny, dark-stained parquet. L-shaped leather couches took up half the room, while the other side offered a stone fireplace, endless bookcases, and cozy leather armchairs.
Trevor walked over to the large bay window and stared at the reddish-brown dirt that made up the front courtyard. Outside, the sun was setting, the sky a fiery shade of burnished copper, nearly the same color as Abby’s hair.
“Well?” he prompted when she didn’t say a word.
She joined him at the window. “Izzy is in Paris,” she admitted.
His heart did an involuntary leap of joy, but the joy faded to anger once the implication settled in. Isabel had wrapped up her job. Which meant she’d undoubtedly received every single one of his messages—and decided to ignore them.
“Are you sure?” he said gruffly.
Abby nodded. “She got in this morning.”
He was slightly appeased. All right. She’d gotten in only this morning. She probably had other shit to deal with at the moment. Unpacking, briefing her boss, finding a new place to live . . .
The memory of Isabel’s old place, the Manhattan walkup she’d abandoned him in, brought a bitter taste to his mouth. He’d waited all day and night. Sat around like a chump while Isabel went out to help a friend, and as the hours ticked by and her cell phone kept bumping over to voice mail, he’d made excuses for her. She’d lost track of time. Her cell was dead. She was on her way home.
Until finally he’d been forced to face the cold, hard truth—Isabel wasn’t coming back.
Of course, his misplaced faith in humankind had led him to think she was in trouble, a pathetic assumption that initiated a frantic, weeklong search that nearly sent him spiraling back into the black hole of depression that Gina’s death had banished him to.
Eventually, he’d reached Isabel’s boss, who put an end to his needless panic by uttering four very short, very destructive sentences.
Isabel’s on assignment. She bailed on you. Deal with it. Stop calling me.
He’d responded with only one sentence of his own: “I won’t stop until I find her.”
A RITA-award nominated author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.
Elle currently publishes with Signet Eclipse, Harlequin Romantic Suspense, and Samhain Publishing. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!
What’d you think of that excerpt? I loved it. 😀 Love the glimpses of interaction between all these alpha guys. And… yeah. Totally something idiot boys would do. XD I was vastly entertained. Have you read any books by Elle Kennedy before? Come on – opinions welcome! One lucky commenter will win a copy of Midnight Rescue and Midnight Alias – the first two books in the Killer Instinct series!