Title: Rogue Love
Series: Kings of Corruption #1
Author: Michelle St. James
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: March 21, 2017
FBI agent Braden Kane has been going it alone ever since a family scandal sent him running straight from the Ivy League into Special Forces. That’s where he learned the hardest lesson of all — we’re all alone in the end. And nobody can save us.
When a raid goes terribly wrong, walking out is almost instinctual. Following the rules is for suckers. There’s only one way to get things done, and that’s to do it off the books. By the time he walks out, he knows there’s only one thing he’ll miss.
Nora Murphy never really had a choice. Law enforcement was in her blood.
Raised by an old-school Irishman in a houseful of brothers, she learned early on there was only one way to survive.
Be stronger. Be smarter. Be better.
A devastating personal loss only made it easier to focus on the things that made sense. There was no room for romance. And certainly no room for love. Which made tabling her attraction to friend and fellow agent Braden Kane a no-brainer. But Braden’s defection from the FBI opens the door to their relationship in a new and surprising way. Nora’s still getting her head around the possibilities when she’s assigned an important case involving a string of high-profile crimes. She can’t wait to bring down the ring of brash vigilantes — until a shocking connection to Braden reveals itself in in the middle of their burgeoning affair.
Now they’re on opposite sides of law and order. But can either of those things compete with love?
GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33792788-rogue-love
Praise for the Mob Boss series:
"Romantic and intriguing. A gripping read!" - NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Lauren Blakely
"Dark, seductive, compelling, and hot as HELL." - USA Today Bestselling Author Lili Valente
“Hot sensuality and gripping suspense. Brace yourself for a perfect romantic journey!" - NYT and USA Today Bestselling Author Angel Payne
"From page one you're sucked into this corrupt, thrilling world. A masterful romance of deep dark suspense, complicated emotions, and exciting action." - New York Times bestseller, M.J. Rose
He shut the door, watched her walk into the open living room. She made her way to the big window that offered up a prime water view during the day. The lights from the walk street outside lit up her face; the high cheekbones, full mouth, heart-shaped face.
She turned to look at him. “What are you doing?”
She shrugged a little. “Why?”
There was so much honesty in the question. Like she really didn’t know why he would want to look at her.
Like she really didn’t know how beautiful she was.
He pushed off the door, walked slowly toward her, stopping when only an inch separated their bodies. He reached down, lay his palm against her cheek, rubbed his thumb against her skin.
“Because for years I’ve had to sneak glimpses of you. And now I want to really see you.”
She was breathing heavy as he looked down at her, a flush spreading from her cheeks to the barely-visible cleavage under her black T-shirt. “I want to see you too.”
“You’re going to see me, Nora.” He lowered his head, stopping when his lips were almost touching hers. “And you’re going to feel me, too.”
He pressed his mouth to hers, slipped his tongue inside as he angled his head, already needing to take the kiss deep. Needing to taste every inch of her mouth, to prove to himself that she was real.
That this was real.
Her hands slid around his waist, traveled up his back as she pressed herself against him. The feel of her stomach against his rigid cock sent a shockwave of desire through him. It blocked out everything else, and for a long moment he was lost to the sensation of her mouth, the warmth of her body, separated from his only by the thin layer of clothes. He already knew what it would feel like to sink into her, to feel her smoothness under him as he took her.
Her hands came back around to his chest, traveling over his pecs, down to his stomach as she kissed him feverishly, matching the urgency of his tongue stroke for stroke. He growled when she flattened her hand against the bulge in his pants, her small palm cupping the erection that had been torturing him for the last two hours.
Hell, for the last five years.
He took hold of her wrist, not trusting himself under her touch. “I’ve waited years for this moment, Nora. And if you touch me I won’t be able to wait a second longer.”
She looked up into his eyes. “I don’t care.”
“I care.” He swept her into his arms, surprised by how light she was. She was so formidable at work. A warrior. But he’d always suspected she was all softness and warmth underneath it all.
Now he was ready to find out.
He made his way through the dark apartment, down the hall, and into the bedroom. He set her on the bed, then turned to open the windows, letting in a gust of salty air on the night breeze. He turned to look at her, sitting on the edge of the bed.
Waiting for him.
“Take off your clothes, Nora.”
She lifted her chin, leaned back on the bed, propping herself up on her forearms. “Take them off yourself.”
He stalked slowly toward her, wishing her defiance wasn’t such a fucking turn-on. It would only make taking his time more difficult. If she’d been anyone else, he would have laid down the law; the bedroom was his domain.
He was in control here. He made the rules.
But she wasn’t anyone else. She was the woman of his dreams. He would still be in control when push came to shove, but he would take it slow.
He stopped at the bed, looked down at her. “We’re playing by my rules now, Nora. Now please take off your clothes.”
A small smile crept onto her face as she stared him down through the moonlight making its way into the room. He thought she might argue, rebel. Instead she sat up, pulled off her T-shirt. His eyes were still glued to the magnificent swell of her breasts, barely hidden by a lacy pink bra, when she unbuttoned her jeans, lowered the zipper, lifted her hips off the bed as she shimmied them down her hips.
He almost couldn’t breathe as she tossed them aside, her porcelain skin glowing in the darkness. She was naked except for the bra and a matching scrap of fabric that covered the mound between her legs, just enough hidden to push his imagination into overdrive.
When she spoke, her voice was husky. “That’s as far as I go without you. You’re going to have to meet me halfway, Kane.”
He stripped off his shirt, then unbuttoned his pants, dropped them to the floor. His cock sprang free, both a relief and further torture with the refuge of Nora’s body so close.
He stood at the edge of the bed, ran his palms up her delicate feet to the shapely calves. Then he hooked his hands behind her knees and pulled her to the edge of the bed.
He knelt between her legs, inhaling the scent of her. “I think you’ll find I’m willing to meet you more than halfway.”
They passed through the light and into the darkness near the water, then turned toward Manhattan Beach. She squealed a little when the water rushed up over her feet.
The sound of her laughter was somehow both childish and sexy. “Cold?”
She looked up at him with a smile and her expression was transformed. Maybe it was just the water, the visceral shock of the cold, but her face looked naked, the mask she wore at work folded up and set aside.
“Aren’t you going to take off your shoes?” she asked.
He lifted his hand, holding her heels. “Then I won’t be able to hold your hand.”
She laughed. “I can carry my own shoes!”
“I’m good,” he said.
“Don’t you want to put your feet in?” she asked.
He looked down at her, his smile spreading all the way from his heart up to his lips. “Truthfully?”
“I’d rather hold your hand.” He hesitated, holding her gaze as years of unspoken feelings fought to make themselves known. “I think I’ve been waiting years to hold your hand.”
“I’ve been waiting, too.”
He dropped her shoes in the sand and lifted his hands to her face. There was a distant voice urging him to be careful. To take it slow. To wait and see what came of his meeting in La Jolla tomorrow.
But that voice was no match for the one telling him he was finally home.
“Nora…” He slipped his hands into the hair at the back of her head, savored the feel of the silken strands against his fingers. “Do you know what it’s like to be so close to something so beautiful and have to pretend its nothing?”
She swallowed, licked her lips. “Yes,” she said. “I do.”
There was a split second when time seemed to stand still. The waves were silent, the wind still. There was only her. Only her face in his hands, her eyes a pool of blue fire, her lips full and parted. Waiting.
Then his mouth was on hers, his lips sinking into the pillowy softness of her. He held still at first, wanting to remember the arch of her neck in his hands, the exhale of her breath breathing life into his long-dead soul. A moment later she opened to him and there was no room for coherent thought. There was only the exploration of her satiny mouth as her tongue parried with his, every moment a burst of new sensation.
Not because he hadn’t been with many women. On the contrary; he’d kissed more women than he could count.
But not like this. Never like this.
His body flooded with desire so powerful it swarmed his mind like a shot of pure adrenaline. He was on fire for her, barely able to drag the breath in and out of his lungs.
It wasn’t just lust. It was a feeling of completion, the click of a final puzzle piece being put into place. It was one he hadn’t known he’d been missing, but now that she was here in his arms, he knew the picture of his life would never have been complete without her.
He angled her head and took their kiss deeper, sweeping her mouth slowly, relishing every inch of sweet warmth. She tasted like wine and strawberries, like the sea and the wind.
Her arms came around him and he pulled her closer, pressing her against his body, her exquisite softness molding to the hard planes of his body, filling all the empty places he hadn't known existed.
He meant to take it easy. To take it slow. Both admirable notions that were thrown to the wind when she sighed into his mouth, pressed closer against him, her breasts crushed against his chest.
There was no more caution then. Only his hands on her body, mapping the fullness of her breasts, the taper of her waist, the swell of her hips, painfully close under the thin fabric of her dress. He was aching to strip her bare. To learn her body in the moonlight and make her his.
“Braden…” she gasped, pulling away, then coming back in to kiss him again. “Can we…”
He pulled back, looked into her eyes.
“Can we take it slow?” she asked.
He held her face between his hands. “We can do anything you want, Nora.”
Her smile was so pure and so true it almost brought him to his knees. “It’s not that I don’t want to…” She laughed. “I want to.”
He looked into her eyes. “Looking at you is all I need.”
“You’ve been looking at me a long time, Kane. You’re not sick of me yet?”
“I’m just getting started.” It came out more intense than he’d intended, all his pent-up feelings spilling over into his words.
“Sounds intriguing,” she said.
“I’m nothing if not intriguing.” He tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, bent his head, kissed her softly. “Now let’s get you home before my ungentlemanly instincts take over again.”
He took her hand and felt like he was holding the moon.
Michelle St. James aka Michelle Zink is the author of nineteen published books and seven novellas. Her first series, Prophecy of the Sisters (YA), was one of Booklist's Top Ten Debut novels. Her work has also been an Indie Next selection and has appeared on prestigious lists such as the Lonestar List, New York Public Library's Stuff for the Teen Age, and Chicago Public Library's Best of the Best. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and translated into over twenty languages. She lives in New York with too many teenagers and too many cats.
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