Click to Enlarge

Sweet Victory
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-55404-618-1
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Romance/Fiction/Adventure
eBook Length: 162 Pages
Published: October 2008



From inside the flap

Relish the Deception

Tomorrow is the day for beginning a new career for Christina Lakely—the dream job. Confident and excited she is to embark upon the path to become a police officer. But as in all romantic situations for her, things do not go as she plans. She encounters a powerful and attractive man in a café—possibly the man of all her fantasies. Although he expresses avid interest in her and she is equally attracted to his rugged male qualities, Christina rebuffs his advances knowing that she will be spending all her precious time, energy, and thoughts toiling in the police academy.

But there are problems at the academy. There is someone there who doesn’t want her to graduate. There is someone who has the wrong idea about Christina Lakely—and the way she will live her upcoming days. Love, mystery, and real life collide in this romantic slingshot ride; but deception may be right around the corner. It always is…

Sweet Victory (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

His eyes were piercing; uncomfortably so. Where had she ever seen such intensity and heat radiating from a man’s face before? Brown embers burned from his ruggedly confident features; and these coals of fire created shadows of lust and desire in her-an odd sensation for one who did not believe in such encounters. Scanning her memory, she tried to fathom one moment of time where she could compare this firm grip on her very soul, but all reason eluded her. His very essence held her fast.

It was ridiculous, this grip massaging her heart-or touching whatever other part of her body controlled the images in her mind and the spasms in her stomach. She was a grown woman; and not a mere teenage love-struck child. And he was just a man. Still, the grip tightened around her heart and her breath sped onward.

Sitting haughtily with two other men at a small table in the quaint breakfast cafe, his stare burned hot. Even as he nodded acknowledgement every now and then to his companions as they spoke, his focus would not leave her eyes. He was talking with them, but looking at her. His gaze was not really invasive, rather one of interest, a reflection of her own desire. And there was that desire again-right there in front of her mind. Just where did that come from? Why couldn’t it just be curiosity? Now that would have been appropriate.

A shiver crossed her arms and she looked away from him. Could he read her thoughts? She’d heard of such things in these days of ESP and spiritual awareness. Another shiver. Surely he knew every secret she had ever concealed and each lustful thought ever dreamed. Certainly that was invasive. Digging her nails into the palms of her hands, she attempted to control the trembling within her body. This was absolutely beyond ridiculous. What was wrong with her?

Christina Lakely glanced back at him and then pulled her eyes from the penetrating gaze, pushed her plate away, and hailed the waitress. Quickly paying her check, she gathered her belongings-a purse and a library reference book on traffic laws-glanced at the man for one last moment of glorious but involuntary spasm, and rose to leave. The booth table was a tight fit and not easy to manipulate out of, even though she was slim. She pushed at the table.

She could see him from her peripheral vision. His dark brown eyes were still watching her every movement; and his slight smile told her that the amount of thigh displayed as she slid from the booth, across from his table, had not gone unnoticed. Her stomach lurched at his conscious favorable assessment of her, and a smile of pride touched the corners of her mouth, though she wished she could’ve hidden that dash of vanity.

He stood as she did; and Christina’s heartbeat accelerated beyond her control and nervous hands turned ice cold with tension. Or was it anticipation? Was he going to follow her? What should she do? Cute or not, this was not a good thing-not in this day and age.

As she moved toward the door of the cafe, her nerves dangerously on edge, she looked back. Yes. He was following her.

"Good grief," she murmured. "What am I so upset about? He’s an attractive man; I’m a single woman. And besides, this is the last day of my old life. Tomorrow I’ll be someone else-someone new. Why not flirt with him? Maybe I can even show him a bit of the new me."

She shrugged, not entirely sure of the ’new me’. But she also smiled to herself, confidence returning as she thought of the new career she would embark upon the next day. Stepping from the cafe out onto the sidewalk, she took in breath of the sunshiny day. From behind her, a deep sensual voice cut through her thoughts.

"Excuse me, Miss. I believe you dropped this back at the cafe."

Well. There he was. Gorgeous; and quite close. Too close for comfort. He towered over her-6-foot-3 inches tall-with dark brown hair looking every bit as soft as a puppy’s fur; and oh yes, those burning brown eyes. His mouth troubled her. Though the smile was inviting, the lines were angular and severe-even cold; and a small half‑moon shaped scar could be seen at the base of his right eye, making his stare appear more intense than he may have intended.

Surveying him, Christina noticed an unmistakable commanding air of self‑confidence surrounding him, which made him alluringly sexy, and a bit alarming at the same time. That self-assured manner seemed to rob her of some of her own assurance, stealing it as though she were a receptacle filled with confidence to pour out onto the cement at his whim. Christina sighed. The man was easily the most attractive man she had ever seen in her life; and though she’d thought herself beyond mere sexual attractions, this encounter was proving her wrong.

"Miss?" he started again.

Snapping out of her thoughts, she looked down at the small pocket-sized notebook he was holding out to her. It was not hers.

"I’m sorry. You must be mistaken. The notebook’s not mine, but thank you for taking the time to check with me. You’re very kind."

Knowing that the man had used the notebook as a ruse to meet her, she offered a small smile. She could afford that, she thought. He looked at the notebook and then back to her.

"Yes, I believe you’re right. In fact, it’s mine." His smile was flippant and the eyes were playful. "Sorry about that. I’m not particularly good at lines. Guess I’m being fairly obvious about the fact that I find you attractive."

"Well, I’m very flattered, Mr..."

A simple thought passed through her mind. What if he was a pervert? Or a kidnapper? Or worse? She swallowed hard, knowing that it was too early for her to make these snap judgments based on instinct. That new part of her was not developed as yet. There had to be a probable cause that was more than a really bad pick-up line.

"Hamilton. Kyle Hamilton. And you are?"

"Christina," she offered, halting before disclosing her last name.

It would never do for her to give up her anonymity too quickly to a total stranger. A police officer would never do that so casually.

"Christina? Just Christina?" he inquired.

Frowning, she relented, unable to resist his banter and not especially wanting to. Her thoughts jumped to the fact that police officers didn’t have to be afraid of telling people their names. Well…

"Lakely. Christina Lakely," she said, in a small voice, miffed that she found thinking on her feet difficult when faced with a handsome stranger.

She would need to work on that. Now he had her name. How stupid was that?

"Well, Christina Lakely. Would you like to have dinner with me one evening? I know a lovely little place."

A plain, "Thank you, but no," came out of her mouth, while her mind shouted, Yes. "I really would like to, but I start a new job tomorrow and I’ll be real busy cracking the books for some time, so I really can’t make any social plans just now. But thank you for such a kind invitation."

Would that deter a pervert? Her mind racing, Christina was having mixed emotions, however, at her negative response to the invitation. Maybe dinner was too much, but coffee? Was that acceptable under such quick meetings?

Having such a desirable man ask her out made her want to forget the oath she’d made to herself and the normal good sense she usually displayed. But the oath and common sense was important. The only way she could make up for what had happened to her sister, Cynthia, was to make it through that police academy-and not to just ’make’ it through, but to do well. Alas, logic won out. She would not make a commitment of pleasure until she had her feet squarely on the ground-in the police department. She owed that to her sister. And, if this man was a pervert, she’d be able to handle that too-if the opportunity arose again. Fate and all that stuff one thought about when about to make an unwanted decision.

"Can’t say that I understand totally, but I’ll take no for an answer now, if you’ll give me your phone number for later. Maybe we can get together in a couple of weeks."

Persistently, he had taken out a pen and opened the notebook that he had presented to Christina as hers. It was apparent in his candid expression that he expected no resistance to his presumptuous request. Christina, still thinking about yielding on some level, shivered as a violent tremor struck her. Premonitions seldom touched her, but somehow she knew that she could not give this man her telephone number. Something was not right about him. Intuition told her that seeing him socially would surely end in some horrendous outcome. Or at the very least, something she was not prepared for.

It was difficult, however, to resist those wide, searching eyes that were again staring into hers. He tilted his head in amusement, sparking a slight jolt of agitation in Christina’s heart. He knew the effect he was having on her and was enjoying himself. At her expense.

"I am sorry, Mr. Hamilton, but I’m not in the habit of just handing out my phone number to strangers. You know how it is these days. But, if you want, I’ll take yours; and then when I see my way clear, I might call you."

Christina was certain that this was the way to handle men of such superior dominance and rugged good looks, even if this was the boldest suggestion she had ever made to a man. Her friends called men for dates or just to talk, but it had never seemed the right thing for her to do. A touch of ’old fashioned girl’ seemed to radiate about her, preventing the woman she was in the here and now from stepping through the foggy maze of equality. Of course, that too, would change very soon. It would have to if she were to succeed.

And what did she care what he thought, anyway? She was to be a new person tomorrow-more confident, stronger, a respected officer of the law. She could afford to make bold gestures.

"Well, I’m not in the habit of giving my number out either; but you, Miss Lakely, intrigue me." He wrote his telephone number down in the notebook and handed it to her, brushing his fingers softly along her wrist as he withdrew his hand.

"Don’t you want your notebook?" she asked, resisting her body’s urge to quiver at his unexpected touch.

"No. Keep it. Carry it with you wherever you go to remember me."

With both gentle warmth and searing fire, his eyes seemed to penetrate her soul again, taking in her small petite form with noticeable satisfaction. Then, with a slow seductive move he took her face in his hands, and leaning forward, softly kissed her lips. Volcanoes building inside her stomach and threaten­ing to spread to other interesting parts of her body, yearned to erupt. She pulled in a breath, her eyes wide and sur­prised. She stood stunned, but managed an awkward step backward.

Letting her step back, he said softly, "Now, I think you might want to remember to call me sooner than later." His voice, barely a whisper, held a challenge and an invitation with a meaning that was all too clear. Knowing his own charm and attraction, he would leave her recalling every line of his face, every essence of his being. "Bye for now, Christina."

Butterfly spasms fluttered in her stomach, and she dared not say another word, for fear of revealing…something-she wasn’t sure what, but she was sure it was something that she didn’t want him to know. That amount of appeal in a man was frightening. Managing a casual nod, she pulled back, turned, and walked briskly away, aware that his eyes burned into her back. She was thrilled and also angry. How dare he? But then she smiled.


***