Lisbeth, the lone eyewitness of a shocking murder, believes the FBI witness protection program may be the only way for her to survive. But when a powerful explosion reduces the safe house to ashes, killing all of the FBI agents on duty, will she turn to a perfect stranger for help?
Ethan, an ex-Marine-turned-firefighter, has never really cared for any woman. He lives his life to the fullest, enjoying the bad boy stigma and cultivating a particular taste for dominant sex. Girls come and go, allowed to stay only long enough to satisfy Ethan’s wild appetite.
One morning at dawn, Ethan’s fire brigade is called to a fatal house explosion that levels the structure. When he pries open a trap door to the hidden panic room under the house, he find a gorgeous, though disheveled brunette. Lisbeth instantly turns Ethan’s world upside down, and he’s overcome by the burning desire to protect her, no matter the consequences.
Jack stood beside me. He was a big guy, even taller and bulkier than myself. At six-foot-two I towered over most of my buddies and coworkers. In our heavy fireproof coats, pants, and bunker boots we looked like giants next to the short and plump chief.
Chief glanced back and to the sides, as if making sure nobody can overhear us. “Jack, take the battalion lead. The captain stays here. I have a special mission for him.”
“Yes, sir.” Jack nodded and rushed into the building, no questions asked.
“What? You want me to leave my guys and stay here? What’s going on?” I was puzzled. Such thing has never happened before. I was the captain, and my team was my responsibility. But this was also a direct order, and I knew better than to question my superior.
The chief lifted his hand, palm facing me in a conciliatory gesture. “Jack can lead the team well enough. You are required to take on another task.” He motioned to the area where the excavation team was moving the equipment off the side. “You’re going to that panic room. With your Marine’s training, you’re my best man for the job.”
“Jack has received the same training as I have, Chief.”
He sighed and ran his hand through his thinning gray hair. “I know, Ethan. But Jack’s temper is better utilized there,” he nodded toward the building, “while you know how to restrain yourself. Besides, this… well, hell, I will tell you what the feds said. But that’s not to be discussed with anyone, Ethan. In that panic room is a sole witness to some big case the FBI is involved in. She’s young and terrified, and who knows in what state of mind she is after this mess here. They’re afraid she will pull out, and they’ll lose the only witness they need to pin down some troublemaker. What we need now is someone who can ease her out of there and make sure she feels safe.”
I gave him a skeptical look. Okay, so it was widely known that I had my way with women, although I would never kiss and tell. But some of the women apparently have done just that, because I’ve been quickly labeled as a “bad boy who won’t settle down”. No matter what, this was my private life, which I never mixed with my professional one. So why the hell would my superior hint at my special talents? I’ve proven to him and everyone else at work that when it comes to my job, I won’t be second-guessed.
“Ethan.” His bushy brows pulled together as he pinned me with his steely stare. “Look, the FBI needs her. She’s the only one who can testify in that case, and apparently there is some big fish involved that can’t be easily touched otherwise. I know you can talk to her and make her feel protected—”
“So that’s what this is about? Giving some poor girl a false sense of security?” I kept my voice low.
He sighed. “I’m sorry, son. That came out wrong.” The chief shook his head and exhaled forcefull;”>
He sighed. “I’m sorry, son. That came out wrong.” The chief shook his head and exhaled forcefully. “Apparently, she’s been already hinting at pulling out, and so this,” he gestured around, “might be the last straw. What I’m asking is that you just try.”
I narrowed my eyes, looking at the spot where group 3 from Rescue 12 and a few black suits congregated in a circle. More feds tried to keep the media away. Several local TV stations were at the scene, cameras rolling. I spotted Anne, standing in front of the KOTS News Station camera, talking to a large microphone with the station logo on. When she gestured to the scene behind her, the fabric of her white button-down blouse stretched tautly over her round breasts. A fleeting recollection of those gorgeous tits under my fingers surfaced from some dark depths of my mind. My cock stirred, and a pang of desire ran through me. I pushed the not-completely-unwelcome memories out of my mind.
“That’s the order, Chief? I will do it, but I strongly believe I’m needed much more with my men inside that building.” I shoved my thumb over my shoulder, pointing to where my guys did what was absolutely necessary—killing the possible fire inside and preventing it from spreading onto the next building.
He sighed. “It’s a request. Please, Ethan. She’s my daughter’s age, just twenty-three; a college girl in the FBI witness protection program. The kid doesn’t have any family… she sure as hell could use some help from a firefighter.”
That did me in. Chief Holton’s daughter was born with Down syndrome. Her mother died, giving birth to her. The girl has recently developed a rare type of leukemia and was going through chemo treatments. She was the chief’s only child, and was slowly fading away. How could I possibly refuse his plea?
“Okay.” I nodded curtly and started to peel off my gloves and the heavy fire protection coat. The sun was up, and I was getting uncomfortably warm. “Is there a two-way communication established with that woman? A phone or a radio?”
“There was a separate landline, but it’s out of service now. Must’ve been damaged in the explosion. She’s not answering her radio either.”
“So no communication at all?”
“Nothing.” He shook his head.
We passed all the media, refusing the journalists’ pleads for comments about the incident. I bent at the waist, slipping under the barricade tape, Chief Holton following close behind. I heard him grunt in discomfort when he had to bend his bad knee to lower himself under the tape.
Two feds approached us. This time the chief made introductions. “Ethan, this is Agent Drasco,” he motioned to one of the left, “and this is Agent Cornell.”
They both nodded.
“This is Captain Ethan McCoy from Rescue 8. I briefed Captain McCoy about the situation,” Chief Holton told them. We need to move in. The lady in there might need medical attention.”
“How is the air supply in that panic room?” I asked.
“The room is equipped with air scrubbers. They draw in fresh air from outside and can filter it indefinitely,” Agent Drasco explained.
Long enough to wait out a chemical attack for example. Or, at least the worse of it. Must be the well-constructed safe room. I thought. “So smoke from the fire should be no problem then,” I said.
Agent Cornell cleared his throat and said in low baritone, “We are not completely positive on the air scrubbers functionality after the explosion. The system might’ve been damaged.”
“Is there an escape shaft?” I inquired.
“It was checked already, and the access is blocked by a heavy debris.” Agent Cornell shook his head.
“So let’s have our guys clear it.” What were the feds waiting for? Shouldn’t that be done already?
Drasco and Cornell exchange a fleeting glance, just a flicker of the eye, but it was enough for me to catch it.
Cornell drew in a breath. “The explosives were deposited at the escape shaft exit. Good part of the passage has collapsed.”
“So now this trap door here is the only way out, right?” I knew the answer, but without the complete blueprints of the underground structure I wanted to make sure we aren’t missing anything.
“Correct,” Drasco confirmed.
The excavation unit was done with clearing the area and salvage operation. They knew how to work fast and efficiently. Uncovered, was a small, steel trap door in the warehouse concrete floor. I kneeled by it and carefully ran my hands over the metal. There were four handles flush with the surface of the door. I wrapped my fingers around one handle opposite the massive hinges, fitting my hand into the round recess under it. I yanked on it. Nothing. I suspected the door could only be unlocked from the inside.
“I doubt we can simply pry it open. This isn’t going to be easy.” I examined the edges closer. “Can we get some tools to try?” I asked the guys from the drilling crew.
“This door is designed to be unlocked only from the inside,” Agent Cornell confirmed my theory. He crouched next to me and rapped his knuckles on the metal surface. “And it is soundproof, so she wouldn’t hear if we tried to communicate with her.”
As expected, there was no response from the room. This was a real-deal safe room, not the stuff you see in the movies, where the person inside might be verbally coerced to do something that the attacker wants. Sound insulation in real life was done to eliminate such nonsense and also to prevent anyone on the outside from hearing what was going on the inside, like a phone conversation with the police. But with such powerful explosion, there was no doubt the woman inside knew something went very wrong. So why wasn’t she trying to get out?
Agent Drasco stood a few feet away with three other dark suits, quietly talking on his cell phone.
“Ethan. Here!” Chief Holton handed me a crowbar.
A guy from the drilling crew walked to the opposite side of the steel door. He held another crowbar. I stood up and hooked my crowbar under the edge of the door. The other man did the same.
“If it doesn’t budge easily, we might need to try one of the excavation machinery to lift that door up,” Chief Holton announced. “By the looks of it, it’s too thick to spring free with the crowbars.
“Yeah. We can’t even make a dent here,” I murmured, repositioning the crowbar. “Let’s get tow equipment in here.”
At that moment I heard a muffled sound like a distant scraping, coming from the trap door. Everyone else around us must’ve heard that too, because the quiet conversations ceased, and we all gaped in that direction. The door slowly lifted an inch and then a few more. I was kneeling right by it, so I grasped the handle with one hand and hauled up the door up, opening it completely. A pair of wide-open, bright-green eyes stared at me from under a shock of dark, tangled curls. Lush, pink lips slightly parted, but not a sound came out.
“Miss Glasson!” Cornell stooped down, his hands on his knees. “I’m Agent Cornell, FBI. This is Captain McCoy and Chief Holton, both from the Portland Fire Department.
The green eyes darted from Cornell’s face to mine to Holton’s and back to mine. They locked with my eyes, holding me hostage, spellbinding me with almost a child-like intensity. God, she was gorgeous; breathtaking even, with her pale complexion highlighted with a little splash of pink over her high cheekbones. Those green eyes were huge, framed in thick, long lashes. She was scared too; I could sense it, although she fought not to show it. She bit on her lower lip to keep it from trembling.
I extended my hand to her. “We’re here to help, Miss. Are you hurt? The paramedics need to see you now.”
She took my hand. “My name is Gloria,” the girl whispered. Her skin was warm against mine, her hand fitting perfectly inside my hand.
“I’m Ethan,” I whispered back. Why was I whispering?
“What happened here? It was horrible to be down and not knowing.” She looked around, her eyes wide.
“There was an explosion. I’m sure the agents will explain everything to you.”
“Where is Agent Vera? Agent Kolaski?”
I slowly shook my head from side to side. “The whole structure was leveled. Nobody survived. I’m sorry.”
She stared at me, open-mouthed and then said, “I slept in the safe room, as always. Agent Vera told me to secure the door last night and only open it when instructed by her or Agent Kolaski. How… what caused the explosion?”
“We don’t know yet. Here, let me help you out. Careful now.” I gently grasped her elbow with my other hand. She had small bones and not much meat over them.
Before climbing out, she hastily put her hood on. It fell down past her forehead, shading her face from view.
Chief Holton and one of the feds were on Gloria’s other side, trying to assist with guiding her out of the chamber, but she placed her palm flat on the ground and pushed herself up, swinging one knee out onto the ground covered with chunks of concrete and other debris. She still held onto my hand though, squeezing it hard, until it hurt.
I winced. For such a slim woman she packed some muscle, at least in her grip.
The feds swarmed around us like black crows. Agent Cornell was asking her questions and declaring her absolute safety. Gloria shied away from them. A deep frown settled between her dark brows, while her delicate mouth curved down as if in resolve to block off his assurances.
“Are you a paramedic?” she asked me hopefully. “I feel nauseous.” There was pleading in her eyes. She was shaking.
I wrapped my turnout coat over her shoulders, and she accepted it with a look of gratitude on her face. “Yes, ma’am, I’m trained as paramedic.”
Drasco came up to Gloria and said quietly, “Miss Glasson. As soon as you’re checked by the EMTs, I have an order to take you to an undisclosed location.
“No!” she backed up, bumping into me.
The contact made my body aware of her even more than before. The top of her hood brushed the spot under my chin, and a shiver ran through me, straight to my cock, which stirred and strained against the fabric of my bulky pants.
“No. I want to be left alone. Do not follow me,” she said without moving away from me. She looked straight at Drasco. “I was promised the absolute protection. Is this what you call safety?” Gloria angrily motioned around.
“Miss Glasson,” Cornell hissed. “Not here. Not with the witnesses around, please.”
“Fine,” she murmured.
“Let me take you to the rescue rig.” I touched her back.
She nodded and walked with me. Chief Holton and the feds went with us. Two of our EMTs were by her side already, but she seemed to want to stay close to me. That didn’t really surprise me. I was used to women gravitating toward me, as if I reeked of pheromones. But there was something different about Gloria.
Charlie is a passionate, sensually-inspired art student, desperately seeking an escape from the abusive past that haunts her and a tragic accident that emptied her heart. Scarred and unable to love, her yearning for physical pleasure leads her into a tantalizing, dangerous world of power and seduction. The anonymity of the deal offers security; the money brings financial freedom and the madam is the mother figure she longs for.
But the thrill of the mansion and its arousing dominance quickly fades when she meets renowned-yet-mysterious Cameron Hardy, whose intense baby blue eyes send a nervous flutter through her core. Cameron is sexy, and not in a subtle way. He stimulates Charlie’s art, her intellect and her desires. Just as he begins to break through her emotional boundaries, she discovers a devastating connection between her past and her scandalous work at the mansion, shattering everything she thought to be true.
Provocative, intoxicating and erotic, Seductive Shadows is the unforgettable tale of a young woman’s self-discovery as she learns to forgive, to love and be loved, and to find redemption amidst a remarkable journey that will captivate your mind and stimulate your soul.
This book is for mature audiences. It contains explicit language and sexual content.
“We had only kissed once, but I knew what he could give me would be enough for me to never crave anything from another man again. And I knew this because it wasn’t just his body that I desired; I wanted his words, his thoughts and his tears. I hungered for his imagination.”
The breath he exhaled trickled inside my collar and down my neck. “Tell me your name,” he said a little louder. There wasn’t any anger in his tone. Just desire.
He dipped his head, his lips stopping just above my earlobe. His fingers traced the skin below my jaw. I expected words to come out of his mouth, but instead it was a tiny moan. A breeze of cold air rushed against me as he moved over to the bed. He sat on the edge, unknotting his tie before resting his hands on the mattress.
“Come to me.”
I stepped past the pole and around the end of the bed. His commands, the way he expected to be obeyed, enticed me. They weren’t cruel or threatening; his voice, his words, his whole persona was deliberate and inviting. The need from my other sexual partners had often been a turn off, but Jay’s tone was just the opposite.
“Slowly,” he said.
With my chin pointed down, hair falling over my cheeks, I looked up at him as though he were my master. If this was the role I needed to take tonight to impress Victoria and make her proud, I was ready to abide. Our eyes met, and his breath quickened. I bit my bottom lip and took a step forward. My toes danced over a broken slab of mirror, pausing for several seconds, and I took another. Landing just a foot from his lap, my fingers caressed the buttons of his shirt. When I got to the bottom, I started back up.
“Take it off,” he said, his eyes never leaving mine.
I pushed his top button through the hole.
“No,” he said quickly. “Yours.”
My fingers circled around the top buttons of my shirt, popping them through their holes. As I got lower I shimmied my shoulders out of the collar, and the shirt fell to my chest. With my breasts still hidden, I hesitated.
His mouth opened. “Drop it. Now.”
His impatience was sexy; his demands caused everything below my stomach to soften as the fluttering increased. His voice was as nerve-wracking as it was arousing.
I pulled the shirt open, rubbing the fabric over my nipples, making them even harder as they pushed through the thin cotton. I watched the shirt fall to the floor. It floated so slowly and gracefully in its descent. I kept my eyes lowered as I dipped my fingers into the waist of my panties, running the width of my stomach.
I’m a New Englander at heart and now a Floridian, inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. As a writer of erotic romance, new adult and literary fiction, I tap a mainstream appeal and shake worldwide taboos, taking my readers on a dark, harrowing, and breathtaking journey. When I’m not nose deep in my laptop, I’m scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking my four-legged children.
CURRENT IMPRESSIONS by Kelly Risser
(Book #2 in The Never Forgotten Series)
After an emotionally draining year, Meara Quinn is not the same carefree and innocent girl. Her mom is gone. Graduation is over. Taking a leap of faith and temporarily separating from her one love—Evan—Meara joins her father’s world on a journey to learn more about who she is.
Too bad life is not all starfish and seashells. Meara gains magical abilities, but she’s forced to undergo intense training so she knows what to do with them. Her father chooses her aunt and Kieran as her trainers. And Kieran—a powerful male who’s not from their clan—has the unnerving ability to infuriate and intrigue Meara at the same time.
While Meara begins her new life, Evan endures with her memory and the knowledge that he will see her in July when his internship begins. Although excited about gaining real world experience, it’s the thought of seeing Meara that really drives him. Unfortunately, Evan finds it hard to focus on anything when he’s suffering from vivid nightmares and screaming headaches.
When Meara and Evan reunite, everything seems to fall back into place. The summer appears to be perfect. Then two of her father’s guards are found dead, and foul play is suspected. The façade melts away. Someone is targeting them, and Meara must discover who it is and why. She turns to Evan to help her, but when he gives her the hot and cold treatment, she’s left feeling alone and confused.
As the puzzle pieces move into place, will Meara be able to solve the mystery in time to save her clan and her relationship?
Also, get this— 10% of all sales on Never Forgotten and Current Impressions in July 2014 will go towards Susan G. Komen for the Cure!
GET NEVER FORGOTTEN by Kelly Risser for FREE!
How can one day go so very wrong? One minute Meara Quinn is making plans for how she will spend the Summer before her senior year and the next she’s finding out that her mother’s cancer has returned and they are moving away from the only home she’s ever known.
Now every day is a struggle as Meara is trying to cope with her mother’s illness, being forced to move to another country to live with grandparents—whom she thought disowned her mother—and having weird visions of a father who was absent her entire life. Top it all off with one whopping secret that everyone seems bent on keeping from her, and Meara has the perfect ingredients for a major melt down.
The only things keeping her from coming unglued are some new friends and Evan—the son of her mother’s childhood friend—who seems to know Meara almost better than she knows herself.
Together with Evan and her friends, Meara embarks on a new journey to unlock the secrets that will not only tell Meara who she is, but whatshe is.
NOT SURE IF YOU WANT TO READ NEVER FORGOTTEN?
A NOTE FROM KELLY RISSER:
10% of July’s profits for Never Forgotten and Current Impressions will be donated to Susan G. Komen.
Never Forgotten is a fantasy novel, but it deals with a very real issue. Early in the story, Meara learns that her mother’s cancer has returned. While I’d rather tell you that I didn’t draw inspiration from personal experiences, the truth is, I did. Shortly before my husband and I got married, my mother-in-law (MIL) was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was hard to watch her fight for her life. Her hair fell out, and she became so thin. I remember hugging her and feeling every bone in her back. It was the first time I’d seen a human body in such a fragile state.
My MIL had an amazingly positive outlook. She lived to find joyous moments in the ordinary. She kept a journal, traveled, and visited with friends. The cancer went into remission. Unfortunately, it returned five years later, this time in her abdomen and surrounding organs. With a diagnosis of six months to two years, she passed away within two months, just shy of her 60th birthday. Her name was Sharon.
Yes, Meara’s mom is named after her. It’s one small way for me to keep her memory alive. The other way I want to do this requires your help. We all know the statistics about breast cancer, but I want to stress the important role you play in your health. The year prior to her first diagnosis, my MIL had a mammogram and a spot showed in the screening. Her doctor told her it was small, probably nothing. He would follow up in twelve months. She took his word and waited. When she went in for the second mammogram, it had grown tremendously. A biopsy proved it was cancer. Had she pushed for a biopsy right away, she might still be here today. With a year to grow, the cancer moved into too many of her lymph nodes.
My message to women is this—if you are a man, please share this message with the women close to you: do regular self-exams, starting now. You’re never too young or too old. If you’re 40 years old or have a family history of cancer, get regular mammograms. Don’t be afraid to push for your health. If something doesn’t sound right or you have questions, speak up! Yes, doctors are professionals, but they’re human, too. We all make mistakes. Last, support cancer research. It will only be through research that we will ever find answers to fight this disease that takes so many.
ABOUT KELLY RISSER:
Kelly Risser knew at a young age what she wanted to be when she grew up. Unfortunately, Fairytale Princess was not a lucrative career. Leaving the castle and wand behind, she entered the world of creative business writing where she worked in advertising, marketing, and training at various companies.
She’s often found lamenting, “It’s hard to write when there’s so many good books to read!” So, when she’s not immersed in the middle of someone else’s fantasy world, she’s busy creating one of her own. This world is introduced in her first novel, Never Forgotten. Never Forgotten, a YA/NA Fantasy, will be released by Clean Teen Publishing in the Summer of 2014.
Kelly lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. They share their home with Clyde the Whoodle and a school of fish.
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