Dirty Dream [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Mina Carter & Evey Meyer
eBook Category: Romance/Erotica
eBook Description: They paid him to kidnap a scientist. An uber-geek whose latest invention threatened the business prospects of some very powerful people. Mercenary Dayton Vann doesn't care about that, all he cares about is getting the job done and collecting his retirement money. What he doesn't expect is for the geek to be a hot, female scientist with a figure to tempt a saint or for his employers to send in a hit squad. Refusing to become collateral damage Day does what he does best; survive. But this time he's not just fighting for his life, he's fighting for his heart.
eBook Publisher: Cobblestone Press
Fictionwise Release Date: September 2010
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5 Reader Ratings:
Rollie Gavilan. Award winning scientist, developments engineer, and a piece of ass most men would pay good money to get some action from. However, Dayton Vann, Day to the few people he called friend, wasn't most men, and he wasn't paying to get some action from Rollie.
He was being paid.
His lips quirked. The sort of action he was being paid--and well--for, his target wasn't going to be happy about. It was less the sexual sort--more was the pity--and more the snatch-and-grab type.
Day was being paid to kidnap Rollie. And it was turning out to be one of the easiest jobs he'd ever had.
For a company paranoid enough to have concealed Gavilan's real identity with a stand-in--an austere-looking woman in her early fifties--they were extremely lax on security once he got past the outer perimeter.
Getting past that outer perimeter had been laughably easy. All it had taken were a bunch of fake references, easy enough to obtain, and a month's work in the local pizza restaurant. Then add in a nice little accident for the guy who usually did the late-night Gavilan lab delivery, and Day had his opening.
Yeah, one had to love the average workaholic nerd's reliance on fast food. Amusement filled him as he walked down the corridor, searching for the right lab. He'd ditched the pizza place uniform, discarding it in the same closet that now held an unconscious lab assistant. Fortunately, the lab assistant had been easy to dispense with. Unfortunately--Day swore silently as he tugged at the lapels that didn't quite meet in front--the coat's previous owner had been considerably smaller. Even badly fitting, it made him look as if he belonged, and it had the required security badge clipped to the front top pocket. The one with the pens all neatly lined up and color coordinated.
Day shook his head. What sort of nerd lined pens up like that?
He reached an intersection and paused. He was out of place and he knew it. After all, not many scientists looked as though they could bench press a couple hundred pounds with ease. Confidence was the key to a successful infiltration. Look as if you knew what you were doing, that you belonged in the place, and people never questioned you. Carry a clipboard and they scurried to get out of the way. Spying one on a rack, he snagged it as he passed. He held it loosely in the crook of his arm, using it to cover the fact the picture on the badge was obviously not him.
He scanned the numbers on the lab doors as he counted down to the right number. His time was running out. The nerd stuffed in the cleaning closet was going to wake up soon, and Day needed to be out of here with Gavilan before that happened. Trouble was, he still had to locate her.
As luck would have it, a door ahead of him opened, and the woman in question stepped out into the hallway. Her attention was fixed on the coffee machine opposite with the determination of the seriously caffeine addicted. Day hid his smile. He looked like that before his mug of java in the morning, so he could sympathize.
He allowed his gaze to wander over her as he approached, and his interest had nothing at all to do with her as a woman. He was assessing her height and weight. If the worse came to worst, he was going to have to knock her unconscious and carry her out. Doable, he decided as he slid into place behind her as though waiting for his turn at the machine. She was on the slender side and a lot smaller than he was.
Forty-nine. Forty-nine hours, twenty-seven minutes and eleven seconds since Rollie had gotten out of her bed and donned the coat. Well, technically, since she collapsed into bed and had fallen asleep in her clothes last night, she hadn't really donned it. She yawned and rubbed her cheek. She was starting to feel like a close cousin of the Crypt-keeper. And if she weren't careful, she'd start to look like him, too. God, she could already feel the bags forming under her eyes like a set of matched luggage.
Good thing the day was just about over. All she needed to do was to file the papers she'd been working on, and she'd be able to head on home. On a normal day, she'd leave them on her desk, but tomorrow was a weekend, and the cleaning service would be all over the place again. She always left special instructions not to touch her desk, but she was afraid that someone wouldn't understand, or bother to read the note. The last time, four months worth of research had ended up in the shredders. She and her staff had spent two weeks pasting them all up again into coherent pages. It wasn't something she wanted to repeat any time soon.
Rollie didn't like the limelight. It was more trouble than it was worth. So, for most people, Caroline Gavilan appeared to be a kind and elegant woman who, on a good day, could pass for being in her late thirties. Unable to think of anyone else she trusted enough to act in her stead, Rollie had turned to her close friend--her only friend--Marie Deline. Well-placed donations had allowed Gavilan Technologies Corporation (GTC) to complete the transformation Marie, a former elementary science teacher, into the award-winning Doctor Caroline Gavilan. Now it was Marie's face on all the news reports as Dr. Caroline Gavilan, and Marie who faced the press conference cameras.
For the few people who knew the truth, the real Rollie was in her late twenties and looked more like a post grad student than the experienced scientist and businesswoman that Marie portrayed in public. With the exception of her physical appearance, she was a stereotypical scientist; a workaholic with a coffee addiction. She feared she'd eventually croak at the end of a long career spent indoors, standing at her lab table, poring over research data.
Right now, though, the photon reactor project was too important to let trivial fears override it. It was just something that had to be done soon for the sake of...well, everyone. The PR had been the culmination of her original thesis at Carnegie Mellon, and after years upon years of trying to get to the bottom of the photon/anti-photon conversion theory, a week ago she and her staff had finally cracked it.
Accidentally, yes, but still a breakthrough. So, if and when the technology became available to the world, everyone would be able to say goodbye to fossil fuel worries and power problems forever. Photon reactors--cheap, efficient, environment friendly and powerful--would become the answer to the world's power and environmental crises.
The presence of someone behind her interrupted her thoughts. Strange. She thought everyone had gone home, but after years of working in a lab, she knew that she wasn't the only night owl running the risk of severe sleep deprivation while trying to get to the bottom of something. She moved aside to give the person behind her a chance at the coffee.
"Working late too, 'eh?" she asked as she poured sugar into her cup.
"Yeah," the deep voice drawled as the sounds of another cup being poured reached her ears. "Boss is a slave driver. Got called in late to wrap up some reports."
Maybe it was because of the extraordinary amount of time she had spent locked up in labs and poring over reports that she hadn't even gotten a chance to talk to a man in a social situation. Maybe it was the lateness of the hour, or maybe it was fatigue. Whatever it was, the man's voice alone was enough to get Rollie's attention. She expected another one of the bookish types, or researchers, or maybe a middle-aged engineer. So when she looked up, she didn't expect to see a rough and rugged demi-god whose lab coat didn't quite fit the broad shoulders and the hint of tightly corded muscles under the fabric.
It didn't stop there. The face was just as heart stopping. A strong chin, wide brows, and dimples from his slight smile made him look adorable. His eyes were the most intense dark hazel with flecks of gold. His smile was tired and polite, but for some reason, she could feel his gaze burning right through her clothes.
"Sorry to hear that," said Rollie. "Though, if it makes you feel any better, you're not the only one who's got some late-night assignments to work out. Coming in or heading out?"
"Hopefully heading out soon." He lifted the mug to take a sip and watched her over the rim. "You?"
"Same. Just putting away some files, and then I can finally get some sleep." She took a sip of her coffee. "I just hope this is the last coffee I'll be drinking in a while. I could sleep for days!"
He smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling engagingly as he put the mug down on the counter near the coffee pot. The movement made the lab coat shift, stretching over his shoulders.
"Now that would make my job a lot easier." His voice was low, the charming note still in it, but his eyes were hard as he moved the clipboard he carried a little to reveal the butt of a firearm concealed under the white jacket.
"Scream, and I'll shoot. Run, and I'll shoot. In fact, the only way for you to avoid getting shot is to keep your mouth shut and do as you're told. Understand me?"
At first, it didn't register with her, but the sense of danger became stronger by the second until the truth hit her like a sledgehammer. He was kidnapping her. She should have known something was wrong. The way the lab coat didn't fit him, how different he looked from any other person she usually saw in here. The fact that, even though the lab complex had two-thousand registered employees, this was the first time she'd seen him. That should have made her suspicious. But she was tired, he was hunky, and she hadn't been on guard.
"What do you want?" she asked, all friendliness gone and replaced with a scowl.
"You to be quiet and behave," he replied, motioning for her to turn around. "Now, we're just going to take a nice little walk. No funny stuff or you know what happens." He nudged her to start walking down the corridor. As they started moving, he slammed an elbow into the fire alarm switch, setting it off.
"Okay, just don't poke me with your thingy," she retorted. "It's embarrassing. Maybe I'll pretend it's a snub-nosed revolver or something." And she wasn't just referring to his gun.
Funny thing about Rollie; when she was in high-stress situations, she didn't react the same way as other people did. Most panicked. Some tried to rationalize with barely reined-in fear. Rollie, on the other hand, became sassy. It had been a childhood survival mechanism. And being kidnapped was definitely a high stress situation.
"Pretend whatever you like, sweetheart. As long as you keep your mouth shut and keep moving, I don't much care." His voice was hard behind her, but he kept close, the heat of his big body burning right through her lab coat and reminding her just how large the guy was.
Corridors passed in a blur as the alarms echoed through them. He led her to the back of the buildings, toward the service area. She had to admit, as a tactic, it was working well. There weren't many people who knew she was in the building tonight, and it would take some time for them to sort through the confusion and then send someone to look for her. By that time, they'd be gone to God knows where.
She felt small and vulnerable, and she didn't like it one bit. Moving faster, she kept as much distance between them as she could. They passed by so many surveillance cameras, she was sure that somehow, someone would know that she'd been abducted. They were also passing by so many consoles, she tried to calculate how much time she'd need to access one and call for help. She'd left her Blackberry in her office, and she didn't have anything else on her. Just a few personal items and the clothes on her back.
Her high-performance brain was clicking a mile a minute as she tried to come up with a plan. She just needed to find the right moment, then she'd strike back. Right now though, the hard butt of the gun in the waistband of his pants kept pressing against the small of her back, reminding her that the danger she was in was serious. Despite what she had said earlier, she hoped it was his gun that was doing the poking.
He moved her at a fast pace, not allowing her time to go for anything in her pockets or to try for one of the consoles. Before long, they were in the last corridor, and she could see the darkness of the night outside through the window. There was movement behind her, and the pressure in the small of her back became harder, more focused, as he pressed the muzzle into her back, just over her spine.
"Remember what I said," he whispered in her ear as they headed for the last door. "No funny stuff. My employers don't give a crap whether you walk again, and I'll do whatever I need to."
Rollie had never responded well to threats. Sure, she was scared for her life, but she didn't like the fact that she was being bullied and couldn't do anything about it. It reminded her too much of growing up.
"Who would your employers happen to be?" she asked. "Blackwell? I know he'd love to pick my brain to get some of the inventions he can only dream of. Or are you some sort of terrorist? I have to tell you, Guantanamo Bay isn't exactly its best this time of year, and the locals aren't that friendly to your kind."
Reaching past her to push the door open, he hustled her through, and all but shoving her out into the darkness.
"If I was a terrorist, then we wouldn't be having this conversation," he said shortly. "I'd have just wired the place to blow and watched it burn from afar. Now, the truck. Move." He motioned with his gun hand, the metal glinting dully.
"Yeah, you're right," she retorted. "If you were a terrorist, you would actually know just how much more I'm worth to a Jihadist cause than burning down a lab I can have rebuilt in a few weeks. And what kind of a kidnapper are you? Aren't you supposed to have the ominous black van with tinted windows and the ski mask?"
His lips quirked a little, amusement in the depths of his eyes. "Quite the little expert on kidnapping, aren't you? I'll make sure to get it right next time," he assured her and nodded toward the fairly innocuous looking truck sitting next to the dumpsters. The one she was trying like hell to avoid. Once he got her in that, it was all over.
"I don't think that'd be too easy to pull off, since you'll be locked in a jail cell before I'm through with you," said Rollie. "And as much as I hate cliches, I've got to say, you're not going to get away with this."
"Sweetheart, I already have." He flashed a grin, teeth white in the dim light as he shoved the gun back into his waistband again. His hand closed hard on her arm, holding her in place as he opened the truck door. Her heart pounded; if she was going to do something, it had to be now.
While he was distracted by the door and looking around to see if anyone had spotted them, Rollie took the chance to twist from his grip and deliver a move as old as men had been men and women had been women. She drove a justified knee to his groin.
There was an, "Oomph," as the air left his lungs. He doubled over for a second, clutching at his abused genital region. Either he had balls of steel, or she hadn't caught him full on. Within a second, he was after her. She didn't get more than three steps before hard hands closed over her upper arms, spinning her around and slamming her hard against a broad chest. Eyes glittering with fury clashed against hers, his hand fisting in the hair at the nape of her neck to drag her head back painfully.
"Don't try that again," he warned, a muscle jumping in his jaw.
Her heart pounded so hard she thought it would burst out of her chest. She tried so hard not to be afraid of him, but it was getting more difficult as he looked at her with cold lethality. She recognized the look. This was a man who had killed before, but she wasn't one to admit defeat so easily.
"Obviously," she ground out. "I don't think I hit anything."
"I wouldn't be very good at my job if a pretty little thing like you could bring me down, now would I?" he asked, his eyes warming up as he stroked a finger down her jaw-line. "Now behave before I start thinking on just how pretty you are. My employers don't care what sort of condition you're in, so I don't think they'd be opposed to me having a little...fun."
She tried not to shiver as he dragged his finger over her face. Damn it! She swore at her sex-starved mind and susceptible body. It didn't help that her breasts were flattened against his chest and she could feel the vibration from his low-timbered voice through them every time he spoke.
Here she was being kidnapped and threatened by a goon, albeit a good-looking one, and all her body could think about was sex. She had to keep her mind in the game and her wits with her, or she might not survive this.
"If you want to know what a stiletto boot jammed in your gut feels like, just try it, buddy," she retorted.
He shrugged. "Been there, done that, got the scar to prove it. Now are you going to be a good girl and get in the truck, or am I going to have to get rough?"
"They probably didn't know how to do the job right," she retorted as she reluctantly got in the truck. She didn't see any other option, and the only time she had seen eyes that were that cold and determined was several years ago when she stared into a mirror. She knew better than to doubt his threats of harming her to get what he wanted. Just because she knew she didn't have a way out didn't mean she had to go through with this happily. "Don't worry, when I get the chance, I'll do a better job. I promise," she told him through clenched teeth.