SUNSET POINT is HERE!!! Read Chapter 1 from Cross Point (Book 2)
Visit the Inner Goddess Forum Blog Hop for a chance to win ecopies of all 5 books!!!
Release Day Contest: Between 9/16/13 & 9/19/13 If you share the Sunset Point Series on your Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or anywhere else comment here telling me about it and get entered to win a swag pack that includes a signed copy of one of my backlist, a pair of my signature earrings, and a more! This means you can be entered multiple times because there are 4 different release days, and five different books!!!! Come back every day this week!!! Contest ends 12am CST 9/20/13 Winner will be announced sometime 9/20/13 on my blog and via email. International readers welcome!!
Former IAD agent Katrina “Trinity” Cross is in desperate need of a vacation. When a friend asks for a personal favor, Trinity agrees to fly to the island of Sunset Point, only to find that things in paradise aren’t what they seem…
Jackson Stone is a man who likes regulation and order, but when Katrina Cross arrives on his island, life as he knows it’ll never be the same.
Falling behind schedule is not allowed in Maxwell King’s orderly world. Missing money, cheap materials, and a dead foreman top of the list of his problems, but nothing shakes him more than the sexy siren that sets his body on fire…
As the investigation heats up, Maxwell and Jackson both fall for Trinity, but she can’t choose between the uptight corporate mogul and the rough and ready police lieutenant. Can she find a way to keep them both, or will their love become a casualty at the Cross Point?
“I need a favor.”
Katrina “Trinity” Cross heaved out a sigh at her friend’s words as she answered her phone. Staring out at the dreary sight of the Chicago street outside of her apartment window, she wished for sun and warmth. Instead, winter seemed unwilling to completely release its hold on the city and blanketed it with a cold, icy rain. And this phone call did nothing to improve her mood.
Why oh why had she answered it?
Even from miles away in Las Vegas, T-rex could make Trinity very leery. “You know, every time I hear those words from you someone ends up trying to kill me.”
Her friend and fellow IAD agent Tara “T-rex” Toshi had the nerve to laugh at that. “Oh yeah, good times. This is slightly different though. It’s a totally innocuous situation I need you to look into. No one will try to kill you…at least I don’t think they will.”
“Gee, how positively encouraging,” Trinity said dryly.
Both women worked for IAD, a specialized intelligence agency and counterterrorist taskforce that very few people even knew existed. The International Alliance of Defense was an extremely covert branch in the intelligence community, more like a transnational agency. They were the ultimate warriors of global warfare with agents stationed all over the world. The members of NATO had formed IAD with a policy of “get it done, no matter the cost.” IAD handled their own problems and discourses internally, and that was just the way they liked it. They were the elite, and only the best were chosen to serve.
For the highly skilled select members of IAD it was a dream come true, since most of the agents had been disillusioned with the rules, regulations, and red tape of the regular intelligence branches. Only the highest, most qualified candidates were chosen for IAD, given a kind of worldwide immunity for their actions. Government agencies around the world looked at the members of IAD with awe, not to mention a great amount of envy. Not that it didn’t piss off other agencies when they had to defer to IAD agents if the situation called for it.
Well, former agent in Trinity’s case.
Born Katrina Briars, Trinity was an interesting mix of contradictions. At thirty-one years old, she had been through a lot in her life. She considered herself a tomboy at heart, but with her long, light-brown hair, intense hazel eyes highlighted with long, thick lashes, full pouty lips, and a perfect body, she looked more like a sex bomb. Still, she would rather play with her guns than go shopping. An adrenaline junkie to the core, Trinity had found her calling in covert work.
Growing up in Chicago, she had never known her father and had been forced to deal with her raging alcoholic mother until she was thrown in jail when Trinity was five. Lost in the foster care system, Trinity had fallen into the wrong crowd until her life had changed at thirteen when she had tried to steal a car belonging to Homeland Security agent Ben Cross. Ben and his wife Veronica had taken one look at the bruised and battered young girl and had welcomed her into their home.
From that day on, her life had changed.
Following in her father’s footsteps, Trinity joined Homeland Security after graduating from college early, becoming one of their youngest agents. Specializing in cyber crimes, she also qualified for sharpshooter status, making her a viable asset to any operation. The problem was that Trinity had never really grown out of her rebellious nature or her disregard of authority, especially when she knew she was right. Although she had numerous accolades, she also held one of the highest number of reprimands in the agency. Equally proud of both, when the chance to work for IAD came along, she jumped.
And Trinity had never regretted her decision.
Even after the last clusterfuck she’d been through, she had loved every second of her time with IAD. Trinity had just come off a pretty nasty mission that left her battle-scarred and, in her opinion, slightly mind-fucked, which was not conducive to being a field agent. Taking herself out of the game was killing her, but she would never put her fellow agents and friends at risk. Until she got her mind right, she was benching herself.
Although, that was turning out to be a problem since no one was listening to her.
Trinity silently cursed herself as her interest was piqued, just like Tara knew it would. Damn her. “Why don’t I believe you, T-rex? You know, I haven’t even been retired for a full twenty-four hours yet and you’re already trying to drag me back in.”
Tara laughed so loud Trinity had to hold the phone away from her ear. “Bullshit, Trinity. You know you can never really retire from IAD, unless you retire from living. It’s like Hotel California…you never stop being an agent until you’re six feet under.”
Damn her again, Tara was right.
“Anyways, you’ve been doing nothing but sitting on your fabulous ass for almost a month now,” Tara said. “I thought you could use something to do.”
Trinity hadn’t been sitting around for shits and giggles. She’d been on medical leave recovering from a grueling mission. She had gone undercover in Mexico to help take down a particularly nasty ring of Coyotes, traffickers who took money to help people sneak across the border into the US. Only this particular group had a tendency to use those who came to them as drug mules or they ended up extorting more money from them to gain their freedom once they were on American soil. For the pretty young men and women, the outcome was even worse. They were taken across the border where they were forced into sexual slavery or sold to the highest bidder.
Trinity had positioned herself in with a group asking to be taken across the border, as they’d needed to know who the buyer and contact was on the US side. She had been tagged with a tracking device that affixed to her skin and was untraceable to most sensors. The mission had seemed simple enough. She just hadn’t planned on four of the assholes running the smuggling ring to join her in the back of the truck, wanting a taste of her and the other young woman in the group on the trip over.
With her hands tied and nothing but her bare fists, Trinity had stopped the men, earning a couple stab wounds to the side for her trouble. She had also been beaten to shit by the time the truck had arrived at the drop point, but what had done the most damage to her psyche had been being locked in the back of the truck with four dead bodies in the heat and the dark.
The doctor monitoring her recovery had been able to help heal her physical wounds with the aid of an experimental drug, but her mind was a whole different story. Her brain was a minefield that she was told would take time to heal.
Personally, she thought she was fucked.
What the hell kind of agent could she be if she freaked out in the dark?
Unwilling to put her friends at risk, she’d retired herself from the agency, only to find that it really was impossible to leave completely. She sighed again and knew, without a doubt, that this was going to be a mistake.
“What do you need me to do?”
Trinity could practically see her friend’s grin through the phone as Tara responded. “Julian’s family is working on an expansion project on an island off the coast of Florida. Seriously, I’d never even heard of the place before he told me about it. They’re building onto the Palace Resort and Spa there, but things have gone FUBAR and no one can figure out what’s going on. We were going to fly down, but I got called in to help the guys from the LA office and can’t now.”
Damn it. Julian King was Tara’s fiancé and Trinity really liked him. He’d basically become a part of the IAD family and everyone knew that Trinity would do anything for family. “Give me the basics.”
Knowing she had Trinity hooked, Tara explained. “The resort is located on an island that caters toward the wealthy. It’s one of their most lucrative properties in the US, and they recently bought the land next to the hotel in order to expand. The problem is, nothing seems to be going according to the plans. There have been delays and other problems, especially with the finances of this project.”
“Can’t Julian have one of his minions go down there and bash some heads together?”
“That’s what you’re for, sweetie.”
“Listen, this project has been headed up by Julian’s brother, Maxwell, but he’s been busy handling another issue at their hotel in Monaco and their mother and sister are handling some big convention in New York. Come on, Trinity. It’s a resort…on an island. Are you really telling me you don’t want to take a vacation at one of the most exclusive resorts for free?”
The fantasy of white sandy beaches with crystal-clear-blue water swayed Trinity as she looked out at the pouring rain again. Even though Trinity had naturally golden skin, she was in serious need of a tan. “Fine. I’ll go, but you’ll owe me.”
“I totally will. We’ll even set you up in the owner’s suite for your stay. Julian tells me it’s huge and there’s even a private pool on the balcony.”
“I never understood that. Why do you need a private pool when you’re practically on the beach?” Trinity mused.
“Ah, maybe so you can swim naked?”
“But I’d do that on the beach.”
Tara laughed. “That’s why I love you. You’re a wild one, Trinity. Go check this out for us and you can stay down there as long as you’d like and become a mermaid.”
That made Trinity’s lips curve in a grin. “See if I don’t. I’m officially retired. Fine, I’ll do it but you’ll be paying for all my shit, room service and everything. And I just might get a massage every day. I think I deserve a little fun in the sun.”
“Exactly! I haven’t been down there myself, but I’ve seen pictures of the island. It’s absolutely beautiful. Trust me when I say I think you’ll totally love Sunset Point. You’ll be able to reach me on my cell or you can contact Julian directly when you know what’s going on. Go enjoy yourself. And if you end up swimming naked in the ocean, you’ll have to tell me all about it. Especially if there’s a hot guy involved.”
“Perv. You’re engaged now. Doesn’t that mean you can’t think of other men now?”
“First of all, hello pot said kettle. And no. I might be engaged, but I’m not dead.”
Trinity was still laughing as she ended the call. Her mood lifted as she thought about her upcoming trip. Yeah, she could really use a vacation to a sunny, beautiful island where the only thing she had to worry about was what type of drink to order next. And where no one tried to kill her.
It would be a change of pace, but hey, she was retired now.
* * * *
Clearly someone hadn’t gotten the message about Trinity’s dream vacation where no one was supposed to try and kill her.
Until now, Trinity had been having a damn good day.
Arriving on Sunset Point Island earlier that day, courtesy of the private plane Julian had booked for her, had set her off to a great start. She had flown out of the dark-gray skies of Chicago into the bright blue of Sunset Point Island off of the Florida coast. As soon as the plane lifted off, so did her mood. The weight she’d been carrying from the last few missions had been left behind as she actually began to look forward to her vacation.
On the plane ride over, she’d treated herself to a couple of mimosas while she scanned the data Tara had sent her about the renovations. Right away it was clear there was something hinky going on with the financials. She wasn’t an expert on construction by any means, but the cost projections of the renovation seemed to be extremely off. It didn’t take a genius to see that they were over budget and way off the estimated timeline.
When she landed on the island there was a sleek town car waiting for her. The driver had loaded her enormous suitcase into the trunk but had given her a weird look when she refused to part with her duffle bag. No one touched her go-bag but her. It contained everything she’d need to survive on her own for weeks. Hell, she could even wage a small war with the contents in her bag.
To the driver’s consternation, instead of getting in the backseat, Trinity had climbed into the passenger seat with him in front. At first he had been guarded, but Trinity’s natural charisma and innate charm had him loosening up in no time. The driver turned out to be quite nice and had given her a little background about the island and its locals on the ride to the hotel. He nearly shocked the shit out of her when he told her the island catered to alternate partnerships and ménage relationships, but Trinity recovered quickly, intrigued by the setup. She’d grinned at the thought of the naughty fun she was going to have and silently thanked her friend for coercing her to come on the trip.
The Palace Resort and Spa was a truly extraordinary sight. They had driven up to the resort on a deserted road lined with the rain forest on either side until the striking structure came into view. Rising over the treetops with the sea at its back, the resort reminded Trinity of Aladdin’s palace with a contemporary twist. There were several towers that held the VIP suites, and even though it was one of the smaller hotels in the Palace chain, the main building hosted an impressive number of rooms.
At the hotel she’d been able to bypass the tedium of checking in, being immediately led up to the owner’s suite on the top floor by a manager that had been waiting for her arrival. She absently wished that Julian hadn’t informed everyone she was coming, but it did make things go more smoothly.
The owner’s suite was magnificent.
Unique in its design, there was only one VIP suite per floor in the tower and each had a 360 degree view of the island. More like a self-sufficient condo than a hotel room, there was a large, open living room with a full kitchen and two bedrooms on opposite sides of the suite in a split arrangement. It was almost shameful that she would be the only one staying there since it was so big, but she wasn’t complaining.
With its lavish furnishings, quiet elegance, and wide windows that overlooked the sea and the bay to the north, it wouldn’t be difficult to spend a few weeks enjoying herself here. Although she loved it all, her favorite part of the suite was its large balcony with a patio table and its very own lap pool. She could just imagine sitting on the deck having a big-ass glass of wine as she watched the sunset over the water.
Wanting to get the work part of her vacation started so she could get it over and done with, Trinity unpacked quickly then left the resort, heading over to take a closer look at the construction site next door. She’d been pleasantly surprised when the valet handed over a set of car keys to a sleek little silver convertible when she came back down to the main entrance. Sending warm thoughts to her friends when she was told that Julian had arranged for the rental to be at her disposal for the duration of her stay, she got in and headed the short distance to the construction site.
The Palace Resort and Spa sat on a large plot of land, which was cleverly used to host a variety of activities, including two pools, tennis courts, and a beautiful golf course located south of the building. The new expansion plans included building a sister site on the plot of land just north of the existing location, nestled into the bay on the western side of the island.
Surprisingly, the lot was almost empty of workers, giving Trinity the time and space needed to look around. She’d parked and got out, glad she had thought to change into hiking boots to go with her jeans and simple white shirt before she’d left her room. From a brief glance at the progress, she had instantly known that the project was way off the mark. What should have been a solid foundation of the building’s structure was no more than a skeleton of concrete and wood. With a shake of her head she had worked her way carefully around the structure, wanting to get a better view of the entire site.
A man had called out to her, startling her enough to reach for the grip of the Sig Sauer hidden in the waistband of her jeans. She’d paused when she saw the security logo on his shirt and greeted him with a smile instead of a face full of Glock.
“Hi,” she’d greeted him.
The security guard frowned at her. “Ma’am. You’re trespassing. You need to leave.”
“Actually, I’m a friend of Julian King’s, one of the owners of this place. He said I could come by and check out the new project since I’m visiting the island.” Trinity had lied, not wanting anyone to know exactly what she was doing there just yet. She’d shot him what she hoped was a look of innocent concern. “It doesn’t look like much yet, though. I thought it would be further along by now.”
Trinity had noted the security guard fidgeted at that.
“There’ve been some slight delays. I’m sorry, but I’m still going to have to ask you to leave. It isn’t safe for you to go walking around here. I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”
“No problem, Billy,” Trinity had said, flashing him another smile as she peeked at the badge attached to his pocket. She’d gotten back in her car with a friendly wave, planning to go back and see things closer after she got a better look at the records.
Hunger pains distracted her. Deciding to take the scenic route into town, she’d headed north up the western coast, knowing from her study of the island that the road would branch and take her straight into town before she hit the private villas on this side of the island.
It wasn’t more than ten minutes into her drive that she’d noticed a black jeep coming up behind her on the empty road. Fast. Too Fast. Instincts kicked in gear as she noted the mud-splattered window that obscured her view of the driver and also hid the license plate of the approaching vehicle. On the chance that she was just being paranoid she slowed her car, allowing him to pass her, and in doing so saved her life.
As she slowed, the jeep surged forward, slamming into the back of her car. Cursing at the hard jolt, Trinity used every bit of skill and experience she’d learned to keep control of the car. She pulsed her foot on the brake instead of slamming down on it, swerving slightly to slow down further. The jeep rammed her again, this time throwing her into a spin.
“Son of a bitch!”
Someone really was trying to fucking kill her!
Trinity jerked hard on the wheel, trying to counter the move. Her heart nearly stopped for a moment as the car slammed into the guardrail, the only thing protecting her from going over the cliff. Moving fast, she jumped out of the car and pulled her Sig, training it on the jeep as it quickly turned around and sped down the road. She didn’t hesitate and fired repeatedly at the rapidly departing vehicle.
Cursing again, the loud pounding of her heartbeat was joined by the low throb of a motorcycle engine coming from the same direction the jeep had fled. On guard, she turned and pointed her gun at the individual on the bike as he pulled over and parked a few feet away. Her breath hissed out for a very different reason as she got her first good look at the newcomer’s face.
Around six three and built like a golden god, the man was wickedly good looking. Built like a prized fighter, he was packing some serious muscle and had a fierce aura about him that all but screamed cop! He had an almost shaved head that only showed a hint of dark hair that matched the five o’clock shadow covering his chiseled jaw. Intense green eyes seared into hers as the man pulled his own weapon, approaching her slowly.
“SPPD, put your weapon down.”
Damn, she was good. She’d called it right. Trinity cocked her head to the side, intrigued by the easy command in his deep voice. Never one to pass up an opportunity to poke at authority, she couldn’t help it. “Badge me.”
He froze. “What?”
Trinity grinned. “Badge me, baby, ’cause I ain’t putting this down ’til I see your brass.”
BUY LINK: http://www.bookstrand.com/sunset_promo
Coming to Amazon and Barnes & Noble in October!!
Check out Book 1: Point of Seduction