The body count is rising. Who can Grace Sinclair trust? No one.
Grace Sinclair is a woman of many talents. The FBI’s top profiler, she’s also a crime novelist, drawing upon the cases she works for inspiration that helps her top the bestseller lists. When women begin to be murdered, women who look just like Grace, she finds herself enmeshed in a dangerous cat and mouse game with her biggest-and deadliest-fan. And the man who’s tasked to help her? He may be even more dangerous. A new member of an elite FBI team and Grace’s old flame, Gavin Walker is assigned Grace’s case and it’s personal this time. As they work together to figure out the killer’s sick game, it soon becomes clear that he’s closer to Grace than they could have imagined. As more women begin to be targeted, the team is running out of time and chances. In order to come out the winner in this fatal game, Grace is forced to confront her past, her fears, and even the idea of a forever love.
About the Book
Such A Pretty Girl
About Tess Diamond
Tess Diamond is a romantic suspense addict with a taste for danger – and chocolate cake. She lives in Colorado Springs with her law enforcement husband, two kids, and ferocious Jack Russell guard dog. She always dreamed of being an FBI agent, and now she almost is – if watching 24 reruns and plotting her next novel counts.
McCord’s Jewelers was a tiny place, tucked in a nondescript brick building just outside of downtown DC. The gold-leaf letters on the door shone bright as Gavin pushed it open, and bells tinkled as they entered.
Gavin automatically glanced all around, taking in the two cameras situated in the room. Surveillance meant tapes. Maybe they’d be able to catch their guy buying the earrings. That’d make this an open-and-shut case, for sure.
An older man with gray hair and a sweater-vest looked up from his place at the counter, where he’d been examining a tray of loose diamonds. “Welcome,” he said with a smile. “How can I help you? Wait.” He held out his hand. “Let me guess. An engagement ring?”
Gavin could feel his cheeks heating up a little as he glanced over at Grace. But she just smiled, shaking her head, pulling out her badge. “I’m afraid we’re here for business, not pleasure,” she said. “I’m Special Agent Sinclair. This is Special Agent Walker.”
“Oh, my,” he said. “I’m Anthony McCord. I own this place with my wife. How can I help you?”
“We’re investigating a murder,” Gavin said. “We believe the victim in question was wearing earrings purchased from your shop.”
Grace held out her phone, the screen showing a picture of Janice Wacomb’s earrings in an evidence bag. “Do these look familiar to you?”
Mr. McCord pulled on his glasses, leaning forward and looking at the phone. “Yes, those are definitely my work.”
“Can you remember who you sold them to?”
“If you get me the serial number, yes,” Mr. McCord said.
“Serial number?” Gavin asked.
“Each diamond that we sell has a serial number engraved on the stone. It’s microscopic; you can’t see it with the naked eye. It’s done for insurance purposes—if a piece of jewelry gets stolen or lost, it can be traced that way. Isn’t that how you found the store?”
“We’re not forensics, but I’m sure that’s how they found you,” Grace said. “Just give me a moment; I’ll get the serial number for you.”
She stepped away and Gavin smiled at Mr. McCord. “While she’s doing that, mind if I ask just a few more questions?”
“Anything I can do to help,” Mr. McCord said.
“What’s your surveillance like here? I see the cameras. Do you save your tapes?”
“We don’t have the capacity for that, I’m afraid. We’re just a mom-and-pop shop. We keep the tapes for only a week. Then they’re erased and recorded over.”
“Okay,” Gavin said. Damn, unless their killer had bought the earrings in the last week, they weren’t going to get a video of him. They would have to rely on Mr. McCord’s memory to discover if he’d been the one to sell the killer the earrings. “And how many employees do you have?”
“Just my wife and me,” Mr. McCord said. “She does the books, I make the jewelry.”
“Sounds like a good system,” Gavin said.
“She’s always had a better head for numbers than me.”
“And what about your customers. Anyone stand out to you lately? Maybe he was nervous?”
Mr. McCord smiled. “I’m a jeweler, Agent Walker. That means most of the men coming in here are looking for engagement rings. And that’s almost guaranteed to make a man nervous.”
Gavin laughed. “Okay, fair enough,” he said. “What about someone who put in a big order? Was there someone in the last few months who ordered multiple pairs of those earrings Agent Sinclair showed you?”
Mr. McCord frowned. “Actually, there was,” he said. “I remember there was a gentleman who came in to buy a pair of earrings for his wife. And then about a week later, he came back in and put in an order for three more pairs. He said that his wife had loved them so much, she wanted their granddaughters to have matching pairs. It was very sweet.”
“You remember when this was?”
“I’d say maybe two months ago?” Mr. McCord said.
“I’ve got those serial numbers for you.” Grace pushed a piece of paper across the counter and Mr. McCord took it.
“Let me go look in my files,” he said. “Just a moment.”
He disappeared into the back room, and Grace leaned lightly against the counter, gazing at all the baubles surrounding her. Gavin couldn’t help but think she shone the brightest, even surrounded by all these diamonds.
“You like this stuff, Sinclair?” he asked, gesturing to the dazzling array of bracelets in the glass case in front of him.
“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” she said, but there was a dry note of sarcasm in her voice that surprised him. He looked over to her questioningly, and she shrugged. “I’m more of an art collector,” she said. “Most jewelry isn’t exactly practical in our line of work. I have a few pieces, but they’re mostly sentimental and inherited.”
“From your grandmother,” he said, remembering how she had mentioned her that night they’d spent together. She’d been wearing a necklace then; the sapphires had glittered darkly against her skin, making it seem luminous.
Something flickered in that extraordinary face of hers, her eyes widening in what looked like confusion . . . or maybe surprise. “You remembered,” she said.
Gavin couldn’t tear his eyes off her. He wanted nothing more than to reach out and touch her—any part of her, just to remind himself what it was like. “I remember everything about you,” he said quietly.
Las Vegas has it all—casinos, gambling, money, and women. For a handsome business entrepreneur, it’s paradise.
Wearing success like a well-tailored suit, it’s business as usual for Liam Doyle while he runs his multi-million-dollar empire…until a pesky protester catches his attention.
Staging a one-woman demonstration, Kate Callender has the potential to be a huge pain in his ass. If he doesn’t take care of her soon, there will be bad publicity slapped all over Vice, the newest addition to his chain of casinos.
But there’s one tiny problem Liam didn’t count on—the feisty redhead isn’t about to go down easily. She’s fighting him every step of the way…and he’s starting to like it.
“You,” she said on a breath.
“Me.” His enticing blue eyes traveled up and down the length of her, one eyebrow raised in frank admiration. “You obviously didn’t do your homework.”
Outrage surged through her system. “Why didn’t you tell me who you were yesterday? Why did you let me embarrass myself like that?”
The smirk disappeared, to be replaced by a mild expression of boredom. “There’s no need to be embarrassed. I always try to size up the competition.”
Doyle walked toward her, his large hand extended. The light in his eyes now hinted not so much at merriment as it did danger. She caught a whiff of her favorite men’s cologne by Michael Kors. She’d bought it for an old boyfriend once, but it smelled way better on Liam, as if it were an extension of his persona.
His entire ensemble, designer suit, pressed pants, and navy blue paisley tie, reeked of power and privilege that drew her like a moth to a flame. Damn, she’d always been a sucker for a man in a good suit. Get a hold of yourself, Kate. He’s hot, but so is the Devil.
He kept his hand out. “Please allow me to introduce myself properly. I’m Liam Doyle.” His gaze drifted toward her neckline and back up again. “I think you’ve heard of me.”
Wishing she didn’t have to, she took his hand. Electricity shot through her and that damned perspiration appeared on her upper lip again. His grip was that of a man who took what he wanted, when he wanted.
She held her head high. “Kate Callender.”
He held her hand for a moment, his gaze locked on hers. He then gestured toward the counter, where a teak tray was laden with biscuits and what smelled like expensive coffee. No Folgers crystals for this guy. “Coffee?”
“No, thank you.”
“So we’re done with the niceties, then?”
“I didn’t come here for niceties.”
“Then you’ve come to the right place.” Liam sat on one of the couches, motioning for her to do the same. She continued to stand. Something in his wolf-like gaze hardened even further. “Ms. Callender, why are you picketing my casino?”
His direct question set her even more on edge. She cleared her throat. “I have a right to protest what I see as wrong.”
His grim smile might have made a grown man sweat, but she didn’t look away. “Let me put this another way. Las Vegas is home to numerous casinos. Why mine?”
“If I’m trying to make a point, it only stands to reason I’d pick the most popular casino. I suppose I should congratulate you. Only open for two days, and Vice is already a hit. You must be so proud.”
“Yes. Despite having my grand opening spoiled.”
“Oh.” She inclined her head in mock sympathy. “I’m so not sorry.”
He peered at her, narrowing his eyes. “Are you a Bible-thumper?”
Despite her unease, she laughed. “Do I look like Hilary Clinton?”
He looked her up and down, as if her vocation were scrawled somewhere on her and he simply needed to find it. “Aspiring actress? This is probably a publicity stunt to get you viral on YouTube? Trying to get an audition here as a showgirl? Sorry, I don’t use them. The whole concept is dated and demeaning to my female clientele.”
Okay, he got some points for that statement. “I’m not a dancer. I’m a singer.”
It was his turn to laugh. Despite the bitter tone, his deep timber called to her. “Same difference.” He stood. “I’m not auditioning you, Ms. Callender, as fun as it would be to get you on the casting couch.” And there he lost those points again. “Have a nice day.”
“Wait! I’m not trying to get an audition. You need to listen to me.” In a nervous reaction, she fingered the pearl choker at her neck, the one thing she had left of her mother. The one thing her father hadn’t pawned.
Doyle turned back to her, one brow raised. “No, I don’t.” He eyed how she gripped her choker. “So you can take your fake pearl necklace and your sneakers and your attitude and go home.”
Her attitude? “No. You let me up here. I’m not leaving until you hear me out.” She let go of the choker and let her hands fall to her sides. “And my pearls aren’t fake.”
“Why are you here, Ms. Callender? Did you lose money at one of my casinos on your last night out with the girls?”
She didn’t want to dignify that with a response, but a smug statement like that couldn’t go unchallenged. “I’m not a gambler.”
He leaned against the armrest of the cushy couch and surveyed her through hooded eyes. “Ah, and now we come to the crux of the matter. So, you’re a do-gooder. Let me guess. Gam-Anon?”
“Never heard of them.”
“That doesn’t mean we don’t exist. And unfortunately, there are lots of us. Far too many. What does that tell you, Mr. Doyle?”
Liam’s lips twitched into a smile that appeared slightly more friendly than his poker face, as if he enjoyed their banter. He loosened his tie, but his focused gaze continued to grate on her nerves. She stared at the strip of indigo silk at his throat, and was struck by a bizarre and unbidden image.
Her, on his bed. Her hands bound with his expensive tie.
The strange pounding in her head must have been her racing heart. Where did that come from? Focus, Kate, focus.
“I’m not just here because it’s something I believe in. I’m here because my group gets bigger every goddamn week,” she said, concentrating on the task at hand, rather than Liam Doyle’s bed. Lisa’s sad face appeared in her mind, as well as those of her children, the ones who’d spent the last two nights crying for their daddy. Kate blinked away the tears which threatened and aimed her burning gaze at Doyle. “I don’t respect your work, Mr. Doyle. And I don’t respect you.”
From the furrow of his brow, Kate thought she’d struck a nerve. His tanned skin seemed paler. After a moment, he said, “So you’re trying to take down my casino with a one-woman picket line? No offense, but I’ve seen better protests at a garage sale.”
“I’m trying to create awareness.” Kate stood, having already had enough of their uncomfortable conversation. “I’m not a fool. My intention is not to shut down Las Vegas, or your casino. That’ll never happen. But if I can make a small dent in the wallet of the Strip’s wealthiest hustler during his opening week, then maybe people will take notice. Have you never thought about the addictions riding your customers? Have you ever spent time chatting with the compulsive gamblers downstairs? Because I bet you’d hear a lot of stories. And believe me, the worst ones are the ones they don’t tell.” She paused for breath. “My friend’s husband is probably down there right now, feeding your slot machines instead of his kids.”
“Hold on. Don’t pin that on me.”
“Oh? Who do I pin it on?”
“Look, if you want a donation, I already make plenty. Believe me, I make regular donations to people like Gam-Anon. You know, legitimate charities.”
“I’m not here for money, but clearly you are.” The words spilled out of her, kick-started by adrenaline. “You’re a wealthy man. Did you have to open casinos? Were they such a passion for you? Couldn’t you have opened, I don’t know, a supermarket chain instead? Or was that not sexy enough for the great Liam Doyle?”
His lips compressed. Had her comment hit home? Good.
“You have no right…”
“I have every right.” Her face was burning now. “If I can save even a few lost souls from places like this, then I’ll sleep a whole lot easier.”
She had to get out before she started crying. She wanted to leave with her head held high. Leave him thinking. She turned and headed for the elevator, but he grabbed her hand before she could get away.
Kate yanked her hand out of his grip. “How do you even sleep, Mr. Doyle?”
His eyes bored into her. “Like a rock. But that crown of thorns must keep you up at night.”
She tried to appear like she was still in control, but that had hurt. “You just keep telling yourself that.”
Kate marched to the elevator and punched the button. As the door opened, she threw a look back at him.
“By the way, I will be back. I’ll show you how many lives have been devastated by your casinos.” She walked into the lift, even though she felt like running. She didn’t look back.
Liam called out to her. “Watch your step, Ms. Callender. I don’t forgive and forget.”
She channeled her last ounce of bravado before the doors shut. “You really should see someone for that. I hear being an asshole can be terminal.”
Once the elevator began its descent, Kate leaned against the back of the small space and closed her eyes, winded by her hostile exchange with Doyle. She didn’t open them again until the door opened.
About the Author
Rosanna Leo is a multi-published romance author. Winner of the Reader’s Choice 2015 in Paranormal Romance at The Romance Reviews, Rosanna draws on her love of mythology for her books on Greek gods, selkies and shape shifters.
From Toronto, Canada, Rosanna occupies a house in the suburbs with her long-suffering husband, their two hungry sons and a tabby cat named Sweetie. When not writing, she can be found haunting dusty library stacks or planning her next star-crossed love affair.
A library employee by day, she is honored to be a member of the league of naughty librarians who also happen to write romance.
Social media links are:
Shaken and Stirred with a splash of dirty. STIRRING UP GLORY Stirred by Love Series: Book 2 by Kacey Hammell
STIRRING UP GLORY
Stirred by Love Series: Book 2
Contemporary Erotic Romance, Rubenesque/BBW
Publisher: Evernight Publishing
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Shaken and Stirred with a splash of dirty.
She’s not the one he wants…
Drew McKenna is obsessed with the woman who saved his family’s business. She’s the last woman he should want, but his dreams are flooded with the sultry, sexy woman who gets under his skin. He’d not prepared to end their lengthy riff just so he can give into his desire to have the gorgeous woman under him.
But she is the one he needs…
Glory Pierce gave up on Drew the second he flung vicious insults her way. The harder she tries to forget how deep those scars run, however, the more he invades her thoughts. When tragedy strikes, Glory is forced to put aside her anger and work with the man she despises. But as they mix business with pleasure, the heat between them reaches fever pitch, secrets are revealed, and passions are stirred up in ways neither of them can ignore.
He tossed the phone to her, awed as the sheet she’d covered herself with dipped low, baring her bountiful cleavage. He started back toward the side. “Shit,” he yelled as he stubbed his toe.
“Are you okay?” She moved toward the edge of the bed.
Drew frowned as he kneeled. “What the hell?” he dragged the open wooden box out further.
“Oh, no!” she exclaimed. “Drew, leave that, please.”
“I don’t think so, baby.” The lid fell open the rest of the way when he stopped towing it across the floor.
“Jesus,” he groused. “This is … so many cocks, Glory.” He lifted his gaze to hers, his brow arched.
Heat rushed over Glory’s face. “Um …”
“I’d have investments in batteries if I were you.” Hell, he’d watched his past girlfriends use dildos and loved every single second of it. To find a treasure trove of at least a dozen under their bed, well, it was a first.
“Don’t be sarcastic. I never leave it out. Shit.”
He glanced at the chest, baffled by the different colors and sizes. Her past words of knowing how to take care of herself came to mind. “You use these after visits to Controlled Iris, don’t you?” His dick hardened as he imagined her so turned on from being at the mansion that she’d undress and shove a vibrator in her cunt as soon as she returned home. Sweat dotted along his upper lip.
“I’m sorry you had to see that. Let me put it away.” She swung her legs over the side of the bed.
“Stay. Leave it,” he ordered.
Eyes wide, she halted. He picked up one, studied it, and picked up another. He didn’t comprehend the need for so many.
“Oh, for heaven’s sake. Sometimes a gal needs more than one,” she replied with feigned bravado.
Drew stared at her, his eyebrow raised as he lifted two of her particular favorite dildos in each fist. “What a variety. Have a favorite?” he asked as serious as possible, amused by her hidden goodies.
She pinned him with a narrowed gaze, annoyance and ire crossing her face. Oh, he loved to see fire building in her eyes when he goaded her.
“Well, if you must know, Mr. Nosey. The glass blue one there, with the small to large beads is exciting. It fills me easy at first, and as my arousal builds, I can take more of it.” Drew swallowed hard, thrilled at her response but unsure if he could control himself with the suddenly sexy and graphic images exploding in his head. “And, the red one, which I call Sticky Red, has the largest girth and takes the crown as the ultimate delight. It sticks to any surface, but to plastic the best. I ride it.” Drew breathed deep as she leaned closer to him, hovering at the edge of the bed. The sheet fell from her tits, revealing more skin, but not everything he wanted to see as she held a quarter of it against her. “I ride it hard. On that chair over there,” she pointed and his gaze followed. A dark green plastic chair sat at the small vanity table where makeup lined the surface. “I love the freedom to use it whenever I want.”
His gaze met the fiery blue of hers. She was breathtaking. And he needed to see her on the edge. Needed to see that freedom.
“Show me,” he ordered, and held the red dildo out to her.
Startled, she sat up, baring her to him. “What?”
Drew sidled the few feet to the chair on his knees, and turned the chair around to face him. He contemplated the dildo in his hand, and the puzzle pieces fit together quick. Licking his left hand a couple times, he dampened the suction part and slammed the dildo on the chair to stick. After tugging on the bottom of it a few times, ensuring it was a strong hold, he moved back to the side of the bed.
His hands clasping her around the waist, he hauled her to her feet, and cupped her tits.
A loud gasp rushed from her. “Drew,” she exclaimed, her heart racing.
He kneaded the boon in front of him, leaned forward and pressed his lips to her chest. The sweet and salty nectar from her skin filled his mouth. Delicious and potent, desire rushed over him.
He cruised along her skin, his lips finding every freckle and mole, his tongue savoring every lick and nibble. Shifting lower, he flicked her nipple. Glory purred, her back arching against his palm where he held her upright. His dick shifted behind his shorts, twitching in eagerness to be free. He suckled each nipple, moving from one to the other, his teeth biting and his tongue soothing the sting.
“Oh my,” she groaned as he flicked the bud. “Oh, Drew.”
He lifted his head. The light caressed her skin in a glow that took his breath away. A golden goddess from her blonde head to her cute toes. “Show me, baby. I want to watch you in ecstasy.”
“But—” her gaze dropped, downcast, and she tried to scoot away from him.
“It’s okay, I promise. Don’t think, just imagine. Has anyone ever watched you pleasure yourself?” God, he prayed she said no.
Her gaze searched his until she shook her head. Drew breathed a sigh of relief.
“I promise I’ll keep your secrets. What happens in here will forever stay between us. Call it fulfilling a fantasy for me.” Drew waited, his heart pounding as Glory glanced at him, toward the chair, and back again. Uncertainty and fear clouded her eyes.
“Show me what you enjoy most. Show me what it takes to please you,” he crooned.
Praise for Stirring Up Glory:
“a hot and sexy read.” ~ SJ Maylee, author of Assassins and Sweetheart series
“Do you like reading erotic romance with hot scorching scenes, then you should definitely check out Stirring Up Glory! You won't be disappointed!” Nicole, Top 100 Amazon Reviewer
Evernight Publishing – http://www.evernightpublishing.com/stirring-up-glory-by-kacey-hammell
Amazon US -- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0757XMR54
Amazon Canada -- https://www.amazon.ca/Stirring-Glory-Stirred-Love-Book-ebook/dp/B0757XMR54
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And of course, Book 1, Stirring Up Dirty is always available at all online bookstores.
Avid Reader. Romance Author. Redhead…
Canadian-born author Kacey Hammell is definitely a book-a-holic. A romance reader from a young age, she fell in love with happily ever afters. These days, as a multi- published erotic romance author, she enjoys adding a lot of heat, sass, and emotion to the many genres she writes.
Mom of three, Kacey lives her own happily ever after with her perfect hero in Ontario, Canada.
Readers can find all my titles under the drop down “Bookshelf” menu on my website – www.kaceyhammell.com
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