Torque (The Underground, Book 6)

Torque-Becca_Jameson-500x800

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Ms. Jameson creates a wonderful world contained on one mountain. A fire in the Smokies is nothing compared to the heat in this beautiful love story. The sex is sizzling. The love is a living and breathing emotion. A light and beautiful read with enough spice to entertain. – See more at: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/fireinthesmokiesbook2bybeccajameson.html#.UmRiVBDZgvl
Ms. Jameson creates a wonderful world contained on one mountain. A fire in the Smokies is nothing compared to the heat in this beautiful love story. The sex is sizzling. The love is a living and breathing emotion. A light and beautiful read with enough spice to entertain. – See more at: http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/fireinthesmokiesbook2bybeccajameson.html#.UmRiVBDZgvl
Torque released November 3, 2016, with Hartwood Publishing.

Blurb:

When fighter Sergei Zholdin accepts the FBI agent’s proposition, he knows things are about to get heated. After all, he has lusted after Agent Taylor Brown from the moment he moved to Chicago. Pretend they’re a couple? The idea is laughable. The steam between the two of them is intense. Nevertheless, Sergei agrees to the charade. And they manage to fake like they’re into each other for about two minutes…

Taylor is in over her head. She never should have acted on her boss’s suggestion. She knew better. Moving in with Sergei for the sake of appearances awakens a dormant libido she didn’t even know she had. Sergei takes her places she has only dreamed about every time they close the door to their apartment. If anyone finds out the truth, it could get her fired.

There is a case to solve. A killer to catch. An experimental drug to take down before it hits the black market. Taylor needs to concentrate on her obligations. Sergei needs to concentrate on his construction job and his MMA training.

Their arrangement can’t be permanent. It was never meant to be. When the job is done, Taylor will move on to another case, and Sergei will continue fighting underground MMA. The two of them couldn’t be more different.

The heat inside their bedroom is explosive, but it’s temporary, right?

Excerpt:

She scanned the bar quickly. About three quarters of the tables were full. Busy for this hour on a Thursday night. It was almost ten.

Two men entered through the front. She watched them in her peripheral vision as she pretended to stare at the drink list on the table.

“We have company,” Sergei informed her unnecessarily.

“I see that.” She gave him a tight smile. “I’m an FBI agent, remember?” she whispered.

“I remember.” He smiled at her and then nodded at the drink list in her hand. “You gonna order some sort of girly shit?”

“Nope. I’m going to have a beer. Or at least part of one. I have to drive, remember?”

“I remember,” he parroted, repeating the same phrase for what seemed like the millionth time by then. With his gaze focused on her face, his head turned seemingly directly toward her, he spoke again, “They took a seat at the bar, far end.”

“Yep. You’re good. Ever consider a job in law enforcement?”

He chuckled. “Babe, I’ve gotten good at noticing things in the past few weeks. Staying alive and keeping my friends alive requires diligence. And, besides, I don’t think they want people at the police academy who have a profession that’s as seedy as mine. Not exactly legal.”

She smiled. “True.”

“And yet you don’t care.”

She shrugged. “Underground fighting is hardly on the FBI list of interesting activities. Even the cops don’t care much about it. They have real crimes to fight. A bunch of guys beating each other to a bloody pulp while people place bets under the table is hardly worth anyone’s attention.”

“That’s what we bank on. Literally.”

A shadow fell over them, and a skinny blonde woman with skin too wrinkly for her age and a pencil behind her ear leaned her hip on the table. “What can I get y’all?”

“I’ll have whatever’s on tap,” Sergei stated.

“Me too.”

She nodded and walked away, her short skirt barely covering her ass.

Taylor watched her, thinking the woman needed to stop smoking—she reeked of it—and purchase some clothing that fit her better.

“So, talk to me.” Sergei caught her attention with his statement.

She turned to look at him. “About what?”

A slow smile spread across his face. “You always this distracted?”

Only when I’m with you.

“We’re on a fake date. We need a game plan. What does this arrangement look like to you?”

“I’m not sure. I honestly had only considered the part up until I asked you to do it.”

He laughed, his hand grabbing hers on the table, his fingers wrapping around her smaller ones and staying there.

Again she asked herself who he was performing for. The two men at the bar? Or was he naturally this possessive? Maybe he couldn’t turn it off. From the moment he’d agreed to this farce, he’d been all in. No one would believe they weren’t truly a couple. She wasn’t even sure she did.

“Okay, then.” He tapped his fingers on his mouth with his free hand, glancing at the ceiling while he thought. And then he lowered his hand and met her gaze.

The waitress set their beers on the table and shuffled away without a word.

“You said at the gym there were some inherent problems with my proposition. So you start.”

“Right.” He rubbed his temple, and then he used that hand to pick up his beer and take a sip.

She picked up her own beer and did the same, suddenly wishing she didn’t have to drive. Several fortifying drinks would go a long way toward making this situation less awkward. At least she had control of her right hand.

His right hand was holding her left.

“You left-handed?” she asked.

“No. Why?”

“Nothing.” She watched him easily take another sip and set the glass back down, never releasing her.

And then he leaned back, dragging her hand off the table as he did so and setting it on his thigh.

Her heart nearly beat out of her chest. Shit. His thigh was warm and hard and huge. And precariously too close to his crotch.

She stared for a minute at their entwined fingers. “You holding my hand for the benefit of the two guys at the bar? Because I’m pretty sure they can’t see us that well.” It needed to be pointed out that Sergei’s actions were overkill if for no other reason than to attempt to understand it herself.

“No. I’m holding your hand because I can. I took that liberty the moment you asked me to pretend to be your man.” He paused. “See, that’s going to be complicated because you’re fucking sexy, and I’ve been imagining having you since the moment we first met. So, for you to walk into my gym dressed in an outfit that hid none of your attributes and propose I pretend to be yours? Yeah, that’s going to be complicated.”

Shit. Fuck. Shit. And he was just now telling her this?

She tugged her hand, but he gripped it harder and held it firmly against his thigh.

He leaned closer, his face inches from hers. “And then there was that kiss.”

Shit. Fuck. Shit again. She could think those words all she wanted. He would never know.

“That wasn’t an ordinary pretend peck on the lips. That was a bonfire-reaching-for-the-sky kiss. And you know it.”

“Why did you do it?” she whispered.

“Because those goons were watching. It was spur of the moment. Seemed like a good plan. It was a horrible plan.”

“Why?” Oh, she so shouldn’t have asked.

“Because now I know how you taste. How good you feel against my body. The exact pitch of your moan when it escapes your lips when you’re so turned on you can’t help yourself.”

Her face burned. The flush went from hot to hotter in an instant.

She swallowed, not blinking or moving.

“Yeah. I appreciate you not bothering to deny it. Because I would have had to call you on the lie immediately.”

Shit.

The way he leaned into her… His face inches from hers… His hand gripping her fingers… His mouth moving… His gaze locked on her lips…

She was in so much trouble.

“How long have you been thinking of me in the same way?”

She licked her lips. Her mouth was dry. Her eyes burned from staring at him without blinking.

He lifted his gaze from her lips to her eyes slowly. “How long, Taylor?”

She couldn’t breathe.

He leaned closer. Only a centimeter separated them.

She needed another drink of beer.

She needed to down the entire glass.

She needed to slide under the table and rush from the room.

But she didn’t move.

“Answer me, baby.” His voice was low. Gentle. Caring. Demanding.

She nodded. No words. Just a nod. Apparently he got her meaning.

“That’s what I thought.” He let his gaze roam over her face for several long moments, and then he finally leaned back, releasing her hand and lifting both of his to run them through his hair as he stared at the ceiling.

Taylor yanked her palm from his thigh and reached for her beer, facing front and taking a long drink. It went down smooth. It tasted amazing. And she did it again.

“Complicated,” he told the ceiling.

“I shouldn’t have instigated this.”

“Probably not.”

“I’m sorry.” She tipped her face to stare at the table, setting her elbows on the edge and wrapping both hands around her beer.

“Don’t be. It’s done. It’s out. We’ll deal with it.”

“Seems like I’ve made a mess of it.”

He leaned forward, set his arm around her shoulders, and hauled her into his side. He kissed the top of her head. “Maybe, but we’ll deal.”

She tipped her head back, setting her chin on his rock-hard chest. “You’re gonna hate me when this is over.”

“Not a chance.”

“We can’t sleep together.”

“Why the hell not?” His voice rose along with one eyebrow.

“Because I’m on a job. Working. It’s unprofessional. It’s supposed to be a fake relationship. It wouldn’t be right.”

“Well, I would never push you or any other woman to do something you don’t want to do, so don’t worry about that. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest you’d probably do a better job and be more focused if you let that little rule go and get in my bed. Because fighting the need to fuck will only drive both of us crazy and make it difficult to concentrate on what really needs to be done during the day.”

She sucked in a breath and blinked. Why the hell did his plan sound reasonable exactly?

She shook her head to clear her mind. “We are not sleeping together, Sergei. Not a chance. I’m on a job. I can’t sleep with you. I could get fired.”

“So you don’t tell your boss.” He glanced at her, his brow furrowed. “How’s anyone going to know if we’re actually sharing a bed while we’re pretending to sleep together anyway?”

I’ll know. And that’s all that matters.”

He chuckled. “So you’re afraid you can’t keep from telling everyone you run into who you fucked and when?”

She sighed. “Why do you get to say fuck and I don’t?”

He chuckled, his chest vibrating against her chin. “I’m a fighter, Taylor. Fuck is an adjective, verb, and a noun for me. You’re a college graduate. You sound like a toilet when you say it.”

“A toilet?” She giggled.

“Yep.”

“I cuss, Sergei. A lot. I work with men. I work in law enforcement. We cuss. You just haven’t witnessed it often. I try to be professional on the job.”

“Well, I don’t like it.”

“Tough cookies. Get over yourself.”

“Tough cookies? This from a woman who proclaims she cusses? A lot?”

She rolled her eyes.

He leaned his head lower, met her lips with his, and knocked her out of the county again with his kiss.

She couldn’t stop herself from turning into him and grabbing his far shoulder.

He speared his fingers into her hair again at the back of her head and tipped her head back to suit him. His tongue dipped into her mouth instantly. Tasting. Licking. Sucking.

She melted, squeezing her legs together to keep her throbbing clit from exploding.

The kiss lasted far too long for a public location. It was far too unprofessional. And it was far too unnecessary as part of her proposed fake date.

But it packed a punch, and before he was done, she lost herself entirely, forgetting everything and everyone around her.

When he finally released her lips, he murmured against them. “You still want to stay out of my bed?”

“Never said I wanted to. I just said it was for the best.”

“Hmm. I disagree.”

“Mmm. Not sure I was asking.”

He smiled. “We’ll see.”

“Cocky.”

“Transparent.”

She gasped. Shit.

He chuckled. “It’s cute. Don’t be embarrassed.”

She reached for her beer and downed the rest, noticing Sergei had only consumed about half of his. He leaned to one side, reached into his pocket, and pulled out a wallet. Seconds later, he tossed a few bills on the table.

She stiffened. “Oh my God. I didn’t even bring my purse inside.”

“No worries. Lord, woman, it’s beer. I can afford beer.”

“I know you can. I didn’t mean to imply you couldn’t. I just realized it wasn’t like me to forget something like that.”

He grinned at her. “Lots of things happening tonight that aren’t like you, huh?”

“Seems that way.”