Strike Force by Beth Rhodes

 

 

Title: Strike Force
Series: Hawk Elite Security #4
Author: Beth Rhodes
Genre: Romantic Suspense Standalone
Release Date: November 15, 2017


Blurb
Hawk Elite Security,
a group of dedicated men and women.
Moved by duty and honor.
Dedicated to being courageous in the face of adversity.
Passionate about life.
~*~*~

Descendant of a line of Romanian gypsies, Marie Gabor uses both truth and
legend to create a persona that will fool even the most jaded of men. When the
family heirloom—the gold armband—is stolen by the long-feuding family from the
old country, she’ll do whatever she can to get it back, including work for Hawk
Elite Security, the very men who are supposed to be guarding the amulet.

Malcolm Daniels has dealt with lying, cheating women before, so when Marie
steps into Hawk Elite to work, he sees right through her façade to the woman
with secrets and a sly hand. But the more he works with her, the harder it is
to ignore just how much he likes; she thinks outside the box, she faces danger
with courage, and—hell—she’s gorgeous. He wants her but doesn’t trust her.

The stakes are raised when her plan to acquire the armband goes awry. Life
becomes a commodity paid to the highest bidder. But will Malcolm be willing to
pay such a high price?

 

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Excerpt

 

Chapter Two
His
doorbell rang at almost eleven the next evening. He’d packed, run through a few
of his programs, played Assassin’s Creed, and was in his gym—the only clean
place in his apartment at the moment. His computer room had exploded with his
latest project, and his living-room-slash-gaming-room-slash-bedroom looked like
what it was…confused.
He pulled
himself over the bar one last time and dropped to the mat below. He grabbed the
chamois off the hook on the wall and wiped his neck, face, and chest. His
fingers bumped over the scar bisecting his pectoral.
His wake-up
call.
He tugged a
t-shirt back on. When he went through the confused room, he stopped to open the
blinds. Stepping over the pile of movie cases, he scowled in disgust and then
opened the front door.
Marie. “Fuck. What are you doing here?”
“Is that
how you say ‘hi’ to all your friends?” Her brow rose.
Speechless,
he hesitated, not sure what to say. Friends.
She’d said the word, but he still struggled to equate what they had with
something he shared with…say, Craig or John.
“I was
thinking,” she began, as if sensing his dilemma, “maybe we got off on the wrong
foot.”
Forget
feet—the sight of her and those big eyes had his tired body
reacting…inappropriately, or appropriately if they were on a path toward being
in his bed. He cleared his throat and thought about the last string of code
he’d created for Tangent Media.
Her hands
fluttered to her sides and she shrugged, reminding him of how small she was,
but delicate? No. “Look, if we have to spend the next few days together, I’d
like to clear the air.”
Malcolm
couldn’t invite her in. The mess was embarrassing, a problem he’d been meaning
to fix. He glanced over his shoulder. “Um…”
“Oh my God.
Do you have someone in there with you?” Her eyes had gone even wider. “I’m so
sorry. I didn’t think. Of course you have someone over. You’re leaving town for
a few nights. And—” She paled. “Uh, you know what? I’ll just see you at the
airport in the morning. I’m sorry.” She leaned, as if to yell around him. “I’m
sorry,” she called out into his empty apartment.
She turned
to leave, and guilt rode his conscience to stopping her. “It’s not a woman,” he
called out, immediately second-guessing himself. He wanted the distance. He
didn’t need her thinking about him as single or available or…fuck, a liar. He
prided himself on being straightforward and honest. “It’s only… Fuck. Weeks of
not cleaning up.”
Marie
turned back, a wary look on her face. “It’s a bad time.”
“It’s fine.
Come in,” he said. “For a few minutes,” he added pointedly. She might be the
drop-by-and-stay kind of girl. Admitting the lust was better than ignoring it,
he told himself, feeling like a total prick. No matter if she was a crook or a
sweet girl who really did want friendship.
She could
have turned over a new leaf.
Or she
could be playing them all.
“I’m going
to go get changed. I’ll be right back.” He hesitated. “Don’t steal anything.”
“Hey.” She
pouted, her bottom lip sticking out.
He pressed
his lips together on the groan wanting to escape.
And then
she surprised him by laughing. “Okay, okay. No touchy.”
Oh, that
did it. And why did her voice sound sultry?
In his
bedroom, he picked up his jeans and stepped into them. He removed the sweaty
shirt and wiped himself with it before he tugged the shirt he’d had on earlier
over his head. Shower later.
She’d made herself at home in his kitchen and pulled down his only
package of Oreos. “How do you eat these?” she asked.
“The usual methods. Sometimes, I pop it in
whole. Sometimes, I twist it open and lick the cream filling.”
She swallowed. “Oh.” Her cheeks flushed, in the
same moment he realized how those words sounded.
“That’s not— I mean, sorry. I didn’t mean…
Shit. I would never purposely make you uncomfortable. Shit. Talk about a sexual
harassment suit.”
She waved him off. “What I mean is…they’re
horribly unhealthy, have a habit of getting stuck in your teeth, and, overall,
aren’t exactly adult cuisine.”
“Oh, that.” Heat rose on his neck. He shrugged.
His history with Oreos was long and complicated.
Marie
leaned against his counter and waited, at ease, as if she belonged right where
she was, waiting for a friend to say something. A flyaway strand of her hair
fell against her face. Her eyes showed a warm interest he hadn’t seen in them
before.
Then she
took a bite of Oreo. A little crumble stayed at the corner of her mouth until
she licked it off with the tip of her tongue. Fuck. He cleared his throat.
Friends. If she was going to push and insist on a truce, they could be friends.
He could handle that.
“I never
had any of the extras growing up,” he finally said. “My first night on my own,
I had enough money for very little. I bought a small bunch of bananas and a
package of Oreos—”
“Did you
sit and eat the whole package or ration them?”
It was a
personality quiz, and he might have avoided answering. But for some reason, he
looked at her and knew the shaky friendship they’d developed over the past
several months either needed to take shape or be cast off completely if he was
going to move on.
“I
rationed, eating three a day for almost two weeks.”
“A big
package.” She laughed at her double entendre. “Sorry.”
His laughter
came unexpected, and he cut it off, covering his mouth as his shoulders shook.
“Geez.” When he looked up at her, she was smiling. Was this the truce she
wanted? It was working.
“You ready
for tomorrow?” he said.
“Almost.”
He nodded.
“Anything you want to share about this trip? You did say you wanted to ‘clear
the air.’”
She moved
then, pacing away from him toward the hallway, which led to his bedroom. “No.
It’s hard enough to work with someone who I’m close to. I thought it would be
good if we were at least speaking. You’ve been avoiding me, Malcolm.”
Self-preservation.
“You have
an uncle that lives on the coast,
near Portland,” he said.
“He is my
uncle!” she exclaimed, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Sure,” he
drawled, egging her on for no good reason other than he liked to see the fire
in her eyes…and that blush on her pretty little neck. Glutton for punishment.
She scowled
at him. “He raised me. He’s at least seventy-five-years old.”
Malcolm
lifted his hands in surrender. “There’s fucking something, though,” he
muttered.
“There’s
nothing,” she answered, the look in her eyes challenging him.
He conceded
with a nod.
“We going
to be okay?” she asked, serious again.
“Have you
given up your pickpocket ways?”
She
narrowed her eyes. “For the most part.”
He
considered her, taking in her open sandals and the long skirt with lace on the
bottom and pretty metalwork on the belt at the top, below her navel. “You like
people to see you a certain way. You fill a stereotype.”
“I am what
I am. A Romanian by birth. I come from a long line of proud, sometimes
arrogant, people. My family.” Her chin went up, and he wanted to run the edge
of his thumb along the soft skin revealed beneath it. “I like the peasant
skirts, and I love the jewelry. That’s being a woman, nothing to do with my
roots.”
She never
admitted to being a thief. But she’d wanted something in Germany. And that was
what bothered him. What had she wanted and did she want now?
There was
only one way to find out—by staying close to her. “Okay.”
“Okay,
we’re going to be okay? Or okay, whatever you say…?”
“Okay, the
air is clear, and I’ll be watching
you,” he added.

 

She’d said
she wanted to clear the air, but as far as he was concerned, the smoke screen
was thick between them. She had plans for something, and if she wouldn’t talk
to him about it, wouldn’t he be a fool to trust her?
Also Available

 

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$1.99 for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

$1.99 for a limited time

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
Free in Kindle Unlimited

 

 

Author Bio

 

Beth Rhodes grew up
thinking she was going to travel the world and be a missionary, helping the
poor. She would travel to exciting places…like Russia and Australia. She was
going to wear a canvas backpack and take a wooden raft down a river through the
jungle. She never had any plans for romance or getting married, either. But
after a few years of college, studying English Literature, she married her own
real-life hero, who patiently puts up with her absentmindedness and
creativity… And the only poor babies she helps now are her own six children.
She learned that
life doesn’t always go the way she plans, except for one thing, BOOKS.
Beth writes in order
to share a little love and lots of hope with a hurting world. Find more about
her Online!

 

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Comments

  1. Hi Brianne! Loved being on your blog again this week. Thanks for sharing my book with your readers. <3 Have a great weekend!

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