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A Black Heart Prologue
Black's Bandits, A Preview of Black Heart
The line between hate and love often stands on a razor’s edge…
Ian Black has sacrificed his honor and reputation for God and country. He’s a fighter and a survivor. No price is too high, and no one crosses him. Not for long, anyway.
But then Natasha Oliver walks into his life, threatening to expose the one thing Ian thought dead and buried: his heart.
Pick up this prequel and start the story today! This book is a preview of Black Heart, Book 5 in the Black's Bandits Series.
Read an Excerpt
“Careful what you say to me, beautiful,” he told her seriously. “I’m not a man who enjoys games or half truths.”
Not about something as serious as seduction, and not with her.
Her chin lifted. “And what makes you think I’m playing games?”
Everything. But he didn’t say that. “It’s just a warning, Anna. If you want to take this farther, we can go upstairs and get to know each other without interference. See what happens. Or we can flirt a bit without really meaning it, dance a little, and then you can climb into your gondola at the end of the evening, safe and sound—and unsatisfied.”
Her eyes flashed. “Do you usually come on so strong?”
“Only when I want something.”
She seemed to consider it. “You said we could go upstairs. Is this your place?”
“So you are Ian Black then.”
“The one and only.”
“I’ve heard about you.”
“Good things, I hope.”
“Not all of it,” she said with a sniff.
He chuckled. “The important parts are good, I promise you.”
She nibbled on a tiny sandwich he’d put on her plate. “Perhaps I will find out. But there are rules, Mr. Black.”
“And what are those rules, lovely Anna?”
“The masks stay on. And if I want to leave, you let me leave.”
“I wouldn’t dream of keeping a woman who wasn’t delighted to be in my company.”
“And the masks?”
He was convinced she was Natasha. Now more than ever. She was too prickly not to be. Besides, the masks were a critical part of her disguise. That she didn’t want to give them up in private spoke volumes.
“A bit uncomfortable, I’d imagine. But whatever revs your engine, baby.”
Her eyes flashed again, and he suppressed a chuckle. She picked up her champagne and took the tiniest sip. No doubt to keep her wits about her.
“You get ahead of yourself, Mr. Black.”
“Do I? I thought we were discussing the terms of your surrender.”
He could see the moment she made the decision. She set the plate down, but held onto her glass. Then she took a step toward him and put one hand on his chest. He could feel the burn of her touch through the layers of his bespoke tuxedo. He hadn’t felt a burn like that since Natasha had touched him.
He wanted to rip the mask off her face and ask what game she was playing, but it occurred to him that her plan could be one of two things. Either she’d been as obsessed with him as he had been with her, and was approaching him as safely as she could—or he was a target for assassination.
Hell, maybe it was both.
She tilted her face up to his, her eyes clear and bright blue in the holes of her mask. He thought he detected the edge of a contact, but she blinked before he could be certain.
“Perhaps you should kiss me. Then we’ll see if there’s anything worth surrendering for.”
He dipped his head toward hers, then stopped when he was only inches away. Her eyes had closed, but she opened them again when she realized he wasn’t kissing her. There was a question in them. Confusion.
“I want to, lovely Anna. More than you realize. But how do I know you aren’t an assassin? I have enemies. Powerful ones. And I didn’t get to be this age by pretending they don’t exist.”
He thought she might react to that, but she only said, “Search me then. Have your people search me. I have no weapons.”
“I don’t have that either.”
“You expect me to believe that?”
She licked her lips. She sight of her pink tongue startled him. Aroused him.
“There,” she said. “If I have poisoned my lipstick, then I’ll die first.”
He wrapped an arm around her waist and tugged her close, melding her body to his, uncaring of those around them who might be watching. “But what a way to go, sweetheart.”
This time he didn’t hesitate, and she didn’t resist.