The most unsettled of the “no-account Raines boys,”
Devlin Raines has long been protecting his heart from injury.
But his latest case—and client—forces him to lay
everything on the line…
At thirty-two Dev is “mostly retired” from Raines Investigations, content to run operations from his sprawling Arizona home. But Dev has never been able to say no to a beautiful woman, so when Lark Delaney comes to him for help, the former U.S. Army Ranger from Wind Canyon gets back in the game.
Lark is sexy, successful and dedicated to tracking down the baby girl her sister gave up for adoption. It should be a straightforward case, but it’s not long before Dev uncovers a shady adoption ring and worse—the child’s parents have been murdered and the little girl has been taken.
As the case grows dangerous and Lark needs him more than ever, Dev can’t ignore his growing attraction for her. He also can’t trust his judgment with women or the emotions he’s long since buried. But there’s a chance, if he gets this right and saves Lark’s niece, that he’ll end up saving himself, too.
“We need to find a hotel.” Just saying it made him think of sex with Lark and he started getting hard. It was crazy, this constant lust he felt for her, but there was just something about her. Those long legs and that perfect ass, the sexy way she moved, the way her green eyes seemed to sparkle. Everything about her turned him on.
“We don’t need a hotel,” Lark said. “We can stay at my place. There’s plenty of room, and it’ll give me a chance to check on things and water my plants.”
His mouth edged up. “You sure you can trust me?”
She cast him a glance and smiled. “Any reason I shouldn’t?”
Plenty of reasons, he thought. Like he wanted to see her naked. Like he wanted to climb into bed with her. Like what he wanted do to her once she was there.
“I guess not.” He looked away at the lie, used the turn signal on the rental car and changed lanes. “Downtown, right? What’s the address?”
“Five hundred block of South Hewitt. It’s in the Arts District not far from where my design studio is located.”
They drove through downtown L.A. traffic, which was getting pretty heavy this late in the afternoon. Eventually, they reached their destination.
“Pull into the underground garage,” Lark instructed as they approached a huge, remodeled, five-story brick warehouse. “Use space forty-two B. That’s my second car parking spot. Since I only have one, it’s vacant.”
Dev pulled into the space beside forty-one A, next to a little silver Mercedes coup. “That yours?”
“I guess you’ve got a few toys of your own.” He had a Porche, an SUV, and a Harley. He liked toys and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it.
Lark just smiled. “I’ve also got a jet ski and a sailboard, but I keep them at the beach.”
He flicked her a glance as he turned off the engine, impressed in spite of himself. He enjoyed all kinds of sports but he was rarely attracted to athletic women. With her tight jeans and spike heels, Lark had completely had him fooled.
“My condo’s on the second floor,” she said. “The elevator’s this way.”
The five stories had been converted into two floors of open, loft-style condominiums, he discovered as Lark unlocked the door and he followed her into her unit.
“Wow.” His gaze went from the tall windows to the open ceilings crisscrossed with the original heavy wooden rafters and exposed, recently installed, round silver heating and cooling ducts.
“It’s different, I know.”
“I like it,” he said. “It’s interesting.” Hi-tech all the way through. And after seeing it, with Lark’s vibrant energy and sense of style, he couldn’t imagine her living anywhere else.
“The guest room is this way.” She took off down the hall and Dev followed. There were two guest rooms, each with its own separate bath. There was a queen-sized bed in one and twins in the other. She led him into the room with the queen and he tossed his bag on top of a brilliant purple bedspread.
“Where’s your room?” he asked, wishing he’d be sleeping in there instead of in here and knowing damned well he wouldn’t be.
“Next door.” She caught his hand and tugged him farther down the hall, through a door leading into an airy open-ceilinged bedroom. A big iron four-poster king-size bed covered by a fluffy white down comforter and miles of plump white embroidered pillows sat in the middle of the room.
He looked at the bed, looked at Lark, and the blood in his veins rushed south.
“So what do you think?”
Nothing hi-tech in the bedroom, which pleased him no end. “Very feminine and pretty.” Just like you, he thought, but didn’t say it. They were both standing in the doorway. When she turned, he realized she was so close he could smell her soft perfume, a fragrance he had noticed before, lilac with a subtle hint of spice. He breathed her in and his arousal strengthened.
In heels, she was as tall as he was. If he leaned over just a little, moved the slightest fraction, he could settle his mouth over those plump pink lips, taste them as he had been wanting to do since the day she’d walked into his office.
Her eyes locked with his. Her lashes were thick and dark, and they began to slowly descend. He bent toward her, inhaled lilacs and spice, felt his erection throb. She was breathing hard and so was he.
Then his cell phone started to ring and he jerked away as if someone had dumped scalding water over his head.
On a ragged breath, he walked back down the hall toward the open living room. “Raines,” he said hoarsely, not bothering to check the caller I.D.
“Hey, Daredevil.” His Ranger nickname. “It’s Clive. Word is you’re in L.A.”
Dev closed his eyes and inhaled deeply. “Madman. How’d you know where to find me?”
“Talked to Town. He said you flew in. I guess you’re with Lark.”
He thought of what had almost happened in her bedroom and thanked the cell phone gods for the timing of Madman’s call.
“We’re following a lead. We found the people who arranged the adoption of her sister’s baby. We’re talking to them tomorrow. All we have to do is get them to give us the couple’s name.”
“Might not be that easy. Those folks can be sticklers.”
He thought of the babies they’d sold to pad their own pocket and his tone hardened. “We’ve got enough on them to make them talk whether they want to or not.”
Madman chuckled. “Sounds like fun. Need any help? Be just like old times.”
“Yeah, well, thank God those times are over.”
Clive’s deep voice roughened. “Listen, Dev. Lark’s a nice girl. I know she’s hot, but believe me she’s not your type. I don’t want to see her get hurt.”
“I don’t mix business with pleasure. You know that.”
“You’re right, I do. That’s the reason I’m not worried. She needs your help, Dev. Finding that baby is really important to her.”
Dev thought again of how close they had come to winding up in bed and his resolved strengthened. “Don’t worry about me. And we’ll find the little girl.”