Romantic Suspense, Erotic Romance
EBook (available as paperback too)
A man of action…
After helping to break up a Russian human trafficking ring as part of the CIA’s elite Black Opal team, Alexei Nikanova’s newest assignment is to rescue one of the stolen women and return her to her father. When he arrives in Dubai, he discovers his target is Sasha Zablosky—a woman he knows all too well, and who has haunted him ever since their unforgettable time together in Moscow, two and a half years earlier. But he finds Sasha reluctant to leave her sheikh, the only true friend she’s ever known. Only Alexei can’t give her a choice.
A woman of deception…
With their yearning roused by intrigue, Alexei and Sasha can no longer resist temptation, and spend night after night in forbidden pleasure. Soon Alexei finds himself falling for her, even as he battles a shadowy menace to protect her. But Sasha is no innocent. She has a past darker than she could ever admit, one that Alexei could never forgive. And it is about to explode into her life once more. As the lies they tell themselves—and each other—pull them deeper into a perilous desire, what began as simple passion becomes a love certain to destroy them and end the lives of countless innocents.
Sasha rolled over, propped her head up on one elbow. “Who do you work for, Alexei?”
That was certainly the last question he’d ever prepared for. Chancing a glance at her upturned face, he debated how to answer. She’d told him she worked for FSB; she undoubtedly knew he was an American agent—virtually all of Dubai knew. But tell her about the Opals? Let her in?
What the hell. They’d already named themselves in front of her. She knew their director’s name. He stared at the television as he answered, “A special division within the CIA known as the Black Opals. We’re the ones they send when it’s real dicey and they need to delete someone with the press of a button.”
More quietly he added, “We don’t exist.”
He crossed opposite ankles and folded his hands behind his head, leaning back against the headboard. Waiting for her to make the association between his vague explanation and the truth of his work. When she did, shock would stop her questions.
Instead, Sasha’s palm fitted over his belly, gentle sweeping motions that rumpled the fabric of his shirt and offered more comfort than Alexei had known could exist. “Isn’t that . . . difficult?” she asked softly.
“Difficult? The missions are never ea—”
“No. Not existing.” That delightful little palm slid higher, caressing the lower part of his chest. “I mean, don’t you ever crave life? The simple things like owning a house and paying someone to rake your leaves.” The heel of her palm worked into his tense muscles. “Like sleeping in on a Saturday and having breakfast in bed.”
More than she could understand. He tensed. She was getting too close, treading too far into murky waters he didn’t want to disturb.
Dropping to an almost inaudible whisper, her voice washed over his body. “Have you ever been in love, Alexei?”
Danger. Combustion imminent. Alexei covered the sudden trip of his heart with a harsh chuckle. “Love’s not an option in my line of work, princess.”
She was silent for a blissful moment, leaving him with the conclusion he’d scared her off. As luck would have things, however, when she did speak, she didn’t traipse around uncomfortable, she plunged in headfirst. “You only call me princess when I’ve hit a nerve. So tell me, Agent Nikanova, are you afraid of the fall, or afraid of the loss?”
Alexei and Sasha are two tortured souls. My heart went out to both of them. They have been placed in impossible situations through no fault of their own, but it's up to them to get out of it without losing their lives in the process. Love is the last thing they expect, but that just adds to their problems.
This story has it all - adventure, drama, betrayal, romance and very hot sex...let me repeat...very hot sex (it nearly melted my Kindle!) So, if that's not your thing, you shouldn't read this but if you don't mind sex and violence in your stories, you'll love this book. I know I did! LOL! It's fast-paced and chock-filled with action that will leave your head spinning. Just when you think Alexei and Sasha are safe, their lives are thrown into the center of danger and they are once again running for their lives.
I absolutely could not put this book down. It's the second book of Tori St. Claire's Black Opal series, but it's a standalone book. I never read the first book and I'm not sure how I missed it, but it didn't take anything away from the story for me. I do plan to check out the first book though.
4 out of 5 kitty cats.
FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Guest Blog Post by Author Tori St. Claire
Now, I'd like to welcome author Tori St. Claire to Socrates' Book Review Blog. Thank you for joining us today and letting us be part of your blog tour.
Good morning, all! It’s a rather bittersweet day for me – the end of this incredibly fun tour. I’ve had such a great time meeting everyone that I’m sad it won’t go on. At the same time, I’m excited to move onto my next project.
I’m going to close today with a glimpse of one of the characters who stood out to me in Lie to Me, even though his role was very short-lived. Please meet, Jayce Honeycutt, otherwise known as Sandman.
Tori: Hi, Jayce. I can’t tell you how happy I am that you agreed to talk with me today. I know things are busy with the Black Opals right now.
Jayce: Actually, now’s good timing. I’ve ah… been instructed to take a vacation. It seems HQ isn’t pleased with my opinion of Sasha.
Tori: (wincing) Yeah, I’ve heard about that. Little favoritism going on there with Clark and Alexei, you think?
Jayce: Think? Try it’s been obvious since Alexei came aboard. Him I don’t have issue with. Well… didn’t. He’s damn good at what he does. I just don’t see how an American operative can see beyond acts of treason. She—
Tori: (Holds up a hand, cutting him off.) I didn’t mean to get you all riled up. I’m sorry. What are you going to do with this time off?
(Jayce groans and rolls his eyes.) My sister’s getting married. Seems I’m required to be there.
Tori: Ew, the obligatory wedding. Even if it’s family, that’s no fun. So what do you see happening with the Black Opals in the future? Have you patched the relationship with MI6?
Jayce: You know… I’m not really sure. I’ve been kinda cut out of the loop right now. Clarke and I shared some unpleasant words. But I’m hearing rumblings about things south of the border. Not sure if it involves us, or if it’s just politics. (He shrugs nonchalantly.) Not my area anyway, that’s Sergei’s stomping grounds. Guess we’ll see how it plays out.
Tori: Are you looking forward to your next assignment whenever that may be?
Jayce: Yeah, I am, actually. Stateside makes me twitchy. I love my work, even if I have to put up with bullshit. But if I have to answer to her Clarke and I are going to have serious problems.
Tori: Her being Sasha, right?
Tori: Okay a couple more quick questions and then we’ll let you head off to that, ah, wedding. (Grinning)
Jayce: Gee thanks. Torture me some more, will you?
Tori: Anyone special in your life?
(In an instant, his grin vanishes. A frown darkens his handsome face.) No.
Tori: How disappointing. I was hoping for something our romance fans would enjoy.
Jayce: Not going to find that here, darling. I went that route once. Not interested in a second time.
Tori: Hm. You know, for certain women, that would sound like a challenge.
Jayce: Take it as you will. Though I can promise there will be heavy disappointment.
Tori: All right, on that note, I’m going to have to get back and get these notes typed up. Deadlines and all that. Thanks again, Jayce, for the time out of your schedule, and best of luck with that obligatory event.
(Jayce gives a smile so devastating that I’d swear my heart stopped for a moment.) The pleasure has been mine.
So, that is Jayce, and the man amuses me greatly. Particularly his interaction with Sasha. It’s your turn now – let me know what you’ve enjoyed the most about this book tour in the comments below.
~Tori St. Claire
National Bestselling author Tori St. Claire grew up writing. Hobby quickly turned into passion, and when she discovered the world of romance as a teen, poems and short stories gave way to full length novels with sexy heroes and heroines waiting to be swept off their feet. She wrote her first romance novel at seventeen.
While that manuscript gathered dust-bunnies beneath the bed, she went on to establish herself as a contemporary, historical, and paranormal author under the pen name, Claire Ashgrove. Her writing, however, skirted a fine line between hot and steamy, and motivated by authors she admired, she pushed her boundaries and made the leap into erotica, using the darker side of human nature and on-the-edge suspense to drive grittier, sexier, stories.
Her erotic romantic suspense novels are searingly sensual experiences that unite passion with true emotion, and the all-consuming tie that binds -- love.
Tori will be giving away a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card to one random commenter during the month of July. Two additional commenters will receive a basket of swag. Follow the tour – the more times you comment the better your chances of winning! Complete tour dates can be found here.