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He was breathing heavily, as though he’d just stepped off the treadmill. So was she. He’d showered just a couple of hours earlier, when they’d come in from the trial. The scent of fresh soap mixed with his musky male, woodsy scent. His body, already warm from the run, was getting hotter. Desire had her knees and arms trembling, and deep inside her internal muscles pulsed with need.
He groaned, pulling her closer, pressing her body flat against him.
With the very last of her willpower, in a throaty voice that didn’t sound to her own ears anything like herself, she said, “Just so you’re clear. Nothing is happening here but sex, and it has nothing to do with what happened before. We’re not going to have that conversation. Ever.”
“Believe what you want to believe,” he muttered, as his lips touched hers. “Just so you’re clear, I’d prefer to clear the air now. And we will go ther—”
“Give me a second,” he said, separating from her, turning, and walking away. He went into his bedroom, and reappeared before she caught her breath. He had a condom packet in his hand.
“Sex was a foregone conclusion on this job?”
Serious black eyes glanced at her with a complex look swirling with undercurrents that she couldn’t decipher. “If this were just a job, I wouldn’t be here.”
“I’m on the pill,” she said, a fact that had been sufficient for him before.
“Learned the hard way that the pill isn’t foolproof,” he said with a frown, “and I’d still prefer to clear the air first. By talking.”
She stepped closer to him, stood on tiptoes, and whispered, before their lips met, “Not sure the air will ever be clear and don’t want to waste time talking.” Before he could grab her arms, she gripped the waistband of his shorts and yanked them down.
His mouth found hers as she wrapped her hand around him. Pressing herself against his abdomen, she felt him shudder as she ran her fingers down the taut flesh of his erection.
Now. Please. Persuade me I’ve been wrong. Prove my memory distorted reality. Show me you’re really not the best.
GENRE: Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Foraging the cyber-world for puzzle pieces…
Zeus Hernandez, a Black Raven partner, is pulled away from a top-secret project to be the personal bodyguard to lawyer Samantha Fairfax. Terrorists have rendered the future frightening and uncertain, but Zeus and Samantha’s past makes two things crystal clear: she’ll be furious to see him and he can’t refuse the job.
Sorting pieces as stakes rise…
Danger surrounds the International Terrorism Tribunal, a court convened to combat terrorism. Samantha is thrust into the limelight when her mentor dies as the trial convenes in Paris, France. Her role requires steadfast focus and nerves of steel. She’s determined to do her job and move her life ahead, according to plan…without Zeus. He’s determined she’ll reconsider.
Completing the puzzle as their worlds collide…
As personal drama escalates behind closed doors, terrorists take aim at an Achilles’ heel that is capable of crippling Zeus, Samantha, and Black Raven. While forcing puzzle pieces to click into place, a personal reckoning looms for these two strong-willed people. There’s no denying they might be better off apart…but they fit together so well.
5*** Equal parts fast-paced thriller and romance
This is my first time reading Stella Barcelona’s books but it won’t be the last. As an author of romances, I know just how hard it is to create a balance between different elements in a story. Stella does it masterfully. Jigsaw is a well-written mashup of thriller, political intrigue, terrorism, cyber intelligence, second chances, romance, and sex. The plot, although highly complex, is so engaging you’ll be glued to the pages so that you won’t miss anything. And when life interferes and forces you to put the book down (those bills won’t get paid by themselves, right?) you’ll be replaying scenes in your head. It’s that good! The characters are fleshed out skillfully. They’re realistic and captivating and I’m sure readers of the first book will be delighted to meet again some of those characters.
I recommend this book for fans of thrillers and romances alike. But be warned though you’ll be unavailable for doing much else for a few days while you devour this book.
** I read this book with my Kindle Unlimited subscription**
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Stella Barcelona has always had an active imagination, a tendency to daydream, and a passion for reading romance, mysteries, and thrillers. She has found an outlet for all of these aspects of herself by writing romantic thrillers.
In her day-to-day life, Stella is a lawyer and works for a court in New Orleans. She lives minutes from the French Quarter, with her husband of seventeen years and two adorable papillons who believe they are princesses. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Southern Louisiana Chapter of the Romance Writers of America. Her first novel, DECEIVED, was inspired by New Orleans, its unique citizens, and the city’s World War II-era history. Her second novel, SHADOWS, began her Black Raven series.
She is currently working on her fourth novel, CONCIERGE, another Black Raven novel, which will be released in 2017.