Plain Jane and the Hitman
by Tmonique Stephens
Series: The Plain Jane Series
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance & Romantic Suspense
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
A LOVE STORY WITH A BODY.
Trained by the best in the business, Emmet Streeter is nobody’s babysitter, until his mentor’s secret daughter needs a bodyguard. She’s everything he doesn’t want: mouthy, obstinate, temperamental, and untouchable. So why can’t he keep his hands off her?
The unwanted daughter of a hitman, Bailey Monroe has kept a low profile until Emmet barges into her life. He’s a killer sent to protect her from a killer. She’s intrigued instead of terrified by his cold eyes, hard face, and his deadly aim.
A carbon copy of the father she hates, she has every reason to fear Emmet, but desire grows in the strangest places under the strangest circumstances.
She shouldn’t trust him, shouldn’t sleep with him and definitely shouldn’t follow him into the jaws of hell to save a father who never loved her.
The market was more like a bazaar filled with every colorful item imaginable and every exotic scent Bailey had ever inhaled. But it was the people that fascinated her. The pleasure on their faces when she asked for permission to take their photos. The joy at viewing the result. She loved taking pictures of the children. Something about capturing their youth, a moment when happiness is all they felt, inspired her.
She bought a beef patty with coco bread from a vendor along with a ginger beer to quench her thirst as she wandered the stalls purchasing decorative earrings, a seashell necklace, and bracelet. A dance troupe sashayed by in their colorful, yet scanty outfits. She captured the fluidity of their bodies, their gaiety and the ecstasy in their movements. They danced around her, made her join in, though she couldn’t keep up and made a complete fool of herself.
And she loved it, this small piece of faux freedom where nothing mattered except the sun on her skin, the wind in her hair, and the good food in her tummy.
Something tugged on her waist and her fanny pack slid free. She spun, expecting it to be near her feet. Instead, it was running away, carried by a kid as fast as a cheetah. She took off after him, darting around people, pushing some out of her way and screaming an apology as she struggled to keep the kid in sight. A woman blocked her, and the kid vanished down an alley off the main square.
This was a bad idea, but she followed. Her passport and wallet were in her fanny pack. She had to get it back. The alley was filled with a network of shanties made of leftover aluminum and wood and anything else the occupants got a hold of. That’s how it was on most of the island. Luxury and poverty residing feet apart. Present, yet tucked out of sight away from the tourists. The boy ran into one of those shanties. Ordinarily, she wasn’t one to barge into someone’s house unannounced, but the kid had her shit.
At full speed, she barreled toward the open doorway, and nearly bounced off the chest of a man. She backed up and noticed the man wasn’t alone. Others came out of the shanties to watch.
She raised her hands in mock surrender. “I don’t want any trouble. I just want what belongs to me.”
“This what you want?” he said in a thick accent as he signaled to someone inside the shanty. The boy came out carrying her fanny pack in one hand and a smug grin on his face.
“It’s mine.” She held out her hand.
The man unzipped the pouch and peered inside. “Valuable stuff inside. I see a passport. No cash, though. You want it back?”
Nah, you can keep my passport and credit cards. I don’t need them. “Yes. I want them back,” she said calmly as more gathered to watch. Or to join? She wasn’t sure.
“What you give me for it?” He haggled like a professional thief.
“How can I give you something when you have everything?” She gritted out the words through her teeth.
His grin was a black hole of missing teeth. He gave her that “I’m hungry and you’re a piece of meat” look that made her want a bath. “I know what you can give me.”
Not happening. Bailey stepped back. The man stepped forward, reaching for her. It would be the last thing he ever reached for.
“Step away from the woman.” A voice cracked like a whip and echoed in the alley.
She didn’t move. She kept her focus trained on the asshole holding her fanny pack. Whoever the voice belonged to, she’d thank him for the distraction later.
Footsteps sounded behind her. Steady, the precise pace brought another man to her right. He swept in front of her without pause. Crisp white short-sleeved shirt stretched over a well- defined broad back. White male, black crew cut fade. Tall, the way she liked them.
She reared back, flustered at his proximity and nerve. One doesn’t step into an altercation that’s none of one’s business.
“Who are you?” her would-be thief asked.
And she concurred. Who was he? She moved to the left for a better view and wasn’t disappointed. His profile was as fine as the man. For a fraction of a second, his gaze cut to her— blue, ice blue. A chill ran down her spine, not just from his artic gaze. Everything about the man was hard, cold, and hostile, deadly to anything with a pulse. Yet, contained on a low simmer, under a thin veneer of slightly tanned skin. I think I’ve found Daisy’s perfect non-blond man.
His gaze returned to the would-be thief. And just like that, the Caribbean sun heated her blood. “The pack, it’s not worth losing an arm,” her newfound protector said. She liked his voice, the sexy, low timbre hummed along her skin.
“I ain’t afraid of you.”
Liar. She could hear the fear in his voice, even with more people filling the alley. Whoa! Her protector had moved so fast, she’d missed the fight but not the result. The thief was sprawled on the ground. Un-fucking-conscious. Talk about a glass jaw. Her hero bent down and plucked her fanny pack free. He still didn’t turn to face her, instead, he stepped in front of her again and pulled a gun from beneath his shirt.
“We got a problem here?” he faced the crowd, meeting their hostile eyes. One by one, they turned away and cleared a path out of the alley.
He took her arm, his fingers rough and warm, and strong on her skin. He didn’t give her a choice, not that she would’ve chosen differently, as he guided her out of the alley. Back on the main thoroughfare, she pulled free and spun.
She’d seen him before. Last night, at the pool party. He sat at a table tucked into a corner in the back, observing everyone while he sipped on a clear drink. Could’ve been vodka but she suspected club soda. She didn’t know why the thought occurred when it and he were none of her business. He’d seemed out of place with his brooding dark looks, intense stare, and general don’t fuck with me vibe. He carried himself like he knew how to deliver pain, or pleasure, depending on the circumstances.
No one fucked with him. Including most of the women. Oh, some brave souls sauntered up to him in their bikinis and clear heels. Their breasts high, their pelvises forward, strutting like they were on a runway. With a flick of his fingers, he sent them on their way.
Now, he stared at her with the icy blue eyes. Did that color have a name? “I didn’t need your help.”
He cocked his head to the side and she noticed he had a touch of salt mixed in with his coal black hair at his temple. His brow lowered to two angry slashes over those eyes, he stated matter-of-factly, “You did. Accept it and move on.” His lips formed a grim slash that she suspected were full if he ever smiled. She couldn’t tell if his jaw was squared or sharp due to a full beard and mustache, but she wanted to know.
Hand to the small of her back, he guided her through the throng. She had no idea where he led her and didn’t fight it. Out of the crowd was good enough for now. People cleared out of their way when they saw him coming. She didn’t like his familiarity, his hand on her body, heating her skin through the thin barrier of her shirt, or her body’s reaction to that heat. She certainly didn’t approve of the way he took over. For the moment, she kept that opinion to herself. He guided her out of the bazaar to a small compact car parked on a side road and opened the passenger door. “Get in,” he ordered, assuming she’d obey as he rounded the front of the car. Such a gentleman. Not that she cared.
“I was taught to never take a ride from a stranger.”
He leaned on the hood, arms splayed, knuckles pressed onto the metal, those cold eyes of his latched onto her. “Good lesson. Doesn’t apply today. Get in the car.”
An eyebrow shop up and his head cocked to the side.
She got the sense no one questioned him. That this was a first for him. “You want to stay and deal with that guy when he wakes up, since you didn’t need my help?”
“Don’t threaten me.”
His brow arched. “You consider that a threat? Babe, when I threaten you, you’ll know it.”
Babe? Hackles rose on the back of her neck. The last thing she needed was to be alone in a car with this man. The hotel shuttle coasted by them and stopped at the end of the street, a block away.
“Thanks for the offer of the ride and getting my stuff back.” She slammed his car door closed and headed for the shuttle. Don’t know why, but she expected footsteps coming up behind her. There weren’t any. She made it to the open-air shuttle and parked her ass on the bench, along with the other hotel guests who visited the bazaar.
Five minutes later, the shuttle pulled away and she bounced along with the rest of the people, aware of the car trailing them.
Don’t turn around. Don’t turn around.
She locked her muscles down and refused to give in. Something was wrong. This guy wasn’t a Good Samaritan. He didn’t rescue her out of the kindness of his heart. He had an agenda. What she didn’t know, but whatever it was, he would be disappointed.
His name! She hadn’t gotten his name. Also, he hadn’t asked for hers, yet he ordered her around as if he had the right to do so.
She hopped out of the shuttle as it coasted to a stop in the circular drive of the hotel and noted the compact continuing down the road to the rear of the hotel.
Her gut churned. He may not know her name, but how difficult would it be to find out when they were staying at the same hotel? Especially for him, a handsome asshole used to getting his way.
About Tmonique Stephens:
TMONIQUE STEPHENS writes passionate novels about Fallen Angels seeking redemption, Egyptian demi-gods finding their powers and average girls landing the hot guys. In her world, Passion Changes Everything!
Tour Wide Giveaway!
To celebrate the release of PLAIN JANE AND THE HITMAN by Tmonique Stephens, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!
GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS: Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Tmonique Stephens. Giveaway ends 1/7/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!