I scanned the crowd. Apparently, kink didn’t scare off the young, elite, and rich. The usual crowd I’d see at China White were all here trying too hard not to look desperately bored. Through the crowd, I spotted a flashbulb go off, and I stiffened.
Calm down, mate. Of course, the club had hired photographers for the event. But I eyed the shutterbug again. Slight build. Dirty blond hair gelled up into spikes. I could have sworn I’d seen him before. The hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, but I couldn’t place the guy. I needed to calm down. The hiring staff would only hire reputable photographers. They knew that we required the utmost privacy, and they wouldn’t hire anyone who had ever worked with the tabloids. But still, I couldn’t shake the feeling I’d seen the guy before. Maybe he was one of Xander’s students?
“Speaking of complications…” I muttered. I couldn’t have missed Abbie’s entrance with her friends if I’d been trying.
Sophie squealed when she spotted me, and immediately a flock of women swarmed the models. One of the guys put his arm around Abbie, and I had the irrational urge to plant my fist in his face.
She’d texted earlier to say she was going out, but I had no idea she’d end up here.
As always, she looked stunning. She’d worn her braids piled on top of her head in some kind of bun, with long dangling earrings showing off her slender neck.
Gemma glanced toward the entrance. “Given the electric sparks between you two across a room, I see why the urgency.”
“Leave it, Gem.”
“Just saying. Give me a couple of weeks before you two get cited for public eye shagging.” She gathered up her purse. “I think I’ll go see what Nick’s up to.”
I didn’t even see which way she went because my attention was so focused on Abbie. And as if she felt my eyes on her, she immediately looked up.
When our gazes locked, need chased the elation through my veins. I’d only seen her yesterday, but any time I spent away from her felt like eons. But it wasn’t like I could really complain. She’d had work to do for my brother. I tried not to think about what Xander had said about her. It didn’t matter what Xander thought. I couldn’t stop seeing her.
She climbed the stairs, her soft skirt swishing against her legs as she did. When she reached the landing, she fixed me with a smile. “Fancy meeting you here.” She looked around surreptitiously. “In a sex club.”
“Oh, is it a sex club? I hadn’t noticed.” I grinned. “Nick’s idea.”
“Ahh, he didn’t really strike me as the whips-and-chains kind of guy.” She shrugged.
For several moments, we stood facing each other, neither moving, forcing anyone who wanted access to the stairs to go around us. Finally, I angled my body a little closer to her and said, “It’s one of his dad’s clubs. Do you want to go somewhere a little more private… to talk?”
Her eyes flashed. “Yeah.” She cleared her throat. “Talking seems like a really good idea, actually.”
I took her hand and led her through the throngs of the VIP section, past the dominatrix with her victim for the night, and past the sex viewing rooms. She held on tight to me as we passed by them.
“Are they having…”
“Yeah.” As much as I wanted to be with her, I hated having her here in the midst of all the kink that was going on. “Maybe we should leave the club?”
“I—No. It’s okay. We came as a group for Jasper’s gig tonight. Apparently, there’s some big promoter here. Jasper’s hoping to get some representation tonight. We’re sort of supporting him. Everyone would notice if I left.”
“Right.” Jasper. Jasper might be my friend, but jealousy ate at me. I wanted her there to support me. Of course, I’d have to tell her something real about myself first. I found the private rooms, then after looking around to make sure no one paid us any attention, I dragged her inside. Dim red light illuminated the comfortable-looking couch and bed. Her eyes widened as she glanced around. “This is… cozy.”
I kissed her softly, and for a moment, all the tension ebbed out of my body. “I just wanted to be alone with you for two minutes before things get crazy out there and we don’t have a minute to talk all night.”
“No. It’s fine.” She placed a hand on my chest, and my heart hammered. “I’d rather get a minute with you, even if it’s in a sex room. I wanted to talk to you about something.”
We’d spent a lot of time together over the last week, but we hadn’t been alone. Always out in public. Even the photo lab had been occupied when I’d gone to help her. The one night we’d made a date for her to go to my place, she’d had to do some schoolwork for Xander and rescheduled. The prick of guilt stung as I thought of how badly her last critique had gone.
“Okay, talk.” I kissed the crook of her neck and inhaled. Her perfume, mixed with her unique scent, drove me a little crazy and made my head swim.
“Alexi, I can’t—” She moaned when I licked her. “I can’t think when you’re doing that.”
“Okay, sorry.” I drew back. “Sometimes I forget to slow down.”
She blinked up at me and inhaled deeply. “Sometimes I don’t want you to.”
I stilled. What? “I don’t understand.”
“Have you noticed that even after we said we’d ease up on intensity we’ve been spending every minute we can together?”
Something ominous and slimy squirmed in my gut. “I thought that was a good thing.”
“It is. Maybe we don’t need to take it quite so slow anymore.”
Relief washed over me like a wave. As did panic. I was totally fucked. I was completely in love with her. And there were things she still didn’t know about me.
To be honest, the ending of book one (London Royal) had me in such a tizzy that it wasn’t until I was…2/3, maybe? of
the way through the second book in the duet that I remembered how that
book started. Which ties in nicely with the ending of this
one…kind of. Until suddenly you’re in somebody else’s head–not Lex or
Abbie’s–and then you’re looking at a different kind of cliffhanger ending.
you get to the end, Ms Malone gives us one heck of a second half of Lex
and Abbie’s story. Seriously, there’s so much going on here–the
fallout from the end of book one, the truth he continues to keep from
her (for too long; you know that’s not going to go well!), Abbie’s
problems with her ex and her family, an extra bit of danger you didn’t
even know was there (okay, I didn’t know. There were some hints, but
honestly I didn’t see that coming…)
Plus, you know, there’s some normal relationship stuff in there too 😉
other words, this was one heck of a duet! I absolutely do not recommend
trying to pick this one up without having read the first book first;
honestly, you’re going to want to read these back to back if at all
And then you can join me in wondering how fast can she write Xander’s book???
Rating: 4 stars / B+
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
A USA Today
Bestselling Author, NANA MALONE’s love of all things romance and adventure
started with a tattered romantic suspense she borrowed from her cousin on a
sultry summer afternoon in Ghana at a precocious thirteen. She’s been in love
with kick butt heroines ever since.
overactive imagination, and channeling her inner Buffy, it was only a matter a
time before she started creating her own characters. Waiting for her chance at
a job as a ninja assassin, Nana, meantime works out her drama, passion and sass
with fictional characters every bit as sassy and kick butt as she thinks she
in her series have been on multiple Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble best
seller lists as well as the iTunes Breakout Books list and most notably the USA
Today Bestseller list.
Until that ninja job comes through, you’ll find Nana working hard on additional books for her series as well as other fun, sassy romances for characters that won’t leave her alone. And if she’s not working or hiding in the closet reading, she’s acting out scenes for her husband, daughter and puppy in sunny San Diego. Want to hit her up? Just email her: firstname.lastname@example.org