night in Monaco, my best friend, Maxence, disappeared from the middle of the
Monte Carlo casino like blowing away a breath of smoke.I have no idea what Maxence was doing in Monaco that night. Yeah, he loves the
Monte Carlo casino—the stage of British spy movies, billionaires, Russian
mafia, and roulette.But too many people in Monaco think he might be a danger to them.He never should have been there.But he was.
And so was Simone. She’s trouble from our past at boarding school. Her husband
is a good friend of some of the people who would be happier if Maxence wasn’t
They tell me Maxence was here in the casino, and then a few minutes later, he
Like he dropped off the face of the Earth.
Or like he was dropped off one of Monaco’s cliffs and into the blue
Mediterranean Sea, which was just a few feet from where he was standing when he
Arthur and I are in Monaco to find Maxence, no matter what it takes.
But we might end up finding his body.
about them, from their finer skin to their soft curves to the sweet scent of
them to the sparkly and beautiful clothes they wore.
between two rooms where Maxence was standing was half-blocked by Christmas
trees that towered over his head and the doorway. He’d been careful not to
jiggle the tiny gold-and-glass ornaments that encrusted the tree. The balls and
icicles tinkled alarmingly every time his arm brushed the branches.
just decided to inch closer to the televisions airing the soccer match when his
old high school friend Simone Maina rushed across the opulent casino room and
through the crowd toward him.
figure was a harmonic vibration on a violin string, blurred at the edges of her
slim curves by the lights sparkling on the glass beadwork of her white dress.
As she neared him, the smooth skin between her eyebrows and under her eyes
creased, indicating strain. Her arms reaching for him were slim, dark lines in
the room of round, solid bodies held tightly together to avoid contact.
what was wrong.
natural Afro hair was a sleek halo around her thin face. She was reaching out
to Maxence, her fingers nearing the lapels of his tuxedo, and she glanced
behind herself in fear. Black eyeliner and eyeshadow in soft sage and
glittering gold accentuated her sloe-eyed beauty, and she almost looked like an
Egyptian hieroglyphic of a queen.
abrasions and the darkening plum of bruises covered her slim throat.
heart fell as rage rose in his body. Her husband, Estebe Fournier, must have
thought people wouldn’t notice the damage to Simone’s dark-bronze skin. Estebe
had always been a bully when they had been at school together, and he’d been
excellent at creating incidents where he could deny his guilt.
twenty feet behind her, two men in dark suits pushed through the crowd, their
eyes intent on her form.
in dark suits—all with the nearly shaved heads and odd bulk of the paramilitary
security profession—converged toward them from another side of the crowd.
could have sworn he recognized one of the men. Maybe all private mercenaries
and bodyguards were beginning to look alike to him. Many of his friends
employed dozens of them.
opened his hands as Simone rushed into his curtained alcove and whispered near
his shoulder, “Help me.”
intense, enthralling stories that readers can get lost in for days. Books delve
into what it means to be human and connect us to each other. Books allow us to
live all our possible lives. Books open us to loving each other and the world
more. I write intense, deeply imagined romance novels for serious readers
because the world needs more love.” ~~Blair Babylon
to publish literary fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction
usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex and too much
interesting plot, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her
freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy, suspenseful romance.