(Formerly Reckless Assignation)
Revised for re-release
Reviews for the original release:
Blurb: A haunted and abandoned hotel on Halloween is the setting for a very private party between two lovers, one of them a world-class, sophisticated intelligence operative who’s trying to teach his young and innocent lady that curiosity can sometimes take you places you’d be better not to go. Amid elaborate trappings meant to scare and entice, Rick’s seduction takes some unexpected but wickedly wonderful twists. But, Rick also has a lesson to learn, when his past collides with his present, and almost destroys everything he cherishes most.
Rick Leighton watched from his vantage point on the third floor of the crumbling hotel. His mind was flip-flopping continually as he waited for his careful planning to reward him when Cindi walked into this trap. Further back in his mind was the worry about recent developments on the job. Fifteen years in espionage had left him with more enemies than he cared to think about. Lately, he was increasingly aware of the shadows of his past closing in on his dreams and his waking hours.
He’d left the intelligence field for a few years but inevitably been lured back. He was considered one of the best in the business and, ego aside, he knew he was good at the job. He was something of a legend in his field, and a huge part of it was his successful use of the attraction so many women felt for him. He’d never cared deeply enough for it to be a problem, but he had tired of being the agency whore and it was instrumental in his leaving. Then came the surprise of his life—and his biggest weakness now—the woman he’d fallen in love with so unexpectedly. Her father had been his mentor in many ways and, strained as their relationship was at the moment, Rick knew Josh never stopped protecting Cindi either.
He shook off his concerns the moment he saw familiar golden-blonde hair, focusing his attention on the elaborate game he’d set in place for Cinthya Bradley. Her presence filled him with conflicting responses, part of him furious at her lack of care in answering the mysterious call that brought her to him, and part of him undeniably thrilled by her arrival. He’d been planning this for weeks, and now it was in play.
Drawing back from the window, he smiled and extinguished the single candle that he’d lit while waiting. Deep within the cavernous building, he heard a sound that was suspiciously like a door being opened. He frowned as he considered the direction it had come from, somewhere in the back of the ancient hotel. Cindi should have been at the front.
Cursing softly, he crossed to the laptop computer he had tied in to the temporary security cameras he’d put in place at strategic points in the old building. He flipped through the screens, doing a cursory check on the weakest points of entry. Nothing moved, and he shrugged off the noise. His people had done a lot of work in the old place in recent weeks, and no doubt the floors and walls were resettling. A second thump reached his hearing, coming from the front entrance. He dismissed the earlier sound as he slipped into position. Still something nagged at him, and his thoughts wandered while he waited and tried to convince himself everything was fine.
The Mayfair was an old, old hotel, and a lot of things went bump in the night when winds blew through the smashed-out windows and the various entrances to the place creaked and groaned. He was being overly paranoid. He’d felt someone lurking in the shadows for days, but no one ever revealed themselves. He was suffering from job stress and needed time off. It wasn’t the first time he’d felt ghosts around him. Occupational hazard.
His grin slid into place when he heard the first telltale squeak of the stairs…