Read Seduced by the Enemy (Blaze, 41) Online

Authors: Jamie Denton

Tags: #Romance, #Fiction, #Contemporary, #General

Seduced by the Enemy (Blaze, 41)

Seduced by the Enemy (Blaze, 41)
Harlequin Blaze [41]
Jamie Denton
Harlequin (2002)
Rating:
***
Tags:
Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, General
Product Description

Rogue FBI agent Jared Romine is determined to prove his innocence. Accused of a double murder he didn't commit, Jared knows he's simply a pawn in a larger conspiracy. The only way to clear his name, though, is with some help. And sexy lawyer Peyton Douglas is the one he needs...and wants.

Peyton doesn't know what to think. Jared insists he's being framed. But she's sure he did it. Not only did she see the evidence, she's the one who turned him in.... He claims she's in danger, and wants to protect her. Now on the run, she isn't sure she can maintain her self-control. Jared's hot kisses and sensual touch ignite something within Peyton she'd forgotten existed...a burning desire that won't end with just one night.

“I don't find you the least bit charming, Jared.”

“You used to.”

“You're being ridiculous.” Peyton sounded miffed.

He rolled on top of her and braced his arms on either side of her hips, trapping her. “Am I?” He made the mistake of looking at her mouth just as her tongue moistened her lips again. “Then why won't you give me a straight answer?”

“I'm not hiding from anything. The past couple of days have been miserable and I'm exhausted. Would you please leave?”

Jared wasn't buying it. He leaned forward and cupped her cheek in his palm, smoothing his thumb along the satiny softness. Her breath caught.

“Don't do this, Jared.” Her whispered words were more invitation than rejection.

“Why? What are you afraid of?” He nibbled her earlobe and she trembled. With agonizing slowness, he tasted his way down her throat. He stopped just below her lips. “Just that you won't stop me if I do this?”

Peyton's soft moan of pleasure when his mouth caught hers in a hot openmouthed kiss was all the answer he needed.

 

Dear Reader,

I'd like to thank everyone who took the time out of their busy schedules to write me about my October 2001 Harlequin Blaze novel,
Sleeping with the Enemy
(#10). Chase and Dee's romance is a book that will always be special to me, and to hear from you that you also enjoyed their story has been one of the many highlights of my career.

As promised, I now offer you Jared and Peyton's rocky road to romance, in
Seduced by the Enemy
. It is my hope that you will enjoy their story, and find that I kept my promise by bringing you a sexy, suspenseful tale of romance and intrigue.

I so enjoy hearing from readers. Feel free to drop me a line anytime at P.O. Box 224, Mohall, ND 58761 or by visiting my Web site at www.jamiedenton.net.

Until next time,

Jamie Denton

P.S. Don't forget to check out tryblaze.com!

Books by Jamie Denton

HARLEQUIN BLAZE

10—SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY

HARLEQUIN TEMPTATION

708—FLIRTING WITH DANGER

748—THE SEDUCTION OF SYDNEY

767—VALENTINE FANTASY

797—BREAKING THE RULES

793—RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

857—UNDER THE COVERS

SEDUCED BY THE ENEMY
Jamie Denton

For Leena.
Fate brought us together,
Friendship keeps us that way.
Always,
Jamie

1

T
IME WAS RUNNING OUT
.

He'd have to make his move soon before
they
figured out he'd been hiding right under their noses for the past week. He kept his movements to the darkness of night, primarily because doing so had become so familiar. In fact, the night had been his constant companion for far too long, but it kept him cloaked in the fantasy of security. A false sense of security, true, but one he understood and respected. His survival instincts, which had failed him only once in the three years he'd been on the run, were once again at a peak. Instincts made even sharper now as he stood in the shadows outside
her
home. The home of the woman who had handed him over to the bureau as if they'd never been in love. A woman he could no longer trust, but who would have to trust him if she wanted to stay alive.

Jared Romine blew out a stream of smoke from the cheap, generic cigarette, then tossed the butt into the gutter. He was alive, and that had to count for something. At least lately it did.

He stuffed his hands into the pockets of the well-worn, leather bomber jacket, his fingers finding the key to the low-rent motel room he'd checked into for the week. Thanks to fellow agent Chase Bracken, and
the manila envelope tucked between the mattress and the box springs back at the room, he was that much closer to the truth that would finally free him, that would finally allow him to reclaim his life. He'd once foolishly believed he could have the semblance of a normal life, but the cost of that error in judgment had been astronomical. It was a lesson he'd not soon forget.

He leaned against the gnarled trunk of the leafy tree outside her home, while his instincts shouted at him that the perfect opportunity would soon be at hand. Timing would be everything, but he wouldn't,
couldn't,
make a move until the optimum moment.

In the meantime, patience was key. Something he'd had plenty of experience with, a desire to stay alive. Both had kept him one step ahead of a series of federal agents on his trail. He might not be on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's most-wanted list, but he was definitely their biggest embarrassment, and that was as good as having a price on his head, with a big red Dead Or Alive stamped across a wanted poster.

He'd defied them by staying ahead of the supposed good guys. By drifting from one small town to another, losing himself in large cities. And until his one fatal mistake, he'd never stayed in one place for too long. Careful never to draw too much attention to himself, he worked whatever jobs he could find to provide himself with basic sustenance and the bare minimum in creature comforts. Creating a new identity each time he moved, he searched relentlessly for the truth—and continued to slam up against one brick wall after another.

Thanks to Chase Bracken, the undercover agent
who'd fallen in love with his younger sister, Dee, Jared finally had been handed the truth. At least a part of it. He prayed it was enough.

Time was running out.

Once the wheels that were set into motion started to grind, it would be too late. For him. And for
her.

At one time he'd been a highly trained deep-cover agent for the FBI. They'd trained him how to hide. As a former Naval Intelligence officer, reinventing himself and creating opportunity where none existed was second nature; they were skills that had served him as well as they'd hampered him since he'd gone underground. Thank God it was all going to end soon.

To anyone who might happen to gaze out their pretty curtained window on this sultry Indian summer night, he was nothing but a neighbor who'd stepped outside for a smoke. Nothing unusual. Nothing to draw too much attention to himself in the modest Arlington, Virginia, residential district where the neighbors kept to themselves.

He waited and watched.

His time was nearly up.

He'd been standing in the shadow of the tree for almost thirty minutes, and it was now close to midnight. Any longer and his presence might raise suspicion. He knew where she lived. He could come back again if it became necessary. Still he waited outside her house, shifting his gaze from the surrounding area to her bedroom window and the moderately priced sedan parked in the drive of her moderately priced home. The perfect life she'd always wanted for herself.

Once upon a time, it would have been
their
perfect life.

No lights shone through the windows of her perfect little house in the suburbs. Was she sleeping, or sitting in bed reading some brief she'd brought home from the office? He envisioned her curled beneath the sheets of the bed they'd once shared, with one hand tucked beneath her chin and the other hidden beneath the mound of pillows she insisted on having, but rarely used. Did she still sleep in worn flannel pajama bottoms and a skimpy tank top that barely reached her navel? Had she stopped reaching out for him in the middle of the night when she'd had a bad dream? After all the time that had passed, undoubtedly.

He heard the slamming of a screen door and stepped deeper into the shadows. Peering cautiously around the tree trunk, he watched as a portly, middle-aged man in a bathrobe and slippers stepped off the porch of the house directly across the street. Seconds later a light flared, followed by the steady red glow from a cigarette.

“Hurry it up, Henley,” the guy said to the small, scruffy white dog who'd accompanied his owner out into the warm, sultry night.

Henley darted off to a neighbor's yard to leave his calling card. The dog took a dump and the heavyset guy chuckled. “Good work, boy. That'll teach that old bat to let her cat dig in the missus's flower beds.”

Henley finished his business, then pricked his ears forward. The dog's attention zeroed in on the tree Jared hid behind.

Damn.

He couldn't make his move now. He'd have to wait
until there was little or no chance of him being spotted entering her home. He'd have to remain patient for just a little while longer. Except he didn't have a lot of time left. If his instincts and Chase were right, the whole mess was close to blowing up and taking with it another person he'd once cared for deeply. The woman who'd betrayed him.

When he'd met with Chase and Dee four weeks ago, he'd realized they were unaware of the fact that
she'd
turned him over to the feds. After reading the information he'd found in the case file, Chase had suspected a no follow-up order had been issued. Which confirmed Jared's own suspicions that whoever was involved in framing him was pretty high up the ladder in the bureau, based on the lack of information regarding
her
involvement in their failed attempt to arrest him.

Henley must've decided there was no threat. The dog ran back to his owner and together they entered the house.

Jared turned and headed down the quiet side street. He'd been coming here for a week, watching and waiting. Other than himself, no one else was conducting surveillance on her, of that much he was certain.

Now he knew what he had to do. She was predictable, except for tonight, when she'd arrived home after eleven. Usually she left her office no later than seven-thirty and was home by half past eight, nine at the absolute latest.

Tomorrow he'd make his move, because time was running out.

 

P
EYTON
D
OUGLAS SNAPPED
the heavy volume of federal codes and procedures closed with a disgruntled
sigh. The thick lexicon hadn't contained the information she'd been hoping to find, but the Justice Department had an extensive law library at their counsels' disposal, where she hoped she'd find the answers…eventually.

U.S. v. Howell
wasn't supposed to be a difficult case. It should have been a slam dunk for the Justice Department, except for that nasty business about a Fourth Amendment violation by the Drug Enforcement Agency credited with busting Howell. A rookie mistake by a seasoned agent that frustrated her, because the agent in question knew better. If she couldn't turn this case around by winning her argument against defense counsel's motion to suppress evidence, Howell could very well walk right back to the street, where coordinating large scale heroine deals was his way of life, instead of doing ten to twenty in a federal prison as he deserved.

A quick glance at her thin, gold wristwatch told her it was time to go home. She never stayed in the office past seven-thirty if she could help it. Tonight, instead of shutting down her computer and doing just that, she slipped the defense motion from the file and started reading…again. She'd already put in a long week, spending more time in court than in the office, where she needed to prepare for the upcoming Howell motion. At least she had the weekend to continue her research. Maybe she should call it a night and come back early in the morning, she thought, then kept reading the defense motion.

The truth was she enjoyed her Saturday mornings
in the office, when the hallowed halls of the Justice Department were unusually silent. More often than not, she did some of her best work on those quiet mornings when the only sounds that could be heard were the occasional radio broadcast from the office of another junior attorney, or the gentle hum of her own computer. What she really enjoyed was being alone with all that history within the sacred halls of justice. One Saturday morning a few years ago she'd ventured into the old case files room and spent the entire morning and half the afternoon reading dusty old court transcripts and files involving some of the biggest mobsters from the thirties and forties. They were the stuff old gangster movies were made of, but a thousand times more colorful and twice as deadly as their Hollywood depictions. What she wouldn't have given to be around back then, to be the lawyer who finally brought the big guys like Al Capone and his equally evil counterparts to justice.

“I'm calling it a night just as soon as I finish up your research notes for the Points and Authorities,” her secretary, Kellie Nicols, said from the doorway, interrupting Peyton's delusions of grandeur. “Do you need me to come in tomorrow to work on the reply to the Howell motion?”

Peyton glanced up at her secretary. She'd worked with Kellie since her first day in the Justice Department four years ago. The two women had hit it off right away and were more friends than boss and employee. In fact, there was only one other person who knew her as well as Kellie, and as much as Peyton swore she wouldn't think about him, he'd steal into
her mind at the oddest times, leaving her with a deep sense of melancholy and regret.

“No,” she answered with a shake of her head, hoping to dislodge thoughts of Jared Romine just as easily. “You have a life. Go live it.”

Kellie grinned, her brilliant green eyes sparkling with laughter as she crossed the room. She smoothed her short black skirt before she sat in one of the chairs in front of Peyton's desk. “Who told you that line of garbage? I'm single, I live alone with two cats and have no potential prospects on the horizon. How pathetic is that?”

Peyton leaned back in the warm leather executive chair and slipped off her reading glasses. “You're twenty-eight years old, Kel, not eighty-eight. I wouldn't exactly call you a spinster.”

Kellie laughed while she pulled the pins from her hair, letting the auburn waves fall around her shoulders. “My downstairs neighbor, Mrs. Markum, is sixty-seven years old. She has more dates than I do. And she doesn't own any cats, either. It's Friday night and where am I? Typing up research notes for Points and Authorities on a case we're probably going to lose. Pathetic, I tell you. Just pathetic.”

“I didn't ask you to stay,” Peyton retorted with a grin. “And what makes you think we're going to lose Howell?”

Kellie shrugged. “Gut instinct. The Fourth Amendment's a hard one to get around, and that agent definitely blew it big time. Sorry, Counselor. There's just no way around something like this. And from the notes I've already typed, you agree with me.”

“Don't I usually.” Peyton really couldn't argue.
She'd been feeling the same way since her direct supervisor, Bradley Jacobs, had handed her the case last week. “I hate to let Howell walk, though. He's one of the bad guys that really deserves to be behind bars.”

Kellie shrugged her slender shoulders again. “Win some, lose some. Now, let me see that rock again.”

A slow grin touched Peyton's mouth. “You've seen it a dozen times today already.”

“So, what's one more? It's gorgeous, Peyton,” Kellie said, standing. “If someone like Leland Atwood had just given me a two-carat-diamond engagement ring, you can bet I'd be shoving that puppy under everyone's nose for them to admire.”

Peyton laughed and allowed Kellie to lift her hand so she could get a closer look at the emerald-cut diamond solitaire Leland had given her last night, when she'd finally accepted his proposal of marriage. Now that she'd said yes, she still couldn't explain why she'd waited. It wasn't that she didn't love Leland. She admired him and respected him, two elements she knew would make their marriage a comfortable one. Leland wasn't the type to run at the first sign of trouble, either. He was the kind of man who was committed to anything he chose to accomplish.

A former Justice Department attorney himself, he'd left the DOJ to accept an appointment as a federal court judge shortly after Peyton joined the department. Leland's career was definitely on the fast tract, as evidenced three years later with an appointment to the federal appellate court as a circuit court justice. His goal was to one day make it to the Federal Supreme
Court. Peyton had little doubt Leland would one day realize his dream.

With all his potential, she should have found the decision to marry him an easier one to make. He had a bright future ahead of him as a relatively new appointee to the appellate court, and at thirty-nine he kept in shape by playing racquetball twice a week and jogging five miles daily regardless of the weather. But for reasons Peyton couldn't pinpoint, every time he'd asked her to marry him during the last two months, she'd hesitated, claiming she wasn't sure if she was ready to settle down.

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