Deadly Promises

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love & Cindy Gerard & Laura Griffin

Just Bad Enough





Jeremy Sunn stood next to the gazebo in the middle of the park and glanced around the festival to be sure no one saw him where he normally wouldn’t be. Not on a Sunday off. Working undercover required patience, persistence, and… popcorn. He tossed a fluffy kernel into the air and caught the buttery delight in his mouth then eyed the Greek water-maiden statue.

The one he’d been lusting over for the past hour.

More like three weeks.

He’d staked out a lot of things in his undercover career with the BAD—Bureau of American Defense—agency, but never a woman for purely personal interest.

No one at the Festival of Emperors paid attention to him, probably because he’d dressed in jeans and a gray T-shirt instead of period clothing. Roman soldiers and women in togas hustled around trying to buy up the last deals of the day. The mid-July event drew traffic from across metro Atlanta to the historic square in Marietta.

And no one strolling past the water maiden in the last hour had noticed why that one statue was different from the other three, besides being the only female sculpture.

But he did.

Beneath all that caked-on makeup beat the live heart of a flesh-and-blood woman. One he had to get an answer from before heading back to work on Tuesday.

Hell of a way to squander his last day off for a while and ancient history wasn’t his forte, but he lived only a mile away and she was worth standing here waiting for the festival to end. He hoped.

A simple yes or no.

One answer had the power to… eat a hole in his gut.

Sweat trickled down his neck but he couldn’t be as hot as that water maiden posed silently amid three massive concrete sculptures of Greek gods.

CeCe Caprice just pretended to be a statue. She could go for hours without moving a muscle when she performed.

He could attest to how hard she trained daily at his gym in Marietta. Yep, every inch of that shapely body wrapped in a toga and posed with a baby doll also coated in white plaster was very much a living, breathing human… and one hot female.

That he couldn’t touch, damn it.

Correction. Wouldn’t touch. Not if he found out she really had meant to give him a “back off” signal yesterday after spending the afternoon planting some damn flowers in her yard.

At least, that’s how he’d read her odd reaction when he asked her out to dinner. Now he was starting to wonder if he’d jumped to the wrong conclusion when she hadn’t actually said the word “no.”

He’d never pressed a woman for anything so he’d backed off. Quick. Then regretted it when he missed her for the past twenty-four hours. He’d gotten used to sharing iced tea on her patio for the best part of three weeks, had never spent that much time just talking to a woman. The females he met were only interested in what he intended to do to their naked bodies.

But CeCe had hung on his words. And laughed at his jokes.

He hadn’t even kissed her or had dinner with her.

Twenty-four hours of no iced tea, no talking, and no smiles. He missed her. Couldn’t get her out of his mind for one day.

A woman had never spun him inside out like this.

Lust used to be fun, and short-lived. Not obsessive.

Three weeks at home recuperating from a leg wound—a souvenir of his last mission—hadn’t turned out anything like he’d expected. Limping to his mailbox the first day at home he’d expected nothing more exciting than his standard fan mail from bill collectors.

When the screen door on the rental house next to his burst open and CeCe strolled down her driveway, the first thing he’d noticed was the sweet belly button winking at him between a red half shirt and white shorts.

He’d thought one of his teammates from BAD had sent him a get-well-soon girl. No way could that little bombshell be his honest to God next-door neighbor.

His luck had never run that hot.

But she was indeed a new addition to the neighborhood. For the first time since moving there he regretted having to leave as soon as he healed.

CeCe had destroyed any operating brain cells he’d possessed the minute she smiled at him. Blue eyes had sparkled bright as sapphires tossed up in blazing sunshine. Every time she turned her head, he fought the urge to touch the wavy auburn hair that brushed her shoulders.

He woke up at night thinking about that thick mass spread across a pillow. His pillow. His bed.

But CeCe wasn’t the kind of woman you spent a couple of steamy nights with then walked away. He’d be the first to admit he came by women easily only because the women he met saw him as nothing more than a short-term sexual buzz. Something to hold them over until the real thing came along. He’d accepted that for years as a trade-off for not having to spend his life entirely alone.

Hell, he wasn’t long-term material. Not with his criminal history or his current occupation that required going back to prison on a regular basis.

And it wasn’t like he could tell a woman he got arrested and thrown in the joint as part of his job description for BAD.

Which was why he should be looking for fast, fun, and forgettable instead of waiting to talk to CeCe here, the one place she couldn’t disappear in her house and ignore him. He’d tried to do the same, to forget CeCe, but he’d spent three amazing weeks pretending he had a normal life because a sweet young woman shared iced tea and talked to him. She made him want a normal life. He just didn’t know how to go about making it happen. Of all the women who had climbed in his bed, he’d never desired one like he wanted CeCe, and he hadn’t even held her in his arms. Spending time with her felt too damned good not to try again to ask her out. To try to keep her.