Published by: eXtasy Books
Author : Josephine Valent
Word Count :69933
Publication Date :2021-12-17
Series : #
Heat Level :
- Product Code: 978-1-4874-3415-1
What began as an evening fit for a princess ended with two men dead.
While she’s visiting Washington, DC, Princess Dominique’s life is shattered when her beloved bodyguard is murdered during an attempt to kidnap her. She can’t fathom what anyone would want with her, but whatever the reason, it is apparently worth killing for.
Ethan Moore, an ex-Green Beret, knows he can’t refuse to accompany her back home when the request comes from the White House. Neither Ethan nor Dominique is happy with the arrangement, and though they just met, neither is exactly dazzled by the other. He thinks she’s stubborn and spoiled, and she finds him rude and arrogant. To make matters worse, the raging attraction between them seems to add fuel to the fire.
Given Ethan’s impressive military record and Dominique’s escape from her would-be kidnappers, his superiors believe she is no longer in danger, but it isn’t long before he and Dominique discover that she is not as safe as the White House believes her to be.
When her abductors track them down, Ethan and Dominique have to find a way to get along and deal with a past scandal in order to keep their wits about them and stay one step ahead of the kidnappers. Otherwise, she could be gone forever.
“Wasn’t that a splendid concert, Jean Pierre?” Princess Dominique brushed aside a tress of hair that had fallen loose from her French twist. “An absolutely divine conclusion to my visit here, wouldn’t you agree?” As she glanced over, she noticed Jean Pierre, ever-vigilant, scanning the Grand Foyer of the Kennedy Center. She hoped he’d been able to enjoy the performance despite the distraction of his duties.
“Oui,” he replied. She knew when he gave a quick, inconspicuous pull on the collar of his shirt that he was focused on something. He was always on high alert. She wished he could relax enough to enjoy the perks that his employment offered.
“Jean Pierre, how many times must I remind you?” she chided as she tugged his arm. “We are in the United States and at its capital no less. We should speak English while we are here.”
“Oui—I mean yes. Of course.” His eyes narrowed and he frowned. She followed his line of sight as he spied the hulking figure just outside on the River Terrace take a long, slow drag from a cigarette before dropping it to the ground and crushing it beneath his heel. She took note of the man’s lack of grooming and wrinkled tux and assumed Jean Pierre’s reaction was to his lack of polish. Jean Pierre was always impeccably dressed when he accompanied her to such events, and she knew him well enough to know it was just as much a desire to blend in as it was pride.
“It was a beautiful weekend here. It is too bad my schedule did not permit a longer stay.”
“Are you all right?” she asked, a slight line forming between her brows.
“Let’s just say that I’d feel a little bit more comfortable if there were two of me here right now,” he answered. She noticed his focus shift as he glanced down the Hall of States and his attention settled on someone maneuvering through the crowd in their direction.
“Don’t be ridiculous.” She gave his arm a reassuring pat. “I’m sure the president’s guards have had this entire forum secured for days.”
“I’m sure the president’s security was the first to leave the concert, along with the president and the first lady.”
She felt his hand slide over her arm as he guided her back toward the Eisenhower Theater. “Jean Pierre, why are we going back to the theater?”
“Wait for my command, Princess.” He had switched back to French, and she couldn’t mistake the harsh yet controlled urgency to his voice. She didn’t hesitate when he quickened their pace.
“You are to pass the entrance to the theater and go through the parking exit. Then find a way out,” he instructed. “Do not go back to the hotel. Go to the police. I will come and get you there.”
“What is it?” she whispered, returning to French. A numbing chill raced up her spine, but she knew enough not to react.
“No longer a coincidence,” he muttered.
“What about you? Will you be safe?”
“Don’t worry about me, Princess.”
In the same split-second that the clammy fingers of a sweaty hand clamped down on her shoulder, she heard Jean Pierre’s quick, tortured scream as his hand slid from her arm and he fell to the ground. A torrent of fear whipped through her, fast and fierce.
“Keep walking, lady,” the throaty voice of her assailant ordered from behind her, his thick, vile breath heavy and disgusting on her neck. “And don’t make a scene, or I might be forced to start shooting.”
With no choice, she continued under his compulsion, concentrating through the haze of fear on Jean Pierre and the commotion behind her. “He’s had a heart attack! Call an ambulance!” someone yelled, and for an instant, she felt her own heart freeze.
She allowed the anger to swell inside her, and from it, drew strength. “What did you do to Jean Pierre?” she demanded in a low, even voice, determined not to reveal even an ounce of fear to her assailant.
His rough, sweaty fingers answered, sliding to her neck and tightening their grip around her throat.
They passed through the exit and into the parking garage. She swept her gaze over the sea of automobiles while her mind raced to devise a plan of escape that would not endanger any other lives. She was going to have to do something before the garage emptied. And soon, she decided, as her assailant shoved her around a wall and out of view of the crowd filing through the exit.
She could feel the lethal mix of anger and fear explode inside her as Jean Pierre’s cry echoed in her head. Propelled by the adrenaline whipping through her, she stomped the heel of her stiletto into her assailant’s foot and drove it in with all her weight until she was sure there was bone crumbling beneath her foot.
Her assailant cut loose a muffled wail and thrust her forward off his foot, weakening his hold on her.
She jerked free from his clutch, spun around, and with the dead-on precision of a marksman, jabbed the pointed toe of her shoe into his groin, leaving him doubled-over and throttling for his next breaths.
She darted back around the wall and through a small crowd that had started to congregate in front of the exit. When a car horn provided a diversion, she ducked and wove a path through the parked vehicles. She didn’t bother to look back until she was several rows down and several rows over. A second man had joined her assailant, and they were taking off in opposite directions, searching for her.