Noah Steele owns a successful business with Steele Security, providing security escorts for the nations' top officials, wealthy elitists, and high-profile visiting dignitaries. What he keeps from everyone in his life is that he never fully recovered from losing Brianna. He shares a bed with other women but never his heart. Noah's life now revolves around his work until the night he stumbles upon an intruder in his house and learns that intruder is actually his long-dead love, Brianna.
With her sudden reappearance, Noah discovers the passion that once fueled their relationship is still there, burning hotter than ever. However, even love can't erase the betrayal Noah experiences after learning that Brianna faked her death and has been in hiding this whole time. Noah must decide if he can accept that she betrayed him and caused him the worst pain in his life. Learning that she has been alive and seemingly fine without him may be more than he can take.
Brianna's relationships with everyone at Steele Security is teetering precariously on a ledge. Loyalty and honesty is key with the men who once looked at her as a sister but now openly distrust her. Can they work together to identify the real threat, save his business and their own lives? Or will Noah lose the only woman he's ever loved, twice in one lifetime, in his fight against the tangled web of lies and betrayal that surround him?
Recommended for readers 18+ due to language, violence and sexual content.
A.D. Justice's debut novel is Wicked Games, A Steele Security Novel. It is the first of a four-book series. Each book is designed as a stand-alone, but reading from the beginning will give the reader a better sense of how the characters are connected. The premise of the series is based on a group of elite soldiers and their adventures with Steele Security.
The second novel A.D. released is titled Crazy Maybe. It is not for the faint of heart - complex, real-life issues are addressed, with several twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages until you've devoured the whole book!
A.D. Justice has been married for 24 years and has two wonderful sons in college. She is also an avid reader of romance novels and, to her amazement, a self-published author. A.D. enjoys reading many different types of romance books - including drama and suspense, crime and mystery, NA and YA, and contemporary and erotica.
A.D. Justice is a Goodreads Author and can also be found on Facebook (facebook.com/adjshadow), Twitter (@adjustice1), or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below is 3 chapters from the book to give you a little taste!!!
With her head resting on the back of the seat, Brianna closed her eyes as the plane lifted off. Living as someone else for the past three years had exhausted her to the bone. She figured if someone had been watching her townhouse, she had a few hours before he realized she was gone. It was still daylight and the rain should have started by now, so nothing would appear out of place until later when the darkness inside her home would be obvious. Hopefully she would be settled in some out of the way motel in Miami before then.
She was going back to Miami as Leslie Solomon but wished like hell she could just be Brianna Tate and be done with all this mess. She had missed her three sisters and her parents more than she could bear at times. She had missed so much of their lives – were any of her sisters married yet? Was she an aunt? She thought of her mom and dad often. She worried about their health and the strain losing her had put on them. Most of all, she missed laughing with her family, regaling stories of each other during family dinners, and just spending time with them.
Her dad had been such an instrumental part of her getting her first big job after college. Her parents took a chance on real estate development at the most opportune moment. After making their first small fortune, they decided to expand into high-rise executive offices and eventually moving into establishing their own luxury hotel chain across the Eastern U.S. Neither of her parents was thrilled with her career choice, since they both obviously wanted her to be interested in business and run their hotels. But being cooped up in an office every day was never in her plans.
And Noah – oh God, how she missed him. She never got the chance to finish that conversation with him the last day she saw him. It tore her heart out to think that would be the last time they ever talked.
As she drifted off to sleep with the gentle rocking of the plane, her unconscious mind took over and replayed the entire scene in her dreams of when she met Noah. She was 22, just out of college and had convinced her editor of the Atlanta Journal to send her to a top secret military base in the Middle East so she could interview members of the elite covert military group, the Delta Force.
With her dad’s business ventures, he had developed friendships with some high-ranking government officials who helped Brianna get the exclusive interview of the Army’s “quiet professionals.” There were stipulations, of course. She couldn’t know any real names, take pictures, any article for publication had to be approved by the DoD first, she had to be blindfolded upon her arrival and departure, and she was not allowed to leave the base unescorted at any time. Young, impetuous and ambitious, she jumped at the chance and never even considered the implications of her safety. She hopped on a military flight and 15 hours later, she arrived at the top-secret base.
As she exited the Humvee, she took in her surroundings and thought it resembled the old TV show MASH, but with sand colored tents instead of the Army green. Large Army tents scattered throughout the base, Humvees, Jeeps and large trucks moved slowly through the streets. It was incredibly hot – hotter than Atlanta ever thought of being – and she immediately wondered how the soldiers could tolerate it for so long. She strode towards the tent her escort pointed out and thought of how she would approach the band of elusive soldiers.
She was glad she had her sunglasses on because her eyes must have been as big as saucers. One man was sitting in a folding chair, wearing his government issued hat, Oakley sunglasses, no shirt, and his fatigue pants rolled up to his knees. He was evidently working on his tan but she couldn’t tear her eyes from his chiseled chest, the muscles in his shoulders, his arms and…oh wow, his six-pack abs.
His thighs and calves were obviously just as cut as the top half of him from the form of his pants. She looked back to his face and instantly turned an even deeper shade of red than she already was from the heat of the scorching sun. From his mega-watt smile, she knew she had been busted practically drooling over the man.
“Are you our new recruit?” There was smile in his deep voice, teasing her and clearly pleased that she liked what she saw.
“Umm…I’m…uh…Brianna.” There wasn’t a coherent thought in her mind. She had no idea how she even strung those words together.
He continued smiling as he stood. She couldn’t hide her shock as she drew in a sharp breath. The man was huge – muscles bulging everywhere and he towered over her 5’6” frame. She knew he had to be at least 6’4” and rock solid. He had short black hair, strong square jawline, high cheekbones, and though she couldn’t see his eyes, she could feel them looking right through her. She knew she looked like an idiot just standing and staring but she had literally never seen anyone like him in real life. So much for making a good first impression.
“Well, Brianna,” he continued, still smiling, “good to meet you. I’m Reaper. Meet the rest of the team,” as he gestured to the other men sitting in the ragged chairs strewn around the outside of the tent. “This is Rebel….this here’s Bull……this one is Shadow – watch out for him…..and this is Judge.” Each man nodded and smiled as she said hello after Reaper introduced them.
No real names. Got it.
As she looked around at the other soldiers who had agreed to be interviewed and let her tag along with them on the base, she realized that every one of them were built like linebackers. Every inch of them was covered in muscles. They were all tall, had thick bodies and seemed to be completely at home in these desert surroundings. She quickly realized they were able to assimilate anywhere they went because of the rigorous training they completed. They all also obviously took exercise very seriously from the looks of this group.
Over the next six weeks, she spent a lot of time interviewing them and getting to know each soldier. They all understood her assignment and that she genuinely wanted to give them credit for the work they were doing. She learned their different personalities fit their nicknames, or call signs, perfectly.
Reaper was the official leader of the group and she’d heard another man, outside this group, call him Captain at one point. But he hadn’t followed up with a real last name. She wasn’t allowed to go into action with them so she could only guess what had earned him the nickname Reaper. She had a hard time fitting the image of the bringer of death with the man she was getting to know.
Rebel was just that – a rebel. He went against the grain of what most others said. Always playing devil’s advocate and arguing the opposite view, even if he inwardly agreed. He just liked to look at all the angles and make sure everyone else did, too. He seemed to be the most level headed of the group, though. He could easily see the pros and cons of any situation and helped bring balance to the team.
Bull was as big as a bull, though not as cut as some of the others. Not as cut as Reaper. But he was taller and thicker. With those that he knew well, he was easy-going and liked to joke around. He was more reserved around outsiders and it took longer for her to break through his wall. Once she finally did, she felt she had a friend for life. But something told her to never take that friendship for granted – once his trust was betrayed, there was no getting it back.
Shadow often snuck up behind her without making a sound and scared the crap out of her. She wondered how men this big could move as stealthily as a common housecat. He couldn’t even scratch his own back because his muscles were too big for him to reach around, but he could move silently behind his unsuspecting victims. His booming laugh at her jumping out of her skin, repeatedly, was infectious and she could never stay mad at him.
And then there was Judge….also known as Richard Hollingsworth…..Reaper’s best friend in high school. Of course she didn’t know his real name then. That came later…much later. But she remembered seeing him there on that base. He wasn’t part of Reaper’s direct team but the friendship was still evident.
She quickly learned her way around the unmarked tents. Though the team had already been sent out on assignment a couple of times, she wasn’t allowed to go with them and they weren’t allowed to talk about their top secret missions. So, she kept to the generic questions of why they had chosen this path, how they prepared mentally and physically, questions about their standard equipment, the types of terrain they had been deployed in, how long they had worked together as a team --- and they gave just enough information for her to write her article but not enough to win any great awards.
One night, after a mission had obviously went very well, there was a small celebration in the 1st SFOD-D tent. The chairs and cots had been moved to the sides and a makeshift dance floor was laid out. One man used his MP3 player to play DJ. They used footlockers as coolers, with beer bottles chilling on ice, and someone had put snacks in various locations throughout the tent. Others from the base joined in the revelry and enjoyed a “night on the town” in the middle of nowhere. It was all in good fun and allowed everyone to experience a little bit of home.
Brianna and Reaper had enjoyed light, playful flirting over the past couple of weeks. It was never anything too overt. He said or did things that were just embarrassing enough to make her blush from time to time. Then he would comment on how he loved to see her blush because of him. She remembered his playful, teasing laugh every time and hearing it rumble through his massive chest only made it that much worse for her.
The music was rocking and everyone was having a great time. At first, Brianna wasn’t going to attend because she didn’t want to intrude. At the insistence of others, she thought it would be rude to not go, so she reluctantly agreed. Reaper was leaning against a post inside the tent, holding his chilled beer bottle and laughing at someone’s poor attempt at a popular dance move. Brianna had just stepped into the tent and was clapping and cheering the performer on along with the others.
The song ended and the DJ put on a slow song. Brianna was talking with one of the female soldiers as her eyes grazed over the crowd. She saw Reaper looking at her and his lips curled into a sensuous smile while mischief danced in his chocolate brown eyes. She felt a flitter in her chest that settled low in her abdomen but couldn’t tear her eyes away from his. She felt a smile creep across her face despite any attempt to keep it inside. Oh, he knew what he did to her insides all right….turned them to liquid…hot liquid at that.
Oh God, he’s coming this way!
Reaper pushed against the pole and stood, facing Brianna then made his way across the floor to her. She stood still, as if rooted to the floor, unable to move as he made his way through the crowd with ease. Like a panther on the prowl, she thought.
“Sure.” She hoped she at least sounded calm because inside she was anything but calm. This man just made her nervous inside….but in a very good way.
He took her hand and led her to the dance floor then wrapped his strong arms around her waist. She hooked her hands behind his neck and he pulled her closer to his massive body. She liked the way she fit against him, pliable under his touch and seemed to just meld with his own body. She tried to think of something else – anything else - before she made a complete fool of herself.
She glanced up and saw he was watching her and she felt like he could read her every thought. Blush. Look away!
She felt a low chuckle rumble through his chest more than she heard it. She looked back up and asked, innocently enough, “What?”
“I love to see you blush. It’s sexy.”
Well, hell, so much for playing it off.
She started to say something witty back but couldn’t think of a single comeback. Damn!
“Hmmm…..I must make you nervous. Nothing to say to that?”
“I’m not nervous. Just not giving in to your mind games!” OK, that was a little better than just blurting out, “I want you. Now!”
“We’ll see about that.” He’s smirking now!
Shadow appeared out of nowhere, as usual, and tried to cut in on their dance. Reaper shot him a look that was quickly masked and Shadow moved around them to dance with another girl. Brianna realized she just got her first glance at how this team was so effective. She knew they used hand signals to keep from speaking and giving away their location, but they also had facial signals down to a science.
“What was that look?” she asked Reaper.
“What look?” He didn’t even have the decency to look like he’d been busted in the act.
Reaper chuckled easily and that was the end of that line of questioning.
After several more dances, beer and ribbing between the soldiers, Brianna thanked everyone for including her and said she was heading back to her tent. Reaper threw his empty beer bottle in the garbage and said he’d walk her back to her tent. She knew that, technically, she wasn’t allowed to move around the base after dark without a military escort, but the fact that it was Reaper walking her made her as giddy as a middle school girl with her first boyfriend.
As they walked along the sand road to her tent, she found it so easy to talk to him about anything. He was asking all the questions now – about her life back home, her family, her….boyfriend?
“No boyfriend…not anymore anyway. “ He could tell by her tone of voice that it ended badly and he guessed, correctly, that the ex-boyfriend had cheated and was caught red-handed.
She told him about her sisters and her parents, how she got into journalism but didn’t want to be a TV anchor – to stuffy and boring for her. Out in the field, with the excitement, is where she saw herself. He also correctly guessed that her parents were not thrilled with her decision to avoid the hotel management career.
It occurred to her that he could garner any information he wanted from her in just the phrasing and timing of his questions. She wondered if he learned that from his advanced training or if it just came naturally to him. She knew there was no point in asking that….any questions about specific training courses wouldn’t be answered anyway.
Just as they reached the entrance of her tent, he stopped her. As she turned to ask him what was wrong, he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her close, and bent to brush his lips against hers. He pulled back for just a second to look into her eyes and saw the same desire there that burned in his, then covered her mouth with his. This time, with a deeper, more demanding kiss.
His tongue ran across her lips, teasing and tempting her to open her mouth to him. When she did, he dipped his tongue in, caressing and dancing with hers. Her hands locked behind his neck, pulling her whole body up closer to his. She felt his massive hand run up the back of her neck, fisting into her hair and tilting her head slightly for him to deepen the kiss even more.
Breathing heavy, they tentatively pulled back from their embrace. He looked around, checking to make sure they were still alone and unseen, then turned back to Brianna.
“Reaper, I need to tell you something. As badly as I want this to happen…..and believe me when I say I do….I don’t do one-night stands.”
“My name. It’s Noah.”
“Oh.” She wasn’t sure what to say at first. No real names….too much at stake. But he just told her without being asked. She didn’t know what to make of that. “Noah, I don’t mean to lead you on. Really.”
“We won’t do anything you don’t want to do.” His voice was low, deep and oh, so seductive.
“I didn’t say I didn’t want to…..” There was that chuckle, rumbling through his chest again.
“Ok, then, no pressure. I will stop whenever you say.” His light kisses brushed her along her jaw line, to her ear and down her neck. He had to feel her pulse increase because she could feel her heart pounding.
Barely able to speak now, she almost whispered, “Hmmm….and if I can’t say when?”
“I’m here to protect you….even from yourself.” He walked her backwards into her tent. Then his mouth reclaimed hers and the desire and need was intense. Her fingers rested on his massive shoulders and suddenly she was running her hands across his chest and then down his stomach then around to his back. She felt as if she couldn’t get enough of him…then she felt his hand splayed across her stomach, underneath her shirt. The heat from his touch was searing her skin.
First his hands went up, cupping her breast through her bra, the pad of his calloused thumb rubbing her sensitive nipple. The traitorous nipple was already hard from his embrace but puckered even more at his touch. A moan escaped her mouth and he caught it in his deepened kiss. Then his other hand cupped her ass and pulled her even tighter to him and she felt his erection pressed against her lower abdomen.
He deftly unhooked her front-clasp bra and ran his hands over her breasts, heating the desire that had pooled between her legs even more. He walked her backed until she was against a pole and bent his mouth to take her nipple in it. Licking and sucking, drawing his teeth over the sensitive skin and running his hands over her entire midsection.
Then his hands made their way down her stomach to the button on her jeans. He unbuttoned it with one hand and slowly reached in. She realized he was giving her ample time to stop him but she could no more stop him than she could stop breathing. His long fingers reached the top of her lacy panties, and she was instantly glad she was at least wearing attractive ones today.
His fingers lightly brushed across the top of the lace and against her stomach as her fingers dug deeper into his shoulder muscles and the butterflies grew stronger in her stomach. He flattened his hand and his fingers slipped under the lace, covering her mound and lightly stroking just above where she really needed his hand to be right now.
When, again, she didn’t stop him, she felt his finger reach the mound of ultra-sensitive nerves in her clitoris and she would have sworn she saw stars. He rubbed it in small circles, making her want him more and more, before she felt one of his massive fingers rub along her sensitive folds and push in. She moaned deeper and he pulled back to watch her face. She tried to lean in but he wouldn’t let her.
“I want to see you.” His low, rumbling voice sounded almost pained with desire.
Even though she felt very self-conscious and exposed, she completely trusted him with this intimate moment. He moved his finger slowly in and out…tortuously slow….as her desire built higher and higher. When she didn’t think she could take it anymore, his fingers stopped for a split second as he pursed his index finger and thumb together, then pushed in her again, rubbing against her most sensitive area, and he increased his speed.
“Just let go…..let me watch you come.” He was whispering in her ear now and it was so damn sexy she couldn’t stop. Digging her fists in his shoulders, leaning her head back and with his gaze constantly on her face, she climaxed to his fingers in her, releasing a moan that relayed her complete pleasure. As she lifted her head, his mouth found hers again. But this time, the kiss wasn’t urgent or demanding…..it was gentle and almost…sweet.
She opened her eyes to see him watching her again. ‘Damn, Bri. You just don’t know what you do to me.”
Before she could respond, a call came across the loud speakers calling the team to the command center. He kissed her again before saying, “Duty calls.” He stopped at the opening of her tent and turn to look at her. “Don’t think this was a one-night stand, Bri. It’s not by a long shot.” He flashed her that heart-stopping smile of his and was gone in an instant.
What I do to him?
She spent the rest of the night thinking of him. The man had just taken her to a new high and they hadn’t even removed their clothes. Her rational mind immediately went to the fact that this could never work. A long distance relationship rarely works under normal circumstances. But this was far from normal. This was a man who was stationed half a world away and was on a little know, top-secret base, performing top-secret missions.
She decided this wasn’t the time for rational thinking. She wanted whatever this was between them to run its course. She didn’t want rhyme or reason to take over and complicate things. For right now, she would enjoy his company while she could. If it wasn’t meant to be once she returned home, she would at least still have this time and these memories. And she would never regret them.
When the team wasn’t out on an assignment, Brianna spent as much time with them as possible. She spent time taking notes and getting to know the men behind the mask, so to speak, and genuinely enjoyed their company. One night, the guys were kidding with Brianna about her lack of security clearance and the need to blindfold her before she could visit their base. She still had the black cloth they had tied around her eyes before bringing her to the base. She told the guys that she viewed that cloth as her commitment to them – that no matter what anyone did to her, she would never give them up, and she would never betray them.
The bond between them changed after that night. They took her under their wing and taught her a few self-defense moves. The guys had adopted her as their little sister and wanted to make sure she could fend for herself. She was touched that a bunch of battle-hardened men, in the middle of a war on terror, would be concerned for her safety when she returned to the States. She had even earned the trust of Bull over the last few weeks.
Many nights, after everyone else was asleep, Noah would slip out of his barracks and into her tent. He would lay on the uncomfortable cot with his arm over her, both protective and possessive. Even now, she could still feel his warmth, his kisses and nibbles along the back of her neck, sending goose bumps through her entire body, and she could feel his reluctance to leave her bed before anyone woke up. If anyone in his team knew what was happening between them, they never let on. She knew damn well they knew – it was their job to know and it wasn’t like she could even hide her feelings for him – but at least they were good natured enough towards her to not bring it up.
She knew without a doubt she fell hard for Noah. In all the nights he snuck into her bed with her, he never once tried to go farther than what her grandmother had called “heavy petting.” She laughed at that term when her grandmother first used it. Now, this petting was making her crazy. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him when he was around and fantasized about him when he wasn’t. Right or wrong, she had decided this definitely was not a one night stand and she was ready to take it to the next level. She would be leaving for the US in a week and she planned to make the most of it while she could.
As she got ready for bed that night, she hoped he wouldn’t be called out for a mission and ruin all her plans. She washed her face and brushed her teeth as usual, then sprayed her body with her favorite perfume. The mixture of jasmine, rose, orchid and freesia was inherently feminine and unforgettable to the senses. There hadn’t been a call to use it in this God-forsaken place before now – she knew the sweat from the sweltering heat would have rinsed it all off her anyway. But the cooler desert night air would help keep it in place at least until he joined her.
She climbed into her bed, without her pajamas this time, and waited for him to join her. Within an hour of lights out, he opened the tent door silently and slid into bed next to her. She was lying on her side and he slid his arm around her – then suddenly jerked his head up as his hand met her cool skin. She turned into him, looked into his eyes and saw the chocolate brown turn to black with passion and desire. She reached up and kissed him, softly at first, then ran her fingers through his short black hair.
She ran her tongue around the outline of his lips, and then seductively licked in the middle to urge him to open his mouth to her. When he did, a deep rumble rolled through his chest and the kiss suddenly turned urgent and demanding. Her hands never left his body as she felt the muscles in his shoulders tense, then across his chest, down his stomach to the hem of his shirt. She started to slowly pull it up over his head when he caught it with one hand, pulled it over his head and flung it to the floor.
Rolling her to her back, he moved to cover her entire body with his. Through his jogging pants, she felt his erection pressed against her lower abdomen. She raked her fingernails down his back and moved her hands to his sides, and slid her fingers under the elastic waistband. He grabbed her hands and pushed them above her head, holding them both in one hand. She must have had a puzzled look on her face because he gave her the sexiest half-grin she’d ever seen and whispered, “I plan on taking my time.”
Noah rose up on his forearms, cupped her face in his hands and looked deep in her eyes for just a moment. His eyes raked over her face, taking in the slight blush he knew this intimacy caused, her lips still swollen from their last kiss, and her breasts as they rose and fell with her increased breathing rate. He kept his eyes on hers as he dipped his mouth to hers again, licking, teasing, pulling away. She tried to raise her head to capture his mouth again and he pulled farther away, still watching. Realizing what he was doing, Brianna lowered her head back to the cot.
His kisses along her cheek, to her jawline and finally to her earlobe sent shivers through her entire body. He licked and sucked on her ear before finally pulling it seductively with his teeth. Then he worked his way down her neck, with open mouthed kisses, licking and biting as he went. She tried to pull her hands loose to touch him but his grip tightened just enough to keep her hands in place and he continued his assault on all her senses.
Breathing in his musky, masculine scent, she let out a long sigh and he continued moving lower on her body. She didn’t even realize the moment when he freed her hands since his mouth had found the sensitive, hardened buds of her breasts. Noah licked and bit, teased and tempted her, until she grabbed his head in her hands and pulled him back to her breast. She felt the rumble of his low chuckle reverberate through her. As he started again, her back arched in response to his touch as his hand found her other breast. Slowly….painfully slow…his mouth followed as he tasted every inch of her.
Her hands seemed to have a mind of their own as they moved all across his body. She was in complete awe and appreciation of every muscle in his chest, shoulders, back, arms as her hands moved over him. He moved lower down her torso, still kissing and licking along her stomach, in hushed moans, she heard him whisper, “So beautiful.” His hands moved lower still, cupping her heated mound possessively before his thumb found the small nub of nerves that could send her soaring. His thumb moved over it slightly, making her body beg for more and more and then with more pressure he moved in small circles.
Instinctively, her hips rose slightly to meet his touch and his fingers found her soft, wet folds. Moving his finger along the folds, just barely touching her where she so desperately wanted to feel him. “Noah, please, now!” But he didn’t relent at all, swirling his finger around her wet heat before finally pushing all the way in. Out. In. Out. His rhythm was such sweet torture.
“Oh, baby, you’re so wet for me.”
“Noah…,” his name was all she could mutter before his second finger found her wet desire and plunged in. He moved faster, watching her face, watching how responsive her beautiful body was to his touch and bringing her closer and closer to climax. Then he suddenly stopped.
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