Neither Mike Russo nor Cody Latham had expected her to show up in their conference room.
Of course, they wouldn’t have, given the various laws she’d broken to be here.
Shana Gallagher’s pulse ticked up another notch at that and their good looks. Virile and commanding. They were deliciously hot and smart, having once worked in military intelligence.
Mike, the proverbially tall, dark and handsome hunk, had found his way into government via his MIT training. He’d left DC five years ago to start his own firm. Now thirty-three, he regarded Shana with momentary surprise then male interest as his attention raked over her.
Despite her best intentions, Shana’s skin tingled.
To his side was Cody. Equally impressive at thirty-four, he forgot to take a sip of his coffee. The Starbucks cup was inches from his mouth as he also took her in. Quietly and restrained.
Shana’s belly quivered at the heat in his gaze, so at odds with his military background. It showed in the set of his broad shoulders and modified buzz cut, his hair short on the sides with volume on top. Those dark blond locks complemented his golden skin and hazel eyes.
Mike’s were greenish-gray, an arresting color given his olive complexion and chestnut hair, a bit longish and casually styled. Several strands dangled over his forehead, begging a woman to ease them back.
Currents of warmth rippled through Shana, leaving her cruelly weak. She hadn’t expected to react like this. During her research on them, she’d seen hundreds of their photos, including those not meant for the public. Their days spent with women, outdoors at the beach or sailing, both men’s hard bodies stripped to their swim trunks and bared to the sun. Mike’s bold tattoo on his left bicep. The cruel scar on Cody’s right pec that enhanced his masculinity.
None of those pictures had done them justice.
“Mr. Russo, Mr. Lathan,” the office manager murmured, her somber hush appropriate for this high-priced firm in New York’s Financial District. Dressed in a severe gray suit, the matronly woman smelled funereal, of incense and carnations. She inclined her perfectly coiffed head to Shana. “Ms. Gallagher, your four o’clock.”
Before Mike or Cody could say “huh” or “who?” Shana stepped deeper into the yawning room. It was possibly two thousand square feet and decorated in a combination of rose, beige and brown, its bank of windows offering a spectacular view of the harbor. An NYPD boat and cruises packed with tourists cut through the water, leaving foamy trails. Sunlight winked off those swells and the glass buildings, giving the early September day a dreamy, golden haze.
The door clicked shut behind Shana, leaving her alone with the men.
Mike pushed to his feet, his six-three frame superbly clothed in an Italian suit that probably cost five grand. Its subtle navy tones and his pale blue shirt heightened the effect of his sapphire tie. Cody’s was gray-and-white striped, his shirt charcoal, his suit a pewter color. Surprisingly fashionable given his conservative background.
He stood. His height matched Mike’s. Both men were lean yet muscular.
Power and male privilege radiated from them. Everything Shana had always mistrusted and despised. She couldn’t quite manage those feelings now. She knew far too much about them. They were surprisingly good men, downright decent, which added to their seductive allure and had brought her here.
Shana crossed the room, forcing herself to walk casually as though she belonged. The slit in her pencil skirt allowed the black fabric to fall away from her leg, exposing a bit of her thigh. Mike and Cody’s attention dropped to her sheer stockings and spike heels.
Hard carnal interest flared on their faces.
A curious mixture of pleasure and caution rushed through Shana, draining her strength. She put her leather tote on the granite table, the smooth stone a soft rose color speckled with gray, black and brown.
The moment she slipped her hand under the tote’s flap, Mike said, “Hold it right there.”
He’d spoken quietly. However, his deep baritone filled the impressive space, demanding obedience.
Shana calmed herself as well as she could and lifted her face to his. At this hour, stubble shadowed his upper lip, chin and cheeks. His lashes were unspeakably long. His attention moved from the tote to her silk blouse, the color of black cherries. No one had to tell Shana that her nipples were hard and jutting against the fabric. Suddenly, Mike couldn’t seem to look anywhere else.
A wave of heat rushed to her neck, her arousal unruly.
He cleared his throat. His prominent Adam’s apple bobbed with his swallow. “Who are you?”
Time for the truth. Sort of.
Tina Donahue is an award-winning, bestselling novelist in erotic, paranormal, contemporary and historical romance for Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Siren Publishing, and Kensington. Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, Romantic Times and numerous online sites have praised her work. Three of her erotic romances (Adored, Lush Velvet Nights, and Deep, Dark, Delicious) were named finalists in the 2011 EPIC competition. The French review site, Blue Moon reviews, chose her erotic romance Sensual Stranger as their Book of the Year 2010 (erotic category). The Golden Nib Award at Miz Love Loves Books was created specifically for Lush Velvet Nights, and two of her titles (The Yearning and Deep, Dark, Delicious) received an Award of Merit in the RWA Holt Medallion competition (2011 and 2012). Take Me Away and Adored both won second place in the NEC RWA contest (different years). Tina is featured in the 2012 Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market. She was the editor of an award–winning Midwestern newspaper and worked in Story Direction for a Hollywood production company.
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Musings from Michigan