Hot in handcuffs, p.1
Hot in Handcuffs, p.1Sylvia Day
“Scorching, wrenching, suspenseful.”
—Lora Leigh, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“Thoroughly gripping and…so blisteringly sexy.”
—Fallen Angel Reviews
“Searingly sexy stories that always leave me wanting more.”
—Maya Banks, New York Times bestselling author
“Boldly passionate, scorchingly sexy.”
“Intense…graphic love scenes.”
“Emotionally charged, unbelievably sexy.”
—Romance Reader at Heart
“Wickedly sexy and wildly imaginative!”
—Larissa Ione, New York Times bestselling author
“Some of the best erotic romantic fantasies on the market.”
—The Best Reviews
Hot in Handcuffs
BERKLEY SENSATION, NEW YORK
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
Published by the Penguin Group
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This book is an original publication of The Berkley Publishing Group.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
“Arresting Desire” by Shayla Black copyright © 2012 by Shelley Bradley, LLC.
“On Fire” by Sylvia Day copyright © 2012 by Sylvia Day.
“The Unwilling” by Shiloh Walker copyright © 2012 by Shiloh Walker, Inc.
Cover photo by Claudio Marinesco.
Cover design by Rita Frangie.
Interior text design by Kristin del Rosario.
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Berkley Sensation trade paperback edition / July 2012
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Hot in handcuffs / Shayla Black, Sylvia Day, Shiloh Walker.—Berkley Sensation trade paperback ed.
I. Day, Sylvia. II. Walker, Shiloh. III. Title.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For my parents. You’re not big readers, and you’re very practical, so the creative process is a bit of a head-scratcher for you. Thank you for not freaking out when I left my safe, comfortable day job and for realizing this “whole book writing thing” really makes me happy. While I don’t use my very expensive education in the way you anticipated, I know it’s contributed to my success and my life. Your love and support mean a lot.
He stood at the back of the smoky club and watched with a grimace as four mostly naked men danced around the sitting redhead he hadn’t quite forgotten in the last two years. A bawdy song about loosening up some girl’s buttons throbbed over the speakers in the background.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Blade Bocelli,” a familiar voice drawled.
He turned to find Nicki Sullivan wearing a red lacy corset, a tight leather skirt, and five-inch fuck-me pumps—along with a huge, glittering wedding ring. She leaned against the club’s back wall, giving him a teasing smile.
“You know my name is Jon.” He grimaced. “Drop the cheesy Blade, huh? My days undercover with the Mafia, posing as your Uncle Pietro’s right-hand bitch, are done.”
“You clean up nice in Armani. Guess the FBI prefers its agents in suits.” Nicki looked up and down with a grin. “But you looked good in leather.”
Jon didn’t give a shit what she thought. “You share that view with your husband?”
“I said you looked good. I didn’t say I wanted to fuck you. Mark is the only one, and he knows it.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “You’re a long way from Jersey. What brings you back to Vegas?”
“I need to talk to you, and like I said over the phone, I didn’t want any potential for being overheard.” He glanced at the stage again, holding in a curse when one of the male dancers gyrated his junk in the pretty redhead’s face. When she giggled, Jon clenched a fist.
“Something wrong?” Nicki asked, all innocence.
“You didn’t tell me your sister would be here.”
She shrugged. “You didn’t ask.”
No, but he’d wanted to. Lucia DiStefano was everything he had no business wanting and embodied nearly every fantasy he’d ever had. She wasn’t tall or stick-thin. She wasn’t a man-eater who knew twenty ways to get off in three minutes. She was highly intelligent, more National Geographic than Vogue. Jon had itched to awaken the sensual woman under Lucia’s polished surface the second he’d laid eyes on her while working undercover here two years ago.
“Her comings and goings are none of my business,” he said finally.
“But you want them to be,” the sultry brunette returned. “Especially the coming.”
Absolutely. Fuck, was he that transparent? “I need to ask you about something your father may have left you in his will.”
“What are you looking for?”
Wasn’t that the million-dollar question? Or in this case, a lifetime sentence. If he didn’t get it answered fast, his brother might die in a maximum-security prison for the murder of a federal judge he hadn’t committed.
“I’m not exactly sure. I suspect I’m looking for some form of media he used to store security footage. A DVD, a flash drive, an SD card…”
Nicki snorted. “The feds had his office bugged for years. You’re one of them. Can’t you just prowl through your own files?”
Great thought, but…“I looked through their evide
“They know your brother was convicted of that.”
“Stefan didn’t do it.”
“Because he’s such a choir boy?” She raised a dark brow.
“I’m under no illusions. My brother was once your father’s favorite assassin, and no one in the Mafia is a choir boy. But Stefan didn’t kill that judge.”
“He tell you that?”
“My brother hasn’t said a damn word.”
But Jon knew Stefan well. If he had pulled the trigger and planted two bullets in the judge’s head, Stefan would be agitated and itching to get back to his “family.” The fact that he seemed content to rot in the pen told Jon that his brother was lying low for some reason. But there was no chance that Jon was going to let Stef piss his life away. If Lucia’s father, Nicholas DiStefano, had ordered someone else to knock off Judge Casale, he might have kept a record, some evidence—something that could exonerate Stef. Since, by all accounts, Nicholas and his wife had been estranged for a while, who else but his daughters would the man have entrusted with his worldly goods after his murder?
“Well, my father has been gone a few years now. Lucia and I have been through his things. I didn’t find any recording devices or security footage that I can recall.”
“All of his possessions are accounted for?”
Nicki sighed. Clearly, she didn’t like these questions. “I have no way of knowing. I loved my father, but he wasn’t the sort of man who let anyone get terribly close.”
“We never found our grandmother’s jewelry, which upsets my sister most. Since Lucia was a little girl, Mama Antonella had promised my sister her engagement ring and her mother’s locket. They weren’t among my father’s belongings, though. None of it is hugely valuable. It’s just sentimental.”
Nicholas DiStefano hadn’t been dumb. He’d known that someone in the Gamalini crime family, most likely his own brother, had wanted to take him down and become boss. Maybe he’d stashed the jewelry and his security recordings together? Jon looked down to the stage, where one G-string-clad dancer hovered over Lucia and kissed her cheek. Jon had the immediate urge to give the douche bag a slow, painful beating.
“Any theories on what might have happened to the jewelry?” he asked Nicki, forcing himself back on task.
“It’s not like my father needed the money, so he wouldn’t have pawned or sold it. At this point, I wonder if my Uncle Pietro grabbed it for his stupid cow of a daughter. But I don’t know.”
One thing Jon did know for sure? Pietro DiStefano was looking hot and hard for something that had belonged to his deceased older brother. Maybe money. Or one of the man’s many accommodating mistresses. But it could also be something more incriminating. Either way, Jon had a week’s vacation to save his brother from a life—and probable death—behind bars.
“Look…” Nicki glanced at the stage, then raised a brow as one of the male dancers kissed Lucia’s neck.
Jon ripped his gaze away from the scene. “What?”
“If you came all the way to Vegas just for some hidden media storage stuff, you’re wasting your time. If you came about my sister…” She crossed slender arms over her chest and grinned. “Then your timing is perfect.”
“She looks occupied to me.” Crap, he hadn’t meant to sound jealous.
“Not yet. You know she’s turning twenty-five tomorrow?”
Jon swallowed. No, he hadn’t known, but it reinforced the reasons he’d left her untouched two years ago. Though he was barely ten years Lucia’s senior, twenty-five sounded damn young to him. Given their differences in life experience, that ten years might as well be a hundred.
“So your dancing goons down there are a birthday present?” He nodded to the stage.
“Nah. My employees just like her.”
“Well, then she won’t be spending her birthday alone.” And wasn’t that a bitch?
“Maybe not. But she likes you more.” Nicki’s direct stare challenged him.
Jon knew that. God, didn’t Nicki realize that he’d had to force himself to leave Lucia once before? Twenty-three had been too young for what he’d wanted to do to her. He’d taken one look at her then and known that she was a virgin. Glancing at her giggling embarrassment around the male strippers currently thrusting their dicks in her direction, Jon wondered if anything had changed.
“Your sister is beautiful and kind. She deserves someone great who will come home to her every night, kiss the kids, and snuggle up with her on the couch. That’s not me.”
“I didn’t ask you to marry her and knock her up. I only meant that maybe you’d take her out for a drink or something and talk.”
“Where do you think that talking would lead, Nicki?”
She shrugged. “Maybe to just a nice evening. Maybe to bed.”
He shot her a skeptical glance. “You’re encouraging me to sleep with your younger sister?”
Shifting her weight from one platform to the other, Nicki sighed. “She’s still a full-fledged V-card member, but probably not for long. I’m…worried about her.”
Jon was far more worried about what would happen if he spent any time alone at all with Lucia DiStefano. She made him hungry. And after too many tense, sex-related cases, his strings were pulled damn tight. Knowing that she was still a virgin…Well, everything about her was so sweet and pure. And couldn’t he use some of that in his life?
Great, except he’d sully her all up. He couldn’t bear to be the one to disillusion a girl as tender as Lucia.
“Want to know what I did on my last case?” Jon asked Nicki. He was sure that she didn’t, but he was going to tell her anyway. “I ensured that one of my analysts trained properly to pose undercover as a submissive at a BDSM resort. I watched her get naked. I watched her get spanked by one man…and get off at the hands of another—at the same time. I saw her publicly flogged and fondled, then I had to send her to a place where orgies and whippings are common. Your sister’s idea of racy is probably reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover aloud at a book discussion group of her fellow academians. Don’t get me wrong; I’d be a lying motherfucker if I said I didn’t want to be the man to take Lucia’s virginity, but she deserves someone who hasn’t lived too long on the edge. Trust me, I’m doing her a favor.”
“Oh, get over yourself.” Nicki rolled her eyes. “So she’s been sheltered. That makes her corruptible, not breakable. I’m only telling you this because I know you have some feelings for her, and I think you’d make her first time better than any drunk slob she’s going to meet at that stupid singles’ resort she’s jetting off to for a week. But you know what? If you’re determined to be all self-sacrificing and white knightish, then let her go to the Bahamas and get her brains fucked out by a stranger. I’ll slip a box of condoms into her suitcase and tell her to have a good time.” Nicki shoved away from the wall. “You’re welcome to stay for cake. If not, you know where to find the door.”
“SO, DR. DISTEFANO,” Ashley whispered in Lucia’s ear, “are you going to make a meal out of him or just ogle him like a decadent but off-limits dessert?”
Sipping her daiquiri, Lucia tore her gaze away from the hunk embroiled in conversation with her sister and tossed a glare over her shoulder at Ashley. “I’m just trying to figure out what he’s doing here. I haven’t seen Jon Bocelli in two years.”
Ashley’s blue eyes widened. “That’s the guy you’ve been crushing on? Oh, I can totally see why you’ve been hung up all this time. He’s hawt! It doesn’t matter why he’s here. Go for it! You’re twenty-five and never been—”
“I don’t need a reminder that my hymen is probably growing cobwebs,” she whispered furiously.
She stared at Jon, still unable to believe he’d come here. He’d likely flown out to Vegas for something related to a case, since he’d talked to Nicki first. Cer
Lucia needed to get over him and move on with her life. Despite their frequent arguments during the summer they’d spent here, only Jon—with his hard body wrapped in sleek Italian style, black leather, and commanding vibe—had aroused her. In the past, he’d swaggered his way around Nicki’s club, Girls’ Night Out, looking hotter than any oiled-down pretty boy on stage. He reminded her of the Doms she read about in the erotic romances she devoured one after the other. Nothing had changed in the last two years, except his attire. His presence still filled a room and made her shiver. But he’d left his undercover assignment—and her—and walked away without a word. Why was he here now?
“Jon Bocelli is so out of my league. Heck, he’s out of my universe.” He could—and probably had—hooked up with any number of sexy, confident, experienced women. “Wanting him is a bad habit I should quit. I just need the right twelve-step program.”
Hot in Handcuffs by Sylvia Day / Romance & Love / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes