As the first female operative at Alpha Security, Charlotte "Charlie" Sparks has her work cut out for her. Sure, she can wrestle a man to the ground and hit a target at 200 yards with the best of them. But sometimes, being surrounded by all that testosterone can drive a woman to distraction—especially when that distraction is six-and-a-half feet of cocky, confident, Alpha-trained muscle.
Ex-SEAL commander Vince Franklin has been on some of the most dangerous missions in the world. But pretending to be Charlie's fiancé on their latest assignment in Miami is his toughest challenge yet. Vince and Charlie are like oil and water; they just don't mix. And when their fake romance generates some all-too-real heat, Vince learns that Charlie is more than just arm candy. She's the real deal—and she's ready for some serious action.
THE ALPHA SECURITY SERIES
HEATED PURSUIT, #1
HOLDING FIRE, #2
HARD JUSTICE, #3
“Hot damn, baby.” The kid whistled. His gaze flickered to Vince. “Why don’t you ditch the geriatric and come party with us?”
“Unless you want this geriatric to rip those lips off your face, keep walking,” Vince growled.
The kid and his friends laughed but kept going. At some point during the exchange, the pimply faced valet attendant extended his hand to Charlie.
“I got her. You get these.” Vince’s bark made the teen jump.
“Yes, sir.” The valet caught the keys Vince tossed his way and hustled over to the driver’s side.
Every inch of Charlie’s body brushed along Vince’s as he plucked her off her seat and set her back on her feet. The hair on his arms lifted as if he’d touched pure electricity, and in a way, he had. Charlie. A live wire. Jolting. Heat-inducing.
Her teeth trapped her bottom lip in a sexy nibble. Vince couldn’t help but glance down to her mouth, seeing that he wasn’t the only one overtaken by a sudden burst of awareness.
“If I’d been the one to offer my hand to you, you would’ve taken a hunk of flesh out of it with your teeth,” Vince half-joked.
She smoothed the front of his shirt, a coy smile dancing on her lips. “Not a hunk. Maybe just a little nibble.”
Sucking in a groan, Vince wrapped an arm around her waist and guided her away from the truck as another large group of college-aged kids stumbled past.
Charlie let out a strangled noise.
“What?” Vince looked at her, confused.
She bit the corner of her mouth, obviously trying to withhold laughter. “You and the look of excruciating pain plastered all over your face. You can’t tell me you’ve never prowled the bars looking for a good time.”
Vince steered them toward the entrance of the club’s outdoor patio. “Yeah, a million fucking years ago. And I didn’t have to prowl for anything. Good times always came to me.”
This time Charlie snorted with her chuckle, and the sound of it made his lips twitch. It was goddamned cute, though he would never admit it aloud and risk a punch to his kidneys.
“It’s a wonder headquarters hasn’t blown up from testosterone toxicity,” Charlie murmured as they stepped to the end of the club’s red-roped line.
The bouncer manning the entrance took a lazy-eyed stroll over Charlie’s body. “You two together?”
Vince cocked a glance to his arm, still wrapped snugly around her waist. “What do you think?”
“I think it’s too damn bad. But you both can go on in. And if your lady’s interested, there’s a bar-dancing competition sometime within the hour.” He eyed Charlie’s legs. “You’re a shoe-in for first fucking prize, sweetheart.”
Vince would’ve loved nothing more than to swipe the smirk off the bastard’s face, but Charlie intervened, threading her fingers through his, and thanked the man for the invite. The people in line grumbled their protests as the bouncer opened the gate and let them onto the club’s patio.
Miami Heat lured in a who’s who of the rich, famous, and privileged. Whereas the indoor section of the club catered to the couples dancing to the loud, theatrical pound of the music, the outdoor patio was a pool party on ’roids.
White Christmas lights wrapped every palm tree and, and as if Miami wasn’t hot enough, bamboo torches lit up the patio’s perimeter. Humidity didn’t seem to be keeping people away, because the line wrapped around the circular bar was three people deep, and growing.
“Don’t people have anything better to do than spend their money on overpriced booze?” Vince asked, inspecting the sea of drunk people.
Charlie lifted her brow. “In Miami? No. It’s all about twenty-dollar drinks and lots and lots of skin. You’re such a people person, Navy. It’s a wonder you don’t have an entire entourage surrounding you all hours of the day.”
“And you’re such the sparkling social gem, huh?” Vince said dryly. A pair of overly bronzed women skirted past, outrageously wearing less than Charlie. “I wasn’t the one who nearly made the pizza delivery boy cry because he mistakenly left behind my order of fried mushrooms.”
“No, but now I’m sure that Christopher will never forget them again. That’s the difference between us. I don’t see any point in hiding my displeasure, where you take the whole brooding in silence thing and turn it into an art form.”
“Some things can’t be changed by making a scene.”
Charlie turned toward him, the side of her breast brushing against his chest. “No, but sometimes it can make you feel a lot bloody better. Unleash the beast, Navy. Or at the very least, loosen the reins. You may be surprised at what happens.”
When he’d been with the SEAL teams, Vince wouldn’t have hesitated to let off a little steam—and without prompting. But both time and experience had taught him the error of his ways. He’d learned it at the end of his Navy career, had it drilled into his head working for bail enforcement, and now with Alpha, it had become almost second nature—except when Charlie was in close proximity. Then all those lessons flew out of his fucking head.
“You want to make ourselves visible?” Vince slipped his hand over her hip and veered her toward the dance floor. “Hope you can dance in those stilts.”
April blames her incurable chocolate addiction on growing up in rural Pennsylvania, way too close to America's chocolate capital, Hershey. She now lives in Virginia with her college sweetheart husband, two young children, and a cat who thinks she's a human-dog hybrid. On those rare occasions she's not donning the cape of her children's personal chauffer, April's either planning, plotting, or writing about her next alpha hero and the woman he never knew he needed, but now can't live without.