A Shadow Demon, hell-bent on protecting his city…
Alexei Petrov has more money than he can ever spend in many lifetimes, but his life is more than glitz and glamour. Behind the scenes, Alex is part of an elite group working in the shadows, hunting down those who would prey on the most vulnerable in the city. Which is how he found the most desirable women he’s ever seen.
A young mother in fear for the life of her child…
Merrily fled with her daughter with death on her heels. She has no idea what her father has done, but he’s managed to throw her and little Bellarose into the middle of a war. Scared, hunted, Merrily gets caught in the crossfire of what looks like a gang war, but it’s something far more sinister. A desperate flight lands her in the arms of Alexie Petrov. Literally. And the man is everything she knows she can never have but wants with every fiber of her being.
Nowhere to hide…
Even tucked safely away in the home of the richest, most powerful man in the city of Rockwell, Merrily’s past finally catches up with her. Bellarose’s father has come calling, and hell is hot on his heels. Fleeing seems like her only option, but Alex is just as dangerous as anything headed her way. And far too seductive and possessive for her peace of mind. Though she knows he will only break her heart, Merrily can’t resist the lust that burns between them and soon finds herself more than infatuated with the man. Needing to prove her worth, Merrily knows she’s up for the challenge. Welcomes it. But just who are the demons in the night? And why does she welcome this one’s embrace?
"Son of a bitch, she's good," Giovanni muttered in awe, sweat pouring from his face. Alex tried not to react, but wasn't quite sure he suppressed his smirk. For the last week, Giovanni had put Merrily through a battery of tests to determine her proficiency with software, hardware, and programming. Giovanni had been more than a little condescending when they'd first started. The man truly had no idea how to behave in the company of people he didn't know. Merrily hadn't once pushed back, doing anything he asked of her without complaint or comment.
Currently, she was supposed to be trying to hack him. Gio had set up a controlled environment in a computer she was supposed to break into. He'd set her up across the room so neither could see what the other was doing and sent her to work. Two hours into it, Gio had stopped smirking and throwing little digs her way and started actively trying to keep her out. Five hours later, he’d started swearing under his breath. Both of them had fingers flying over the keys, but in contrast to Giovanni, Merrily had a serene visage, actually humming to herself as if thoroughly enjoying the experience.
"Ha," Gio exclaimed softly. "Thought you had me, didn't you…" He trailed off a second before the alarm on his real system started blaring an angry, urgent claxon.
"What the fuck?" Azriel pulled his gun, tracking around the room, looking for an intruder.
"Oh, come on!" Giovanni jumped up, knocking his chair over. He hastily hopped behind what he lovingly referred to as his "command center," which consisted of a wall of monitors and his work station. All the monitors were flashing an angry red with the words "SECURITY BREACH" blazoned in big white, flashing letters. Giovanni looked around, confused. "Why is it doing that? It's not supposed to flash on the monitors or make such a racket. What the fuck?"
The monitor in the very center switched to a black screen with code in white lettering flying up it in a blur. "No, no, no! That's impossible!" Giovanni pressed a few buttons, his gaze focused squarely on the monitor until he finally dove under the desk and unplugged the whole thing. The silence was deafening. The monitors dark.
"Uh, what just happened?" Alex asked. He'd also pulled his gun, unsure of what to do but making damned sure he was ready if there was a need. It wasn't until that very moment he realized he'd sprinted across the room to cover Merrily. He'd done it without thought or telling Azriel what he was doing.
Giovanni crawled out from under the desk to collapse in his chair. Sweat streamed down his face, his red/orange hair a disheveled mess. A stunned expression met Alex when they locked gazes. "I got… hacked." The voice that had been filled with sarcasm and cutting comments was now shaken and more than a little awed. "I got hacked," he repeated. "I… got hacked."
"All right there, buddy," Azriel said, helping Giovanni to stand. "I think this calls for a double malt. Right this way." He urged Gio to the bar in the corner of the room and poured him a shot before swigging from the bottle himself. Gio downed his with a gasp and held his glass out for more. Once filled, he downed the second one with less drama before wiping his mouth with his sleeve.
Once more, he looked at Azriel as if he were in a daze. "I got hacked."
"Yeah, I got that," Alex said. "But who…" He glanced at Merrily, who was leaning back in her chair, fingers laced together over her belly, that serene, innocent expression firmly in place. Too innocent.