Will they be able to slip away into the night or will the night find them with all of its secrets and darkness?
When feisty Vanessa Nash is cornered by her stalker in a bar... sexy, exotic Karim Zaldana comes to her rescue. Hearing her story, he offers to be her bodyguard if she'll marry him so he can stay in the country.
What Vanessa doesn't know is that Karim is already a citizen, working for the US Government. He's fallen for her at first sight and knows he must have her and make her fall in love with him.
Can their hot passion turn into a forever kind of love, even though an old enemy wants him dead? And what will Vanessa do when she learns how he's tricked her into marriage?
Vanessa Nash saw the short cop with the beady eyes and panicked. Even in a dimly lit and crowded bar, chock-full of loud music and laughter, he scared the shit out of her, his recent stalking of her not forgotten. Had he ended up here by accident or was he going to start terrorizing her again?
"Wow, that jerk just won't quit." Her friend Amy, who was seated on the bar stool next to hers, looked horrified. "Vanessa, you have to call the police."
Vanessa couldn't hold in a laugh. "Yeah, that worked really well the other times. You don't get it, Amy. He threatened to harm my parents if I turned him in, and I know he has it in him. When I found him inside my house after coming home from work, I called the cops and told them he'd broken in. Nothing happened. I found out that he'd told his buddies at the Chicago PD that we had a lover's spat, and I'm trying to get back at him. Like we were ever lovers." She shook her head, starting to tremble. "You know how the Chicago PD sticks together. They won't believe that he's stalking me. The only thing I can do is move out of town, which is easier said than done with my mother so sick…"
She grabbed the passing bartender by the arm. "Joe," she said to the small, mustached man, "a margarita. A hundred margaritas." She laughed through her tears.
"I'll get you one, Vanessa." Joe peered at her closely. "You okay?"
"Just do it, Joe. I'll give you a good tip. Got paid a big commission for selling an expensive house."
Joe looked at Amy.
"She's not in charge of me," Vanessa said sharply. "I know I don't usually have more than a few beers, but tonight it's my turn to feel no pain."
Joe shrugged. "Whatever, Vanessa. I'm just used to getting you Cokes after you have one drink."
"Well, not tonight." She let out a long breath. How did Ken find me this time? I know it's not an accident. He has moles all over telling him where I am. That has to be it.
"Be back with your drink." Joe strode away, disappearing from her sight.
Amy placed a hand on her arm. "Vanessa, drinking won't help."
"You're the designated driver." Vanessa glanced over her shoulder. Damn, damn, damn. He was watching her. A mean smile kicked up his lips when they locked gazes. He was getting off on terrorizing her. Quickly, she turned back around. "Damn it, Amy. What am I going to do?" She dropped her head into her hands. "How the hell can I keep him from ruining my life?"
Amy shook her head. "Hire a bodyguard," she answered grimly.
Vanessa laughed. "Yeah, I can afford that. Real estate is feast or famine. I got a big check today; may not get another check at all for a month. The slow season is coming up. Not that the real estate market is good these days."
They lapsed into silence. Joe brought her margarita and she took a drink of the frosty concoction, feeling the alcohol almost right away.
"I heard you say you need a bodyguard. I'd be glad to be of service and not charge a monetary fee."
Vanessa jumped to her feet, whirled around, and found herself staring up into the face of the most gorgeous man she'd ever seen. Her breath caught at the intensity of her attraction to him and at first, she was at a loss for words.
"I'm Karim. Karim Zaldana, at your service. I can promise you that nobody will hurt you around me."
She regained her wits and assessed him as she felt he was appraising her. I'll bet nobody could hurt me around him. Not only is he gorgeous, he's tall and made of muscle. His long dark curls grazed the tight white material stretching across his massive shoulders. He had penetrating dark eyes with long lashes, smooth olive skin, and luscious, full lips that begged to be kissed.
"I'm Vanessa." She tried not to stammer like a schoolgirl talking to her first crush. After all, she'd lived thirty years and was used to men, even gorgeous men. But not this gorgeous. His low, sensual voice with a slight accent added to his allure. She worked her way from his face to the bulge in his tight jeans.
If she took him up on his offer—if his offer was even serious— she'd have a hard time fighting her lust for him.
"You don't know what to make of me." Karim smiled, flashing strong white teeth and a cleft in his chin.
She could feel her face heating. "Well, I know you can't be serious…""Maybe, maybe not. I just overheard your friend and decided it would be a pleasure," his gaze fell to her breasts, "to guard a body as lovely as yours. Besides, I won't tolerate men who terrorize women." He lifted his stare and his eyes seemed to burn as they locked onto hers.
Was he saying he found her hot? Holy hell, men who looked like him never said that.
She felt herself breaking into a foolish grin, her knees weakening, her breasts and nipples hardening. A body slid in between the two of them, pushing them apart, and she met the eyes of the intruder, knowing exactly who it would be.