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Authors: Lori Foster

When You Dare

BOOK: When You Dare
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Praise for
New York Times
and
USA TODAY
bestselling author

 

LORI FOSTER

 

“Foster writes smart, sexy, engaging characters.”


New York Times
bestselling author Christine Feehan

“Known for her funny, sexy writing.”


Booklist

“Foster’s latest is pure entertainment and a joy to read.”


RT Book Reviews
on
Back in Black

“Foster outwrites most of her peers.”


Library Journal

“Intense, edgy and hot. Lori Foster delivers everything you’re looking for in a romance.”


New York Times
bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz on
Hard to Handle

“Lori Foster delivers the goods.”


Publishers Weekly

“Tension, temptation, hot action, and hotter romance— Lori Foster has it all!
Hard to Handle
is a knockout!”


New York Times
bestselling author Elizabeth Lowell

 

Dear Readers,

 

I’ve launched into a new series of über-Alpha hunks. The men are similar to private mercenaries, so they’re big, capable, a little dangerous and oh-so-sexy. When it comes to rescuing the innocent, they do what has to be done, however it has to be done. I like to call them my men who “walk the edge of honor.”

 

My novella in the anthology
The Guy Next Door
(available now) got things started by introducing you to characters related to the heroine of
When You Dare.
And stay tuned for the next two books in the series,
Trace of Fever
and
Savor the Danger,
coming soon.

 

To see more about the books, visit my website at www.LoriFoster.com. And feel free to chat with me on my Facebook fanpage—www.facebook.com/pages/Lori-Foster/233405457965.

 

I’m very excited about this new series, and I hope you will be, too! 

LORI FOSTER

 

WHEN YOU DARE

 

To Shana Schwer,
Thank you for lending me your fur babies,
Sargie and Tai, to be featured as the Labs in the book.
Your girls are truly beautiful, and I love their
unique personalities. I hope I did them justice!
Pet owners are truly wonderful people!
Lori

Also available from
LORI FOSTER
and HQN Books

 

Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor

 

The Guy Next Door

“Ready, Set, Jett”

And coming soon

Trace of Fever

Savor the Danger

Other must-reads

 

Bewitched

Unbelievable

Tempted

Bodyguard

Caught!

Heartbreakers

Fallen Angels

Enticing

WHEN YOU DARE

CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

CHAPTER THREE

 

CHAPTER FOUR

 

CHAPTER FIVE

 

CHAPTER SIX

 

CHAPTER SEVEN

 

CHAPTER EIGHT

 

CHAPTER NINE

 

CHAPTER TEN

 

CHAPTER ELEVEN

 

CHAPTER TWELVE

 

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

 

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

 

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

 

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

 

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

 

CHAPTER NINETEEN

 

CHAPTER TWENTY

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

 

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

M
IDNIGHT CAME AND
went with only the quiet buzz of meager traffic along the beach. An occasional horn blew or tires squealed. Two people exited a bar nearby, laughing too loud before piling into an SUV and steering drunkenly onto the road.

In the shadows of a weed-ridden parking lot at the back of the rundown motel, no one noticed them. Avoiding the glow of the full yellow moon, they stood behind the south wall beneath a broken security lamp.

A lamp Dare Macintosh had broken.

Ocean breezes stirred the air and heightened his senses. While scanning the area and repeatedly peering at the black van he’d rented when first arriving in San Diego, Dare waited. His friend, Trace Rivers, embraced his younger sister with choking emotion.

It had been a long two days filled with frantic preparation, little sleep, less food and loads of pumping adrenaline: the conditions in which Dare operated best.

With the job done, and then some, he desperately wanted something to eat and a place to sleep. Even more than that, he wanted to check on the skinny, abused woman still out cold in the backseat of the van.

“Tell me,” Trace said, not to Alani, whom he kept crushed close, but to Dare.

After again glancing at the van, Dare nodded. He’d found Alani and returned her to Trace as he’d sworn to, but neither man knew yet what she had suffered.

“She was in Tijuana, as you said. Locked in a trailer with some other women in an isolated area.”

“Heavily guarded?”

“Yes.”

Trace drew a strained breath, and uttered what they both had known: “Human traffickers.”

Dare nodded. “Not much in the way of food or drinks. Dirty, airless with the windows screwed shut. They had the women…” He hesitated, knowing how Trace would take it, but he needed to know. “They were leashed, chained to grommets in the floor, with just enough chain to reach a toilet. No sink.”

“Fuckers.”
Overcome with rage, Trace knotted his hand in his sister’s hair and squeezed her tighter, protectively.

She didn’t complain.

Trace never used coarse language in front of his sister, which meant he was on the ragged edge, barely aware of what he said or did. Dare looked away from them, understanding the lack of control.

He focused on the rented van. “I had to go through several lookouts and a few armed guards to get her out of there.”

“Quietly.” Trace made it a statement, not a question.

“There wasn’t much fuss.” Dare always worked in efficient silence; an alarm would have brought more armed guards, possibly too many for him to combat. As much as he wanted to kill them all, he hadn’t.

Only those most responsible.

By the time the empty trailer was discovered, Dare was already heading over the border into San Diego—where Trace waited. Over the years he’d built up alliances everywhere, and sometimes worked with the coyotes who made a living taking people back and forth over the border.

Thanks to those contacts, even with the extra cargo slumped in his backseat, no one had stopped him as he went through the border checkpoint. The van had been given only a cursory inspection, his weapons ignored, and the excuse of the women being tired—never mind that one was beaten and haggard, only half-dressed—had satisfied all questions.

Both men were damn good at what they did. But Trace couldn’t go after his sister himself as he’d wanted, because the men holding her knew what he looked like. Before he’d have even gotten close to Tijuana, Trace would have been spotted by lookouts.

So Dare had gone—and come back with more than he’d bargained for.

Making a small sound, Alani tucked her face in closer to her brother’s shoulder. The siblings shared blond hair and light brown eyes, but that’s where the physical similarities ended. Trace was thirty, of an age with Dare, eight years older than his sister. He stood six foot three and weighed over two hundred pounds—all of it muscle.

Next to him, Alani looked tiny and fragile and, presently, wounded. Even since Dare had removed her from the trailer, fresh bruises continued to show on her arms and around her narrow wrists. Because the bastards had planned to sell her, they hadn’t harmed her face.

Innocence was a huge commodity, and at twenty-two, having led a sheltered life, Alani gave off a definite vibe of innocence. Blond-haired, blue-eyed women brought the most profit, but he had a feeling that Alani’s golden-brown eyes, in contrast to her very fair hair, would have fascinated the sick pricks.

Dare prayed they hadn’t raped her, knowing a woman ill-used would bring less, but he left that uncomfortable discussion for Trace.

Hearing a noise like a soft moan, Dare zeroed in on the van with his senses on alert. He’d left the rear door open so he’d hear her if she moved, if she awoke…. But she did no more than readjust.

Three hours had passed since he’d carried her out of that trailer. Worry gnawed at him.

Why didn’t she awaken?

“Dare?” His eyes filled with pain, rage and relief, Trace whispered, “Thank you.”

Alani gave an audible swallow, and then she, too, said, “Yes, thank you. So much.”

Putting a hand on her shoulder, Dare replied without words. He’d known Alani for years, watched her grow up, and felt like a pseudo big brother in many ways. He’d attended her graduation, both from high school and college. He’d been there with Alani and Trace when they buried their parents.

They had become part of his hodgepodge family.

Two days ago human traffickers had snatched Alani outside her hotel while she vacationed near the beach. Tomorrow she would have been sold, and finding her after that might have become impossible.

Right now, what the siblings needed was time alone, and Dare needed to sort things out with his remaining passenger. “I should get going.”

Trace followed Dare’s attention toward the van, saw the slim, dirty foot that appeared out of the open rear-passenger door, and lifted one eyebrow in an expression of disbelief. “You have a passenger?”

“A small complication, that’s all.”

“You’re serious?”

Dare shrugged. “There were six women in that small trailer, Trace. Four of them were local and scattered as soon as I got them free.” He nodded his head toward the van. “That one was drugged, near starved, grimy.” And in many ways, even in the cramped confines of the rusty trailer, she’d been separated from the others, kept alone.

For certain, she wasn’t the typical woman kidnapped for the growing sex trade.

Trace grew curious in that quiet way of his. “An American…complication?”

BOOK: When You Dare
12.61Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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