He's an investigator on a mission, but it's impossible to ignore the brilliant woman helping him complete it…
His sister's life is at stake, and despite his wealth and power, Sheik Emir Al-Nassar feels helpless. At least heading his family's security agency provides him with resources to track down her kidnappers.
But when the ace profiler he's sent turns out to be K. J.—Kate—Gelinsky, Emir is furious. Finding the kidnappers' desert hideout is dangerous enough without the distraction of a beautiful woman.
But K.J. is unlike any woman he's ever known. Her fearlessness and incisive mind inspires Emir's admiration. And her compassion breaches his guarded heart. Still, rescuing his sister is a perilous mission. And allowing desire to cloud his focus could endanger them all.
“You’re the new agent?” he asked, the words heavy with disbelief. “You’re the one Adam recommended?”
“Yes,” she said brightly. “I’m K.J.—”
“This won’t work,” he said. His thoughts were clouded with anger at the thought of what Adam had done, of how much time might be wasted, and of Tara whose life would be fur- ther endangered now that there was no help forthcoming.
Her wide, smoky-blue eyes narrowed. “By ‘this,’” she said slowly, “you mean me?” She took a step forward. Now she was in his face.
He frowned. If she were a man that would have been a mistake. But she was no man.
“That’s what you were meaning, wasn’t it?
I’m not a man so...” She let the remainder of the sentence hang.
He paused long enough to take a breath to control the anger that made him want to lash out at someone, anyone. “You need to get on the first flight home,” he said through clenched teeth.
“Give me a chance.” There was no hesitation in her voice or in her stance as she faced off with him, her head up, her eyes sparking as if enjoying the challenge.
“It’s not me that’s the problem or needs to give you a chance,” he said. All he could feel was the pressure of an invisible clock ticking and the betrayal of a friend thousands of miles away. Adam knew the customs, the inherent sexism that still wove through the ancient tra- ditions of the desert tribes. He knew it all and, still, he had sent her.
“I know,” she interjected. “It’s the customs, the tribes outside the city, the—”
“It won’t work,” he interrupted, thinking of the desert and where he suspected Tara’s kidnappers were hiding. He’d always been an equal opportunity employer and supported his sister, Tara, in her fight for change. It was a man’s world. It didn’t matter how much he disliked the fact, it was a truth that, for now, wouldn’t change.
“Look, I know what I’m getting into. I’m qualified,” she said, her bag swinging from her shoulder, her eyes bright with passion. “I specialized in Middle Eastern studies—an exchange student.” She waved one delicate, well- manicured hand at him.
Just looking at that hand confirmed every doubt he had. It wasn’t just about customs, she was female and because of that and so many other things, she was the wrong person for the job.
“I’ll help you find your sister. You just need to trust me.”
“No!” The word came out with all the pent- up fury that had built since the fateful call from Tara’s kidnappers and now the full im- pact of it sparked in his eyes as his temple pounded and his fists clenched.
“No,” he said with less edge but with no room for negotiation. He was wasting time, had wasted time, first waiting and now in a senseless airport run. “I don’t care what you specialized in. You’re a woman and because of that you’re going home,” he said bluntly. “I’ve wasted enough time. I’ll speak to the pilot and we’ll get you out of here.”
“You’re not being fair.”
“I’m not being fair,” he repeated, emphasizing each word. If she’d been a man he would have had her by the collar up against the wall, his face in hers. But she wasn’t and that was the problem. “You’re useless to me. I’d have to watch out for both you and me. That’s a distraction. Look at you—you couldn’t swing a punch or...”
One minute he was seething, glaring at her, and the next he was flat on his back.
“You bloody flipped me,” he snarled, leaping to his feet.
Ryshia Kennie is the award-winning author of her city’s writing award and a semi-finalist in the Kindle Book Awards. There’s never a lack of places to set an edge-of-the-seat suspense as prairie winters find her dreaming of warmer places for heart-stopping stories. Settings with deadly villains threatening intrepid heroes and heroines, who battle for their right to live or even to love, in a place that neither - or both, may call home. www.ryshiakennie.com