Authors: Eliza March,Elizabeth Marchat
ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM - 2
Copyright © 2016 Second Edition
Across a Crowded Room
The Monte Carlo Affair, Book 2
- The balance of world power drops into Emily’s inexperienced hands, and she is forced to play a dangerous game of seduction with Mosel Reinhardt, the notorious international arms dealer, while her team and Jason look on. Is Reinhardt peddling the nanotech chip technology, or are Emily’s instincts about him correct?
The mission heats up when Jason finds he can no longer resist her—his old friend’s daughter, the agency computer genius has gone femme fatale and she’s too hot for him to handle, and neither can Mosel. The man who’s never cared about anyone or anything actually seems to care about Emily. After years of waiting to have her again, the tables turn on Jason. He’s unwilling to share her with anyone, let alone his oldest rival, even for the mission. But will he be able to watch her seduce Mosel in order to find her father’s killer and stop the madness? Would she stop if he asked her?
Cyber Seduction, Book 3
– Emily and Jason barely escape Monte Carlo with their identities intact after retrieving the nanotech chip, and then once again Jason distances himself from Emily. The continued plan includes enticing Mosel to follow Emily back to Washington, DC where they expect him to meet with the terrorists and their contact. The danger to her escalates but it’s imperative they uncover the mole in their agency.
The tables turn on Jason and Emily when he risks everything to get the answers he’s been looking for and is captured. Emily takes a risk and enlists Mosel’s help to save him. As the story unravels, convoluted secrets from the past surface, expose old guilt and childish misconceptions, and finally shed light on old nightmares.
Innocence Lost, Book 1
- While working with the secret International Anti-Terrorist Organization, privately referred to as IATO, agent Jason DesJardin survives the deadly explosion that seriously injures his partner, Harrison James and kills his mentor, Senior Agent Avery Holmes. After discovering evidence of a mole in the organization, Jason goes deep undercover to find the man behind the kill order. Guilt, a dark secret from his past, and the need to protect Avery’s daughter, prevents Jason from returning to Emily and exposing her to the dangerous elements of his job. Instead of being with her, he watches and guards her from a distance, refusing to accept that rejecting her hurts both of them.
Emily is ready to prove she’s stronger than Jason realizes. Accepting the man she loves is alive and avoiding her is not an option. She’s determined to finish her training with her father’s black ops organization, IATO, find the answers haunting her past, and once and for all, prove she can take care of herself. When she discovers ties between the old car bombing that killed her father and the terrorists she’s investigating, she finagles an assignment on to Jason’s team and their next IATO mission. She will get the stolen nanotech chip back from the arms dealer looking to broker the secret technology to the terrorists and investigate the contact to her father’s death.
Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM
First Edition Copyright © 2010
The Monte Carlo Affair, ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM 2
Copyright © 2016 by Eliza March
Second Edition: March 2016
Cover design by Eliza March
All cover art and IOTA logo copyright © 2016 by Eliza March
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission of the author. All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.
I’d like to dedicate this book to my sister, who reviewed and edited the story line and the copy.
My critique partners for this book, Sharron Riddle, Lorelei Confer, and Rosemary Rothacker were instrumental in sorting out the plot.
And as always, thank YOU. As much as I love writing these stories, it’s always nice to know someone is enjoying them. ~~ Eliza
The Monte Carlo Affair
Across a Crowded Room, Part 2
When Emily’s private plane touched down on the runway in Nice her stomach knotted. This was it. The mission was underway. She smoothed her skirt, stood up, and disembarked.
Customs was a brief inconvenience in the executive area of the airport. She wondered what sort of people used this section, and then she remembered, people like the man she was meeting.
A chunky uniformed man met her outside security. The sign bore her name block printed in red magic marker. He didn’t speak when she introduced herself, only nodded politely in acknowledgement. He arranged for the retrieval of her luggage and ordered several people around in French before leading her to the awaiting black limousine.
To her surprise, the man waiting inside was none other than her new boss, Mosel Reinhardt, and although she’d seen pictures of him, nothing could have prepared her for the real thing.
Oh, hell. This was going to be some plan!
From what she discovered, Reinhardt had never made apologies for his behavior, his politics, or his womanizing. Born a twin in East Germany and orphaned, his adoptive parents were assigned outside the country in Southern France, developing vineyards on multiple estates. His appearance alone would have fit in nicely had he been born during Hitler’s regime. People always commented on his size and physique right before they cowered at his eyes of icy steel. Some claimed that they could slice through a situation at a glance. He was cold, sharp, succinct, and single-minded in his politics. His one weakness—beautiful women. Their one weakness—him.
And Emily was here to seduce him.
Good grief, this is almost laughable.
“Monsieur Reinhardt, you didn’t have to come to the airport to meet me. How very kind of you.” The man sitting across from her stared at her with the coldest ice-blue eyes she’d ever seen. He was about six and half feet tall, judging from the length of his legs and still under forty, judging from his physique.
“Please, chérie, call me Mosel.” His voice was smooth, deep, and mellow. It sent tiny flicks of heat to her cheeks.
Even if she hadn’t already researched the man extensively, she would have recognized him. His picture graced the cover of the latest issues of the tabloids, touting him as one of the world’s most eligible bachelors. He made the number three spot in the top fifty list of the world’s sexiest men. Magazines splattered across the airport bookstores pasted their walls with his image. He was reported to have a twin, some darker image of himself, living in Amsterdam, but there were no images she could find.
Emily did a quick hormone check when he took her hand. His picture didn’t do him justice. Sex appeal oozed from the man like honey from a broken comb. She was relieved she didn’t have to try to seduce number one or two on the list. How much sexier could they be?
Inside the limo, with their legs bumping together, Emily found the intimacy disconcerting. Pheromones filled the air, sending a rampant flash of heat through her body.
, you must understand how I desired meeting you.” Mosel purred. The heat in his voice strangely contrasted with the lack of warmth in his gaze while he appraised her.
Emily lost the train of the conversation. She sat in silence waiting for him to continue so she could pick it back up without making a fool of herself. Thankfully, she didn’t have long to wait.
“Your grandfather would never have forgiven me for being remiss by allowing his brilliant and beautiful granddaughter to find her own way in a foreign country. Are you aware that your maternal grandfather was a mentor of sorts to me?”
Stunned, Emily could only stammer. “No, I didn’t know. I wasn’t aware you knew my grandfather in that capacity.”
Uh, where was the agency’s intel when she needed it?
“Acquaintances only, I was quite young at the time.” He paused, gazing out the window before turning back to her. “We had similar interests. We met years ago. I admired his leadership in the field of philanthropy and have patterned my nonprofit charities after his.”
Her heart beat in her ears. She fingered her diamond amulet but didn’t react when he continued with a look of genuine concern. “My condolences. I grieved to hear of his passing.”
Emily nodded. “Thank you. It has been a long time now.” She wondered why pertinent information regarding Mosel’s association with her grandfather hadn’t been in his dossier. Hopefully, no other important information was missing.
“This,” he said, sweeping one hand at her, “is a pleasure. He took a glass of champagne from the bar and handed it to her. “I’m so fortunate you were available to fill this contract.”
“I’m very interested in all aspects of this nanotechnology field. It’s an opportunity one would have to be insane to turn down.”
“So young,” he mumbled. He angled his head, examining her more closely, making her more unnerved for the moment. “You are reputed to be one of the best in your field, which makes you the one expert in nanochip technology I would trust. You also come very highly recommended.”
“Thank you so much.” The way he scrutinized her made her uncomfortable. She blushed at his compliments. “I’m flattered.” How could any woman resist him? My God, he defined charisma. Jason was right—Mosel was way out of her league. She’d have to be extremely careful.
They’d turned off onto a side road while still on airport property. Her nerves must have been getting to her. Emily glanced out the window. “Where are we going?”
“To my helicopter. The trip will only take a short while. Then you can get settled into the apartment I’ve arranged for you during your stay.”
“An apartment? Not a hotel?”
“I hoped you would like life here enough to stay for a while longer. I plan to recruit you away from your present position with the college.”
He never stopped holding the fingers of her one hand, stroking them gently as he spoke. The college job was her cover. Mentioning it should have caused her a bit of distress, but he’d lulled her into a false sense of security. She couldn’t respond. She was hardly aware of what he was doing. It mesmerized her, preventing any concrete thought from taking hold.
Everything about him compelled attention, from his white blond hair to his pale eyes. His facial hair was darker, accenting his ruggedly handsome features—his bone structure so strong that the hollows beneath his cheeks dipped deep before filling back in above a strong, broad jaw.
He had full lips, wide and generous, but she noticed his smile didn’t quite reach his eyes. They were cold, calculating, belying the words pouring politely past his lips. He was incongruous. Everything about her first impression of him put her on guard. He was a contradiction.
But then again, she couldn’t deny their instant chemistry. It was nice to experience that instant flash of heat. Until today, Jason had been the only man who’d ever caused her temperature to soar. All the previous men she’d been with left her unmoved enough to make her wonder if there was something wrong with her. Was she even capable of responding to the type of attraction Mosel pulled from her? Feeling this spark with someone other than Jason proved that the rest of her life wasn’t doomed to an existence without that heat.
“What? Is something troubling you?” Mosel leaned into her.
She smiled, lost in her lustful thoughts. She’d failed to respond to his comment. “No, nothing is wrong. All of this is unexpected, overwhelming. Thank you again.” Emily chewed nervously at her bottom lip. She took a sip of the champagne and gazed out the window.
She loved the tropical landscape with the sun and palm trees, such a nice contrast to the gray sky over Boston she left ten hours and sixty degrees ago.
Here she was, amiably sharing small talk with a man she believed was somehow involved with her father’s murder, a man she intended to seduce if necessary to get what she needed from him. She was casually passing time with this international playboy while her things were loaded into his helicopter.
“I hope you won’t mind that I’ve made some arrangements to show you around later tonight and during this week? I suggest you rest this afternoon, and I’ll pick you up for a late dinner.”
“That sounds fantastic.” When Emily smiled this time, it was genuine. She didn’t have to fake her enthusiasm. Spending time getting close to this man wouldn’t be a hardship. And if he did have anything to do with her father’s death, it would be a pleasure bringing him down. The years had hardened her heart after Jason had broken it. The only thing that mattered would be finding the man who killed her father and getting her revenge.