Undercover FBI agent Nikolai has been treading a fine line between right and wrong for the last few years, and everything he has worked for is thrown into utter chaos the moment he risks it all to save Harper.
Harper’s life has just been turned upside down, and now she must rely on the one man who has been lying to her from the moment they met.
Can they overcome all the dirty lies told between them?
Nikolai leaned against the bar of the night club with a drink in hand, the cool liquid sliding its way down his throat as the lights pulsed and the music blared. Beside him, his partner Travis chatted with some brunette whose tits seemed bigger than her brain from the way their conversation had deteriorated. Nikolai gave them five more minutes before the chick dragged Travis to the bathroom to finish things off.
"Jesus Christ, man, just do her already, would you? We’ve got work to do," he muttered and finished off the last of his drink.
The woman threw him a withering glare and attempted to be affronted by his comment as though that hadn’t been her endgame to begin with.
"Ignore him, sweetheart. The man’s on edge because he hasn’t had the pleasure of a Tesoro like you in a while." Travis chuckled, nuzzling the woman’s neck and whispering something Nikolai couldn’t hear. Given her intense reaction, he was kind of glad.
“Travis,” he warned.
The other man sighed. "Why don’t we finish this...elsewhere, Tracey?"
“It’s Stacey,” she said with a frown, her brows smoothing out almost instantly as she shrugged. “And will he be joining us?”
Nikolai nearly choked. “Ah, he will be just fine thanks.”
Giving him what he supposed was an extremely intoxicated come-hither look, she reached out and stroked her hand down his arm. “Are you sure?”
“I’m sure.” He glowered at Travis. “Just hurry the fuck up.”
Travis winked and grinned. "Come on, man. We both know my prowess is better than that."
Before Nikolai could snap back with some scathing retort, Travis grabbed Stacey and all but dragged her away.
“Testa di cazzo.”
Christ, he hated having to be the serious one. Here they had a job to do, and Travis was once again off fucking some chick in a dirty bathroom while he kept watch and waited. It surprised him that Travis’ cock hadn’t fallen off with all the action it got. Hell, the family would likely remove it themselves if they screwed this up. Working for the Martinelli’s had its perks, but it also had its consequences if you fucked up. You did not want to piss off one of the main families of the Italian mob.
And Nikolai, well, he was pulling double duty for them and the FBI, and if the Martinelli’s found out who he really was then he’d be dead within seconds.
Ah, undercover work. Why the hell had he volunteered for this again?
Still, the chance to have a hand in taking down the people who ran the city’s major sex trafficking network was worth the risk. Nikolai had seen enough of the damage in his time working for Boston PD. The aftermath, the human beings reduced to nothing but mere cattle and then left in the gutter when they were considered damaged goods, were too much for him to handle. So when he joined the FBI, and worked his way into the Organized Crime Unit, he jumped at the chance for this assignment.
If only he had realized how complicated things would end up.
“Can I buy you a drink?” a husky, yet slightly irritating voice asked him, jerking him out of his daze.
Fuck. He was supposed to be on the lookout.
Nikolai turned his head to peer at the woman. Average height, slim build, and eager blue eyes stared back at him. Looking closer, he realized this was no woman, but a kid, no more than sixteen or seventeen if he had to guess. And dressed to impress.
Smiling politely, Nikolai shook his head. “Sorry, kid. I’m a bit busy at the moment.”
Although cute in her own way, he wasn’t interested or into statutory rape.
The young girl’s gaze narrowed. “What? Are you working or something?”
He smirked. “Something like that.”
If only she knew.
“So you’re a whore?” the girl scoffed, and Nikolai fought hard not to roll his eyes. “In the wrong area aren’t you?”
Annoyed, Nikolai turned to face the adolescent brat square on. “No, I’m not a puttana.” However, your quick assumption and clear lack of common sense, suggest you are much younger than you claim to be.” He shrugged. “At least to get into this club anyway.”
The girl all but screeched in outrage. The term if looks could kill came to mind. “You asshole. You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Uhuh, I’m sure I don’t,” he drawled, his eyes moving to scan the room again. He huffed out a sigh when the girl continued to stand there scowling. “Listen, we both know you are too young to be here and way too young to be offering what you’re not so willing to give just yet.”
Her attitude morphed with his words, and she pouted. “Can I even get your name?”
His eyes narrowed as he studied the girl. She had been quick to react to almost anything he had thrown at her, and even faster in deflecting. Her ability to go from seductress to outrage, to manipulation, was like a warning bell. Fuck...the kid was a pro or at least one in training.
Knowing only kind and concerned words would encourage, Nikolai settled for glaring. “Go home, little girl. You don’t belong here. And you don’t want to.”
Without a second glance, Nikolai grabbed his drink and left the bar, moving through the crowd.
The thumping of the beat echoed and vibrated up through his feet. He loved the sound of techno, nothing got bodies swaying and grinding like a decent bass.
He felt eyes roaming over him as he passed through the crowd. Nikolai knew what they saw. Ice blue eyes, broad, muscular shoulders with thick thighs encased in a tight pair of black denim and a white shirt. His Italian roots were strong and noticeable with his hair so dark it looked black with flecks of light brown strands. With both arms covered in tattoos and a thick beard, Nikolai gave off a menacing vibe that worked well in his profession and had the added benefit of making people avoid him. Given that he wasn’t a fan of most people and hated conversation, even more, it worked for him.
Reaching the other side of the dance floor, he claimed a seat with a perfect view. While the sight of all those hot, sweaty bodies was tempting, Nikolai really did have a job to do.
“Well, that certainly relieved some tension.” Travis snickered, slapping him on the back as he flopped into the chair next to him.
Grunting, Nikolai narrowed his gaze at the other man. “You know, when guys go to the bathroom to relieve themselves, they usually have something else in mind.”
“Not if they’re doing it right.” Travis chuckled.
Shaking his head, Nikolai’s gaze continued to move around the room, keeping an eye out. “Focus, will you. The targets should be here any moment.”
Travis' eyes were already scanning the room, taking in the throng of moving bodies on the dance floor, and slipping to the few women who sat at the tables nearby. The guy couldn’t help himself.
"See anything?" Nikolai asked, growing more concerned by the minute when nothing appeared to be happening. Were they being set up?
"Actually, there might be?" Travis’ eyes lit up as he spotted something across the room. “But it’s not the something we were expecting, that’s for fucking sure.”
Nikolai followed Travis’s gaze, and his entire body froze when he caught sight of who more than what had Travis’s attention.
Shit. Not her.
“Isn’t that Annabella and those two friends of hers? What are…” Travis’s voice trailed off in disbelief.
Nikolai growled. “What are the chances that the club we are sent to in order to stop a trade from going down, also happens to be the same one the daughter of one of the five families has decided to party at?”
Shit. He wasn’t in a position to deal with this crap and had no real back up in place.
He watched as Annabella and her friends Harper and Corina moved to the dance floor. They wore identical easy-going smiles as a few men closed in on them, giving them their undivided attention.
Travis nodded, a peculiar look on his face. “Did we actually get intel on what was being traded?”
“No. Just that whatever it was had a large price tag attached. The family wanted us to intervene, grab it for ourselves and if need be take out the competition,” he said absently, his eyes fixed on the young women. “You don’t think they are the...?”
“Yeah. I really fucking do.”
When Travis got quiet, Nikolai snuck a glance at him, worried when he could see the other man contemplating something.
“We should let this play out.”
“No,” Nikolai said too quickly.
Travis eyed him suspiciously before frowning. “You think the family will be any more impressed if we bring Annabella home but can’t identify who was after her? They are already looking for a mole in the ranks. No need to draw attention to ourselves and have them ask if we’re up to the task they gave us, ya pussy.”
“They’re just girls. We can’t use them as bait,” he snapped.
Christ, there were lines he was forced to cross on a regular basis, but this?
“Since when do you care?” Travis raised an inquiring brow. “Or is it just a who?”
Grunting, Nikolai ignored the question, and that seemed to encourage Travis.
“I’ve seen the way you eye that Harper chick Annabella’s friends with.”
Travis didn’t know the half of it.
For the last few months, he and Harper had been what could be loosely termed as dating. Ever since the families hosted their enormous Christmas party.
Too much wine and festive cheer had found the two of them going at it like rabbits in one of the upstairs bathrooms. Not his finest moment, he would have to admit. However, things hadn’t ended there. They had managed to stumble their way back to his apartment and had spent the entire weekend getting to know each other thoroughly.
That’s when he realized she knew nothing about their world or what her friend’s family was truly capable of. Harper was an innocent.
Knowing it was a mistake, but not able to make himself care, they spent more and more time together. Before he knew it, they had a regular standing date every Thursday night.
And now she had a target on her back. All because he chose to encourage her presence within this circle of madness, instead of chasing her away from Annabella and himself.
Nikolai glared at him and then stood. “Let’s grab them and get out of here.”
“I still think we should…”
As Travis trailed off, Nikolai frowned. “What?”
Travis practically leaped out of his chair, eyes widened in horror. “Oh fuck me.”
Nikolai’s confusion didn’t last long as he glanced at the crowd where the women had been and let out a string of curses when he realized why Travis was freaking out. “Where the fuck are they?”