Book 2 of the Sinful Business Series
Book 2 of the Sinful Business Series
Allyson Roberts has risen from the ashes. She now has a career, a relationship, and a purpose in life. But as a new assignment comes along, Jake Morrissey, the man who helped her rebuild her life and has been her rock ever since might now become too dangerous for her to love. Will Ally and Jake find a way to be together, or will they bait trouble?
Delilah Jones has always been the odd one out with a wayward past. Now, she has a chance to shine by completing an undercover assignment that has her colleagues at a standstill. But what if getting a lead will cost Delilah her only chance for true love? Will she have to choose between her heart and career, or will she find a way to have both?
What the Readers are Saying:
“I am NOT one to give spoilers but I would say. This is an amazing read. The twist, turns, choices, and supporting cast WOW moments. Yeah just go 1-click and get hooked.”
“You can feel the danger. Lots of twists and turns in this romantic suspense, you definitely NEED to grab a copy and read this book!”
“This is Marie Astor’s second book in the series and I continue to enjoy the story!!! Ally and Delilah make a great partnership in fighting crime!!”
“This is a great addition to the series. It drew me in from the very first page and kept me engaged till the very last page. I love how the characters are continuing to develop and grow. And, while I love Ally and Jake, I really enjoyed seeing how Delilah has grown and changed.”
“Full of action, thrills, romance. I hope there is another story in this series. I love it.”
“Surprise and suspense around every corner….romance mixed in. Love the characters! Great series! Can’t wait to see what twisted thing will happen next! Thanks for another awesome read! Looking forward to book 3!”
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Ally woke up to the smell of fried bacon coming from the kitchen. She smiled. Jake was making bacon and eggs—his specialty. As usual, he’d crept out of bed to make breakfast and Ally slept right through. When he wanted to, Jake could be quieter than a mouse, a skill he’d perfected after years of successful assignments. Ally stretched, relishing the delicious feeling of a Saturday morning. The best part was that she was going to have Jake to herself for the entire weekend. They could do whatever they wanted. The pleasant sensation was interrupted by the memory of her conversation with Marion from yesterday—in a week, Ally would be leaving for Oregon and she was yet to tell Jake. Well, that certainly ruined the mood.
“Wake up, sleepy head!” Jake’s voice carried from the kitchen. “Breakfast is almost ready.”
She kicked off the comforter and swung her legs over the edge of the bed. “I’m up!” Ally rushed to the bathroom to shower and brush her teeth.
Ten minutes later she emerged freshly showered and clad in a silk robe, the fancy one she wore when Jake stayed over, and headed for the kitchen.
Ally wrapped her arms around Jake’s shoulders. How she loved the feel of his strong body against hers. And his smell—she loved his smell—a mixture of just the right amount of cologne and a scent that was uniquely his. The prospect of not being able to see him for at least a month or maybe even longer was unbearable. She had stalled telling him the bad news last night not wanting to spoil the evening’s romantic mood, but now it made her feel worse, as though she was harboring an evil secret from him. She had to come clean now.
“Good morning.” Jake turned around and kissed her, holding her tightly. She clung to him not wanting to let go, wishing they could stay suspended in this moment forever. “Baby, what’s wrong?” he asked, sensing her unease. He could always tell when she wasn’t feeling right.
“It’s nothing,” she lied. “I’m just glad to see you this morning.”
“The feeling is mutual.” There was an easy smile on his lips, but his eyes were looking at her intently. “You sure you’re okay?”
“I’m ﬁne,” she insisted, deciding it best to postpone her news till after breakfast.
“Then let’s eat. The eggs will get cold.”
Jake had already set the table and brewed the coffee. Ally poured the coffee into two mugs, leaving it black for Jake and adding milk and sugar for herself. He placed the eggs on two plates and joined her at the table.
“I’m starving after last night,” he said with a wink, scooping a hefty bite of eggs with his fork.
Ally smiled. She knew exactly what he meant. They had had a hearty meal of cured meats, pasta, and wine for dinner last night, but then they’d worked it all off and then some during a very steamy lovemaking session afterwards. Actually, it had been three lovemaking sessions to be precise, but who was counting? Normally Ally would’ve been ravenous, but right now she could hardly manage a bite. The thought of her impending news had her stomach tied in guilty knots.
“You’re not eating,” Jake observed. His plate was already almost empty.
“I’m not very hungry,” she admitted, pushing her plate away.
“All right, what is it?” he asked, eyeing her with concern. “And don’t tell me it’s nothing. It’s clearly something.”
“There’s something I have to tell you. I should’ve told you last night, but I chickened out.”
He reached for her hand, his gray eyes ﬁxed intently on her. “Ally, you know you can tell me anything. What is it? Wait a minute, you’re not—” There was a questioning look in his eyes. “Pregnant?”
She shook her head, almost bursting out laughing. Jake’s powers of perception weren’t at their sharpest this morning. “That’s deﬁnitely not it. It’s work related.”
“Oh,” he said, sounding almost disappointed. “What did Marion come up with now?”
“I’m being sent to an undisclosed location. I won’t be able to call you or email you, and I won’t be able to tell you where I am. It’ll be for at least a month,” she broke off, wondering if she’d just breached protocol by telling Jake even that much. “I’m pretty sure I was allowed to tell you that part—it’s not giving anything away,” she continued. “I wish I could tell you more, but I can’t. I just found out yesterday. It starts a week from Monday, so I’ll probably have to leave next weekend to settle in.”
A smile of relief appeared on Jake’s face. “So that’s it? That’s the big news you’re eating yourself up about?”
“I was worried you’d be mad at me.”
“Mad at you for what?”
“For taking the assignment without telling you ﬁrst.”
“Ally, I’m not a rookie. I’ve been with the agency long enough to know the protocol. I wouldn’t have let you tell me the details of a classiﬁed assignment.” He spoke in a calm reassuring voice that instantly made her feel better. “We both chose to do a job that’s not nine to ﬁve and so far we’ve managed to make it work. I would never do anything to jeopardize your career or stand in the way of a good opportunity for you. Plus, it wouldn’t be an option even if I wanted you to pull out of this assignment, which I swear to you I never would. I know a thing or two about Marion, and when she gives you an assignment, you’d better take it or kiss your job goodbye.”
“That was pretty much the impression I got yesterday. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an exciting case and I’m ﬂattered to have the assignment, but I hate to be going away. Why does it have to be—”
“Shhh.” He placed a ﬁnger on her lips, and she realized that she had almost blurted out the location where she’d be going. “I don’t want you to tell me anything more. Of course I would never betray your conﬁdence, but sometimes circumstances conspire in such a way that knowledge becomes self-evident and I would never want you to be in a situation where you could be accused of divulging a classiﬁed location.”
“Thanks. That was pretty dumb of me. I’m sorry.”
“You don’t have anything to be sorry about. And you’re certainly far from dumb.”
She sighed. “I just wish this wasn’t so complicated.”
“Hey, life is complicated in general. Throw in jobs like ours and you pretty much triple the complexity level. But if anyone can manage it, it’s us.”
She nodded. “I’d like to believe that. Can I ask you something?”
“Have you always wanted to work for the agency?”
Jake shook his head. “Of all the questions you could’ve picked, you chose this one?”
“I’d like to know.”
“All right. No, I didn’t. It was never something I aspired to, but my dad thought it’d be a great career path to get into politics. And he was right. It could’ve been if I had followed his advice, but I didn’t.”
“What do you mean?”
“Instead of picking a nice cozy desk job and kissing up to senior management, I chose ﬁeld assignments, took unnecessary risks, and made a general nuisance of myself.”
“I’m sure that’s not true. Marion thinks very highly of you.”
“Sure, whenever she wants something out of me.” He chuckled. “But even though I never aspired to this career, it grew on me. I’ll probably sound pompous, but I’ll say it anyway. This world needs its watchdogs to stop things from going haywire. Energy is like air—while it’s there you don’t notice it, but once it’s gone it becomes very hard to breathe. We’re here to make sure that doesn’t happen. I’m going to borrow Marion’ s expression and say that we’re here to make sure that people don’t start playing God. Like Blaine Platt, for instance.”
Ally drew a sharp breath. To say that the Blaine Platt case had been close to home would’ve been an understatement of massive proportions. “Yes,” she said, “it’s our job to make sure that what happened to my father doesn’t happen to others. That’s why I chose to stay on with the agency.” The memory of her father’s ruin was never far from her thoughts. She’d managed to clear her father’s name, but nothing could ever bring her father back to life. He was gone forever.
Jake nodded, a grave expression on his face. “Blaine Platt destroyed your father’s company because he thought himself above the law. He thought he could rule the world and tell people what to do, where to do, and how to do it. He was everything that your father despised, and unfortunately we weren’t there in time to stop him. But at least we made sure that Platt got the punishment he deserved, even if it was too late.”
Ally looked away. Even now, hearing Blaine Platt’s name stirred up raw emotions in her. Blaine Platt had been her father’s most vicious competitor. He’d destroyed her father and everything he stood for. Ally’s father was accused of crimes he didn’t commit and Roberts Enterprises had to ﬁle for bankruptcy. Ally lost her father, her fortune, and everything she knew.