Monday, September 20, 2010
Promo Monday - On the Warpath
Available now at Sugar and Spice Press
New Release: September 18, 2010
On the Warpath by Imari Jade
After the death of his best friend, Secret Service Agent, Hayden Mercier swore that he would never have a partner again, but before he could voice his opinion, his boss went behind his back and assigned him one. Not only was Agent Harris, bossy, arrogant, and a rookie, but he turned out to be a she with long willowy shapely legs, a body that filled out her uniform well, and a face so beautiful it made him feel things he hadn’t felt in a long time. How could he protect the President of the United States when he’d have to worry about keeping every male in the agency away from his partner?
All Nevaeh Harris wanted to do was serve the country that she loved the best way she knew how. She felt honored to be assigned to a position to guard the President so early in her career. That was until she learned that her partner was Hayden Mercier, a renegade agent who had lost his partner in the line of duty. Well she was taught early in life that she couldn’t let anything stand in her way when it came to getting things done, and that included egotistical, chauvinistic handsome males who thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen. She’d do her job and do it well, even if it meant dragging him along with her.
“I don’t really think I need a new partner, Chief. I’ve been doing pretty well without one,” Hayden Mercier said to his boss, Dan Parker, late one afternoon in the parking lot outside the Secret Service building in Washington. Having a partner often caused too many problems, and when one died it fucked with his emotions.
Dan watched him with keen brown eyes that had seen a lot over thirty years. “It’s been two years, Hayden. Time to get over the guilt.”
“Aaron was my partner. I should have been there for him.”
“As great as you are, even you can’t be in two places at one time. Your job is to protect the President first, and all others next.”
Of course Hayden understood his job perfectly well, since he’d been doing it for the last ten years. That did not mean he liked choosing between the leader of the country and his best friend. Not having a partner meant never making that decision again.
“You’ll like Harris,” Dan said after giving him time to accept that the choice wasn’t his. “The two of you have a lot in common.”
Hayden doubted that. “Harris who? I don’t recall anyone in the agency by that name.”
Dan shifted his hands into the pocket of his navy blue pants. “Well, Harris is new to the Secret Service.”
Hayden raised a concerned eyebrow. “A rookie?”
Dan nodded. “Technically yes, but she’s…”
Hayden interrupted him. “She? A female rookie?” He started to pace. “This shit just keeps getting better. Not only are you trying to saddle me with a partner I know nothing about and don’t want, but you’re telling me that she’s a female rookie. Listen, I don’t have time to baby-sit, and skirts are nothing but trouble.”
Dan pulled his hands out of his pocket. “I never pictured you as a chauvinist, Hayden, and please don’t refer to the female agents as ‘skirts.’ They have just as much right to serve in the Service as any male. If they’re good enough to give birth to a president, they're good enough to guard and protect him.”
Hayden folded his arm and raised his chin defiantly. “Then you take her on as a partner.”
Dan shook his head. “Can’t. Starting next month I’m giving up the field for a desk job.”
“Huh?” Hayden relaxed his stance. “Are you sick? Are they forcing you to?”
“No, I’m not sick, but I am nearly sixty-two years old. It’s my decision. I’m getting too old to be running around, and I sure as hell don’t want to cause a death because my reflexes are slowing down. This kind of work is a young man’s or young woman’s game, and retirement is just around the corner for me.”
At thirty Hayden couldn’t fathom such a thing as retirement…maybe when he was the ripe old age of seventy…maybe.
A black Chevy SUV pulled into the parking lot and a female exited, dressed in a navy blue suit and a white blouse. Hayden looked her over from head to toe and back down to her legs, which were muscular and curvy wrapped in coffee-colored hose.
“Here’s Harris now,” Dan replied.
Hayden watched her approach, checking out every detail from her jet-black hair color to the way she walked in high-heeled black pumps. Everything about her spoke class and perfection. Not one long dark hair stood out of place. Finally he’d met someone as particular as he was about their appearance.
The young woman walked over to Dan and shook his hand. “Thank you for considering me for the job. I’ll try not to let you down.”
She had a deep and throaty voice. Man oh man, I’m dead. Hey, what job? Had everything been arranged before his boss had confronted him?
“Harris, I’d like to introduce you to your new partner, Hayden Mercier. Hayden, this is Agent Nevaeh Harris.”
Nevaeh? Native-American Indian and African-American mixture. Damn, she’s stunning.
Nevaeh extended her hand to him. “Nice to meet you, Agent Mercier. Agent Parker has told me so much about you.”
A Cajun accent like his too. Hayden shook her hand out of politeness. “He hasn’t told me anything about you. I only learned of your existence right before you drove up.”
Nevaeh smiled, revealing beautiful teeth and dimples. “Must have been a shock learning that your new partner is not only a rookie but a female too.”
“Add the fact that you’re also beautiful and Cajun, and you can see my dilemma. I’ll be keeping male agents off of you and forgetting to protect the President.” Damn, she has some seriously long lashes too.
Nevaeh didn’t blush. She just stood there staring blankly at him with those almond-shaped dark brown eyes.
“Let me guess. You don’t want a partner.”
“No, I don’t, but Dan knew it and still brought you here.”
“Tough,” Nevaeh replied. “Now you’re trapped between a rock and a hard place.”
“Well, at least you’re honest about it and not trying to be nice to spare my feelings.”
Hayden liked her bluntness. “I’m not that nice.”
“I thought Agent Parker was nuts when he suggested that I pair up with you too. You’re not exactly known for your friendless.”
Hayden balled his hands into fists. “You don’t know a thing about me, lady.”
Nevaeh nodded. “I’ve done my research on you, and please refrain from calling me ‘lady.’ The name is Agent Harris or Nevaeh, if and when we become friends.”
Dan stifled a laugh. “Told you the two of you have a lot in common. Must be something in the water in Louisiana.”
Hayden frowned. “Oil jokes not appreciated.” In April a major oil company’s ship exploded near his hometown and contaminated the water. Several lives were lost, and for months fishermen and shrimpers worried about their futures. “You from Louisiana too?”
“Lafayette,” she replied. “And you?”
“See, the two of you are practically neighbors.”
Nevaeh shook her head. “That does not change the fact that he does not want a female as a partner.”
“I never said that. Your sex has nothing to do with it. I just prefer to work alone.”
“Most renegades do.”
The more she spoke the more he felt like taking her over his knees and paddling the hell out of her. This generation of young people was a bunch of smartasses. “I’m no renegade.”
“But you don’t do things exactly by the book.”
Hayden hovered over her. “Sometimes you need to deviate from the norm to get the job done.”
“I’ll remember that at your trial.” She turned her attention back to Dan. “I’ll take the job.”
“Over my dead body,” Hayden muttered. “I did not agree to take you on as a partner.”
“Since you don’t own or run Homeland Security, you don’t get a say so,” Nevaeh reminded him. “You’ll accept me as your partner and like it.”
The smug look on Dan’s face angered him. “Why don’t you say something?”
“What do you want me to say? It’s a free world, and she has opinions.”
“Damn skirt,” Hayden mumbled as he walked away from them. He’d be damned if he’d be bossed around by this arrogant woman. Under no circumstances would she be his partner. He didn’t care how beautiful she was, or how fine she was, or how horny she made him just standing there looking at her. Nevaeh Harris was not going to be his partner. He sighed. If he stayed around her all the time he’d keep a permanent erection, and the next thing he’d knew he’d do something stupid like try to fuck her.