Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New Book: The Chimera Affair

When young Sebastian Brambani meets a sexy and exciting older man, he’s easily seduced. But for spy Kyle Grant, it’s all business—Sebastian is simply a pawn in Kyle’s mission to acquire a dangerous chemical weapon from Sebastian’s criminal father. Kyle’s life is his work for a shadowy international agency protecting the world from evil, and he can’t worry about what will happen to Sebastian when the job is done.

Sebastian’s unwitting role in Kyle’s plan is the last straw for his ruthless father, who has been embarrassed by his gay son for the last time. But when Kyle discovers Sebastian could be the key to finding the deadly Chimera, he rescues him from a hired hitman and fights to keep him alive. Can a hardened spy and naïve college student take down a criminal kingpin, stay one step ahead of the killers on their trail—and fight the scorching attraction between them?

Read an Excerpt

As he stepped out of the car, Sebastian hugged his arms to his body tightly, shivering in the cold as the wet snow fell. He hurried toward the porch, but Kyle yanked him back. “Don’t move.”

Sebastian stayed put as Kyle circled the cabin, keen eyes searching. When he disappeared around the back, Sebastian peered at the thick forest surrounding them. His leather shoes weren’t meant for running—let alone running in the Alps. Besides, Kyle had proven he was faster.

A moment later Kyle reappeared. He dropped down and examined under the porch, shining a small but powerful flashlight into the murk. When he seemed satisfied, he climbed the creaky wooden stairs and landed a powerful kick to the front door. After another, it splintered and gave way.

Inside, it hadn’t changed much from Sebastian’s dim childhood memories. The utilitarian, wooden furniture was a marked difference from the opulence Arrigo usually favored. The cabin was a snapshot in time, with an ancient wood-burning stove and no electricity. Kyle lit the lantern sitting on the solid old table and began searching.

Sebastian watched as he methodically explored the room. There was no bedroom, and the bathroom was an outhouse. A double bed sat against the wall in one corner, and when Sebastian sat on it, the springs creaked.

It seemed as if Kyle forgot he was even there as he hunted, and Sebastian wondered if the keys were still in the sedan. Doubtful, and even if they were, he didn’t think he’d be fast enough to get to the car before Kyle caught him. He thought again of Kyle’s hard, strong body pressing him down into the ground. How his mouth had tasted the night before. The jolt of excitement and pleasure when he’d pushed his finger inside Sebastian.

Abruptly he stood and began pacing. Kyle’s attention was now on the wood box beside the stove, where a few pieces of chopped wood remained inside. Sebastian couldn’t imagine his father would have hidden a chemical weapon in there and was about to say as much when Kyle pulled firmly on the box and it slid out, revealing an old metal safe about three feet high.

Sitting back on his heels, Kyle inspected it. He leaned in closely, turning the knob this way and that.

“Can you crack it?” Sebastian asked. The sooner they got the powder, the sooner he could…what? What exactly was he going to do? Kyle had promised to help him, but, realistically, Sebastian knew Kyle was just as likely to put a bullet in his brain the minute he had what he wanted.

“Of course. It’ll take some time. The older safes are actually harder. Fingerprint scanners and other modern gizmos make it much easier.”

“How?” A deeply unpleasant thought occurred. “Do you…cut people’s fingers off?”

At this Kyle smirked. “Only when I have to.”

“That’s really comforting.”

“Most people don’t wipe off the fingerprint scanner. You just need to lift the print from the scanner itself, and you’re in.”

“Good to know.” Sebastian peered out the small front window. The wind had begun howling, and the pane shook slightly. Outside, visibility was poor and getting worse as night settled in. Fantastic.

“Get my bag from the car. Backseat.” Kyle glanced over his shoulder. “I have the keys, so don’t even think about it.”

“If you have the keys, how am I supposed to get in?”

Kyle raised an eyebrow as he pulled the keys from his pocket and pressed a button. Sebastian could hear the faint chirp as the car unlocked. “Hurry up.”

Yes, sir,” Sebastian muttered under his breath.

Outside he gasped at how much colder it was now that night had fallen. Slipping in the wet snow and mud, he rushed to the car and flung open the back door. A brown duffel bag sat on the seat as promised. Sebastian grabbed it and hurried back to the cabin.

He dropped the bag by Kyle and eyed the stove. “Can we start a fire?”

“No. This won’t take long.”

Sebastian wrapped his arms around himself and grumbled as he resumed pacing. “At least you have a jacket.”

Apparently ignoring him, Kyle pulled out a leather case from his duffel. He unzipped it and removed some kind of metal tool. “Any guesses as to what the combination might be?”

“How many numbers are there?”

“With this make and model, should be five.”

Sebastian pondered. Should he really try to help Kyle break into the safe? Perhaps if his father’s men showed up, he could reason with them. He thought of the cold, dark eyes of the man in the garage and sighed. Just get this over with. “Try fifty-two, sixteen, thirty-eight, seven, twenty-five.”

Kyle turned the dial, alternating left and right. He turned the handle, but the safe remained locked. “Nope. Try again.”

“I don’t know. Maybe a different combination of those numbers. They’re all to do with my nonna. This is her place, so he would probably have been thinking of her when he set the combination. Or he was thinking of something else entirely. I don’t know.”

Kyle tried a few more iterations of the numbers before reaching for another tool. He worked silently, head close to the metal door of the safe as he listened with something that looked like a modified stethoscope. After ten minutes of pacing, Sebastian felt like he had to break the unnerving quiet.

“So, how do I know you’re really a spy and not just some mercenary?”

“I’m really a spy,” Kyle said as he turned the dial on the safe.

Sebastian studied him. Kyle seemed like he was telling the truth, but then so had Steven. “You got lucky with the guard monitoring the cameras. Father said he was watching football. If he’d been doing his job, they would have caught you.”

“It wasn’t luck. The man’s a huge AC Milan fan. Our contact made sure he was working the cameras that night. And I’m fast. It might have been closer, but they wouldn’t have caught me.”

A spy would have contacts who could arrange things like that, wouldn’t he? At least that’s how it worked in Bond films. “You’re awfully sure of yourself.” Sebastian shivered. “It’s freezing. Hurry up.”

“Well, shut up and let me concentrate. I only have one number left.”

“They’re always a lot faster in the movies.” Sebastian stalked over to the stove and opened the door. As he tossed a log inside, Kyle was suddenly there, whipping him around, fingers digging into Sebastian’s arm.

He towered over Sebastian. “I said no fire. I’m in charge, remember?”

Vaffanculo. Fuck you.” Sebastian tugged his arm free. He knew he was being childish, but he couldn’t stop himself. “I don’t take orders from you.”

“Yes, you do. Now get a blanket, sit down, and shut up.”

Sebastian stood his ground, toe-to-toe with Kyle. “No. Maybe I’ll take my chances with my father and his men after all. Anything would be better than being with you.”

Kyle’s jaw clenched and his nostrils flared. “Sit. Down.”

“Fuck. You.” All the anger and fear and tension of the day boiled over, and Sebastian shoved against Kyle’s chest.

A moment later he was tumbling backward, landing on the squeaky bed with Kyle on top of him. Kyle stared down, his gaze dangerous, Sebastian’s wrists in his hands. “Are you done?”

They were both breathing heavily, and as Sebastian struggled to free himself, he only succeeded in rubbing against Kyle. “Go to hell.” As punctuation he spit into Kyle’s face, his saliva spraying Kyle’s cheek.

For a long moment, Kyle was completely still, and a fresh, icy tendril of fear uncoiled in Sebastian’s gut. Too far. Then Kyle dove at him, tongue driving inside as Sebastian gasped. His body responded immediately as Kyle mastered his mouth, leaving him breathless.

Suddenly Kyle tore away and rolled off the bed, shoving Sebastian to the floor. Sebastian kicked and punched at him. “Get off me!”

Kyle ignored him as he lunged at the table, dousing the lantern and plunging the cabin into darkness as the first bullets shattered the window.

Read more in The Chimera Affair!


sylvan65 said...

Oooo! I've been cruising this book, ready to pounce. Congratulations!

Keira Andrews said...

Thanks so much! I hope you enjoy it. :D

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