PLAY FAIR . . . OR PLAY TO WIN?
Falling in love with polar-opposite men was an intoxicating ride that nearly ended Sage Reese’s life. Now it’s time for Sage to decide: Parker, the clean-cut, filthy-rich business magnate . . . or Ryker, the tough-as-nails undercover detective. Her choice? Neither. Because she can’t stand the thought of coming between two brothers-in-arms finally trying to repair their friendship.
Yet not everyone feels the same way, including a mysterious woman who’s come to Ryker and Parker for help. Sage knows firsthand how hard it is for the two former Marines to resist a damsel in distress. But something just doesn’t feel right.
Now there’s a danger closing in that only Sage can see, and she intends to do everything she can to protect Parker and Ryker-even at the risk of losing them both . . .
Ryker stared at me, seemingly uncomprehending. Not that I could blame him. I’d just arrived on his doorstep in the middle of the night, though it didn’t look like he’d been asleep.
“They came to my apartment,” I continued, my voice flat. “They took me and they killed him. They just…killed him.” I couldn’t continue. Tears poured from my eyes as I began to sob. I’d been numb before, the ordeal of being kidnapped necessitating a distance from the horror of what had happened in my apartment. Was Parker’s body there even now?
I couldn’t breathe. Ryker was talking to me but I couldn’t hear him and I still couldn’t breathe. My knees buckled and if he hadn’t had a hold of me, I would’ve crumpled to the floor.
“Sage! Listen to me…” Ryker implored, but I barely heard him.
Suddenly, I was torn from his grasp. A hand forced my chin up and I blinked open my eyes—
I gasped, stumbling backward, but he caught me.
“I’m okay,” he said, his blue eyes boring into mine. “They didn’t kill me. I’m all right.”
My jaw was hanging open, my sobs abruptly cut off, and then I threw myself at him.
“Oh my God oh my God oh my God,” I kept repeating, my arms circling his neck so tightly I had to be choking him. Not that he seemed to mind. “You’re here! You’re okay.” More tears, but this time of relief rather than heartbreak.
Parker held me just as close, his arms around my waist just this side of painfully tight. His face was buried in my neck and I savored the feel of him in a way I never had before…because I’d never been so close to losing him as I had come tonight.
The sound of Ryker clearing his throat brought me back to the here and now, and I pulled back, releasing Parker. He let me go, albeit reluctantly it seemed. An uncomfortable awareness settled over me as I stepped away to put some space between Parker and me. Ryker stood a few feet away, shirtless with a bandage covering the burn on his chest, watching us.
“So, um, how, uh, how did you get here?” I asked Parker, hurriedly swiping my wet cheeks. My voice was hoarse and I avoided both their gazes, instead sinking onto the couch. I glanced around hopefully for McClane, but remembered he was still recuperating at the vet’s.
“Ryker showed up just in time, before Leo and his men decided to finish me off,” Parker said.
Leo Shea. Crime boss, ruthless “businessman,” and the guy who’d not only tried to kill me, but had decided to kill Parker, too. Lives meant nothing to him. Parker’s had been for expediency; mine was for revenge. Only luck in the former and the timely intervention of my father’s in the latter had thwarted Leo.
“And your apartment needs another cleanup job, by the way. I’ll call to get it done.”
Good to know. I wondered if whoever the CIA used for that sort of thing offered a discount for frequent customers.
“I knew they’d taken you,” Parker continued. “Ryker has weapons and ammunition, so we came here.”
He didn’t continue, but I could fill in the rest. They’d been on their way to rescue me. Well, at least they could agree on something at last.
And Ryker had ended up keeping Parker alive. I remembered now. Ryker had dropped me off at my place, then left to go to the police station, but had said he’d be back. Looked like his timing couldn’t have been better. He’d saved Parker, a man he supposedly hated.
Now the two men stood a few feet apart, both looking at me. The enormity of all that had happened during the past few days washed over me and I lifted a hand to rub my forehead. Ryker had said he wasn’t giving up on me, and Parker had told me he loved me. My headache seemed to grow exponentially, especially when images of Parker and me in my bed flashed through my mind.