Friday, 14 December 2012

A Thief on Christmas Eve - pre-order started

You’re an FBI agent. No, really, you are. Trust me on this. 

Your name is Julian Harris and you’ve recently been promoted to the head of the newly implemented Division for Art-Related Crimes. You’ve spent the best part of the past three years chasing a notorious art thief and cat burglar. You don’t know what the guy looks like, even though you’ve been studying his every move. You’ve even given him a name. Romeo. Because you know he’s charming from what little witnesses have told you. You also know that, as far as crimes go, he’s brilliant. But you have a clever mind, too, and you have figured out how to catch him.

And that’s why you spend Christmas Eve in a lonely house in the mountains, the place of his next heist. You’re waiting for him. It’s freezing cold outside, but inside it’s warm and snug. 

You’ve been there for hours, sitting and listening to every noise of the wind outside, every cracking of the wood around you until at last, you hear someone enter. You know it’s him; it must be him. Your heart is hammering inside your chest, but you force yourself to sit still and keep waiting. 

A shadowy figure crosses the room. He walks to the safe, kneels in front of it, reaches out and—

“FBI. Freeze.”
The man didn’t even startle at the sudden sharp order. Crouching in front of the safe, one hand on the lock, he obediently paused mid-motion.
“Now raise your hands.”
Julian didn’t need to repeat the order. The burglar raised his hands but kept the rest of his body perfectly still. Controlled. Tense and ready to move, not the resigned slackness of someone who had given up.
“Don’t think you can try anything now. It’s over for you. I’ve got a loaded gun in my hand that is currently pointed at your right shoulder. If you make a sudden move, I’ll pull the trigger. The bullet will smash the bone and your arm will be useless for a couple of months, maybe forever depending on what it is that you want to use it for. Now turn around. Slowly,” Julian warned and flicked on the light.
Obedient, the man turned to face him, hands still raised above his head, and for the first time ever, Julian had the chance to really see the phantom he’d been chasing all these months.
“You’re younger than I thought.”
“No, just surprised. Good for you, though. It means that if you’re lucky, you’ll have enough years left for a chance to build yourself a life worth living by the time you get out of prison.”
The man was indeed quite a bit younger than Julian had expected him to be. He was probably somewhere in his mid-twenties rather than the late thirties or even forties that would have been more likely considering the trail he’d left and the time he must have spent to train his—admittedly admirable—set of skills to perfection.
There was a curious, almost amused expression on his face as he met Julian’s gaze levelly with a pair of striking blue eyes. Julian couldn’t help but notice that yes, he was just as attractive as the reports on him claimed, maybe even more so. The few reports they had were witness descriptions and, although the man had robbed each and every one of them, they all agreed that he was incredibly handsome and delightfully charming. Most of the females involved seemed to think that being relieved of a part of their fortune was well worth the pleasure of a flirt with him. And yet, none of those delighted ladies had been able to sit down and give a description of him that was worth wasting a drawer’s time on.
“I’m Special Agent Julian Harris, FBI. Any preference which one of your names you’d like me to use for this?”
“Pick one—I answer to all of them,” the man answered with a sly grin. The trace of an accent tinted his voice. It was hard to place, but Julian assumed it to be British. Interesting.
“Hmm, let’s see...We’ve got Brian Crandell, Greg Anderson, Richard Stavell, and Robert Dunn. Oh, and then there’s Curtis Halden of course.” Julian looked across the room into those mesmerizing blue eyes that openly mocked him. “You could always tell me your real name, you know. We’ll find out sooner or later anyway.”
“Nice try but—no. If you don’t like my aliases you can use the nickname you got for me.”
“Sure. You guys always have one.”
“Is that so?”
“I know you have. Come on, what’s mine?”
Julian gave in with a sigh. “Romeo.”
“Hmm, not quite what I expected, but I like it. Maybe I should create an alias using it. Mmm, Romeo Escalus perhaps. What do you think?”
“I think you won’t need another alias for quite a while. In fact, chances are you’re going to be identified by a set of figures for the years to come.”
“Ah, good answer.” The thief nodded appreciatively. “I thought you would say something like that. Anyway, why Romeo?”
Julian grinned in spite of himself. Either the man didn’t realize what situation he was in or he had a rather warped sense of humor.
“You used a plain old ladder to enter through a window the first time we heard about you. You go for pretty things and never leave a woman you meet uncharmed.”
“Oh, okay. I guess I get your drift. And where does your first name being Julian fit into this?”
Julian suppressed the urge to shift his weight, knowing that it would only make him look nervous. Which he wasn’t. Much. “Just a coincidence.”
“Ah. Who came up with it?”
“That would’ve been me.”
“I’m sure the guys in your division love you for offering them that one on a silver tray.” The guy was sharp, that much was clear. Disturbingly so. Easily picking up on Julian’s embarrassment, he offered what looked like a sincere enough smile. Julian ignored it and abandoned the topic with a swift “Sure you don’t want to tell me your real name?”
“Well then, we’ll just have to do it without the name for now, but just so we’re clear—you are under arrest,” Julian said sternly, forcing himself to ignore just how inviting those sinfully lush lips were that curled just a little more in a half-smile.
“I know.”
“Good. I’m going to cuff you now.”
“Oh. Just like that? Is that your idea of foreplay?”
Julian refused to pursue the image that reference created in his head and almost succeeded. At least his voice was still firm and professional as he said, “No point cracking jokes. Hands behind your back.”

A Thief on Christmas Eve (Romeo & Julian 1) by Sage Marlowe, MM erotic romance, contemporary, action/suspense. Releases: December 22nd, available to pre-order at a 10% discount now:


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