Elizabeth Shields and Connor McManus are both operatives with Cobra International Solutions (CIS), a private security firm. Two years ago, Connor saved her life during a mission that went sideways and she’s never forgotten his bravery in that moment. He’s made no secret of his attraction to “Lilibet,” his pet name for her and both have kept their distance due to the company’s fraternization ban. When Connor is notified of his best friend’s murder in Glasgow, he takes leave to be with Jack Murray’s family and try to figure out what happened. Elizabeth is set to leave for vacation but realizes quickly that Connor needs her help and arrives in Scotland instead of the beach.
I’ve watched these two dance around their attraction since the inception of the series and was glad to see them finally deal with it. What I didn’t expect was to fall for these two, especially Elizabeth who was completely different from what I’d imagined her to be. She was daring, charming, über smart and playfully uninhibited in her relationship with Connor. I knew I liked him but after learning about his origins, growing up poor and rejected in the slums of Glasgow, I came to seriously admire him and how he developed into an honorable, loyal and courageous man. These two put some serious steam in this story but it was an essential part of their relationship and the story. It’s rare for me to say that but in this case, it defined the two in ways that words couldn’t.
The investigation into Jack’s murder was interesting, though I’d figured out the bare details pretty easily. However, that didn’t detract from the excitement or the pleasure of experiencing Elizabeth in action. I’m loving this series and I loved this romance. They were something special.
Quinn walked in wearing a T-shirt and gym pants that rode low on his hips. He flashed Elizabeth a smile and walked over to the free weights, setting up the chest press.
Elizabeth had seen him work out before-all that muscle in action. Cobra had a gym in the basement that most of the employees used to stay fit. The difference between Cobra’s gym and this place was that they were on vacation now-and they were alone.
It would be so easy to give in and let her hormones win. She’d danced with Quinn and knew he was good with his body. He’d probably be as lethal in bed as he was out of it. But she’d hooked up with a coworker once before and had paid a terrible price for it. She’d sworn to herself never to make that mistake again.
Still, she was on vacation. It didn’t hurt to ogle him-just a little.
Bench press. Bicep curls. Triceps. Incline press.
He got to his feet, raised the hem of his T-shirt to wipe the sweat from his face, exposing that delicious six-pack.
Elizabeth didn’t realize she’d stopped running until the machine tossed her onto the floor. She toppled with a shriek, landing flat on her butt.
“Are you hurt?” Quinn jogged over, held out a big hand to help her up.
Heat rushed into her cheeks. “I’m fine.”
She took his hand, stood, coming face to face with him-or face to sternum. He smelled like salt and sweat and soap, the warm scents filling her head, leaving her intoxicated.
“Did you forget you were runnin’?” The gleam in his blue eyes told her he found all of this funny.
She couldn’t tell him the truth, so she lied. “I’m not sure what I did.”
She was such an idiot.
He leaned down, bringing his gaze level with hers. “Next time you’re wantin’ to watch me at the weights, turn off the machine first, and come pull up a chair.”
Quinn saw Elizabeth’s eyes go wide, her cheeks flaming scarlet.
“You!” She glared at him, gave him a wee shove.
“Me?” He fought not to laugh. Och, she was adorable when she was angry. “It was you gawpin’ at me and you who fell. What did I do?”
“Oh, like you’ve never stared at my ass before.” Furious now, she gave herself a slap on the bum and then cupped her breasts through her T-shirt. “Or ogled my tits.”
The sight of her cupping her own breasts sent blood rushing to his groin and brought his gaze to the exact place it should not be.
Sweet blazin’ hell!
“Aye, I’ll no’ deny it. We’re both adults. What’s the harm in lookin’?”
His words seemed to make her angrier. She opened her mouth as if to blister his ears-then leapt into his arms and kissed him.
Quinn caught her, drew her hard against him, his shock washed away by a rush of lust. He forgot about Jack’s murder. He forgot they were in the hotel gym. He forgot that they shouldn’t be doing this, because, sweet Jesus, they ought to have done it years ago. He forgot everything but Lilibet-her taste, the soft feel of her body against his, the sweet scent of her skin.
Och, the woman could kiss. She took everything he could give her and demanded more, her tongue teasing his, her teeth nipping his lips—
“Is this man harassin’ you, miss?”
Elizabeth went stiff in Quinn’s arms, the two of them opening their eyes to find a young security guard walking toward them.
Quinn set Elizabeth on her feet, trying not to laugh at the absurdity of the situation. “We’re just havin’ a wee snog, aye?”
“Miss?” The man didn’t seem to believe Quinn, but waited for Elizabeth to answer. “It didnae look like snoggin’.”
It took Quinn a moment to understand the accusation-a measure of how distracted he was just now. The guard must have seen Elizabeth shove him on the surveillancefeed and had gotten the wrong idea.
Elizabeth gave the man that beautiful smile of hers. “I’m fine. Thank you. I fell off the machine. He helped me up and teased me about it, so I gave him a shove and, um, kissed him. I guess we forgot where we were. I’m so sorry we worried you, but I do appreciate your concern for my safety.”
“If you’re certain, miss…”
“Yes, thank you.”
Quinn couldn’t fault the guard for watching out for women, but the thought that anyone could believe him capable of abusing Elizabeth set his temper on edge. He wasn’t that sort of man. No matter what anyone said, he was nothing like his father. Some part of him wanted an apology, but that would make him a right prick.
The guard was just doin’ his job, aye?
Elizabeth turned to Quinn. “I’m done with my run. I’ll see you upstairs.”
“Aye, I’m comin’, too.”
The security guard walked out of the gym with them. “Enjoy your stay wi’ us.”
(Thanks to the author and NetGalley for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)