Dirty Games

Book 2 in the Dirty Series
Coming March 20, 2018
Romantic Suspense

Finn Drummond is the baby in a family of sharks—which means he’s worked twice as hard to make a name for himself. After learning the tricks of the trade from his brothers, Finn’s just as ruthless and dominant. Out in the field, his appetites are legendary: for success, for money, for women and men. But when supplies from Drummond Charities go missing, Finn has to partner up with the smoldering ex–Army grunt who’s always challenging his authority—or giving him mixed signals.

Justin Miller wanted his attraction to Finn to be mutual, but the cocky brat always had a girlfriend. Who could blame Justin for trying to move on? Despite their history, they’ve got to work together to figure out who’s been derailing their humanitarian work. But after Justin and Finn are thrown together against gunrunners and kidnappers, their simmering chemistry turns explosive. Turns out, Finn knows how to handle himself in a crisis—and in the sack. Justin only hopes that hot sex is enough to persuade this spoiled pretty boy to do the right thing.

Dirty Games

Book 2 in the Dirty Series
Romantic Suspense

Dirty Games

is Book 2 in the Dirty Series

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Chapter One

Justin Miller had reached his limit. He’d been sending messages to his boss in Germany from here in Morocco. The charity, the food convoy, the unscheduled nighttime pick-ups – something wasn’t right and he needed answers.

Today was the day for a showdown. Alec Drummond would touch down and come see him. They’d worked together for almost seven years. Alec, the billionaire in charge of an international agricultural business. Him, the guy paid to run the ground operations of the business’s charitable arm.

He was the one in the field. When things went wrong, when people died, it fell on him. That meant he spent a good portion of the day shouting and issuing orders, which worked for him because ten years in the Army had honed those skills.

Oliver Jacobsen, his second in command, stepped up beside him and joined in staring out the flap off the tent and makeshift office set up right at the edge of no-man’s land, the strip of land between Morocco and the twenty-foot fence complete with barbed wire that separated the country from Ceuta, a Spanish enclave and Spain’s property on the northern-most tip of North Africa.

The land didn’t even qualify as a political football. Spain claimed it, Europe backed Spain and Morocco protested often but to no avail. All of that caused enough tension. Add in the prime location – as a gateway into Europe – and the result was a refugee population and crowds of people unable to get through the gate who deserved food and safe housing.

That’s where Justin and Drummond Charities stepped in. But he couldn’t do his work if someone, possibly someone at Drummond headquarters, was trying to undermine him.

He saw a black sedan drive up, kicking up dirt and rocks on the unpaved road. Justin bit back a curse. The last thing he needed was an annoying billionaire poking around, but this had to be done. The good news was Alec tended to be smart about these things. He traveled without fanfare and blended in. He also didn’t like being summoned and Justin had basically done that.

The front passenger door opened. A long leg encased in olive cargo utility pants appeared first then the rest of him. No suit. No chauffer.

So far so good.

Justin’s eyes traveled up to a trim waist over an impressively flat stomach for a guy who sat at a desk all day and…fuck. Justin froze. It had to be eighty outside and every muscle tightened to the point of snapping.

This wasn’t Alec. The guy didn’t even turn around and Justin knew the truth. The light brown hair and broad shoulders. The high perfect ass that practical pants couldn’t hide. He shifted and turned and that smile came into view. The one with the dimple Justin couldn’t see from this distance but knew was there.

Six-foot-two of pure walking sex. Big brown eyes and perfect face. Justin didn’t have to search his mind for the memory. Finn Drummond occupied a regular space there, no matter how hard Justin tried to shake the vision free.

Then he moved. With each step his brown boots crunched against the gravely path. He might be the youngest Drummond brother in a family of over-achievers but determination and self-confidence pulsed off him. Yeah, he knew his place in the world. At the top of the food chain.

Justin decided to fall back on his general hatred of entitlement. “You’ve got to be kidding.”

“What’s wrong?” Oliver asked, doing nothing to lower his voice or whisper in that polite British accent of his.

“The wrong Drummond brother.” The right one in so many ways. The one Justin once fantasized about. Not as much recently, but nonstop a few years back. The wrong one because this guy should have off-limits tattooed on his forehead.

This amounted to a big problem. He’d been prepared to talk this out with Alec. To reason and present evidence that shipments weren’t getting here as promised and expected. Alec appreciated people to be blunt and prepared. Justin had no idea how to deal with Finn.

He waited until Finn stopped in front of him. When Finn started to say something, Justin jumped in. “You?”

His smile didn’t waiver but he did turn to Oliver. “Salam.”

“You speak Arabic?” Oliver sounded more than a little surprised at the fact.

Finn nodded in greeting to some of the men and women bustling around him. “Being multilingual is a requirement of the job, though I admit region-specific Berber languages are taking longer for me to pick up.”

There was that fucking smile again. It made Justin want to punch him.

Oliver nodded. “Impressive.”

No way was Justin admitting even that much. “Not really.”

“I agree. It’s the least I can do to show respect.” Finn spared Justin a glance then held out his hand to Oliver. “Finn Drummond.”

“Oliver Jacobsen.”

The smiles, the greetings…Justin hated all of it. Seeing his usually hardworking staff and volunteers roaming around carrying what looked like empty boxes and pretending to work pissed him off. He understood being curious about the big boss, the billionaire who could afford to fly in for one day for a meeting, but this was not the big boss.

Without another word, Justin turned and walked into the tent. He didn’t stop until he stood on his side of his desk. “I call with a serious problem and the company sends me the baby brother in response?”

Finn sighed. “I see you haven’t changed much in the years since we first met.”

“Still working my ass off for you.” Justin gestured at the stacks of paperwork covering his desktop.

“Still a bit of a dick, too.”

Oliver laughed. “So, you do know Justin.”

“Please, continue being an asshole.” Finn crossed his arms over his chest as his voice rang out clear and deep. “Don’t let me stop you.”

The sure way the guy moved mesmerized Justin. No shifting or gawking. He somehow blended in with the dirt and dust, never showing a hint of worry about the potential for violence all around him.

Grabbing him could result in big money for kidnappers, yet he didn’t have a cadre of guards. He didn’t blow in with an air of wealth. Didn’t issue orders. No, he stood there all tall and lean and hot.

Justin needed him to leave. The tent. The country. Preferably, the continent.

“Look, I’m sure you mean well but this is a real problem that requires a measure of confidentiality and some tact, a great deal of resources and someone with…” He made the mistake of letting his gaze travel all over Finn, taking in every muscle outlined by his navy shirt. The hint of strength in his longer fingers and that practical black band watch on his wrist. “Let’s call it leadership qualities.”

Oliver whistled. “Damn, man.”

Usually his second-in-command went with a subtle steering of the conversation. Today, Oliver dropped direct hits. Justin got it. He should pull back. He searched his brain for the right words but all he could only grab onto a odd mix of misplaced anger and need.

Finn’s eyes narrowed. “You think me flying to Morocco shows a lack of interest in your concerns?”

“I think this division of labor makes it very clear that your big brother Alec isn’t taking me seriously.” Justin grabbed onto that thought. Forget that his breath stuttered in his chest and his brain raced to imprint this new image of Finn up there. He needed Alec’s position and strength right now, not Finn.

Finn’s expression didn’t change. The narrow-eyed, you-are-right-on-the-edge glare continued. “You do know I’m a partner in Drummond Enterprises, right?”

“And just how many brothers does it take to make a decision?”

“It depends on the decision.”

A smartass answer. The pretty boy didn’t slink away and call his big brother for back-up. Justin hated how much he admired that.

But that didn’t mean Justin could afford to let Finn stay. He would lose his fucking mind try to keep his hands locked at his sides and his mind on the job. “I’m betting one, in particular, is needed and he didn’t bother to come here. He sent you instead.”

Finn glanced over at Oliver as he nodded in Justin’s direction. “You work with him every day?”

“For four years.”

“You need a raise.”

That wasn’t wrong. Justin had handpicked Oliver. Stolen the Oxford-schooled son of some guy with a big title and an even bigger house away from another charity and never looked back. Justin knew people found him difficult. He barked because sometimes he had to, but Oliver never flinched.

He looked from Oliver to Finn. Finn was taller by a few inches, which probably put him at six-two. He had a more muscled build than Oliver’s slighter frame. Right now they were all smiles with each other and teaming up, and that ticked Justin off even more.

He put his hands on the back of his chair. Wrapped his fingers around the top and dug his fingernails into the faux leather cushion. “I don’t have time for this.”

“Why don’t you explain what the ‘this’ is. Feel free to use small words if you think I won’t understand full sentences.” Finn shook his head. “Or I can get back on a plane and get the hell out of here, if you prefer. Report back to Griff and Alec – the brothers you seem to admire more than me – that this mission can’t be salvaged and it’s time to move on.”

The fucker. “You’d do that? Sacrifice these people and ride on your private plane back to your fancy house.”

Finn’s arms dropped to his sides and he moved closer to the edge on his side of the desk. “Is the way I traveled here an issue for you, too?”

“Some of the people out there are refugees, all are desperate. They don’t have anything.”

“I’m aware of that.”

Justin’s grip on the chair made his palms ache but he didn’t ease up. “Then you should also know they’ve been taking turns storming that big fence four hundred meters away, hoping Spain, the country on the other side of the boundary, will grant them asylum.”

“I’m also aware of the political history of Ceuta.”

From a damn book or the news. It was not the same thing and Justin knew that. “Did you take a class in prep school?”

Finn shifted his weight and all emotion left his face except for a stark anger that radiated off him. “You might want to remember I’m your boss.”

Of course he went there. Justin refused to be intimidated. ‘”Bullshit.”

Oliver winced. “Actually…”

“You might not like it but I am the Drummond brother who is here. You have my attention and only my attention, and that’s waning.” Finn pounded his fist against the desk as he talked. Nothing in the stiffness of his shoulders or sharp crack of his voice suggested he was a young or inexperienced or out of his league. He spoke and the air seeped out of the tent.

Tension pummeled Justin from every corner. But this was about self-preservation. Keeping focused on the work and getting through this pissing match. “For how long?”

“Days. Weeks.” Finn shrugged. “It depends on the scope of the issue and how quickly and efficiently we can resolve it.”

No fucking way. “There are no big fancy hotels here. No one to serve you.”

“Wow.”

Justin heard the warning in Oliver’s voice but headed straight to the question he wanted answered. “What do you think you’ll be doing here exactly?”

Finn actually rolled his eyes. “Listen to your unending bitching, apparently.”

Score another one for the pretty boy. “This isn’t a playground.”

“You really need to work on your attitude.”

“You didn’t hire me for my attitude.” Finn didn’t hire him at all. He’d been fresh out of college, dating a pretty blonde woman and looking like he rolled out of clothing ad when Justin had been hired. “And, believe it or not, I’m not interested in impressing you.”

“Good because you suck at it.”

Oliver laughed as he rocked back on his heels. “Come on. You have to admire his spirit.”

Justin kept his attention centered on Finn. “Look, fine. You’re the one here representing the company. I get that. Alec and I can work that disagreement out later, but–”

“No.”

What the fuck? “Excuse me?”

“Running to my big brother is the one thing guaranteed to piss me off. I would advise against that.”

Justin wasn’t used to having people try to back him down. He was the one who issued orders and they were followed without question. “You’re kidding, right?”

“As enjoyable as this is, I do have groundwork to do.” When Justin opened his mouth, Finn just continued talking. Spoke right over him. “I’m going to visit with the head of Moroccan security forces for the area. Then I’ll head over to that twenty-foot high fence, go across and speak with the head of the Spanish civil guard then go talk with the Mayor-President of Ceuta.”

That sounded like the travel schedule of your average billionaire piss ant. Now this was more like the entitled crap Justin expected. “That’s a lot of schmoozing. Why?”

“Diplomacy.” When voices grew louder outside the tent, Finn glanced behind him then leaned in closer to Justin. “Because me being here could be seen as politically problematic, and if I stay on one side of the fence without paying my respects to the other, I could touch off an international incident.”

Smart. Made sense. Kind of pissed Justin off that Finn understood the realities of what was happening here because it meant he really did intend to linger. “You mean you could create bad press for your billion dollar company.”

“I mean for all of us. Drummond Charities feeds, houses and attempts to relocate the very people trying to storm the gate. If we piss off Morocco, we’ll have to leave and possibly abandon the people here without any options. If we piss off Spain, we’ll never help people relocate across the border.”

Justin looked at Oliver and saw him fight off a smile. Finn sure did know the right things to say to impress. For now, Justin conceded the point. “Okay. You’ve proven you’ve read the news.”

“I’ll pay my respects then be back for our meeting,” Finn said as he stepped back from the desk. “Maybe your mood will improve by then.”

Oliver snorted. “Doubtful.”

Finn stepped outside then. He didn’t say goodbye or ask for a guide.

Something tugged at Justin to follow. He got as far as the tent flap and stopped. Watched Finn nod to his driver over the roof of the car then slide into the front seat.

“That went well,” Oliver said as he watched the car take off again.

“He’s going to get kidnapped and Alec will blame me.”

“He does hit a nerve with you, doesn’t he?” Oliver glanced over at Justin. “He actually seems decent but, damn, you do become more of an asshole than usual around him.”

“I don’t have the time to babysit pretty boys.”

Oliver nodded. “I agree this is going to be awkward.”

The tone, all haughty and half-amused. Justin knew to be wary. “What does that mean?”

“How long before you tell him you slept with his big brother?”

The words slammed into Justin like a kick to the gut. As if he needed the reminder. “That was years ago and it was just sex…what is with that look?”

“Remember how last year we took that mandatory three-day holiday in Barcelona.”

Justin’s stomach dropped. “Yeah.”

“Do you also remember that you got drunk and told me why you slept with Alec Drummond?” Oliver held up a hand. “I’m going to stop you before you try to lie to me because I do and the answer was Finn Drummond.”

Justin’s mind went blank. He said the only word he could form at the moment. “Shit.”

“Yeah,” Oliver nodded. “This is going to be an interesting visit.”

End of Excerpt

Dirty Games

is pre-ordering now,
and begins downloading March 20, 2018:

Random House

Mar 20, 2018

ISBN-13: 9780399179990