A perilous scheme to thwart ruthless adversaries hurtles successful young jewelry designer Caitlin Abernathy from her comfortable California studio to the streets of Paris and the beaches of Brittany as she attempts to return a priceless stolen heirloom to the Louvre.
Colin Stryker, the devastatingly handsome history professor from Ireland who has appointed himself her protector, fights to rescue her before her captors add murder to their crimes, while at the same time unraveling the torturous train of events that led to the original theft.
With every moment fraught with danger, can the chemistry already sizzling between the two ignite into passion?
She glanced at her watch and sighed. Colin and Aristotle would be up by now and would be wondering where she was. She’d best get back.
With a last longing look at the Tuileries, the beautiful park stretching so invitingly in front of the Louvre, she resolutely turned back toward the bridge and the Left Bank.
She was only a few steps from the hotel when a car pulled up beside her. Jules Allard got out, blocking her way to the hotel. What? She turned and ran. His footsteps pounded after her, closing the distance. She shouted, “Au secours! Help! Police!” The street was empty of pedestrians. Rough hands seized her from behind in a fierce grip. She tried to scream but his hand covered her mouth brutally, grinding her lips across her teeth, covering her nose, making it difficult to breathe. His other arm came around her waist and he pulled her backwards, toward the waiting car. Her heart pounded as she struggled in his fierce grip.
“Bitch,” he said, “you want to live, you cooperate.”
Caitlin forced herself to go limp, as if she had fainted, her lead lolling, her arms dangling at her sides. His grasp loosened as he half dragged, half carried, her dead weight toward the car. More focused on keeping her upright than on keeping her restrained, his grip on her slackened. Caitlin twisted her body out of his embrace, and using the side of her hand to deliver a sharp blow to the base of his nose, she shoved her knee into his groin. He grunted and doubled over in pain, his nose gushing blood. She broke loose and ran toward the busy intersection, where she could see people, find help.
Too late. They were on her again, the two men she had last seen in Berkeley. Terror-stricken, she fought frantically, arms pummeling, legs kicking, opening her mouth to scream. A sharp jab pierced her arm. Her world went black.
She came to slowly. It was dark, almost suffocating in her small coffin-like enclosure. Fighting down her initial panic, she took several deep breaths and twisted her head to see where she was. It was a very cramped space—the trunk of a moving car. A horrible smelly blanket was wrapped around her. She wriggled her head and arms out of it. That was better.
She could feel every bump in the road as the car stopped and started in city traffic. At least they hadn’t bound and gagged her. They hadn’t had time for that. Could she kick and scream to attract attention the next time they stopped for a light? She positioned herself to kick at the lid of the trunk, but only succeeded in hurting her ankle and in making herself even more uncomfortable. No one would be likely to hear her scream above the din of the surrounding traffic.
She’d just have to wait for her chance when they came to get her out of the trunk. A lot of good that police course in self-defense had done her. They hadn’t covered what to do when there were two assailants, or when they injected some sort of knock-out drug into their victim.