The Most Wanted: excerpt

From Chapter One
I lounged behind the front desk of our new private investigation office wearing a red Coco Chanel skirt suit. Maybe I was overdressed, but it was the first day we were open, and I wanted to help set a professional tone. And hey, being able to wear fabulous clothes was definitely one of the bigger perks of being the significant other of three very successful bank robbers.
The suite of offices we’d chosen for our new P.I. firm was on the second floor of an awesome vintage building just off of one of the main drags in downtown L.A. I loved it for the film noir appeal, what with its wooden floors and high ceilings. My three clever and kinky lotharios loved it more for the fire escape, the sight lines, and the easy roof access.
Because yeah, this was a semi-legit business, but we were still wanted bank robbers who had to stay nimble and safe—there were warrants out for our arrests, after all.
And of course some jerk of a police sketch artist had made the most dramatically unflattering police sketches of us possible. But you can’t exactly write a letter of complaint to the LAPD asking that they redo your sketch to have your eyes not so close together. At least, that’s what Zeus was always saying.
The larger threat and the real reason we needed quick escape routes was ZOX, the intelligence agency my guys used to work for. If ZOX showed up, there would be real trouble.
It was the one thing my hardened criminals were scared of. The only thing that kept them up at night. (Well, maybe not the only thing.)
As an added benefit, an office like this was nice for the thieves, gangbangers, hoodlums, hitters, and assorted fugitives of L.A. County. Most private investigation firms out there probably served coffee and bagels to their clients; we offered a convenient escape route, should they be tailed.
I will confess that I was surprised back when Zeus first started talking about launching the P.I. firm—it’s not like we needed the money.
He claimed he was bored, and that we needed something more beyond robbing banks. He got Thor and Odin excited about the challenge of using our skills to help criminals who didn’t have access to effective investigative services. But was that really it?
I sensed there was more to it.
The door had one of those cloudy glass windows just like in old movies. There was some debate over what to paint on it. In the end, we left it blank, except for the office number. Again—discretion.
We were thinking about printing business cards, though we couldn’t quite decide on a tagline for our agency. My suggestions included Criminals need a detective agency, too! and To catch a criminal, you have to BE a criminal. But Odin thought those ideas were a little too obvious. Thor wanted to just use our gang motto: You WISH we were dead, motherfuckers. But it didn’t seem like the kind of thing you would want to put on a business card, considering their purpose was to attract clients, not frighten them.
Just in case you’re wondering—no, Zeus, Thor, and Odin are not their real names. My real name isn’t Isis. The last time I used my real name was more than a year ago, back when I was their hostage during a robbery gone bad. Actually, the robbery went pretty well for me, though if I’d known how that day would end, I would’ve worn way better underwear.
And I would’ve hugged my sisters before I left the farm that morning for my bank job. I missed them so bitterly that sometimes I thought the feeling would consume me. I’d been dying of boredom in that old life, but I’d never imagined leaving forever, having to fake my own death to protect them.
I tried not to think about that.
We were thinking about printing business cards, though we couldn’t quite decide on a tagline for our agency.
So I waited there at my massive wooden desk, excited that our first client was arriving soon. I arranged the folders and made sure the word game and cartoon porn windows were closed on my laptop, just in case we had to research something in front of the client.
When I looked up next, there was Zeus, leaning in the door frame between our offices, arms crossed, which made his fine brown sports jacket pull tight over his massively muscular arms.
“I like that jacket,” I said.
He didn’t reply; he merely stood there, eyeing me like a dark predator.
My heart rate kicked up. The dark predator gaze…surely he wasn’t thinking about sex at a time like this! All the same, I closed the laptop and slid it into a drawer. Because…experience.
In a movement more animal than human, he pushed off the door frame and moved toward me. He stopped in front of my desk, shrugged off the jacket, and set it beside the folders.
“I said I liked it. I didn’t mean you had to give it to me.”
“Goddess,” he whispered hoarsely. He fingered the top button of his shirt, then flicked it open, revealing a triangle of man chest.
“Zeus. What are you doing?”
He held my gaze from across the desk as he opened another button.
I smiled. “Dude!”
He had that dark wild look in his eyes that sometimes scared me, but mostly turned me on. Something warmed in my belly as he undid button after button, until his shirt hung open, revealing the middle of his massive chest. He slid a hand over his washboard abs, making me imagine sliding my hand there, making me imagine the hard warmth of his washboard abs. I looke at the small line of fur trailing down from his belly button, down, down… I curled my fists, mentally beaming a message to my better self, my more responsible self. Must not touch him. Client coming. Must…not…have…sex.
Zeus pressed his hand between his legs.
My heart rate sped up to double time, and my responsible self was getting so far away. “Our first client is coming at any minute.” There was a Mr. Alexander Hamilton scheduled for nine o’clock.
“Do I look like I’m here to consult Google Calendar?” he asked.
My belly tightened as he toyed with the snap on his pants. I could see from the bulge that he was hard as steel, and I was suddenly wishing Mr. Alexander Hamilton had scheduled himself for ten instead of nine. Better yet, noon.
“Is this how a man consults Google Calendar?” Zeus asked again, voice roughened with lust.
“I don’t know. In France, maybe?”
He moved his hand down, watching me steadily.

Out 2/9! EBOOK: iBooks | Kindle US | Kindle UK | Kindle CA | kindle AU | Kobo | Google Play | Nook | ARE | Smashwords
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