When mercenary and space trader Flynn Marks is approached by a woman in a seedy bar, he assumes she’s not just looking for a good time. He’s made enemies over the course of his life. With his family finally safe and settled, he’ll handle this latest threat on his own.
Cerena Phelps has been tasked with killing a man if she ever wants to see her teenage son again. While she’s no stranger to fights—being a woman bouncer is a tough job—she’s never killed a man. Her plan? Lure Flynn away from the bar, seduce him, and kill him when his guard is down. Not a hardship given her unexpected and intense sexual attraction for her target. When her attempt on Flynn’s life fails, they must learn to trust each other if they both hope to survive and rescue her son.
Cerena Phelps was making a huge mistake, but it wasn’t like she had a choice. Her mission was clear. Flynn Marks had to die.
If he didn’t…
She didn’t allow herself to contemplate failure. There was too much on the line.
She’d stalked her quarry to this bar all the while a part of her had hoped he’d jump right back on his ship and leave Oasis. There was no way her small craft could catch his deep-space-class trader.
“You gonna sit or just stand there?”
Flynn Marks was even more intimidating in person. She hadn’t seen a picture of him, but she’d been given a very accurate description. Still, it didn’t do him justice. Tall with one eye and a robotic arm, short black hair with a streak of white running through it. All accurate, but also misleading.
He wasn’t just tall. He was huge. She’d glimpsed him earlier, and he had to be at least six and a half feet of solid muscle. Scars radiated out from behind the patch on his eye, but they in no way detracted from his rugged good looks. His hair was buzzed so short it had been difficult to see the white streak in it.
Something inside her stirred. Something she hadn’t experienced in years—sexual attraction.
“I’m sitting.” She pulled the chair around, situating it closer to him. It served two purposes—to put her closer to the wall and to allow her to sit beside Flynn.
Taking a deep breath to calm her nerves and steady her racing heart, she stuck out her hand. “Cerena Phelps.” She didn’t see any point in lying about her name. After all, he could easily discover her identity if he was so inclined. This was likely a suicide mission anyway.
Her life didn’t matter. Her son’s life was priceless. And that was exactly what the bastard who’d taken Nix had been counting on.
Flynn’s hand completely engulfed hers. Heat radiated from him and into her skin. It was a shock, but a pleasant one. This attraction she had toward her assignment was both a help and a hindrance. If it got her close to him, all the better, but it was distracting, too.
She couldn’t forget for one second that her job was to kill the man currently touching her.
“Flynn Marks,” he replied. His voice seemed to reverberate deep inside her, causing every nerve ending in her body to vibrate.
When he released her, she wanted to grab his hand and hold on. Instead, she dropped her hand back to her lap. She had a plan and needed to stick to it. It was simple really. Get him to take her back to his ship, have sex, and when he was sated and his guard was down, she’d kill him.
Cold-blooded? Absolutely. She’d never killed a man before. Knocked some heads together, sure. But this was beyond her.
But she had no choice. Nix’s life was at stake. And there was nothing, absolutely nothing, she wouldn’t do to protect her son.
“So what are you doing here?” he asked.
Shit, she’d been sitting there, saying nothing. Not exactly a great way to entice him to have sex with her.
Now that part of her assignment she could get behind. She hadn’t had sex in years. Having a son to raise and being a woman alone, she was suspicious of all men.
That part of her life was over. She’d likely never see her son again or return to her job as a bouncer in a bar much like this one, only on the small satellite planet of Noir. Tears pricked her eyes, and she glanced away, blinking them back.
Cerena dug her nails into her thighs, using the pain to center herself. “Me?” She forced herself to smile and laugh. “I’m just looking to blow off some steam. You?”
“The same.” He lifted the bottle of ale he’d been drinking and took a swallow. She found it almost mesmerizing to watch the ripple of his throat. He placed his bottle on the table and motioned to it. “Buy you a drink?” He’d leaned closer so she could hear him over the noise. The puff of his breath was warm against her ear. Goosebumps ran down her arm.
Drinking was a bad idea. She needed to keep her head straight if she had any chance of seeing this through. On the other hand, maybe some rotgut alcohol would help dull the conscience that wouldn’t stop screaming at her that this was wrong, that there had to be another way.
“Sure. I’d love one.”