Anna Tiejens is a tour leader who drives a truck. She guides groups of young adventure tourists through countries less traveled. Usually the tours are fun, but her current tour is a real headache. Someone is murdering her passengers!
Not many people live their dream, but Iâ€™ve been incredibly lucky. Iâ€™m Anna Tietjens, and I work as a tour leader for Wanderlust Adventures.
My current tour is through incredible India. It should be a breeze, except my younger sister is joining in New Delhi. Things are not exactly civil between usâ€”a childhood full of upheaval didnâ€™t helpâ€”and our parents have insisted she travel with me or not at all. I see fun times ahead. Now my boyfriend has turned up without warning. Donâ€™t get me wrong. I really like Sebastian Brady. The sex is good, spectacular even, but meeting a few times a year is enough. I mean Iâ€™m not looking for love or happy ever after.
But worst of all is the bad luck Iâ€™ve been having recently. One of my passengers died in Syria, and now it looks like my co-driver might have to leave the tour. Despite the exotic location, itâ€™s not exactly smooth sailing, and Iâ€™m starting to think someone is out to halt the tourâ€¦
We were late, which pissed me off, but once again I cut my sister some slack and kept my thoughts to myself. Darkness had fallen and the outside lighting had switched on in the hotel gardens. When we rounded the corner, the rest of the group was waiting for us outside the hotel reception. The girls clustered around the two new male arrivals. It didnâ€™t look as if they were worried too much about us being late.
Sebastian smiled when he saw me, said something in a low tone to the girls he was speaking with and walked toward me, intent clear on his face. Oh shit. He intended to stake a public claim. I didnâ€™t think so. Hurriedly, I yanked out my figurative work hat and slammed it on my head.
â€œSorry Iâ€™m late everyone. If you bear with me for a couple of minutes, Iâ€™ll organize tuk-tuks.â€ I took off at a jog, hoping Sebastian wouldnâ€™t follow. I wanted a private confrontation, not one in front of the group. The idea of being the subject of gossip didnâ€™t hold much appeal.
I sent the tuk-tuks off with three passengers in each. Unfortunately with thirteen passengers that left one passenger to travel with me. Somehow Sebastian managed to be that passenger.
Sebastian let me enter the tuk-tuk first. He slid across the upholstery seat and ended up sitting way too close for comfort. His jeans-clad thigh crowded mine, but when I squeezed farther across the seat, he followed.
â€œQuit that,â€ I whispered so the driver didnâ€™t overhear. Heâ€™d showered because his dark hair looked damp and his cheeks were freshly shaven. He smelled of sandalwood again. Part of me wanted to lean close and breathe deeply.
â€œIâ€™m a large man, honey. Not much room in a tuk-tuk.â€
Ooh! I looked him straight in the face then. I should have guessed he wouldnâ€™t play fair, amusing himself with sexual innuendoes. â€œReally?â€ I asked, playing it cool even though I felt my face turn pink. â€œAnd yet the others have three passengers in each.â€
â€œAs I said, cramped.â€ His lazy smile really got me. I leaned toward him before I remembered I was angry, irritated because heâ€™d intruded in my life when weâ€™d had no plans to meet. Jerking away, I stared eyes front, idly watching the lights in the store windows and the people and traffic on the street while we headed for the restaurant Iâ€™d booked for our group meal.
â€œWhatâ€™s your real name?â€ I asked.
â€œDoes it matter?â€
â€œOf course it freaking matters. Iâ€™d like to know the name of the man Iâ€™ve been sleeping with during the last year.â€
â€œBecause it means more than sex.â€ Satisfaction coated his words.
â€œDammit, Sebastian! What the hell is your name? Are you traveling on a false passport or is Thomas Montgomery your real name?â€
Sebastian moved closer and spoke in an undertone. â€œIn my line of work itâ€™s expedient to have several identities.â€
â€œBut I thought you were a businessmanâ€”an accountant. Thatâ€™s what it says on the paperwork for your visa.â€
â€œYes, it does,â€ he said.
I heard a â€œbutâ€ after his sentence. â€œWho the hell are you?â€ I demanded.
â€œIf I tell you, Iâ€™ll have to kill you.â€ His whole demeanor was one of humor and joking.
â€œStop acting childishly,â€ I snapped. â€œIâ€™m not in the mood.â€
â€œPity.â€ I felt his gaze on me before he started to speak again. â€œI used to be armyâ€”Special Air Services. I retired from the SAS and went into private work.â€ Sebastian paused before adding, â€œI wanted to choose my battles.â€
â€œI donâ€™t understand.â€ The word mercenary jumped to mind and I turned to him, studying his expression closely in the dim light.
â€œI guess youâ€™d call me a mercenary, sweetheart.â€ His gray eyes were laser sharp, slicing and dicing. He wasnâ€™t joking. Shit, he really wasnâ€™t joking.
â€œBut your visa paperwork says youâ€™re an accountant,â€ I repeated. Dumb, I know, but my mind refused to travel past that point.
â€œBecause briefcases are great places to hide guns,â€ Sebastian said.
I blinked and he grimaced.
â€œSorry, bad joke. I use the accountant as cover because thatâ€™s what I studied at university before I decided it bored me and joined the army.â€ Sebastian lifted his hand and cupped my face. â€œIâ€™ve missed you.â€
My stomach twisted at the tender tone, the touch of his calloused fingers. Iâ€™d missed him too. Seeing him again brought the fact home. I inhaled deeply, trying to ease my thudding heart. A mistake. Sebastian filled my worldâ€”his scent, his touch.
â€œWhat do I call you?â€ I whispered.
I swallowed, closing my eyes to block the intensity of the moment. I wanted him so badly, the touch of his lips, the sensual trail of his fingers across my naked body. â€œIâ€”â€
The tuk-tuk pulled up outside the Olive Bar & Kitchen, the restaurant Iâ€™d chosen for our group meal. I reached for the money Iâ€™d placed in my jeans pocket to pay for the ride, but Sebastian handed over several rupee notes. He climbed out, his body gorgeous and sexy in his jeans and gray cotton shirt. I followed, every inch of me ultra aware of his presence. I knew I couldnâ€™t carry on this way, but for the moment I indulged myself, wallowed in the sensations.
â€œCall me Sebastian,â€ he murmured before we joined the others waiting at the restaurant entrance. â€œItâ€™s my real name, sweetheart.â€ He caught my hand and squeezed lightly before releasing it. Enough pressure to gain my attention and make me look at him. Smiling, he brushed a lock of hair from my face. â€œIâ€™ve never lied to you.â€
My heart thumped for three hard beats before settling back into a normal rhythm. He held my gaze the whole time, his gray eyes intent, shining with truth.
â€œYeah. I should score points for that.â€
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past
I live in New Zealand and write contemporary and paranormal romance for Samahain Publishing and Ellora’s Cave.