Overseas, TJ Barton narrowly survived an American Embassy bombing, only to lose two good men: her influential boss and her lover, Sean McNeal.
Back in Washington, TJ set out to find out who did it. Undaunted, she maneuvered through corridors of power, exposing the secrets hidden behind every door on Capitol Hill...only to smack right into the broad, familiar chest of Sean McNeal--in the flesh. And she could have, would have decked him if she had the opportunity to get a good shot!
Inexplicably Sean had survived and was now undercover. He needed TJ's silence, her help and her kisses more than he wanted to admit. The last thing he wanted to do was draw TJ into a web of high-stakes corruption. But there was no shaking her off and there was no way she was going to let him get killed--again.
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Blown Away by Elle James
Sean McNeal strode into the bedroom of the suite, a cup of coffee balanced in one hand. He stood for a moment enjoying the sight of legislative assistant Tessa Janine Barton sleeping. She insisted on being called TJ, reasoning that Tessa was too sweet, and she didn't consider herself sweet, although Sean disagreed.
Her chin-length sandy-blond hair spread out on the pillowcase in a semicircle and her cheeks were still flushed a rosy pink from making love into the small hours of the morning. The one thing he liked most about TJ was the intensity she applied to everything--her job, her politics and especially sex.
He'd known her only two weeks and, despite his vow to never let a woman sneak beneath the radar screen and clobber his defenses, he felt TJ had done just that. For the past few days Sean had been thinking dangerous thoughts of ever-after with one woman--a stream of consciousness he'd never swam up. TJ Barton with her when you needed it most had slipped beneath his skin.
He'd fallen hard and rather than regret it, he woke each morning looking forward to seeing her face on the pillow beside him. What would happen when they returned to the States and resumed their mutually disparate lives? Would he go back to being the perpetually single bachelor, utterly devoted to his job and nothing else?
Sean didn't want to think beyond today and TJ's than go to work, he wanted to yank off the tie strangling his throat, crawl out of the business suit he felt so alien in and get naked with her. Maybe spend the day in bed, recapturing the magic of last night's lovemaking.
Unfortunately, he had a job to do and so did she. He leaned over her and pressed a kiss to the erogenous zone behind her ear--that sensitive spot that drove her crazy. "Wake up, sleepyhead."
"Ummmm." She stretched, her lithe form outlined beneath the sheets. "What time is it?" Her voice was like soft gravel, a sexy whisper clouded with sleep.
"Your meeting begins in twenty minutes."
He really liked that her eyes were the deep brown of dark chocolate in stark contrast to her sandy-blond hair. "You have twenty minutes before you're expected at the embassy." He smacked her thigh. "Get up."
"Why didn't you wake me earlier?" She sat up, the sheet pooling around her waist, exposing the smooth
"You looked so sexy, I hated to wake you. Besides, it's only a block to the embassy. If you hurry, you'll even have time for this cup of coffee." Truth was he'd felt guilty for keeping her up making love until two in the morning. "Haddock will be furious if I'm not there on time." She flung the sheets aside and stood beside him.
Sean smoothed a hand down her hip and pulled her against him. "I'm all for skipping our meetings and staying here." Pressing a kiss to her lips, one hand slid up her back and the other down over her naked bottom.
"Ummm." Her tongue delved between his lips and dueled with his; her hands slipped beneath his jacket to wrap around his waist. She squeezed him hard and leaned back. "As interesting as the possibility sounds, I have to be there. Congressman Haddock is ready to wrap up this meeting with Dindian Prime Minister Abediayi and get back to the States." One more hard kiss and she pushed away.
Sean sighed. Back to the States. Back to the real world of high-paced metro living, where people barely had time to think much less get to know each other. "Does he still plan to leave the day after tomorrow?"
"If he can, he'd like to leave sooner," she said from the bathroom. "It all depends on the outcome of today's meeting. What about you?"
"My plans are fluid. I can come and go as I please, within reason."
"Must be nice to be your own boss." She strode back through the bedroom wearing a shell-pink bra and matching lace panties.
Sean resisted the urge to grab her and throw her on the bed. His business was her business, only he hadn't filled her in on all the details. In his line of work, the less everyone knew about his real job, the better. The outer shell he'd constructed was enough for anyone to know, including TJ.
As far as TJ Barton and personnel at the embassy were concerned, he was a business consultant there to assist the small African nation of Dindi with their application for assistance from the U.S. government through the Millennium Challenge program. His covert duty as a Stealth Operations Specialist was ferreting out insider information on Dindi and on terrorist activities purportedly sponsored by their president's opposing political party, or any other faction that could impact the congressman's visit.
He checked his watch. Marty Sikes expected him at the embassy in five minutes. "I need to go."
TJ zipped the back of her simple black skirt and padded over to him in bare feet. "Will I see you later?"