BLUE KNIGHT (The Vistaria Affair: Book 3)
A Military Romantic Suspense
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“…took off with full force from the first words and refused to slow down! — Happy Ever After Reviews
Olivia was not a heavy sleeper and the tension of the last four weeks had left her even less inclined to slumber. So at two a.m., when the window of her hotel room softly rattled and began to rise, she woke instantly.
Her heart hammered as she watched from under her half-lowered eyelids the double-hung window lift. She reasoned it out. It simply wasn’t possible for anyone other than a guest of the Royal White Sands hotel to be inside the compound after curfew—not with all the armed guards constantly circling the grounds. That meant whoever was outside her window had to be one of the other guests. They were being stealthy because they didn’t want the guards to know they were there. Ibarra, the officer who controlled the insurrectos running the White Sands had made it clear they would punish a guest for breaking curfew. This person was clearly doing that.
As the insurrectos had not charmed their way into Olivia’s heart over the last few weeks, she wasn’t in a hurry to turn the guest over to Ibarra by squealing about breaking and entering. Instead, she sat up, bringing the blankets with her, and waited.
The window lifted enough to admit a full-grown human and a body slithered through. A naked body. Olivia caught her breath, containing her shock with well-trained discipline.
He stood and looked straight at her, his eyes hidden in dark shadows cast by the illumination spilling through the windows from the floodlights the insurrectos kept running all night. She recognized him as the British man who had arrived in the same group as she had, six weeks before. He was a fine specimen of a man, too. Young, possibly early to mid-thirties, which put him at a little younger than her, or maybe her age and just not showing it. Physically, he was clearly strong and fit. There was plenty of muscle—not gym rat excessive, but enough to show he worked out. He was lean and, from what she could see from the light in the room, tanned, which was unusual for an Englishman and a businessman, to boot.
Hard, lean hips and strong thighs. As he turned to listen for a moment, to check if his entry into her room had been observed, she saw his backside outlined in the light and mentally sighed. High and firm, with tight cheeks.
When he swiveled back, she couldn’t help herself. Her gaze dropped to his penis. It was flaccid right now, but even so, it seemed suitably sized to her. She snapped her gaze back up to his face, glad of the semi-darkness of the room.
She wasn’t entirely sure what his name was. They had never spoken directly to each other, of course.
He lifted a long finger to his lips for silence, and then padded to her bathroom. He didn’t switch on the light. Moving with confidence, he picked up a glass, poured a small amount of water into it and brought it back to her bedside. He bent over, lifted up the sheets and blankets and the box spring cover and carefully poured a teaspoonful of water over a small black lead. Then he placed the glass under the mattress and lowered the head of the lead into the glass so that it was submerged. He dropped the covers back over it again and stood up.
“In the morning, before you leave your room, don’t forget to put the glass back in the bathroom and bend the microphone back up the way it was. The insurrectos are unimaginative, but they’re bloody good at following routine and they check the microphones every day when you leave your room.” He paused. “You did know they were bugging you, didn’t you?”
“I thought they might be.” She bit her lip.
“You destroyed all your identity papers, anything they might use to nut out who you are?” he asked. He didn’t seem in the slightest bit concerned about being totally naked. He might as well have been fully clothed.
“As soon as they confined us to the hotel,” she confirmed. “We all did.” She cleared her throat. “You are going to explain why you broke into my room, aren’t you?”
He glanced at the open window. “Sorry about that.” He went to the window, slid the pane back down again and clipped the window shut. The rounded caps of his shoulders gleamed in the light as he moved. “I was next door with…a friend.”
“I see,” Olivia replied diplomatically. The room next door was occupied by the pretty brunette girl that Olivia thought was called Theresa. She had travelled with the main party as a diplomatic aide to one of the UN representatives, as she spoke fluent Spanish. This man would have gravitated to her because she was young and buxom and just his type.
“The insurrectos called on her for questioning, so I had to leave in a hurry,” the man added.
Olivia barely held back her little moan. Since the insurrectos had shut down the hotel and refused to let the diplomatic party leave, unscheduled middle-of-the-night interviews had become frequent. She had suffered through one herself. “Why do they do that?” she whispered.
“Because in the small hours of the night, your resistance is weakest and your mind is sluggish. It’s the best time to question a subject,” the man said. He seemed indifferent.
Olivia was appalled. “I knew that,” she said. “I mean, I do know that but I never applied it to us here. We’re hostages, aren’t we?”
He looked at her for a long moment. “Yes, we are,” he agreed softly. “You’ve only just figured that out?”
She spread the blanket at her feet compulsively. “I think I’ve known all along. I just didn’t want to deal with it. It’s so extreme. So bizarre. No one has ever used the word aloud to make it real.”
He pointed out the window. “The guns and soldiers make it real enough. Try strolling out of the compound. A hundred seven-point-six-two millimeter cartridges from those HK21 machine guns ripping out your stomach will feel very real.”
She wrapped her arms around her knees. “Will she be all right, your friend?”
He nodded. “Serrano is paranoid, but he’s not stupid. He knows better than to harm diplomats.”
Olivia gave a hollow laugh. “If he isn’t stupid, then he wouldn’t have taken us hostage in the first place. I won’t rely on your assurance, thank you, Mr.—?”
“Daniel.” He sat on the bed, still completely at ease despite his lack of clothing. It bothered Olivia that he seemed unmoved by her presence, when she could barely take her eyes away from his chest and shoulders, from his abdomen, hips…pelvis…the thigh resting so casually across her counterpane.
“So now what, Daniel?”
“I’m going to have to stay here until morning,” he said simply. “Then I’ll go next door to retrieve my clothes and bother you no longer.”
“Stay? Stay where?”
He patted the bed.
“You don’t have a sofa.”
“I have a floor.”
“I’ll be a perfect gentleman,” he promised.