A woman in peril – an ex-Ranger who’ll do anything to keep her safe – Death Sentence #TinaDonahueBooks
Erotic Romantic Suspense – Kindle Worlds
She’ll risk everything for justice…
He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe…and in his arms.
Greed and corruption rule at Zephron Correctional Institute for Women. A prisoner dies. The official ruling suicide.
Hallie Reyes knows it’s murder. Driven to protect the other inmates, she hires The Omega Team to infiltrate the prison where she works as a nurse. The agency sends Chase Wallace, a former Army Ranger. He’s tall, dark, deliciously male. Temptation Hallie doesn’t need but can’t resist.
Chase has been on dangerous missions before but never with a woman like Hallie. Fearless and determined, she’s everything he’s wanted and won’t chance losing.
Even if he has to take the entire prison down.
She wasn’t ready to die, but running wasn’t an option. He blocked her escape, was far taller, and outweighed her by eighty pounds of pure muscle or more. Catching her would be a cinch for him. He could probably snap her neck as easily as a chicken’s.
Steeled for the worst, she gestured to the seat across from her.
He regarded her trembling hand. “Relax, all right? I’m here to help. Promise.”
His voice rumbled in her belly like deep, seductive bass. Warmth flowed through her, but didn’t chase away her dread.
He slid into the seat and offered his hand. “Chase Wallace.”
Not a name she would have expected for a Native American. By her guesstimate, he came from Seminole, and possibly European ancestry on his father’s side, which had blessed him with the Wallace name and impressive height.
Dark lashes fringed his deep-brown eyes. Stubble covered his cheeks, chin, and upper lip. The five o’clock shadow added to his masculine allure.
At Zephron, she’d noticed him immediately. However, she hadn’t learned any particulars as to who he was. “Hallie Reyes.” She took his hand.
His grip caressed rather than harmed.
Nerve endings fired and sent tingles up her arm. His skin was deliciously hot, his palm callused. He’d known hard labor.
The only physical effort the other guards indulged in was breaking up fights, hauling recalcitrant inmates to confinement, and fucking. Off the clock and on. The guards’ air-conditioned bubbles must have seemed like heaven to the prisoners. More than a few young women did whatever their keepers wanted, no matter how lewd or vile, in order to luxuriate in a cool breeze and avoid having their early release snatched away.
Ruthlessly, the guards used their power, no different from Hallie’s father.
She released Chase’s hand and tried to shake off her attraction to him. Wasn’t like her. She had no desire for a relationship with any man. An occasional one-night stand was all she could manage and only to take the edge off.
Messing around with him for a few hours wouldn’t do. She’d want more. “Is that your real name?”
He smiled easily. “Since birth.”
The twentysomething waitress halted at their booth, close to his side, and flashed a broad grin. “Hey, handsome.” She stroked the table, her polished nails a breath away from his forearm. “What’ll you have?”
“Same as the lady.”
“Anything to eat?”
He folded his arms on the table and leaned toward Hallie. “What would you like?”
When it came to him, she didn’t want to consider the question. Given his size and potent masculinity, he could have easily gotten away with being macho. Instead, he was surprisingly polite and easygoing. Important qualities in a man. Unless this was an act.
Unnerved, she shrugged. “Whatever’s good.”
“You like burgers? Chili?” He spoke to the waitress. “What else do you have?”
She recited the menu. Uncomplicated bar food.
Hallie ordered a burger and fries she wasn’t certain she could keep down.
He chose chili.
“Back in a flash.” The waitress patted his shoulder and hurried away.
Men at the bar cheered at whatever had happened in the game.
Chase kept his full attention on Hallie, his manner nonthreatening and confident. A man comfortable in his own skin.
She envied him. “Who are you?”
Wary of anyone overhearing, she kept her voice as low as possible. “Athena said she and Grey have known you for years. What’s your background? Did you use it and your real name to get your job at the prison?”
“That wouldn’t have been prudent, although I did use Chase. Always best to keep things as simple as possible so there aren’t too many details to remember.” He smiled.
Good god, he had a killer dimple. Unfortunately, he hadn’t a clue how serious this was. She gripped the table edge. “Then you lied on your job ap. What happens when the warden or Gatekeeper finds out?”
“Neither of them will know anything real about me. Jacqui worked her usual magic. Anyone tries to check my background, they’ll get info the agency wants them to have.”
Must be nice to be certain. “Jacqui?”
“Our resident computer genius. She gave me a very nice history that’s now part of official records, until she takes it out. I graduated high school in the Midwest. Took a few units at a Texas community college, where I got Ds and Fs then dropped out. After that, I earned an unfortunate criminal record for DUI and theft in Florida.”
A perfect background for a prison guard hired by Gatekeeper. In addition to Zephron, the group operated other correctional institutions in Florida and dozens nationwide. Privatizing prisons pleased constituents who wanted lower taxes. It put campaign money in politicians’ coffers, enriched shareholders, and grew the corporation. To keep expenses low, Gatekeeper paid its guards rock-bottom wages and generally hired men and women with less-than-stellar backgrounds.
A win-win for the employees who’d had trouble finding work elsewhere, and for Gatekeeper, too. They cared about cold, hard cash to the exclusion of everything else.
The only ones who suffered were the prisoners. Like Kim. A nineteen-year-old girl who’d never gotten the chance to live and had died alone in a concrete cell. Its walls bore claw marks from others trapped there, the women stripped of everything except underwear. For weeks or months, inmates sweated in the intolerable heat or shivered in the raw cold, the isolation slowly dulling their senses and hope as Gatekeeper upped profits.
Hallie rubbed her forehead. “Who are you really?” She needed good news. “A former cop? FBI? CIA?”
His powerful build proved it. No sissy gym equipment produced a hard bod like his. “Doing what?”
“I was a sniper. My last tour was Afghanistan.”