Secrets of Summer

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Summary

A Marine who's seen your sins & knows your secrets.. Now he's on your doorstep.. You should have known you couldn't hide from the hunter forever.. ... Kirby Carter has always had one priority above all others.. Keeping her sister safe.. Not as easy as it sounds when she's living a double life on the run, especially when her new home has been compromised and she and her sister are looking down the barrel of relocating, yet again.. At least that's the plan.. Until one night of pure passion with a perfect stranger turns into a far more dangerous game than the one she signed up for.. Can she outrun her terrible past or will Kirby finally be caught in the Hunter's snare... Title four of The Specter Series.

Genre:
Romance / Action
Author:
leelabellabooks
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
20
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter ONE

Kirby Carter

You don't belong here, and it's obvious.. In this dingy, dimly lit bar.. Where the drinks are overpriced and the men are much too young and far too cheap..

You sit at the bar, sipping your G&T, watching your carefree younger sister while she dances with two adorkable young guys, who look like they just stepped out of a rap-video in their baggy jeans and beanies..

She laughs rivers of joy, tossing her head back, her satiny, long blond hair whipping from side to side.. It's great to see her having so much fun.. Enjoying herself for a change.. Even though you should be at home going over your ever mounting pile of case briefs.. You had allowed your sister to twist your arm, deciding that one drink couldn't hurt.. Now that you're here, you're not entirely sure that's true..

Feeling a little like an alien you look around the room.. The bass from the speakers vibrates through the floorboards and there is the distinct smell of stale beer in the air..

Across the bar you notice an extremely handsome and somehow vaguely familiar man, who sits with a stiff, almost haughty posture, busying himself on his phone..

The beautiful man looks just as out of place as you do, in his neatly pressed suit and tie, his chiseled Scandinavian features are illuminated by the glow of his cellphone light.. He has a pair of broad square shoulders, and a light stubble darkens the hard angles of his jaw.. He's undeniably delicious..

A delicious distraction..

If you have to be here, there are worse views to be had, so you don't mind taking a peek or two...

As you watch him, his heavy brow furrows as his deft fingers work the keypad on the phone.. You're so lost in his statuesque physique and gorgeous face, toying with the idea of who he might be, wondering what his name is, what he does for a living, when he looks up, it's as if he senses you watching him because his stormy eyes lock onto yours.. You blush..

Turning your head away, averting your eyes as quickly as possible, as scarlet heats your face, enflaming your cheeks..

Caught staring at a perfect stranger.. How embarrassing!

Thankfully, Lucky comes bounding over, dragging rap-boy one and two along behind her.. "Kirby! You have to come dance with Ryan and Tobi and me!" She squeals excitedly..

You can't tell which is Ryan and which is Tobi, and frankly, you'd rather die than find out.. Sliding from your chair you take that as your cue to leave..

You really only came to this college bar to see her.. Now that you have and you see that she is settling in well, you're ready to go home to a nice glass of wine and some live-sport streaming..

The guys here are way too young for you anyway, and in your knee length pencil skirt and white button-down work outfit, you're beginning to feel a little too old.. Other than your sister, who is decidedly preoccupied tonight, there's literally nothing of interest to you here, well except for the blonde business man at the bar..

But even a guy like that, probably doesn't have what it takes to keep you interested..Those business types, from bankers to executives, they're all the same..

Vanilla.

"I would but, you know I've got those early meetings, sweetheart.. I really only came to check in with you.."

She pokes out her lip, pouting.. Giving you her begging puppy eyes.. "Kirbz! Come on, you never have any fun, you never talk to guys or even talk about them.. I know you're like this super-brainy-lawyer-lady, but don't you ever want to just lose control? You know, live a little!"

She has no idea how badly you want that..

But one of you needs to be responsible..

You've only been settled in the city for a few months, and nothing is ever permanent.. Not for you.. At her mention of your lack of a dating life, your eyes shift self consciously to where the yummy viking at the bar had been sitting, as if somehow he might have overheard her calling you out.. The idea makes you cringe..

But he's gone.. Thank God..

"Next time I'll be more fun, I promise, Lucky.. But tonight is not my night, sorry boys!" You throw the young fellas a two fingered salute and they grin like fools before turning and sauntering back to the dance floor..

You reach into your pocket, pulling out a thick wad of bills, peeling several off and shoving them in Lucy's hand..

Her eyes widen and she smiles at you appreciatively.. "Really? Kirby.. Thank you.. You're the best!"

You pull your sister in for a hug, squeezing her tight.. She is the only family you have, and that means everything to you.. It's always been your job to look after her, to take care of her and keep her safe.. It hasn't been easy on either of you..

But Lucky was so young when it first started, she doesn't know anything different than a life on the run.. You hate that..

This time, it's going to be different.. This city is supposed to be different..

"Anything for you, anytime.. Now, be safe, don't stay up too late..." You pull back and kiss her cheek before turning to leave, calling out over your shoulder as you do.. "And go to school!"

You hear her merry laugh behind you as you make your way outside, pushing through the padded black door, stepping out onto the street.. Drunk couples linger along the outside walls of the club..

A group of intoxicated young ladies sit, cackling in the gutter out front, so you step to the side, into an empty space, pulling a silver cigarette case from your clutch..

You tap out a single cigarette, holding it between two fingers as you search the bag for the silver lighter that matches the case..

A low rumbly voice, like a whisper of sure velvet thunder, rolls behind you and makes you jump.. "You wouldn't have a spare one of those by any chance, Miss?"

You spin around, your stiletto heel catching in the cracked concrete, causing you to crumple forward into the Vikings broad chest..

Oh god.. His hard as steel chest..

Two big warm hands wrap around your lithe waist and he steadies you on your feet, before taking a swift, respectful retreating step..

He is so tall, your head tips back as you look up at him..

Up close, he's even more gorgeous and suddenly the ability to form a full sentence eludes you.. "Uh.. Sure.. Yes.." You're so stunned by his presence it's like you've momentarily forgotten how to speak..

Instead you just tap the case again, until another single cigarette slides forward..

You offer it to him cautiously and he smiles like a shark with a mouthful of diamonds..

"Sorry, I'm afraid I don't have a light..?" You manage..

"Lucky I came along then.." He chuckles as he reaches into his pocket, pulling out a polished brassy lighter, flipping it open, sparking it alight and holding it out for you..

You bring the cigarette to your lips, leaning in towards the flame, your eyes cast upward towards the Vikings intense grey stare..

You notice everything about him, from the dark inky hints of the tattoos that he must be hiding beneath his suit, because they creep up his neck, peeking out from under his collar, and at the cuffs of his his fitted, perfectly tailored suit - to the Scent of sunshine and snowflakes that surround him..

No.. This man is definitely not your typical business man..

You take a long drag and lean back, eyeing him up, assessing him as he casually lights his own cigarette..

Definitely not the boring banker you had written him off to be..

You actually have no idea what he is..

But you kind of want to find out..

Neither of you speak for several moments.. Watching each other instead..

"You in college?" He finally smirks..

A cocky, sharky grin tugging at his lips that gives you a little thrill..

You scoff.. "Obviously.. Aren't you?" You smile teasingly and he grins wider..

"Oh yeah.. Definitely.." He takes another drag..

So do you, and your eyes never leave his..

Eyes you'd swear you've seen before.. You just don't know where..

You look up and down the quiet street, the club goers have started to move inside or move on, it's only the two of you out front now..

He takes a step closer, common sense screams that you should be more cautious.. You know that talking to strange men outside of bars is a no no.. But, he's just so.. Magnatising.. And he has you feeling far more curious than cautious.. "W-what are you doing?" You stammer..

He flicks his cigarette to the gutter before fixing his hard stare on you.. "You're different.."

You step back, just a little.. "What do you mean?"

He shoves his hands in his pockets and tips his head to one side.. "To everyone in there.." He nods his head in the direction of the club..

"Oh.. Yeah.. Well everyone in there is approximately twenty one.. So, I would hope so.."

He laughs, a rich velvety rhythm that makes your femininity hum with desire..

He looks so good.. And it's been so long since you've had a man..

Even longer since you've had a man with the prerequisites you need..

Maybe actually never on that last one..

You drop the cigarette on the ground, crushing it out with the toe of your stiletto.. He watches curiously as you then bend down, picking up the butt and walking over to flick it into the roadside trashcan..

You turn back to him, his expression bemused.. "What? It's better for the environment, do you know how long it takes one of those things to biodegrade?.. I'm not that much of an asshole.."

He grins and shakes his head.. Probably picking up on the fact that you just called him an asshole..

You smile, nod your head up the road, northward in the direction of your apartment.. "Well, Ragnar, thanks for the light.. And the conversation.. it's been.. Odd.. I'm this way.. Goodnight.." You give him a bright smile before you turn heading off in the direction of your apartment, it's several blocks away, but you figure the walk might do you some good..

You barely make it three steps before he stops you.. His voice gruff.. "What did you call me?"

You spin around grinning.. You thought he might like that one.. "Ragnar? He was the king of--"

He prowls toward you, heat in his eyes.. "I know who he was.. I just don't understand why?.."

You cock your head.. "I don't know.. Maybe because when I was trying to figure out what it is that you do, the only thing I could settle on was--"

He arches a neat blond brow.. "You settled on me being a 'Viking'?"

You nod, surely you can't be the first woman to notice this! ..

You shrug a shoulder and give him a sly smile..

"It's the only logical conclusion.."

He grins, taking a step back and turning in the opposite direction.. "Not quite.. But, you're close, duchess.."

Okay wow, what a line!
But for him, it totally works..

Butterflies flutter in your belly.. He's so commanding, so confident as he e strides away, leaving you standing there with three thoughts..

Firstly, he's super hot.. Undeniably, unequivocally, unbelievably hot..

Secondly, he's super mysterious.. And that should be a major red flag to you..

And thirdly, you're super sure you'll never see him again..

So there's no harm in a little, imaginary indulgence.. Is there?

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