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Authors: Cynnamon Foster

NorthernPassion

BOOK: NorthernPassion
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Northern Passion

Cynnamon
Foster

 

Desiree and Sam are at it
again—this time in France. In the midst of their romantic getaway, a horrific
crash, a missing body and a sobbing American leave them full of questions.
Should they be mourning an accidental death or investigating a murder? They
want to help and this means going undercover among a group of swinging expats who
are full of secrets.

Desiree finds herself aroused in
ways she didn’t know she would enjoy on the quest to unveil the secrets and
politics of the Passion Club. But she is torn between doing her job and
jealousy. After all, if she’s having fun, Sam could be too.

Sam knows the job comes first, but
his feelings for Desiree are stronger than he could’ve imagined. It becomes a
challenge to find a balance between their jobs and their outside lives, but
both are driven to succeed.

 

Inside Scoop:
Being an
undercover spy in a sex club can lead to all sorts of fun, including a brief
but hot bondage scene.

 

A Romantica®
contemporary erotic romance
from
Ellora’s Cave

 

Northern Passion
Cynnamon Foster

 

Acknowledgments

 

Clearly, I have quite the imagination, but most of the
stories I write always start with a grain of truth. The grain that started this
series came from my husband. Before your mind works overtime, let me explain.
He was on a business trip and staying in one of the hotels approved by his
company and got a note under his door. The pool in the hotel was closed. The
reason? There was a body in it. I thought he was joking, so he brought home an ex-pat
newspaper to prove it to me. A woman, also an ex-pat, had been found floating
in the pool. My mind went to work and created
Eastern Spice
.

Northern Passion
was born similarly. This time, there
was no body floating in the pool, but instead I overheard a conversation about
the male half of a wedding party who was killed in an accident in France during
a celebration, leaving behind grieving family and a group of swingers lamenting
the loss of their partners. I’d worked in France many times and watched late-night
Showtime
enough to conjure up the Passion Club.

Many thanks to my sisters, for reading this without letting
out a big sigh as if to say “Another one?” And to my community of writer
friends who give me daily support, including Reshonda Tate Billingsley and
Victoria Christopher Murray. Also thanks to my literary assistant, Yolanda
Gore, Pam Walker Williams and Sara Camilli and my fellow Jack & Jill Moms,
sisters in Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Links, Inc and The Sparkles, now
Girl Friends. Marcea Lloyd, I will not kill a character just because you don’t
like them, but I still love you. With a team like that, I will absolutely keep
writing. Thank you, Jonathon Hilland, for the French language clues.

My husband and I have done consulting work all over the
world. I can’t tell you what kind or I’d have to kill you (smiling here). Our
travels have taken us to six continents and myriad countries and I think I fell
in love with each and every place—and with him again at each stop. In my head,
I have a story for the mysteries of each country. I am grateful to him for
sharing those experiences with me. I’m sure I would not be as adventurous if it
wasn’t for him being by my side. I am also grateful he reads each book each
time I ask him to.

I will leave it to you to try to find the grain of truth in
each story. Happy hunting.

 

Chapter One

Friendly Competition

 

Sam and Desiree laughed as they stumbled through the door of
the inn. Desiree inhaled. She loved the smell of the lobby, even if the usual
scent of the fresh-cut flowers was mixing with the odor of their after-run
sweat.

“Your age is catching up to you, Sam.” Desiree tried not to
gloat. “I beat you by what? Five minutes?”

He kissed her on the forehead. “I let you win.”

A smile spread across her face. “That’s what you tell
yourself to maintain your dignity. It’s all good.” Their mock competitiveness
was one reason their relationship worked.

Desiree laughed with him, loving when they ribbed each other
this way. She had thoroughly enjoyed every minute so far of their three-week
vacation. One year ago, she’d never been to another state, much less out of the
country and a vacation meant a trip from Austin to Dallas. Now they’d had three
weeks without their ever-present boss eyeing them, glaring at them. Three weeks
with Sam acting as just her lover and not her coworker. Three weeks with no
mysteries or murders to solve. No one at the Agency for Clandestine Operations
and Investigation looking over their shoulders. Three weeks of paradise.

Normally the lobby of the quaint inn where they were staying
was quiet as befitted a small secluded establishment in the French countryside,
but today, it seemed filled to overflowing. There were at least five other
people waiting in the tiny space, more than Desiree had seen at one time in any
area of the building since their arrival. Bewildered, Sam and Desiree made eye
contact as they tried to push their way through the small crowd.

The clerk looked up and greeted them. “
Bonjour,
madame
et monsieur
,” he said. His normal smile was replaced by a look of
frustration. Desiree stumbled through returning his greeting in her poor
French, repeating herself when he cupped his ear to show he hadn’t heard her.
His lack of reaction disappointed her. She had gotten used to the staff smiling
at her attempts to speak their language, even when she butchered it as badly as
she did.

He seemed to sense her reaction. “I’m so sorry. I am, how do
you say, swamped? We have a bridal party checking in today.”

Sam looked around. “There are no women,” he said. “Usually,
weddings mean a plethora of ladies in bad pastel-colored dresses.”

The clerk agreed. “
Oui
. It is just the men. They
arrived very late last night and we are doing the paperwork this morning before
they go on a tour.” He shifted his gaze back to the computer screen, then
looked up again as he handed two slips of paper over to Sam. “You have
breakfast on us. Please.”

Desiree tugged at Sam’s sleeve. “Let’s go. I feel so bad for
the poor man. He looks as if he’s not going to make it.” Sam nodded. “Breakfast
then.”

As they walked away from the desk, Desiree looped her arm
through Sam’s. “Maybe later. I have something better in mind.” Running always
made her frisky and they’d run extra hard today.

“I like the sound of that. Room service?”

“That, my love, sounds like a much better idea,” Desiree
practically growled at him. “I might not let you out of the room until well
after lunch time.”

Sam held his hand on his chest, feigning a heart attack. “Don’t
play with me, Dez. And stop making promises you can’t keep.” He raised his
eyebrows as he teased her.

Desiree had been Sam’s woman since before she started
working at the agency. They’d met while he was undercover on an assignment and
Desiree knew he was as taken with her and her exotic looks now as he had been
then. They’d been through a lot since they’d become partners and started
working together. He made it clear he loved every inch of her five-foot-four
frame, from the unruly curly tendrils on the top of her head down to her
perfectly manicured size seven feet. She knew he enjoyed the way she might
change her hairstyle at the drop of a dime and was constantly amused when her
well-hidden Southern accent slipped through.

“Oh,” she said. “I have every intention of keeping this one.
How fast can you get the door open?”

Sam grinned, stopping her in the hallway. “I don’t see why
we have wait until we get to the room.”

Desiree squealed as he pulled her into an alcove. “Someone
will see us!” She really didn’t care, but protesting in this circumstance was
the right and proper thing to do. Although convention didn’t matter to her,
Desiree had been brought up to act as if it did.

Sam kissed her on her neck. “We don’t know these people. I’m
not about to let some strange person come between the two of us.”

“And I’m sweaty—”

“I love the smell and taste of you and your sweat.”

Desiree giggled, then buried her face in Sam’s neck. His was
as wet as hers, even wetter. After working out, Sam’s perspiration was much
more like he’d taken a shower than simply sweat from exertion. He walked her
backward, pressing her up against the wall and simultaneously lifting her leg,
wrapping it around him and pulling her body as close as possible to his.
Desiree moaned. There was no longer any shyness between them. He made no effort
to hide his hard-on and she enjoyed the feeling of him pressing against her
crotch.

“No one excites me like you do, Desiree.”

Butterflies swarmed in her stomach reminding her of being a
kid in high school. “They’d better not.” She was breathless. If he kept this
up, she’d fuck him right in the hallway. He reached his hand down the front of
her exercise pants, then thrust two fingers into her.

She melted. “Goodness! Sam, let’s go to the room—”

They were so into each other, they almost didn’t hear the
person walk past them. He cleared his throat. “Excuse me. Can you help me?”

Sam growled, releasing Desiree at the same time. “No.”

Desiree hit him in the arm. “Yes. Yes, what do you need?”
She cleared her throat as she tried to catch her breath.

The stranger now noticed he’d interrupted them. His face
flushed red. “Oh I’m sorry—”

“No worries,” Desiree said. “What can we help you with? Are
you lost?”

Embarrassment spread across his face as he nodded. “I can’t
seem to find my way back to the lobby.”

“That happened to us all the time when we first arrived.”
Sam said, recovering his manners. “This place is like a maze. So many of these
old buildings are. It’s down the hall, take the little stairs on the right,
then three lefts.”

“Thank you. I might have been lost in here forever. I’m so glad
I ran into Americans. Sometimes the French aren’t so helpful and my French
isn’t as good as it should be anymore.”

“I get that,” Desiree said. “You’re American? You look
French-ish.” She swept her eyes over his hat and European-style scarf she’d noticed
many men wearing since they’d arrived. Frenchmen seemed to have a style all
their own. They wore scarves and carried man-bags with no explanation or
apology.

She seemed to have made the stranger’s day. He grinned
widely. “Just ‘ish’. I’m American, but I live in France part of the year
because I run a business in the US with an office here and I try to stay here
while the weather is good.”

Sam and Desiree made their way along the narrow hallway with
the stranger.

“Are you with the wedding party?” Sam asked.

He nodded. “Bachelor party in France. I’m the best man.”

“Doesn’t get any better, does it?” Desiree could only
imagine something as romantic as a French wedding.

He agreed, a grin spreading from one side of his face to the
other. “We’re pretty lucky.”

Desiree was impatient to get back to what they’d been doing.
“Okay, this is the door. If you take this staircase, it will lead you down to
the lobby.”

“Thank you and I’m sorry to interrupt.” The stranger blushed
again.

They watched as the man went through the old wooden door and
started down the steps, the sound echoing through the corridor. Desiree was
still watching when Sam stepped into her again. “Now where were we?”

She dodged his advance and took off down the hallway toward
their room. “You gotta earn this.”

Sam ran after her. The narrow hallway was mazelike and by
the time they found their room, both Sam and Desiree were out of breath with
laughter. Desiree threw the door open and Sam fell through it into the small
European-style room right behind her. Desiree started to undress immediately.

Sam grinned. “Now that’s what I’m talking about.” He dropped
his sweats and let them fall to his ankles.

Desiree rolled her eyes. “What? A shower? We’re both ripe!”
She wrinkled her nose in mock protest.

“A shower and then…” Sam’s eyebrows rose with anticipation.

Desiree loved playing this game. Sam’s appetite for her
seemed endless. “And then we’ll go downstairs and have our free breakfast.” She
reached into the bathroom and turned on the shower. The room was so small she
could practically do most everything from one spot.

There were no complaints though. Anywhere they were together
was just fine. And anywhere they were where their omnipresent and surly boss
Reed was not bugging them was even better. “You can’t possibly want anything
from me—letting me win and all. I bet you even let me win twice, right?”

“You mean just now?” Sam asked. “Yeah, I gave you a big head
start there.”

Desiree reached her hand into the shower stream and flicked
her fingers at Sam, sending a spray of droplets across his chest and face. She
chuckled and then stepped into the water. It cascaded over her body and she
gasped. It felt amazing. They had run through the French countryside for a good
seven miles. The weather was cool, but the hard work of the run had produced a
healthy sweat on both of them. The hot water would keep her from aching and
watching the water run over her body would keep Sam’s anticipation level high,
just like she wanted it to be.

As Sam watched, Desiree took her shower puff and filled it
with liquid soap, then slowly and purposely rubbed it over her wet body in
small, deliciously wicked circles just because she knew it would drive him
crazy. She watched out of the corner of her eye as his erection grew with his delight.

Finally, he was unable to resist anymore. “Can I join you?”

She knew he could only take it for so long, but teasing him
was half the fun. “I don’t know if I should let you. You know you are in the
habit of letting me win things and I need you to do better. We need to arrive
at the same time. Together.” She paused, eyebrows raised, to be sure they were
on the same page. “I can’t have you deciding to try to compete with me for real
at a crucial time.”

Sam already had one foot in the shower, but Desiree had her
other hand firmly planted in the center of his chest, fake stopping him from
fully joining her.

“Have you ever known me to be a selfish lover?” he asked. “I’ve
always been more gentlemanly than that.”

A wicked smile played on Desiree’s lips. “This isn’t about
chivalry. I need you to be more sporting. A good sportsman plays fair, sir.
What good will I be if you always let me win? I need you to be fair and play
fair.”

When Desiree first joined ACOI, Sam had been hard on her.
He’d pulled her into the agency, but he’d trained her too. Before now, he’d
always been her harshest critic, asking her the tough questions and going hard
during the daily sparring matches they had for practicing hand-to-hand combat.
Desiree needed that. At first she’d resented it, but his training had served
her well so far. She didn’t want it to stop now. In anything.

“I can be a good sportsman,” he said. “The best.”

Desiree chuckled. “You would say anything right about now.
For lack of a better phrase, I’ve got you by the balls.” The glint in Sam’s
eyes wasn’t hard to miss. He was enjoying this as much as she was. “Literally.”

Sam batted his eyelids and tried to look as sad as possible.

“You’re pitiful when you beg, especially when you make your
puppy-dog face.”

“Ruff!” Sam feigned a bark.

Desiree laughed again and gave Sam a tug on the arm, pulling
him into the shower to join her.

“I was beginning to get worried. No more going easy, then.”
Sam grinned from ear to ear. “It’s cold out there.” He let the warm water
cascade over the top of his head and took Desiree’s shower puff from her,
holding out his hand so she could give him the shower gel.

“You know you need me in here. How else would you get your
back completely clean?”

“You might have a point there, lover, even if I’m pretty sure
it got clean enough before we met.”

Sam rubbed the shower puff in small circles on Desiree’s
back. “That was before. Now you need it cleaned the way
I
do it.”

“My turn.” Desiree turned around to face Sam. He offered her
the shower puff, but she refused. “I think my hand will work better.” Desiree
wet her hands with soap and rubbed them gently on Sam’s chest, enjoying the
feel of his musculature. He worked hard and it showed. Chest and arms were some
of her favorite body parts, at least on him. His were beautifully sculpted and
hard in all the right places. “Looking kind of good here. I like what your
trainer has been doing.”

Sam closed his eyes and leaned on the shower wall. “This
isn’t the trainer. This is all me.”

She ran her hands lower, rubbing them across his belly. Sam
let out a sigh.

“What about this? Is this all you too?”

“Umhmm,” he grunted. “All me.”

She massaged him lower yet, closing her fist around his
erection. “And this?”

“Most definitely all me.” A guttural noise escaped his
throat. “Goodness, woman, what are you doing to me?”

A sudden pang of desire took over Desiree, rising from the
pit of her stomach. There had only been a few times in her life when she wanted
to swallow someone whole and this was one of them. She slid down to her knees
and licked the tip of Sam’s penis, savoring the tiny drop of precum appearing
there.

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