Authors: Avery Gale
The ShadowDance Club 7
Noah Drummond left Iliana Red Cloud’s bed in the middle of the night to help a group of kidnapped young women. He didn’t return to Colorado, fearing his love for Ilaina would target the woman who became an international modeling sensation.
Now they have both returned to their small hometown in Colorado, and he intends to win back her trust and her heart. When Ilaina hears Alex and Zach Lamont asking Noah for his help rescuing the young daughter of a fallen fellow soldier, she volunteers her help.
Ilaina is tired of being sheltered and coddled. She wants to prove to Noah and her three older brothers that she is a woman worthy of their respect. Her confidence has been hard won. Years of dealing with stalkers and the media have hardened Ilaina in ways even she doesn’t like anymore. Can Noah protect her from the dangers that dance at the fringes of their mission and reclaim their future together?
The ShadowDance Club 7
Siren Publishing, Inc.
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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK
IMPRINT: Erotic Romance
E-book ISBN: 978-1-62740-328-3
First E-book Publication: August 2013
Cover design by Harris Channing
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To everyone who has been given a second chance at love, and understands and appreciates what an incredible gift they’ve been given.
The ShadowDance Club 7
Copyright © 2013
The soul never thinks without a picture.
Ilaina Red Cloud sat at the table with her brothers and their new wife surrounded by friends and family, and wondered how she could feel so alone. Her emotions might have been in a dark place, but she knew from experience that her smile was bright and was easily masking the emptiness that was currently filling her soul. Ilaina was over the moon that her three older brothers had found Layla. She and her new sister-in-law had become fast friends and Ilaina was equally thrilled that she was going to be an aunt in a few months.
Known as Lainy to her family and friends, she had only recently moved back to Climax, Colorado, under the pretense of starting her own advertising and marketing company. And while she did intend to do exactly that, the underlying reason had been much more pressing. Lainy’s real motivation to move home had more to do with the fact that years of having her face grace the cover of nearly every magazine in the free world had garnered her more than her share of crazy-assed followers. The cyber-stalker she’d picked up along the way had only been an inconvenience in the beginning, but his comments had seemed to shift about six months ago and they continued to become more and more possessive. One of the things she’d learned was that your security staff only protects you because you are paying them. And their level of protection isn’t always proportionate to their salary either. The other thing she’d learned was that in the end it didn’t matter how good your security staff was or how many times you expressed your fears to law enforcement, the bottom line was there was very little you could do to keep those with bats in their belfries at a safe distance. Whoever “Crazy 4U” was, Lainy was beginning to think he had given himself an apt name.
Glancing around her, Lainy noted that even though she’d just started building friendships with the women that were currently sitting around the table, she enjoyed their diverse backgrounds and wacky senses of humor. Layla seemed to have been able to fit in much more quickly, even though she’d had a boat-load of personal issues to deal with over the years as well. Lainy tried giving herself a mental slap to regain her focus and then realized that the seat next to her that had been empty was now occupied by Alex Lamont.
“Do you mind if I sit here, Ilaina?” Alex Lamont was a former Navy SEAL and along with his twin brother Zach, was married to the little blonde package of dynamite at the other end of the table. Katarina Lamont must have seen the hesitance on Lainy’s face because she looked at her and smiled before nodding her head in Alex’s direction as if encouraging her to talk to him.
Damn this isn’t going anywhere good, I just know it. Alex doesn’t do social chit-chat.
Smiling at him, she tried to keep her tone even so she didn’t give away her unease. “No, not at all. How have you been, Alex? Cash tells me that you stay pretty busy with various business interests and three small children.” Lainy knew more than that, but not much more. She had known there had been several times recently that her oldest brother, Cash, had worked on contract missions for the Lamonts. She and Cash had always been incredibly close despite their seven year age difference. Even when he’d still been a SEAL himself, her brother had never left the country without at least leaving her a message telling her what little he could. Admittedly, that wasn’t much of anything most of the time, but it had always made her feel good to know he had made the effort to ensure she knew how much he loved her each and every time he’d gone out.
Alex laughed and then nodded. “That’s right and truthfully, I have no idea how any man can pull it all off alone. It takes Zach and I both to manage the lot of them. I shudder to think what it would be like to try and keep Katarina in line without his help, let alone the children.” His smile took the sting out of his words and Lainy was well aware of how much the man sitting in front of her cherished his sweet wife. Alex and Zach Lamont could have easily followed in their mother’s footsteps and had successful careers as models. But the U.S. Navy SEALS had called and their desire to serve their nation had never been in question.
He sat in silence for a couple of minutes but then finally spoke again, although this time his words were much more purposeful. “Ilaina, I wanted to tell you how sorry I am that I had to call Noah away from your date the other night.” When she started to speak he held up his hand and she just sat back and waited. “I promise you, I knew full well how incredibly important that evening was to Noah. And if I had had any other option, I would have used it. But the truth is, a young girl’s future was hanging in the balance and Noah was the only person I could count on to get in under the radar and help her.” Lainy found herself watching Alex intently as he spoke, she could see he was trying to walk a very fine line between revealing enough to appease her and still respecting some unseen boundary he’d previously set for the conversation. Whether it was the privacy of the girl he’d spoken about or something to do with Noah, Lainy wasn’t sure.