Alien. Assassin. Time Traveler.
The government wants him dead.
Rayna Newman... not so much.
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Echoes of Time Travel Series: Book One
He’s a man of action, and I appreciate that. If he’s going to work with me, he has to know I’ve got his back.”
“And, do you?”
Shawn didn’t answer for a long moment. Rayna bided her time, let him come to a determination he probably hadn’t thought out until this moment.
“I’m used to working alone, but yeah, unless he threatens my life, or yours, I have his back.”
Rayna let out a slow breath. “Good, I’m glad. He’s not such a bad guy when he’s not being a jerk.”
“You think he’s a jerk?”
She laughed, stirring her coffee out of habit. “That’s not what I said.”
“But it’s what you think.”
“Maybe I think men in general are jerks.” She glanced up at him, a teasing smile playing on her lips, and found an even more interesting one on his. “What’s with that Cheshire smile?”
“Was I smiling?” He tilted his head, allowing the smile to almost turn into a taunt. A subtle seduction.
“Gah, you’re infuriating sometimes.” She snaked out her hand, grabbed the little plastic lid of Shawn’s water bottle, and threw it at him.
In a blur of motion, he caught the lid right before it hit him. Like a cat. A tomcat. A dangerous and sexy feline of the male persuasion.
He leaned in close, bronzed muscled forearms resting on the table between them, until his lips were a breath away from hers.
“Sometimes? You think I’m infuriating all the time, don’t you?” He held out the bottle cap. “Wanna throw it at me again?”
Instead of answering and playing into his hands, she picked up her cup of coffee and took a sip. Shawn sat back, a look of triumph on his face.
Sighing into the cup of cooling java, she shook her head. “Please stop doing that.”
Shawn’s brows furrowed in what seemed to be genuine confusion as he squinted at her. “Stop doing what?”
“Playing me. Like you’re picking me up in a bar or something. We don’t have a lot of time. Can’t you be real, even for a little while?” Setting her cup down, she blinked back the threat of tears.
“Is that…” He frowned and pushed back in his chair, the scraping sound on the floor grating on her nerves. “Is that what I’m doing?”
Rayna made an unhappy sound in her throat. “You’re doing it right now.”
“No, Ray, you’re wrong.” He lowered his tone, and her gaze shot up at the sincerity in his voice. “I’m not doinganything. I...don’t know how else to be.”
All of Rayna’s hurt and anguish disappeared with those words. She’d forgotten for a moment not just who, but what Shawn was—an alien from another planet who’d had a terrible upbringing. One she couldn’t possibly begin to fathom. Not yet, anyway. She needed...wanted more time to understand him.
Pain darkened his eyes. Sorrow creased his forehead, slumped his shoulders. She bit her lip, empathy tightening her chest.
Tentatively, she reached out a hand and laid it with a feather touch on his arm. “Do you want to be different? I mean, with me?”
Slowly, he raised his eyes to meet hers. “I think so...yes.”
Rayna smiled even as a tear escaped and traced a path down her cheek. “Promise me you’re coming back.”
He held her gaze. “I promise.”
“No. Say the words. Please, Shawn. I need to hear the words.” Her voice broke and she lowered her head, swiping at the tears.
Shawn reached out his arm, hooking a finger under her chin, and forced her head back up. “Don’t do that.”
“Cry. Don’t cry, Ray. I promise, I’m coming back.”
She nodded as fresh tears fell. They would soon be a torrent. “Say it again.”
Shawn smiled, and it was the sweetest smile she’d ever seen, on him or anyone else. It told her how much he cared. How much he was trying.
He caressed her cheek, and she bent her head into his touch, but he’d already stood up. He came around the table, pulled her to her feet, and pressed her against the wall. “I’m coming back.”
For a moment, she shut her eyes. His warmth, his body caused a wealth of sensations to cascade through her, all ending at the needful moisture growing between her legs.
Oh, what this man did to her.
He moved in for a kiss, but she ducked, looking up at him. “One more time. Tell me.”
He planted his palms on the wall, one on either side of her head. “I don’t understand. This is what you wanted. This is what I risked everything for.”
“I know, I know. It’s stupid. Just bear with me, okay, please?” She choked back a sob. “Female humans. We’re a mystery. Tell me once more.”
“Third time’s the charm?”
The warmth of his body cradled her like a blanket, and she wanted nothing more than to wrap herself up in him. Her hands traced a path up his back, reveling in his power, his strength, as he flexed his muscles to keep from crushing her as he stood pressed against her body.
He bent his head close to hers, his breath tickling the delicate flesh of her neck. “Don’t be afraid, Ray. I’m coming back.”
He spoke in a low, gentle voice that made him seem even more masculine, if that was possible.
Before she could reply, he brought his lips down onto hers. He kissed her with slow, burning urgency, his lips pressing harder with each passing second. She opened her mouth to him and his tongue crashed in, leaving her breathless. His hand snaked under her shirt and she gasped into his mouth, his palm a burning brand that radiated heat through her where it rested on her hip. His thumb flicked back and forth over her flesh, raising goose bumps as their tongues danced.
He’d told her three times. It was stupid, she knew, but she took heart in his promise. That he’d indulged her at all. In desperation, she clung to him, her senses overwhelmed, lost in a moment that needed to go on forever.
But it didn’t. He squeezed her waist and broke the kiss. His eyes shone, and a smile teased his lips. She melted into his gaze and reached for another kiss, but he pulled back.
“We’ll finish this another time, Ray. I gotta go.” He brushed his fingers across her cheek. “Be good while I’m away. I doubt they’ll let you go until I prove myself to them so have fun with it. Make ’em buy you a car or something.”
He flashed a teasing smile before returning to his solemn expression. He seemed to study her, burning an imprint of her face into his memory before turning and striding from the cafeteria.
She shivered, colder now for his lack of contact. Fear gripped her heart as he disappeared from view. He didn’t stop to glance back at her, and she heaved a sigh of relief. If he had, she likely would have run to him, held on, not let him leave at all.
This was her doing. He was going on a dangerous mission to kill someone because of her. If he failed, the fault rested on her shoulders. She didn’t want to wallow in the sense of dread that she’d made a horrible decision that threatened to drown her, but it was difficult not to.
She didn’t know if she could live with the potentially devastating consequences of her ill-thought-out plan.
How was killing for the government any better?
What the hell had she been thinking?
She suddenly wanted to stop him. Run away with him. Take him away from this life altogether.
But it was too late.
Alien. Assassin. Time Traveler.
Shawn Paros, a flawed and dangerous time-traveling alien, is living his life out on earth as a hired assassin.
Cold, calculated, and emotionless, he makes for the perfect career criminal. But nothing could prepare him for Rayna Newman, the one person who can tear down all of his defenses.
Rayna breathes life into his pointless world, and now, he'll do whatever it takes to hold on to her. Even honoring her most absurd request: to work for the United States government and stop his criminal ways.
There's only one problem.
The government wants him dead.
ECHOES OF TIME
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USA Today bestselling author Rylee Swann is often found in her writing cave, located in a small purple office in a large old Victorian house in Upstate New York. Here she battles with mammoth spiders, works at her hectic marketing manager job, and enjoys the company of the strong, confident, sexy characters she writes about in her romance books.
Amid all that, she also makes time to snuggle with her two cats, who couldn't care less about the spiders. Much to her chagrin.
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