A dark, suspenseful tale of foreign intrigue, filled with passion. Please comment nicely!

CHAPTER ONE: The Spy Wore Silk

Louise Marchese stifled a shiver of apprehension as she slipped the sleeping tablet into the tall American's glass of champagne. He was focused on sex, but she was planning on leaving his posh hotel suite in just a minute or two, with the slim leather document case tucked safely under her arm. She didn't know what was in the case, and she didn't care. She just wanted to help her old friend Jules.

"Beautiful, baby. Just beautiful." Mark Ryder set his champagne glass on the table so he could use both hands, slipping the black silk gown from the French girl's bronzed shoulders. All through the meal he'd been eyeing her deep cleavage, sending signals that he could barely contain his lust. Now he buried his face in her full rounded breasts, moaning with desire. Acting like a drunken American businessman in Paris was easy. Pretending to be overcome with lecherous desire was even easier.

The girl said she was French, but she was dark like Cleopatra, with the voluptuous allure of an Italian movie star. Her lush curves, smooth sun-tanned skin, and long black hair gave her a fascinating, exotic appeal. Mark let himself enjoy her gyrations, pretending to fall completely under her spell. He wanted her to have plenty of time to drug his wine before he set about turning the tables.

"Oh, Mark. C'est si bon. That's so good." While the little pill was fizzing away inside the glass, Louise allowed the spurt of pleasure from her throbbing nipples to bubble up into her buzzing brain. The tall, broad-shouldered American was oblivious to the trap, safely occupied with suckling her. Louise lay back on the sofa, closing her eyes in genuine excitement.

It had been a long time since any of the men who used her body made more than a trifling effort to stir her senses. This time was different, though. Now that the gown was off her shoulders, and the wet heat of his mouth teased the aching firmness of her breasts, Louise found herself gasping and writhing on the low, deep-cushioned sofa. The rugged American was really turning her on! Heated by the warm slickness of his tongue, her nipples tightened in painful shock under a sudden flood of icy coolness.

It was a shame she was secretly planning to rob him.

"Drink up, baby. This stuff's too good to waste." Mark wet his lips and splashed a few drops of champagne over the girl's peaked nipples. Then he kissed her lightly, teasingly. Her lips parted, and her long lashes fluttered as she looked up at him with confused desire. Before she could do more than blink her big brown eyes, Mark tilted the glass and poured the rest of the drugged champagne into her open mouth.

"Mark, no! Mustn't – mmm . . ." As she swallowed the fizzing champagne, Louise felt a flare of panic. Mark's gray-green gaze was as strong and unyielding as his wide shoulders and hard-muscled chest. He was kneeling over her on the sofa, his tantalizing body and teasing lips just out of reach. Louise had reacted instinctively to the playful kiss, opening her mouth at the taste of champagne, then gulping greedily as she looked into his eyes. Drinking from his glass aroused her even more than the light kiss.

It wasn't until the glass was empty that she stole a frightened glance at the marble-topped table. The doctored champagne glass was right where she had left it moments ago, before he began to rub and suck her swollen breasts. That was his glass, she told herself, sagging down into the deep cushions.

It must have been the champagne in her own glass he had just poured down her throat . . .

Mark didn't see any reason to stop pleasuring the girl just because she had fallen into her own trap. The moment she gulped the drugged champagne he grabbed the bottle and splashed what was left onto her taut, firm belly and big round breasts. The golden drops trickled down into her black curls and gave him the perfect opportunity to move lower, plunging his tongue into her navel as his cunning fingers sought the wetness of her honeyed depths.

"Stop that!" Shrieks of laughter burst from Louise's throat as the hulking American slurped champagne from her navel. He pressed his lips together and blew noisily, the warm air buzzing against her sensitive flesh. She squealed like a toddler.

Louise was glad when the silly game came to an end. Her mind was a bit sluggish, and her heavy limbs felt weak and strangely powerless. But she managed to spread her knees and welcome the slick slide of knowing fingers into her wet, womanly place. She'd just let poor Mark have his thrills for a second or two, and then she'd get him to drink from the other glass. Just a moment longer, that was all.

Oh, le bon Dieu! That felt so, so good . . .

Louise stifled a moan, biting her full lower lip. The American was far too clever. His fingers had found the exact right spot to send her off into sheer melting bliss. Already she was moving, bucking, her hips rising and falling in time to Mark's perfect control. His fingers were marvelous. He was drawing her onwards, and upwards, raising her higher and higher to a pitch of trembling excitement that she couldn't possibly endure for another moment.

"Ah, yes. Yes! Give it to me, Mark! Give it to me!" Louise was ready. Release was so close! Yet even as she felt the first glimmer of delight she seemed to sink deep into oblivion, the pleasure fading off to sweet nothingness and welcome slumber.

"Sweet dreams, my love." Mark watched with a half-smile as the girl on the sofa relaxed her thighs in the midst of passion, her head falling to one side as she slumped into unconsciousness. After a moment he pressed two fingers firmly against her neck. Her heartbeat was strong, her pulse normal.

Evidently whatever she had put in his glass had only been intended to make him sleep for a few hours.

Now that the tables were turned, he was glad to have one less thing to worry about. Disposing of a dead body was a nuisance. He had no more time to waste on the naked French hooker's lush body.

The American agent moved quickly, gathering together the document case and other things he needed for his return to headquarters. Once or twice he glanced at Louise, just to make sure she was truly oblivious. Her long legs and rounded breasts looked just as inviting when she wasn't awake and smiling at him. Even the peaceful innocence of her features in deep sleep seemed strangely alluring.

Mark Ryder was a pro. He never played around with women unless it was for the cause. There was no reason to keep looking at Louise, studying her body, feeling that frustrating sense of incompleteness. He didn't need to finish what they started. He needed to get his ass in gear. First he covered the girl's distracting body with a soft cashmere blanket. Then he began wiping away fingerprints and removing evidence from the luxurious hotel suite.

The girl's clumsy attempt to drug him had been the work of amateurs. He knew what she was after, but real terrorists would have sent an assassin, preferably a suicide bomber who would leave no loose ends in the act of taking him out. Mark almost felt lucky. At least this time the spy wore silk. After one last, lingering glance at Louise, he stepped into the hallway and dialed his handler.

"Hello, Miss Cadbury," he said, after checking to make sure his encryption system was functioning. He didn't want any electronic eavesdroppers listening in on his cell phone calls. "No problems on this end. I've got the information and I'm coming right in. I just want to stop off and pay the bartender for his help. He tipped me that the girl I met earlier was working for someone."

"Never mind that!" Miss Cadbury's pleasantly refined voice, with its cool, precise English accent was unusually agitated. "Mark, you've got to get out of there right away. We've already called the French police. The terrorists have pinpointed your base of operations, and they've planted a bomb to take you out. That whole suite is going to blow sky high any minute!"

"To hell with the terrorists." Mark wasn't worried about his own safety. But upstairs long-legged Louise was lying on the sofa in a drugged sleep while a terrorist bomb ticked away nearby.

Leaving her to sleep it off was one thing. Leaving her to die was something else.

"What did you say?" Miss Cadbury's voice was concerned. "Mark, what's wrong?"

"Nothing," he said, quickly forming a plan. "I need you to set something up for me. The safe house we used before. That's right, we'll need the whole set up. No time to explain now. I left something valuable in my room, and I've got to grab it while I still can!"