The big heist has begun!
He stole the treasure. She got him in the jewels.
Jacob Holt holds his greatest steal of all time in his hands -- the seven jewels from seven swords of the knights of King Arthur’s Round Table.
He doesn’t buy into the hype surrounding the authenticity of the swords, but he does believe the numbers. The jewels with their jagged hilts are worth $140 million.
As he enters his bunker in Manhattan with his spoils, he dials up his favorite escort service. Tonight is for celebrating and he wants company.
After a frenzied night with Jade, a feisty black-haired beauty with a tiara fetish, he checks on his jeweled swords to find them…gone.
Jacob vows to stop at nothing for the return of his prize, but Jade isn’t new to the heist. When the two notorious jewel thieves clash over the stolen swords, they find their attraction may mean more than the jewels are on the line.
For the first time, the most vulnerable commodity in their stash just might be their hearts.
SEVEN OF SWORDS is a standalone enemies-to-lovers romantic suspense by USA Today bestselling author JJ Knight. It is part of the Cards of Love series, over thirty standalone books by top romance authors.
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Jacob Holt’s living room is entirely red. It's a little unnerving, like a serial killer’s den. I turn back to look at the man, a little less certain than I was when I walked in.
"You want something a little less colorful?” he asks.
"Not necessarily," I say. "It's not everyone who decorates with the blood of their enemies."
He laughs, then catches himself, and looks me square in the face. "No one makes me laugh.”
"Welcome to tonight’s bonus feature.” I give a small curtsy.
He laughs again. "I like you.”
He won’t tomorrow, but that's not a concern at the moment. I drop my tiny black clutch on a side table. "Are you a drinking man?"
"I am. I take it you’re a drinking girl?"
"You got a decent whiskey in there?" I flick my eyes over to the full bar occupying one corner of the room.
"I'm sure I can come up with something," he says.
I follow him over. The man walks like he’s on the prowl, tense in the shoulders, his hands almost in fists at his side. I sense that if he felt the necessity, he could easily break me in two.
He makes me a little nervous, truth be told. Watching him knocks me a little off center, like maybe I have the wrong plan.
Stay the course, I tell myself.
He reaches for a crystal decanter filled with something amber, and lifts a glass from the sidebar. "Neat? On the rocks?"
“Neat," I say.
As he pours, he asks, “So what should I call you?”
He doesn’t even pretend I will give him my actual name. Call girls don’t.
“I love the name Jade.”
"Thank you, Jacob," I say, lifting the glass. I wait for him to pour one for himself. I like that he’s drinking what I am. We will taste like each other.
I glance around the room. My eye catches something and I walk toward it. It’s a lighted case, backed in velvet. Resting inside on a simple black pedestal is a Scandinavian nuptial tiara. My knees feel weak just gazing on it.
“Like it?” Jacob asks.
I sip my drink. “It’s lovely.”
“Did you know some are broken down into broaches and worn casually?”
“Are they?” God. That’s like royal jewel 101. But I can’t let on.
He comes up beside me. “When governments fall, the crown jewels are often sold at auction.”
“Like the Romanovs.” I can’t help myself.
His eyebrow kicks up. “Yes, like that.”
He watches me a moment, then holds out his hand.
I take it. We cross through the red room and down a dimly lit hall. Four doors. Two doors are bedrooms with a Jack and Jill bath in between.
One is a bathroom for guests to access from the living room. And the last room will be his room with the master bath. Everything is as I expected it to be. This night will go smoothly.
He opens the last door, a master suite the size of most people's apartments, including mine. Unlike the scarlet room of doom, this one is more gently appointed in soft taupe and navy blue.
"It’s lovely," I say.
He shrugs. “Some decorator did it."
"Did the decorator choose the red room?"
“As instructed,” he says. The smirk is back.
"Murder chic," I say. "It definitely makes a statement."
The bed is massive, larger than anything I've ever seen. Even so, it takes up only one small part of the room. There's a sofa and chairs on one side. Door to a closet, door to the bathroom. Two large bay windows flanking another exit to a balcony.
He turns me in a slow circle, his hand lifting mine above my head.
"I like very much what I see," he says, and now his voice has that same husky quality I used on him earlier. "I want to see more."
"Your wish is my command," I say.
I turn my back to him so that he can work the zipper. But he takes a step back.
“You will strip for me. You will follow all my instructions. And from this moment forward, you will not speak."
He says this gently, as if they are whispered words of love.
Okay. This evening is taking a turn. But I can go with it. I’ve seduced men of every ilk for all sorts of reasons. Many of them like to dominate.
I reach behind my neck to the top of the zipper. I slide it down partway from the top, then shift my arms behind me to take it down the rest of the way.
I love this dress, because it enables me to do a little maneuver that often brings unsuspecting men to their knees. Once unzipped, I lift the slender straps at the top of the dress, and pull them aside my shoulders and let go. The dress skims my body to fall directly to the floor in a perfect puddle of silk.
Jacobs eyebrows lift. "Nice,” he says.
Beneath the dress I wear a sheer black bra that reveals rosy nipples. His eyes go there first, then float down my belly to the barest of panties, just a scrap of lace that makes clear how bare I am for him. It isn’t necessary to remove them for what he has in mind. Clipped to a lacy garter belt are stockings leading to stilettos.
"Bra next," he says.
I reach behind me and tug at the clasp. The bra slides down my arms, and I let it fall to meet the dress.
I definitely have his attention.
"Come here," he says.
I lift my foot over the fallen dress and close the distance in slow careful steps.
His hands go directly to my breasts, cupping them, his thumb crossing both nipples. I suck in a breath.
I didn't fake this one, as something about this man leaves me more breathless than I counted on. But I’m on board. I want to make him a good and hungry for me. I want him to call Sylvester over and over, helplessly asking for another night with me.
Even after he realizes what I've done.
The idea of pulling one over on this powerful man leaves me wet between my legs. I am going to screw him hard.
And then I’m going to screw him over.
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