(The Paladin League, #5)
Publication date: August 8th 2023
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
A Special Forces officer has a second chance with his first love…if he can keep her alive.
Special Forces Captain Decker Nguyen doesn’t make big mistakes, but he really messed up when he made love with the woman who’d been his best friend. And then ghosted her.
Now, years later, he sees Francesca again. In Puerto Jardin. While he’s undercover as a mercenary and on a high-risk op to topple the empire of an international arms dealer.
Francesca “Frankie” Lewis believes she put Deck out of her head and heart. Until she sees him again. But she’s not falling for him a second time, not when it took so long to put the pieces back together after he disappeared.
Besides, she’s working. The Paladin League sent her to Puerto Jardin to track down the Lost Treasure of Trujillo. But her team isn’t the only one searching for it and others will kill to find it first. With her life on the line, the only person she trusts with her safety is the one man she wants to avoid.
Deck is determined to win Frankie back. He just needs to keep her alive and convince her to take another chance on him.
Wicked Persuasion is a stand-alone romance with a HEA. There are references to events that happened in earlier books, but it’s not necessary to read them to enjoy this story.
Indulge in a protector hero who’s in Special Forces, a second chance romance between former best friends, a heroine who is an archivist (not a librarian, secret agent, or superhero), action, adventure, and romance. And don’t forget the rest of the Special Forces team, some of whom will have their own stories coming up.
Over the years, Francesca Lewis had imagined many scenarios when they’d run into each other again. His saving her from being mugged wasn’t one of them. “Hello, Deck,” she said, managing to sound calm. “Thanks for the rescue.”
She met his gaze head-on, trying to keep her expression dispassionate. Her hands were shaking. Frankie took a deep breath and clutched her fingers around her tote bag. They’d been twenty-two years old the last time she’d seen him, and he’d had a youthfulness about him then.
Deck was all man now. His chest and shoulders had broadened, and he had muscles everywhere. Impressive muscles. Frankie took another long breath.
The boy-band/rock-idol hairstyle was gone, replaced by a more conservative cut—longer on top, short over the ears and nape—but his dark hair was shaggy as if he’d skipped a few barber appointments and it appeared as if he hadn’t bothered to shave for days. Those velvet-brown eyes of his still did things to her. She looked away, not wanting him to realize how much he could affect her. He was gorgeous, even better-looking now than back then, and he’d been damn hot in college.
Deck had majored in business because his parents had decided he would join the family company. So why was he here in fatigue pants and combat boots?
“Is your firm conducting a hostile takeover in Trujillo?” She gestured toward his clothing.
Deck grinned and Frankie locked her knees to keep from swooning. Damn it, he wasn’t supposed to be able to do this to her any longer.
“I never joined my dad’s company.” He changed the subject. “You’re wearing your hair long now. I like it.”
The frisson of pleasure irritated the hell out of her. Slinging the leather straps of her tote over her shoulder, Frankie said, “Good to see you, Deck.” That was a lie. “Thanks again.” She pivoted and began to head toward the inn.
To her frustration, he caught up to her. “I’ll walk you to your hotel. Where are you staying?”
She didn’t want to tell him. She wanted to leave and pretend she’d never seen him again. “Thanks, but it’s not necessary.”
“Yes, it is. You don’t know if those gang members are waiting up ahead to finish what I interrupted.”
“Odds are they’re more interested in evening the score with you than stealing my bag.”
Deck continued to keep pace with her. “I claimed you as my woman. They could attack you to get back at me. Now which hotel are you staying at?”
Frankie recognized the stubborn expression on his face. Deck wasn’t about to surrender the battle, and she was shaking from being accosted, leaving her without the energy to argue with him indefinitely. “Palacio Monasterio,” she admitted grudgingly.
He whistled low, under his breath. “Librarians must be paid more than I thought.”
She bit her tongue. He was trying to get a rise out of her and she wasn’t giving him the satisfaction.
“Sorry.” Deck smirked, not even slightly remorseful. “I meant archivist.”
No, he didn’t. She focused on the road in front of her. “Did you really think I would fall for that?”
“You used to.”
“I’m not twenty anymore.”
“No, you’re definitely all grown up.”
Was that admiration in his voice? Frankie refused to glance over and see if she was right.
Patti O’Shea’s passions are writing, airplanes and traveling. Fortunately, she’s been able to enjoy all three. After receiving a degree in advertising copywriting, she took a job with a major U.S. airline and now works in 757 Engineering. Besides teaching her about the planes she loves, it’s given her an opportunity to travel to places like Australia, Papua New Guinea and Canada’s Yukon Territory.
Writing, though, remains her primary love. Patti created her first romance when she was in junior high school and has been hooked ever since. She should have figured out she was a writer years earlier, however, since her dolls had such involved lives, complete with goals, motivation and conflict.
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