Take Me Tonight by Roxanne St. ClaireTake Me Tonight by Roxanne St. Claire

Take Me Tonight

byRoxanne St. Claire

Mass Market Paperback | March 27, 2007

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What do thrill-seeking women want?

A fantasy-fulfilling abduction...an exciting rescue by a scorching hot guy...with an unforgettable night of passion. So they go to www.takemetonite.com -- and then they die.

Someone has to stop it.

When Sage Valentine discovers that her roommate's shocking suicide might be related to a website that provides edgy, thrill-seeking entertainment, she immediately books her own "abduction" to get some answers. But her "rescuer" isn't really who she thinks he is....Johnny Christiano is dedicated to the Bullet Catchers, who saved him from a wise guy's life of crime and turned him into an elite bodyguard. When he's assigned to stop Sage's kidnapping, he's unexpectedly trapped between deceit and sizzling desire. But the closer Johnny and Sage get to the truth, the closer danger stalks them...until death is only a double-click away.
Title:Take Me TonightFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 6.75 × 4.19 × 1 inPublished:March 27, 2007Publisher:Pocket StarLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416521860

ISBN - 13:9781416521860

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Read from the Book

Prologue If tenacity had a face, Lucy Sharpe was looking at it. A tornado of determination brewed in angry eyes. A defiant jaw set against anything that got in its way. Even her delicate nostrils flared as Sage Valentine leaned over Lucy's desk and declared, "You owe me, Lucy. Big." A hundred responses echoed through Lucy's mind, a thousand ways to say hello for the first time in thirteen years, a million ways to reach out to her sister's daughter and close the chasm that time and blame had formed between them. She remained as impassive as she would be with any other potential client being turned away. "I'm sorry. I can't help you." "Can't or won't?" Sage crossed her arms and peered down at her aunt, tilting her head. "Big difference." Tenacity and attitude. Sage didn't look like Lydia Sharpe, but she obviously had a few of her mother's traits. "This job isn't right for the Bullet Catchers," Lucy said. "My company is a security firm." "I thought you did investigations." "Only as it relates to the security of our clients and the principals we protect." "Come on, Lucy." Sage tapped the desk impatiently. "With all your contacts in government and law enforcement, after all those years in the CIA? You have to be able to get information I can't." She closed her eyes with a whisper-soft sigh. "I wouldn't ask you if it weren't important." Lucy almost smiled. "I did check the temperature in hell when you called." Sage dropped into the guest chair that she'd refused two minutes earlier, leaning elbows on the colossal writing table between them. "Proof that I am desperate." Proof that she was resourceful. Another trait of Lydia's. "Let me tell you what I have." Inches from Lucy's fingertips lay a file folder with details about www.takemetonite.com, a fantasy website run by computer nerds and supported by young women with more money than common sense. The file contained nothing that a dogged journalist like Sage couldn't have figured out on her own. For a Bullet Catcher file it was remarkably thin, but Lucy's sources had revealed enough to know that her niece was wasting her time seeking retribution and responsibility where there was none to be found. "Takemetonite.com is a privately owned business set up to conduct mock kidnappings and subsequent fantasy rescues strictly for personal entertainment," Lucy said. "They check out and are, for lack of a better word, legitimate." "So who owns it? Who does these kidnappings? Who polices this? How can it be legal? And who kidnapped my roommate the night she died?" Sage's frustration was clear in the last question. "The site is owned by a company called Fantasy Adventures, a division of a large software gaming company in Southern California. FA has about forty employees who staff four operations in the U.S., including one in Boston, with plans to open about six more in the coming year. They are profitable and private about what they do." Sage leaned back in the chair. "And what they do is kidnap women." "Yes. No doubt you've heard of thrill sites, where people can arrange to do or experience just about anything for a price?" "Anything," Sage said pointedly. "Including commit a murder." "True. Those sites are hidden deep underground and are most definitely against the law. But takemetonite.com is much more mainstream, a company that will arrange for someone to have the experience and adrenaline rush of a nonviolent abduction, followed by a rescue performed by handsome young men. And what these young women do to...thank their rescuer is paid for on a sliding scale." "So the men, the rescuers, they're like prostitutes?" Sage's expression was a mix of disgust and disbelief. "The last thing Keisha Kingston had to do was pay for sex." "She didn't," Lucy said. "Your roommate was never kidnapped. Her suicide appears to have been unrelated to the fact that she'd registered with the site." Those delicate nostrils flared again. Was that in response to this information, or the word 'suicide,' sitting between them like the proverbial thousand-pound elephant in the room, with all the same ability to crush them both? Sage shook her head. "Keisha was one of the most intelligent, optimistic, and joyful people I've ever known. She'd be the last person to commit suicide." "Her death was thoroughly investigated and the autopsy was unambiguous." "Unambiguous as to how she died, not why. I want to know what happened while I was out of town for two months. I want to know what changed her life that much." She narrowed her determined eyes again. "Signing up for this thrill site was way out of character for her. As soon as I found it on her computer, it felt like a lead to me." A lead. Sage was trained to sniff out a story, a cause, and a place to assign blame. "Besides," Sage added, "she left our apartment precisely at the appointed time of her kidnapping. Two neighbors saw her." "But she was found back in that apartment the next day," Lucy reminded her. "With a suicide note in her own handwriting and enough ephedra in her body to kill a cow." "But she could have been kidnapped first," Sage pointed out. "She never showed, which is very common. As many as one out of four registered participants bail before the abduction occurs. Apparently, fantasy abductions and rescues have become the surprise gift to give among more adventurous women, but not all of them want that type of surprise." "But no one gave her this as a gift," Sage insisted. "She registered herself." Lucy angled her head in agreement. "And the Boston operation of takemetonite.com confirmed that. However, she didn't show for her appointment. The abduction and rescue never took place and their records are rock solid. Believe me, I checked." Sage released another frustrated sigh. "Lucy, you may not know this, but I'm an investigative journalist. If I could have just gotten past voice mail with that company, I could have figured out this much myself." "I have no doubt of that." Lucy had followed her niece's every move in the last thirteen years. She'd read every story Sage had ever published in any magazine or newspaper, saving them in the same file drawer where she kept Lydia's work. But Sage didn't know that. Or care. Lucy picked up the manila folder and set it in front of Sage. "But I did get past voice mail and I'm confident their records are accurate. You may have this." Lucy resisted the urge to reach across the desk and touch her niece's hand. The gesture would not be appreciated or reciprocated. Instead, she cleared her throat and masked her sympathy with a cool tone. "I know that this kind of death is very difficult to accept, but your answers don't lie with that website. I suggest you let this go." Sage stood up and slipped her handbag over her shoulder. "I didn't ask for your advice. I asked for your help. But never mind -- I'll get what I need myself." Without bothering to take the file, she left the library. Lucy sat motionless while the voice of her new assistant floated down the hall, the front door to the estate closed, then a car motor revved and tires squealed out of the driveway. Only then did Lucy take a deep and shuddering breath. So that was it. Thirteen years of estrangement had come down to a six-minute meeting that ended with a thud. Well, there was no one to blame but... Norman Valentine. And Sage's father was long past the point of shouldering blame. She opened the file and leafed through the few pages. Takemetonite.com was legal and she had no doubt that the operation had nothing to do with Keisha Kingston's suicide, but she'd done a miserable job of convincing Sage of that. Lucy closed her eyes. Her niece had grown to be as beautiful and spirited as her mother, even though she hadn't inherited Lydia's dark eyes and black hair, and her pale skin belied the Far Eastern coloring from previous generations. But she had inherited her mother's nose for news and trouble and a story, along with that terrierlike quality that made Lydia Sharpe one of the best reporters ever to write for the Washington Post. Lucy had no doubt of what Sage would do next, and she was powerless to stop her...but not powerless to protect her. Any Bullet Catcher could do that, but she needed someone who could be believed in the role. Someone who wouldn't demand to know who Sage Valentine was, and why she was receiving protection she didn't want; someone who never, ever questioned Lucy's judgment. Johnny Christiano. Utterly trustworthy, blindly loyal, and every woman's fantasy. Sage would never know who really rescued her...and Johnny would never know why. Copyright © 2007, Roxanne St. Clair

Editorial Reviews

"Sexy, smart, and suspenseful, Take Me Tonight is an absolute must-read. Roxanne St. Claire's Bullet Catchers series defines the very best in romantic suspense -- if you haven't read one yet, what are you waiting for? Take Me Tonight proves that St. Claire really rocks."

-- Mariah Stewart, New York Times bestselling author