Book 5 in the Task Force Hawaii Series
Part of the Harmless World
With a terrorist threatening Honolulu, two former lovers are thrust together and discover resisting each other is impossible.
Task Force Hawaii, Book 5
Marcus Floyd made a mistake five years ago. He walked away from a woman he thought he could forget. Finding out they both landed in Hawaii for work, and she is now on his team, makes it impossible to ignore his need for her. Unfortunately, she has made it clear that she wants nothing to do with him.
Tamilya Lowe picked up the pieces of her FBI career after a botched investigation and moved back to Hawaii. She knows working with TFH will have her working with Marcus, and she is convinced she is over him. As they start to piece together the threat, they grow closer, and inevitably end up in bed. The next morning, Tamilya insists that is just a fling with no consequences, so Marcus plays along, biding his time until he can convince her otherwise.
When the terrorist contacts Tamilya, they use that connection to attempt to uncover his next target and unknowingly put her life in jeopardy. As TFH races against the clock, both Marcus and Tamilya discover that they have more to lose than they thought.
Reader Interests in
Today was not going to suck.
At least, that’s what Marcus Floyd was hoping. As he pulled his Task Force Hawaii shirt over his head and tucked it into his pants, he knew that it was probably just false hope. His work days had started sucking since Tamilya Lowe had been hired several months earlier.
It wasn’t anything Tamilya had done. In fact, she had been above reproach, professional, and damned nicer than he deserved. Only the two of them knew exactly why she had every right to treat him as if he were the scum of the Earth. When he had blown up their relationship four years earlier, he should have known it would come back to bite him in the ass. They interacted when she was with the FBI and he worked with the Capital Police. Once she had left the FBI and he’d moved to Hawaii, he had thought he’d probably never see her again. She had started working with security contractors and, well…he’d been stupid enough to think that she’d never show up on Oahu. There was a reason for that. He didn’t want to face her. In fact, he was still upset about how he’d fucked up their relationship. So every time he saw her, Marcus had to deal with all of those thoughts—not to mention his attraction. More than once he’d found himself fantasizing about the sound of her voice in the dark, or the way she would moan.
“Fuck,” he muttered.
He felt the first stirrings of another erection. He’d already had to take care of himself in the shower, thanks to a vivid dream starring Tamilya. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and ordered his body to calm down. Every day, his attraction seemed to take over his better thoughts. He was close to making a fool of himself and that wasn’t acceptable. Not in DC and not in Hawaii.
The problem is, he couldn’t avoid her. Since they were both experts in terrorism, they ended up spending a lot of time together. Before she joined the team, he would get breathers between their meetings, but he saw her at least five days a week. And damn, she was more beautiful and amazing with each passing day. Resisting the urge to steal a kiss was getting harder and harder, but they worked together on the team. He didn’t want to step over that line.
Although, damn, it might be worth it if she was still attracted to him. He shook his head, that ship had sailed a long time ago.
He walked into the living room, grabbed his coffee, and stepped out on his balcony. The first thing he smelled were the plumeria. It permeated the air a lot in the mornings, especially when there was a little bit of rain. He’d heard it tapping against his window this morning, and that is what had actually pulled him from his erotic dream starring Tamilya.
His apartment was small, and more than a little overpriced, but he liked the view. There was nothing in the world like watching the sun rise over Diamond Head. Whenever he had a chance, he made sure to catch it. He gave up a few nights out to eat and space he probably didn’t even need for this luxury. He’d learned the hard way that it was important to enjoy the little things.
His phone buzzed and he glanced at the screen. The selfie he took with his mother last time she visited popped up.
He clicked on his phone because avoiding his mother would have dire consequences.
“Good morning,” he said.
“Good morning to you too. I didn’t call too early, did I?” his mother asked. She lived on the East coast and had a hell of a time remembering the time difference when he had first relocated to Hawaii.
“Naw. We had a call last night, but thankfully, I wasn’t on duty.”
“Good. I wanted to let you know that Viv is getting married.”
“Ken finally got the nerve to ask her?”
His sister’s boyfriend had asked Marcus for permission to ask her to marry him. Granted, Marcus thought it was stupid to have to ask a man to marry a female family member. One thing his life in the house of women had taught him was that women were definitely smarter and stronger than any man. Viv didn’t need permission to marry from anyone but herself.
“Yes. I don’t know why that boy took so long. I think Viv has known for a little while, and I have a feeling you did too. You don’t sound so surprised.”
No way was he telling his mother about Ken asking him. She’d probably boycott the wedding in protest. His mother did a lot of protesting.
“I just had a feeling. The guy has been hung up on her for eight years. I just assumed it was coming soon.”
“Okay.” She didn’t sound like she believed him, but then his mother wasn’t a dummy. “Anyway, they were thinking that they wanted to keep it small.”
“Really? Viv wants a small wedding?” He couldn’t keep the skepticism out of his voice. There was one thing he knew about his sister and that was she did not do anything in a small way. Loud, funny, irreverent, and thoroughly lovable, she always garnered attention in any group.
“Small, because she wants to do a destination wedding.”
“Destination wedding? Are we that family? Do we have that kind of money?”
His mother was a college professor, so she was definitely comfortable, but a wedding at one of those destination places was expensive, even if there were only a few people.
“We don’t need it. Viv and Ken have it.” That much was true. They both worked as engineers on things too complicated for Marcus to understand and they both made top dollar.
“Where is this destination, and how much time am I going to have to take off for it?”
“Not much because they want to do it in Hawaii.”
He grunted. “That’s good.”
“Yes, I’m sure we’re all worried about your time schedule,” she said, sarcasm dripping from every word. “Anyway, I wanted to tell you before she calls.”
“Marcus, you and I both know you love your sisters, but you tend to be a negative Ned when talking about things like weddings.”
“No one would ever call me Ned.”
“Stop that. Just, be nice when she calls.”
“I promise. Is that all you called for?”
“Mostly. But it’s not like I need a reason to call my baby boy.”
Considering that her baby boy was now six foot three and weighed over two hundred pounds, he assumed his mother was never going to give up calling him her baby. So he ignored it.
“So, it was mostly because of Viv.” Marcus knew needling his mother was a safe activity with thousands of miles between them.
“Don’t sound like that. I also want to know how work is going.”
“Going okay. Looks like Del is going to add more people, or so the rumor goes.”
“And have you been seeing anyone?”
Damn, he shouldn’t have pushed her. His mother wanted them all married off and happy, and she constantly worried about him being all alone out there in Hawaii. She acted like he didn’t have an active social life. He did. In fact, this past weekend he’d gone fishing with Adam.
“Haven’t really had time.”
“Hmm,” was her only response.
He knew it well and understood she didn’t believe him. One thing he hated about Hawaii was being so far from his family, but it was also one of the better things. If he was still living on the mainland, both his sisters and his mother would be after him about dating. Jessika constantly tried to fix him up with the other high-powered attorneys she worked with, and it always ended in disaster. They talked down to him like he was stupid, and he got pissed off and barely paid attention to them after that.
“Listen, I have a feeling that only a few of us are going to be making it in this morning because of the call last night, so I need to get a move on.”
“You can run but you can’t hide from me, Marcus,” she said with a chuckle. “Be careful.”
“I will. Love you, Mom.”
He clicked off his phone and sat down in one of the two chairs he kept on the balcony. He did need to get into work, but first, he was going to sip his Kona and watch the sun rise. The first pink and purple rays peeked out over Diamond Head signaling the true beginning of the day.
He had a few things on his plate, and he was sure there would be something on the dead body from this morning. And then, there was his original worry of the morning: Tamilya. It seemed that he had been thinking of her more and more lately and he needed to stop it. That bridge had been burned a long time ago, and there was no use rehashing what went wrong. Marcus knew there was no going back to what was, but at least they could work together. He would just have to be happy with that.
And if he lusted after her in his dreams, he would deal with it. At some point, he would just have to move on.
* * *
“Dammit,” Tamilya muttered. She poked herself in the eye for the second time that morning while applying her makeup. Blinking, she grabbed a tissue and dabbed at the marks beneath her eye. Normally, it took her just a few minutes to slap on her makeup and run out the door, but today was different.
She knew the reason. Marcus Floyd.
Most people would think she was insane to work with her ex, but they seemed to handle it better than most. Sure, every time he said her name, she had to fight a shiver. He had one of those deep baritones that tumbled over the syllables of her name. And that made her an idiot because she had been there and done that and had been left with a broken heart when he ran out the door.
With a sigh, she pushed those thoughts away and focused on getting ready for work. Thankfully, she didn’t have to spend time on her hair. About six months earlier, she stopped with the extensions and flat irons and the like. She loved the way her natural hair looked on her and while she had to do some maintenance on it, it was nothing like the pain in the ass it had been before. It had been a freeing experience.
She cleaned up her face, poured more coffee into her travel mug, then stood in front of the mirror to take a quick check of her attire. She studied her outfit for the day. The power suits were a thing of the past. Now, she could wear jeans and short sleeved shirts, and—thank the baby Jesus—comfortable shoes. She didn’t mind heels when she was socializing, but even the most comfortable short heels didn’t compare to wearing her short boots.
She nodded her head, then grabbed her phone and keys before heading out for the day. The moment she opened the door, the sweet Hawaiian air wrapped around her. She knew that many people liked the sunsets, but she had always been a morning person. And there was nothing like the air at the break of dawn in Hawaii. Maybe there was, but Tamilya had never experienced it.
As she turned the corner, she saw her father. Okay, so she didn’t own her little house. It was the in-law suite her parents had in their backyard. It wasn’t uncommon for families in Hawaii to live like this due to the housing shortage and the pricing, but it was usually the other way around; with the retired parents living in the what was essentially a pool house. Still, it was better than that townhouse she owned in Virginia. Just walking to her car left her freezing the rest of the day.
“Good morning, sweetheart.”
Her father said as he sat down on the edge of the pool and dipped his legs into the water. Another benefit of the house was living close to her parents. Her father had been an executive with one of the top construction companies in the Southeast when he’d had his heart attack a few years ago. After that, her parents had packed up everything and moved back to Hawaii. She’d thought they were crazy until she visited them. After that, she worked to get transferred here with Dillon Securities.
“Morning, Dad,” she said, leaning down to kiss his cheek.
He was in his trunks, but he was still wearing his top, albeit unbuttoned. Anyone looking at him would think he was in peak health, that nothing had ever gotten close to killing him. That is until you saw the scars on his chest from his surgery.
“Running late?” he asked.
“Did you eat?”
She shook her head. “I’ll grab something on the way. We had a body come in last night, and I have paperwork I need to finish before we have the briefing on that.”
He nodded. “Tell your mother you ate. She worries.”
“I will if I see her.”
She leaned down and kissed his cheek.
“Be good, Tamilya.”
“I always am.”
She turned and waited.
“You’re happy here, right? You don’t mind living here, do you?”
She walked toward him. “No. Why?”
He shrugged. “I was just thinking this morning that your talents are wasted here. I know you came here because of us.”
“In fact, with the rise of cyber terrorism from Russia and China, along with some militant religious groups, Hawaii is in a unique position. They have a lot more threats here than people think.”
“But you’re not working for the FBI.”
“No. I am working with them on a few things. Along with my contacts in the military and ATF, I have a wide range of different organizations to deal with. It’s much more interesting than the job at had when I worked at the Bureau.”
She nodded, even though a tiny bit of her always would mourn her FBI career, dead as it was.
“Besides, the real reason for being here is to be with you and Mom.”
“You’re a sweet girl.”
“I know. Mom tells me I get that from her.”
He chuckled again and she felt her mood lighten. Having her father safe and alive was more important to her than even her career.
“Besides, it was eleven degrees in DC this morning and I wasn’t there for that.”
He chuckled. “I told you that you weren’t built for DC weather.”
It was true. She had spent a chunk of her life moving around, but most of her life had been in the South. There was no hiding that fact with her accent, that was for sure. But, she also couldn’t handle the weather. She loved snow, but she didn’t appreciate living in a place where is snowed on a regular basis. She liked the mild winters in Florida a lot better than the snowmaggdens that DC tended to get.
“Be good today, Dad,” she said, before leaving him to his coffee. She knew that he would spend a few minutes there, enjoying the beginning of the day. Tamilya’s heart always squeezed tight when she thought about almost losing him a few years ago.
She really didn’t have time to stop off and talk to her mother, but she knew if she didn’t, Diane Lowe would never let her hear the end of it.
“Good morning, sweetie,” her mother said as Tamilya stepped through the door.
Her mother was holding a muffin up. “Take, eat, and I will pretend that you are actually eating right.”
“I am most of the time. Living in Hawaii makes that easy.”
“I told you. Will you be home for dinner?”
She shrugged. “I know we caught a murder last night, but I have a feeling it won’t have anything to do with me. I’ll text you and let you know.”
She kissed her mom on the cheek. “Love ya.”
“Love you back,” she said as Tamilya hurried out the door. It was a Godsend living with her parents. She made good money, but even with decent pay, she would probably have to live in an apartment. She didn’t mind it, but she also liked living in her little cottage with access to a pool. That being said, living in Kailua, she had a long drive every morning. Since she was running late, she was sure to hit traffic.
With a sigh, she slipped into her car and backed out of the drive. Nothing like starting the week off right by being late to work.
End of Excerpt
Apr 5, 2019
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