An impossible heist. A thief and a rogue. But will she steal his heart, instead?
The Company of Rogues finally knows the identity of the mastermind behind a plot against the queen—but their enemy is still one step ahead of them. When he kidnaps one of theirs, the Rogues plan a daring rescue mission that will lead them into the heart of the bloodthirsty Crimson Court.
It's a job for a master thief, and there's nothing Charlie Todd likes more than a challenge. To pull off the impossible, Charlie needs a crew, including the only thief who's ever been able to outfox him.
He broke her heart. But now she must risk it all to save his life…
Lark's spent years trying to forget her past, but the one thing she can't ignore is the way a single smile from Charlie still sets her heart on fire. When he proposes they work together again, it feels just like old times, but she has one rule: this is strictly business.
It's Charlie's last chance to prove he can be trusted with her heart. But Lark's keeping a deadly secret. And as passions are stirred and the stakes mount, it might be the kind of secret that could destroy them all…
What everyone is saying about Bec McMaster:
“richly imagined, gritty and dark, and full of hot heroes and hot sex…utterly delicious.” – Smart Bitches, Trashy Books for Kiss of Steel
‘Dark, intense and sexy… A stunning new series with an intriguing twist on the vampire theme…” – Library Journal for Kiss of Steel
READ AN EXCERPT!
The second Charlie saw Lark swishing her way back across the lawns, he moved to intercept her.
“This way,” he said.
“Aren't we returning to the ball?” Lark asked breathlessly, still flushed with the excitement of the mission.
Charlie's hand in the middle of her back wasn't quite forceful as he steered her toward a pair of doors leading into the library.
“Not yet. I want a word.”
She glanced up at him. The hard chiseled line of his jaw exuded disapproval, and his firm lips were pressed in a thin line. He looked utterly devastating in his black superfine coat, the white silk of his bow tie knotted expertly. The Charlie she knew—the roguish thief with a wicked smile on his lips—was breathcatchingly handsome. But dressed like a lord, his hair pomaded neatly, he was utterly devastating.
Not that he had any right to be so.
The second they were inside the manor, he turned upon her.
Lark pressed her back to the glass doors in the library. It felt like the air was thick and heavy tonight. Or maybe it wasn't the air.
Maybe it was just the tension between them.
“Did you enjoy yourself just then?” Charlie's voice sounded a little rougher than he'd perhaps intended.
Lark snapped her fan open and tilted her chin in defiance. The scent of his cologne seemed to fill the space. A part of her wanted to bathe in it. To rub against him until the scent coated her own skin. “Are you talking about me kissing Valentin?”
“Yes,” he growled.
Oh, she enjoyed the look on his face. “It was the job, wasn't it?”
Lure the handsome duke into the gardens for Gemma to intercept and interrogate. Make her escape before anyone could see them together.
“Yes,” she said, lifting her chin in challenge. “He was quite proficient, if you must know—”
“Proficient? If I kissed you, I hope you'd have more to say about it than that I was proficient.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Extremely proficient. Expert even, though I have little enough experience to compare it to. And it's nice to be appreciated by a man, to be wanted, to be seen as female.”
Charlie's gaze dipped to her bodice and he perused her with slow, smoky intent. Lark's breath came a little quicker, a shiver of sensation working between her thighs. She wasn't completely innocent. She knew what that sensation meant.
“I've always known you were female.”
“No,” she protested. “You saw me as a little girl. The difference is, Valentin treated me as if I was a woman.”
His gaze slid to her lips.
Don't you dare, she thought.
Please, said another little voice.
Thankfully, it didn't come out. She couldn't bring herself to beg, not when he'd been the one to twist her into knots all those years ago without a care in the world.
“Do you want me to treat you as if you're a woman?”
“It meant nothing,” she admitted quietly. “It was just a meaningless stolen kiss, a chance to lure him where I needed him.”
“Didn't look like that,” Charlie murmured, splaying one hand on the door beside her head.
Lark's breasts lifted with her swift intake of breath as he leaned in. Nervousness lit through her, she who was never nervous. But then the stakes had never been this high before, and once she took this step….
“Were you jealous?” she whispered, needing to know.
Charlie turned his head just slightly, his breath caressing her jaw. “Were you trying to make me jealous?”
Yes. Heaven help me, yes.
“That doesn't answer the question,” she replied boldly.
Curse him for not giving her the answer she needed. Why could he not make this easy for her?
Fingertips brushed against her hip, and Lark looked up sharply.
An inch separated their mouths. Only her hand against his chest held him at bay, but it was weakening and he knew it.
“You were right in some respects,” he admitted. “I haven't been treating you as a woman. The last time we were friends, you were a girl. And I was just a boy. And I suppose if you want me to see you as a woman, then you need to accept I'm a man now too.”
That had been apparent the moment those broad shoulders strode back into her life.
“You can't have it both ways. You can't flirt with me one second, then hold me at arm's length the next,” he continued. “And you have been.”
“It's not deliberate.” She could scarcely breathe with him so close to her. “I'm not trying to… to encourage you and then push you away.”
“No. I'm just trying to find my feet with you now that everything's changed.” She tipped her chin up. “And I'm not the only one flirting.”
“Just not exclusively with me,” he growled.
Lark ducked under his arm, needing some space. “For God's sake, Charlie, it was just a kiss. You've had dozens of them. You can at least allow me one.”
His face gained a pained look. “Was that the first time you've ever been kissed?”
Lark couldn't reply. Heat crept into her cheeks.
“Holy shit,” he exclaimed.
“Not all of us have dozens of hearts strewn at our feet every day.”
“You were never lacking in admirers,” she pointed out. “I was the ugly duckling, but you've always been… you.”
“And what precisely does that mean?”
He had to know what he looked like.
“You've always been handsome,” she scoffed. “Girls sighed whenever you entered the room.”
“One girl didn't.”
“One girl knew there was no point even bothering.”
“Well, maybe she should have.” His eyes darkened with heat as he came after her. “Because I'm tired of pretending I don't want more.”
Lark circled a chair, resting her hands on the back of it. “Don't you dare.”
Charlie's smile held all manner of sin. “Isn't this what young ladies dream of? Ball gowns and stealing away to libraries in the dark with young men?”
“It's not what I dreamed of.”
“What's wrong, Lark? Nervous?”
She glanced around, but there was no escape.
“I'm glad we've had the chance to have this little chat.” He lashed out and trapped her wrist. “Because I don't want there to be any more mistakes in intention.”
The door burst open, a trio of drunken lordlings stumbling inside, one of them slung between the other two. They seemed surprised not to have the room to themselves.
Lark stole the chance to escape, breathlessly putting three paces between her and Charlie.
“Désolé, nous ne savions pas qu'il y avait quelqu'un ici,” one of them said with a laugh.
“It's quite all right,” she replied in perfect French. “We were just leaving.”
She had one hand on the door when Charlie caught her attention.
“Lark,” he called from behind her. “Yes. The answer is yes.”
What was he—?
Charlie tipped his head to her, and Lark's heart started racing as she escaped into the hallway and returned to the ballroom.
It was one thing to flirt, quite another to have him announce his intended pursuit.
After all, he wasn't the one who'd get his heart broken.