Re/Leased (Doms of the FBI 5) is now available for pre-order!
Blurb: Honoring a promise he made to his late mother, David Eastridge, part owner of SAFE Security, returns home one final time—to help his father find the culprit responsible for embezzling three million dollars from his company. It should be an easy job—his father already has a suspect in mind.
After a series of tragic events that robbed her of a father and put her sister in a coma, Autumn Sullivan was forced to take on several jobs just to get by. She’s an accounting assistant by day, an occasional service Domme on the weekend, and a thief-for-hire by night.
David’s strategy of hiring Autumn—as a submissive—backfires when he finds himself enchanted by her sense of humor and playful attitude. Determined to prove her innocence, he enlists the help of Malcolm Legato and Agent Keith Rossetti to dig deeper. This enigmatic submissive is openly hiding things from him. Her secretive nature and the bread crumbs she drops about her past don’t add up—not even when he assigns Jesse Foraker, his SAFE Security buddy—to tail her and search her apartment. None of them are prepared for what the FBI uncovers.
Falling in love wasn’t in the plan, but David makes her believe that she isn’t doomed to live a solitary life. Plunged into a world of lies and espionage—with a serial killer after her—Autumn is forced to come to terms with her past if she is to have any hope of a future with David.
Warnings: BDSM party games, sex toys, bondage, flogging, spanking, and a trip to the beach
Word Count: 111,121
First chapter excerpt you’ll find nowhere else:
“CalderCo is hurting badly, David. There’s nobody else I trust to straighten it out.”
The message ended, leaving David staring at his phone. So many thoughts and fierce feelings pummeled his brain that he couldn’t quite sort them out. Thirteen years had passed since he’d walked out on his father. Harsh words hadn’t needed to flow between them because they’d already been said—whispered vehemently and shouted at the tops of their lungs—from the time David was old enough to rebel against the way his father insisted on controlling every aspect of his life.
His mother’s death had sealed the deal. He’d packed his bags before the funeral, and he had been gone before his father had arrived home from the wake. Eighteen and freshly graduated, the world had been his for the taking. Eschewing his father’s money and connections, he’d forged his own path just fine.
“You don’t have to go.” Dean Alloway pulled David from the darkness of his bitter memories.
David had met Dean in the Marines, and the duo had become fast friends. They’d saved each other’s asses more times than either could count. He sighed heavily. “Yes, I do. I promised my mother on her deathbed that I’d come when he called—but only once.” The feud between David and his father had been going on for as long as he could remember. His mother used to run interference. When she was around, David could breathe. He could be himself and not have to worry about the fallout. Once she fell ill, he and his father had taken steps to hide their hatred for one another.
But, of course, she hadn’t been fooled. “One day, your father is going to need you, David,” she’d said, her voice raspy and weak. “Be there for him. Do this for me. I love you.” She’d been too spent to say more, and she’d slipped away within the hour.
“Fine.” Dean folded his hands on the table. He was a bigger guy than he seemed. The sweaters, vests, and dress pants went a long way toward disguising the bulky muscles earned during years of heavy physical labor, and the metrosexual haircut completed the image. Dean was all about understated power and surprising the enemy. And manicures. David had never met another man who got weekly manicures, yet could also neutralize a target with one well-placed blow. “Tell me what you need. Frankie, Jesse, and I are here for you, man. You’re not alone. We’d never leave you hanging.”
“I know you wouldn’t, but this is something I have to do on my own.”
“No, you don’t.” Frankie Sikara sauntered in, a wet towel draped over her shoulder. She kissed the top of his head before flopping down on the chair next to him. “Sell that bullshit elsewhere.”
David hadn’t known Frankie was in the building. From the black leggings and sports bra, he deduced that she’d spent the morning in the gym. “Jesse in the shower?”
“Yep. I kicked his ass, and now I’m leaving him alone to cry it out.” She winked to let them know that Jesse didn’t need medical attention. Frankie Sikara was one tough woman. Trained in six different martial arts, she was deadlier than any of them. “I heard part of the message. Let’s hear the whole thing.”
“We’ll wait for Jesse,” Dean countered. “You can go ahead and grab a shower.”
They had one locker room in the facility, which wasn’t the issue outsiders thought it would be. Once you’d been through hell and back with someone, little things like that ceased to matter. She was one of the guys. Frankie glared at Dean. “I already did, genius.”
Dean frowned, which made him look all kinds of menacing and foreboding. Well, as foreboding as someone in a designer sweater could get. “You’re not wearing a shirt.”
“Another point for Captain Obvious.” Frankie’s dark eyes flashed, and David found himself smiling. The dress code was an ongoing point of contention between these two. “I’m waiting for my hair to dry so it doesn’t get my shirt wet. If the sight of my bra offends you, I can take it off.” Crossing her arms, she grasped the elastic band on the lower part of her sports bra.
Dean’s expression didn’t change, and that was a challenge Frankie wouldn’t ignore.
As amusing as it was, David held up a hand. “How about you two parking lot the issue?”
“Dress code again?” Jesse Foraker came in, also missing a shirt. As he kept his hair high and tight, he didn’t have Frankie’s reason for going topless. “If you want us to wear shirts, then maybe you should stop stealing them from our lockers?”
The frown on Dean’s face melted. He shrugged. “I left replacements.”
“I’m not wearing that fucking shirt. It looks like I should be chugging a beer in a bowling alley.” Jesse inclined his head toward the lone phone on the table. “What’s going on?”
“David’s dad called.”
Jesse lifted a brow. “Damn. How long has it been?”
“Thirteen years.” David hadn’t thought about his father in so long that he’d stopped measuring the time. “I don’t know how he got my number.”
“I’m going to blame the Internet,” Frankie said. “It’s not like you’re hiding.”
“No, but I changed my name.” He’d taken his mother’s maiden name, Eastridge, when he’d cut ties. Accepting that his friends weren’t going to let him handle this alone, David played the message again.
Three million dollars is missing from the company. This is going to break us if I can’t find it, or at least find out who’s responsible. I’m at a loss, David. The best guess I got is a woman, an employee named Autumn Sullivan. Something isn’t right about her, and not just because she’s into all that whips and chains crap. Anyway, I don’t have hard evidence. CalderCo is hurting badly, David. There’s nobody else I trust to straighten it out.
Jesse frowned. “Why doesn’t he conduct an audit? He can turn the findings over to the FBI, and they’ll prosecute. Insurance should cover the loss.”
This was another point of contention between David and his father. “My dad’s business is like an iceberg. Some stuff is above board, but there’s a lot hidden under the water. There’s no way he’ll want law enforcement looking through his books.”
Dean pressed his fingertips together. “How dirty are we talking? Mob connections?”
“Possibly. I’ve long suspected that he launders money. It could explain his desperation. If he’s lost money belonging to the mob, they’re not going to be patient while he goes looking for it.” David had turned his back on the family business from a young age. It would only have given his father control over that part of his life too. “I’d love to see what the FBI has on him.”
Frankie stood. “On it.” She nailed Dean with a hard look. “I have extra shirts, but I would appreciate having back the one you took.”
“It’s in your office.” Dean pointed to Jesse. “So is yours.”
“Great. I’ll dig up the dirt on Autumn Sullivan.” Jesse followed Frankie out the door.
Left alone with Dean, David waited for his buddy to deliver his opinion. “You’re not going in there alone. We’ll research, do some recon, and then develop a plan.”
These people were his family—always there to support him. Now they were going to help him honor his mother’s memory. Before he choked on his emotions, David agreed to the plan. “Thanks.”