Keep Me (Phoenix #2) - Stacey Kennedy Page 0,1

little detail was of the member’s preference, something both Archer and Fitz were long-time participants in. All the members were put through a government-level vetting process before they gained access to Phoenix.

As Fitz fetched Archer’s drink, the cigar lounge’s door opened and Archer was immediately drawn to the woman in the tight jeans, high heels, and black blouse that showed an enticing hint of cleavage. He had fought in elite missions during his time in the United States Army Special Forces. He knew how to plan a dangerous mission and execute it with flawless precision. But the woman before him, with her long dark-brown hair—that just reached her heart-shaped ass—and sharp dark chocolate-colored brown eyes made his head spin. Elise Fanning, the sexiest, most irritating woman he’d ever met in his twenty-nine years.

When he’d first learned her name from Wayne after she hacked into Phoenix’s security, he took the breach personally. Until he found out the reason why she’d broken through his firewall. Elise’s best friend, Zoey Parker, had needed to gain membership to confront two members who had wronged her. If it had been Archer’s choice, Zoey would have been banned from Phoenix immediately. As it was, Rhys Harrington, Phoenix’s owner, felt a connection to Zoey. A connection that had led to their engagement last week.

In the weeks that followed the hacking, security had been stepped up to ensure no one slid past Phoenix’s defenses again. But since the security breach, Zoey had seamlessly blended her friends with Rhys’, and that meant Archer had gotten to know Elise on a personal level. First, she had gotten under his skin with her sass and snark and her ability to outsmart him at every turn, including finding a way past his security. Then she got into his head by being the most curious creature he’d ever met. He wanted to peel back all her layers until he had her naked, exposed—emotionally and physically—and begging for his mouth all over her lush body.

“Anything else for tonight?”

He snapped his eyes back to Fitz and shook his head. “No, thank you.”

Fitz’s mouth curved at the corner, his gaze flicking to Elise. “A sweet little thing catch your eye?”

“Ha! Sweet?” Archer took a long sip of the bourbon in his glass, catching the spicy notes in the dark amber-colored liquor. “That woman is many things, but sweet is not among them.” Cutthroat, wicked smart, and in possession of bigger balls than some men Archer knew.

Fitz chuckled.

Archer’s eyes stayed locked on an approaching Elise. Two months ago, Archer would never have believed they were a good match. She couldn’t stand him, and he couldn’t stand that she’d somehow broken through security he thought unbreakable. But damn, she was fiery and smart and sexy, and his cock hardened in mere seconds of being around her. A reaction she apparently shared as a slight color rose to her cheeks under his watchful stare. “Good evening, Elise,” he said when she reached him.

She met him with dark eyes that had the power to freeze him where he stood. “Hello, Archer.”

A shudder ran through him at his name on her tongue. Being the center of this woman’s attention meant something, demanded a man take notice. “Thank you for coming to see me tonight,” he said.

“No problem,” she said, sliding onto the stool next to him, facing him. “I’ll take a Jim Beam, neat,” she said to Fitz. Soft voices drifted over from the table behind them while she watched him with those soul-penetrating eyes that leveled his defenses. Once Fitz delivered her drink and headed off to serve another customer, she added, “I’ve got to admit, I was surprised that you called me.”

“I’ve got a problem,” he told her.

Elise flashed a wicked grin. “A subscription to a women’s magazine problem?”

He restrained himself from rolling his eyes. A few days ago, Wayne had delivered a final report on Elise, including details he got off her personal computer. When she discovered her computer had been hacked and Archer was the one behind it, she reciprocated by signing him up for dozens of women’s magazine subscriptions. Getting out of those subscriptions had been nothing less than a giant pain in his ass. Four of them were still outstanding, and Archer, for his pride alone, had given in to paying them instead of fighting his way out of the subscriptions. And yet…and yet, while they might have come to a truce, and even if it irritated him, she’d impressed him. Not that he’d tell