Dreya Clark is a feline shifter. But she doesn’t turn into a cat. She does have the typical kitty claws, agility, night vision, and a love of all places high and dangerous. It’s probably a good thing that in addition to being a jewelry designer by day, Dreya also has a night job—as a cat burglar.
The timeline below outlines one of Dreya’s typical days before Detective Braden Hayes arrested her in HER TRUE MATCH.
6:00 AM. I wake up before the clock goes off. I’m too geeked up and excited to sleep. My inner animal knows it’s going to get a chance to play tonight, and it’s looking forward to it. It’s been a month since I let the thing out to play and it’s been prowling around in there like a tiger in a cage. But I’ve finished casing the next job and everything is ready to go for tonight. This is going to be a good one!
6:20 AM. I’m brushing my teeth when I realize my eyes are glowing green and my fangs have popped out. Crap, I’m more geeked than I thought. I take deep breaths, hoping if I relax, they’ll go back in. It doesn’t work. I have no choice but to brush my fangs like some kind of vampire foaming at the mouth, and end up shredding my toothbrush. What a complete pain in the butt!
6:45 AM. I’m too jittery to make anything for breakfast, so I grab a cup of Greek yogurt and make do with that. I’ll eat something more substantial later at my shop.
6:50 AM. I climb on my Yamaha motorcycle and crank it up. My inner beast immediately chills out as it feels the powerful machine throb to life. The thing inside me lives on adrenaline, and nothing spells adrenaline like taking your life in your hands by driving a motorcycle through DC morning traffic.
7:35 AM. I get to my jewelry shop a little later than normal. Some of that’s because I needed to ride a bit to clear my head for the job tonight. But some of the delay had to do with the tail I picked up on my way into work. It was that cute detective, Braden Hayes. I tried to convince myself it was just a coincidence he chose to follow me on the same day I’m planning to do a job, but I don’t believe in coincidences. So I drove a few extra laps around the neighborhood just so he knows that I know that he knows. Did that make sense to anyone but me?
9:30 AM. I’m tinkering around my jewelry shop, making some designer stuff for people with too much money and nothing to spend it on. Hey, it helps pay the bills, so I’m not complaining. Besides, this job soothes my human side, which always enjoys the creative aspect of making jewelry. My inner kitty, on the other hand, just likes the shiny baubles.
12:30 PM. I hop up to get something to eat for lunch. Maybe I’ll take a drive over by the South African Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue. I don’t need to see it again because the plan for the job is already set, but my inner kitty wants another peek. Something to whet its appetite until tonight. I’m flipping the CLOSED sign on the door of my shop when a sinfully handsome face appears through the glass. Braden Hayes—with four uniformed officers behind him. Oh, this was getting interesting.
2:30 PM. I’m sitting in an interrogation room of the Washington Metro PD Burglary Section, bored off my butt. Hayes is on the other side of the one-way mirror, looking at me and thinking I can’t see him. But I can. The reflective glass doesn’t fool me. I can also hear that his heart is beating a little fast. It always does that around me. No clue why.
2:35 PM. The hot detective still hasn’t come in. He probably thinks this little game will unnerve me and make me slip up. What a joke. I spend so much time in here I should get my own desk. Someplace to keep my snacks and beauty care products.
2:40 PM. Hayes finally comes in. Damn, why does he have to be so cute? Not fair that a cop is this attractive. That’s okay. He’s probably a dog person. He starts grilling me, telling me he knows I have a job planned, and that he’s going to catch me. While the idea of the hunky cop getting his big hands on me is interesting to say the least, I don’t give him anything. What fun would that be? I just snark at him, asking if he means the new jewelry piece I’m making for the police chief’s wife?
3:30 PM. Hayes is still grilling me. He actually knows I’m targeting someplace on Embassy Row. He’s obviously been following me for days, but doesn’t have anything on me. Makes me wonder why he brought me in. If he’d kept watching me, he could have caught me in the act. It’s almost like he’s trying to warn me off from doing the job. Why the hell would he do that?
4:30 PM He gives me a cinnamon roll out of the vending machine and a cup of coffee. Trying to play good cop now, I guess. I snark at him some more, asking if this is a date. If so, he seriously needs to work on his presentation.
5:00 PM. My lawyer finally shows up and puts an end to the questioning, even though I’m having a wonderful time. Hayes is frustrated. He’s so hot when he’s mad!
6:00 PM. Hayes drops me off at my jewelry shop—no uniformed officers in tow this time. He’d tried to hold me longer, but he had nothing on me so his boss make him let me go. Another win for me—and another two grand to my lawyer (easiest money the guy ever made). “Don’t do that job tonight,” Hayes warns me before he leaves. “I’m going to have half a dozen cops on you all night. If you try anything, we’ll catch you.” My inner kitty purrs. It does love a challenge.
9:00 PM. I’m driving like a crazy woman all over town. I finally lose Hayes and all my Metro PD chaperones, and head straight for the South African Embassy.
10:00 PM. I’m walking across the tile roof of the three-story federal style building. There’s a collection of blood diamonds being held in there by the ambassador. They’ve hidden them in the embassy because it’s the one place no one is ever going to get a chance to search. I don’t really want them. I just don’t like the idea of the ambassador having them. Lots of poor people died digging those little baubles out of the ground. Getting into the place and past all the security is insanely easy. I’m in and out in five minutes, but then I look down at the sidewalk in front of the place, and see Detective Hayes standing there. He’s looking around like he knows I’m there. How the crap is this guy always onto me?
12:30 AM. I spend hours driving all over town trying to avoid Hayes. The guy is like a bloodhound. He tracks me everywhere I go. I’d appreciate the attention if I didn’t know it would end up with me in jail if he ever catches me.
2:30 AM. I drop off the diamonds at my storage location, where I keep most of the stuff I steal. Like everything else, the diamonds will stay here in a silk-lined safe without ever being fenced. I don’t steal for the money. I steal because I have to.
3:30 AM. I jog up the stairs to my apartment with my bag of burgers and fries, starving by butt off and tired as hell. I’m nibbling on my first French fry when I see Hayes standing at my front door. “Late night?” he asks. “Long lines at Osman and Joe’s,” I say, holding up my bag of greasy burgers. He lifts a brow. “You’re going to eat that at this time of night?”
3:45 AM. Hayes stands in the doorway of my Foggy Bottom apartment, asking me questions about where I was tonight while I eat my burgers and fries. I ask him if he wants some, but he’s too professional for that. “I know you stole something from the South African embassy, but they’re not talking,” he tells me. “Lucky me,” I say.
3:50 AM. Hayes gives up. “Sooner or later you’re going to steal something that’s going to come back and bite you in the butt. And when that happens, you’ll be lucky if I’m the only one who comes after you,” he says before he leaves.
4:15 AM. I finally fall into bed, too tired to care about anything. It’s been a long day—and night. Of course, the moment my head hits the pillow, all I can do is think about that cute hunk of a cop threatening to put me in handcuffs. While the idea of getting frisky with him and his hardware definitely piques my interest, the idea that he could ever catch me is a joke. A cop catch Dreya Clark? As if!
Coming March 7, 2017!
by Paige Tyler
Released: March 7th 2017
Series: X-Ops #6
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
After a long game of cat-and-mouse
Feline shifter Dreya Clark picks the wrong penthouse to rob and ends up arrested by sexy detective Braden Hayes. But Braden isn’t the only one who’s been watching the cat burglar. Agents from the Department of Covert Operations swoop in to offer her a deal. If she wants to stay out of jail, she’ll have to work with them—and pair up with the hot cop. Great.
Danger throws this unlikely pair together
Braden isn’t thrilled about the DCO meddling in his investigation. He’s been chasing Dreya for years. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, fur flies and temperatures flare. But when danger closes in on them, their game of cat and mouse turns deadly-serious, and they’ll have to rely on each other to make it out alive.
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