Chasing The Dragon
the Deception Duet #1
by T.K. Leigh
He’s trying to protect his heart…
She’s a shell of the girl she once was…
Can he chase away the demons threatening to destroy her?
Mackenzie Delano craves control. After tragedy strikes during her freshman year of college, she compensates for the helplessness she felt by micro-managing every aspect of her life, from her business life to her social life…to her love life. But she wasn’t expecting to cross paths with a mysterious man who seems to invade her every thought.
Tyler Burnham has been living his life with one rule in mind…never fall in love. Focusing solely on his career, he is able to remain a detached observer of life… Until a case is dropped in his lap, forcing him to form an intimate relationship with a sharp-tongued woman in order to obtain the location of a man deemed an enemy of the State.
When Tyler finds himself falling for Mackenzie, will he be able push his feelings aside and recover the information he needs? Or will he put the mission and their lives at risk to follow his heart?
Chasing The Dragon is the first installment of a two part series of deception and betrayal where nothing is as it seems.
***Note - Chasing The Dragon is the first book in a two-book duet and is a spin-off of T.K. Leigh's USA Today Best Selling Beautiful Mess series. It is not necessary to have read that series in order to read this duet, but it will contain a mild spoiler from the third book in the Beautiful Mess series, Gorgeous Chaos.***
“Dance with me, Mackenzie,” he said, holding my hand in his, sensually placing the other just below my hip bone. “What are you−” “Shhh…,” he admonished, expertly leading me in our dance, the band playing Cole Porter’s Every Time We Say Goodbye. “Just enjoy it and don’t think.” I simply nodded, turning my head to scan the restaurant. “Mackenzie, eyes on me. I need to know you’re with me.” I snapped my eyes back to his, my mouth slightly agape as my heart pounded in my chest. He was warm and spellbinding. The way he held me in his arms comforted me and made me feel as if they were made to hold me. “Are you with me?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. “Yes,” I said, my voice soft. He leaned toward me and the bit of stubble on his chin brushed my skin. “Yes what?” he whispered. “I’m with you.” The corners of his lips turned up slightly and there was a spark about him that wasn’t present yesterday. “I like the sound of that, Miss Delano.” He pulled me closer and I tilted my head to peer into his striking eyes, needing the connection I felt at that moment. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced, all because of a well-placed hand, a sinfully sexy voice, eyes that made me want to melt, and arms that felt like home. “Who would have thought that the Mackenzie whose lips I couldn’t stop seeing in my dreams last night would turn out to be Mackenzie Delano, proprietor of South Padre’s hottest new spot?” “How did−” “Shhh,” he said once more. “You think too much. Just enjoy the moment because it’s over once the band plays the final note to this melody.” I snapped my mouth shut, a strange awareness of loss washing over me at the prospect of this complete stranger walking away from me once the song came to an end, wondering if I would ever see him again. “You’re a lovely dancer, Miss Delano,” he commented. “Thank you,” I answered, unsure of whether to say anything further. He seemed to be in complete control of the dance, of his words…and of mine. And, for the first time, I was okay with someone else calling the shots. “You have a dancer’s body. I’m confident you’ve bewitched quite a few men with the way you can seamlessly navigate the dance floor.” He leaned toward me and whispered, “I must confess… You’ve bewitched me.” His voice was sweet as it crooned in my ear, and I was left a silent, blubbering mute, the sincerity in his declaration sparking a renewed sense of longing I had ignored for years. My breathing grew ragged, and I was unable to formulate any response. I simply lost myself in the moment of our dance, wanting his sensual words to ring in the recesses of my mind for all eternity. I wished I could have recorded his voice murmuring those endearing words to me so I could replay them over and over again when I needed to feel something I didn’t think I would ever feel again. He molded my frame to his, our bodies swaying to the classic tune, and began to sing along with the band. I imagined he was singing to me, and me alone. His voice was deep and guttural, but sweet as he leaned toward my neck and crooned the last verse into my ear. I closed my eyes, losing myself in his warmth, his voice, his everything. All too soon, the final note rang out, silence encompassing the room, but we continued to sway to the music in our heads, our rhythm perfectly in tune to each other. A loud drum kick echoed, startling me, and I opened my eyes, almost expecting it all to be a dream. But it wasn’t, and I was met with my mysterious stranger’s strong face. Time stood still as we simply stared at each other, neither one of us moving. I licked my dry lips, nerves causing my breathing to grow more intense and labored. He grabbed my hand and brought it to his soft lips, placing a kiss on it. The contact caused a rush of adrenaline to run through me. Before I could ask his name, he was gone, leaving me stunned and alone once more.
★✩★✩★ 5 - Danger, Deception, Secrets & Heartbreak – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
I wasn't supposed to be attracted to her. I wasn't supposed to have feelings for her. I hadn't cared about a woman in years and, as my luck would have it, the one woman I wasn't supposed to care about was the one I couldn't stop thinking about.
I'm gonna keep this short and to the point cause frankly there are so many deceptions and secrets woven into this story that just about anything I say would spoil at least some part of the story and you really just need to experience this as it comes. This book had me completely captivated right from the start – the prologue alone sets the tone for what kind of a ride we're in for and it does not disappoint. We spend so much time on pins and needles waiting for secrets to be revealed, lies to be uncovered, danger lurks around every corner, twists come out of no where – but underneath it all is an unlikely romance between two deeply damaged people who don't exactly start their relationship off on the best foot. I should hate Tyler, but I just can't – I won't go into the whys but I will just say that I DO loved that man. So damn dirty sexy, strong and protective, despite everything there is a subtle vulnerability to the man that you can't help but be drawn to. Mackenzie has been through a lot in her life and it has most definitely shaped the woman she is today. She's strong and independent, resilient, funny, sweet and caring – but I have to admit, her Type A need to control every little aspect of her life (especially in the beginning of the story) did chap my ass a bit, but I got where she was coming from, even of she did frustrate the ever-lovin' hell outta me. I love, love, LOVED her BFF's Jenna & Brayden, they were exactly what she needed in her life at the time she needed them the most. I can only imagine where she would be without them. Now, this is book part one of a duet so don't be surprised when your left screaming at the end – but it's so totally worth the wait to see where we go from here. Surprisingly, this is the first book I have read from this author – I have the first two books of the beautiful mess series sitting unread on my kindle but I am going to be changing that real soon. She has definitely landed herself a spot on my One-Click-Addiction List with this one and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.
“At some point, you have to forget about what you think should happen and live in the moment of what is happening. If you don't, you'll miss what could be right in front of you.”
T.K. Leigh, otherwise known as Tracy Leigh Kellam, is the USA Today Best Selling author of the Beautiful Mess series. Originally from New England, she now resides in sunny Southern California with her husband, dog and three cats, all of which she has rescued (including the husband). She always had a knack for writing, but mostly in the legal field. It wasn't until recently that she decided to try her hand at creative writing and is now addicted to creating different characters and new and unique story lines in the Contemporary Romantic Suspense genre.
When she's not planted in front of her computer, writing away, she can be found running and training for her next marathon (of which she has run over fifteen fulls and far too many halfs to recall). Unlike Olivia, the main character in her Beautiful Mess series, she has yet to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
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