Let "Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon" Steal Your Heart

Kidnapping the Brazilian TycoonTitle:  Kidnapping The Brazilian Tycoon
Author:  Carmen Falcone
Format:  ERC
Length:  233 pages
Publisher: Entangled Indulgence
Rating:  5 Stars
 Addison Reed lost her fiancé, but she’ll do whatever it takes to protect his legacy. When the gorgeous and arrogant landowner, Brazilian billionaire Bruno Duarte, who is thwarting her at every turn, refuses to meet with her, she puts her plan into action. He will 
listen to her.  

Bruno’s plan was simple: return to Brazil and marry to fulfill his father’s dying wish. But when his engagement crumbles, and he’s then stranded with an idealistic woman hell-bent on saving a tribe of people on his land, he sees the perfect solution. If his feisty and passionate abductor agrees to a bogus marriage, he’ll relocate the tribe.

With the Brazilian heat rivaling the growing heat of their desire, will Bruno and Addison abandon their respective plans and give in to each other, or will their differences tear them apart?  -Goodreads 

Excerpt from
Kidnapping the Brazilian Tycoon
by Carmen FalconeaCopyright © 2014 by Carmen Falcone. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Chapter One
Bruno Duarte stopped staring into the amber contents of his glass and turned to face the woman he would marry in less than eight hours. Elegantly clad in a crease-free, designer blue cocktail dress, Erika Lancaster moved toward him and slid onto the bar stool next to his.
“I’m surprised you texted me,” he said. “I thought you wanted time to pack and get ready for Vegas.”
A nervous smile formed on her pink lips. “I needed to talk to you in person.” She ran her manicured hand over her long, smooth brown hair and gestured to the bartender. “Scotch, please.”
Scotch? During the three months they had dated, she’d sipped on white wine or anything with a colorful umbrella. The bartender nodded and was about to turn away to get her drink when she blurted, “Make it a double.”
He tensed. Could she be having cold feet? Impossible.
Their courtship had been smooth sailing; they shared a mutual attraction that burned the sheets, and, damn it, he needed to marry her. Within a couple of hours, they’d fly to Vegas in his private jet, get hitched, and proceed to Brazil. The place he’d left behind. He lifted his glass of scotch to his lips and let the smoky liquid roll down his throat.
Is Erika really who I want to spend the rest of my life with? A pang of doubt trickled down his spine. He sat up straighter and glanced around the upscale bar. His need for distraction was why he’d gone for a drink in the first place, before Erika had messaged and asked to see him.
No honest woman will ever want to marry you. His father’s angry voice echoed in his mind. You’re a shame to our family. While Bruno had enjoyed the company of delicious, sinful women the past fourteen years, time had come to prove to his father—damn it, to prove to himself—he was worthy of someone to settle down with.
Erika was perfect on paper. Mild tempered with well-bred mannerisms, she gave him the security he needed to face his father again… Hell, his entire family. She was just who he needed to bury the past, once and for all. I want to forget the shame. I want my father to forget the shame.
He shoved the useless thoughts away as Erika drummed her fingers on the black granite countertop, her square glass already empty. An intensity he’d never seen before, not even when they were tangled together, was visible in her mocha eyes.
“We shouldn’t get married,” she said, and her shoulders sagged like she had been released from a death sentence.
The air left his lungs. Not get married? He brought his scotch to his mouth again, hoping the alcohol would shake him out of his surprise. Merda. “Why not?”
“We’ve only known each other for three months. It doesn’t…feel right.”
“And you couldn’t have said ‘no’ when I asked you two weeks ago? Or expressed your doubt when you suggested we elope to Vegas instead of a Brazilian wedding?”
Erika shifted in her seat, both hands curled against the edges of the stool. She offered him an apologetic glance. How the hell was she screwing him like this? He loosened the silk tie around his crisp white shirt.
He tilted his head back and cursed under his breath. He’d chosen Erika to be his wife because of the timing, sure. His dad didn’t have long to live, and Bruno couldn’t let him die before the old man saw his oldest son settled. His heart contracted to the size of a coffee grain. Even with the billions he’d made during the years of a self-imposed exile from his home country, he was still that boy, naïve and misunderstood, who’d dragged his family’s name through the mud. Who had abandoned his dying mother.
Cold sweat slicked his forehead, and he wiped it off with the back of his hand.
Erika chewed her lower lip, as if she both anticipated and dreaded his reaction. “I told my father, and he reluctantly agreed. This won’t affect your business with him.” Her voice was gentle at the end.
The land. Silas Lancaster, with his flexible morals, couldn’t wait to get his greedy hands on the piece of land that was Bruno’s last tie to the country he had fled—the country that had offered him nothing but pain.
After his father’s imminent death, he’d sell it and close that last creaky door to the darkest part of his past. For years, he had avoided dealing with the land. But since finding out about his father’s terminal cancer, he knew the time had come to say good-bye to his father and sell Toca do Tigre, the last reminder of the shame he brought on his family.
“I’m so sorry.” Erika reached to touch his hand, but he jerked away.
He raised his glass to the bartender who came to his rescue with another shot. A group of women walked past them, and a few gave him inviting glances. He shifted toward Erika. She was also on her second glass, the most he’d seen her drink in the short months they had been together.
He cleared his throat. “Erika, is there another…reason?” Another man? His pride prevented him from uttering the words. She folded her arms as if trying to protect herself from a painful truth.
“I was involved with my personal trainer some time ago. Dad never liked him; he was never good enough. When you came along—rich, handsome, and looking for a wife—I thought I could forget him. I wanted you and me to work out.” A single tear slipped down her cheek, and she reached for the napkin under her drink.
He clenched his jaw.
Erika sniffed, and he reached for his inside pocket to retrieve a linen handkerchief with his initials embroidered on the corner. He gave it to her, and when their fingers brushed, he noticed the dampness on her skin.
A need to offer her a hug poked at him, but he suffocated the urge. How could he show sympathy to a woman who had ruined his plans for a long-awaited comeback? He hadn’t confirmed the rumors, but he knew his family imagined they were true—that he’d return married.
He let his eyes trail over her one last time. Her expression was a net of sorrow, sympathy, and uneasiness. She didn’t know about his true reasons for wanting to marry her so quickly or the darkness of his past. If she had…she never would have said yes.
He gave a long sigh, and with it went any lasting grudge he might have held onto. Life was already too complicated to add more to his tortured memories. But now, on the eve of his return to Brazil, he would be brideless. He faced his now ex-fiancée and said, “Erika, it’s okay. Maybe you should just go.”
  1. What the hell am I supposed to do now?
Addie shifted in her seat at the small round table several feet from the man she’d been watching for the past five minutes. She brought the overpriced lemonade to her lips, the bitterness from the lemon prickling her senses. Lowering the glass to the table, she stared at the man who had more power than he knew what to do with. Bruno Duarte.
He looked lost in thought. She wiped her clammy palms on the napkin. It was a good time to size up the enemy when he wasn’t paying attention, wasn’t it? He had his tie loosened, and the top button of his shirt was open. He was taller and broader shouldered than he appeared in pictures. Addie’s stomach muscles clenched, and she folded her arms tight against her chest, eyes skimming over the body that filled the well-cut designer suit. He was so…strong and large. Tucked under that cool, blasé huskiness of a young Marlon Brando lay a man hard to persuade. This isn’t going to be easy.
Well, she didn’t do easy, did she? Two years ago, she’d left the familiarity of her life as a history teacher in Houston for an opportunity to teach at an English-speaking private school in São Paulo. Then, she’d met Michael during a weekend trip to the northeast of Brazil, and her life was changed forever. He introduced her to the Kwanis, a primitive tribe of Brazilian Indians. Their self-sufficient, nature-based lifestyle won her over, and a calling she hadn’t realized she had filled her with purpose, with life, and with color.
She reached into her hemp messenger bag and grabbed the manila envelope containing the agreement she was going to have Bruno sign, along with the pictures of the Kwanis. Biting back a smile, she flipped through the images, and determination jolted through her. With the tips of her trembling fingers, she stroked the black-and-white photos Michael had taken. Emotion welled inside her.
One hundred twenty-four Kwanis—men and women, children, and elderly—depended on her to ensure they could keep living the only way they knew, without being forced to integrate into modern-day society. All they wanted was to continue to live self-sufficiently, the way they had for decades.
After Michael’s death a year and a half ago, the Kwanis had helped her pick up the pieces and keep on living. Their generosity and warmth had been paramount in overcoming her grief, and she owed them everything. Michael would be proud of her for fighting for them.
If she failed them…I can’t fail them.
She shoved the pictures back in her bag and straightened her shoulders. A thrill of anticipation and panic rippled through her.
Bruno Duarte owned the land the Kwanis occupied, but from what she researched, he had never given a thought to Toca do Tigre during the past decade. At least, he hadn’t until a month ago.What had started out as rumors that he wanted to sell the land to the unscrupulous real estate giant, Silas Lancaster, had turned into a heartbreaking reality.
Addie had sent Bruno countless emails and letters, and she had even stalked his personal assistant with phone calls in hopes of talking to her boss. Making him understand the need to grant the Kwanis more time for relocation was crucial. Without the proper planning, they could face violence, diseases, and starvation.
Taking him somewhere quiet where she could drill some common sense into him was critical—something she was unable to do with her letters and phone calls. He couldn’t ignore her this time. She would have him sign the agreement to grant them more time to relocate. There was no other way. She’d already lost her job in the nonprofit organization where she worked because she’d contacted Bruno without the group’s consent. Crap, what else was she supposed to do? Their feeble attempts to handle the situation hadn’t worked, after all, and she wasn’t going to let the Kwanis lose their home, not when she knew firsthand what losing a home entailed.
Her gaze returned to Bruno. The hostess called the guy sitting next to him to a table, and Addie rose to her feet, her toes curling inside her tennis shoes. It’s time.Taking a deep breath, she jammed her fingers into the front pocket of her jeans and palmed the vial she’d brought all the way from Pernambuco.
Apprehension darted through her mind, but she shook her head and willed her nagging doubts away. Bruno was a cold-hearted man to whom Toca do Tigre was nothing but a business transaction. Why else would he adamantly refuse to discuss the sale of a land and crush the lives of hundreds of people?
The hustle and bustle in the bar faded out, and the people sitting on the trendy chairs or gathering near the bar turned into shadows. She narrowed her vision to focus only on Bruno, who proceeded to drink his scotch. She slid onto the stool next to him.
She caught a whiff of his cologne. The freshness of mint notes blended with wood, and another plant she couldn’t discern finished the seductive scent. She rubbed the back of her hand over her nose, trying to wipe the intoxicating smell away. Nope. Still there.
What was the other plant? She sniffed again, for the sake of curiosity, and, this time, her stomach dropped all the way down to her shoes. Fancy, bottled fragrances didn’t offer the tantalizing aroma swirling around her like an invisible dance. Her nipples hardened against her white cotton bra, and she straightened her shoulders. The scent of raw, unrestricted maleness.
Keep it together, Addison.
Kidnapping him before he eloped with Erika, Silas Lancaster’s daughter, was Addie’s last chance to get Bruno to change his mind. The brief amateur detective work she’d done since her arrival in New York had revealed his plan to marry Erika. And if she took that opportunity away from him, or threatened to take it away, she was sure he’d agree to just about anything. A man like Bruno wouldn’t want to jeopardize the relationship with his future father-in-law by standing his daughter up at the altar.
One of the bartenders, who would give Abercrombie models a run for their money, handed Bruno a glass and grabbed the empty one next to it. A large group entered the bar area, and the loud laughter from a couple of men triggered Bruno to turn his head in their direction.
She toyed with the sleek menu and cleared her throat. After a deep breath, she crossed and uncrossed her legs. “Tough day?” she said in his direction and hoped to God he’d turn his head and respond.
“Tough evening,” he said, staring at his square glass, half filled with a cinnamon-colored liquid she guessed was some fancy scotch. “Women…” he mumbled.
The bastard. Did marriage really mean nothing to him? Was that why he was drinking his sorrows away by himself and belittling the vows he would say later on? Unbelievable.
“A Green Temptation, please,” she told the bartender, whose nametag read Roy. With a nod, Roy moved away to prepare her drink.
She wished she already had alcohol in her system as she peered at Bruno. Damn it. If this was going to work, people needed to see them talking and flirting. How else would she get away with—
“Green Temptation?” His voice yanked her from her thoughts. A deep, accented drawl that rolled down smooth and dangerous. The Brazilian accent still lingered even after many years of living in the US, according to what she had been able to find about him online. “Sounds promising.”
She touched the back of her neck, her fingers pressing into her skin. “They say what you drink says a lot about you.”
At least he turned to face her, his eyes brown like rich soil. He flashed a deliberately sexy smile, but she refused to be distracted by his charm or handsome face. And boy, was it handsome… Long, straight nose, lips that curled in shameless invitation, day-old stubble on his strong, square jaw.
“Who are they?”
  1. She blinked and let out a nervous sound that could never pass for a graceful laugh. “I’m sure some sassy writer from Cosmopolitan magazine.” She circled her hands on her lap and hoped to regain composure. When she’d thought this through in her head, it had been easier. More sterile.
Sitting next to the man whose ambitions could crush her goal, in reality, differed.
Bruno gave her a once-over and leaned closer. She lifted her hand to touch her heated cheeks, but self-awareness prevented her from acting like a teenager on her first date, and she tucked her unruly hair behind her ear. “I wouldn’t peg you for a Cosmopolitan reader.”
“Is that a compliment or an insult?”
“A little bit of both.” The bartender brought her drink, and, before she reached for her bag, and with a simple nod, Bruno instructed Roy to add it to his tab.
Mumbling a thanks, she lifted the glass to her lips. The plan to just pretend she was drinking to not let alcohol distract her flew out the window. She savored the exquisite liquid soothing her, the notes of mint and vodka coating her dry throat.
“Can I try it?” he asked.
“I don’t know…” She sat the drink on the counter and twirled a curl around her finger. “Just because you bought me a drink, that doesn’t mean I’ll let you have a sip.”
He gave both sides a glance, then dipped his head lower, and she froze. The man wasn’t just eye candy, he was the whole freaking candy shop. “I’ll let you drink mine if you let me drink yours,” he whispered, and a path of goose bumps rose on her arms.
How bad could a little scotch be? She reached to his drink and, grabbing her straw from hers, stuck it inside the smoky amber liquid, pretty sure he’d be appalled as to why someone would sip whiskey with a straw. A scorching ball of smoke invaded her throat, and she clamped her lips shut and swallowed it hard.
“What does that say about me?”
She angled toward him, propping her elbow on the counter to distract him from what she was about to do. With the other hand, she sneakily snapped open the vial in her purse and held it upright. “You’re stubborn.”
He winked. “Motivated.”
“You have someone stand in line for you every time the latest iPhone comes out.”
She erased the distance between them, crashing into that bubble of charisma and masculinity around him. This is it. Now.
“Wrong. I have it delivered before it hits the stores.” He caught a curl of her hair and gently pulled it, his index finger toying with the tight tip. She smothered a gasp, her head bobbing toward him.
  1. Upping her game, she shredded the invisible line she was about to cross and held him captive with her gaze. “You have a personal trainer who has his own reality show.” Her snarky remark somehow turned into the sexy drawl of a woman with much more sexual confidence. Certainly, not her. He licked his lips, and she bit the inside of her cheek. The image of his mouth crushing hers flooded her mind. Then, quickly, she ripped it to a million pieces. Erika Lancaster, bless her, had fallen prey to Bruno’s undeniable charms. She, however, had experienced real love from a caring man, and she knew the difference.
She slipped the liquid into his scotch, the longest second of her life, and tossed the empty vial in her bag. At last, she straightened her shoulders and shuffled an inch or two away from him.
“No personal trainer. I like to take care of my own workout, and I prefer to do things other than just lifting weight. Like swimming, running, and—”
“Let’s go with boxing.” A smile capable of making a nun doubt her vows spread across his face. “Let me try yours.” She slid her glass across, and he took a drink.
“Unexpected. Refreshing.”
“You make me sound like the last can of Sprite in a picnic luncheon.”
“Nothing like that.” He leaned over her, his lip brushing her hair. An automatic charge electrified her scalp. “I think Green Temptation suits you. I assumed you had baby blues. I was wrong.”
“I’m sorry to disappoint you.”
“You’re far from a disappointment.” He stroked her cheeks and lifted her chin. She shuddered. “They sparkle with intensity, like green diamonds.”
She swallowed. “I can’t believe a smooth talker like you hasn’t been snatched up already. Unless, of course, you’re spoken for?”
“I speak for myself. And as of right now, free as a bird.” He gulped down a bit, and she had to fight her shoulders from sagging. Not only was he a man with no concern for people in worse situations than he, Bruno was a liar. A cheater. Did his wife-to-be know he was flirting with a stranger just hours from his marriage? Or was this a one-man’s bachelor’s party?
“Interesting.” She breathed. “I take it, then, this is your usual spot before you, er, go boxing?”
He rubbed his eyes and blinked a couple of times. “I don’t need to come here to find a boxing partner.”
“True.” She touched her neck, her fingers tapping her prickling skin. “You can practice it alone, right?”
“That’s boring. Why would one do it alone, when they can have an invigorating, sweaty match with the likes of a woman like you?”
She shuddered. “Do you usually train with your gloves on?”
“Protection,” he said, then straightened his posture and shook his head. Another yawn. “Protection is a must.”
She slid to the edge of her stool and leaned closer to him, studying his every move; his olive skin turned pale as he rubbed his forehead and yawned. Was the drug working? Oh yeah, it was working… She’d had to ensure the healer of the tribe she needed the natural-based drug for something very important. Thanks to her cred, the old woman hadn’t asked much, only explained that a blend of uncommon herbs had been mixed to ensure safety and maximum strength. She dared to breathe when she finally saw the contours of his body relax.
“Everything okay?” she asked as she curled her hand around his elbow.
He turned to her and murmured something she couldn’t understand. His full eyelashes swept over his eyes. The warmth of his skin seeped through the fabric of his shirt and gave her an unfamiliar tingling. She jerked her hand away from his elbow as if she’d been burned, and he slumped to her side.
Without much warning, his head fell onto her shoulder. She fought the urge to push him away, but linked her arms around him instead. This was her plan, wasn’t it? To be able to have one-on-one time with Bruno Duarte. After listening to her and understanding what was at stake, he would cave. So be it if kidnapping him was the only way to be heard.
She registered Roy asking her something, but his words were muffled by the heat of the six-foot-two man drooping over her five-foot-five frame. A sharp ache pinched her lower back, and she straightened her shoulders to offer him support without getting a herniated disk. He was just too heavy for her. Too…much.
“My friend here has had too much to drink. Can someone help me get him to my car?” She shoved Bruno a bit to her side and spoke over his shoulder.
The bartender nodded. “I’ll call security. Do you need anything else?”
“No. I’ve got everything I need.”

Chapter Two
I did it. I kidnapped him.
Addie’s continuous mantra did nothing to shed the weight from her shoulders. She stood up from the dingy cloth chair shed been sitting on for the past hour and walked toward the queen bed, and to the man who sat slumped against the headboard. She rubbed her temples and wished the throbbing would go away.
His shoulders drooped on the middle of the bed. Both wrists were handcuffed and linked to old but sturdy metal bedposts by a short chain. The little hairs on the back of her neck stood up. With his eyes closed, he looked almost peaceful, but the ridges of his hard body, and the testosterone pouring from him, told a different tale. He was pure male power, and the way her heartbeat raced told her she was not immune to him. What have I gotten myself into?
The large security guy had helped her get Bruno inside her rental car. Then she used the same excuse to get the clerk from the cheap motel east of New York City to help her carry him into the room.
Addie sucked in her breath when his head bobbed and his large feet moved. After much consideration, she had decided to take off his shoes but had kept his socks on. Somehow, it seemed he would be more comfortable that way—not like it mattered. She raised the back of her hand to wipe the sweat off her forehead. The AC cranked to the max didn’t help—it only circulated the stuffy, hot air even more, and it made a loud noise that reminded her of the buzz of downtown São Paulo. The sound of millions of people rushing to work and black pigeons fluttering to the ground as shoeless children wandered alone in the streets. Even though she was thousands of miles away, still she could hear them.
A metallic sound pulled her from her reverie. Bruno moved his wrists and jerked his head back, hitting it on the headboard. She stepped closer to him, the stained laminate floor creaking from the pressure. He straightened as much as he could.Oh, crap. How did I switch from helping people to hurting them? Well, just this once, right? And hopefully this one act would help so many. Besides, his pain could be treated with a painkiller or backrub. What about the tragic future of the people he wanted to expel? What about Michael’s death?
Bruno opened his eyes, recovering from the effects of the sedative.
Should I say something or wait until he notices me? She folded her arms and then unfolded them immediately. Insecurities were not allowed anywhere outside her mind.
Her temporary hostage started to bang his handcuffs against the frame. The clanging of metal against metal echoed in her ears and prickled her skin. We’re at the far end of the hall. No one will hear us.
“Hello, Bruno.” She ditched formality.
Her breath caught in her throat when their gazes collided. At first, he seemed surprised. Then, his expression changed. She couldn’t tell if it was fear or hate, or some unknown emotion just below the surface.
He shook his shoulders again, and his enormous frame rammed the bed against the wall. She had requested the quietest room at the end of an empty hallway. Of course, at the time, she had alleged they were a couple on a honeymoon.
Honeymoon? The word held a double dose of irony. The only man she’d ever envisioned honeymooning with no longer lived. The idea of using that as an excuse, even for what she was doing… Well, it wasn’t right. Also, if her plan failed, in a day’s time, he’d be honeymooning with the daughter of the real estate shark who had insisted on buying his land even before the Kwanis moved out—and she’d be sitting in prison. No, that couldn’t happen.
Muffled sounds came from under the duct tape across his mouth.
Pressing her lips together, she moved to his bed. “I will remove the tape, but you must be quiet,” she said in the same tone of voice she used to settle sick indigenous children. “If you scream, it goes back on.”
He glared at her. Did he recognize her from the bar?
“Nod if you understand.”
He looked up at the popcorn ceiling for a moment. Bruno Duarte, the accomplished software developer, wasn’t the kind who did as he was told—hell, she had tried to get in touch with him for an entire month, but telling him anything proved impossible. Until now. Now, he has no way out.
At last, he nodded.
She ripped off the tape; the sound of it peeling off his skin made her arch her back. If it hurt him, he didn’t show it.
“Get these off me,” he demanded. An unreadable emotion overtook his eyes for a moment as his brows lowered.
“I will. But first, you’ll listen to me.”
“The hell I will. Who are you?”
“Addison Reed.” She rubbed her sweaty palms together. “Addie.”
“Addison Reed?” It sounded more like an accusation than recognition. “The crazy tree hugger who has been spamming my inbox?” He shook his head. “You flirted with me at the bar.” The menacing promise in his expression caused sweat to trickle between her breasts. “You’re behind this?”
“We need to talk about Toca do Tigre.”
“How did I get here?”
Addie chewed on her lower lip. “This was the only way for you to listen.”
“You slipped something in my drink, didn’t you?”
“A perfectly safe sleeping aid. So, let’s talk.” She reached inside her messenger bag on the small table and removed the long, thick envelope.
“Addie, why don’t you be a dear and uncuff me?” He winked at her. “I’ll be more inclined to listen without cramped wrists.” She ignored the tingling at the pit of her stomach. Though she hadn’t been with a man in the nearly two years since Michael’s death, she was not an idiot. She would not be won over by false charm.
With a shake of her head, she retrieved the pictures from the envelope she was holding and spread them on the bed linen—all twenty of them—men, women, and children, laughing, crying, and looking away.
“If you don’t change your mind, they’ll be homeless in less than a month,” Addie said, the word “homeless” forcing her throat to thicken. She pushed away the memories threatening to come to the surface. This wasn’t about her. She peeked at one of the pictures, her fingers caressing the glossy paper.
“Release me, and I’ll pretend to pay attention.”
“If you listen to me for thirty minutes and actually pay attention, I’ll uncuff one wrist,” she said, surprised by her own spontaneity. She scanned the area close to him and found no sharp objects. There was nothing he could do. Nowhere to go.
“What about the other one?” he asked, unfazed.
She smiled. “I’ll uncuff the other one when we’ve reached an agreement.”
“What if I have to pee?”
“I’ll bring a bottle.” And look away.
She placed her hands on her waist, hoping her attitude was enough of a threat. It was all she had; a weapon would be too much. If he didn’t agree with her at the end of the night and wanted to press charges—which was a realistic option—not having a weapon would probably lessen her time behind bars.
He sighed. “With such an enticing promise, how can I refuse?” Sarcasm dripped from his voice. “Go ahead.”
“Kicking the Kwanis from their home without careful planning is cruel, unnecessary, and not the right move for a successful businessman like yourself.”
She made her plea for the next several minutes. Each time a bold red number moved on the old-fashioned alarm clock, her heart jumped in her chest. Nevertheless, she pushed through it.
“The government is seeking an alternative for them,” he interrupted. “According to Brazilian laws, there are specific territories legally occupied by Indians. Pieces of land where they can mingle with other tribes. Why can’t they go to one of those?”
“Transitions between different tribes don’t always go smoothly. The government didn’t help the Kwanis a decade ago when they unfairly lost the land they lived on. Then, there were three hundred of them. Today, even with the births, there are only one hundred twenty-four.” She said the numbers staccato. “Also, the Kwanis took care of Toca do Tigre and contributed to it by growing more trees and making the earth productive again.” They loved the land Bruno had chosen to ignore.
“Nice try, but just because they planted a few trees on the land they needed—the land they took without asking—doesn’t mean they deserve a free pass.”
She raised the picture of a skinny Brazilian boy to his eye level. “This is Endi. He’s six. Both of his parents live off that land. If you kick them out, he’ll become one more homeless child wandering the streets of the next big city, experimenting with drugs, stealing, and doing whatever else he needs to do to survive.”
After a shadow of annoyance crossed his face, he glanced at the picture for a nanosecond and rolled his eyes. “The fact that you want to steal my own land from me doesn’t count? Just because you are Caucasian and educated?”
“I don’t want to steal anything. All I ask is that you give them more time, to make the transition easier for them.” She had tried publicity. The media hadn’t cared about such a small minority group. Besides a couple of letters published in environmental magazines, she was pretty much on her own. Even though reelection time neared in Brazil, candidates only chose causes they believed would bring them attention, causes that affected a larger number of people.
“A month is reasonable if you consider they’ve never paid rent.”
“It’s inhumane.” She sat at the far end of the bed. “You’ve contributed to a lot of other causes, Bruno.” She peered at his large hands, the long fingers moving even though there was no way out of the handcuffs. Long, tanned fingers. With a blink, she composed herself. “I’m curious why you’re acting so differently with this one.”
“We both agree that I’ve done my share.” His lips twitched. “That’s progress.”
“But not for your own country,” she said. “Not in a big way. Why?”
For a moment, he hesitated, his forehead wrinkling in deep thought.
Maybe this was progress. Maybe she was getting his attention.
His gaze darted back at her. “How far are you willing to go? You’re obviously an amateur at this. I presume killing me is not in the cards.” His voice was flat.
She swallowed. “I don’t have anything to lose,” she said, the pain strangling her words. “These people supported me at a tough time. The organization I worked for was trying to find other land to transfer them to.”
“You worked for?”
“Yes. After I emailed you and sent letters, you wrote the organization, Vidas em Perigo, that nasty letter calling me an ‘extremist bully’. They fired me.”And closed the one-woman Indian affairs division.
He shook his cuffed wrists. “As usual, I was on the mark.”
He checked the alarm clock on the bedside table.
“Your thirty minutes are up.” He shook his wrists again.
If he got a bit more comfortable, maybe she’d get through to him. She had seen glimpses on his face that she had his attention. The way he sucked in his breath or shot her a speculative look here and there. He might not know it yet, but, by the end of the night, he’d agree with her. Defeat was not an option.
“If you do anything stupid, peeing in a bottle is out the window,” Addie warned him and scooted closer on the bed. If someone had told him the witty exchange at the bar would land him in a bed, tied up, well, fuck, he’d pictured it much differently. She held the stare like nothing could shake her from whatever crazy ideas she harbored. The look of someone who had nothing to lose. But why?
He focused on the rest of her face to escape her scrutiny. Damn, she was pretty. Not his type, but definitely pretty.
Tight blond curls framed her face, which was clear of any makeup. Freckles scattered over her small straight nose and high cheeks. Her skin seemed soft and fragile.
He moved his fingers to shake the tingling away.
Giving him a warning look, she grabbed the key from the back pocket of her jeans and moved toward him. With one knee on the mattress and the other foot still on the floor, she leaned around his right cuff to unlock it.
Hmm… He had to pay attention to where she put the key. After waking up and getting his bearings, he’d quickly gotten over his rage to assess the situation. He’d tried to act superior, to reason with her, and at last he’d pretended to go along with her agreement. Now, it was time for a new strategy.
Hell, he’d been through worse in his life.
Bruno stiffened while she held his wrist and turned the key to free him. He couldn’t ignore the warm brush of her fingers before he flexed and shook his fist. A sharp pain shot up his arm.
She replaced the key in her back pocket. Addie moved her knee, and a glossy picture stuck to her jeans. One of the pictures she had tried to shove down his throat.
He saw his opportunity when she looked for balance as she lifted her knee. He stretched his arm and grabbed her by her waist. She gasped, but his larger frame put him at an obvious advantage.
His entire body throbbed with awareness. He snatched her to him, closing his arm around her waist and offering no escape. He savored watching a lump make its way down her throat and her soft skin prickling with goose bumps.
Something must have dawned inside her—she finally tried to move against him. Her small hands smacked his chest, and her legs kicked around his hips.
“Easy,” he groaned.
“Let me go. You have lost your bottle privilege.”
“But I found another one. Much to our pleasure.” He dipped his head to hers, and her hot breath fanned his skin.
He pulled her closer. She panted, though she stopped kicking and hitting. He dropped his eyes from her uncertain ones down to her lips…her bottom lip, slightly fuller than the top. They parted but no sound pushed past them.
When his eyes searched for hers again, he discovered she, too, glanced at his lips.
He loosened his grip on her waist for a moment.
If he reached for her pocket right now, she would be too alert and react swiftly. She laid her palm on his chest, a clumsy touch that turned him on beyond belief. Drawn to her, he angled toward her mouth and captured her lips. For a moment, she stiffened in his hold, her fingers two blocks of granite on his rib cage. He lowered his lips to hers and used her moaning protest to push inside her hot, wet mouth. Bitter memories—from the last time freedom had been so viscerally vital to him—threatened to tug at his mind. But he moved faster than his thoughts and shut them off. He licked her lips, slipped his tongue inside, and hoped the kiss wouldn’t make him any dirtier than he already was.
To his surprise, that wasn’t the case. Hmmm. For a few seconds, she froze, reacting with complete modesty to his flesh. Then, before he could analyze his doubts, her tongue caressed his in a slow, delicate fashion. His insides pumped, thick and hard. He groaned and intensified the strokes of his tongue on her, urgency filling him like a tank of gasoline about to overflow. And burn.
She matched his passion, as if she’d been switched on from a trance, and nipped his lower lip. His cock jumped. He entertained the idea of shedding her clothes and licking every inch of her soft skin. He would play her body like a Stradivarius. He would taste her, graze her nipples, which now hardened against him.
Another moan, too sexy to be accidental, escaped her throat. Bringing one hand to caress her untamed hair, he motioned the other one to remove her shirt.
Except—the restraint of the handcuffs biting into his flesh snapped him back to reality. Handcuffs. His blood went cold. He was completely at her mercy. Using his charms to take advantage of the situation, sure. Falling victim of his own plan? He couldn’t afford to be this foolish. Not anymore.
His throat thickened, and the reason for his skin prickling had nothing to do with the woman squirming on top of him.
Get out. Words he had heard at a pivotal time of his youth had become his go-to motto in many situations. This was one of them. The handcuffs were like a ton of cold metal, a burden to his wrist. To his freedom.
With his free hand, he dipped down and outlined her round, pert butt. He felt a hard bump on her cheek. The key.
“No,” she shouted. Before he could react, she pushed away and disentangled from him, scooting back on the bed until she reached the edge. Her breath came in small gasps.
They stared at each other silently for moments that dragged into minutes.
“I… I…” she started, her hand on her heaving chest. Her eyes weren’t fixed anywhere in particular, which was the oddest reaction he’d ever gotten from a woman.
What the hell was wrong with her?
Her lips puckered with annoyance. “You… You kissed me.”
“And you enjoyed it.” He bit back a smile. So did I.
“No,” she rushed to say. “This isn’t about me. Listen, I know you’re flying to Vegas to get married to Erika Lancaster tonight,” she blurted out.
Erika… He raised his free hand, still hot from Addie’s touch, and ran his fingers through his hair. Breaking up at the bar with Erika seemed like eons ago.
“Is that why you were drinking alone in that bar earlier? Celebrating your last hours as a free man?”
“None of it concerns you.”
“What you’re planning to do with the Kwanis concerns me. If you sign an agreement granting more time to get them relocated, I’ll release you, and you can catch your flight and marry that poor woman. If you don’t, I’ll keep you here for as long as I have to, and she’ll think you changed your mind. No flight and no Vegas marriage for you.” She folded her arms and lifted her chin.
So that was what the kidnapping was about? She wanted to manipulate him into accepting her terms by threatening to mess with his Vegas wedding? He quirked up his lips. “Tough luck. I hate to break it to you, but I’m not marrying Erika tonight. Or ever.
My Thoughts
Bruno Duarte never thought...

Bruno Daurte never thought that the life that he had spent so long crafting could be so easily unraveled.

Bruno Duarte never thought that he would find himself at the mercy of "an insane tree-hugger.

Bruno Duarte never though that he could ever again know the passion and freedom of a man in love.

Bruno Duarte never counted on meeting someone like her.

Addison Reed is a woman on a mission.  Still reeling from the loss of her fiancé, and facing the unjust eviction of an indigenous people that she has come to love from their home in Brazil; Addie is a woman who will stop at nothing to ensure that that she adds no more minuses to a tally already too full of them.

What neither he nor she had any way of foreseeing was how the crazy chain of kismet that linked them, would provide the bounds strong enough to bind their hearts forever.

This story is one that will make you want...
Want Bruno.
Want to be Addison.
Want to experience the passion, the wonder, the beauty, the pain, and the happiness that is love realized.
Want to go to Brazil.

Both Addison and Bruno are very strong characters, willing to go the distance for those they love and for what they believe.
As such, when these two forces of  nature collide, there are fireworks from the start.
What is most impressive about this read character wise, is the fact that money and influence don't equal power in this relationship.
It is Addison, and not Bruno, who does most of the saving and tearing down of walls.
She is the true embodiment of a strong woman, and this story is where she is allowed to shine.

While it is true that the sex in this read is hot enough to melt candles without a flame; that element alone doesn't account for this story's appeal.
First and foremost on the reasons to love this book has to be...IT'S SCENES ARE SET IN BRAZIL.
That's right!  It is not a US based story.
That gives the reader a fresh flavor for their setting palate, and what a sweet taste it is too.

Add to that the secrets, family drama, raw emotionality, and tear inducing ending, and you have a book to love!!

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