Home > The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)(4)

The Sapphire Heist (Jewel #2)(4)
Author: Lauren Blakely

“My pleasure. I told you you’re a good-luck charm. One of the guys in the group said he’s already told some friends who are coming here next month that they need to do our stingray tour.”

Steph’s eyes lit up. If there was one true thing that was priceless, it was positive word-of-mouth. She punched Devon on the biceps. “That is awesome.”

“They said how much fun you were, too, with the jewels,” he added as he grabbed mesh bags of gear.

She beamed as she tucked the snorkels away in the storage room. “Well, that pretty much makes my day.”

“I found his comment all the more amazing considering I’m pretty sure you were pissed about something before the tour started. You did a good job, though, focusing on the customers,” he said, arching an eyebrow and waiting for her to pick up the baton of the deeper conversation. “What’s on your mind, Steph?”

She sighed. Shrugged. Fiddled with her hair. Then bit the bullet. “What would you do if you suspected someone you liked took something from you, but you weren’t entirely sure. Would you confront that person?”

“Whoa.” He held up his hands. “That’s a loaded question if I ever heard one.”

“I know,” she said with a heavy sigh as she adjusted a mask neatly next to some fins.

“Care to tell me more? So I can help?”

She pursed her lips, rewinding to the last few days with Jake. “I’m not sure where to start.”

But the truth was, she didn’t want to say the words out loud—Did the guy I slept with steal the diamond my stepfather bought with stolen money in the first place? Nope. She couldn’t breathe those words aloud. She didn’t want either the front or the back end of that statement to be true.

This was a mystery best solved solo, so she finished her work, packed up, and headed to her Jeep, still noodling on the details.

Jake was a professional. He cracked safes and covered his tracks for a living, so why was the safe left open? Wouldn’t he assume she’d check her safe? He wasn’t sloppy; she’d learned that much about him. The man had amazing follow-through, both on the job and in bed.

Still, he’d stayed in her room all night. Hell, he’d asked, damn near insisted on spending the night, and he knew how to break into a safe. She just wasn’t sure why he’d done it the way he had. Maybe to throw her off the scent? Make it seem like someone else had broken into the safe?

She burned with frustration.

How was she to proceed with him? Business as usual or full inquisition?

As she pulled on the handle of the auto, she stole one last look at the calm blue water, teeming with friendly stingrays. An oxymoron.

But in it, she found the answer.

Stingrays sounded scary.

After all, who wants to be stung? But rather than fear them, tourists kissed them.

Steph would glean more answers with honey than vinegar. Confronting Jake about stealing the diamond would only give him a greater chance to backpedal. She’d need to act like nothing was amiss. She wouldn’t let on that she suspected he was a thief.

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.




She looked good.

But then, that seemed to be the woman’s specialty.

Being stunning. Being hot. Being the sun-kissed beauty he was damn lucky to spend a little time with.

As she walked down the block, all he could think about was smothering her in kisses. Cupping her face in his hands, gazing into her gorgeous blue eyes, lacing his fingers through that blonde hair. Maybe even tugging on it.

Did she like hair pulling?

Note to self: find out if Steph enjoys hair pulling, spanking, and playful biting.

She wore an aqua-green sundress with some kind of swirly pattern. He intended to take it off her. Soon. Very soon. But first they had business to do. Catered lunch to order. A mission to accomplish. He sat outside at a café a few blocks away from the gallery. A Frommer’s guidebook was open on the table, adding to the tourist look he’d perfected.

When Steph reached the table, she shot him a sultry stare that scorched him. With her mere inches away, his earlier wish for the case to end quickly vanished into thin air. Let the case drag on. Let the diamonds go unfound for a few more days. He wanted time with her. To get to know her better, her body and her mind.

But the voice of reason told him the more he gave in, the more he risked. Only, he wasn’t thinking with reason right now. He wasn’t thinking at all. Only feeling how much he longed for this woman.

“Good afternoon, gorgeous mermaid,” he said, his voice dry and husky.

“Flattery will get you everywhere,” she said with a wink, then parked herself on his lap and threw her arms around him.

“Good to see you, too,” he said with a chuckle.

She clasped his face in her hands and purred. “I missed you this morning.” Her voice turned to a feathery whisper. “I can’t wait to have you inside me again.”

Oh Lord.

The woman didn’t mince words.

His dick shot straight up, and he was grateful she was on his lap, covering his hard-on. He was even more grateful that she claimed his mouth in a heady kiss. She pressed her lips to his; the taste of her was so damn sweet. He nearly groaned in pleasure, a sound that would’ve been wholly inappropriate in public company.

He slipped his tongue inside her warm mouth, and his brain went hazy. All thoughts of work, and tutors, and summer school, and jobs, and whatever else he needed to do crumbled to dust in the caress of her lips. She kissed like a dream, and he could get lost in these kisses, in this sweet, feisty, fiery woman.

He let himself for a minute or two, as her hot kisses blurred out the world.

But in the back of his mind the clock ticked loudly. As much as it pained him, he broke the kiss. “One, that was epic. Two, I want more. Three, I’ve been thinking about you all morning.”

“I’ve been thinking of you, too,” she said, running her fingers along the front of his shirt. She smiled at him, a grin that spread from sea to shining sea. She was happy today. Wildly happy, and it was infectious.

“You’re cuddly today.”

She shrugged coyly, then brushed a finger along his jawline. “I guess the best sex of my life makes me that way. Hope you don’t mind,” she said, pursing her lips playfully. She sneaked a hand behind him and gripped his ass. Squeezed it hard.

He hitched in a breath. “Now listen, sexy girl, you’re going to send me into the gallery with a hard-on if we keep this up.”

“But I like you hard,” she said, gripping the fabric of his shirt. Her hands were everywhere. Zipping all over him. Grabbing him. Touching him. Like an attack of fantastic sensations.

“It’s a state I vastly enjoy being in when I’m with you. But I do work better when I’m not thinking about fucking you,” he said, then lifted her off him, and they left the busy café and turned to a side street away from the crowds.

“Ready to place the order?” he said, then ducked down a quiet block along the beach.

She reached for her phone from her bag, blocked her number, and made the phone c all.

They needed to get inside Isla’s gallery to look around. Nighttime would have been ideal, but there was simply too much security in the evenings in this section of town. Stores, restaurants, and high-end hotels nearby employed ample guards after hours, so they’d have to find a way to get into Isla’s office during the day.

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