The Assassin’s Kiss, by J.A. Kazimer: Desire Rekindled in the Heat of Danger

assassins_kissJulia didn’t realize her husband was an assassin. No wonder she wanted a divorce.

The Assassin’s Kiss ($14.95, 250 pp., ISBN: 978-1-60381-325-9), by J.A. Kazimer, is the second romantic suspense novel in the Assassins series, which began with The Assassin’s Heart. An estranged couple, one of them a secret assassin for the government, must join forces as they flee from a group of hit men.

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5 Blue Ribbons: “Intense intrigue, rapid-fire suspense, cagey characters with a Pinocchio syndrome and a scorching romance combine in this dastardly delicious novel called The Assassin’s Kiss…. I rooted for their rocketing romance all the way. The Assassin’s Kiss is heady, passionate and riveting. A suspenseful gem!” Read more….

—Michele Rioli for Romance Junkies

(Crowned Heart Review: 4 1/2 stars): “This story has it all, intrigue, mystery, unexpected twists and turns, great side characters, and a villain that isn’t easily to determine until it smacks the reader in the face…. A page turner that isn’t easily set aside until the last word is devoured!” Read more….

—Lynne Bryant for InD’Tale Magazine

“This is a spy story with a romantic element. I enjoyed it. It is a good read for a Saturday afternoon…. The writer has an entertaining style and I look forward to her next work.”  Read more….

—Mary T. Kincaid for Readers’ Favorite Reviews

The Assassin’s Heart was awarded 4 1/2 Stars (Top Pick/Gold) by RT Magazine: “Kazimer’s debut romantic suspense deserves a spot at the top of the genre. Not only is this novel sassy and fun, but the author’s research into the CIA and the life of an assassin is reflected in her work, making it not just a fabulous romantic suspense tale, but a fantastic work of fiction, period. Hannah ‘Six’ Winslow stands strongly on her own and has none of the characteristics of a damsel in distress–which makes this novel that much hotter and sensual.”

The Assassins series includes a novella, The Assassins’ First Date, a prequel to both books in the series. The Assassins’ First Date introduces Hannah “Six” Winslow, Benjamin Miller, and the star of The Assassin’s Kiss, Nate Taylor.

Julia abandoned Nate Taylor on their wedding night after finding him in the arms of her stepsister, Sara. Now she is set to marry again, this time to a man who shares her upper-crust background. But Nate won’t sign the annulment papers.

Ready to resort to murder if necessary, Julia storms Nate’s houseboat in the Florida Everglades, just in time to survive an attack by a group of assassins Nate believes are targeting her. He should know; he’s an assassin himself—a little detail he never shared with his ex. Nate works for a secret government agency known as OPS. With the help of his fellow assassins, Nate tries to identify the attackers and the reason for their deadly quest.

Meanwhile, the reluctant travel companions flee north to Nate’s eccentric hometown of Gibsonton, and later to a comfy cabin in the woods. Julia becomes better acquainted with her mysterious ex, the true man behind the gun.

Seeing this new side of Nate, will Julia continue to resist the powerful chemistry between them? Will they solve the mystery before one of them is killed trying?

Says the author, “Oddly enough, I started writing Nate and Julia’s story long before Ben and Six’s from The Assassin’s Heart; I just didn’t know it at the time. Nate and Julia are such fun and lively characters. Not to mention Cousin Luke, who I am absolutely in love with. This is the book of my heart. I hope it is my readers’ too. I’ve been fascinated by carnival life for a long time. The setting of The Assassin’s Kiss is a real town in Florida, founded by carnival people. A carnival represents the freedom to be whoever you want to be—a bearded lady who shaves during the off-season or a fortune teller like Nate’s mother. The brightly colored background also makes an intense setting for a romance.”

J.A. Kazimer lives in Denver, CO. She has a master’s degree in forensic psychology and has been both a bartender and a private investigator. She is the author of several other novels and series, including The Deadly Ever After series, F***ed Up Fairytales, and the Wilde Crimes series. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Despite the warning ringing in her head, Julia followed Nate as he led her behind the carney trailers and staging area to a rusty trailer. Years of neglect had left the once bright yellow paint on the trailer barely distinguishable from the rust. It peeled and bubbled, nearly obscuring the sign that read THE HAUNTED HOUSE OF MIRRORS.

Julia raised an eyebrow. Nate gave her a half-smile as he grabbed her second half-eaten corn dog from her fingers and tossed it in the trash.

“Hey,” she complained, “I was eating that.”

“Yes, yes you were.” He grinned. “And later you will thank me for tossing it.” He motioned to the trailer. “Besides, I want to show you something.”

With an exaggerated eye roll, she said, “I’ve heard that before.”

“Trust me,” he said, waggling his eyebrows in a mock leer, “best time of your life. I promise.”

Why not, she thought with a shrug. Today she’d already eaten fried meat on a stick, rode a ride called the Cyclone, and watched as a man threw knives at a pretty young girl. What haunted horrors could the trailer offer, other than hepatitis?

Nate pulled open the rusty door. A rush of stale air greeted them. Julia stepped forward, but Nate held up a hand, stopping her. “Three tickets, lady,” he said in a gruff carney voice. “Nobody rides for free.”

Her lips formed a pout as she dug into her pocket for her tickets. “This better be worth it.”

He waggled his eyebrows again. “I’ve never had any complaints.”

She rolled her eyes again, shoved her tickets at him, and then pushed past him into the dark room. The door slammed closed, blocking the slim shaft of moonlight and leaving her in total darkness. Julia wrapped her arms over her chest, hating her irrational fear of the dark, a fear she’d had since childhood but had never told anyone about. Had Nate guessed it? Was he torturing her, looking for payback? “Nate?” she called into the blackness, her voice trembling.

A few seconds later a string of white lights sparkled to life, illuminating the shiny reflective mirrors lining the trailer. Nate stepped from the shadows, looking like the very best parts of sin.

Julia swallowed, forcing her attention to the reflective surfaces to keep from reflecting on how damn sexy her soon-to-be-former husband looked.

“I used to spend hours in here as a kid,” he whispered, tracing his fingers over the edge of a distorted mirror with a lover’s caress.

Julia fanned her face, unable to catch her breath enough to comment. Her body tingled with sexual awareness. Nate’s scent clouded her senses, sapping her willpower. Not that she had much where Nate Taylor was concerned. He was the only man who could turn her on with one look.

Nate either failed to notice her pitiful condition or he was toying with her, playing a game of cat and pathetic, sex-crazed mouse.

His body was now so close, its heat warmed her already hot flesh. “These mirrors are magical,” he said as if standing on stage in front of a crowd.

Julia snorted.

“They both reveal and hide everything.”

She raised a perfectly arched eyebrow.

“You don’t believe me?” he asked, his voice as reckless and dangerous as Julia’s sudden uncontrollable desire. She slowly shook her head. He smiled—a wicked, sexy grin of pure masculinity and arrogance—and lifted the thin straps of her tank dress, sliding them up and down against the sensitive flesh of her shoulders. “I guess I’ll have to prove it then,” he whispered, his lips centimeters from her own.

Good to his word, as if by magic, Julia found herself standing with her back against the cold surface of a distorted mirror, facing the one man who could make her lose all control. “Nate …” she moaned, half question, half plea.

Lifting the straps of her dress again, he stared into her violet eyes. “Stop me, Julia.” He paused, his face twisting with pleasure and pain. “Tell me no.”

Her heart pounded in her chest.

“Last chance,” he whispered, gritting his teeth.

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