AT THE TYCOON'S COMMAND by Shawna Delacorte
Harlequin Intrigue #413
Original Print Release: April 1997
eBook Reissue: July 2011
eBook ISBN: #978-1-459-26834-0
Available at: (do search for author name)
Available at: for Nook Books
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HE CAME TO HER IN THE NIGHT... Lauren Jamison sensed danger and secrets when Kyle Delaney entered her waterfront store. Not for a moment did she believe the dark stranger was an ordinary man. Instinctively she knew he lived on the edge, belonged to a world of deception. But unable to resist him, she became a prisoner of passion.

Then one stormy night her world shattered when she found his body in the moonlight -- shot and delirious from pain. Before he collapsed, he told her to follow his instructions or they'd both wind up dead. Just who was Kyle Delaney? And should Lauren risk her heart -- and her life -- for a man who might be on the wrong side of the law?


Read G-rated Excerpt inside front cover
Read Excerpt #1 (G-rated)
Read Excerpt #2 (G-rated)


Inside front cover excerpt:

"Who are you?"

"You already know that," Kyle said. "I'm here to -- "

She put her fingers against his lips to still his words. "Don't play me for a fool. I did the best I could with your injuries, but now that you're part of reality again, you owe me answers."

His voice was low, soft and very serious. "Lauren, please don't ask. I can't -- "

"I don't want to hear I can't." She fixed him with a hard stare. "I want answers, Kyle."

He tugged on her hand until he had closed the last small gap between them. His lips brushed against hers, then he captured her mouth fully in a hot and sensual kiss.

She closed her eyes for a moment, savoring the warmth that flowed through her, until it almost obscured her thoughts. When she spoke, her words were barely above a whisper. "Who are you, Kyle Delaney? Why are you here? And what am I involved in?" She had to ask... but she wasn't so sure she wanted to hear the answers.

He took her hand again, bringing it to his lips. "You have to let this go, Laruen. You can't become involved. You have to trust me -- and I have to trust that you'll maintain your silence."

He voice a barely discernible whisper, Lauran said, "I don't think I can do that..."


G-Excerpt #1: (chapter 1 opening)

The vision had been very real, jerking Lauren Jamison out of a sound sleep. It had lasted only a few seconds but left a vivid impression. A man, she could not see his face, lurching off the cliff into the blackness of night -- falling toward the crashing waves below. Who was he? Why had he fallen from the cliff? Was it a mystery from the past or a portent of things to come? She did not know. The ability was there, but she had never learned to command it or properly use it. The visions seemed to come from nowhere of their own volition. She closed her eyes for a second and tried to force the vision from her mind.

She glanced at the clock. It was almost time to get up anyway. She forced herself to think of other things as she took her shower, slipped into a warm robe and padded barefoot to the small kitchen.

She carried the mug from her living quarters in the back of the building to the front area which housed her business, a combination bookstore and gift shop on one side of the entrance parlor and a tearoom on the other side. She built a fire in the fireplace of the parlor, then sat in her favorite chair sipping her herbal tea and staring at the flames. She occasionally looked out the window. The early-morning drizzle obscured most of the dawn light.

Try as she might, she had not been able to shake the disturbing vision from her mind. She sensed something very powerful in the works -- dramatic changes hovered on the horizon. She tried to collect her thoughts and focus her energy and concentration.

The Siamese cat jumped from his favorite perch atop the large antique Hoosier cabinet. The small gold bell around his neck jingled softly as he darted across the parlor then jumped into her lap. A tremor of expectancy caused her to shiver. She closed her eyes as she stroked the cat's fur. "I think, Ty-Ty, that we're about to become involved in an exciting adventure."

She held the cat a moment before shooing him from her lap. She carried her empty mug into the kitchen and refilled it. A loud buzzing at the front of the building startled her. As soon as she stepped through the connecting door into the business section of the building she saw the dark silhouette of a large man, his hands cupped around his face as he pressed against the front window. Again, the tremor of expectancy darted through her. Whatever was going to happen somehow involved this stranger who had mysteriously appeared out of the early-morning mist.

She crossed the parlor and opened the front door, tilting her head to one side as she looked at him. "Yes? May I help you?"

The smooth, masculine voice had an almost seductive quality about it. "I'm sorry to disturb you so early in the morning, but I saw your lights and -- "


G-Excerpt #2 (testing his disguise)

Lauren and Kyle were only half a mile from the tearoom. He studied her profile as she drove. The nervousness twitched across her features. She had a tighter grip on the steering wheel than necessary. He reached over and brushed his fingertips across her knuckles. "If you don't relax your grip you're liable to break that steering wheel in two." A slight sigh of exasperation escaped his throat. "It's not too late for you to change your mind."

She gave a quick sidelong glance in his direction then returned her eyes to the road. "I won't change my mind. This is the only way it will work, and you know it, even if you don't like it."

He focused his gaze out the front window. "You've got that one right -- I don't like it." He turned in the seat until he half faced her. "I want you to promise me that you'll do exactly as I say without trying to second-guess me. Both of our lives might depend on that fraction-of-a-second edge. And when I tell you it's time for you to get out, I want you as far away from here as quickly as you can go. Do you understand that?"

She tried to lighten his mood and ease the tension that filled the air. "You're such a nag. For the millionth time, I understand that."

"Stop it, Lauren!" He snapped out the words, making no effort to hide his annoyance. "Also for the millionth time, this isn't a game. You've already shown me how clever and resourceful you are. Against everything that's logical and rational I'm reluctantly allowing you a limited amount of involvement in this, but I don't want to end up with someone praising your sterling qualities to the towns folk at your funeral." He knew the words were harsh and he made no effort to soften them.

She pulled the car to the side of the road and braked to a halt almost within sight of their destination. She turned to face him. "And I don't want to be telling people how you swept into my life one misty morning only to be taken away far too soon by a bullet with your name on it. I know that sounds like a corny cliché, but it's the way I feel." She quickly turned toward the road when she felt the tears begin to well in her eyes. She put the car in gear, making sure he could not see how much the thought truly upset her. She had already lost one man to a bullet and had no intention of it happening again.

His exasperation came across loud and clear. "Can we at least go over today's plan one more time?"

Lauren flipped on the turn signal then pulled into the parking lot. She recited the plan as if it was an oft-repeated litany. "We arrive with a flourish. I introduce you to Milly. We see what her response is. If she buys it we go to Billy Washburn's funeral so you can listen, snoop, and with luck get a chance for an innocent little conversation with Billy's father."

She pulled the car around back and turned off the engine. He took her hand in his, stopping her from opening the car door. "Lauren... " The words were difficult for him. "I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here. I want you to know -- "

"Whatever it is, I suggest you say it with an Irish accent because it's show time!" She had to cut him off. She did not want to hear anything that might indicate he was going to change his mind. They would do this together or die trying. A little tremor of anxiety rippled across her skin. She hoped those words were not as prophetic as they sounded. She swallowed her trepidation and reached for the door handle.