Episode One: THE BANE AFFAIR. Christian Bane is part of a covert ops group gathered by Hank Smithson, who put together the five-man Smithson Group. He handpicked each and every one of them.
Christian Bane is the quietest of the group. Will this quiet one be able to impersonate Peter Deacon, a man working for the syndicate known as Spectra IT? Christian was saved by Hank from a prison deep in the Thailand jungle. Though Hank would trust Christian with his life, Christian carries a look-both haunted and hunted-that worries Hank. Once Christian knows that the syndicate is holding another innocent man hostage, he's more than willing to take on the assignment.
Natasha Gaudet has life rather easy. Her job, where her employer is her godfather, is on a huge estate. Upon arriving to work one day, she notices that her godfather has a visitor-a rare occurrence. A rich, intense visitor, who appears to look into her, through her, and for what she tries desperately to hide from the world. How can he do that? They haven't even met. Furthermore, her godfather informs Natasha that she is to be Peter Deacon's entertainment during his stay-seeing to his every need.
Considering the two have a soul-deep connection from first glance, this does not prove to be a hardship to either one of them. Christian's job as impersonating Deacon includes having to take the gorgeous Natasha to bed. Having already scored with his Ferrari-she has a thing for cars, expensive cars-that'll be easy. Christian was entranced from when he saw her picture in the portfolio he received from his employer. Christian's first order of business is to determine whether or not Natasha is as dirty as her godfather, or at least aware of his crimes. If he has to, he'll expose her, along with her godfather, Wickam Bow, but he will most certainly enjoy her luscious body first. It doesn't take Christian long to determine that Natasha is completely innocent and has no knowledge of Wick's wrongdoing. From Wick's point of view, Natasha makes the perfect pawn. This is wonderful for a man who enjoys playing with people's lives.
Lines are getting blurred the more time Christian spends with Natasha. Something is very, very wrong. They both feel the same way-about a lot of things. But both are reluctant to share their close, personal feelings. Christian has a painful past, like most of the SG operatives. However, the source of his betrayal, and the brutality he subsequently endured, was because of a woman. Sworn to never, ever trust a woman, here is Natasha. Is she at all like the woman who once betrayed him? Is she in cahoots with her very dirty godfather? Christian better find out, and quickly, because their intensely passionate time together becomes far more than sex.
Natasha is burning through each and every one of Christian's barriers. There is one scene-a particular shower scene-that is utterly moving. Not because of the shared explosive passion, but because Christian reveals a part of himself he's successfully managed to hide from Natasha. This scene may indeed be the most powerful scene of this amazing, chilling, and compelling read by Kent. To witness Peter and Natasha's finding something more fulfilling than love-peace-is a touching, affecting experience that I won't forget for a long time to come.
THE BANE AFFAIR is a superb book! It is full of fears and secrets, and the inability to know what is real and not real. Also, danger is high on the list, as well as figuring out who to trust. This is a chilling story of deceit, in part because Natasha can't help but worry whether she's a fringe benefit, or if it could possibly be the real thing with her and Peter, especially once the true danger-and the truth-is revealed.
There are four more books to follow, one each month through February of 2005. If you are anything like this reader, you are NOT going to want to miss a single book in this series. The books are listed above, and you can visit Ms. Kent's website to learn more.
(For Sizzling Romances, October, 2004)