Built to Last
(Black Knights Inc. #12)
by Julie Ann Walker
Date Released: June 26, 2018
About Built to Last
In the epic conclusion to the BKI series, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julie Ann Walker delivers her biggest bombshell yet!
Welcome to Black Knights Inc.
What appears to be a tricked-out motorcycle shop on the North Side of Chicago is actually headquarters for the world's most elite covert operatives. Deadly, dangerous, and determined, they'll steal your breath and your heart.
After a mission-gone-sideways forces Jamin "Angel" Agassi to change his identity, he's determined to bring down the world's worst crime syndicate kingpin once and for all. That's going to be the easy part. Keeping Interpol agent Sonya Butler from discovering who he really is—and blazing another trail into his heart—is the challenge.
Add Built to Last on Goodreads.
Find the Black Knights Inc. series on Goodreads.
Amazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo
An Excerpt from Built to Last
“Angel,” she whispered, coming up for air.
The way she said Angel, with such longing and desperation, was perfect. Except it wasn’t his name. Not his real name, anyway. And the fool in him longed to throw caution to the wind and tell her the truth, if only to hear her call him Mark one last time.
Years of unquenched desire rode atop his shoulders. A decade of dirty words fell from his lips as he kissed his way back to her ear.
“Tell me you want me,” he commanded, nipping her earlobe.
The way she groaned captured him. Trapped him. Except the truth was, she’d owned him since the moment she opened her mouth beside his table at that café in Paris and asked if he was Mark Risa in sweetly accented Hebrew. He was hers. Always had been. Always would be.
Instinct was his ruler now. Instinct and the memories of all the things she liked. All the things that made her yelp and purr and beg for more. Cupping her breast through the soft cotton of her T-shirt, he thumbed over her nipple, delighted to discover the peak already ruched tight with desire.
She was as responsive as he remembered. Possibly more so.
“Tell me you want me,” he demanded again, needing to hear it. Needing her to admit it.
“I want you. God help me, I do.”
If he’d only heard the desperation in her voice, he might have kept going. Except…overshadowing that desperation were hard notes of guilt.
He pulled back to discover her eyes were glassy with unshed tears. Everything inside him stilled—his heart, his lungs, his blood. Everything except his mind. It raced toward a conclusion he didn’t want to face.
“Are you still crying for him?” he whispered. “This man from your past?”
“No.” She shook her head. Then shrugged. “Maybe. I don’t know. It’s just that you remind me of him sometimes. The way you walk. The way you pop your jaw. The way you kiss except…”
He wanted nothing more than to keep contact with her. But she had withdrawn from him emotionally, and the gentleman in him—a guy he rarely let out to play—demanded he withdraw from her physically. When he stepped back, breaking the connection of their bodies, it felt like everything that was important inside him stayed behind. Stayed with her.
“Except you’re better at it than he was. I didn’t think that was possible,” she was quick to add. “Because he was the best. The absolute best. And yet it is possible. And I feel so…so…” She swallowed and searched his eyes. “Guilty for admitting it.”
Angel shot a victorious fist in the air. Or, at least, he imagined he did.
Couple of things here… One, good to know that for her, and up until now, he’d been the best. And two, he had learned a thing or two since the tender age of twenty-four. He looked forward to demonstrating each and every new skill.
“Sonya, you are not wrong to want me. Your man is dead.” The lie tasted sour in his mouth. God, don’t strike me down. Not now. Not yet. “But you are still living. Still breathing. You have needs.”
She frowned before ducking her chin and staring at her bare feet. He glanced down too and found, much to his delight, her toenails were painted a familiar hot pink.
So there is some of the old Sonya left…
“It feels wrong to want you.” Her blond hair had fallen over her shoulders like the halves of a curtain. “I don’t even know you.”
He didn’t mistake her words. They were essentially the ones he’d given her earlier. Except the difference was that in his case, he had known he was lying.
She lifted her chin, staring into his eyes. “Why? Why do I feel this connection with you? Is it because we’re in the same boat? Because Grafton has us both by the nose?”
“I cannot say.” Another lie. The pile was becoming unwieldy. “But I can tell you I feel it too.”
He thought she would be happy to hear it, but she pressed the heel of her hand to her forehead and blew out a gusty sigh. “I’m tired. I should go to bed. We leave for Moldova in six hours.”
Whoa. What? That was it? She was going to abandon the conversation when it was getting good?
“Good night, Angel,” she said a little breathlessly.
Stay, he wanted to tell her.
No. Screw that. He didn’t want her to stay. He wanted to toss her over his shoulder, cart her upstairs, and throw her on his bed and undress her. He wanted to kiss every inch of her naked body until she begged him to put himself inside her.
Instead, he took a step back and lifted a hand, wordlessly indicating she was free to go.
It took everything he had not to reach for her when she slid past him. Instead, he satisfied himself with watching her hips sway to the feminine rhythm of her body as she walked to the end of the kitchen island. She had filled out some over the years. Not that she’d ever been stick thin. God had smiled the day he made her and blessed her with curves. But what little angularity youth had given her was gone now. Her hips were fuller. Her breasts heavier. Everything about her screamed woman.
At the doorway, she swung around, a question in her eyes.
“Was there something else?” he asked.
“I know you think I’m broken.” The misery in her voice hit him in the place where his shattered heart used to be.
Oh, Sonya. What happened to you?
He wanted so much to take her in his arms and remind her of what she once was. Of who she once was. But all he could give her was one simple truth. “The light only truly shines through people who have been broken.”
About Julie Ann Walker
Julie Ann Walker is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Black Knights Inc. romantic suspense series. She is prone to spouting movie quotes and song lyrics. She’ll never say no to sharing a glass of wine or going for a long walk. She prefers impromptu travel over the scheduled kind, and she takes her coffee with milk. You can find her on her bicycle along the lake shore in Chicago or blasting away at her keyboard, trying to wrangle her capricious imagination into submission.
Connect with Julie