USA Today bestselling author, Stacey Kennedy returns to the mysterious world of the Phoenix club for this final chapter, where desire can be dangerous.  

Retired Navy SEAL, Hawke Foster, thought his days of danger were over. But when he takes a job as security detail at Phoenix, an exclusive sex club in New York City, he’s proven wrong. A sophisticated surveillance device has been found in the club and Hawke knows he needs a top private investigator. Enter Penny Larson: sharp-witted, fearless, and absolutely stunning.

When Penny agreed to investigate, she never expected to team up with the handsome and enigmatic Hawke. As they work together to unravel the truth behind the device, they are drawn to each other in ways they never expected, igniting a passion between them that cannot be denied.

But soon, the investigation heats up, and Hawke and Penny find themselves facing off against some of the most dangerous and powerful figures in the city. They know they have only one shot at stopping the looming threat… and failure could cost them everything.

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"...captivates you from the beginning till the end with all those erotic and suspenseful moments.:
Goodreads Reviewer, Nana Book Reviews


Hawke Foster strode through the maze of underground tunnels in midtown Manhattan, a place once used for illegal activities during prohibition. As he made his way down the stone-lined hallways toward Phoenix, an exclusive sex club that catered to voyeurism, he couldn’t help but feel the weight of its secrets hidden behind the thick walls. When he approached a large metal door on his left and saw the security guard sitting at her desk, he smiled. Only members had access to this door, which opened into the basement of the Phoenix and was one of four entrances scattered around the city.

Phoenix had strict security measures in place, including ID checks and surveillance cameras at all tunnel entrances. A team of watchful security guards made sure that only the wealthy and elite who met the expensive membership requirements could enter. The end of the tunnels led to a security system that rivaled Hawke’s experiences with the Navy SEALs, which was not surprising given that the security detail consisted of retired military personnel.

“Good evening, Hawke,” said Rosalyn, a brunette who wore a new color of eyeshadow every day. She’d worked the Phoenix’s West tunnel for as long as he’d been working there, which was going on nearly a year now.

“Hey,” Hawke replied. “How’s it looking tonight?”

“Everything’s in order,” Rosalyn said.

“Excellent,” Hawke replied. That’s the way he liked it.

After he exchanged some brief pleasantries, he entered the club and walked down the silent hallway, hearing communication between the security team through his earpiece tucked in his ear. As he passed by the women’s changing area, he heard muffled voices coming from inside, indicating that the performers for tonight’s show had arrived and were preparing. The voices grew fainter as he entered the next room on his left.

The room was a showcase of advanced technology, filled with rows of monitors and surveillance equipment. The soft light from the screens illuminated the faces of the four people positioned at their control stations, their unwavering attention fixed on their tasks.

Hawke’s gaze flicked to the man at the end of table. Archer Westbrook, head of security, stood with an air of casual authority. His broad shoulders and powerful frame exuded confidence while his piercing blue eyes held an almost predatory glint. Archer was the epitome of a retired United States Army Special Forces.

“Evening, Hawke,” Archer called, nodding in his direction. “All good?”

Archer was owner Rhys Harrington’s secondhand man, and Hawke was Archer’s, working under him as a security team lead. “Quiet so far,” Hawke replied. “I’ve done a sweep of all four tunnels and checked in with the team. No issues to report.”

“Good to hear,” Archer said with a firm nod. “We’ve done another sweep of the club and haven’t found any bugs.”

The last one they found three days ago had sent shock waves through the security team. How anyone got a bug in past security was still an unknown, as was who put it there.

Hawke nodded, aware the club’s security was at risk.  Phoenix was an invite-only secret club with strict membership requirements, and it was this very sense of mystery and allure that drew people to its doors. Every member wore a mask, but not everyone managed to conceal their true identities. Last week, Hawke recognized an A-list celebrity and a billionaire CEO.

But that security was at risk because a few sophisticated bugs had been hidden in the sex-show room and the change room. No one on the security team took that lightly.

Hawke took pride in his role at Phoenix after he was forced to retire from the Navy SEALs when an explosive took his right leg. Now he sported a prosthetic leg, and he was determined to maintain the standard of excellence that had earned him the respect and trust of his fellow SEALs.

Failure did not sit right.

“Speaking of which,” Archer continued, lowering his voice, “Are you with Penny for the rest of the night?”

That would be Penny, the hacker that Rhys had hired to look into the breach in their security and to hunt down the mole. “If I’m dismissed to do so.”

“You are,” Archer said, simply. “Let’s get this resolved.”

“Copy, boss,” Hawke replied.

Archer tipped his head to the corner of the room, and once Hawke followed, Archer said, “Keep this between us, but while you’re working with Penny, look into her. Find out exactly who she is.”

Hawke lifted his brows. “You want me to look into your wife’s good friend?”

Archer’s lips thinned. He crossed his arms and frowned. “Elise trusts her. My gut tells me to trust her. But we also know nothing about her. Elise is very tight lipped where it comes to Penny.”

As a hacker, Penny had made it that way. From what Archer told him, the woman didn’t leave a digital fingerprint. She was like a ghost with no past. “I’ll get close to her.”

Archer scoffed. “That might not be as easy as you think.”

Hawke grinned in challenge. “Probably not.” But that’s what he liked about Penny. He had initially met her through Elise, who was her best friend. It wasn’t until they discovered the bugs, that he found out she was a skilled hacker who collaborated with Elise at her investigative firm.

“Excellent” Archer said. “Keep me updated.”

After a final nod, Hawke watched as Archer left. His gaze swept across the room, looking over the members of his team. “Everyone good here?” he asked the team.

He received nods and agreement from those present, so he exited the room and made his way to the main area, a routine he followed every time he worked to set the guests at ease. He was aware that his presence added to the sense of security, along with his all-black uniform. This allowed the members to fully let go of their worries without fear of judgment or exposure.

As he entered the bar, Hawke took a moment to absorb the unique atmosphere that filled the depths of Phoenix. The club’s air of exclusivity drew in high-profile guests and hushed whispers from those desperate to watch forbidden delights. Because the club only had one rule: look, don’t touch. It took more than just deep pockets to gain access; one also had to be vetted to the extreme. Even then, there were no guarantees of admittance.

Hawke strolled past the bustling bar staff, exchanging nods and quick chats with each one. “How’s it going?” he quipped to Marco, one of the bartenders.

Marco winked and gave him a thumbs-up. “Smooth sailing so far.”

“Good. Enjoy your night,” Hawke replied, as he continued his patrol.

As Hawke made his way through the main sex-show circular room, shadows danced on the stone walls from the sconces, while luxurious fabrics in shades of scarlet and gold cascaded from above, adding to the overall feeling of indulgence. The air was filled with a heady mix of sandalwood and amber scents, creating a sensual atmosphere that was hard to resist.

He stepped back into the hallway, his boots making a soft thud as he crossed the threshold into Rhys’s office. His pulse quickened with anticipation, and his gaze landed on the person behind the desk—Penny Larson.

Her reputation preceded her: a formidable hacker with unmatched tenacity and intellect. But it wasn’t just her professional skills that captured his attention. It was also her fiery red hair, which seemed to embody her spirit, and her piercing green eyes that held endless secrets within them. He couldn’t help but feel drawn to her, despite knowing the dangers of getting too close to someone who was essentially invisible to the world.

But the image of her stirred something within him, awakening buried desire of something other than lust—something deeper. His past was full of lovers and detachment, as being a SEAL made a relationship near impossible.

As his gaze landed on her sitting behind the large cherrywood desk, he felt a tightness in his chest. There she was, completely focused and determined as she pored over data before her. Hawke had known from the day he’d met her that his fascination with her went beyond mere physical attraction; there was something about her unwavering dedication and resilience that spoke to the very core of who he was.

He had never believed in love at first sight until he’d met her.

Focus, Foster, he chastised himself internally, his jaw clenching as he fought against the pull of desire that threatened to consume him. He had a job to do, and he couldn’t afford to let anything get in the way—not even the captivating allure she presented.

She looked up, startled by his sudden presence. Her eyes met his, and for a moment, Hawke felt like he was drowning in the depths of that emerald gaze. Though he couldn’t fight his smile at her T-shirt that read: That’s a horrible idea. What time? “Any luck?” he finally asked.

“Maybe,” she replied. “I think I’ve found something… or I should say, someone.”

“Show me.” As he moved in beside her, their arms brushed against each other, sending shock waves through his body. Hawke clenched his jaw again, struggling to maintain his composure.

“Who is this?” she asked, pointing out a tall brunette in lingerie, leaving the changing room.

“Julia Castillo,” Hawke murmured.

“Member?” Penny asked.

“Participant,” he replied. “She’s been doing shows for about six months now.”

Penny’s eyebrow raised. “Was she vetted?”

“No one comes through these walls without being vetted.”

“Well, I hate to break it to you,” Penny said, pointing at the screen. “But your vetting sucks, because that is the person who planted the bug.”

Hawke had no reason to doubt Penny, but asked anyway, “You saw her do it?”

Penny shook her head. “No, but I’m certain it’s her behind it.”

He sighed and regarded Penny, who held his stare, her bright eyes sparkling. “Come on, we need to tell Rhys.”

She blinked in surprise at him. “That’s it? No questions? No digging to see if I’m on the right track?”

He watched her closely again and then shrugged. “I figure you’d appreciate not having to repeat whatever you have to say.” For as long as he could remember, he was calculated in his choices. The military taught him that. But he followed his gut this time, lifting a brow at her. “Do you want me to question you or trust you, Red?”

She narrowed her eyes at his nickname for her like she always did. He was convinced that fire in her could be his undoing.

A beat passed. She held his gaze, just like he expected. Focused. Intent. “Those can’t be my only choices. And my name is Penny.”

He lifted his brow higher. “What’s another choice then, Red?”

She rose and snorted, shaking her head at him. “You can follow.”

He grinned, following her with his gaze as she strode toward the door. This smart-as-hell, firecracker of a woman had him by the balls, and he was certain, he’d follow her anywhere.


* * *


Penny wanted only two things in life. One, excel at her job. Two, prioritize her independence. The gorgeous, magnetic man at her back, burning his gaze into her, was getting in the middle of both those things. He was getting in her head. And that was really starting to piss her off.

The scent of rich tobacco and leather enveloped her as she stepped into the dimly lit cigar lounge that was located above the Phoenix club.

Hawke led the way as she caught sight of Rhys, sitting at a booth with Kieran and Hazel, who were married, and Elise, who was Archer’s wife and Penny’s closest friend.

Penny couldn’t relate to all that loved-up stuff. She had boyfriends in the past, some serious, some not, but she couldn’t imagine committing to someone forever. It wasn’t that she had trauma in her past or commitment problems. It was her job that got in the way. As a hacker, she saw into people’s lives with a microscope. People were terrible and were rarely who they portrayed. She didn’t want the headache that came with a relationship. She didn’t need sex that bad. 

Elise’s light blue eyes locked on Penny’s approach, and she jumped up, her long, dark brown hair swinging off her shoulder as she threw her arms around Penny. “Hey, girlie!”

“Hey,” Penny said, returning the warm embrace.

Elise was the reason Penny was involved with this group of friends. They met on a job—Elise was a private investigator—and the friendship stuck. Plus, Penny worked for Elise’s private investigation firm ever since, keeping her on the legit side of hacking these days. Elise was the only person whom Penny knew was authentic, and the only person she trusted, other than her grandmother.

When Penny broke away from Elise, Kieran gave her a nod, his green eyes as strong as ever. “Penny.”

“Hi.” She smiled at him, then exchanged greetings with Hazel, but she made it brief. The only one at this table she knew well was Elise, and she was getting to know her husband, Archer, more now that he and Elise were married. But all these people were members of a voyeuristic sex club, and she was not interested in gaining membership to the club. What could she possibly have in common with any of them?

Only her vibrator got her off. Most men needed an instruction manual to her clit.

Elise asked, “How’s things going?” She meant, Have you found the person who planted the bugs?

“It’s slow going.” Penny smiled in response.

“Damn,” Elise grumbled. Penny didn’t doubt that Archer’s mood had been rocky, since the bugs were planted under his watch.

“I take it you have something for me,” Rhys interjected to Hawke, his sculpted face and squared jaw framed by jet-black hair that contrasted strikingly with his gray eyes. The man reeked of power.

Hawke crossed his muscular arms over his chest. His cropped dark hair and chiseled features amplified the sense of danger that clung to him like a second skin. “The report is yours,” he told her.

Penny really did hate the way her heart rate spiked whenever he set those icy blue eyes on her. “I do have something for you,” she told Rhys.

Not that she didn’t want Hawke, she did, but he made heart beat a little faster. She’d seen her mother give everything to a husband who treated her like a doormat. When Penny tried to talk her mother into leaving her stepfather, her husband cut off their communication, and her mother let him. Penny would never become that obsessed with anyone. The way Hawke observed her and interacted with her, even giving her a nickname for crying out loud, didn’t just speak of desire. It conveyed something else entirely, something that made her feel the urge to run and hide.

“Please excuse me a moment,” Rhys said to his friends, and Elise waved at Penny as she followed him toward a table in the corner, away from listening ears.

Rhys pulled his cell from his pocket and sent a text, waiting for Penny to sit first, before he joined her around the table. Hawke took the seat across from her.

Rhys laced his fingers together on top of the table. “What have you found?”

“I have concerns about one of your participants, Julia Castillo,” Penny explained. “I’ve been reviewing the surveillance footage, and something about her rubs me wrong.”

“Go on,” Rhys said, leaning forward with interest.

“She seems to be aware of the surveillance cameras, and her mannerisms scream nervousness. It’s as if she knows she’s being watched and doesn’t like it.” Penny paused, searching their faces for any sign of surprise.

Hawke’s disciplined expression remained unchanged, but she could see the gears turning behind his eyes. Rhys, however, raised an eyebrow, his curiosity piqued.

 “Why do you think she might be aware of the cameras?” Rhys pressed.

“She is the only member, participant, employee that looks at the cameras, and she does it every time,” Penny replied.

“I see,” Rhys said, his gaze thoughtful. “I trust your instincts, Penny. If you believe there is cause for concern, dig deeper.”

Penny glanced at Hawke, who nodded in agreement. The silent strength he exuded offered a sense of comfort she wasn’t used to—and that’s what was unsettling. Her reaction to him was unnerving, and something she needed to fix. Pronto.

Rhys let out a long-suppressed sigh, drawing her attention back to him. “That said, do you have any idea what Julia might be after?” he asked.

“Not yet,” she replied, meeting his gaze evenly. “But I’ll find out.”

Rhys leaned back in his chair, his expression contemplative. “What’s your next move?”

Penny took a deep breath to consider. “I think the best way to confirm my suspicions is to get closer to her. I need to put her under surveillance with full access to the club.”

Rhys looked to Hawke.

He nodded in agreement. “I think it’s our best bet. We need to know for certain if she’s the one behind planting the bugs.”

“What did I miss?” a deep voice interrupted their conversation. Archer sidled up to the table with an air of authority that demanded respect.

“Archer,” Rhys acknowledged with a nod, indicating for him to join them. “Penny has some concerns about Julia Castillo. She thinks she may be our mole.”

“How certain are you?” Archer asked without missing a beat, taking a seat next to Rhys.

She couldn’t stop the slight curve of her mouth. Not too long ago, Archer wouldn’t have trusted her word. Because she was the hacker that didn’t follow the law and had once hacked into their security system. “I can’t say I’m absolutely certain until I confirm my findings,” she replied. “But I’d put my money on it.”

Archer turned toward Hawke, his gaze unwavering. “Stay close to Penny when you’re out in the field. Elise would never forgive me for bringing her in on this if anything happened to her.”

Penny’s lips parted but Hawke interjected, his jaw clenching. “Understood. I won’t let anything happen to her.”

Archer nodded in approval.

Penny was instantly annoyed by the idea that they thought she needed protection, but she also felt a shiver run down her spine as her gaze locked with Hawke’s, the intensity of his promise igniting a flame within her that threatened to consume her.

A dangerous thing that was…

The atmosphere in the room crackled with tension as Rhys leaned against the table. His eyes surveyed Penny, Hawke, and Archer. A cloud of cigar smoke hung heavily in the air, its heady scent mingling with the lingering traces of cologne and leather.

“All right,” Rhys began, his voice low. “We need to put Julia under surveillance—discreetly, of course. We can’t risk alerting her to our suspicions.” He looked pointedly at Penny, who nodded in agreement. “And as much as I dislike it since you are not a member or participant, you can have full access to the club.”

“Good,” said Penny. “I’ll start by digging deeper into her.”

Hawke rose, his muscular frame tensed like a coiled spring. “I’ll stay close to Penny,” he said, his deep voice resonating with conviction. “Keep an eye on her while she works.”

Penny felt her pulse quicken at the thought of having Hawke so near, but she pushed her attraction aside, focusing instead on the task at hand. “I appreciate that, but I don’t need a babysitter.”

All three men ignored her like she hadn’t spoken.

Rhys gave a curt nod. “Then it’s settled. Keep me updated on your progress and remember—discretion is key.”

As the group dispersed, Penny scoffed. “Did no one hear me? I don’t want a babysitter?”

Hawke’s gaze snapped to hers. He closed the distance in two powerful steps, leaving no room between them. Penny’s heart raced, her breath catching in her throat as she drank in the sight of him—the chiseled lines of his face, the raw strength evident in his every movement. Heat tightened her stomach.

“Call me your babysitter again, Red,” he said, eyes flaring. “And I’ll show you how I handle you.”

She wisely kept her mouth shut.


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