Downtime

By: Karyn Lawrence

DEAR READERS

Welcome to the Titan World books with stories ranging from military romance to paranormal to contemporary romance. There’s something for everyone—action-packed romance, swoon-worthy moments, and happily ever after!

When I started the Titan series, I wanted to combine my love of steamy stories and action-packed suspense. I wrote strong men and women who I hoped readers would fall in love with. I can’t think of anything more exciting than opening my world up to very talented authors to extend that experience so that you, the reader, can have a deeper connection to more than one book series at a time.

You will meet new characters and see them interact with familiar ones; you will also see the interpretation of the Titan universe through another author’s eyes. I hope that you take the time to experience each book in the Titan World series!

I first met Karyn at a Romance Writers of America conference in a New York City elevator, and we immediately shared our love for romantic suspense and entertaining readers. I believe everything happens for a reason, since that day, we have shared several exciting ideas and projects. One of which is DOWNTIME, where Parker and Lexi head off for alone time as newlyweds. It’s sexy and thrilling, something I’ve come to expect from Karyn (who you may also know as author Nikki Sloane.)

Thank you to Karyn and all the authors who took time out of their busy writing schedules to participate in this project. I think the result is something truly special for our readers.

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Titan Hugs and Happy Reading,

Cristin Harber





AUTHOR’S NOTE

While the real Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia served as my inspiration, please know the hotel in Downtime is fictional, and many details were changed or exaggerated to best serve the story. For example, at the Greenbrier you ride the elevator up to access the underground bunker.





CHAPTER ONE

Lexi’s fingers flew across the keyboard and then abruptly stopped. Something was wrong. Was it the code? She scrutinized the command lines, but everything looked correct. So why did the hairs on her arms tingle with awareness?

Her gaze left the screen and drifted up to the large form darkening her bedroom doorway, one which hadn’t been there a second ago.

“Parker!” she cried, yanking on the cord to pull the headphones out of her ears. “What are you doing here?”

She shut her laptop and sat up in their bed, looking down at her tank top and pajama pants, the fluffy comforter pushed around her lap. There were plenty of times during an op that Titan Group kept her husband working long hours, but there was never a threat of him coming home in the middle of the day. Certainly not early enough to catch her still in pajamas.

Okay. In fairness, it was past noon.

But she was working on a new program that had consumed her life for the last ten days, and she was so busy, sometimes she forgot to eat. Parker knew this, and thankfully, there was no judgement in her husband’s deep blue eyes. Only amusement.

“Pack your things.” He crossed his arms and leaned casually against the doorframe. “We’re getting away for a little R and R this weekend.”

“What? Where?” She scrambled off the bed.

“West Virginia.”

Lexi stood with her hands on her hips and a frown on her face. “I can’t go anywhere until this Paradigm program is done.”

He knew that, yet his amusement grew until a smile spread across his lips. “And when is that going to be done again?”

“Another day, that’s it.”

“Didn’t you say that before? Like, on Tuesday?”

She groaned. The program was taking much longer than she’d expected. She’d set up mini-deadlines, and then blew right past them. What should have taken an hour, took three. As soon as she coded one thing, it broke the programming on another section. It was beyond frustrating. Usually she was so good at working smarter, not harder, but this program was kicking her ass.

“I have to finish it.”

He strolled toward her and her body instantly responded to his proximity. She’d been working on a deadline and he’d been on a mission. They’d barely slept in the same bed this week. So, now every inch of her was hyperaware of him. Every inch of her wanted his powerful arms wrapped around her, his lips pressed to hers.