Dangerously Captivating

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The dangerous yet beautiful Anabelle Montgomery and her team of justice-driven vigilantes attempt to track down and stop a sleek criminal who is drugging teenagers and stealing their organs.
First 10 Pages


Attraction is a lie.

It doesn’t tell you anything, but there is something about another human that lures you, charms you, and captivates you. Attraction doesn’t tell you if the person is decent, it doesn’t tell you if they’re kind or if they’re not. Conversely, it doesn’t make you a better person to be able to keep someone’s attention. It just makes you attractive.

But what does it all mean? What is it worth? Is it something in your makeup that you find certain people attractive, or is it more than just a chemical reaction? Some might say it’s meaningless because you can’t control it. You can’t control who captivates you and makes your heart beat faster, and you can’t control whether that person feels the same about you.

Sometimes attraction is just that, being attracted. It doesn’t mean that you necessarily want anything more from the person. But what if they want more from you? When does attraction cross the barriers of logic and become lust or love? When does the heart take over the autopilot from the brain and decide that the person you’re attracted to is the person that you want?

I wish I knew the answers because maybe then I would be able to control it better. Maybe then I would start falling for the right people instead of the wrong ones. But who’s to say what is right? Who is to judge who anyone else is captivated by?

I was hired by Diamond because I was attractive, and that was something I could be without trying. Still, I never thought that I would ever fall under someone else’s spell. I never thought that I would want to, really want to, be attractive to someone else.

I never thought that I’d feel like I wanted to change myself to keep their attention… because attraction was a lie.


“Excuse me, miss,” the deep male voice said as a hard fist bashed against my car window. “You can’t park here.”

I stirred and blinked my eyes open. The day still felt bright, even shielded by my sunglasses and the darkly tinted windows of my blue Mini Cooper.

I turned the key in my ignition to roll my window down and then removed my glasses. The parking inspector’s eyes popped a little when they settled on me.

It was something that I had become accustomed to over the years but only recently embraced. Ever since I had been recruited to Diamond Agency, where I was trained to use my beauty to be dangerous, it felt more like a blessing than a burden.

“I’m sorry. What did you say?” I asked.

My fingers brushed through the stripe of red in the front of my blonde hair. Astrid had thought it would lift my look or something. I didn’t bother much with following trends. But if she or Jeremy thought it looked okay, that was good enough for me.

“Oh, um, well, it’s just that this is a road,” he stuttered. “And cars can’t park here, madam.”

I frowned. “I’m terribly sorry. I didn’t mean to park here. My car just stopped working. I couldn’t help it.”

“Your car stopped working? Would you like me to look at it?”

“Oh, no. I shouldn’t bother you more than I already have. I just…” I blinked rapidly and started to whimper. “I just got dumped by my boyfriend, and he’s normally the one I call whenever anything like this happens, and… and….”

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. Don’t cry,” he sighed. “Why don’t you just pop the hood, and I’ll have a look at it?”

I sniffled and nodded, then reached for the hood release. The man walked around to the front of my car, and I opened my door. He swallowed as I walked up beside him.

“This, uh, this looks like it should be in working order,” he said, trying hard not to look through the buttons of my gaping shirt.

I brushed my long hair over my shoulder and leaned over.

“So, what do you think it is then?”

“I… your guess is as good as mine.”

I glanced up and saw that he was biting down on his lip. His eyes lifted from my backside, and I straightened to turn towards him.

“Is it hard?”

He blinked. “What?”

“Being a parking inspector.”

“Oh.” He swallowed. “Um, sometimes. You can’t make everyone happy, you know?”

I smiled, and he adjusted his belt before removing the brimmed hat that he wore.

“It’s warm out here,” I murmured and then unbuttoned the shirt I wore and slipped it off.

It never bothered me to be seen in a next-to-nothing bikini top since I’d spent years of my life on the beach. However, the reaction from people still amused me a little.

The inspector cleared his throat.

“I fear the temperature just rose a little,” he said.

He dropped his hat, and I picked it up.

“So, what time do you get off?” I asked.

His mouth fell open. “What? Uh…”


I removed the spray concoction from my pocket and pumped the liquid into the rim. It was something that Astrid had brewed up that would sink into the pores and take effect about ten minutes from contact. It was one of the pluses of having a medically trained pathologist on the team.

“A couple of hours,” he answered.

“Maybe we could meet up afterwards since my car doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.”

“That would be… sure. I would like that very much… uh, but you really can’t leave your car here. I could call a tow for you if….”

I handed his hat back. “That’s okay. I’ll call them myself. Thank you for trying.”

“Oh, uh, really, I….”

“Do you mind if it stays here for a little bit longer?”

He shook his head numbly. “Not at all. As long as it will be… uh, moved… soon.”

I nodded and pushed the bonnet back down to the latch. Then, I grabbed my phone from my car and locked it behind me.

“Thanks again.” I smiled. “You were really helpful.”

“I, uh, you… you’re welcome,” he stuttered.

I pulled my shirt back on and headed up the road, stealing a glance over my shoulder to see him press his hat back on. My eyes drifted to where Astrid and Jasper were parked across the street, and I gave them a nod as I continued around the corner to where the entrance to Lunar was. As I pulled open the wooden door, I saw Jasper’s turquoise Mercedes pull away.

It was much cooler inside Lunar, so I started refastening my buttons.

“Good morning,” a voice said.

I spun around to see who it belonged to and located a young-looking businessman with dark hair and navy blue eyes. He was sitting just inside the door by one of the windows. It had a perfect view of the South Coast City strip.

“Morning,” I replied.

“How are you today?” he asked.

“I’m great. I’m sorry, do I know you?”

“No, but I see you here a lot.”

I shrugged. “That’s because I come here a lot.”

He smiled and extended his hand towards me. “I’m Ryan.”

“Anabelle,” I answered. “Well, Ryan, you must come here a lot too if you see me here a lot.”

“I suppose I do. It’s one of the only places open when I need it.”

I nodded in agreement. “You don’t look like the typical shift worker.”

“I don’t work shifts. I work odd hours.”

“Me too.”

He grinned. “So, you’re alone today. Normally you have either a burly blond guy with you or a dark-haired stiff.”

“Colleagues.” I shrugged. Julian and Jasper. “But yes, I’m alone today.”

“Care to join me?”

I glanced at his empty plate. “You look as though you’re finishing up.”

He tipped his head. “I’m just getting started.”

I laughed. “Well, sure then. Just let me order.”

“Breakfast burger and pineapple juice, right?”

“If I didn’t know any better, I’d think you paid particular attention to me, Ryan.”

“So what if I did, Anabelle?”

I smiled. “I’ll be right back.”

I didn’t order my usual. I just went for the pineapple juice this morning. Astrid would probably get annoyed at me for skipping breakfast, but I’d just make sure that I grabbed something when I went back to the agency.

“No burger today?” Ryan asked.

“No, why? Are you watching my figure?”

He laughed. “That confidence could get you into some trouble, Anabelle.”

“I’m banking on it.”

“Have dinner with me tonight.”

“Tonight? No,” I said and stood up. “But I’m free tomorrow. Say… lunch?”

Ryan folded his arms. “Lunch. Tomorrow.”

“Take it or leave it.”

“You drive a hard bargain.”

“A bargain?” I pouted. “I’ve never been called ‘cheap’ before.”

He chuckled. “Fine, lunch it is then. I’ll pencil you in. Let’s say about twelve-thirty.”

“Okay, but time is money,” I sighed. “Better make it pen.”


“I’ll see you tomorrow then.”

I backed towards the door and pulled it open to step into the bright South Coast sun of summer. It always seemed to be twice as bright in the west as it had been where I lived over east. It was one of the reasons that attracted me to move here after I’d finished school. I wanted to pursue surfing professionally, so I followed the sun. However, it hadn’t quite worked out as I’d planned, and I ended up working nights as a bartender at a local pub called Crescent. It was there that I met Jeremy.

Jeremy had offered me the job amongst the dangerously beautiful vigilante assassins who are backed by a wealthy benefactor with a thirst for justice. Diamond was the group of people who righted the wrongs when the law protected the guilty. The people who made up the team had all come from diverse occupations and had different motivations, but we all shared the same goal.

Jeremy, who was now the director of Diamond, was a police officer in his former life. From his childhood up until he joined, the people closest to him had been killed under suspicious circumstances. However, their deaths had insufficient evidence for murder. That had driven him to want to seek justice for other people.

Astrid was a surgical pathologist who formally studied medicine and causes of death. She saw a lot of young and innocent victims cross her examination table. Then, one day, she had found a card for Diamond in her locker and never looked back. She was an invaluable member of our team because she could create cocktails that were untraceable in the blood to ensure that we stayed undetected.

Julian was a veteran who served in the British army before being discharged for refusing an order to harm innocents. He moved to South Coast and began working as a card dealer at Orbit, the casino. He was my usual partner on jobs, and although we tended to clash a bit, the banter between us was harmless.

Jasper was our newest member and joined us about five months ago. He was a former lawyer for Davis and Associates. Like anyone who worked for criminals, he got fed up with watching the guilty walk free.

Then there was me, and I was known as Belle to my Diamond family. I may not have come from a remarkable career like my colleagues, but I had grown up with a cop for a dad and spent my life hearing about the lapses in the law. Plus, I had my own awful experience with feeling helpless.

When I was fourteen, I was sexually assaulted by an older guy that I was seeing. I buried it because I didn’t think that justice would be on my side, and it tormented me for a long time. Now I used it as my fuel to ensure that no one else had to suffer in silence. I wanted to make the world, or at least the city, safer for girls like me or how I used to be.

Knowing that my parents and little sister were safe over east made it easier to do what I did. The nature of our work meant that we, and the people we cared about, were vulnerable. Jeremy had no family left, and Julian’s mother had passed away a little while ago. Astrid had learnt the hard way about the personal hardship of our work when about six months ago, a former employee of Diamond named Roman went after us all. Her girlfriend Donna had been caught in the crosshairs, and she was still grieving her loss. Our former director, Athena, was also a casualty of Roman’s games. Her passing had been a significant loss to the agency.

Jeremy was still finding his feet in his new role and missed being in the field with us. However, having Jasper on the team meant that we were almost back to full strength. We were all closer because of what we went through together, but we all still felt the loss of our fallen friends.

I stopped at my car and rested my plastic cup of pineapple juice on the roof so I could pull off my shirt. It was a hot day, and I hated wasting petrol on air-conditioning. I opened the driver’s side door and threw it inside, and then took my cup.

As I stepped to climb into the car, I noticed the parking inspector collapse mid-way down the road as he wrote up a ticket for a double-parked car. I didn’t remember his name, and I didn’t care to. I would, however, sleep soundly at night knowing that someone proven of child molestation wouldn’t be walking the streets anymore.

When I arrived back at the skyscraper where Diamond based itself, I parked in the underground garage beside Julian’s sapphire Maserati and Jeremy’s midnight blue Audi. I couldn’t see Astrid’s teal Mitsubishi or Jasper’s turquoise Mercedes, so I figured they must have come back and gone their separate ways. Astrid and Jasper still lived independently of the agency, so only Jeremy, Julian, and I lived here on level four. I had half-expected Astrid to move in after what happened with Donna, but she preferred her own space.

“Evening, Belle,” Julian said as I got back to the blue room. He was playing a card game, as usual.

“Morning, Jules,” I yawned.

He looked up and smiled at me. “Mission accomplished?”

“Another happy customer.”

“Good riddance.” He nodded. “Is it hot outside? Because it’s certainly hot in here.”


“You love it.”

I rolled my eyes. “You love yourself.”

“Someone has to.”

“Well, judging by the number of girls that lust after you….”

“Not the one that I want.”

I exhaled. My relationship with Julian had started off rocky since his English arrogance was a little confronting to me. But, over time, I saw that underneath he had a heart of gold. There was a time that he had expressed his desire to start something more with me, but I wasn’t ready for anything serious, especially with someone who had to flirt to do their job. I would have compromised that for Jeremy, but he was careful with the lines he drew about interoffice dating. He had alluded to me a little while ago that he might be interested in me too. Still, given the need to remain professional, nothing could happen. As hard as it was to have a relationship with someone outside of Diamond, having one with a colleague was simply not a good idea.

“Sorry,” Julian sighed, turning his hazel eyes back to the cards. “I know.”

“I have a date tomorrow,” I said. “A lunch date.”

Julian frowned, but it was another voice that answered.

“With who?” Jeremy asked.

My heart rose to my throat as I turned to see him. He was stunning, as always, dressed impeccably in a tailored black suit. His chocolate brown hair, which matched the shade of his eyes, had been trimmed but was still a little long around his ears.

“Um…” I answered. “Some guy from Lunar. He asked me to dinner tonight.”

“I thought you said it was tomorrow,” Julian mumbled, and he was still frowning as he stood.

Julian was about two feet taller than me and practically a wall of muscle. I wasn’t exactly short for a girl, but I always felt like a doll beside him. His hand ran through his short blond hair.

“Yes, tomorrow.” I nodded. “I suggested lunch since our nights are normally occupied. Besides, dates in the evening are a little more like a date, you know?”

“Since when do you date?” Julian asked. “I thought you didn’t date.”

I shrugged. “I guess I do now.”

“Are you sure it’s a good idea? Going out with a guy you don’t know?”

“Well, the only guys that I do know are you two, Jasper, and a whole bunch of criminals,” I replied. “So, what’s the harm?”

“What about Max?” Jeremy asked. “He’s decent.”

“I don’t… Max is a friend. Can you two not do the protective brother thing, please?”

Julian huffed. “We are not your brothers, Belle. We’re just concerned.”

“You don’t need to be. I can hold my own.”

Jeremy’s eyes lowered. “Well, I hope it goes well for you then.”

I pressed my lips together and nodded. “Thank you, Jere.”

“What’s this some guy’s name?” Julian asked.

“His name is Ryan.”

“Ryan what?”

I sighed. “You’re not looking him up, Julian.”

“What does he do?”

I shrugged. “He works odd hours.”

“Odd hours? Is this guy a serial killer?”

“I don’t know, Jules. That’s why we’re going on a date.”

“Belle, you go on a date after you know the lad isn’t a serial killer,” Julian answered.

He pulled off his tie as he walked towards me and then looped it over my neck. I turned my head.

“Julian, back off,” I said. “I’ll be fine.”