The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour

By:  Lauren Smith  Completed
Language: English
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"Royce Devereaux isn’t your average hot professor. He has a lot of rules in his professional and personal life. He keeps both worlds separated. He has to. He’s somewhat of a public figure—and yes, he’s made enemies climbing to the top. Being a world-famous paleontology professor doesn’t mix well with his romantic life. He likes his sex rough, and a whole lot of naughty. Which means his students are 100% off limits.One problem. His new graduate student assistant, Kenzie. She looks at him like a kid looks at birthday cake, and he doesn’t like it. Except, he does. He likes it too much. She’s feisty and smart—which only makes him want to tie her up and master her body. And her buttoned-up librarian look—it makes him want to strip her naked…slowly. He has to find a way to ignore her. It’s only one semester. Right?But when an enemy decides to use Kenzie to force his hand, Royce has no choice but to keep her close. Very, very close. His two worlds have just collided. He just hopes he can let her go once the danger is over…The Darkest Hour is created by Lauren Smith, an EGlobal Creative Publishing signed author."

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Love this book, good story, good language.
2024-01-29 04:06:47
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Jennifer Rainey
loved this story thank you for suck a good read
2023-05-21 12:17:29
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Great novel! One of the best I’ve read on here
2022-06-20 01:02:57
34 Chapters
Chapter 1
Long Island, The Gold CoastMacKenzie Martin rubbed her eyes, which were blurred from staring too long at her computer screen. The antique clock hanging behind her desk ticked away, and she could see the numbers reflected on the monitor. Ten minutes before eleven. It had been a really long day and she just wanted to be done with her work.Rain tapped softly against the window. Kenzie couldn't see any of Hampstead University's campus through the darkened pane. It was unusually warm for the middle of December, warm enough that she'd trudged through icy rain rather than snow to get to the campus offices. Usually the campus would be buried in snowdrifts which was typical for Long Island this time of year. All she wanted to do now was get home, take a hot bath, listen to some music, and fall into bed. But she had to finish what she'd come to do.She focused on the screen and entered the final grades into the university's online grading software. As a graduate student and teaching assis
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Chapter 2
Kenzie raced for her gray Mazda in the student lot around the corner. She scrambled to dig her keys out of her pocket as she reached the car. She expected Monte or Gary to stop her at any moment, but less than a minute later she was speeding out of the lot. Glancing in the rearview mirror, she sagged in relief at the empty road behind her. No one was following her.Her hand reached for her cell phone to call the police. It took her two tries before she got 911 dialed."Nine-one-one, what is your emergency?" a cool feminine voice asked."My name is Kenzie Martin and" She froze, remembering what one of the men had said about their man in the local police department. "There's been a disturbance at the university. Someone broke into the campus offices."She hung up the phone, cursing. Then she called Royce again. This time he answered, and his gruff voice made her want to cry with relief."Kenzie, you know my policy on Saturdays. This had better be an emergency.""It is," she gasped,
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Chapter 3
The scents and sounds of sex surrounded Kenzie like a dark erotic haze. She clenched Royce's hand tightly as they wove through the maze of brocaded couches and past the imposing yet elegant drink bar. Kenzie stumbled as she noticed a woman clad only in expensive-looking lingerie who lay stretched lengthwise down the bar on her back. The bartender placed a row of shot glasses on the woman's torso, then retrieved a bottle of whiskey from the back of the bar and began to pour into the glasses. Men in expensive suits watched the alcohol drip over the tops of the glasses and trickle down the woman's skin.Oh God Kenzie pictured herself as that woman, every man's gaze on her bare body as she lay there exposed, whiskey dripping down her body. Would one of the men lick it off? Taste the alcohol on her skin and lose himself in her body? A shiver rolled through Kenzie, but it wasn't one of disgust. It intrigued her in ways she didn't have words to express. She wanted to experience that. Wanted
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Chapter 4
They left the club. Royce nodded at Mistress Aria and the serious-looking bouncer beside her before they walked out to the parking lot."My car," she said as they passed by the Mazda."Leave it. I'll send someone to collect it. Tonight we're taking mine." He nodded to the red-and-black Lamborghini Aventador parked in a reserved spot. Royce opened her door, and it lifted up rather than out. Wow. He'd never driven this to campus before. He noticed her eyeing him and then the car before he shut her door. The man looked far too smug at her open appreciation.Royce walked around and got into his seat to start the car. The engine had a throaty purr, like a big jungle cat."Where's your motorcycle?" she asked as she buckled herself in.Royce chuckled. "Sometimes I don't go home alone, and the women here are dressed for straddling me, not a motorcycle."The thought of straddling him made her insides quiver. Stop it. Don't think about him or sex. She'd managed to be his TA for a whole yea
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Chapter 5
Royce slipped into the hall and leaned against the banister by the stairs as he struggled to get control. Tonight was going to be a huge test of his strength. Letting his sweet, innocent and incredibly smart teaching assistant sleep under his roof was going to damn near kill him, because he wanted her.There were reasons he preferred visiting the Gilded Cuff. The safety and security of a place where everyone understood the rules, and everyone was a temporary player. MacKenzie Martin was not that type of girl. She was the kind a man fell in love with and married, and he wasn't the marrying kind.Having her under his roof was like waving an expensive glass of scotch in front of an alcoholic. Just the scent of her, the feel of her hair beneath his fingers, and seeing those wide brown eyes begging for his help She was a temptation he would do almost anything to possess.He hadn't hired her based on her looks, even though she was sexy as hell. He'd chosen to hire her after a stellar phon
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Chapter 6
Kenzie took a minute to enjoy this moment, even though she felt some guilt that she did. She was in Royce Devereaux's mansion in a bedroom just down the hall from him. She was staying the night in an American castle with a man who starred almost nightly in her fantasies.Keep calm, girl! She tried to remind herself not to get carried away. She was here because he wanted to protect her, not because he wanted to sleep with her.She set the pajamas down on the bed and was starting to undress when she heard the strains of an old song drift down the hallway. It was a song she recognizedDinah Washington's "This Bitter Earth." A beautiful, crooning song that was half a century old. Typical Royce. The man could wear a leather jacket, a Van Halen concert shirt, and ride a motorcycle to work yet listen to Dinah Washington. He was a complete mystery to her sometimes. It was as though he was trapped in the past and yet streaking toward the future. It confused and intrigued her, knowing that she'
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Chapter 7
Kenzie had fucking fainted.Royce cursed as he caught Little Mac in his arms and lifted her up. He should have known that would have been too much for her. Hell, it had been scary as hell for him too, and he'd had training for moments like this for almost a decade. Glass crunched beneath his boots as he carried her out of the kitchen. It had been a thankfully short battle, but violent. The three men had been in the room across the hall, waiting for them to come out. He and Hans had taken positions behind the walls and managed to put one man down. Another had shot his way through the large window and escaped. The third they'd captured, but not before he had riddled the pantry with bullets.And almost killed Kenzie.Royce would never forget the moment he'd run in after that man had started spraying metal death along his kitchen wall. Knowing he'd been the one to tell Kenzie to hide there. It would be his fault if she was hurt. His fault if she was killed.But the door swung open and
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Chapter 8
Kenzie kept her eyes shut tight, but she couldn't keep out the violent flashes of memory of everything that had happened tonight. The gun barrel aimed at her head back at the office, which already felt like a lifetime ago. The escape through dark and wet streets to the Gilded Cuff, uncertain if anywhere would be safe. And then the shots, the shattering glass and wood of the pantry door exploding above her.I could have died. The panic filled her with an unexpected rage, and she shook all the harder beneath the hot water."Kenzie, honey" Royce's rough voice drew her slowly out of the depths of her thoughts. She didn't look up, not at first. She was too ashamed, too mortified he was seeing her like this."Honey, please." The shower door opened, and Royce stepped in, still in his clothes, but without his boots. He knelt beside her, then eased onto the tile floor, his arm touching her bare shoulder. He reached his arm around her shoulders, holding her close to him.Kenzie watched his o
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Chapter 9
Royce stood beside his bed, quietly watching Kenzie as she slipped into sleep. Her breathing slowed and became deeper, and her hands unclenched for the first time in hours. The worry lines that framed her eyes smoothed as she slipped into dreams.Damn, he had to be careful. She was his, but she could never truly be his. And not just because protecting her meant not letting her ruin her career for him. No, it was because life was a cruel bitch.Whenever he thought of loving someone, he was overwhelmed with thoughts of the loss of his parents. The night they died and what had happened to them became a recurring nightmare as his imagination played out what their final moments must have been like. He was watching the runway through a small plane window. The blinking lights of the plane flashing and fading in the thick fog. The white dashes of the runway vanishingthe sudden flash before everything went dark.After the accident, waking up became a routine: His chest constricted until he c
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Chapter 10
He had to be sure she knew what he meant to do. "Do you understand what you're saying? You were at the Gilded Cuff""I am going to Russia."Emery and Fenn laughed. Hans rolled his eyes. "I'm going to secure the perimeter. I do not want to see whatever you're going to do that poor girl. But considering I found leather cuffs under her bed, I'm guessing she'll be into it." He left the billiard room."Cuffs, huh?" Royce grinned.Kenzie glanced at Fenn, Emery, and finally at Royce. She gulped and didn't respond to his question about the cuffs. Royce nodded at his friend. Emery reached under the pool table and flipped a switch. Two panels by the end of the table opened on the felt surface and two silver rings appeared with handcuffs attached. Perfect restraints to keep a woman bent over the pool table.She stared at the rings, her eyes wide. "What are those?""It's not too late to back out, Little Mac. No hard feelings." Royce prayed she would give in and go back upstairs. Who knew whe
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