Born into a long line of spies, sanctioned killers and covert weapons developers, Beth Faraday carried out her first hit-for-hire when she was still a teenager.
That part of her life—the American spy royalty part—ended one year ago, with a job gone wrong in Afghanistan. The collateral damage she caused with a single shot was unfathomable and, for Beth, unforgivable. She’s worked hard to build a new life for herself, far away from the family business.
But someone, somewhere, hasn’t forgotten what Beth did in Kabul. And they want revenge.
As the Faraday clan bands together to defend Beth and protect their legacy, Beth is forced to flee her new home with the unlikeliest of allies—MI6 agent Raleigh Vick, the only man she’s ever loved. And the one she thought she’d killed in the desert.
“Cinematic and compelling, reading like a James Bond movie… a tautly written page-turner.”Library Journal [starred review]
Following the Kabul explosion, Vick had experienced the usual ups and downs of recuperation. Anger at being incapacitated, frustration at how slowly he healed, exhilaration when he was told he’d regain full function of his leg, despite the severity of the break to his femur. He’d been on his back for weeks, on his ass in a desk chair for longer still. He hadn’t even been one-hundred-percent healed when he first received the assignment in Chicago six months ago.
There had been one constant through it all, however: Beth. Or rather, the thought of her. The hope of her. But the reality of her exceeded all previous thoughts or hopes, and the reality was that kissing Beth Faraday felt like a homecoming.
“I missed you.” Christ, had he ever missed her. When her lips slanted over his, trying to take control as her body shook with tremors of unchecked emotion, he lifted both hands to her face. His thumbs swiped at the trails of tears streaking down her cheeks. “No, no. Shhh, baby.” A fleeting caress of mouth against mouth, the brushing of lips nearly intangible. “Don’t cry. Please don’t cry.” But he thought he might understand the maelstrom raging inside her; he’d merely had more time to adjust to it than she did, watching her day after day for months.
She wriggled in his hold, sniffling back the tears as though she were as shocked by their presence on her face as he was. “Let me up. You’ll open your wound.”
Reluctantly, he let her go, but immediately pointed to the dining table at her back. “Hop up there. Right now.”
When she jumped to obey, a silken wave of pleasure spread through his limbs. Already it was far different from the last time he’d had her, but memories of the beach bungalow and the enforced quiet of that interlude wrapped around his senses until he would swear he could smell the breeze off the sea, surrounding them now in the winter-crisp air of her apartment.
Rising from the chair, and careful not to jostle his side, he made himself at home between her spread knees. Again, he held her face, reveling in the smoothness of her skin, the incredible sensation of touching her after not doing so for so long.
He’d known for years—too many years, if he were honest—that touching Beth Faraday would destroy him. It had taken years more to realize that the sort of destruction she implicitly promised shouldn’t be feared, but anticipated.
As he anticipated now. Angling his head as the imminent threat of Beth turned his entire body to ash, he murmured, “I’ve got you now.” From now until the end of days, he would never let her forget to whom she belonged.
Her lips parted as she gripped his shirt collar, keeping him close when he had no plans to stray. A shiver worked its way through her to tremble on her tongue, transferring to him when she stroked into his mouth and shooting new awareness down his spine.
And damn, did it ever feel like a first kiss. He was sweaty, shaking and harder than he could ever remember being. So this was what it was like to be with a woman without wearing a false identity.
Not just any woman—Beth. He’d learned more about her in six months of diligent observation than he had in ten years of run-ins across the globe. He knew she was more than her gun, but lessened whenever she held it. He sensed her desperation to be normal, but suspected she didn’t have the first clue what normal was, not for someone with her past. She hadn’t yet mastered her life’s new learning curve, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t conquer it eventually.
He was selfish enough to not want her to conquer it without him.
2014 © by Edie Harris