Authors: Dee Davis
The minute the words came out, she regretted them.
“You don’t have to remind me, angel,” he said, taking a step closer, his gaze colliding with hers.
She swallowed, steeling herself against the onslaught of memories. “I was talking about our business relationship.”
“I wasn’t.” He moved closer, his breath warm against her cheek.
His lips crushed down on hers. She opened her mouth, welcoming him inside, reveling in the feel of his tongue. It was take-no-prisoners
contact, as much a battle of wills as an expression of emotion.
The power of his touch almost more than she could bear…
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are
used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2010 by Dee Davis Oberwetter
copyright © 2010 by Dee Davis Oberwetter. All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976,
no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database
or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at
Forever is an imprint of Grand Central Publishing.
The Forever name and logo is a trademark of Hachette Book Group, Inc.
First eBook Edition: April 2010
To Kim, Amy, and Alex.
Couldn’t have done it without you.
Scíentia Potéstas Est
… Knowledge Is Power.
o do you think we’re ever going to feel like a normal couple?” Annie asked as they stumbled back into their hotel room, Nash’s
hands cupping her breasts, his breath hot against her cheek.
“Trust me, angel, normal is overrated.” He pushed her back against the wall, his thumbs rubbing heated circles through the
soft silk of her halter top. “And anyway, I kind of like what we’ve got.”
“Right,” she sighed, shivering as he kissed her neck. “Sex on the run.”
“Well, it’s not like we have a lot of free time.” His mouth slanted over hers, his tongue sending fire lacing through her
belly. It was always like this. Combustible. Their desire heightened by the possibility that each time could be the last.
“Maybe we should adjourn to the bedroom?” She nodded toward the doorway of the suite, and then gasped as he pushed her skirt
up around her thighs.
“What’s wrong with right here? Right now?” He teased her with his fingers, the friction of satin against skin threatening
instant explosion. She lifted her hips, but he pulled back, his slow smile taunting her. “Unless of course you’ve changed
“Not on your life.” She reached up to unbutton his shirt, her fingers tracing the scars that laced his chest. Twisted mementos
of their life together. “Tell me what you want,” she whispered, her breathing labored.
“You, Annie. All I ever want is you.”
“So take me,” she taunted, anticipation coiling inside her, hot and heavy. Sometimes she thought maybe she wanted something
more. Something that resembled normalcy—commitment. But not now. Not in this moment. Right now all she wanted was Nash.
For a moment their passion stretched taut between them; and then, trembling with the sheer power of the feelings he evoked,
she arched her back, welcoming his hands and mouth as he crushed her against him. This was what she craved. What she wanted.
As long as she had Nash, she could endure anything.
“The bed… I can’t… please.” She gasped the words as they stumbled backward, the need so intense now she thought she might
die of it.
His dark eyes reflecting her passion, Nash swung her up into his arms and in two strides they were through the door and on
the bed, the cool cotton sheets a counterpoint to the heat that pulsed between them.
Annie pressed against him, her eyes riveted for a moment on the mirror across from the bed and the image of their interlocked
bodies moving in tandem. Two shattered souls desperately seeking release. She sighed, and then froze as something else in
the mirror moved.
A shadow detached itself from the wall, and Annie dug her nails into Nash’s back, instinct and training overriding passion
in an instant. Nash’s muscles tightened in response, and moving with a precision gained from years of working together, they
sprang apart, a bullet smashing into the headboard between them. Annie rolled to the floor, reaching for the gun she kept
strapped to her thigh. In her ardent haste she hadn’t had time to remove her weapon.
But Nash had. He’d thrown his on the table as he’d carried her to bed.
Damn it all to hell.
From her vantage point beside the bed, she couldn’t see Nash or their assailant. Which meant she needed to move. Popping up
to fire a round in the direction of the shadow, she rolled out from the bed, diving for cover behind a chair as a bullet shattered
a lamp just above her head.
Nash was cornered between the bed and the wall, the bed giving protection, at least for the moment, but the gunman had the
advantage. He stood between them and the door, with a large wardrobe to his left blocking her from taking a clear shot.
“Well, isn’t this a pickle,” their assailant said, his accent a smooth blend of American and French. She should have known.
Adrian Benoit. They’d only just been in his apartment. Looked like he was returning the favor.
“Seems we’ve got ourselves a Mexican standoff,” he drawled.
“Except that none of us are Mexican,” Nash quipped. She could see him now reflected in the mirror. And when he smiled, she
realized he could see her as well. Which meant he had a plan.
“Doesn’t matter,” Benoit continued. “I’ve clearly got the advantage.”
“So what, you want us to come out with our hands up?” Nash queried, nodding almost imperceptibly toward his gun lying on the
table about five feet in front of her.
“It would certainly make things easier. But what I really want are the files you stole from my computer.”
“And then you’ll let us go? Right. And I’ve got some swampland…” Nash’s laugh was harsh as he tipped his head slightly, signaling
for her to stand ready. Annie nodded, already shifting her position.
“Well now, there wouldn’t be any fun in letting you live, would there?” Benoit responded, anger clouding his voice.
Annie drew a breath, rolled out from behind the chair, fired once, and then dove for the table, her hand closing around the
butt of Nash’s gun. “Two o’clock,” she yelled, as she chunked the weapon overhand toward Nash, still shooting in Benoit’s
direction in an attempt to provide some modicum of cover. Her ploy worked, Benoit turning to return fire as Nash emerged from
behind the bed in a flying leap, intercepting the gun as it tumbled through the air.
Two seconds later and it was over. Benoit lay dead in a pool of his own blood.
“Are you all right?” Nash asked, pushing to his feet.
“I’m fine,” she said as they met halfway, Nash’s arms closing around her.
“You sure?” He ran his hands down her now trembling body, double-checking to ascertain if she’d told him the truth.
“Really. He didn’t hurt me. You were the one without the gun.”
“Evened the odds.” He shrugged, his voice buoyed by adrenaline, his smile edged with a ruthlessness that had kept him alive
more times than she cared to remember. “So where were we?”
“I think that ship has sailed,” she said, her gaze falling on the body.
“I suppose you’re right,” Nash said, brushing a strand of hair from her face. “We’ve got to get out of here before someone
starts asking questions. Benoit was using a silencer. But we weren’t.”
“I’ll start wiping things down.” She pulled away and reached for a pair of gloves, falling effortlessly into a pattern they’d
perfected over countless operations.
“So what was it you said earlier?” Nash called from across the room where he was packing their gear, his tone teasing, the
fact that they’d just survived death—again—already an afterthought. “Something about wondering if we’d ever be a normal couple?”
Despite the gravity of the situation, Annie smiled. She loved this man. With every ounce of her being. And the cold hard truth
was that she wouldn’t change a single thing about their life. “I think,” she said, reaching down to retrieve Benoit’s gun,
“that I just answered my own question.”
Island off the coast of Southeast Asia—eight years later
et the boats under cover,” Nash Brennon said, keeping his voice low as he dragged one of the dinghies behind a pile of moss-covered
rocks. “We should have about five minutes until the perimeter guard make their way back here. Everyone know their assignment?”
It was a rhetorical question. Although sometimes personnel varied, for the most part A-Tac members had been working together
for years, and they’d certainly had operations far more difficult than this one. Only difference here was that their commander,
Avery Solomon, wasn’t present. The big man was in Washington. Some top brass bullshit. Which meant Nash was in charge.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t the experience. Trained in covert operations, he was an admitted adrenaline junkie. He’d started
his career as an operative in Europe��with Annie. But then after a particularly difficult mission she’d deserted him. Disappeared.
Almost as if she’d never existed.
He pushed the memories away. He’d moved on. To A-Tac. The CIA’s most elite black ops unit. Hell of a step up from European
operative. He didn’t need Annie. He didn’t need anyone. And right now he had a mission, and he couldn’t afford a fuckup.
“Can everyone hear me?” Emmett Walsh asked, his voice crackling as Nash’s earpiece sprang to life.
“Yeah, like a freakin’ bullhorn,” Drake Flynn said with a wince. The com system was new. Emmett’s design. And even though
the man was a genius when it came to playing connect the operatives, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be hiccups. “Can you
turn the damn thing down?”
“The controls are right here,” Tyler said, tapping her ear with a grin as she looked up from a backpack full of explosives.
Tyler was Nash’s second in command for the mission. An army-trained demolitions expert, she had yet to meet a building she
couldn’t destroy. And she’d saved their asses on more than one occasion, disarming incendiary devices most people would never
even know existed.
“I’m patching Jason through now,” Emmett said. Jason Lawton, along with Hannah Marshall, served as long-distance eyes and
ears for the team. Tonight that meant keeping watch over the operation from Sunderland in New York, which, at the moment,
seemed a hell of a long way away. But at least, thanks to a couple of strategically placed satellites, they had the benefit
of Jason and Hannah’s constant vigilance.
“You’ve got two more minutes,” Jason intoned, as usual cutting right to the chase. “I’m showing two hostiles—both armed and
ready to rumble.”
“Always good to have big brother watching.” Nash laughed, signaling the team to move out. “We’re heading east. Target ETA
The operation was simple in conception. Destroy a communications array and its accompanying computer systems. The property
of an Asian terrorist group known as the Red Sword, the array was used to coordinate organizational efforts within the region
as well as operations abroad. Taking it out would severely cripple if not completely destroy enemy operations.
Unfortunately, the island’s heavy jungle undergrowth impeded movement, rendering the straight line between points A and B
anything but. The moisture-laden air was heavy and oppressive, making every breath an effort. The team had fanned out, Nash
on point, Drake keeping back, making sure they weren’t being followed. Even with Jason and Hannah watching over them, Nash
didn’t like taking chances. And there was no one he’d rather have at his back than Drake Flynn.