Authors: Diane Henders
Tags: #thriller, #suspense, #espionage, #canada, #science fiction, #canadian, #technological, #spy, #hardboiled, #women sleuths, #calgary, #alberta
Book 3 of the NEVER SAY
By Diane Henders
Published November 2011
by PEBKAC Publishing
The town of Silverside
and all secret technologies are products of my imagination. If I’m
abducted by grim-faced men wearing dark glasses, or if I die in an
unexplained fiery car crash, you’ll know I accidentally came a
little too close to the truth.
This is a work of
fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed
in this novel are products of my imagination or are used
fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is entirely
Please respect my hard
work by complying with copyright laws. This e-book is licensed for
your personal enjoyment only. You may not resell this e-book under
Thank you for
Copyright © 2011 Diane
All rights reserved,
including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in
Book 1: Never Say
Book 2: The Spy Is
Book 3: Reach For The
Book 4: Tell Me No
Book 5: How Spy I
Book 6: A Spy For A
Book 7: Spy, Spy
Book 8: Spy Now, Pay
Book 9: Spy High
Book 10: Spy Away
Book 11: To be released
More books coming! For
a current list, please visit
Or sign up for my New
Book Notification list at
Thank you for being my
technical advisor and the most tolerant husband ever. Much
To my beta readers/editors, especially Carol H., Judy B., and
Phill B., with gratitude:
Many thanks for all your time and
effort in catching my spelling and grammar errors, telling me when
I screwed up the plot or the characters’ motivations, and generally
keeping me honest.
To the other Phil, with appreciation:
Thanks for telling me
about what it’s like to be a volunteer firefighter in a small town.
The town is lucky to have guys like you.
To Rick and Sandy H. at Hand Crafted Images:
makes my covers extra-special, and your sense of humour makes photo
sessions fun even for a camera-hater like me. Thank you!
To Steve A. and the
staff at The Shooting Edge:
Thank you for lending us your
excellent facilities for our cover photo sessions. You guys
To everyone else,
If you find any
typographical errors in this book, please send an email to
Mistakes drive me nuts, and I’m sorry if any slipped through.
Please let me know what the error is, and on which page (or at
which position in e-versions). I’ll make sure it gets fixed as soon
as possible. Thanks!
A faint noise woke me.
My eyes flew open and I held my breath, listening. Had the sound
come from outside the open window? I strained my ears, but heard
only the usual quiet of a July night in the country.
A tiny metallic click
from the doorknob made me change the rhythm of my breathing, slow
and deep. I let my eyelids droop so I could watch the door through
the fringe of my lashes.
Damn that shaft of
moonlight. It fell directly across me in the bed, but the doorway
itself was in shadow.
The door swung open
slowly and silently. A large, dark figure moved toward my bed.
I emitted a small snore
followed by a deep sigh and rolled over, letting the bedsheet fall
away as I reached under the opposite pillow and clenched my fist
around the crowbar. The moonlight emphasized the curves and hollows
of my naked body. The intruder froze, staring.
That’s right, asshole.
Take a good look. It’ll be the last thing you ever see. Just come a
little closer, now...
He turned away
abruptly, and I sprang upright. The crowbar hurtled toward his
temple in a flat vicious arc with all my strength behind it.
At the sound of his
whisper, I let out a yelp of dismay and tried to abort the
Too late. My weapon
slammed into his head and he fell.
Heart pounding, I
dropped the crowbar and floundered toward the huddled form on the
floor. As I reached him, he sat up slowly. I flung myself on him
from behind, one arm across his massive chest while my other hand
clamped over his mouth.
“We’re bugged,” I
breathed urgently in his ear.
His large hand closed
around my wrist, and I let him pull my hand away from his
“I know,” he said in
normal tones. “I’m jamming them.”
I collapsed onto the
floor behind him, gasping. “Jesus fucking Christ, John! Don’t ever
fucking do that! I nearly fucking killed you, for chrissake!”
If frequent use of
obscenities indicated one’s level of intellect, I’d apparently
dropped about a hundred IQ points in the last couple of
“I noticed.” He touched
his head, and his fingers came away dark in the moonlight.
“Shit!” I started to
scramble up, but he grabbed my arm.
“Don’t turn on any
“I need to look at
that,” I argued. “I was going for a home run until the last second.
“I’ll live. It just
I blew out an irritated
breath and knelt beside him to trace my fingers through his hair,
exploring the sticky area near the top of his head. At least there
wasn’t any squishiness that would indicate a fracture.
I stepped across him
into my ensuite bathroom and came out with a clean washcloth.
He accepted it and
pressed it against his head. He glanced up at me, and then looked
away quickly. “Aydan... Could you please put some clothes on? This
is really... distracting.”
“Oh!” I glanced down at
my white skin, practically glowing in the moonlight. My
forty-six-year-old body was in pretty good shape except for the
extra ten pounds or so around the middle. I’d never been shy about
it. And getting naked with John Kane was near the top of my private
list of things to do, but I was pretty sure braining him with a
crowbar didn’t qualify as foreplay.
Anyway, it didn’t
matter. Now was not the time. I stepped quickly to the chair in the
corner where I kept my clothes laid out for quick access. I pulled
on jeans and a sweatshirt before turning back to him.
“Can you stand up?” I
He rose. “I’m fine. We
need to talk.” He sat on the edge of the bed and I perched beside
The moonlight made a
dramatic study of his strong, square features. His silvered temples
gleamed against his short, dark hair as he turned to eye me
piercingly in the pale light.
“How did you find the
bugs?” he demanded. “Do you have a scanner?”
“No. I found them the
good old-fashioned way. Is Stemp monitoring them?”
“Yes. How did you know
you were bugged?”
“I smelled them.”
His dark brows snapped
I grinned. “Stemp needs
to be more careful choosing his minions. Whoever he sent to install
the bugs was a smoker who wore cologne. I smelled him the instant I
came in the house. I checked everything over, and when I couldn’t
find anything missing, I started to look for things that had been
Kane nodded slowly.
I peered at him in the
moonlight. “What the hell are you doing here? Dammit, Stemp is
going to notice the bugs are jammed. I didn’t want him to know I
knew about them.”
“He won’t know. I got
Webb to generate a circular loop to feed the monitor. We have an
“You got Spider
involved in this, too? What if you get caught?” I demanded. “It was
bad enough when Stemp just thought you were sympathetic toward me.
If he finds out about this, you’re going to be next on his hit
list, right after he whacks me.”
He went still, watching
me. “What makes you say that?”
“Come on, John. It’s
not rocket science. Stemp needs me right now, but he doesn’t trust
me because he can’t manipulate me. The instant he’s got an
alternative, I’m going to get a lead suppository.”
I sighed. “In fact,
you’ll probably be the one to get the order. That’s what I’d do if
I was Stemp. If you carry out the order to kill me, you keep your
job. And live. If you refuse, he passes the order down the food
chain to get rid of both of us. And on down the line to get rid of
anybody else who isn’t willing to follow orders. Get all the
housecleaning done at once.”
“That’s the most
paranoid, cynical thing I’ve ever heard you say.”
“Yeah. Tell me I’m
He blew out a breath.
“So that’s what you were trying to tell me when you walked away
from me last week. You were warning me to keep my distance. To
“Yeah. And here you
“Will you stop trying
to protect everybody else and start looking out for yourself for a
change? I’m a big boy. I can take care of myself.”
I sighed inwardly. He
sure was a big boy. In every sense of the word, from what I’d had
the opportunity to observe. Too bad he had to be permanently
off-limits if I wanted him to stay alive.
“I know you can take
care of yourself,” I agreed. “But Stemp was watching us, and I
wanted to make sure he didn’t see anything that would make him
mistrust you. He’s your boss, after all. You’ll still have to work
with him long after I’m gone.”
His brows drew
together. “What you said last week... About how I’d follow orders
no matter what. Do you really believe that? That I’m nothing more
than a robot following orders?”
I hesitated, trying to
find the right words. “No... But... that’s what Stemp needs you to
be. And that’s the safest thing for you to be right now.”
“You really think I’d
kill you if he gave me the order.” His voice was even, but I could
hear the edge of suppressed hurt and anger.
“John...” I sighed and
tugged my fingers through my long hair, yanking out the night’s
tangles. “You’re one of our government’s top agents. You’ve spent
most of your life in military and law enforcement. That tells me
your top priority is doing the right thing for this country. Am I