And power—wowzer, but that man crackled with power. Standing next to him was enough to raise the fine hairs on the back of her neck. At their first meeting, Evie had been gobsmacked by her up-close-and-personal sighting of him and had scrambled to put up impenetrable defenses. Not only had he been the boyfriend of an acquaintance, but he also had the reputation of a gutter rat.
Becoming just another one of his conquests held no appeal.
At least Noelle Tremain wised up and dumped the cocky bugger soon after the peace gala. Not that he’d cared. Over the years, he’d dated too many women to count—all blond, all stacked, making it perfectly clear Evie had never been and never would be his type.
Then he met Pagan Cary. Blonder and more stacked than any of the others. The two had been together for several months and were now engaged. To be honest, their relationship baffled Evie. Blue had been caught cheating on Pagan at least a dozen times. News stations loved to blast elicit pictures of his trysts.
And yet, Pagan stayed with him. The girl never seemed to care what he did. Actually, the girl had been linked to several other men.
Evie would have castrated him. To start.
Although . . . she got why women fell under his spell. She really did. That knickers-melting smile . . . when he flashed it your way, you felt as if you were the only female alive. The lover of his most erotic dreams. The other side of his heart.
But, unlike other females, she knew he was a savage, unbound by any kind of moral code. He was hardened, detached, and lived by his own set of rules—but even those he sometimes ignored. And he was calculated. No one would ever be able to shake him from his endgame, whatever that endgame happened to be.
So why am I shivering?
Because it’s cold. Yeah. That’s why.
“Hello. I’m still here, you know. I’ve been telling you all about the guys I’ve got lined up for you. When the time comes, of course.”
Eden’s voice pulled Evie from her thoughts, and she blinked into focus. She leaned against the bar in the kitchen, her glass of wine raised midway to her mouth. “Sorry,” she muttered. “I wasn’t listening.”
“Clearly. You’re flushed, and I know my descriptions weren’t that entertaining,” her sister said, her tone suddenly sly. “Just what . . . or who . . . were you thinking about, hmm?”
Evie plucked a grape from the temperature-controlled bowl in the center of the counter and threw it at her sister. The little green fruit sailed through Eden’s now laughing image.
“That salacious, huh?”
“Good-bye, Eden,” she said drily.
They smiled at each other a split second before the hologram disappeared.
With a sigh, Evie pressed the Power button on the TV remote, and the screen in the kitchen lit up.
A young, pretty reporter stood in front of utter chaos. Smoke billowed through the air, creating an eerie backdrop for absolute carnage. Homeowners lingered on their front lawns, watching as firemen and policemen dug through piles of charred debris.
“—unknown male was rushed to the nearest hospital,” the reporter was saying. “We’re told he’s in critical condition, and yet, somehow he disappeared five minutes after his arrival. No one seems to know what happened to him.”
An address flashed across the screen, and Evie gasped. Michael’s house.
Trembling, she set her wineglass aside and reached for her cell. “Michael Black. Father.” The line rang, a screech in her ears.
She went straight to voice mail.
She never went straight to voice mail.
Unknown male . . . hospital . . . disappeared . . . Had to be her father. If he’d been injured and carted away by civilians, his people would have swooped in, stolen him, and taken him to their medical facility. That’s the way black ops worked.
Okay. Okay. So. If the reporter was to be believed, Michael was critical but alive. If Evie hurried, she could reach the facility in half an hour. She could help him.
As quickly as possible she gathered her things and jumped in her car. The sun was hidden behind clouds as she soared down the highway at a speed cars were not supposed to be able to go. But then, most people could not rebuild the sensory system as she could, nor did they know they could disable preset maximum speeds.
You can take the girl out of the agency, I guess, but not the agency out of the girl.
Thankfully, black-market shields kept her from being noticed by any nearby cops.
The farther away from her home she got, the fewer buildings and shops appeared, until they stopped appearing altogether. Finally, her destination loomed ahead. A metal blockade surrounded a sprawling structure with dark concrete walls and shield armor rather than windows. Bright halogens glared down from the steepled roof, chasing away every shadow.
She stopped at the front gate. An armed guard—human—stepped forward to bang on her window. She lowered the partition and flashed the ID she’d never shredded.
He shook his head. “I’m sorry, Miss Black, but no one gets in tonight.”
“I’m just here to see my father and—”
“I’m sorry, Miss Black, but you’ll have to turn around now.”
Gah! She tried again. “Bloody hell, my father—”
“I’m sorry, Miss Black, but no information is to be given out. Not to you. Not to anyone.”
Can’t kill him. Was Michael inside?
Surely. Why else would the guard act like this if not to protect her father from further harm? “Can you just tell me—”
“No,” he said, one hand motioning for her to back up, the other curling around the handle of his pyre-gun. “Now, I suggest you leave before I’m forced to make you.”
“I’d like to see you try,” she retorted. With the press of a button, she could pepper him with bullets. “But let’s save our tussle for another time, shall we?” She threw the car in reverse, spraying gravel in his face.
At home, she would gather the supplies she’d locked in her basement three years ago. Then she would break into the facility and unleash all kinds of hell. No one kept her from the people she loved.
EARLIER THAT DAY TIME: CLASSIFIED
AFTER AN HOURLONG MEETING with Michael, Solo, and John, Blue received a new assignment: Operation Dumpster Dive. A new target: Gregory Star. And a new female to seduce for information: Tiffany Star.
Blue’s fiancée, Pagan Cary, had no idea he lived a double life, but she would find out what went down with Tiffany. The entire world would find out. Blue no longer tried to hide his “affairs.”