Dangerous Deception [Secure eReader]
Click on image to enlarge.
eBook by Beverly Barton
eBook Category: Romance/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: For Lausanne Raney, romance meant nothing but trouble. Once it cost her her freedom and her baby girl. Now she's got a respectable life ... but desperately needs money to find her child. When she accepts an unusual offer from her wealthy employer's daughter, she finds herself under deadly suspicion--and the unwanted protection of security agent Domingo Shea. Bad enough the courageously honest ex-Navy SEAL doesn't completely trust Lausanne any more than she does him. But worse still, the instant electric attraction between them is impossible to resist. And the deeper their investigation goes, the more Lausanne struggles to convince Dom to leave her--for both their sakes. But with a ruthless killer lying in wait, there will soon be no safe place for her or Dom to hide...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/HQN
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2006
18 Reader Ratings:
SAWYER MCNAMARA, the CEO of the Dundee Private Security and Investigation Agency, handed the three agents congregated at the table in the conference room separate file folders. As he took his seat at the head of the table, he glanced at each person, his gaze lingering on Lucie Evans. As if sensing his intense scrutiny, Lucie looked up and glared at their boss.
"What?" she asked, her tone combative.
Sawyer shrugged. "Woke up on the wrong side of the bed, Evans?"
Bristling, Lucie frowned, then growled deep in her throat.
Nothing new there, Dom Shea thought. Any conversation between Sawyer and Lucie started and ended as a battle of wills. The two mixed like oil and water. And the entire Dundee staff couldn't figure out why Lucie was still a Dundee employee. Why hadn't she quit long ago? Or better yet, why hadn't Sawyer fired her? Who knew? Dom sure as hell didn't want to get in the middle of anything. He'd actually dated Lucie a few times. They'd had fun, but from the get-go, it had been apparent that there weren't any real sexual sparks between them, so they'd settled for being friends. Dom wasn't friends with Sawyer. He respected his boss. Liked the guy. Even admired him. But Sawyer McNamara kept a definite distance between himself and his agents.
"I'm sending y'all out on new assignments today," Sawyer said. "Read over the files I've given you, and if you have any questions, now's the time to ask. And if for any reason somebody wants to swap an assignment with another agent—think twice. I chose each of you specifically for the job I assigned to you."
They all understood that was Sawyer's way of saying, if you don't want the job I've assigned you, tough shit.
Dom opened the file folder—a rather thick dossier that included numerous copies of newspaper photos and articles as well as snapshots. The words Bedell, Inc. jumped off the pages at him. In the Southeast, the name Bedell was synonymous with old money. Generations of multi-millionaires accumulating wealth had made the current head of the family a billionaire. The original Edward Bedell, who'd settled in Tennessee before the War Between the States, had made his fortune with the railroad and later diversified. The current Edward Bedell's holdings covered a wide span of business interests worldwide—everything from real estate and construction to pharmaceutical sales and research. But the Bedell, Inc. headquarters was based in Chattanooga where the chairman of the board lived. Edward personally oversaw the day-to-day running of his family's corporation.
After flipping through the photos, Dom paused on a wedding picture from the Chattanooga Times Free Press dated six years ago. Audrey Bedell and Grayson Perkins. The golden couple. Studying the picture, Dom wasn't sure who was the prettiest, Audrey or her groom. Perkins had model perfect good looks that proclaimed him too gorgeous to be a man.
"You're sending me back to England!" Lucie pounded her fist on the table. Only once. But once was enough to shake the table and startle everyone in the room. Everyone except Sawyer, who narrowed his gaze smugly. The corners of his mouth tilted upward ever so slightly in a hint of a self-satisfied smile.
"Is there a problem with your taking this assignment in London?" Sawyer asked.
Squaring her shoulders and sitting up straight as a board, Lucie glowered at him, her henna brown eyes wide with indignation. "I spent the past two months in London and have had exactly five days downtime. From the initial report I read—" she tapped her index finger on the file folder "—I could easily be in London for another couple of months."
"Possibly longer," Sawyer replied.
Lucie gritted her teeth. "You could send Geoff Monday. He's a Brit and I'd think he'd jump at the chance to go home for a while."
"Geoff is busy on another assignment. Besides, you'll be guarding Mr. Smirnov's wife and children for the duration of his stay in London. He specifically requested a female agent. At present, that's you, Ms. Evans."
"Fine." Lucie gathered up the contents of the file, stuffed them back into the folder, then shot up out of her chair. "I'll check in with Daisy if I need anything." She jerked her shoulder bag off the back of the chair and marched straight to the door, then opened it and paused momentarily. After shooting Sawyer a bird, she left the office and slammed the door behind her.
Acting as if nothing had happened, as if one of his employees hadn't blatantly showed her disrespect, Sawyer glanced from Dom to Deke Bronson. "Finish looking over the files I gave you and if you have any questions—"
"No questions," Deke replied in a gut-deep, gravely voice that so perfectly matched his road-hard-and-put-away-wet appearance. "I think my assignment is pretty cut and dried. No need for any lengthy explanations."
Sawyer nodded. "Call me personally as soon as you get to California and speak to Berger. Putting his personal staff of bodyguards through the Dundee training sessions is a six-week deal, one that will make Dundee's a great deal of money. I'm sending you because you're the most intimidating-looking agent I have. Berger's hard ass staff will take one look at you and obey orders."
Expressionless, Bronson nodded.
After Deke left the room, Sawyer turned to Dom. "I assume you have questions."
"A few," Dom said. "First, am I handling this case alone or—"
"You'll go in alone…initially. If you need backup, I'll arrange it. And all of Dundee's resources will be available, as usual."
Dom tapped the file folder. "Why hasn't he called in the Chattanooga PD on this? If my daughter were missing—"
Copyright © 2006 by Beverly Barton.