Kiss or Kill [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lyn Stone
eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: Special Agent Renee LeBlanc was deep undercover, close to exposing the leader of a terrorist cell. Then he showed up in the midst of her op. Mark Alexander, the only man who had ever upset Renee's uncanny instincts--a man who could blow her cover with a word. The desire between them was as strong as ever, but who was Mark really--ally or foe? Hero or villain? Lover ... or assassin? These were decisions she had to make. Heaven help her if she was wrong.
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Romantic Suspense
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2007
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Mark felt pretty naked without his favorite sidearm, especially when everyone else he'd met was sporting fully automatics. He was seriously underdressed for the occasion.
"Sonny is making a few calls," the woman at his side told him. "If you check out, we can use you, Alexander. If not…well, let us say you need not worry about future employment," she added with a catlike smile.
His cover was solid thanks to Corbett Lazlo, Mark's mentor and employer. He understood why the woman didn't trust him. Hell, she had excellent reasons, better ones than she knew.
He had wormed his way into this nest of snakes with a few phone calls and by dropping the names of a couple of very recently deceased criminals who were probably well known to her and thought to still be alive. Identity theft in its highest form worked wonders, or so he hoped.
"Come along, darling. You might as well meet the rest of the merry band while we wait," the woman said, ushering him up the steps ahead of her. She wore unrelieved black. Probably matched the loaded accessory she carried in her pocket with her finger on its trigger.
This infiltration seemed the best method of discovering the whereabouts of the man who had murdered Mark's father sixteen years ago, an assassin called Trip. Mark's job, as well as his lifelong ambition, was to capture Trip and determine who had hired him. The killer's trail—an exhaustive list of murders stretching over almost two decades using the same MO—had led Mark to this woman's address.
Something about Deborah Martine seemed familiar to Mark. Not so much her looks as her mannerisms, the way she moved, a fleeting expression. Something. Martine was not her real name, he was sure. But none of that mattered at the moment. This fortyish, unnatural blonde with bedroom eyes, a commanding attitude and an evil sense of humor, was his ticket in. Sooner or later, she would lead him to Trip.
She could use more hands and another gun, she had told him when he introduced himself earlier that afternoon. Apparently she was also looking for someone adept at bypassing the newer security systems on the market. He couldn't believe his luck there. He assured her he'd been sent by a trusted mutual acquaintance. The woman was no fool. She had verified his identity. No problem. Lazlo had expected he would be checked out and had prepared for it.
At the top of the stairs, she reached past him, opened a door and entered, standing aside for him to follow. Mark glanced around the dimly lit room. They were in an office in the upstairs of a run-down warehouse south of Paris near the Seine. He could smell the river, feel its dampness, even inside the building. Two men were seated on the dusty chairs and a woman stood against the wall in the shadows.
She looked up as he approached the table. The dim glow of the lamp illuminated her face. Mark's heart nearly stopped. There was not merely something familiar about this woman. He knew her! Worse than that, she knew him. One word from her about their former connection and he'd be dead in the water. Literally. His body adding to the river's pollution.
He saw the flicker of apprehension in her eyes. And a question. Should she take him out? She was asking herself. She was armed and it wasn't apparent that he was. But for some reason, she didn't act.
He suddenly realized she was as vulnerable as he was. If she killed him, she would have to explain why. And if she declared who he was, the others would suspect her, too. Takes one to know one, he thought with an inner grimace.
Had she turned? Her looks had changed radically. Maybe her allegiance had, too. Or had she been a subversive even when he had known her during their training op in the States? She could be working undercover, of course. God, but he wanted to believe that. He had a soft spot for her, but he couldn't let that distort his reasoning or affect his decisions.
He could kill her, right now during her hesitation. He still had his knife, which he could bury in her throat before anyone blinked. But then he would have to deal with the fallout. If he used the hidden blade, he would be weaponless except for hands-on. That would be patently ineffective against bullets.
Even in the unlikely event that he managed to kill everyone in the room and survive, his ultimate goal would be impossible. Deborah Martine was his only lead to John Trip, the assassin he had spent over half his life tracking, the man he meant to destroy no matter the cost. He might never get this close again. No, he couldn't compromise that goal as long as there was the slightest chance to see it met.
And he had to acknowledge that the woman feigning nonchalance in the shadows might possibly be here for a legitimate reason, just as he was, and didn't really deserve to die.
He had a feeling that fate had another of those unfunny life-altering jokes in store for him, like the sudden gut-twisting attraction that had driven him crazy when he had known her before. She had damn near caused him to lose control and break his steadfast rule concerning personal involvement. Even so, he had little choice now but to let fate rule in this instance. He would have to allow Renee Leblanc to live and see what happened.
* * *
Renee leaned against the rat-infested wall, one booted foot propped on an old crate. In her right hand, she held an unlit French cigarette. Her left rested on the unsnapped holster of her nine millimeter.
Copyright © 2007 by Lynda Stone.