The Mercenary [T-FLAC Series Book 1] [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Cherry Adair
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Victoria Jones was a lousy liar. Not that the sensible bookkeeper was accustomed to lying--or anything else that would have disrupted her safe, dull existence. But her world took a terrifying turn when her twin brother, Alex, an agent for T-FLAC, the elite anti-terrorist task force, went missing. Now she'll do anything to find him...lie, cheat, even subject herself to the predatory advances of Alex's T-FLAC partner, Marc Savin, if it will help get her brother home safe. But trusting the sexy, brooding operative might just be the risk of a lifetime. The Mercenary is back, and better than ever!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/HQN
Fictionwise Release Date: February 2008
This eBook is part of the following series:
223 Reader Ratings:
NERVOUS PERSPIRATION prickled her skin.
Even though she couldn't hear breathing other than her own, her heightened sense of fear let her know she wasn't alone. Someone was watching her. Victoria Jones lay very still, eyes closed, heart pounding an uneven tattoo beneath her sore ribs.
Needing a few moments to orientate herself she tried to keep her breathing steady. A log flaring in the fireplace. There hadn't been a fire when she'd come in. But now she felt its heat and saw the dancing orange light through her eyelids.
To still her panic she counted to a hundred and twenty, then added another fifty for good measure, then slowly opened her eyes. The library was dim, but flickering firelight illuminated the lower half of the man sitting in the shadows across the room. Boots, long, jean-clad legs…the rest of him disappeared into darkness and shadow.
Heart lodged in her throat, she struggled to sit up. She'd accidentally fallen asleep, and now she was groggy and disoriented and at a distinct disadvantage.
The fact that the man wasn't saying anything intimidated her and made her feel defensive and automatically in the wrong. But she could be overreacting. Fear and exhaustion had taken up permanent residence in her body.
Her hair had come loose and floated around her shoulders and down her back as she swung her feet to the floor. Searching with her toes for her shoes, she tried with one hand to tame her hair back into its customary bun.
The man, and Tory knew he was Marc Savin even though he had yet to say a word, observed her without comment, increasing her unease. Still, her grandmother's strict teachings came to the fore and she said in a prim, polite voice, "I'm sorry. I must have fallen asleep."
Giving up on her hair, she pushed her feet all the way into her low heels and stood, despite her shaky knees. Piercing the darkness to gauge his reaction to her uninvited presence in his home, Tory felt marginally more in control with her shoes on. The silence stretched uncomfortably. He wasn't going to make this easy for her.
Why should he? He didn't even know her. Fidgeting, she realized that it was silly actually, standing or sitting, barefoot or not, the amount of intimidation radiating from him was all consuming. Tory had no clue how to deal with such a…a…presence.
The men she normally encountered in her day-today life were academics. Intelligent, cultured and extremely…low-key. Meek. But not Savin. She was fairly sure he didn't have a meek bone in his impressive body. Which was precisely why she was there.
"What happened?" he asked lazily. "Miss the exit for the Holiday Inn?"
His rough, deep voice startled her. His mockery added to her misery, and she waited for him to throw her out of his home. Not that she was going. She was a woman on a mission, she reminded herself, adding a little starch to her spine.
"I have jet lag. I didn't realize…" She tugged self-consciously at the hem of her jacket. "I didn't realize you'd be so long…." The man who'd let her in—reluctantly—had said his boss would be "right in." That had been—she glanced subtly at her watch—four hours ago.
"Did we have an appointment?"
"Um…No. We didn't. I'm Victoria Jones." She held her ground while a flush of heat betrayed her. His presence was larger than life and seemed to fill the room with a pulsing sensuality that made her extremely uncomfortable.
"And?" Marc said drily. He'd found that out by checking the driver's license in her purse. Her name meant nothing to him. When he'd bent to retrieve the tote from the floor beside her he'd gotten a lungful of a floral fragrance that had teased at his dormant libido. Ridiculous, of course. Even in the dim light, he knew this repressed-looking mouse wasn't his type at all.
The name and San Diego address on her license didn't reveal much. But what was mildly interesting was how hard she was trying to pretend she didn't have a cast on her left arm. It was barely visible beneath her sleeve, but its bulk was hard to miss.
He flipped on the light to get a better look at her. She looked like a throwback to the eighties, dressed as she was in a butt-ugly and unflattering business suit. Navy. The jacket boxy, the skirt neither tight nor loose. The hemline hitting just below the knee. Her sensible black shoes were polished and sported a modest heel. Christ, from the neck down she looked like a freaking stereotypical librarian.
Marc concentrated on her unattractive clothing, and kept his attention away from her soft mouth, and the mile of uncooperative dark hair she was trying, unsuccessfully, to cram back into a bun at her nape with one hand.
"Whatever you're selling, I don't need," he jabbed to see the spark of reaction. "Unless you're here about an overdue library fine?"
Her cheekbones flamed, but she didn't drop her gaze. Maybe not a mouse, then, he reevaluated, wondering just who in the hell she was. He'd never met her before, he was sure, but there was something vaguely familiar around the eyes….
Could her skin possibly be as soft as it appeared? It was pale, silky and looked as though it tasted like cream. Damn it, he needed to get laid. Soon.
"Snap it up, would you? I've had a bitch of a day. I'm cold, tired and hungry, and you're standing in the way of a hot shower and a meal."
"Are you Marcus Savin?"
"The one and only." He didn't bother to conceal his annoyance as he stepped from the shadows into the circle of light.
Copyright © 1994 by Cherry Wilkinson.