Also by Katie Reus
Excerpt from A Covert Affair
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV): aka drone, an aircraft without a human pilot physically aboard. Controlled by computers or a pilot at another location.
Rayford Osborn strode down the brick sidewalk of the quiet Georgetown neighborhood, trying to keep his walk natural. Not easy when a wild energy hummed through him. It was a little after ten and this area of the city was relatively quiet. As a sedan drove by, he automatically pulled his hoodie down a fraction to hide his face. A fucking hoodie.
His chosen adolescent attire grated against everything in him, but it was necessary for tonight’s meeting. Things were about to change; he felt it deep in his bones. His country needed to be on a different path, and if that happened to make him richer, he wasn’t going to complain. People who thought money was the root of all evil were fools. He and his wife did well for themselves, but more was always better. More money meant more power. And power was everything.
As the car continued past him without slowing a fraction, he let out a breath he wasn’t aware he’d been holding. This cloak-and-dagger business wasn’t for him. Since college and beyond he’d been so careful about his image, both in public and in private. No affairs, no drinking to excess, no drugs—nothing that could come back to bite him in the ass later on. So many of his peers had screwed that up in college, but not him.
Now what he was doing could get him sent to jail for the rest of his life, or more likely tried for treason and given the death penalty. Only if he and his like-minded allies got caught, of course.
Which they wouldn’t. They were too good and had been flying under everyone’s radar for too long. And now the time for talk was over. It was time to strike.
When he reached his destination, a high-priced townhome—they all were in Georgetown—the front door opened before he’d ascended the short set of stone stairs.
Thad Hillenbrand stood in the doorway, his icy blue eyes glinting as he frowned at him. “You’re late,” he growled as Rayford moved past him into the dimly lit foyer. “Everyone else is here.”
Rayford shoved his hoodie back and loosened his plain black scarf from around his neck. “I walked from the Metro.”
Hillenbrand’s shoulders relaxed at that. “Which station?”
“Dupont Circle. And before you ask, I was careful of the cameras.” The truth was, it was impossible to stay off all the CCTVs, but there was no connection between him and Hillenbrand. At least not an electronic or physical one. And Rayford already had a reason for being in the Georgetown area tonight if he was ever questioned. Once he’d left the Metro station, avoiding cameras had been a piece of cake. “I’m the last one here?” he asked, even though Hillenbrand had just stated he was.
The older man nodded once then gave a sharp jerk of his head that Rayford should follow. He’d only been in the townhome once before, for a covert meeting just like this one. He knew that Hillenbrand used the exclusive property to bring escorts to. It was the man’s one vice and something Rayford had thought he could use against him at one point.
But Hillenbrand wasn’t in politics—not directly—and made enough money on his own that he didn’t need his wealthy wife’s money if she decided to leave him. Not to mention the man treated his whores well so Rayford couldn’t even blackmail him on allegations of abuse. It appeared he only brought his women here because it was convenient. Plus, his wife was cheating on him too, so she likely knew of his affairs.
Rayford might work with the man because they shared common goals, but he didn’t like being involved with someone he had no dirt on. In his world, having leverage was king.
They only walked a few feet, bypassing the stairs, Hillenbrand instead opening the door that led to the basement.
Rayford went first on Hillenbrand’s insistence. The man didn’t like to have anyone at his back, and Rayford knew it was more or less a power play. But he didn’t care. If things went well, soon he’d be the top aide to the most powerful man in the country.
A low hum of voices grew louder as he turned the corner at the end of the stairs and walked down the last three steps. Eight men in all were there, ten total including him and Hillenbrand. There was only one man Rayford didn’t recognize. Something about the guy’s face tickled his memory bank, but he couldn’t place it. Blond hair, in shape, an almost forgettable appearance, but he knew he’d seen the man somewhere before.
Soon he’d find out, but he didn’t bother asking Hillenbrand. The man was more cautious than any of them, and he wouldn’t have allowed someone to come to this meeting he wasn’t one hundred percent sure of.
“We need to fight a war we can win,” Wagner, one of the men, said, stating something everyone in this room believed in. Mainly because he liked to hear his own voice.
So many of these men did. It annoyed Rayford, but he was used to the type. Hell, he worked for one. Men who couldn’t stand not to be the center of attention. Rayford had no problem living in the background.
“But is this the way?” Padilla, a dark-haired man in his late forties, rubbed a hand down his face, his tension clear.
“If you have doubts, you’re free to leave,” Hillenbrand said, his edgy tone making the room go silent.
Because everyone knew his words were a lie. Padilla could leave if he wanted, but if he did he’d be dead within twenty-four hours, likely less. They all knew what they’d signed up for when they began their cause, when Hillenbrand contacted them and brought them together. They all knew what was at stake and what the cost for backing out would be. It was like the mob. The only way out was in a body bag.
Padilla straightened against the brown Chesterfield where he sat next to Wagner, his gaze narrowing on Hillenbrand. “I don’t have doubts, but I do have an opinion, which I’m free to voice, yes?”
Coming to stand next to Rayford, Hillenbrand crossed his arms over his chest as he faced down Padilla. “We’re all welcome to our opinions, but in the end we know what has to be done, so these discussions are pointless and tiring. The current administration needs to be proven inept beyond a shadow of a doubt. We must pave the way for a new leader for the next election. Once we have our chosen man inside, we’ll be even closer to our end goal. And we’ll all be richer in the end.”
There was a low murmur of agreement throughout the room. Rayford inwardly groaned. Just like the others in the room, Hillenbrand liked to speak simply to hear his own voice. Rayford hoped the man wasn’t going to get long-winded on them now. He’d managed to break away from dinner at his wife’s parents’ house stating a work emergency, but he didn’t have time to waste.
“The time for talking is over. Now’s the time for action.” Striding to the minibar, Hillenbrand picked up a small black remote. “If you will all direct your attention to the screen,” he said, motioning toward the mini movie theater screen that took up one of the walls.
Hillenbrand used this as an entertainment room and occasionally let his college-aged boys use the place too. But he knew they weren’t going to be watching a movie in it.
“About a month ago a U.S.–owned drone was stolen from a military base,” Hillenbrand continued.
It wasn’t public knowledge, but Rayford knew of the incident. His own boss was sitting on the information, waiting on the right time to release it for the best of their political gain.
“Now you all are going to see why.” As Hillenbrand pressed a button on the remote, the lights in the room dimmed and a feed popped up on-screen that looked like an eagle eye from a plane.
“Is this live?” Rayford asked quietly, realizing it was a view from the drone.
Hillenbrand gave him a hard look and nodded before focusing on the screen once again. “Unfortunately I don’t have audio, but we don’t need it.”
Though it was dark, the dash was clear enough with the night-vision capabilities. Not that it mattered because if this was a view from the drone, it would be controlled remotely and no one would actually be in the aerial device. Which raised the question—who was controlling it? This was the first Hillenbrand had told any of them about this.
“Go ahead,” Hillenbrand murmured quietly, and Rayford realized he must have a small earpiece in.
Annoyance hummed through him at being left in the dark about who this other contact was, but he kept his emotions in check.
A long moment later a bright burst of light illuminated the screen, quickly followed by another. Those were missiles. Who was the target? This was a very dangerous weapon and he wasn’t sure Hillenbrand was the right man to be in control of it. Rayford’s anger and annoyance intensified as he watched a bright orange ball of flame light up the darker screen as the missiles detonated their target. The feed was in black and white, but the infrared showed the heat signature clearly, so he knew it was fire.
Before he could say anything, the ground shook just the slightest bit and his stomach lurched. Hillenbrand had attacked somewhere in Washington, D.C.
The screen went blank and the lights brightened as Hillenbrand smiled broadly. He’d just ordered the killing of Americans here in the capital and didn’t give a damn. “There’s no going back now for any of us. That was just the beginning. Unfortunately we’ll have some hard choices to make in the coming weeks, but I have no doubt we’re all up to the job. And I know you’re wondering who the target was. The Nelson fund-raiser was just hit, eliminating our only real competition for the upcoming primaries.”
Rayford’s mouth filled with cotton as he struggled to find his voice. They’d been talking and planning for so long, but he’d never imagined Hillenbrand would go after someone in their own political party. And never like this. He understood it, the need to eliminate everyone who posed a threat to the candidate they needed in office if change was ever going to take place, but . . . it seemed so violent. So unforgiveable.
Luckily he didn’t have to talk because the room erupted in voices, everyone talking over one another. Some were excited; others were angry he’d made the decision without asking any of them. Now they were all trapped. No matter what happened, they’d all been part of this. Avoiding Hillenbrand’s gaze, he made his way to the minibar and poured himself a scotch, his hand trembling ever so slightly. As he did, he realized where he’d seen the only man in the room he hadn’t recognized when he’d entered. On the news.
The man worked for the DEA. Which meant Hillenbrand had brought him in because of who he worked for. Unless Hillenbrand had no idea who he was. If that was the case, they were going to have more blood on their hands because they couldn’t allow anyone outside this room to know what they’d done.
Wet work: expression for murdering or assassinating someone (wet alluding to the spilling of blood).
One week later
Tucker Pankov ran a hand over his buzz cut, the dampness from his shower already drying. He’d be glad to grow his hair out again and spend at least a week at his place in solitude. He lived in a three-bedroom home in the Virginia countryside. He’d chosen to have acres and acres of space between him and his neighbors over a larger house in a suburb. He was rarely here and when he did get downtime, he craved the quiet.
For his last undercover job, as a psychopathic thug, he’d shaved his head, making himself look more the part of drug-peddling scum. He’d kept his same alias from the job he’d worked before that one with a true psychopath, Tasev, and it was a relief to shed that persona.
It was also a fucking relief that bastard was dead, even if the DEA hadn’t been the ones to officially bring him down. He was still surprised that his boss, Deputy Director Max Southers, hadn’t been upset when the NSA brought down Tasev and his entire operation instead of his elite undercover DEA team, but in the end, Tucker didn’t care who’d done it. He didn’t care about the accolades, just the result.
As he stepped into his bedroom, he turned on the television. Headlines from last week’s attack on a political fund-raiser dominated everything.
Tucker should probably have been surprised by the attack, but little could shock him anymore. The drone that had carried out the attack should never have been stolen in the first place. Heads were already rolling over that “oversight” in security, and while he cared about the massive loss of life, it had nothing to do with the DEA. At least not at the moment.
On the screen, Clarence Cochran, a politician who’d just announced his intention to seek the next presidential nomination for his party, was talking about the avoidable loss of life of a man who would have been running against him. Acting as if he cared.
Tucker rolled his eyes. For the most part politicians in Washington only cared about themselves. He actually belonged to the same political party as Cochran, but the guy was too much of an extremist. That was dangerous no matter what side of the political aisle a man stood on. For the next election he’d be voting against the party line if that moron made a play for the presidency. Tucker was reaching for the remote to turn it off when a breaking report flashed on the screen.
Max Southers, Deputy Director of the Drug Enforcement Administration, murdered in violent carjacking.
He blinked, ice invading his veins as he stared numbly at the screen, before he turned up the volume. Max was dead? No fucking way. He’d just talked to him a couple of hours ago. Someone would have alerted him.
“You need a break, son, and I’m ordering it. Take a week off and just relax.” The corners of Max’s dark blue eyes had crinkled in concern as he watched Tucker from across his desk.
Max called everyone in their team “son.” It should have annoyed Tucker, since he had a father, but he loved the man. They all did. They’d all spent countless dinners at the man’s house during their off time. Swallowing hard, he sat on the edge of his bed and listened as a somber-looking reporter talked about Max’s murder, basically saying nothing at all. The police had no leads. They didn’t know if this was random or related to one of his cases.
Standing, he grabbed his phone from his nightstand. He needed to call the rest of the team and Mary, Max’s wife. Hell, he needed to verify that ...Présentation de l'éditeur :
The new Deadly Ops novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Shattered Duty—in the series that delivers “fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat!”*
When an assassin tries to kill undercover DEA agent Tucker Pankov the same week his boss is taken out, Tucker has good reason to be paranoid. And when other members of his elite team are not only targeted, but stripped of top-secret security clearance, Tucker has one shot at discovering who wants them dead—and why. So he kidnaps the only woman he thinks can save them.
Brilliant NSA analyst Karen Stafford doesn’t like being forced into anything, especially by someone she doesn’t trust. Yet after a hijacked US-owned drone starts attacking government installations resulting in mass casualties, Karen has to take Tucker’s side. Now, two unlikely allies must unite to prevent an escalating and unthinkable terrorist conspiracy. But as Tucker and Karen grow intimate, they realize the conspiracy runs deep, and their enemies are closer than anyone realized.
* New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden
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Description du livre État : New. Depending on your location, this item may ship from the US or UK. N° de réf. du libraire 97804514754590000000
Description du livre Berkley Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. État : New. 171 x 106 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The new Deadly Ops novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Shattered Duty--in the series that delivers fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat! * When an assassin tries to kill undercover DEA agent Tucker Pankov the same week his boss is taken out, Tucker has good reason to be paranoid. And when other members of his elite team are not only targeted, but stripped of top-secret security clearance, Tucker has one shot at discovering who wants them dead--and why. So he kidnaps the only woman he thinks can save them. Brilliant NSA analyst Karen Stafford doesn t like being forced into anything, especially by someone she doesn t trust. Yet after a hijacked US-owned drone starts attacking government installations resulting in mass casualties, Karen has to take Tucker s side. Now, two unlikely allies must unite to prevent an escalating and unthinkable terrorist conspiracy. But as Tucker and Karen grow intimate, they realize the conspiracy runs deep, and their enemies are closer than anyone realized. *New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9780451475459
Description du livre Signet Book, United States, 2015. Paperback. État : New. 171 x 106 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The new Deadly Ops novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Shattered Duty--in the series that delivers fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat! * When an assassin tries to kill undercover DEA agent Tucker Pankov the same week his boss is taken out, Tucker has good reason to be paranoid. And when other members of his elite team are not only targeted, but stripped of top-secret security clearance, Tucker has one shot at discovering who wants them dead--and why. So he kidnaps the only woman he thinks can save them. Brilliant NSA analyst Karen Stafford doesn t like being forced into anything, especially by someone she doesn t trust. Yet after a hijacked US-owned drone starts attacking government installations resulting in mass casualties, Karen has to take Tucker s side. Now, two unlikely allies must unite to prevent an escalating and unthinkable terrorist conspiracy. But as Tucker and Karen grow intimate, they realize the conspiracy runs deep, and their enemies are closer than anyone realized. *New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Eden. N° de réf. du libraire AAS9780451475459
Description du livre Signet Book. Paperback / softback. État : new. BRAND NEW, Edge of Danger: A Deadly Ops Novel, Katie Reus. N° de réf. du libraire B9780451475459
Description du livre Berkley Books 2015-11-03, 2015. paperback. État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 9780451475459
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Description du livre Signet, 2015. Paperback. État : Brand New. 340 pages. 7.00x4.25x1.00 inches. In Stock. N° de réf. du libraire z-0451475453
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Description du livre État : New. N° de réf. du libraire 23157101-n
Description du livre SIGNET, 2015. PAP. État : New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. N° de réf. du libraire IB-9780451475459