Published March 3rd 2014 by Entranced Publishing – Add it on Goodreads
An eye for an eye. Bailey Russell is an assassin on an Artemis Agency assignment that is both business and personal: take out Amir Fahad, the arms dealer, who killed her partner.
She’s put together an ideal plan that includes using herself as bait. Grieving the loss of her former partner and her team’s faith in her she vows the only way this mission ends is in death: hers or Fahad’s.
A dangerous web they weave. British Intelligence Operative, Ben Ambrose, is married to his job. And for the past three months that has meant living undercover as part of Fahad’s crew. Three month’s work blown when he feels compelled to risk his life to protect Bailey and her friends from Fahad’s men.
The best laid plans. Bailey’s plan ruined. Ben’s cover blown. Their entire professional lives consist of lies and subterfuge, but there’s one thing Bailey and Ben can’t hide from each other, their growing attraction. Still, each wants to complete their mission at all costs: personal and professional.
Payback’s a bitch and this time her name is Bailey.
"Well," Bailey smacked her hands down on her thighs. "I'm beat." She looked around the plain room and avoided meeting his eyes.
Ben stood from his chair and scooped up his bag as he moved toward her. "Me, too." He dropped the bag next to the bed, pulled one gun out, and sat next to her on the cot.
Bailey shot him an odd look. "What are you doing?"
He leaned back, brushing her arm as he did so, and pulled his long legs up, maneuvering them around her until he lay flat on the cot. He moved close to the wall.
"We should sleep if we have the time, and apparently, with your team running things, we have the time," he teased.
He was practically taking up the entire bed, leaving only the space where Bailey was currently sitting. Her face looked so furious he wanted to laugh.
She turned on him. "Well, since I did all the heavy lifting this evening I think I should get the bed," she said.
Ben let out a snort. "I carried that guy, too." He patted the small space next to him. "But I can share if it means that much to you," he said with a grin.
She shot off the bed lightning fast, standing straight up, and staring down at him with her mouth slightly agape. She got his full meaning all right.
He still didn't trust her at all, that was the truth, but he was game for getting some things out of the way and off his mind once and for all.
She was a distraction. He found himself thinking about her, looking at her, when his thoughts should be elsewhere. If he could have her now, satiate his growing need of her and be done with it, then he’d be able to focus. He’d be able to take a step back and see something other than her.
He slid his gun under his pillow and caught her eyes again. She looked hot when she was angry. Her face was flushed, her eyes were wide, and she was breathing hard, trying to regain some composure. She was fuming mad.
She was strong; she dragged a buck seventy-five of dead weight over sand. But Ben couldn't shake the idea that she'd feel warm and soft anyway. She was lean but curved in all the right places just the same. He locked eyes with her, and his slow perusal of her body only seemed to infuriate her more.
"Get out of my bed," she bit out.
Ben lay on his back, but his eyes were very much on Bailey, the gun under his pillow still held firmly in his grasp. He looked casual as if his head was resting on his bicep, but he was still at the ready. "I'm tired and going to sleep now."
"That's it." Bailey stood and grabbed up the second gun from his bag.
Ben never turned. "Drop it now." His deep voice was quiet.
"Absolutely not." Bailey moved to sit in the chair he had abandoned. Her finger pointed accusingly at him. "You've got one on me, and I figure it's only fair."
"I don't believe in fair," Ben said with deadpan honesty.
She loudly slid the table closer to her, scraping the floor, and propped her legs up on it trying to find a comfortable position. She waved his gun back at him with a smile. "Neither do I."
He turned only his head to look at her. "You pinch my gun and expect me to be okay with it?" His quiet voice and narrow eyes pinned her. "Fuckin' hell."
Everything had to be a fight with her! She even had his accent slipping he was so fed up.
Princess is too good to share a damn bed? Or more specifically too good to share his bed? Then she took one of his guns. She probably can't even hold the thing more than a few minutes. He was sure she was used to her little toy weapons and not that big piece of steel, dwarfing her hand.
She lounged back awkwardly on the chair with the table under her feet. It looked uncomfortable. Yet, that stubborn arse was sitting there practically smiling, pretending to be happy as a pig in shit.
She cracked one eye at him. "Cheers mate," she shouted mockingly.
He moved his calloused thumb silently up, sliding the safety of his gun up with a soft metallic click.
The quiet yet distinctive sound surprised him from his thoughts. Thoughts of regret. He should have shot her when he had the chance, free and clean. Done. His hand and mind were of an accord before he was even aware of thinking it.
And he was right; the gun was far too big for her hand. He watched her reach for the safety with her thumb and fall short before having to do it two handed.
"Oh, my God." Ben spoke the words in genuine disbelief.
"What?" She yelled across the small space.
He wasn't sure what to make of this, but he had an increasing urge to laugh at her. "First time you've ever had anything that big in your hands, eh?"
She dropped her head down on the back of the chair as if going to sleep now. "You're disgusting," she mumbled.
Ben let out a contented sigh from the bed. "I wouldn't feel too bad, sweetheart. It's a lot to handle. You just need practice."
"One more word, English, and I'll shoot you."
Virginia Brasch, author of Retribution, the first book in the Artemis Series is making her writing debut. The married Pennsylvania native has an inherited love of books. Virginia was tired of reading stories about helpless damsels in distress and started writing about her own kind of heroine.
She snorts when she laughs, has an unfortunate fondness for karaoke, a growing collection of books, and is drawn always to the sea. She was also once hit in the head by a small sailboat’s boom and tossed overboard. This taught her the importance of expecting the unexpected. She enjoys dirty jokes and swears like a sailor though claims to be “****ing working on it.”
Virginia is an adventurer who lives a wildly exciting life. Afraid to fly, she travels infrequently. She gets excited to spend a night in reading or snuggle up watching a movie with her husband. She likes hanging out with her mom or tentatively venturing out with girlfriends, lured by promises of wine and laughing until it hurts.
Sebella- I could totally hang with this chick.
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