Home > Alpha One (Shadow Agents #1)(16)

Alpha One (Shadow Agents #1)(16)
Author: Cynthia Eden

“Nice men can make perfect killers.” Because the nice veneer was so convincing. A way to fool others so you could get close.

He realized he was staring at the tops of her br**sts. Logan cleared his throat. “We’ll find him.” The guy had either run on his own...or Guerrero had him. But either way, Logan’s team was tracking him now. Ben McLintock wasn’t going to just vanish. They wouldn’t let him.

He pulled in a breath and caught the scent of vanilla. The scent drifted from the open bathroom door. From Juliana. A sweet but sensual scent.

Logan spun around and headed for the door. “Get some sleep.” He sure as hell wouldn’t. He’d be thinking about her—what should have been.

“Logan.” Her voice stopped him at the door. His hand had lifted, and he fisted his fingers before slowly turning back to face her.

Juliana hadn’t moved from her spot just outside the bathroom. More steam drifted around her. Her skin gleamed, so smooth, so soft.

“You still look at me—” her chin lifted “—like you want—”

“To eat you alive.” Yeah, he knew how he looked. Starving. But Juliana had always made him that way. Desperate for what he wanted, for what he’d taken before.

Her hands were still at the top of the towel. “In Mexico, you told me that if I offered myself to you again...”

He couldn’t think about that night right then. Being close to her after all those years—he’d gone more than a little crazy.

“You said you’d take me,” she finished.

Logan didn’t speak.

“But I’ve changed my mind.”

His whole body had turned to stone.

“I’ve thought about what I want. What I don’t want.”

He couldn’t hear this.

“I know we don’t have forever. I know you’ll go back to—to wherever the next battle is, and I’ll go back to Biloxi when this is all over.”

Biloxi. Her home on the beach. He’d seen it before. After a battle that had taken two of his best friends. When he’d been broken and weak, he’d had to find her.

So he’d gone to her beach. He’d watched her from a distance, gotten stronger just from seeing her.

But he’d stayed in the shadows. After all, that was where he belonged.

“We don’t have forever,” Juliana said again, the words husky, “but we do have now.”

He took a step toward her and shook his head. No way had he just heard her say—

“But I’m not offering.”

Son of a—

“This time, I’m taking.” She dropped the towel. His mouth dried up. “I want you, and right now, I don’t care about the past or the future. Now—now is all that matters to me.”

She was all that mattered to him. Logan was already across the room. His hands were on her, greedy for the feel of her flesh. He pulled her against him, pressed his mouth to hers, thrust his tongue past her lips and tasted the paradise that waited.

The bed was steps away—steps that he didn’t remember taking. But they were falling, tumbling back, and he had her beneath him on the mattress.

He’d woken from hot, desperate dreams of her for years, and part of him wondered...just a dream?

Then her nails bit into his back. Her legs slid over his h*ps and she pulled him closer.

No dream ever felt this good.

His mouth was still on hers because he had to keep tasting her. His hands were stroking her body because he needed to feel her silken flesh.

But she wasn’t just lying passive beneath him. Her body arched against him, and Juliana caught the hem of his shirt—and then she yanked the shirt off him.

Their lips broke apart and the shirt went flying. A wild smile pulled at his lips. Only Juliana. She was always—

His.

He caressed the pert curve of her breast. The nipple was tight, flushed pink, and when he put his lips on her, she whispered his name.

And scored her nails down his back.

He should go slowly. Learn her body again, remember every inch.

But her scent was driving him out of his mind. She was pulling him closer. She was all he could feel. All he could breathe.

Everything.

He yanked down the zipper of his jeans. Found protection for them, then he positioned his aroused length at the delicate entrance of her sex.

Logan caught her hands and pushed them back against the mattress. Their fingers threaded together, their gazes locked.

The years fell away.

The only girl I ever loved.

“Logan...” She whispered his name. “I’ve missed you,” she confessed.

Then there was nothing else but her.

Logan pushed into her moist, hot core, driving deep and steady, fighting to hold on to his control when he just wanted to take and take and take. But he had to show her pleasure. He had to make sure she went as wild as he did.

Her legs wrapped around him. No hesitation. No fear.

She smiled up at him.

His h*ps pulled back, then he thrust deep. Her breath caught and the smile faded from her lips. The passion built between them, the desire deepening. The thrusts came faster, harder, and the control he’d held so tight began to shred.

The pleasure filled her eyes, making them seem to go blind. He’d never seen anything more beautiful than her. Nothing...no one...

Her cl**ax trembled around him and she cried out in release. Her breaths came in quick gasps as her legs tightened around him.

The release hit Logan, not a wave or a rush but an avalanche that swept over him with a cl**ax so powerful his body shuddered—and he held on to Juliana as tightly as he could.

And when his heartbeat eased its too-frantic pounding, he stared back into her eyes and realized just how dangerous she still was...to him.

* * *

THE SCENT OF BOOZE HUNG heavily in the air. Beer. Whiskey.

But even more than that...he could smell the blood.

“Dad?” Logan called out for him even as he pushed against the dashboard. It had fallen in on him, and he had to twist and heave his body in order to slide out from under the dash. He yanked at the seat belt, his hands wet with blood, and finally, finally, he was free.

His dad wasn’t.

Logan stared at the wreckage of the pickup. Twisted metal. Broken glass. And his father pinned behind the wheel, head craned at an unnatural angle.

His fingers trembled when he put them to his father’s throat. No pulse. No life. Nothing.

“Help...”

The barest of cries. So soft. A whisper. But he stiffened and whirled around.

That was when he saw the other car. A fancy ride, with a BMW decal on the front—and the entire driver’s side smashed inward.

“Help...” The cry came again, from inside that shattered wreck. A woman’s voice.

And Logan remembered...

The scream of tires. The roar of crunching metal.

The sound of death.

He tried to get to the woman. Cuts covered her pretty face. She was so pale. So small.

“It’s going to be all right,” he told her, reaching for her hand. “I’ll get you help.”

She looked at him, opening dazed eyes. “Ju...Juliana?”

Then her breath heaved.

She didn’t say anything else ever again.

* * *

LOGAN STOOD AT THE TOP of the stairs as the memories rolled over him. He’d fought to keep that dark night buried for so long, but here, in this place, with Juliana once more...the past had gotten to him.

Some nights could never be forgotten, some mistakes never erased.

The life he’d known had ended that night. Two people had died. He’d...

“What are you doing?” Juliana’s soft voice came from the darkness behind him.

Logan stiffened. “Just doing a sweep.” Total BS. But he couldn’t face her yet. Not after what he’d done.

Back then and...now.

Juliana had fallen asleep in his arms. Sleep wouldn’t come so easily for him. Never had.

He’d searched the house. The agents and cops had already done plenty of sweeps. He’d done his share of searching before, too, but he’d had to look again.

Because there’d been something in Susan’s eyes...

The woman had wanted Juliana to go into Aaron’s room. Now Logan knew why.

He’d found the safe, conveniently left open. He’d seen the documents inside.

That safe had been empty just days before—well, empty except for the small gun. The senator had always seemed to be keeping guns close.

Too close.

Juliana hadn’t seen her father’s body after the suicide, but Logan had. He’d never forget the image.

But those files hadn’t been in the safe days before. He knew because he’d cracked it himself and made sure the senator hadn’t hidden any evidence inside. Since the safe had been empty then, it meant that someone else—Susan—had deliberately placed the files and the car-crash photos he’d discovered in that safe.

Susan knew what he’d done, what the senator had done.

And she’d wanted Juliana to find out, too.

Why? So she’d turn against me?

He couldn’t afford to have Juliana turn away from him, not now. It would be too dangerous for her.

“Dawn’s close,” she said, her voice husky. Sexy.

Dawn was coming. He could see the sky lightening behind the big picture windows. Faint hues of red were streaking through the darkness.

They’d have to get ready for her press conference soon. More plans. More traps.

Her fingers were on his back, tracing lightly over the scar that slid down near his spine. “What happened here?” she asked him softly.

Her touch was light, easy.

Logan swallowed and tried to keep his body from tensing. “A mission in the Middle East. Hostage rescue. It didn’t go...quite as planned.” He’d had to take the hit in order to protect the hostage. At the time, he’d barely felt the pain. And he’d killed in response to the attack—

instantly. No second thought, no hesitation. In the field, there wasn’t ever time for hesitation.

Kill or be killed.

Her fingers slid around his side. So delicate on his flesh. Logan turned to face her.

“And here?” Juliana asked. She was tracing the jagged wound that was too close to his heart. As she leaned forward to study the scar, her hair slid over his arm.

Logan took a breath and pulled her scent deep into his lungs. “A bullet wound in Panama.” A drug lord hadn’t liked having his operation shut down. Too bad for him. And that shot had almost been too close for Logan.

Her head tilted back as she studied him and let her fingers rise to slip under his chin. “And here? What about this one?”

His smallest scar. He stared into her eyes. “That one came from a bar fight...in Jackson, Mississippi.”

A furrow appeared between her eyes.

Why not tell her? “One day, I lost my girl, so I got drunk in the nearest bar I could find.” The only time he’d gotten drunk. Won’t be like him. Can’t. “There was a fight.” His fingers lifted, caught hers, moved them away from the scar. “A broken whiskey bottle caught me in the chin.”

Her gaze searched his. “You didn’t lose me.”

“Didn’t I?”

She pulled her hand away. Logan saw that she was wearing a robe, long and silky. He wanted to pull her back into his arms but—

The phone in his back pocket began to vibrate. Logan pulled it out, keeping his eyes on hers. “Quinn.”

“We just found McLintock,” Jasper said, his voice rough.

“Where?”

“Cemetery. They dumped his body on the senator’s grave.”

Hell, that was a pretty clear message.

“He was carved up. Someone sure took their time with him.”

Because Guerrero had wanted McLintock to talk, and Logan was betting that the guy had talked plenty, before his attackers killed him.

Guerrero and his men liked to get up close and personal with their targets. From the cases that he’d worked before, Logan knew that Guerrero’s weapon of choice was a knife. He liked the intimacy of the blade. The control it gave him as he slowly tortured his prey.

That was why the cemetery bombing had never fit for him. Not up close and personal enough. The guy enjoyed watching the pain on his victims’ faces.

“I’m going with the ME now,” Jasper said, and there was the rumble of another voice in the background, “but I’ll meet you at the press conference.”

The press conference. Right. They still had their show to do. Logan ended the call. His eyes never left Juliana’s. “You heard.” She’d been too close to miss Jasper’s words.

A faint nod. Her pupils had widened with worry.

“And you still want to go out there?” He pushed her because his instincts were to grab her and run. To hide her. To keep her safe and protected. Not to put her on display for the killer. “You still want to challenge Guerrero?”

“He killed Ben....”

“No, he tortured Ben, probably for hours, then he killed him.” Brutal, but that was what they were dealing with, and they all had to face that truth. “You’re going to bait Ben’s killer on television. Taunt him. You ready for that?”

Maybe he expected her to back down. Maybe he wanted her to. Because then it would be fine when he kidnapped her and they vanished.

“How many others has he killed?”

He didn’t even know. No one was sure. Hundreds. With the weapons that Guerrero had sold? Thousands.

“That’s what I thought,” Juliana said. Her chin lifted a little. Her shoulders seemed to straighten beneath the silk robe. “I’m ready for this. I’ll do what I have to do, and we’ll stop him.”

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