Home > Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)

Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)
Author: Lexi Blake

Prologue

London, England

“Mr. Taggart?”

Ian Taggart heard the doctor speaking, but all he could do was stare at the sight in front of him. She’d been alive when he’d left this morning, and now he was standing in the morgue of a London hospital looking at her body laid out on a metal table, covered by the thinnest of sheets. He wanted to smash the glass between them. How was it possible?

Charlotte couldn’t be dead. Not his Charlie. She couldn’t be in that cold exam room while he was standing in the hall staring at her body.

“Mr. Taggart?” The man’s voice grew more agitated, his accent losing its clipped sounds and betraying the fact that the medical examiner was likely from somewhere in the country. “The authorities will need to have a word with you.”

He fucking bet they did. They would want more than a word. They would want to arrest him. They would want to set him in a cell and leave him with absolutely no defenses and then someone would very quietly and calmly end him because this was a setup and he knew it. This was about making sure he was vulnerable.

Someone knew about the Irish mission. It was set to take place in a few hours. He was supposed to be on his way to Dublin to meet with the G2 team he had in place, some kid named Liam and his brother, Rory.

Charlotte couldn’t be dead. He’d made love to her hours before, driving into her body again and again while she clung to him. She was the strongest woman he’d ever met, and he’d managed to tame her. He’d managed to get a ring on her finger and a collar around her neck. He’d known the minute he’d laid eyes on her that she would belong to him.

Mine. His whole fucking being still called out to her. Mine.

“Are you listening, Mr. Taggart?” Ian could hear the voice, but it seemed far away, like someone was talking to him from a great distance.

His vision had narrowed to one thing, blocking out everything else.

God, Sean didn’t even know he’d gotten married. He hadn’t told his brother about the wedding and now his wife was dead. His life was in shambles and he couldn’t even reach out to his brother. Sean was somewhere in Afghanistan. Sean thought Ian was with a team in Iraq. Sean had no idea he worked for the CIA. None of them did. Alex might suspect it, but he would never ask.

Would they even tell his brother that he died in prison or would the US government cover it all up? Would he even die or would he be renditioned somewhere by god only knew who?

Why was he fucking thinking this way? He needed to move. He needed to get the fuck out of here. He needed…

He needed to be with her.

One of the technicians moved in and started to close the drawer that held Charlotte’s body. They would autopsy her later in an attempt to prove that Ian Taggart killed his wife. Ian had no doubt that they would come up with all types of evidence against him.

“Don’t you fucking close that!” He slammed his fist against the glass but it didn’t shatter like he wanted it to. It held firm. The tech guy looked like he was about to pee himself though.

And Charlotte was still dead.

“She doesn’t like closed spaces.” She was terrified of really tight places. Something about her childhood. Her father had been a controlling asshole who had tortured his daughters, and one of the ways he’d abused them was by locking them in small spaces. Charlotte hated even being in elevators.

Until he’d wrapped his arms around her and let her hide her eyes against his chest. At first he’d wondered if it had all been a game, a way to seduce him. She seemed to figure him out so easily, but there had been genuine fear in her eyes and her pulse had sped up.

It’s different with you, Master. I’m safe with you. Tell me I’m safe with you, Ian.

Charlotte was dead. He’d brought her into his life and now she was dead. She hadn’t been safe with him at all.

“Mr. Taggart, the police are here. You have to go with them now.”

The police had escorted him to the hospital, a couple of bobbies who had treated him with some respect, but he had no doubt he would get a visit from the detectives of New Scotland Yard. They wouldn’t be so careful with him. Or someone else would show up, the type of men who didn’t have restrictions on the way they treated a suspect. Men like Ian himself.

God, she was still so fucking gorgeous. Her skin was pale, but it was always pale. It didn’t make sense. She had to get up. She had to walk out of here with him.

He loved her.

If he went with the police, he might be able to be with her again. Maybe all that shit about heaven was right and he would be able to see Charlie. Maybe he could leave everything behind—all the lies and manipulation.

He’d been a different man with Charlotte, a softer man, a man who might have had a future.

God, he’d even thought about children in a vague, undefined way. Just a little fleeting vision of how sweet his Charlie would look with a baby in her arms.

Something touched his right shoulder and he reacted without thought, his elbow coming up and back. He felt the impact, heard the cracking sound of cartilage giving way, and then a flurry of curse words as the nightsticks made their first appearance.

He put his hands in the air, giving up this particular fight. He sure as fuck wasn’t going to get taken down in a goddamn morgue.

Oh, god, he was leaving his wife in a morgue.

He forced the pain down. Someone had killed Charlotte, and it likely had something to do with the operation he was working. He was tracking a Russian national who was attempting to buy nuclear material. Charlotte had ties to the Russian mafia. She hadn’t tried to hide it. She’d shown up at the club he was playing at while he worked in Paris, and he’d thought she would be a pleasant way to spend a couple of weeks and gather intelligence. It was only supposed to be some short-term sex, but somehow it had become more. Then he’d brought her to London with him and she’d been his lover, his wife, his submissive.

Now she was his mistake and someone was going to pay.

He got to the ground because there was nothing else for him to do but comply for the moment. The hall was too crowded for him to move. Once they got him in cuffs, he would only have his legs to work with, but he’d been in worse situations before. He couldn’t let them put him in a cell. The minute he was in a cell, he was a sitting duck.

A million scenarios ran through his head, but at the end of the day, he was alone. This was his operation, and he’d fucked it up.

   
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