Home > Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)(2)

Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)(2)
Author: Lexi Blake

Cold metal circled his wrists, and he let his body go limp. The cops struggled to get his six-and-a-half-foot frame upright, but he wasn’t going to help. No fucking way. A tired cop was a cop he could get away from. He would let the fuckers drag him the whole way.

A man in a suit and tie walked in. He was different from the cops, but there was no mistaking his authority. He had a partner with him, a slightly smaller male, still tall but leaner. They pulled badges out, showing off their credentials.

Ah, Scotland Yard had finally made their appearance. These men looked like they could handle themselves. These weren’t paunchy, over-the-hill detectives just trying to make their way to retirement. No. These were predators.

Maybe they were really Scotland Yard and maybe they weren’t. He was about to find out one way or the other.

The Agency would disavow any knowledge of him. He was utterly on his own. His brother had no idea where he was. His best friend was in Washington working at the FBI.

Ian Taggart would disappear into the system and another operative would take his place.

After a few moments of arguing, the larger of the two men stepped forward, having won the right to the prize at hand—him.

“Come with me,” the big man said with an elegant British accent. Ian bet he wouldn’t lose his perfectly upper-crust sounds when he was angry. He had an aristocratic look about him.

He had to run. He had to find a way to get to his contacts.

Ian looked back at the window as they began to haul him along, but the little fucker technician had shut the drawer, sealing Charlotte away from him.

He was in a daze. His eyes didn’t seem to want to function. His stomach was in knots. He didn’t want to leave her. How could he fucking leave her?

He struggled, reason fleeing. He needed to hold her again. He needed to be sure. Things in his world could be false, manipulative.

“Just a little more, mate.” The man he was walking beside never looked anywhere but toward the elevator. “And don’t bloody well try anything. I’ve had a rather rough night and would like to get home in one piece. I believe my handler would prefer to be the one to take me apart.”

His partner stepped up beside him, a smile on his face as he winked at one of the nurses. “Oh, aren’t you a pretty little bird. Are you sure we don’t have a minute, Damon? I won’t take long, and the Yank there looks like he could use a rest.”

One thing had gone right. One fucking thing. The elevator doors dinged open. “You’re MI6.”

The dark-haired one gave him a tip of his head. “Of course. Should have been here sooner, mate, but my partner insists on afternoon tea. The name’s Damon Knight.”

“And I’m Basil Champion the third, but obviously the third time’s the charm. You can call me Baz. I think the three of us are about to spend a bit of time together. We’ve hit a snag with the Irish. Into the lift you go before the police figure out we’re not really Scotland Yard and we all get fucked.”

They all stepped into the elevator.

Damon Knight pushed the button to go up and turned to him. “What do you know about a man named Liam O’Donnell?”

O’Donnell was an Irish operative, the very one he’d hand selected to meet with the Russian. He felt numb, but compelled to ask the question. “What’s gone wrong?”

“Everything.”

The doors closed and despite the fact that he had two other men with him, Ian suddenly knew he would always be alone.

* * * *

Charlotte Dennis came awake in complete darkness. For just a moment she thought she’d gone blind. The drugs she’d taken could cause numerous horrific side effects. Maybe this was just one of them. But the pain in her shoulder was pure gunshot wound. Fuck. Had they taken the bullet out? She’d known they would have to leave it in for a while. If they had taken the fucking bullet out, they might have noticed she was still bleeding. Corpses didn’t bleed. She was sure someone had given her a drug to stop the bleeding but removing the bullet would have started it again. Was she still bleeding? Still pierced by metal?

God, she was in so much pain, and the ache in her heart was worse than the bullet wound.

“Hello?”

Someone was supposed to be here to take her to Chelsea. She and Chelsea were supposed to be free of their father now.

“Hello?” She felt weak, but then her body had been so close to death that no one would suspect she was alive.

Where was Ian now? Had they arrested him? She wasn’t stupid. She knew what Eli Nelson was trying to do. He wanted to “distract” a CIA operative. What better way would there be to distract him than to kill him?

The trouble was, her husband was damn hard to kill.

God, if she found out he’d been arrested and killed while in custody, she would lie back down and she wouldn’t need drugs. She would die, just fade away.

Why did Ian Taggart have to be the one man in the world for her?

Charlie took a breath, her head still groggy. She needed to get to her sister. She hadn’t seen Chelsea for months. What if their father had hurt her again? What if he’d killed her? She had to see Chelsea, make sure she was alive.

And she had to save Ian. She had to find a way.

But first she had to find the light switch.

She tried to move her good arm and felt cold metal at her fingertips. Her hands began to shake in a way that had nothing to do with the drugs she’d taken.

The lights weren’t off in the room. She wasn’t in a room.

She sent her hand out, desperate to prove her instincts wrong, to prove she wasn’t trapped in a box.

All she found was more metal. She wasn’t trapped in a box. She was trapped in a coffin.

The scream that came from her throat nearly split her ears. She was fourteen years old again and trapped in that box her father would lock her in when she rebelled. Sometimes, she wasn’t alone in the box. Sometimes a rat or a snake had managed to find its way in and Charlie had to kill it with her hands or feet. She could still remember that snake biting her over and over and over before she’d found a way to kill it. Luckily it hadn’t been venomous, but she hadn’t known that.

She smashed her hands against the walls that held her and screamed the way she had when she was a kid.

No. Not the same because now she screamed a name.

Now she screamed for her husband. The husband she’d betrayed.

She felt her whole body jerk back and then light flooded her vision.

   
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