As a hostage negotiator for Taylor Security, Gavin Sheppard has just been given the toughest assignment of his career: securing the release of his boss’s pregnant wife. He’s uneasy negotiating a rescue without the involvement of the police, but with the life of a woman and her unborn child on the line there’s no time to play by the rules. He’ll have to work closely with the one woman who could prove to be a distraction…
Janet Fink, the agency’s tech geek, is conflicted about working alongside the man she’s irresistibly attracted to. Though she’s determined not to risk her career by getting involved with a coworker, especially a superior, she can’t forget the passionate kiss they once shared…
With the kidnappers’ deadline fast approaching, Gavin and Janet must combine their skills to bring the missing woman home alive. But their undeniable chemistry is making it difficult to keep their relationship purely professional…
At 10:20 a.m. Gavin stepped into Mike Taylor’s office and
found his boss sitting at his pristine, glass-topped desk, his sleeves rolled
to his elbows and his dark hair sticking up in the back.
He checked his watch. Yep. 10:20.
The man’s appearance was typically as neat as his office.
His hair sticking up? This early? In Mike’s OCD world? Unacceptable.
Whatever Gavin had been summoned for had to be a disaster.
Stabbing pin pricks crawled up his neck. He shifted his gaze left. Vic Andrews,
Taylor Security’s executive vice president, leaned against the window sill with
his arms crossed, eyes narrowed and a general I’m-pissed-off-at-the-world aura.
Gavin stepped forward. “What’s up?”
Mike held his hands prayerlike in front of him, his fingers
mashed together until his veins popped.
Screwed in a big way.
Vic boosted off the window sill. “Roxann has been
Bam! Forget the warm-up. Gavin threw his shoulders back and
those pin pricks turned to dagger stabs. Had he heard right? He shifted to
Mike. “Your Roxann?”
“Have they made contact? Ransom?”
“Not yet. I got a call a few minutes ago. They said no cops
and to expect communication in the next hour.”
“Where’d they grab her?”
Mike looked down, shook his head and scrubbed his hands over
his face. “I don’t know. We left together this morning. She was heading to the
lake house to get ready for the Fourth of July party on Saturday. I’ve got
Gizmo getting me a trace on her car.”
That wouldn’t do them any good. Even the most inexperienced
kidnapper would know a high-end Mercedes would have factory-installed tracking.
Couple that with the car being owned by the man who ran not only Chicago’s, but
one of the nation’s most elite private security companies and it was a
no-brainer they’d be able to locate the car. The kidnappers probably abandoned
it somewhere. Mike knew that and Gavin wouldn’t voice it.
“Are you considering calling the FBI?”
Vic moved to the side of the desk. “No feds.”
Gavin ignored him. “Mike?”
Lost that round.
“The FBI,” Mike continued, “has to play by the rules. We
don’t. I want my wife back without having to deal with red tape.”
“Damn straight,” Vic added. “We got everything we need. We
find her and we go in and get her. End of story.”
Gavin finally looked at him. “End of story? What’s wrong
with you? You and your merry men charging in there with your flash bangs and
weapons will escalate the situation.”
“Screw that,” Vic said. “These assholes won’t know what hit
them. Once we find her, we’ll be in there so fast they won’t have time to draw
on us. Besides, what the hell do we need the FBI for when we have you?”
Gavin breathed deep. A sound argument considering, prior to
six months ago, he’d spent the last twelve years as an FBI hostage negotiator.
“Has it occurred to you that we are not in some war-torn country? You’re
talking about doing a takedown on U.S. soil. In case you weren’t aware, if
someone gets shot, there are laws against that sort of thing.”
Mike put both hands up. “Enough.” He dragged his gaze from
Vic to Gavin. “Look, Gavin, all due respect, I’m not calling the feds.”
“Thank you,” Vic said.
“But we’re not going tactical either. Yet. Gavin will
negotiate her release.”
There it was. The assignment of his career.
“Mike,” Vic said. “Why waste time trying to head-shrink our
way out of this?”
Jab number one. Gavin folded his arms, let the anger inside
flash and burn before reacting. Considering Vic was married to Mike’s sister
and his own emotions were likely in play, he’d give him a pass on the
head-shrinker comment. “We’re not head-shrinking. We don’t know who these
people are or what they want. Let’s figure that out and then make a plan.”