Sadie Brooks grew up knowing she was different…special. And she thought the undercover work she did for the government was making a difference…making a better world. Then she discovered she was simply an asset—to be used or destroyed at whim. Escaping her government controllers, Sadie is determined to get her revenge on the organization responsible for the death of her twin sister—the Conclave.
Ethan Weiland has doubts about the Conclave but he’s never known anything else. Brought up from birth as the next hereditary leader, Ethan has never questioned his destiny. Until he comes face to face with a beautiful enemy who can read his mind and bring him to his knees with a thought. For the first time, Ethan sees a chance for redemption. When he’s in charge, he’ll be able to change things.
Too bad it won’t be that simple….
“WOW, talk about SUSPENSE!! Nina Croft spins a tight web of intrigue, double crossing, doubt, and lies. I couldn’t stop reading.”
“The premise is entertaining and intriguing; the characters are colorful, dynamic and challenging; the romance is passionate and forbidden.”
“Croft can write suspense, danger and shoot-em-up scenes. Flawlessly. How Travis takes an impact with a bullet or who Sadie pulls to safety behind a table reveals as much about them as anything we are told. Not a word is wasted and each one enriches the storytelling.”
“I really loved the story it was perfectly balanced between the investigation, action, romance, new elements…secondary characters are so funny and interesting.”
Ethan Weiland pulled his car in a few doors down from the house. After switching off the engine and lights, he sat for a moment, staring at his hands on the wheel. He’d never been one to avoid unpleasant truths, so he didn’t try to deny the fact: I don’t want to do this.
That didn’t mean he wouldn’t. He’d done many things in his time that he found distasteful. This was just one more. And he couldn’t even deny that it needed doing—well, according to the weird set of rules he lived his life by. When people joined the Conclave, it was for life. Of course, by the time anyone even knew of the Conclave’s existence, it was too late to back out. It was join or…well…the alternative, while not spelled out, was made very clear.
He took a deep breath, picked up his bag of equipment from the passenger seat, and climbed out of the car. The air was cold and a few flakes of snow drifted in the sky, settling on his shoulders. Winter was his favorite season in London.
He stood for a moment, letting the freezing air clear his mind of doubts. It was too late for reservations. For him, as a hereditary member of the Conclave, it had been too late on the day he’d been conceived, his future already set out.
At close to ten o’clock on a weeknight, the up-market residential street was quiet, though lights glowed behind heavy curtains. Only Forrester’s house was in darkness. An alley led between the buildings, opening into a lane that ran parallel, and he counted off the houses until he came to Forrester’s. He pulled himself up and over the five-foot fence and into the yard beyond. Here, the house was also in darkness and unease prickled across his skin.
Something was wrong. Ethan had learned early to rely on his gut instincts. Was Forrester already gone? He didn’t think so. The man was unlikely to bolt without funds, and Ethan had locked up his accounts as soon as he’d begun moving his assets. From that moment, Forrester had been a marked man.
As he drew closer, Ethan’s eyes fixed on something.
The glass of the window had been cut, a clean round circle to allow the latch to be opened. Someone had gotten here before him. But who?
After slipping his hand through the cut glass, he opened the latch and slid the window up. He climbed over the ledge and pulled a torch from his bag, flashed it around the room. His nostrils filled with the sweet, heavy scent of alcohol, and he played the beam of the torch over the floor. Broken bottles littered the deep red carpet, and an overturned cabinet spilled out its contents. Another stood still upright, all the drawers opened, papers pulled out as though a robbery had taken place. Ethan didn’t believe it for a moment.
Through an open doorway, a figure slumped in an upright chair.
Shit. Too fucking late.
He stood for a minute, listening, but the place was silent. Whoever had done this was gone, and he cursed silently that he hadn’t put a watch on the house and the man.
As he drew closer, the sharp tang of blood filled the air. Forrester had been tied to the chair, a neat hole in the center of his forehead, a splash of dark blood on the wall behind him where the bullet had exited.
Why had he been running?
And who had killed him? That was supposed to be Ethan’s job. There were protocols.
He switched off the torch and made his way in darkness back though the house, and then to his car. He got inside but didn’t start the engine.
He’d thought this was a routine case of a member getting cold feet, and it was his job to prevent it. But now there was clearly a third party involved.
A movement up the road caught his eye. Two women were strolling along the pavement from the opposite end of the long street. A blonde and a brunette, both tall, both wearing very short dresses and high heels.
He waited for them to pass; instead, they came to a halt outside the gate leading to Forrester’s house. Ethan pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and took a picture. After studying the house for a moment, the blonde pushed open the gate. Again, they paused at the door, then she put her hand to the handle and pushed. The door swung open, and a second later, they disappeared inside.
He knew from the files that Forrester had a habit of employing high-class hookers. Was that what this was?
What else could it be? He could think of no reason why anyone would visit a murder scene after the fact. But he was conditioned to be thorough. He punched the number of the Conclave’s contact at the Metropolitan Police into the cell phone. “There’s been a break-in and murder at 44 Layton Street. There are two women there now. I want to know who they are.” He closed the call without waiting for an answer and sent the picture to the same number.
Time to go.