He had one chance to bring down a criminal, and operative Cal Spencer wasn't about to let a beautiful brunette stand in his way. Unfortunately ex-cop Gina Torno refused to step aside and let Cal take over a mission she and her team had spent months executing. Cal admired Gina's perseverance, but when she suggested they join forces Cal was torn. Letting down his guard and trusting her could cost him his life. Yet he needed intimate details only she could provide...not to mention their barely controlled attraction made it difficult to deny her anything. Including answers to who he really was...
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Intimate Details by Dana Marton
French Polynesia One week later
Gina Torno padded barefoot toward the ocean, wearing nothing but a midnight-blue bikini, keeping an eye out for the motley staff that worked on their mysterious host's private island. The rest of her team--Carly, Anita and Sam--were all busy conducting their own recon missions. They needed to cover ground quickly, which required splitting up.
Two workmen were hammering something at the dock, wearing jeans and nothing else, swearing up a blue streak. The yacht that had brought the women in the night before from Acapulco was still there, as were two motorboats. The water was the most brilliant azure. Unlike Seven Mile Beach, which they had left behind on Grand Cayman, where tourists stirred up the sand.
The contrast between the gorgeous, unspoiled environment and the evil-hearted man who owned it was startling. If their mysterious host was Tsernyakov. They'd been hunting for the man for months now, and he proved to be as elusive as the morning mist over the ocean.
Was it possible they had him finally? Were they in time to stop a tragedy? Was he even now on the island? They'd been told that Joseph Towers was delayed on the mainland on business. But if he were Tsernyakov, they could hardly expect him to play it straight. He could be anywhere. Even here, watching them.
The staff studiously avoided any questions about him, always busy with one construction project or another. An early-season cyclone had brushed the island a few days ago and taken down some trees and rooftops.
She came upon two men sitting on a pile of coconut palms that had been twisted out by the wind.
"How are you doing?"
They had been deep in conversation and went back to it once she passed them. Doctors from California, here on their own business--whatever that was. They'd been introduced last night when her team had arrived.
Gina came to a fork in the path and continued in the direction of the utility building instead of the beach. She came around a handful of coconut palms that were still standing and got an unobstructed view of the structure. A Slavic-looking guy was replacing a broken window in the front.
"Are you looking for someone?" He stopped what he was doing. Tall, blond and muscular, he had the same alert vigilance as the others, as if they--down to the last handyman--were all moonlighting on some security task force.
She smiled the clueless-tourist smile. "I don't suppose you've seen three women go this way? My friends. We just got here last night. This place is huge." She looked around bewildered.
"I've only been out here for a few minutes," the guy said, focusing on her cleavage.
"Thanks." She smiled again and kept walking, having no idea what to do next or where the path led. She put one foot in front of the other until she was out of sight, then moved off into the jumble of flowering bushes and doubled back, ignoring the stones and sharp bark she had to walk over now that she was off the paved path. She watched the ground for anything that moved. God only knew what kinds of nasty creepy crawlers lived under the bushes on tropical islands. She would just as soon not meet any.
She slowed, then stopped behind the last stand of taller vegetation. There was another guy in the back, up on the roof, dragging palm-frond thatching into place. Looked as though the wind had hit the building from that end and swirled the back of the roof.
She squatted out of sight and waited. Her team's first task upon arriving on the island was twofold: to map the place and to figure out where Tsernyakov was hiding if he was here, which meant they had to comb through every building. Once they had confirmation that he was on location, they would call in the cavalry. Then they would stay out of the way while the FBI did their job.
The task seemed easy enough, except that, suspiciously, none of their cell phones seemed to work on the island. Until they figured something out, they were cut off from potential backup.
She'd liked Grand Cayman, but this island gave her the creeps. There were too many people--supposedly support staff--who were always watching. And, sure, the beach looked idyllic--all pink sand and rustic bungalows--but when they'd come in last night, she'd looked out the cabin window a few times and seen different buildings on the other side of the island. Square and stocky, without windows, they'd looked like otherworldly bomb shelters in the moonlight.
The roofer patted the palm fronds into place, then jumped to the ground and disappeared around the building. He left his tools, which meant he would be coming back. Gina stole up to the corner and peeked around it. Window guy was still there. She went to the other side. Bingo. Another broken window, about two feet by two feet. Large enough to fit through, perhaps. Looked as if most of the broken glass had been beaten out, but a few jagged edges still stuck out from the frame.