Left with no memory but one: The baby was his. Left for dead, spy Jacob Lomax had no recollection of who he was or who had tried to kill him. The only thing he responded to was Grace Renne, and she made his body feel very much alive.... Grace was all too familiar with Jacob's body, but his emotions had always been hidden from her. His sudden appearance on her doorstep had frightened and excited her. Never had she seen this side of him--lethal, but protective. He was the perfect man to keep her and her baby safe from hard-core killers, but did he have the skills to be a proper father, too?
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September 08, 2008
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Excerpt from Secret Agent, Secret Father by Dana Marton
"With the pain came consciousness.
It pierced the cataleptic depths with jagged teeth that gnawed through skull and skin.
The man lifted his head, testing. Blood coated his tongue, coppery and thick. He groaned as the nausea tightened his gut, pressed into his chest.
They're coming! The words screamed at him through the blanket of fog, adding a bite to the pain. His eyes fluttered open. Blurred lines altered, then cleared into comprehensible patterns.
Rain trickled in through the half-shattered windshield. The splatter of water mixed with his blood turning the air bag pink in the semidarkness. A light pole lay bent across the top of the sports coup�, its base uprooted from the cement.
How long had he been unconscious? He shifted, trying to relieve the pressing weight on his lungs, focusing on the half-deflated air bag wedged between the steering wheel and his chest.
A shaft of white heat impaled his right shoulder. He let out a slow hiss.
After a moment, he pulled his other arm in from the driver's side window, noting for the first time he held a pistol tight in his grip. The silver flashed in the night. The cold steel felt good in the palm of his hand. No, more than good, he thought. Familiar.
He fumbled with the safety belt, released the lock. Tightening his jaw, he shoved his good shoulder against the car door, stiffened at the new surge of pain, the wave of dizziness. Metal scraped, glass crackled. Another push and the door gave way. Slowly he slid through the opening and then stood, using the mangled roof for support.
Sirens wailed in the distance. Instinctively he turned. Bile rose, burned his throat. The ground tilted beneath him.Swearing, he fell to his knees and vomited.
They were coming for him. Cops. Rescue workers. It didn't matter which. Both filed reports.
Reports left paper trails.
With gun in hand, he waited a moment for his stomach to settle, using the time to get his bearings.
Rows of houses, dull with age and earth-toned brick, flanked the street. Each with covered porches that lay behind picket fences or scattered hedges. Each containing onlookers, mostly white-haired couples, their arms tightly wrapped over their chests, holding closed a variety of plaid and terry cloth robes.
Those who didn't brave the elements took protection from the rain behind the narrow bay windows of their homes. Their fingers held the curtains slightly apart, while eyes squinted with curiosity and fear, deepened the grooves of their features.
Enough fear to keep them away from the armed stranger who had invaded their quiet suburban neighborhood.
Carefully, he turned his head, his eyes searching the shadows of the road. How far was he from her?
A bent street post lay no more than five feet from the wrecked light pole. Proctor Avenue?
Too far, his mind whispered. Too far to help.
The sirens grew louder placing his rescuers no more than a few minutes out.
Hot needles pricked his eye sockets and images began to swim. A black fog seeped in, setting off another wave of dizziness. Struggling against the void, he rammed his injured shoulder into the car. Pain exploded through his arm, jarring his spine, driving consciousness forward, forcing the obscurity back.
Sheer willpower put him on his feet. He swayed, then stumbled. Warn her, his mind screamed. Before he passed out. Before his enemies found him.
Or worse, the whisper came. Before they found her.
A storm swept over the outskirts of Annapolis. The air crackled and snapped, alive with the hum of lightning, the boom of thunder. Below, stinging sheets of rain pounded water and land with heavy fists, spurred by the fierce Chesapeake winds.
Grace Renne stood by her bay window holding one billowing curtain in her grip. When the bark of the storm reached her, a twinge of sadness worked up the back of her throat.
For the last several years she'd lived on the bay, admiring the city's fortitude, appreciating its history. It was a city born amidst the turmoil of the American Revolution. Time-honored traditions cemented every cobblestone, forged every piece of iron, framed every structure for more than three hundred years.
Grace caught a whiff of burning wood--fireplaces combating the early autumn chill. Underneath the smoke lingered the richer scent of the sea and sand. Slowly, she drew in a deeper breath, enjoyed the bite of salt on the back of her tongue.
She loosened her grip until the curtain fluttered against her fingertips. Scents, textures...intuition were her tools to live by. Characteristics, her father insisted with irritation, she'd gotten from her mother.
She'd gotten her mother's looks, too. The pale, blond hair that hung in a long, straight curtain. The light brown eyes that softened with humor, narrowed in temper. Delicate features--until one looked close enough and saw the purpose, the character that shaped the high cheekbones and the feminine jaw.