Brilliant chemist Tamara Chen can't believe the wild desire she feels for ex-Delta Force operative Nate Pratchett, especially with their lives on the line. But his strong body offers her the comfort she needs during this insane period--when she, Nate and his team are wanted, dead or alive.
Nate knows he's stealing pleasure with sweet Tam on borrowed time. They're just a step ahead of their enemies, and as commander it's Nate's job to keep them all safe--not spend every spare moment making love with Tam.
But when you're this close to death it's the only way to feel alive.
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February 28, 2007
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Excerpt from Reckoning by Jo Leigh
NATE PRATCHETT stared down into hell, watching the underground lab burn. They'd found Tam. They'd either killed or taken her, and both options made him sick to his stomach. If they'd found Tam, he had to assume they'd found them all. As he was standing here, they might be at Kate and Vince's, at his place where Cade was going over recordings from the bugs placed in the office Omicron used as a front in downtown L.A. All his friends might be dead.
He stepped back as the heat intensified, and that was lucky because something down in the lab exploded, rocking the building around him. He had to get out of here, now, before the whole place came down.
The complex itself had been an incredible find, but there had always been inherent danger. Built by Colom-bian drug dealers, it had been an underground labyrinth of rooms and escape routes. He'd turned it into a lab for Tam, who'd been a virtual prisoner there during the past two years as she'd worked on the antidote for the deadly gas created by Omicron. Now it was ashes and the end of hope.
There was only one chance that she wasn't dead or captured, but he hesitated. If she wasn't there, No, he had to go. Had to know. If she had made it out, she was probably hurt.
That thought spurred him into a run. He was halfway down the block before it occurred to him that he was heading straight for the Plan B building, and that Omicron might be watching him.
It wasn't like him to be so careless, but shit, Tam. He darted into an abandoned building nearby and pressed himself against a wall while his eyes grew ac-customed to the dark. It was one of the many ram-shackle buildings in the projects of East Los Angeles that had once housed the poor. Even they'd moved on, except for those too whacked-out on drugs or alcohol, or who thought they could still make a buck. Mostly rats lived there. Rats and packs of dogs.
He could see now--shapes at least. There were almost no working street lights here. The city had stopped replacing them. Which made it an excellent hiding space, but damned hard to negotiate without a flashlight.
One thing in his favor, and hopefully Tam's, was that they'd gone over this route over and over again. He'd wanted her to be able to find her way in the pitch-black night. He'd wanted her safe.
IN DARKNESS SO BLACK IT FELT like blindness, Tamara Chen touched her eyes to see if they were open. The gun in her other hand shook from her trembling, making her feel useless and petrified.
She'd just killed a man.
He'd been alive one second and dead the next, and it didn't seem to matter that he'd tried to kill her. She'd pulled the trigger. The recoil had knocked her against the wall of the lab and hurt her wrist, but even so she'd shot him in the head. A fluke, an accident. One that had saved her life.
nothing against the frigid January air. She'd left her coat. Her cell phone had been destroyed, along with her clothes, her pictures, her journals. Everything she had was now gone except the clothes she wore and the flash drive that hung on a long chain around her neck.
The last five years of her life were stored in it, and she could go to any computer, plug it in the USB port and there it would be. Formulas, notes, test results. Failures.
The last two weeks in the lab had been a new kind of hell for her. Nothing she'd experienced before, whether in school or at work, had prepared her for a failure of such magnitude. What in hell had made her think she could save the day? She was a biochemist. A good one. But she'd fallen so short of the mark on this one--
A sound, the crack of a branch? A backfire in the distance? She lifted the gun again, still shaking as badly as when she'd first planted herself in the corner.