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Deadly Sight

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Deadly Sight
Cindy Dees

Since Grayson Pierce’s family was murdered, loyalty to Code X – and a death wish – is all that keeps him going.But now the hardened agent is facing his riskiest assignment yet, with a distractingly sexy operative. But will their combustible chemistry compromise their mission?

“The neighbors will be watching,” she murmured.

“In that case …” Grayson bent down and swept his arms around her. He lifted her in his arms and strode toward the front door. But, oh, the price of it. Using techniques a trauma therapist had taught him, he blanked his mind completely. And then bit by bit, he let in the details of this one moment. The cool air. The autumn smell of burned leaves. The weight and softness of the woman in his arms. A hint of roses as she shifted slightly. The way his breathing deepened in response to her.

Laughing, she reached down to open the door for him. He added the sultry delight in her laughter to his inventory of sensations.

Carefully, carefully he reached past this moment to the next safest thing: his job. This was a cover. They had to establish themselves as a couple. Being absolutely certain to let no emotion creep into him, he paused in the doorway and leaned his head down to kiss her.

About the Author

CINDY DEES started flying airplanes while sitting in her dad’s lap at the age of three and got a pilot’s license before she got a driver’s license. At age fifteen, she dropped out of high school and left the horse farm in Michigan, where she grew up, to attend the University of Michigan. After earning a degree in Russian and East European studies, she joined the US Air Force and became the youngest female pilot in its history. She flew supersonic jets, VIP airlift and the C-5 Galaxy, the world’s largest airplane. During her military career, she traveled to forty countries on five continents, was detained by the KGB and East German secret police, got shot at, flew in the first Gulf War and amassed a lifetime’s worth of war stories.

Her hobbies include medieval reenacting, professional Middle Eastern dancing and Japanese gardening.


Award-winning author’s first book was published in 2002 and since then she has published more than twenty-five bestselling and award-winning novels. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at www.cindydees.com.

Deadly Sight

Cindy Dees

www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk)

Chapter 1

Grayson Pierce looked at his watch impatiently. The plane was late. Either that or his Rolex had suddenly lost its orderly Swiss mind. How he was supposed to help with this very, very off-book investigation, he had no idea. But his old fraternity brother from Stanford, Jeff Winston, had asked for help, and that was enough for him.

The way he heard it, Jeff had been doing the U.S. government massive favors left, right and center, and Uncle Sam owed Jeff one back. Gray frowned. What kind of debt merited pulling a senior field agent like him out of deep cover on no notice and sending him to West Virginia, of all places? What crisis of national security significance could be afoot in this bucolic setting?

Finally. The whine of a jet became audible in the distance. Gray picked out the white speck, which rapidly grew larger, descending on final approach into the Elkins-Randolph County Regional Airport. Jeff was sending some guy named Sam Jessup here to help with whatever was brewing around a local cult leader named Proctor.

The thrust reversers of a sleek Learjet bearing the Winston Enterprises logo screamed as the plane came to a stop at the far end of the runway, did a one-eighty, and taxied toward him. He was parked in a vintage 1972 Ford Bronco outside the gold, two-story box of a terminal, such as it was. Chicago O’Hare, this airport was not. He pulled up beside the low jet and hopped out as the hatch popped open. A pilot wearing a crisp uniform trotted down the steps.

A pair of high-heeled, black leather boots with chrome ankle chains and stiletto heels that looked like lethal weapons appeared on the top steps. Slim calves came into view. The shapely legs turned out to be a mile long and sheathed in leather that looked painted on. A black leather jacket with slashes of red leather under the arms emerged from the shadows. Good Lord, the jacket was unzipped down to … well, that was an impressive flash of cleavage. What did the woman have on under the jacket to cause that gravity-defying display? An urge to tug the zipper down and find out made his fingers itch.

A swirl of flaming red hair swished over her shoulder. It was the color of strawberries and oranges if they got together and made a baby. A slender, porcelain-pale neck came into view, and then lush lips painted the most improbable shade of scarlet he’d seen in a long time.

The asymmetric triangles of her black sunglasses wrapped around her head like something straight out of a science-fiction movie. He’d lay odds she had body piercings in places he did not want to know about, too.

Who the hell was she? Surely Jessup didn’t bring his sex-kitten girlfriend on whatever mission this was. Maybe she was some sort of contact who would take him to Jessup. Gray frowned as no one else was forthcoming from the jet. The goth chick was looking at him expectantly, so he stepped forward and held out his hand. “Welcome to West Virginia. I’m Grayson Pierce.”

She took his hand in the firm grip most American women used, and which still startled him. “Sammie Jo Jessup. Nice to meet you.”

“Sammie Jo—” Oh, dear God. No. “As in Sam Jessup?”

The woman’s lips curved into a dazzling smile that almost, but not quite, redeemed her extreme attire. “Let me guess. Jeff didn’t tell you I’m a woman. He thinks that’s hilarious to spring on people.”

“Right. Hilarious,” he replied dryly.

“So let’s blow this popsicle stand,” she declared, “and you can brief me in. Call me Sam if you like.”

He didn’t like. The name made her sound like a man. And despite her … avant-garde … fashion choices, she was anything but masculine under all that leather and chrome.

He slung her black duffel bag in the back of the Bronco, and with a word of thanks to the pilot, she climbed in next to him. Oddly, she smelled like roses. The old-fashioned kind with undertones of Earl Grey tea and cinnamon. A dim memory of his grandmother’s formal rose garden flashed to mind. Acres of manicured green lawns and white-linen tablecloths covered with Royal Albert china rolled through his mind’s eye unbidden. Bemused, he guided the Bronco out of the airport and onto an asphalt road that wound up into the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Although they weren’t blue at all. Fall was just starting to paint the rolling hillsides in splashes of gold and crimson, oranges and maroons that were rapidly overtaking the carpet of green.

“Wow. Pretty,” Sammie Jo commented at random.

He glanced over at her and was startled that she appeared to be studying him and not the scenery. It was hard to tell behind those dark sunglasses of hers. Had she just called him pretty? He chose to pretend she’d been referring to the scenery. “I’m told it’s spectacular when the colors peak around here.”

“Mmm. So why am I here?”

Direct, this woman. “I have no idea. Jeff Winston called me and said he needed my help figuring out what some local nut job is up to. Guy named Proctor. I assumed you would know what’s going on since you work for Jeff.”

“Nope. He didn’t tell me anything more than that. But Jeff never does anything randomly. He clearly wants you and me to have a look around the local area. Turn over a few rocks and see what we find.”

“That seems damned random of him.”

“Agreed.” She nodded. “There’s clearly something going on. He must want us to take an unbiased look at it.”

Frustration rattled through him. “Look. I have other responsibilities to get back to, and I don’t have time for chasing shadows and vague rumors.”

An eyebrow climbed above the upper rim of one tilting triangle of her sunglasses. “Like I do have time for games?” she demanded.

“Hey. He’s your boss. Take it up with Winston.”

They fell into silence and drove for some miles before he felt the least bit inclined to be civil again. Dammit, Jeff was his fraternity brother and had been a loyal friend through some rough times. He owed the guy at least a shot at making this investigation, or whatever it was, work.

Gray sighed and said, “Jeff rented us a motel room in a burg called Mapletop. It’s smack-dab in the middle of the National Radio Quiet Zone. Are you familiar with that?”

“Tell me about it.”

“It’s an area encompassing 13,000 square miles and straddling the Virginia-West Virginia border. It was set aside in the 1950s to surround the world’s largest radio telescope, which is an incredibly sensitive instrument. Inside the Zone, only very limited radio emissions are allowed. There are no cell phones, no Wi-Fi and only a handful of low-power radio stations. All electronic emissions generated in this area have to be approved so they don’t interfere with the telescopes.”

She nodded as if she already knew all that.

“We’ll enter the NRQZ in a few miles, and your wireless devices will lose signal shortly thereafter. If you have any last-minute phone calls to make, email to check, or texts to send, now’s the time to do it.”

“No one to call,” she said grimly.

His finely honed intuition sensed a story, but he didn’t pry. She wasn’t here to overshare her personal life with him, and he didn’t want to know, anyway. He had a job to do—assuming he could figure out what the damned job was.

What had Jeff been thinking to send this woman, who was as clueless as him, out here? It wasn’t like she was going to blend in with the locals in the least. This region was about country music, log cabins and outdoor sports. Sammie Jo Jessup looked like a character from a science-fiction movie.
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