Release Date: September 18, 2018
It was supposed to be a simple job for hacker Bliss Bennett: access confidential files and turn them over to the CIA. But something went wrong—and now Bliss has a target on her back. With no idea who to trust, she heads straight toward the one man she hopes won’t turn her away.
Sky “Hacker” Kelley is a badass Special Operator with lethal moves and mad computer skills. He hasn’t seen his former lover—former wife—in four years, not since she nearly cost him his military career. Her arrival on his doorstep in the middle of the night reveals a gut-deep truth—he might want nothing to do with her, but he still wants her. And as much as he’d love to slam the door in her face, Sky isn’t wired to turn away anyone in distress.
Protecting Bliss won’t be easy. The files she stole are at the heart of a dangerous conspiracy, and someone is willing to do whatever it takes—including kill—to get them back. It’ll take all Sky’s considerable black-ops skills to keep Bliss safe—and all his willpower to resist falling into her bed, and her life, ever again…
Sky “Hacker” Kelley stared at the message on his laptop before snapping it closed with a growl. Why had he clicked it? Why? It’d been in his inbox for a couple of days now. He’d been steadfastly ignoring it, though he hadn’t been able to ignore the range of emotions it called up inside.
Fury, hate, desire, rage. More rage, more hate, more desire. The desire was the maddening part. He got up and headed for the kitchen, intent on getting another beer and getting drunk before the night was over. He’d been over at Garret “Iceman” Spencer’s house with his Alpha and Echo Squad teammates, drinking and having a good time. Except he hadn’t been having all that great a time, mostly because fucking Bliss’s message was preying on his mind. The fact she’d messaged him at all, actually, because he still hadn’t read it at that point. It took a lot of fucking nerve to contact him after so long.
After what she’d done.
He hadn’t taken three steps toward the kitchen when the doorbell rang. Fuck. It was almost ten o’clock at night. It could be Mrs. Ernst wanting to borrow a cup of sugar. The woman found an excuse to visit him every couple of days. Hell, she didn’t even bake because she’d never once offered him a brownie or a cookie, even when she insisted that’s what she needed the sugar for.
He never had the sugar because he didn’t cook. And he damned sure didn’t bake. He went to the door and looked out the peephole.
His heart stopped. Just stopped. A small figure stood on the other side. Dark sleek hair, full lips, wide-set eyes, an air of innocence that was an absolute fucking lie.
He felt nothing at seeing that face. Nothing at all.
And then he felt everything. Anger, hot and swift, rushed through his veins. He started to leave her standing there but he’d had enough to drink that his inhibitions were down. He jerked the door open before he could think better of it.
She blinked up at him, long dark lashes framing pretty blue eyes. She was wearing a pair of jeans, tennis shoes, and a tank top that clung to her breasts. A Louis Vuitton bag hung from her shoulder. Of course it did. Bliss liked her luxuries.
She smiled tentatively. “Hello, Sky. It’s been a while.”
Rage urged him to slam the door. Curiosity wouldn’t let him. He should, but he had to know. What the fuck was she doing here?
“What the hell do you want, Bliss?”
She arched an eyebrow. And then she wrapped a mantle of self-righteousness around her shoulders just like she’d thrown on a blanket to ward off a chill. “Is that any way to talk to your wife?”
A strange kind of melancholy rolled over him. “We aren’t married. Got a divorce, remember?”
She nibbled her lip and threw a glance over her shoulder. “I know that. But we used to be.”
He gripped the door frame and tried not to rip it off the hinges. “And now we’re not. Any obligation I had toward you is over.”
She frowned and threw a glance over her shoulder. “Can I come in?”
His eyebrows climbed his forehead. “Are you kidding me? No. What for anyway? You think we’re going to have a tea party and discuss the past?”
“I need your help, Sky. Someone is trying to kill me.”
“Good for them. You probably deserve it.” He started to push the door closed but she launched herself at it. Wedged her small body into the opening. Her eyes were wide, frightened. Determined.
“Sky, please. I’m not kidding. Just hear me out. If you don’t want to help me once I’ve told you what’s going on, I’ll leave. Just give me a chance.”
He wanted to push her backward and shut the door in her face. He envisioned it. Relished it. But, fuck, the fear on her face was real. He’d worked long enough in Special Ops to recognize terror when he saw it. Part of him wanted to throw her out anyway.
Bliss was a con woman. A brilliant hacker who had no problems stealing or lying or cheating her way to a paycheck. Sure, she’d been working for the government when she’d conned him, but it didn’t matter. She’d have done it for anybody who paid her.
And maybe she was doing it now. Maybe this whole thing was an act and the fact he’d been drinking was messing up his bullshit censors and making him believe she was really scared. Or maybe her acting had improved.
But refusing to help people wasn’t what he did. It wasn’t who he was. He yanked the door open. “Five minutes, Bliss. And it better be good or I’m throwing your ass onto the street and I don’t care what happens after that.”
She came inside and he closed the door behind her. But not before looking at the parking lot and the street. Nothing moved—or nothing that was out of place, anyway. A cat. A car that crawled past on its way out of the complex. A dog barked. Someone shouted, but he couldn’t see them.
He turned to face her. She stood in his living room, bag still on her shoulder, looking small and more vulnerable than he believed she was. There was a con here somewhere, but he couldn’t see it yet.
He headed toward the kitchen and retrieved the beer he’d been after. “Want one?” he asked, throwing her a glance from the coolness of the fridge.
He shut the door and shrugged. “Suit yourself.” Then he strolled over and sank onto the couch, kicking up his feet and crossing them at the ankles. “So what’s the problem, Bliss? You piss somebody off?”
She sighed and perched on the arm of a chair, letting the Louis Vuitton drop slowly to the floor. Like wax melting from a candle. Her shoulders sagged. Her dark hair dropped over her shoulder and she pushed it back again. Her tank top was black, her jeans tight. She wasn’t dressed in anything special, but she tempted him more than he liked.
“I don’t know what happened. I only know I’m in trouble.”
He picked up the remote and flipped the channels, sipping his beer. Every once in a while he cast an eye in her direction. She chewed the inside of her lip and one leg bounced up and down. Whatever was going on with her, she clearly wasn’t comfortable.
But how could she be? She’d turned up at his house after four years. After she’d betrayed him and left him to deal with the fallout from her bullshit. He’d nearly lost his Army career because of her.
“Yeah? And? What do you want me to do about it?”
She suddenly stood and crossed the distance between them, snatching the remote from his fingers and stabbing the button to turn off the television. He stared at her. Her face was flushed as she tossed the remote onto the couch. “I want you to listen. And then I want you to use that brain of yours and help me figure out what to do.”
He sat up a little straighter. “Seriously? You fucking betrayed me, lied to me, and now you want me to help you figure out what to do? What happened, Bliss? You steal from the wrong person this time?”
She frowned. Hard. Her cheeks flushed as she folded her arms over her chest and looked away from him. “Apparently so.”