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Authors: Joni Hahn

Tags: #Futuristic, #Science Fiction

Agent M4: Riordan

BOOK: Agent M4: Riordan
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Agent M4: Riordan

Copyright June 2014 Joni Hahn

Cover by: Najla Qamber Designs

Formatted by: Author’s HQ

Kindle Edition

 

This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be interpreted as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or deceased, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or by an information storage and retrieval system, without the express written approval of the author, except where permitted by law.

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This e-book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this e-book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. Thank you for respecting the hard work of all people involved with the creation of this e-book.

 

Dedication

To author and dear friend, Tara West, for her guidance and advice. You’ve been a Godsend!

To my friend and San Diego resident, Gail Brown, for her invaluable, on-the-scene location assistance. Miss you!

And to my assistant and good friend, Grace Coronado, for keeping me in line and on track. I couldn’t do it without you.

 

Chapter 1

If men were like ice cream, Riordan St. James would be rocky road.

Tilting her head, Natalie Meeks studied the new D.I.R.E. agent through the one-way glass. He was one
major
hottie and, like ice cream, the last thing she needed on her hips.

But, a girl could dream.

Golden, sun-streaked hair lay in sweat-soaked tufts against the wide horizon of his shoulders. His pale blue eyes were barricaded and hard, a narrow beard lining his tight jaw. Glistening, tanned skin, mapped with scars, covered a torso of concrete-like muscle, his back a crossroads of whip marks.

Hanging on a pull-up bar several yards from the other agents, Riordan appeared to be a loner, on the opposite side of a bridge from human contact and relationships. His perpetual scowl screamed
back off
, his tense shoulders poised for attack. All he needed was a
do not enter
sign stamped on his forehead to make it official.

It must be her lucky day. She had to figure out how to get past the human obstacle course and get inside.

“So, are you ready to meet him, Doctor?”

Natalie glanced at Mitchell Jacobs next to her, his attention trained on the man in the D.I.R.E. fitness room. He had a smile in his eyes she hadn’t seen before. Of course, she’d only spoken to him briefly at a couple of her father’s fundraising galas. As a former SEAL C.O., and now head of a private security agency, he was in high demand at political functions.

No, she wasn’t ready to meet Riordan St. James. As a matter of fact, she really wanted to leave. Once upon a time, she’d considered herself qualified to diagnose and treat people with emotional conditions. Now, she didn’t trust her own judgment on what deodorant to use.

“As I told you on the phone, Mitchell, I really don’t feel skilled–“

“Save it.” Mitchell sliced a hand through the air, his brows furrowed. “What happened with Paul Warner was one hundred percent his fault, Natalie. He knew what he was doing.”

That made it even worse. As his psychologist, she should’ve seen it coming. She could’ve prevented it.

Mitchell Jacobs wouldn’t understand that. Paul would’ve been just another casualty in his book. In hers, a possible love turned tragic regret.

Crossing her arms over her middle, she sighed. “He won’t be pleased to meet me.”

Mitchell chuckled with a shake of his head. “No, he won’t. I’ll bet a bottle of Glenfiddich 1937 Scotch he’ll be royally pissed.”

Oh… yay.

Riordan climbed onto a treadmill farther across the room. He pressed a couple of buttons and started to jog.

“So, what do you want from me, Mitchell? A clinical diagnosis?”

“I want you to get him ready for the field. I think he lacks confidence. Right now, he thinks he’s ready – I say, he’s not.”

Natalie frowned as she played with her pearl earring. That meant working with him beyond today. How did she make Mitchell realize her qualifications
disqualified
her for the job?

Riordan St. James was different from any patient she’d ever counseled. He had a raw, barbaric edge about him, reminding her of a street fighter. He played by his own rules, wore attitude like a badge and defense like a shield.

She worked with the upper echelon of society. People that enjoyed telling her their troubles, people that looked for easy prescription drugs and found her unyielding. Many of her clients worked with her father in the Senate, or lived in upscale San Diego.

Her patients liked her. Listening rather than talking had been a trait from birth, her desire to help others deep and ingrained.

Riordan St. James didn’t strike her as a talker or someone that wanted help.

He pushed himself harder and faster than any other agent in the room. Sweat ran from his brow, the waistband of his shorts soaked through.

“When do you need him?”

“Yesterday.” Mitchell sighed as he turned to face her. “I took a gamble with St. James, Natalie. When he came in, he was in bad shape. Among his injuries, his hands had been broken and crushed. Deformed, for lack of a better word.”

Her gaze shot to the man on the treadmill. Though several feet away, he appeared exceptionally…
fit
, his hands normal. However, the scars littering his body backed up Mitchell’s story.

“Using a device similar to a 3D printer, we mapped out the previous bone structure of his hands and created replicas made with neodymium, iron and boron.”

Stilling, she held out a hand to halt his speech. “Wait. Are you telling me he has
magnetic
bones in his hands?”

Mitchell nodded with nonchalance. “Yes, but the attraction is minor at this point.”

Slack-jawed, she could do nothing but stare. Had she just stepped into
Frankenstein
’s laboratory? “Why? Why not give him
normal
prosthetics?”

Leaning a shoulder against the wall, Mitchell shoved his hands in his pockets. “Have you heard of Robert Naylor?”

The infamous crime boss. Natalie doubted there were many people that hadn’t heard of him. “Yes.”

“St. James was one of Naylor’s best agents. The man has talents I can use. My plan is to give Riordan the ability to attract and repel objects with his magnetic hands. He has the groundwork now. Once I know I can depend on him, I’ll install the rest of his system.”

Shaking her head, Natalie couldn’t believe what she’d heard. “You’re going to make him some kind of
superhero
?”

Mitchell gave a lopsided grin. “You could call him that.”

Logic warred with astonishment in her head. “That kind of thing is impossible… isn’t it?”

His arrogant smirk almost seemed patronizing. “I assure you, it’s quite possible. I already have a team of agents with super powers. My son, Tristan, among them.”

Hand to her forehead, Natalie looked away in utter incredulity. What had she gotten herself into? D.I.R.E. made scientific enhancements to
human beings
. Her father had used D.I.R.E. in the past. Did he know about this?

She pointed at Riordan through the glass. “He agreed to this, this… enhancement?”

Mitchell nodded before glancing at Riordan. “Make no mistake, Natalie. He trusts no one. And, he has good reason for feeling that way, too. St. James knew if he didn’t take my offer of new hands, he’d live handicapped the rest of his life. The magnetic bones were a quick, permanent fix - for him and our team.” His voice lowered. “He needs to trust again. He can trust D.I.R.E.”

The sun-god dropped to the floor and did push-ups. This was just
so wrong
. Wasn’t it? Messing with the human body? Playing God?

Then again, the idea of following someone going through the process, and tracking his subsequent work, fascinated her. It would take her work to a level she’d never imagined.

You can’t even diagnose normal humans. You want to diagnose superheroes?

“He’s been working his ass off, trying to get back in shape,” Mitchell said. “He’s made remarkable progress. If anything, he’s determined to defeat not only bad guys but his own demons.”

Riordan switched to one-handed push-ups without skipping a beat. He had demons, no question. They stood on the opposite side of that bridge he’d erected. She just wasn’t sure if the bridge was intended to keep them at bay or to rush them head on when he felt ready.

Then again, she had her own demons to slay. Helping Mitchell and Riordan St. James would keep them front and center. What if she failed them both?

Mitchell said, “I need good agents, stat. And, when I get St. James up and running, my gut tells me he’s going to be one bad ass superhero.”

#####

They shouldn’t have. Really.

Riordan eyed the redhead from her pale, sleek legs, over her subtle curves in a modest gray dress, to her delicate, jaw-droppingly beautiful face. She walked beside Mitchell, her gait graceful and confident. If Mitchell and the others had wanted to get him a woman as reward for killing Robert Naylor, they should’ve asked him first. This woman had class written all over her. He was more the tattooed, pool hall barmaid type.

Mitchell stopped in front of the weight bench with a slight smile. “Saint. I’d like you to meet Dr. Natalie Meeks.”

Riordan released the weights to stare at the modern-day Audrey Hepburn. Now that he looked at it, her hair appeared more copper than red, and sat in some sort of tight roll at the back of her head. She had a long, lithe neck, full, pink lips, and sparkling hazel eyes.

Doctor, huh? He wouldn’t mind playing.

“Mr. St. James.” With her arm extended, she gave him a brief, professional smile as her eyes looked everywhere but at his chest.

He, on the other hand, had no trouble staring at hers. After all, he’d been without a woman over three years now.

Wiping his damp hand on his even damper shorts, he accepted her gesture. The baby soft flesh melted into his calloused palm. “Dr. Meeks.”

Frowning, she pulled away to look at Mitchell. “It doesn’t feel different.”

Riordan glanced back and forth between them. “What?”

Mitchell clasped his hands behind his back. “Your hands. I told her about your new bones.”

Really? “I thought that was confidential.”

With a brief nod, Mitchell gave him a wary look. “It is. Natalie is here on my request. I’ve asked her to help…
prepare
you for the field.”

Pulling back his head, Riordan frowned. Prepare him for something he’d done his entire, adult life? What could this fragile woman do for him?

He eyed her up and down. Maybe she brought surgical skills to the table, or physical therapy. They’d have to put him under before he’d allow them to strap down his arms again.

His gaze connected with her glittering green-gold stare. “Are you a physical therapist?”

Hands folded in front of her, she shook her head. “No, Mr. St. James. I’m a clinical psychologist.”

Hot, Curie-point steam built behind his eyes and shot from his ears. “
Psychologist
? I don’t need a damned psychologist.” Clenching his fists at his sides, he glanced between her and Mitchell. “There are only two things I need right now – work and a woman.” He looked at her rounded breasts. “And, not necessarily in that order.”

A deep blush blossomed on Meeks’ face, her eyes narrowing to tiny slits. Her arms crossed over her chest, revealing surprisingly toned arms.

Mitchell’s voice held a hard edge. “Saint, you’ve been through a traumatic three years. Natalie is here to help you get past it. It’s not a sign of weakness; just a sign of being human. And while she’s here, you’ll treat her with respect.”

His nostrils flared. Didn’t Mitchell get it? Just being out of that Mongolian hellhole made him okay. Every day he woke up grateful to be at D.I.R.E., grateful to have hands again.

“I’m fine, Mitchell. Ready to have my system installed and get out in the field. I can workout only so many hours a day.”

Mitchell gave a brief nod. “I just told Natalie how hard you’ve been working to get back into shape…physically. She’s here to get you into shape mentally and emotionally.”

Excuse me?

Snatching his t-shirt from a nearby bicycle, he pulled it on with jerky movements. “Knowing Robert Naylor’s dead makes my world right. I don’t need help, Mitchell.”

He crossed his arms over his chest. “I say you do.”

Riordan cursed mentally. His new boss just threw down on him. Did he accept? Or, did he acquiesce to keep the peace?

Damn, he got it that being tortured for three years in a Mongolian cave prison would scar someone. It
had
scarred him. However, at the same time, it made him stronger. Made him determined to regain power over his life and never let anyone control him again.

Did that mean he had psychological issues?

He should’ve known there’d be a catch to his new hands.

Riordan studied the royal beauty who openly studied him right back. What did she know about his capabilities?

“So, you’re telling me she controls whether I receive my enhancements or not?”

Mitchell shook his head. “No. The decision is in your hands, Saint. You can choose to work with her and gain your system. Or, you can choose not to work with her and become D.I.R.E.’s new personal trainer.”

Curse words ricocheted in his head like stray bullets. He’d be
damned
if he’d let her or anyone else decide what he did with his life. Looks like it was time to move on.

“Just send me a bill for the hands, Mitchell.” He walked past them at a determined pace. “I’m outta here.”

Mitchell’s rock hard voice hit his back like ice water. “Hold up, you arrogant son of a-“

“Riordan.”

The sound of his name on Natalie’s lips stopped him in his tracks. She’d nearly whispered it, her tone soft, understanding. He couldn’t recall ever hearing his name said with such sympathy.

BOOK: Agent M4: Riordan
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