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Authors: Rachel Grant

Covert Evidence

BOOK: Covert Evidence
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Copyright © 2015 Rachel Grant

All rights reserved.

 

ISBN-10: 0989301087

ISBN-13: 978-0-9893010-8-4

 

Cover art and design by Naomi Ruth Raine

 

Copyediting by Linda Ingmanson

 

This book is a work of fiction. References to real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locations are intended only to provide a sense of authenticity, and are used fictitiously. All other characters, and all incidents and dialogue, are drawn from the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real.

 

All rights reserved.

 

No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in encouraging piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

 

Covert Evidence

 

Falling in love was never part of his mission…

 

With visions of professional glory, underwater archaeologist Cressida Porter embarks on a research trip deep into the heart of Eastern Turkey. Her dreams turn into nightmares when she becomes the unwitting courier for a terrorist network. Stranded and unable to speak the language, she turns to a handsome and enigmatic security specialist for help, even while fearing he may be behind a violent assault that leaves her vulnerable.

 

CIA Case Officer Ian Boyd’s mission is clear: follow the courier, identify the terrorist leader, and intercept the microchip before it falls into enemy hands. For Ian, cozying up to the alluring archaeologist to find out where her loyalties lie isn’t exactly hardship duty. But spending time with her proves dangerous when she awakens a longing for a life he can never have.

 

Attraction wars with distrust as Cressida and Ian are forced on the run. When violence erupts in the already unstable region, Cressida discovers everything she knows about Ian is false. With all secrets revealed, Cressida must decide if she can trust the spy with her life, while Ian faces his own impossible choice: Cressida or his mission.

 

 

Bonus content for
Covert Evidence
and my other books is posted on my
website
, where you can also sign up for my
new release mailing list
.

 

 

 

This one is for Cael,

 

Because he goes to karate even when he’s tired, has endured many character-building seasons in Little League, and is an excellent bow-hunter of gelatin-filled chocolate bunnies. Plus, he takes great care of Rikki Tikki Tabby.

 

 

 

Chapter One

Antalya, Turkey

August

 

M
usic pulsed from the nightclub speakers several decibels above comfortable. Cressida stayed on the dance floor only because she’d promised her friend Suzanne she’d cut loose and have fun on her last night in Antalya before leaving the university-sponsored underwater excavation and heading east on a solo research trip. But her feet hurt along with her ears, and she had to leave for the airport in six short hours, making her regret her promise.

Suzanne was oblivious to Cressida’s discomfort as she danced with three men at once. The locals really had a thing for leggy American blondes, and Suzanne had a matching appreciation for Turkish men.

Bumped into from behind, Cressida pitched forward, regaining her balance when a hand caught her shoulder before she slammed into another dancer. She turned to thank her rescuer, a smile on her face, but her stomach dropped when she met the familiar gaze.

Her reaction was instinctive. Her hand curled into a fist, and she swung out, slamming her knuckles into Todd Ganem’s jaw with all the force she could muster from her five-foot-six frame. Caught by surprise, he stumbled back as his head snapped sideways.

The people around her froze as Todd teetered, then fell. She stepped over him, leaving the dance floor and gawking dancers. Her body flushed with adrenaline, or maybe she was going into shock.

What the hell is Todd Ganem doing in Turkey?

She made a beeline for the table where her group—graduate students from the underwater archaeology program at Florida State—sat, all with jaws agape and eyes wide. She came to a dead stop as she met the gaze of Dr. Patrick Hill.
Shit.
Dr. Hill, the head of the MacLeod-Hill Exploration Institute and the man she was counting on to fund her grant, had just seen her deck Todd. Could this get any worse?

She turned sharply, spotting an empty table far from Dr. Hill and the others. She needed a few minutes to regroup before facing them. She’d leave the bar and head to her overpriced hotel room right now if she could, but the translator had said he’d meet her here tonight, and she needed the translation for her trip into Eastern Anatolia.

She dropped into an empty chair, relieved to see Suzanne had followed her. She needed a friend right now. Decking Todd in front of Dr. Hill could well have just crushed her grant proposal—and she hadn’t even written it yet. On the eve of embarking on the most important research trip of her academic career, the run-in with Todd could undermine everything she’d been working toward.

The sweltering night air seemed to rise another five degrees. She grabbed the bar menu from the table and fanned herself with it, taking a deep breath as she did so, willing herself to maintain a serene façade. She couldn’t fall apart here, not in front of Dr. Hill. As soon as she had the translation, she’d go straight to her hotel room and indulge in a nice, private freak-out.

She and Todd had been together for ten months. Her souvenirs from their relationship included a blight on her academic record, the knowledge her advisor still didn’t believe she was innocent, and a mug shot.

I
an wished he could claim he saw the fist coming, but he didn’t. He was as shocked by the punch as the man who received it. But then again, like the man who’d been hit, Ian had been distracted by the woman’s cleavage and hadn’t been paying attention to her hands.

She’d stepped over the man while cradling her fist, appearing somewhat dazed by the whole encounter, yet unapologetic and unafraid. If he were prone to hyperbole, he’d declare himself in love. As it was, he’d admit to being intrigued. Okay, and maybe in lust.

Medium height with long, straight, dark hair, a curvy build, and a deep summer tan, she was pretty enough, but until she’d taken the swing, her looks had been overshadowed by her tall blonde friend who now followed her to a table at the edge of the dance floor.

There was something hot about watching a woman unrepentantly deck a man and walk away without so much as a backward glance. She dropped into a chair and fanned herself with a menu, her skin glistening in the sweltering heat.

Sadly, he wasn’t here to watch the woman. No. His job was never that enticing. He was waiting for the Kurdish rebel to show up, and he was getting damned impatient.

His partner on the op, Zack Barrow, was positioned closer to the dance floor and spoke to him through a hidden earpiece. “Fucking hot how she decked that guy and walked away. I think I’m in love.”

Zack didn’t have a problem with hyperbole. Typical rookie.

Ian lifted his drink to hide his barely moving lips and murmured, “She’s a distraction we don’t need.” To everyone else in the bar, Ian was the bearded, hardened loner in the corner, drinking the night away in seclusion.

“It’s not like anything else is happening here. Where the fuck is Hejan?”

“He swore to his God he’d make the drop tonight. He’ll show.”

“I don’t trust him. He was a poor choice to turn—too much of a wild card.”

Zack wasn’t wrong—Hejan had always been high risk and never would have been Ian’s first choice to double—but the Kurd was well connected and had something to atone for. Both traits made him an ideal spy. Hejan had come to him, which was always suspicious, but then, everything in Ian’s line of work was suspicious. “He knows the game and the stakes. He’ll show up.”

The stunning blonde said something, and the brunette with the mean right hook offered a faint smile that didn’t quite reach her large, wide eyes. In Ian’s ear, Zack let out a low whistle. “Both women are hot.”

“I don’t give a shit if you want a threesome. We’re not here to watch women.” He said the words to Zack, but they were a reminder to himself as well.

“Hejan is wasting our time. Face it, Ian, he played you. He’s probably making the drop somewhere else.”

If Zack’s statement were true, then months of careful work would come to nothing. This wasn’t an acceptable outcome. Besides, Ian
knew
Hejan. “I’ve never been this far wrong about an informant before.”

Zack chuckled. “The great Ian Boyd finally crashes and burns. I’m glad I’m here to see it.”

“Fuck you,” Ian said without heat.

“I bet Hejan can’t lead us to the courier any more than I could.”

There Zack was definitely wrong, but Hejan was Ian’s asset, and Zack was only here tonight as backup. He knew minimum details.

BOOK: Covert Evidence
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