Mastering the Devil (Rush Series Book 4)

BOOK: Mastering the Devil (Rush Series Book 4)
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Mastering the Devil

By LR Potter

Copyright 2014 LR Potter

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

Cover Art By:

Carolyn M. Pinard

Photos used with permission by Shutter Stock Photography

 

 

 

Prologue

Five Years Ago…

 

“What the hell do you mean you can’t find them?” Alex bellowed.

Sitting beside him on the couch in their rented oceanfront villa, Devon laid a restraining hand on his arm. “Alex, you have to calm down. You’ll hurt yourself!”

Alex took a deep breath, before lifting troubled eyes back up to Jacob’s. With extreme effort, a little more calmly, he asked, “Did you look where I told you?”

“Of course we did. They weren’t there. We checked all the surrounding area as well. Are you sure that’s where you put the missile payloads?”

Slamming his palm down on his knee, he exploded, “Of course, I’m sure. They have to be there!”

Jacob carefully sat back in his seat facing Alex and Devon and began to pick at imaginary lint on his brown trousers. Without looking up, he said, “This is a problem, Alex. You have to know that.”

Alex blinked rapidly as he processed the situation. His body tensed as white-hot rage filled him. Coldly, he said
raggedly – his tone meancing, “You think
I
took them? Me? Really, Jacob? You think I risked my life to get them, then stole them? For money?” he nearly spat the word. “You know me better than that, Jay.”

Slowly, Jacob nodded his head. “You’re right,
I
do. But there are others…” he trailed off. “It just looks… peculiar. The missiles come up missing… then you request to leave the agency.”

Explosively, Alex shouted, “That’s bullshit and you know it!”

“Alex, please,” Devon begged once again as she once more tried to soothe him. “You’ve barely gotten out of the hospital. Do you want to put yourself back in there?”

In his same monotone voice, Jacob continued as if he’d not heard Alex’s outburst. “You know as well as I how this will work, Alex. If the missiles aren’t recovered, the higher
-ups will begin looking for someone’s head to pin it on.” He paused a beat before adding, “And we both know who’ll be first on their list.” He hesitated adding, “But maybe if you stayed in…” he allowed his voice to trail off.

Alex stared at Jacob as if he’d grown two-heads
and shook his own. Slowly, the reality of the situation began to sink in. There was no way to battle this. Heads would be sure to roll, and his would be first. However much he wanted to argue and rail against it, he knew Jacob was right. He also knew that all his hard work and sacrifice throughout all these years would be for naught as every mission he’d ever been associated with would come under close scrutiny – if not rescinded altogether. For just an instant, Addison – his poor, sweet Addison – came into his mind. He’d sacrificed her for his career.
It wasn’t a very good trade
, he thought bitterly.

Momentarily, his eyes drifted to Devon, who was sitting next to him, wide-eyed, undoubtedly struggling to understand what was happening. God! Now, she’d be drawn into this ugly mess with him. They’d be sure to claim she was in it with him. She’d just had her entire life turned upside down, had lost everyone she’d loved, and now this. Looking at her, the bruises faint, but still evident, he didn’t know if she could withstand the pressure without breaking this time. Was it fair to expect her to?

Rubbing a hand over his close-cropped blonde hair, his green eyes blazing, he slowly rose to his feet, rounded the couch, and headed towards the French-doors leading to the patio.

“Alex?” Devon called after him.

He turned his head, gave her a small, sad smile, raised a hand, and brushed her cheek in comfort, before murmuring, “I need a minute.”

She swallowed as she watched him quietly close the doors behind him
, before walking to the railing and leaning against it, facing the ocean.

After a moment, she turned back to find Jacob studying her intently. With a tremble in her voice, she said, “Is there nothing you can do?”

Jacob sat back in his seat and templed his fingers as he contemplated her for a long moment. “Have you considered my offer?”

Her eyebrows bunched in confusion. “What does me working for the I.D.E.A. have to with Alex’s situation?”

He cocked his head and pursed his lips. “Let’s just say, I’d be more willing to help if there was something in it for me.”

Tendrils of panic began to flit across Devon’s skin. “Quid pro quo?”

Jacob rocked his head side to side, “Something like that.”

“But I don’t understand. Alex is your friend. He’s worked for you a long time. Why won’t you just help him?”

He met her gaze, “Because this would be a win-win for me.”

“How could I ever trust you wouldn’t play the same game with my life at some point,” she snapped.

“You don’t,” he said icily.

“Why is it so important to you that I work for the agency? What is in it for you? We both know you don’t do anything that doesn’t directly benefit you,” she said with sneer.

He gave an almost cruel smile. “My reasons don’t matter.”

Her eyes burned with unshed tears. Once again, she was being forced to bargain with her life. “You’re no better than Miguel,” she whispered.

He arched an eyebrow. “I’m offering you a job, not offering
you up to some lunatic. This will be a great career for you, as well as give you what you wanted… a chance to find your mother,” he said reasonably.

Devon turned her head and looked at Alex with his arms extended, palms flat, bracing h
is body against the rail, as he no doubt tried to figure a way out of this mess. She swallowed hard. He’d saved her over and over. Could she do any less? She had the power within her own hands to give his life back to him.

Numbly, she turned back to Jacob Roundtree. In a flat tone, she said, “I’ll agree on one condition.”

“Which is?”

“Alex believes in you. I’ll do this if you’ll agree never to tell him this was how it went down. I want him to keep what little bit of faith he has. Do we have a deal?” she said as a coldness settled over her.

“He’ll be resistant. Are you sure you can talk him into letting you come work for me?” he said as he contemplated her steadily.

“You let me worry about that. Do we have a deal?” she said
woodenly.

He rubbed a hand across his lips. Slowly and wordlessly, he nodded.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Current Day

 

Devon Montanez’s heart kicked up in anticipation as she fastened the velco-straps of her Kevlar vest. The familiar rush of adrenaline washed over her body as she prepared for the mission. She strapped on her ankle holster and ensured the clasp was securely fastened. Rising, she slipped on her International Drug Enforcement Agency’s (I.D.E.A.) black jacket and took a deep breath as she snapped it up.

Her partner, Cash Devlin,
came into the room with a swagger, as only he could pull off. It was no mystery why women threw themselves at him. He had the whole bad-boy image down to a science. His brown hair hung down to his shoulders, and through it, she could see the diamond stud he wore in one ear. His jeans were worn and his T-shirt faded. He looked like many of the criminals they took down everyday… as was the intent. He pushed a hand through his hair, brushing it away from his face. Her mother would have called him trouble… and she would have been right.

He slouched in the chair across from her and smirked at her arched eyebrow. “What?” he asked with a grin.

He knew what
. “Why are you in the female locker room?” she asked.

“Wanted to see if it’s what I had been picturing in my mind all these years,” he said wryly.

“And?”

He glanced around. “I have to admit, it’s a tad disappointing overall.”

“Sorry about that,” she said as she bunched her hair up into an elastic band.

“If you were really sorry, you’d at least remove a few articles of clothing, that’d certainly help,” he replied.

“You really do have a depraved.”

“You have no idea,” he said, as he deftly folded his arms across his chest.

“Are you going to sit in here absorbing all this ambiance, or are you coming to the prep meeting?”

Sighing heavily, he slugged to his feet. “Since you’re totally crushing my first experience in these surroundings, I guess I’ll go to the meeting.”

“I’m sure Jacob will be happy to hear that.”

Together they walked into the glass enclosed conference room, the rest of the team were already seated around the table.

Jacob Roundtree, their handler, sat at the head of the table with a pencil tapping impatiently against the smooth surface. “Nice of you two to join us,” he said without humor.

“Devon was kind enough to give me a ‘
tour’
of the ladies’ locker room,” Cash said with a smirk.

The two other agents at the table laughed at the obvious innuendo.

“In your dreams,” she replied.

“Okay, if you’re quite finished, we can begin,” Jacob said, drawing them back to the purpose of their meeting. Rising to his feet, he moved in front of the whiteboard and like a coach of a football team, he began to lay out their plan of attack.

He’d gotten to the task assignments when Devon’s cell blared out the chorus to Jason Derulo’s rap song,
Talk Dirty
. She grimaced, having forgotten to put it on vibrate. She snatched it off the table and glanced down at the caller as she switched it off…
Alex Masters
! A frown curved her lips. The frown deepened at the irritation on the others’ faces. “Sorry,” she murmured.

“Are we interfering with your many social engagements?” Jacob groused.

She pursed her lips in remorse, but didn’t answer. After that, she was only able to keep half her mind on the meeting.
Alex Masters
- the man who held her heart; the man who wouldn’t accept her for who she was; the man who had forced her to choose. She wondered briefly why he’d called. She’d not spoken to him in months. Everything in her wanted to snatch the phone up and redial him. Alex made her want things… if she were in a different place in her life, maybe they could have had their happily-ever-after.

She was brought back to the meeting when Cash brushed a finger over her hand and arched his eyebrows at her. She gave a small shake of her head. Cash held her eyes before thoughtfully touching a finger to his temple.
Get your head in the game
, he was saying silently.

 

The tension inside the van was nearly palpable. Devon sat forward and peered out at the unusually quiet neighborhood. Their target, an old, white clapboard house with its paint blistered by the heat of the unrelenting Mexican sun, looked deserted. They’d seen no activity on the outside.

A low whistle within the van had every head turning to face Nick Ochco, their team leader.
Devon felt the familiar fingers of apprehension climb up her spine as she waited for the signal. With a brief nod of his head, they quietly exited the van and took their positions outside the house. She and Cash slipped into place next to the front entrance, while Nick and Scott Rifkin, the fourth member of their team moved to the back. In her earpiece, she heard Nick’s voice, “We’re in position.”

At the entrance, Cash pulled the ca
p, of his fake delivery uniform, down before raising a hand to rap on the door. She held her breath to steady the hand which held her weapon. Cash rapped once more and waited, but there was still no answer. She lifted her eyes from the door to look across the entrance and watched Cash as he lifted his fingers to the count of three. On three, he lifted his foot and solidly kicked the door, easily breaking the aged lock.

Once the door splintered open, he crouched, his weapon drawn and ready as she swept by him and entered the house under his cover.
Now that               the jig was on, her nerves were steady. She’d played this part more times than she could remember. She swept the room quickly and murmured for the others to hear in their earpieces, “Clear.”

Behind her, she felt
, rather than saw or heard, Cash move to another room to her left as she skirted to a room on her right. She’d gotten three-quarters of the way across the room when her foot caught on a raised floorboard, causing her to stumble a step. She righted herself quickly and cussed herself at her own clumsiness. All the while, she heard over and over again, “Clear. Clear. Clear,” as the team swept the house, room by room.

BOOK: Mastering the Devil (Rush Series Book 4)
7.82Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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