Renegade (Elite Ops 5)

BOOK: Renegade (Elite Ops 5)
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Praise for bestselling author Lora Leigh's

HEAT SEEKER

"Leigh's pages explode with a hot mixture of erotic pleasures."

--Romantic Times BOOKreviews

MAVERICK

"A phenomenal read."

--Romance Junkies

"Scorching-hot sex, deadly secrets, and a determined assassin add up to another addicting Leigh thriller. Leigh's ability to credibly build damaged characters who are both

intriguing and intense gives her stories that extra punch."

--Romantic Times BOOKreviews

"Sex and violence power the satisfying second installment of Leigh's Elite Ops series."

--Publishers Weekly

"Full of wrenching emotion and self-flagellation by the hero, the new series of Elite Ops promises to be even better than the sexy SEALs at this rate."

--Night Owl Romance

"With her customary panache for emotionally intense, sensual characters, the author attracts readers into every world she creates. This fabulous follow-up to
Wild Card
is no exception to the rule."

--A Romance Review

WILD CARD

"Highly emotional and addicting...an intoxicating first installment of a brand-new series."

--Romance Junkies

"Ferocious passion!"

--Romantic Times BOOKreviews

KILLER SECRETS

"A smoldering-hot new espionage tale. This chapter of Leigh's SEAL saga reverberates with deadly danger."

--Romantic Times BOOKreviews

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HIDDEN AGENDAS

"Treachery and intrigue combine with blistering hot sensuality in this chapter of Leigh's SEAL saga. The title of this book is particularly apt, since many of the characters are not what they seem, and betrayal can have deadly consequences. Leigh's books can scorch the ink off the page."

--Romantic Times BOOKreviews

"An evocative and captivating read."

--Romance Junkies

DANGEROUS GAMES

"A marvelous novel of suspense and raw passion."

--Romance Junkies

"Lora Leigh ignites the fire...with steamy heat added to a story that makes you cheer and even tear up."

--Fallen Angel Reviews

"Leigh writes...tempting, enchanting romance[s] that readers are certain to devour."

--Romance Reviews Today

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St. Martin's Paperbacks Titles By

Lora Leigh

ELITE OPS SERIES

Black Jack

Heat Seeker

Maverick

Wild Card

SEALs TRILOGY

Killer Secrets

Hidden Agendas

Dangerous Games

4

RENEGADE

Lora Leigh

St. Martin's Paperbacks

5

Table of Contents

Title

Copyright

Dedication

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Epilogue

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NOTE:
If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as "unsold and destroyed" to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this "stripped book."

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously.

RENEGADE

Copyright (c) 2010 by Lora Leigh.

Cover photograph of man (c) Shirley Green

Cover photograph of Berkeley Pier, dusk, with Golden Gate Bridge

(c) David Sanger/Getty Images

All rights reserved.

For information address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

ISBN: 978-0-312-94583-1

Printed in the United States of America

St. Martin's Paperbacks edition / September 2010

St. Martin's Paperbacks are published by St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10010.

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For a wonderful editor, Monique.

For all the help, the guidance, the advice, but even more

your friendship.

And for two excellent lawyers who defy the stereotypes:

Eileen O' Brien

Douglas Ballantine

Thank you for all your advice and all your hard work.

The two of you together saved my life.

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Prologue

The dresses were gorgeous.

Mikayla Martin stood back from the finished products and rubbed at her lower

back as she let a small, pleased smile curve her lips.

They were the dresses that romantic dreams were made of. Miles of frothy lace,

satin, silk, and chiffon. Thousands of tiny seed pearls had been hand-sewn onto each one.

Love had gone into the creation of each of the three wedding gowns, and the jade

bridesmaid dress had been sewn with extra attention to detail. It was her favorite color, and one of her own designs.

Finally, after so many years of hard work and dreams, and the designs she so

lovingly crafted, Mikayla's Creations was beginning to get a small measure of notice.

Mikayla had no dreams of runway success. What she did have were dreams of a small, exclusive reputation that would keep her clothing shop open and thriving.

She breathed out a deep sigh and fought to let the dresses go. She wanted to pack

them up and take them home with her. She didn't want to let a single one of them out of her sight.

"I know that look on your face, Mikayla." Her assistant, Deirdre Maple, pushed back her hair, propped her hands on her hips, and gave Mikayla a knowing smile.

With her kittenish expression and long red-gold hair, Deirdre was the advertising

drive behind the shop. While Mikayla kept the customers happy, Deirdre brought them in by showcasing the wedding gowns and exclusive ball gowns Mikayla created. The

bridesmaid gown she had been fondling was one of those. A one-of-a-kind that had been designed for one woman, one body.

There was a small section of the shop dedicated to less formal clothing. Exclusive designs of more casual attire and a small selection of unique, one-of-a-kind footwear and other accessories. But the majority of the shop was dedicated to the formal dresses and wedding gowns Mikayla so loved.

"Yeah, I know, I gotta let it go." Mikayla forced a grin as she stepped back and gave it one last regretful look. "Go ahead and call our future bride and our lucky bridesmaid and let them know their dresses are ready for pickup. They'd better hurry, though, because I just might steal them after all."

Deirdre gave a low, light laugh, her hazel green eyes twinkling with laughter as

she shook her head. The girl wore a sleeveless silk emerald blouse, no collar, the tailoring sewn to match her slender figure. The taupe above-the-knee slim-line skirt and matching pumps drew attention to the blouse and to Deirdre's lush head full of red-gold curls as they cascaded nearly to her hips.

"You told me to remind you that you have to pick Scott up after work today."

Deirdre glanced at the clock on the wall. "If you're going to get there on time, then you'd better rock and roll."

Mr. Unreliable. Of all her brothers, Scotty had to be the most irritating, if the most lovable one. The baby of the family, he was always happy, always laughing, and rarely 9

took anything seriously. He was forever needing a ride, advice, or a loan. Their mother called him the "needy one". Mikayla just called him lazy--although she did it affectionately.

"You know you'll have to listen to him whine if you're late." Deirdre laughed.

"Better hurry."

Mikayla grimaced before looking around the interior of her "baby." This store was her life.

"You could hire a cab to go after your brother," Deirdre told her. "That way you could stand here and admire your handiwork a while longer."

Mikayla laughed, though her gaze lingered a moment longer. She turned away

and strode across the plush chocolate carpeting of the floor.

She moved around the display of dresses and gowns and toward the counter

where she pulled out the invoices from the shelf below.

"Everything has been paid in full," she told Dierdre as a sense of accomplishment filled her. "Now, if we could just get a few more of these orders in, I could breathe a little easier."

"They'll come in," Deirdre assured her, and Mikayla couldn't help but believe it.

The shop was growing slowly, but it was growing. The sense of fulfillment she

felt was overwhelming at times. Mikayla was doing something everyone had told her she didn't have a chance of succeeding at in the current economy.

"Do you think either of us will ever wear one of those wedding gowns?" Deirdre nodded toward them. "Hell, Mikayla, aren't you tired of waiting for Mr. Right yet? I think I am. Mr. Almost Perfect might do it for me."

Mikayla turned her face away, hoping to hide her own doubts. She sometimes

feared that Mr. Right was a figment of her dreams. That the incredible sex, deep

romance, and shared bonding she dreamed of was the stuff of fantasies and romance

novels, not real life.

"Not for me." Mikayla shook her head at the very thought of settling for less, though. "Some things last forever, Deirdre, if you know how to work for your dreams."

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