Sleeping with Danger [Silhouette Romantic Suspense Series #1489] [NOOK Book]

Overview

He'd been left for dead. But Onyxx intel agent Sully Paxton is actually very much alive, a prisoner in the Greek island fortress of terrorist mastermind the Chameleon. And when an exotic nymph appears outside his cell, the resourceful agent sees his chance at freedom--provided he stays focused and doesn't fall for her.

Melita Krizova has an agenda--and a secret of her own: she's the Chameleon's daughter. Looking to escape her father's cruelty, she needs Sully as much as he needs...

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Sleeping with Danger [Silhouette Romantic Suspense Series #1489]

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Overview

He'd been left for dead. But Onyxx intel agent Sully Paxton is actually very much alive, a prisoner in the Greek island fortress of terrorist mastermind the Chameleon. And when an exotic nymph appears outside his cell, the resourceful agent sees his chance at freedom--provided he stays focused and doesn't fall for her.

Melita Krizova has an agenda--and a secret of her own: she's the Chameleon's daughter. Looking to escape her father's cruelty, she needs Sully as much as he needs her. But Melita dreads what will happen if Sully finds out he's in bed with the daughter of his worst enemy--literally!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426808562
  • Publisher: Harlequin Enterprises
  • Publication date: 5/1/2008
  • Series: Spy Games Series , #1489
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 645,731
  • File size: 176 KB

Meet the Author

A typical day for me starts at 4:00 a.m. I work outside my home so I must write in the early morning. I consume a pot of coffee before seven, and hopefully write 10 pages before I switch hats and prepare to open the family bookstore.

With teenagers in the house, breakfast is a buffet affair. The store opens by 10, so I pack my laptop, toss a little makeup on my face, and head to work. By late afternoon I switch hats again, stopping off to do a few household errands, then it's another buffet for dinner. The dishwasher on, a few loads of laundry in and out, and I'm ready for a glass of wine and a soak in a hot tub to brainstorm tomorrow's 10 pages.

Ideally, if I can get to bed by nine, my 4:00 a.m. writing schedule will be met the next day.

Ah, the life of a writer who wears too many hats.

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Read an Excerpt

They had stopped beating the hell out of him five days ago and started feeding him regularly. The thick gray mush and a cup of water now came every day instead of three times a week.
No longer numb, he slowly became aware of his wretched existence, as well as the pain that raped his body with every breath he took. He was given two weeks to contemplate the change in the routine—to consider whether it was a blessing or a dark omen—before they came for him.
Even though the sun was low on the horizon, he squinted against the brightness as the heavy iron grate overhead was unlocked and he was pulled from the pit and dropped like a sack of garbage on the rocky ground.
In the beginning the hole in the earth where they kept him had been a tight fit, but that was months ago. These days they could have flushed him down a sewer pipe, he was so damn thin.
"On your feet. Greegorah!"
The old instincts that had kept him alive for a year and a half were still a part of his memory. Those memories urged him to get up and fight back, but he was physically broken. Even the guards' orders didn't rally him to his feet.
"Get up. Now!" Pedro gave him a vicious kick. The guard's steel-toed boot connected with his ribs. He grunted, bit back a pitiful moan, then flattened his dirty hands out on the hard ground and pushed his body upward.After three tries he managed to get to his knee, and there he remained, too weak to stand.
Again Pedro used his foot, and like a rotten stump in a windstorm it toppled him easily. His head struck a jagged rock and split open his forehead.
"That's enough."
It wasArgo who had spoken.A man twice as brutal as Pedro. He waited to feel more pain from the commander of the guards, but for some reason the short-legged Greek with a passion for sadistic torture wasn't interested in making him scream today.
He forced himself back to his knees, and as soon as he did, the two men grabbed him under his arms and began dragging him toward the old Greek monastery. A few yards from the back entrance he managed to get his feet under him. When the guards let go of him, he leaned heavily against the stone wall while Argo retrieved a key from his pocket. When the door swung open a blast of sour air stole his breath. Whatever was down there was dead, or close to it.
Pedro pulled him away from the wall and that's when he saw the steep stairwell that led down into the bowels of the sanctuary. There was no way in hell he was going down those narrow steps on his own power.
"Move. I don't have all day to babysit your ass."
Pedro gave him a shove and he reached out and saved himself from eating another rock by grabbing on to the door.
Argo took a pack of cigarettes from his shirt pocket, shook one out and pinched it between his lips. Firing it up, he said, "A smoke takes me four and a half minutes. See you at the bottom."
With the clock ticking, he shuffled forward and flattened out one hand against the cool stone wall. Then, like an old man, one step at a time, he started down the narrow steps as the faint smell of tobacco was swallowed up by the stench below.
With each painful step he imagined Argo's cigarette between his own lips. Imagined inhaling the nicotine—what he wouldn't give for a little buzz right now.
You can make it, he told himself. Slow and easy. One step at a time.
A smoke takes me four and a half minutes. See you at the bottom.
In the old days he would have taken the steps four at a time. Hell, in the old days he would have turned on the two guards and snapped both their necks in less than…four and a half minutes.
He never let go of the wall, and like an infant who had just learned to walk, he tested out his balance with each step he took.
He heard Argo and Pedro start down.
Three more steps.
Two.
One.
He came off the last step just as Pedro came up behind him. The guard looked disappointed that he'd managed to make it without falling on his face.
Out of breath, he sagged against the wall as Pedro pulled a wooden stick from the belt loop on his pants. One quick jab to his ribs and he was on his hands and knees.
The stick came at him again, this time it made contact with his bare ass and the hard whack drove him forward and he sprawled spread-eagle on his belly.
The caustic odor in the air burned his nostrils, and it reminded him that this hellhole was definitely a death trap. So this is it then, he decided. This was where he would die.
"We have our orders, Pedro?" Argo grumbled. "Get him on his feet."
"Stupid orders, if you ask me."
"Do you want to tell him that?" Argo asked. "Every man here is expendable. Even you and me. Now get him up."
Pedro reached down and hauled him to his feet, then gestured down the corridor. "Move."
He shuffled forward, heard voices in the distance. After he'd gone twenty yards he realized that what he was hearing was a chorus of moaning.
He continued on toward the noise, each step twice as painful as the one before it. The corridor took a hard left, and when it straightened out he was standing in a large circular dungeon—a dungeon of horrors.
In his wildest dreams he hadn't expected anything like this. His eyes followed the iron cage around as it wrapped the outer wall—a cage eight feet wide and ten feet high. At least two dozen men stared back at him. Men just like him, naked and broken, starved beyond recognition. Some were huddled in corners. Others, those who could still stand, were clinging to the bars of the cage, their eyes ghostlike and too big for their bony faces.
Did he look like that?
It was obvious that food and water had been as scarce in here as they had been in the pit. No, maybe he had fared better. He'd been able to eat the rats and bugs that fell between the grates that had imprisoned him in the hole.
His eyes shifted to a slab of concrete ten feet square and two feet thick in the middle of the room. On it stood a small He didn't understand why he was being given these things after all this time. Instead of questioning the gift, he should be kissing his enemy's feet. But as he looked around the room at the naked starving men, the idea of accepting his good fortune in front of these poor bastards ripped his heart out.
"Why me?" he asked.
"Guess you drew the long straw, pretty boy."
"What about them?" he asked, his eyes drifting to the dying menagerie in the cage.
Argo grinned. "Today they all wish they were you. By tomorrow they will want to cut your heart out and eat it. And that's no lie. Before we can get the dead out those boys are licking their chops."
The guard's words prompted him to turn his attention back on the cage. He scanned the individual faces, his eyes drawn to one man who was leaning against the back wall. When he saw the scar that traveled from his right hipbone to his knee, he whispered, "Roth Erwin."
"Recognize someone?" Argo's grin spread. "That one's about ready for the bone pile. He no longer fights for food. But like the others, he will hate you by morning. And when he dies, he will haunt you from his cold grave. They all will."
After the two guards left, he stood there like a monkey at center stage of a circus. He was so damn dirty and hungry, and still he didn't move. He glanced at the covered food tray on the table. The urge was there, the need, but he couldn't do it.
He walked to the sink and turned on the faucet. It was a pretty sight, the water spilling from the tap. He tucked his head under and let the water flow into his mouth and over his dry lips, then scrubbed his hands until they stung.
He found a clean washcloth and towel on the floor next to the sink and he went to work shedding the layers of dirt from his face, working his way down his body. And all the while the smell of the food continued to torture his belly.
It was a slow process, removing the crusty layers of dirt, but he kept at it until he began to feel human again. But he wasn't clean when he finished—it would take days to scrub the imbedded filth from his body, maybe weeks.
How long was he going to be here?
Still avoiding the food, he dressed in the issued clothes. Finally he pulled out the chair at the table and sat down. With a room full of eyes glued to him, he lifted the cover off the tray and stared at two fat slices of meat, potatoes swimming in butter, a chunk of bread and a clean cup that he could take to the sink anytime he felt like it.
He glanced at the silverware, but he didn't pick up the fork. He should be celebrating right now—water, a bed, food.
He should eat it quickly before it was taken away from him like some cruel joke.
In the past year he'd been flogged, tortured and starved, but none of it compared to the mental anguish ripping him apart at that moment.
How could he do it?
How could he betray these dying men by eating the enemy's food while they watched?
Because you want to live, the voice inside his head whispered. You can't help them if you don't help yourself first.
The truth staring him in the face from all sides, Sully Paxton did what he was trained to do—survive. He picked up the fork, speared a piece of meat, then closed his eyes and opened his mouth.
Adolf Merrick, commander of the Onyxx Agency, tossed two sleeping pills into his mouth and chased them down with a glass of water. He'd started taking the pills a few weeks ago after he'd broken it off with Sarah Finny.
Guilt was a bitch. For two years he'd convinced himself, and Sarah, that he wanted a new life, but what he wanted was his old life back. Since that wasn't possible, the alternative was to walk away from Sarah and live with his memories and pray it was enough.
The pills knocked him out so he could sleep, but the downside was they prevented him from dreaming. Dreaming was what had kept him sane for twenty years. It's where he lived with Johanna, where he kept her memory alive and the loneliness at bay.
He'd told Sarah he couldn't see her any longer. He blamed it on obstacles at work. What he should have told her was that even with Johanna gone, he couldn't forget their life together—didn't want to—and that the Agency was the only thing that made him feel remotely alive.
Merrick climbed into bed and closed his eyes. He needed to find an apartment of his own. He'd been living out of a suitcase in a hotel on the Potomac in Arlington for three weeks—ever since a fire had destroyed his apartment in Washington. A fire that had blown up the entire building.
Gas leak my ass.
Like a well-aimed hammer the pills sent Merrick into a dead sleep just after ten o'clock. He never moved again or made a sound. Not even a soft snore drifted into the stuffy hotel room until predawn, when he came out of his drug-induced sleep as if a bell had gone off inside his head.
The room was still dark, and he wondered what had wakened him. Then he heard his cell phone ring.
He looked at the clock on the nightstand. It read 5:30 a.m. He reached for his phone, read the unrecognizable number, then flipped it open and put it to his ear. "Merrick here."
"Did I wake you? Or are you having another sleepless night imagining your hands around my neck? Do you ever sleep these days, old buddy?"
The voice from the past jackknifed Merrick straight up in bed. "Cyrus."
"Back from the dead. Oh, that's right, I never died."
"How did you get my number?"
"The same way I survived Prague. I never give up. You lit a fire inside me that day you left me in that minefield drowning in my own blood. Betrayal can be powerful motivation."
A few weeks ago Merrick had learned the identity of the Chameleon. Cyrus Krizova was alive. One of their own agents had become a terrorist, and for the past twenty years—while everyone thought he was dead—Cyrus had been targeting the Onyxx Agency, and Merrick.
There had been no betrayal in Prague. Only pure agony when he'd been forced to leave a comrade behind, but now Cyrus was the enemy.
Merrick snapped, "You son of a bitch, I'm going to kill you."
"You should have done it twenty years ago. If you had, you wouldn't be sleeping alone tonight. You are sleeping alone, right? Of course you are. If you want a man dead, there's only one way to make sure. Put a bullet through his heart, and two in his head. That shouldn't have been too hard. I wasn't going to run off.An animal caught in a trap is treated better than I was. And let's face it, you were the best exterminator in our outfit."
"We're trained to kill the enemy, not our own."
"You were chickenshit, is that it?"
"I had a job to do, and I did it the best way I knew how. It was a damn hard decision to make."
"As I recall you had help making it. Paavo Creon swayed you to leave me, but it was your choice. You were in command. I think it went something like, we can carry out only one man. Cyrus will die before nightfall. He's six-four. Weighs two-twenty. Briggs is forty pounds lighter."
Merrick was transported back twenty years, his memory as clear as if it were yesterday—the carnage, the blood, the smell of death all around him. His team had been on their feet one minute and the next they were scattered like broken toys in a playground.
Leave him, Adolf. You have to think about the men who can survive. wooden table, a toilet, sink and a cot—the mattress covered with a sheet.
He stared at the simple, bare-bones amenities. To a man who had been living in hell for over a year they looked like the Ritz. It reminded him of the stripped-down apartment in Dublin where he'd lived for a short time with Paddy, with one big difference—the room at the rundown Dunroy Hotel had walls, even though they were paper-thin and he'd been able to hear old man Murphy beat his wife late at night and, on his days off, screw the neighborhood whore.
He didn't see the leg shackle and chain cemented into the center of the floor until Pedro prodded him up on the slab and manacled one of his ankles.
Since he'd been imprisoned his senses had been heightened. His sight was as crystal-clear as an owl's in the dark of night, and his nose was as razor-sharp as a hound dog on the scent of a rabbit.
He immediately picked up the aroma of food though it was faint—the air was fetid with human waste—and turned slowly to search out the source. On the table was a covered tray, and beneath it was something edible.
He forced the food and the gnawing hunger in his belly from his mind and focused on the clothes folded on the foot of the bed—a pair of green fatigues, a black T-shirt and white boxers.
"Wash up, and use the soap." Argo motioned to the bar at the sink. "You smell like the butt of a dead carcass. Then eat and get some rest."
Wash up.
Eat.
He glanced at the sink, envisioned the water flowing out of the tap. Fresh water, not some contaminated swill the color of piss.
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