Alexis Baptiste’s engagement to a wealthy businessman is interrupted by the return of old flame Hunter Cassidy, unknowing father of her five-year-old son, Jonathan. Hunter is a former DEA agent just returned from several years undercover as an illicit gunrunner in Central America. He’s hotly pursued by renegade CIA agent Tom Davis, who wants to use Alexis and Jonathan as pawns in his vendetta. As Alexis and Hunter flee assassins, their old feelings rekindle and Jonathan becomes attached to his newfound father, but Alexis’s engagement and Hunter’s guilt over his past misdeeds make them reluctant to listen to their hearts. While Reus (Destined Mate) provides effective action sequences, the suspense element is generally shallow and predictable, and the complications of Hunter’s past are resolved far too easily. The central romance is convincing and passionate, however, and Jonathan’s charming affection for his reunited parents is delightful. Agent: Marsal Lyon Literary Agency. (Jan.)
Betrayed by rogue CIA agents after infiltrating an infamous drug cartel, former DEA agent Hunter Cassidy has spent years trying to clear his name. He's not proud of the things he's done, and knows he doesn't deserve a future with Alexis, or the son he never knew he had, but he's determined to protect them from the men who ruined his life. Convincing Alexis to trust himand denying his feelings for heris going to be the hardest mission he's ever faced.
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Panama, Central America
Hunter Cassidy looked up at the triple-canopy jungle and wiped the sweat from his brow. The thick foliage completely blocked the sun, but the shade did nothing to guard against the humidity. His sweat-soaked fatigues stuck to his skin, and the incessant buzzing of the oversized mosquitoes almost drowned out everything else.
The crunching of boots over the earth alerted him he wasn't alone anymore. If these morons weren't careful, the jungle would devour and spit them out in seconds. Not that he'd lose any sleep. Traitorous bastards deserved whatever happened to them.
From his hiding position, he watched Tom Davis walk out into a clearing. The man looked to his left and signaled. Hunter followed his gaze. Davis's partner tried to keep cover behind a cluster of thick trees. And failed miserably.
Hunter stepped out of his veiled spot, mere feet from Davis. He took perverse pleasure when the other man's eyes widened at their close proximity.
"All right, you got me out here in this hole. Do you have it?" Davis adjusted his linen shirt to display his nine millimeter.
As if Hunter didn't expect him to be carrying. "Do you have what I want?"
"If you show me yours, I'll show you mine."
"You first." After everything Hunter had been through, he wasn't compromising. When Davis didn't move, Hunter gritted his teeth. "Tell your boy over there that his head is in the crosshairs of my sniper." There was no sniper, but his bluff worked.
Davis's dark eyes narrowed as he pulled out a thick manila envelope and tossed it over. Hunter opened it and riffled through the pages.
When he was sure he had the necessary paperwork, he pointed to an overgrown elephant ear leaf. If Hunter was lucky, Davis would get bit by one of the many venomous vipers native to the region. "The papers and records are under there."
Davis glanced around nervously, but took the few steps to the plant and lifted a plain brown box. "How do I know you haven't made copies?"
"You don't...just like I don't know if you'll renege on our deal. Looks like we'll have to trust each other." Of course he'd made copies. It was the first thing he'd done. Davis knew it, and he knew it. Hunter hoped the thought of being exposed was enough to keep the other man out of his life permanently.
Davis snorted and started to walk away, but Hunter wasn't through.
"If I see you again I'll expose what you are, then I'll kill you." He was tired of killing, tired of death and just plain tired of living like an animal. That didn't mean he wouldn't make an exception for the man in front of him.
Davis tripped on a thick tree root, but quickly adjusted himself.
Hunter waited until both men were out of sight before disappearing into the jungle. He strapped his rucksack over his back and started running. A quick check of his watch told him he had two hours to make it to his rendezvous point. If he didn't make it, the helicopter would leave him, and he'd be stuck in Central America for another couple of weeks. No way could he allow that to happen.
If he didn't make it to Alexis in time, he knew that, deal or not, they'd go after her as leverage against him.