Bad boy Mick Donovan has dedicated his life to avenging his brother’s death, even aligning himself with an FBI Task Force to achieve his ends. Which leads him to the mess he's in now--undercover as the husband of the woman he's been fantasizing about, despite knowing how off-limits she is, to protect an innocent child.
After an ambush, Destiny Harper is on the run and out of places to hide from a ruthless drug lord hellbent on claiming his son. Charged with protecting the boy, Dez lands in the mountains on a collision course with Mick, a blizzard, and a past she’d rather forget. But even as the close quarters ignites the passion between her and the sexy biker, she knows there's no future with him. Mick will sacrifice everything for revenge—even her.
The Untouchable series is best enjoyed in order:
Book #1 Untouchable
Book #2 An Untouchable Christmas, novella
Book #3 Unforgettable
Book #4 Unstoppable
About the Author
Cindy Skaggs grew up on stories of mob bosses, horse thieves, cold-blooded killers, and the last honest man. Those mostly true stories gave her a lifelong love of storytelling and heroes. Her search for story took her around the world with the Air Force before returning to Colorado.
As a single mom, she’s turning her lifelong love of storytelling into the one thing shecan’t live without: writing. She has an MA in Creative Writing, three jobs, two kids, and more pets than she can possibly handle. Find her on Facebook as Cindy Skaggs, Writer, @CLSkaggs on Twitter, or www.CSkaggs.com to sign up for her newsletter.
Read an Excerpt
The Untouchable Series
By Cindy Skaggs, Suzanne Evans
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2017 Cindy Skaggs
All rights reserved.
"Get up." Mick Donovan smacked his temporary roommate on the ass. Thankfully, that sweet ass was covered with three layers of blankets. The last thing he needed was to see Destiny Harper in the flesh. The fantasy he'd created about her was dangerous enough without adding skin-toskin contact and a visual he'd never get out of his mind. "Shit's going down. Wake your smartass self up."
Dez rolled over and braced an arm over her eyes to block the overhead light. "Who pissed in your cereal this morning?"
"Patrick Sullivan." The drug dealer was responsible for death, drugs, and waking Mick from a recurring dream about Dez.
"Sully just called. Wake up, Detective."
"You only call me detective when you're pissed." She moved her arm to stare up at him with sleep-touched eyes. "Is it even morning?"
A sexy mess of tousled hair against the pillow was serious temptation — he'd like to be the one to mess it up. The way she had turned onto her back had pulled the blankets low, exposing bare shoulders and a hint of cleavage.
Hell, she slept in the nude.
He needed that image like a bullet in his head. Mick turned, the first time since puberty he'd had to turn around for this particular reason. He'd learned control since he was a kid, but control was nonexistent around Dez. As soon as this case was over, he needed a break before he did something stupid, like sleep with a cop. "It's four —"
"In the morning?" she groaned.
Both of them had gotten used to the late hours of undercover work. Mick had gotten home at three, but she'd already been in the guest bed of his safe house.
"You forget I'm off the case?" she asked. "Once my partner took the mob princess to bed, he jacked my cover. I'm on the bench."
"Blake didn't have a choice." Mick's best friend — Dez's police partner — was undercover trying to buy his way into Sully's drug operation. "And you're holding a grudge."
"'Smatter of fact," she murmured. The box spring squeaked as she sat up on the bed.
Mick fought the urge to look over his shoulder for a glimpse of what he was denying himself. "We're going to need you to run interference with Agent Stiles. Sully wants a meet at seven. That doesn't give us much time to get everything into place. We'll need audio surveillance, video if we can get it. And once they get word, the DEA is gonna want in on it. Plus, I have a feeling Vicki's going to demand protection or Blake will do it for her. That's a multi-agency operation in under three hours."
The bed squeaked again, and then he heard her pulling on clothes. "Why don't you handle that?" she grumbled.
He laughed. Mick was many things, but a cop wasn't one of them. The only reason he helped was to nail the man responsible for his brother's death. "Meet me in the kitchen."
He left to pull on a clean pair of jeans. Out of habit, he slipped on his leather vest before meeting Dez by the coffee machine. She was wearing sweats rolled at the waist and a massive T-shirt. It might have been lingerie for the way his body reacted. Increased pulse, shortness of breath, and another hard-on.
Dez seemed oblivious as she started a pot and put her cup directly under the drip spout. "Want some?"
He grunted yes. When her cup filled, she replaced it with his, but the hiss of coffee on the warmer said she'd moved a little slow. She drank half the cup before she spoke. "What happened?"
"Sully called —"
"How did he get your number?"
There she was, finally awake and acting like a cop. "He's a dirtbag, not an idiot. I'm an easy way to Blake without it being tracked back to him. Something I'm sure Sully is aware of."
She switched their coffee cups on the warming plate again and handed him the now-full cup. "What did the slimy snake want?"
"To meet with Blake." They had set Blake up in a dance club that would make a mighty nice place to launder some of Sully's drug money.
"'Bout time." She glared at the coffeemaker.
Mick smiled into his cup so she wouldn't see. Dez wasn't a morning person. "Not just Blake. Vicki, too."
She doctored her second cup of coffee. Heavy cream and sugar. Since she'd been banned from the club, they'd been spending too much time together. She'd practically moved in with him. He knew how she took her coffee, that she took long hot showers when she was stressed, and she vehemently hated the bureaucratic delays of working on an interagency task force.
"Vicki, too?" Dez shook her head. "Blake will go ape when you tell him."
Blake had fallen hard for the daughter of a mob boss. Sucked to be him. There were rules about mixing cop business and pleasure, and Blake had knowingly and willingly crossed that line. "You go wake up the agent in charge," he said.
"Bossy," she muttered. "And what about you?"
"I'll wake Blake and come up with a plan to keep us all alive." He didn't speak again until she looked up to meet his gaze. "Not that I don't appreciate a gray day," he said, nodding to her sweats. "But I like you better naked."
She spewed a mouthful of coffee, but he just laughed as he headed out to meet Blake.
Dez still burned from Mick's laughter three hours later. He had a way of screwing with her focus. She didn't have the freedom to pursue the flirtation if she wanted to stay with the task force. She had worked her tail off to become a detective, overcoming some serious prejudices against her old man. Her father had been a cop, and he'd crossed the line. No one liked a dirty cop.
She spent too much time proving she didn't walk the same path, so her attraction to a man who walked a very thin line between good and bad in his pursuit for justice had to stay completely off the record, but when he'd walked into her room wearing nothing but boxers, she'd nearly forgotten her solid reasons for keeping away from the rough and tumble Mick Donovan.
Drool started to pool on the side of her mouth just from one glimpse at his muscular chest. She'd pay good money for an up-close-and-personal tour of the tattoos that he usually covered with a leather vest. It made him look like a badass biker, which wasn't too far from the truth. Mick was a force to be reckoned with, and not when she was working on serious sleep deprivation.
A cold shower didn't help with the pent-up attraction. Her hands were shaking when she pulled on her one and only navy blue suit, the kind that screamed cop. She'd rather play hooker on a stripper pole than dress up and play nice with the agents from Witness Protection, but orders were orders. Some days you had to suck it up and do your job. So she'd gotten the wheels spinning for the meet with Sully, then driven out to the suburbs to act as babysitter.
The agents from Witness Protection arrived on scene five minutes early and without backup. Dez turned into the subdivision going twenty miles over the speed limit, but the agent in charge gave the green light over a secure radio to proceed without her. So much for interdepartmental cooperation.
If she had to be out this early in the morning wearing a suit, the least they could do was wait two damn minutes. The mission was a simple retrieval while Blake met across town with Sully, the drug dealer they were trying to nail. In and out, that was the plan. The family inside the house was about to learn they were endangered. They'd bitch and moan before packing a bag and going into Witness Protection until Patrick Sullivan was in prison.
Multiple pops sounded like firecrackers through the radio, but the double tap pattern was unique to guns, not fireworks. The wheels of her car squealed as she took the corner faster than planned. She stopped in the middle of the road as she approached the target house. A sedan was parked on the street in front of the house. The driveway was clear. A narrow front porch was barely big enough for the body crumpled near the open door. The face was turned toward the house, but she recognized Agent Summerfield's bald head.
"Officer down," she said over the radio. "Repeat. Officer down. Requesting backup." Heart pounding, the echo of gunfire fading, Dez scanned the neighborhood for the source and found a man on the roof of the two-story across the street. She couldn't leave the family unprotected, but she had no clue what she was walking into. The glint of early morning sun caught the flash of metal as the suspect lifted a rifle. Either he was gunning for her or he was going to make sure Summerfield was dead.
"Shit, shit, shit," she muttered under her breath. Anger rose inside her chest, covering the fear and adrenaline. This was the kind of crap that went down when you didn't stick to the plan. When you didn't wait for backup. Now she was sitting in the middle of the suburbs with some nutjob taking aim and had about two seconds to decide on a course of action. Anger wouldn't help get her out of this in one piece.
Improvise. She could almost hear her partner yelling like he did during training exercises. Sometimes you had to make your own path. She stepped on the gas, hopped the curb, and drove into the perfectly manicured yard, not stopping until the front end of the car hit the porch, blocking Summerfield from the shooter and putting herself in the crosshairs. The first shot shattered the passenger window.
She rolled out the driver's side, landing on Summerfield. Another shot pulverized the planter not two feet from her head. Crawling on all fours, she made it inside and kicked the door shut. Next to another damn body wearing a white dress shirt and a red patch blooming across his chest. She recognized the homeowner from his driver's license photo. He was choking on his own blood.
A petite brunette wearing scrubs raced into the living room adjacent to the entry, but before Dez could shout a warning, a bullet shattered the front window and hit the woman in the arm. Second bullet hit her chest. The horror of it stopped Dez in her tracks. The easy in and out mission in the suburbs had turned into a war zone. The day-to-day violence of undercover work she understood. Senseless killing of noncombatants made no sense. Sully was escalating the closer they got to taking him down.
Dez cursed as she crawled across the carpet to the victim. Kimberly — the paperwork said the mom's name was Kimberly Cisneros. The most beautiful doe-like eyes stared sightlessly at Dez before going glassy with shock and blood loss. She was alive, but not for long. The second bullet had done the job.
Dez rolled to the side, grabbed her Glock from the holster and her phone from the front pocket of her slacks. Hands shaking, she sent a quick text.
Need backup. Ambulance.
Kimberly spit blood.
Shit. Probably need the coroner before an ambulance.
Training and survival instinct had Dez compartmentalizing the emotions that would shut her down and get her killed. Get in the zone. Do your job. The shooter was still active, backup a long damn way off, and she still had a mission. She didn't have time to help the victim. Whoever was doing the shooting would have reinforcements ready to clear the house and nab the kid. "Where's Nathan?" "Sleepover. No school." Kimberly slurred the words. Tears rolled down her pretty face and she moaned, a low painful keening between bloody lips.
"Where?" Dez hated this, but she didn't have time for compassion. Didn't have time to hold the woman's hand while she bled out. The number one priority was saving the kid.
Kimberly gave an address. She grabbed the hand Dez was using to compress the wound. "Promise."
Dez swallowed whatever the fuck emotions were clogging her throat. She could deal with them later if she lived long enough. "I've called for an ambulance." Too late, it would be too late.
"Nathan," Kimberly groaned. "Protect."
"That's the plan," Dez answered.
"Promise." A gush of blood, bright against pale skin gurgled from the woman's mouth.
"Promise." Kimberly coughed blood when a crash sounded from the back of the house. Someone broke through the back door.
Reinforcements through the back. Sniper through the front.
Dez released Kimberly's hand, leaving her to die alone. She couldn't promise. If she wanted to live, she needed to get the hell out of the house.CHAPTER 2
Where was her backup?
Dez crawled across the carpet to the wood entryway before she stood, tripping over the man of the house, his eyes wide open. Dead as a freaking doornail. A bullet winged her as she scrambled past the hallway. Fire exploded up her arm like lightning.
Not bothering to take aim, she shot in the direction of her assailant. Up the stairs, heart racing, arm burning, but it was better than dead. Someone wanted her that way. Footsteps raced down the hallway below. Slamming doors closed on the way, she reached a kid's bedroom in the back. Dark, Tardis-blue Doctor Who curtains covered the windows. She locked the door behind her, knowing the delay only bought a few seconds.
The window looked out on a nearly identical house next door. A fire escape ladder was already attached to the windowsill. God bless paranoid parents. She would have tried to climb down without it, but she'd rather not break a leg.
Dez yanked the window opened, kicked out the screen, and dropped the portable evacuation ladder down the side of the building. If she was lucky, the sniper wouldn't have a view of this side. She followed the ladder down, heard the second shooter kicking through doors in the upstairs hallway. She made it to landscape rock and sprinted for the neighbor's backyard. A bullet shot through the fencing as she pried open the gate.
Ka-thunk, ka-thunk, ka-thunk, her heart pounded a fast rhythm through every inch of her body. Time slowed. Like a recurring nightmare, she couldn't run, couldn't get her legs to move fast enough. Her mind flashed pictures of the dead and dying, the man on the roof, the heavy tread of the man who had chased her through the house. Summerfield's absolute stillness. The suburban backyard with trampoline, deck, and barbeque grill looked surreal, dreamlike, but cold and quiet as a graveyard after the sound of gunfire.
The heat of the chase forced her through the yard like swimming upstream. She cleared the back fence and hopped into the next yard before anyone followed. Over more walls than she could count, clawing wood privacy fencing, around a koi pond, and through a stand of aspen trees before she found herself at the end of the line. Last fence before the cross street.
The panting and heavy thud of her speeding heart deafened her. Blinds from an upstairs window flicked momentarily as the people in the house peered out at her, but they stayed carefully tucked inside. Thank God. The last thing Dez needed was a nosy neighbor getting caught in the crossfire.
She texted the lowdown to Blake and Mick, her partners and the only people she truly trusted. Sent a duplicate to the lead, Agent Stiles.
Ambush. Three or four down. Unsub.
Three dead, the agent on the porch and the parents. Four if the second WITSEC agent was down. She hadn't seen the second agent at the scene, but she hadn't had time to look. She also didn't have time to identify the suspects, and her failure burned as bad as the bullet. She'd barely gotten out alive. So much for an easy babysitting job.
Heart racing, lungs stinging, she glanced down at shaking hands. Blood covered her fingers and her phone, sticky and starting to chill in the winter wind. A sick, coppery scent turned her stomach. Her entire body quaked. Teeth chattered. Adrenaline letdown, because her body thought the worst was over, but Dez still had a job to do, one that might mean walking into another suburban nightmare. She needed to get to the kid before the bad guys, but she couldn't walk down the suburban streets with blood on her hands. Hell, all over her body.
She took stock of the situation. Arm hurt, navy suit jacket torn and bloody — her blood mixed with Kimberly's — and her slacks looked like she'd been crawling through a killing field.
Mick and Blake were across town, and she had no way to know if the men at the house knew Nathan's location. She had to climb that last damn fence and walk the suburban streets looking like something out of a zombie movie. If the suspects were still in the area, she was an easy target. The whole thing had been a setup thanks to Sully, the dick drug dealer they were chasing. He wanted Nathan, the kid whose parents were now dead. If she tried to retrieve him looking like the walking dead, no sane person would let her through the front door.
She glanced anxiously around the backyard. This one had a basketball hoop rather than a trampoline, rock-lined pathways, and a bench under some weeping tree. In short, her worst nightmare, the outward perfection that was the most painful lie. Dez forced a deep breath. The situation screwed with her head. The shooter and his buddies hadn't followed her trail. For that, she thanked her lucky stars. Washing her hands in the spigot off the back deck, she let them air dry in the cold while she did a quick evaluation.
Excerpted from Unstoppable by Cindy Skaggs, Suzanne Evans. Copyright © 2017 Cindy Skaggs. Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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