Coming December 21, 2023 | Preorder Kindle | Preorder Other Retailers



Before walking out of my flat, I checked myself in the mirror for the countless time. Tie was straight, suit looked okay, hair seemed grayer than the last time I checked, but at my age, that was to be expected. Some of it had to do with the job I’d just left.

Chief of MI6. It had been my sole professional aspiration for as long as I could remember. And, truth be told, I’d loved every minute of it. Until recently.

I can’t say if it was the birth of my second grandchild or if it was watching the team of agents I oversaw fall in love, marry, and start their own families, that made me realize being chief was no longer enough.

Leighton “George” Marietta had captivated me from the moment I first met her almost four years ago. The thing I didn’t expect was for her to be the least bit interested in me. However, in all that time, neither of us had truly acted on our mutual attraction. Sure, there had been flirtations here and there, but it never went further. I was her boss’ boss, and while in this day and age, others felt no shame in crossing those kinds of lines, I couldn’t, even if it meant I might lose the chance to know her better if she found another man who wasn’t bound by duty to resist doing something as simple as asking her out on a date.

That had all changed when I resigned from my position with SIS—His Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service. There had been no specific impetus behind my decision. No policy change, no difficulty from my higher-ups; I’d just looked up from my desk and through my open door and saw George walk by.

“I’ve resigned,” I’d told her earlier today when I found her sitting behind her own desk.

George raised her and studied me. “Have you?”

I nodded. “Effective immediately.”

She sat back in her chair and folded her arms. “Now what?”

“I was wondering if you’d like to celebrate over dinner tonight. With me.”

George smiled. “I suppose it wouldn’t be much of a celebration if you weren’t there. Is there a group gathering—”

“No. Err, forgive my interruption, but this celebration has nothing to do with work.” I cleared my throat. “I’m asking you on a date, George.”

“I accept.”


Now, five hours later, I was on my way to pick her up. I had quite an evening planned for us. First, dinner at her favorite Indian restaurant, which just so happened to be my favorite as well. Afterwards, I intended to invite her back here for an after-dinner cocktail. Or, if she preferred, her place. Either way, now that I’d decided to pursue her, I wanted George to know it would be full-throttle, as they say. I wanted her in my life and in my bed. Starting tonight.

I looked out the window and saw the car service I’d hired pull up. After grabbing my overcoat, I took one last look in the mirror. “Do not talk yourself out of this,” I said to my reflection.

After locking up behind me, I walked down the steps to the car, checking the time on my mobile before getting inside.

“Puck? What in the world?” I said to the man already seated in the backseat.

“Hello, Z.”

“What in the bloody hell is the meaning of this?” I said, looking down at the gun he had pointed directly at me.

“I need your help with something.”

“For God’s sake, Puck. All you had to do was ask. This…this…”—I motioned to the gun—“is not necessary. I insist you explain yourself immediately, followed by exiting the vehicle. I have a previous and urgent engagement.”

“’Fraid that won’t be possible, sir.”

“Agent Lindstrom, I demand you lower your weapon—” Before I finished my sentence, the car sped off.

“Now, hand over your weapons and your mobile. I’d rather not, but if you force me, I will kill you, Z.”

I stared down the barrel of his gun, knowing I had no choice but to do as he said or prepare to die.

Coming December 21, 2023 | Preorder Kindle | Preorder Other Retailers