He’s a former CIA agent in love with a younger woman.
She’s confused and broken.
With STRIKER by her side, is her heart more of a target than ever before?
I do whatever my team needs. I’ll protect and fight for them—no matter the cost. After I meet the alluring Aine McNamara at a wedding, I’m thinking about more than tying the knot. But when tragedy strikes, I know I’m needed elsewhere. Torn between saving her and protecting my country, the battle begins.
I caved. I surrendered. I gave him my heart, and then he asked me to leave. I won’t let him break me. Not again. But when I need him the most, he’s right there, strong and secure, sympathetic and sure, reminding me, a life with STRIKER is all I want.
I was ready to throw my phone against the wall of the office in my McLean, Virginia, condo.
“Why are you surprised? I told you this would happen when you allowed Ghafor to go to Colombia,” I shouted at Kellen “Money” McTiernan, the man who had taken my job at the CIA when I left.
“The United States’ relationship with Colombia is stable now and was then, Griffin. There was no reason to refuse to let Ghafor go wherever he wanted to, as long as it wasn’t back to Pakistan,” McTiernan shot back.
There were at least three things in Money’s statement that pissed me off. Telling me anything about US–Colombian relations was his first mistake. I’d been the CIA’s resident expert on not just Colombia, but all of South America before I left the agency.
Calling me Griffin, rather than Striker, was his second error. There were very few people who got away with calling me that, and Money wasn’t one of them.
Finally, saying there wasn’t any reason Ghafor, former leader of the Islamic State, should’ve been permitted to go anywhere that wasn’t a prison cell or a morgue, made my blood pressure skyrocket.
“Where do you think he is now?”
“We’re not certain he’s in Pakistan.”
“You’re not certain. Is that what you just said? I thought you were supposed to have a genius-level IQ. Evidently, that is a misconception. Of course he’s in Pakistan, you idiot.”
Abdul Ghafor was the shit beneath the shoe of the worst scumbag on the face of the earth. He was personally responsible for the deaths of several American operatives, along with playing an integral role in the fraudulent presidential election that had resulted in a man who never should’ve been elected to one term in office, let alone two, taking oath.
That man would soon be impeached, and if the universe didn’t screw it up somehow, once he was out of office, he’d also be prosecuted and sent to prison.
It didn’t matter to me that Ghafor’s testimony had led to several other indictments of election fraud and money laundering; that the State Department let the man live was an affront to everything I believed in. Shipping him off to Buenaventura, Colombia, a hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, was akin to asking for another catastrophic attack on US soil.
I put my hand over the mic on my phone when Owen “Ranger” Messick walked into my office followed by Caleb “Diesel” Jacks.
“Money thinks Ghafor might have returned to Pakistan.”
The look on both Ranger’s and Diesel’s faces clearly conveyed that they shared the same opinion of McTiernan I did.
“You’ll receive the briefing tomorrow at zero eight hundred,” Money said right before he disconnected the call.
“That sonuvabitch hung up on me,” I said, once again tempted to throw my phone. With my luck, I’d put a hole in the wall, and it would be one more thing I’d have to repair before I sold the condo I rarely lived in. At least not since Aine McNamara and I had broken up.
“You ready to head out, boss?” asked Diesel, propping his feet on my desk.
Before I could do it myself, Ranger reached over and knocked Diesel’s feet off.
“I’m not your boss,” I grumbled, although at times like these, I wished I’d never left the agency. No way in hell would Ghafor have disappeared on my watch.
“What’s Doc told you about the meeting?” asked Ranger.
“Only that it’s tomorrow in Yachats.”
Just saying the name of the small coastal town in Oregon made my chest hurt.
Why the hell did Doc Butler need us to meet there of all places? K19 Security Solutions’ senior partner had a wide range of options when he called a meeting of the other senior and junior partners—like I was. In the past, we’d always met on the Central Coast of California, where all four founding partners owned houses even if they didn’t live there full-time.
Doc’s choice of Yachats for this meeting was baffling, particularly since Razor Sharp was the only member of the team who had a permanent residence there.
Regardless, my main hope was that during the short time I planned to be in town, I could manage to avoid running into Aine McNamara.
Whatever information I’d anticipated getting in advance of the K19 team meeting was thwarted by whom Razor had sent to pick up Ranger, Diesel, and me from the airport.
Rhys “Monk” Perrin was the least talkative man I’d ever met. Usually, it didn’t bother me. It seemed like most people talked more to hear the sound of their own voice than to say anything of importance. When I needed information though, it was irritating as hell.
What I really wanted to know wasn’t about the meeting. I wanted to know how Aine was, although even if Monk were a chatterbox, I never would’ve asked him about her.
I had my own man on reconnaissance, someone I’d worked with at the agency who did private investigation work on the side. I’d hired Halo to make sure Aine didn’t get herself into any danger. When I received word that she was dating a local guy, I’d thought about backing off, but hadn’t been able to bring myself to. I told Halo to limit his reports to essential information only, not because I wasn’t concerned anymore; it just hurt too much to think about her with another man.
“Why did you turn here?” I asked, realizing Monk had made a left onto the street that would take us to Razor’s place rather than to the hotel.
“Going to the house.”
“I figured that. What I want to know is why?”
“This is where Razor told me to bring you.”
I didn’t bother looking at either Ranger or Diesel sitting in the back seat; I could hear them snickering.