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Code Name: Rook (E-Book)

Code Name: Rook (E-Book)

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Being a highly skilled operative for a company like Jameson Force Security is exhilarating and important work…until it comes time to date. I like to keep my profession under wraps for a number of reasons. Some of what we do is top secret, most of what we do is dangerous, and more than one woman has tried to latch onto me because she was more enamored with what I do than who Cage Murdock really is. And since I’m more of a ‘here for the night’ than a ‘here for forever’ kind of guy, what’s the harm in a little white lie about my job?

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My harmless deceit has never failed me. Until now. Because I met the most amazing woman and did the unthinkable. I married her. And now my beautiful, unsuspecting, probably-going-to-leave-my-sorry-behind-when-she-finds-out-the-truth wife doesn’t know that I’m not a used car salesman like I told her when we met.

As it typically does with lies, the truth is about to come out in a big way when Jaime unwittingly gets herself mixed up with some unsavory characters and I, along with the team at Jameson, have to intervene. Now I need to save my girl and hope I can save my marriage too. Let’s just say I have some serious explaining to do.

Read Chapter One

Chapter 1

Cage

After twenty-three hours on two different military transport planes, plus one uncomfortable commercial flight sitting next to a guy who fell asleep with his head on my shoulder, the one thing I should want to do upon arriving back in Pittsburgh is go to sleep.

Yet, I’m not the least bit tired. If anything, I’m amped and still riding high on the sweet balm of victory our team had just two days ago when we rescued our teammate Malik from his captors deep in the Syrian desert. Many had given him up as being dead—namely, our own government. But our boss, Kynan McGrath, head of Jameson Force Security, never did. We kept digging, investigating, and offering a fuck-ton of reward money for information on him. He’d been captured after a hostage rescue gone bad five months earlier, and we were convinced he was being held—and most likely tortured—for information.

My other teammates, Tank and Merritt, had traveled with me. They’d invited me to go out with them as we were grabbing our gear in baggage claims.

“Let’s go celebrate a successful mission,” Tank said.

I declined, not because I don’t like the guys—I really do—but because even though I’m pumped over the solid victory, I’m also feeling the need to be reflective about it.

I’d taken a life while rescuing Malik. While I don’t have a single regret for putting a bullet in his captor’s head—one of them, anyway—it’s a massive responsibility to carry that weight. I feel like being reflective with a few drinks. If I’d gone out with Tank and Merritt, we’d all get shitfaced and probably end up in some kind of trouble.

And also… I’m in the mood for something a little softer to end the evening with. Preferably a beautiful woman with curves in all the right places, and Tank and Merritt aren’t the best wingmen.

So I make a quick stop at my apartment, which is actually within the Jameson headquarters, drop my gear, and take a quick shower. Thirty minutes later, I find myself in a downtown Pittsburgh bar that’s not too upscale but is most definitely not a dive bar. I’ve never been here before, so I don’t know anyone, but that’s how I want it tonight.

I nurse my first two beers sitting on a bar stool, bent over my phone to catch up on the news, Facebook feeds, and personal emails. While on my third beer, I swivel my seat to face the crowd and people watch.

The patrons are a mix of twenty and thirty-somethings for the most part. The music is trendy and designed to get people on the dance floor. There seems to be an excessive number of women compared to men, but then I realize one large group appears to be having a bachelorette party—at least, I assume that’s what it is considering one woman is wearing a veil, tiara, and a sash proclaiming her “Bride-to-Be”.

My gaze moves past that group, across the gyrating bodies on the dance floor—a place no one will ever find me—and over to a smaller group of women sitting at a large round table. Several drinks and empty glasses fill the table, along with a few empty plates. There’s a lot of laughing and animated talking going on, and I’d bet anything they’re out to have a good time tonight.

Vivid red hair catches my attention as a tall, willowy woman walks up to the table, then sits in one of the chairs. She immediately grabs one of the drinks, takes a deep gulp, and joins in on the conversation with the other women. Through the swirling lights and strobes, I get flashes of her.

Her face is stunning.

Body superb.

Can’t tell the color of her eyes other than they’re light. I’m guessing green, like mine, but possibly blue.

She’s engrossed in her friends and doesn’t spare a glance around, which enables me to watch her while enjoying my beer. After several long moments, I realize I don’t quite have it in me to break in on the tight-knit group just so I can hit on the redhead.

I’m tired from my travels, from killing a man, and from the inevitable fall from the adrenaline rush of the rescue. Swiveling my seat back around to face the bar, I decide to head home after I finish my drink.

It takes me less than five minutes to down the rest of my pint. As I pull out my credit card to settle my tab, I feel a tap on my shoulder.

Tipping my head back, I blink in surprise to find the gorgeous redhead. She glances at my empty glass and the credit card in my hand, then asks, “Can I buy you another beer before you leave?”

No longer tired, I push off the stool and offer it to her since the ones on either side of me are taken. “No, you can’t buy me a beer, but you can let me buy you a drink. What are you having?”

“Screwdriver,” she says with a smile, settling on the offered seat. I turn my body, lean an elbow on the bar top, and make eye contact with the bartender. “Another beer and a Screwdriver.”

He nods, and I return my attention to the beautiful woman who just surprised the shit out of me. “I’m not used to women offering to buy me a drink,” I admit to her. Sticking my hand out, I give her my first name only. “Cage.”

With confidence, she firmly grips my hand. “Jaime.”

“Nice meeting you.”

“Well,” she drawls, giving me a coy look from under long lashes, “I saw you sitting here when I came out of the ladies’ room, and you looked like you could use some company.”

I cock an eyebrow. I’m not sure if she’s being genuinely nice, thinking I might need a friend, or if she’s actually hitting on me. If she thinks I need a friend, she’d be wrong, but that makes her kind of adorable. If she’s actually hitting on me, I’m all for that. Up close, she’s even more beautiful than I thought when I saw her across the room.

She has a pale complexion with a light smattering of freckles across her nose. Her eyes aren’t green like mine, but rather a blue that reminds me of a glacial lake I’d once fished in Montana. She’s not heavily made up… only a bit of mascara and lip gloss, but she has one of those arresting faces that doesn’t need more than its natural beauty to get people to do a double-take.

Taller than most women, she still only comes up to my shoulder. She’s not dressed to go clubbing, but rather for a night walking around downtown Pittsburgh, in dark leggings and a long sweater that comes down past her ass. It’s thin and form-fitting—not bulky—and I can tell she’d look fabulous naked and splayed out on my bed.

“It looked like you had the weight of the world on your shoulders,” Jaime explains. “And well, I’m a natural fixer of people’s problems, so I thought I’d come and be nosy. Also, it helps you’re really hot, too.”

Wow. A combination of both—extending friendship and hitting on me at the same time. Refreshing.

The bartender returns with our drinks, and I push the Screwdriver closer to her, ignoring my beer for the moment. “Truth be told, I’m actually feeling pretty light and happy. Had a big victory at work, and so having a few beers to celebrate.”

“Oh yeah?” she inquires before taking a sip of her drink. She nods at it. “Thank you, by the way. So what’s the big victory?”

I quickly sift through the handful of fake jobs I’ve given women over the years, settling on, “I’m a car salesman. I hit my quota for the month.”

Her eyes brighten, her lips quirking upward before splitting into a smile. “Well, good for you. Congrats.”

Before she can ask me detailed questions about my fake job, I ask, “What do you do?”

“I’m a social worker,” she replies, her expression brightening even more, which says she has a tremendous passion for what she does. “I work for a coalition that coordinates all domestic violence programs in the state of Pennsylvania. In other words, I help women and their children get out of bad situations.”

For a moment, I’m humbled, realizing this woman is far too good for me to engage in a one-night stand. She’s not the usual ditzy bombshell I can have a fun romp with in bed for one night and shake free the next day.

It’s why I don’t tell my real profession. I’ve found that women tend to cling tighter when they find out I work for a cutting-edge security services firm that does exciting and dangerous work all over the world. However, giving them a boring profession doesn’t make me seem all that interesting out of the bedroom and just makes one-night stands a lot easier.

For a moment, I consider downing my drink and heading out, but she keeps me engaged by asking, “Is that a southern accent I detect?”

Smiling, I nod. “Born and raised in North Carolina. But it’s evened out a bit over the years.”

“It’s cute,” she admits, taking another sip of her drink. “I’m from Pittsburgh, born and raised. My dad’s a third-generation steelworker.”

I frown, confused. “I thought the steel industry collapsed.”

It’s what Pittsburgh was known for until steel prices took a nosedive in the eighties due to market saturation. Now Pittsburgh is known for banking, excellent medical facilities, and championship football, hockey, and baseball.

Jaime shakes her head. “It’s true the industry here isn’t a fraction of what it used to be, but U.S. Steel still has a couple of factories in the area. My dad works at the Edgar Thompson plant in Braddock.”

“What exactly does he do?” I ask, interested to know more.

“He does maintenance on the blast furnace. It’s where they turn raw material into liquid iron, then it’s refined into steel slabs that are sent out to other plants to be made into different products.”

“Fascinating.”

She shrugs, chuckling. “It’s a family legacy. Except there was no way in hell I was going to work there.”

“So you went off to college, and now you help women in need,” I conclude. “Any other family members follow in your dad’s footsteps?”

Jaime shakes her head, her red hair rippling. “My sister is in college, and my brother is a bum who lives in my parents’ basement.”

Tipping my head back, I laugh at the image. There’s a tiny bit of disgust over her brother’s apparent lack of ambition mixed with a hefty dose of fondness for the doofus in her tone.

“Why are you out tonight?” I ask, nodding over to her group of friends. They are all avidly watching us as they talk.

“I had a messy breakup, and they felt I needed a night out…” She gives a careless shrug.

“Are you heartbroken?” I inquire. Her answer could determine the course of our fates tonight.

She scoffs, waving dismissively. “Hardly. We’d only been dating a few months when I caught him cheating. I threw a book at him and broke his nose, so I’m actually feeling pretty good about things. Feel vindicated, so to speak. I have nothing to prove, but they thought I needed a night out to sort of… get back in the saddle so to speak.”

There’s no stopping the bark of laughter I let loose, nor can I stand upright. Doubled over, I chuckle, holding my stomach at the hilarity of it.

“You need rebound sex,” I say as I straighten up, making the decision to go for it.

“Not really,” she counters. “I don’t feel the need to rebound.”

“Just regular sex then?” I suggest.

“Regular sex sounds boring.”

Christ, she’s funny. Laughing, I note her drink is low. “How about I buy you another drink while we debate the merits of this?”

“That sounds like a great plan,” she replies brightly.

***

We’re both pretty toasted by the time we make it to her apartment. Going to my place was out of the question since I live at Jameson Headquarters. She thinks I’m a car salesman, so that wouldn’t have worked.

We almost closed the bar down. I’d joined her girlfriends at their table, and they’d taken turns grilling me. Mostly though, I’d flirted heavily with Jaime. The more we drank, the bolder I’d become. She ended up on my lap at one point, and I inched my hand up her inner thigh as the night progressed until she whispered in my ear, “We should get out of here soon, don’t you think?”

Oh, yes… I did think it was a fucking fantastic idea.

Of course, I wasn’t allowed to leave with Jaime until her friends took a picture of my driver’s license for safety measures. I didn’t bother telling them it could have been fake, and it wasn’t a good way for a woman to consider herself safe.

No, the only way to ensure safety was to not take a strange guy home, but Jaime and I have a connection. She’s going by a gut feeling I’m a legitimately nice guy who isn’t going to kill her. Still, at some point before we part ways, I feel the need to tell her it’s dangerous to take guys home and she needs to be more careful.

Our first kiss is in the back of the Uber we take to her apartment, which is slow and sweet but turns into a hot make-out session that causes our driver to cough loudly to get our attention when he pulls up to her building.

The elevator’s too slow, so we bound up two flights of stairs while holding hands, breathless from desire more than exertion. As Jaime slides her key in the lock, I press my body against hers until she has no doubt how much I want her.

Fuck if she doesn’t press that fine ass into me, and I start to thicken more from the contact.

“Hurry,” I mutter. In no time, we’re bursting into her apartment in a mad scramble of lust and drunken passion.

The door gets kicked closed, and I lock it. I’m kissing her and trying to get her clothes off while we’re stumbling our way to her bedroom. I don’t even notice a damn thing about her living area—too intent on how good she feels against my hands and mouth, knowing she’ll feel even better inside.

We get naked and crash to her bed—which I do notice is perfectly made—then it’s on. My mouth wanders over her body with soft kisses, nibbles, and sucks. When I find that soft wet place between her legs with my fingers, she arches up to demand more.

Just as I’m considering grabbing the condom I’d managed to pull out of my wallet and toss on the bedside table, Jaime pushes me onto my back and proceeds to give my body the same treatment I gave to hers.

And Christ, does she know how to touch a man. Tongue circling my nipple, she grips my cock to slowly jack it.

She’s perfection.

Lifting her head, she stares at me with heated eyes. “You know… this is my first one-night stand.”

I blink in surprise. She was so confident tonight, a modern woman who knew when she wanted something and took it. Sure, alcohol was fueling us a bit, but she never showed an ounce of hesitation.

But I do now. My hand slides along her jaw. “You want to stop?”

Jaime shakes her head. “God, no. I just didn’t want you to think I lure strange men back to my place all the time.”

“Well, I’m not strange. We spent almost three hours talking at the bar,” I point out.

She grins, and I use the opportunity to snag the condom.

Jaime, in turn, nabs it out of my hand and rips it open with her teeth.

Fuck… that’s sexy.

I groan as she rolls it over me slowly, then I have her flat on her back with my hips nestled between her legs.

This was never going to be anything other than two people filled with pent-up desire and energy, ready to unleash it on each other. My mouth covers hers when I thrust into her, and she meets every one of my movements with a corresponding gyration of her own.

Feels so fucking good.

Better than I can remember having in a long time, and that’s even through a haze of alcohol.

I wonder what it would feel like completely sober.

Probably have me unloading like a schoolboy before I could get a handful of thrusts in.

Regardless, Jaime matches my intensity, our fucking hard and jarring. She urges me to go harder, and I whisper filthy comments in her ear.

When she comes undone, it’s with a buck of her body and a cry of release as she calls my name.

“Cage!”

It’s enough to throw me over the edge with her, and I have a soul-crushing orgasm that leaves spots in my eyes and too much curiosity, wondering again what it would feel like if I were sober.

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Product Release Date: October 27, 2020

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