Authors: DiAnn Mills
BOOK 1 IN THE FBI: HOUSTON SERIES
“Mills takes readers on an explosive ride. . . . A story as romantic as it is exciting,
will appeal to fans of Dee Henderson’s romantic suspense stories.”
“With an intricate plot involving domestic terrorism that could have been ripped from the headlines, Mills’s romantic thriller makes for compelling reading.”
“A fast-moving, intricately plotted thriller.”
“Mills once again demonstrates her spectacular writing skills in her latest action-packed work. . . . The story moves at a fast pace that will keep readers riveted until the climactic end.”
“This book was so fast-paced that I almost got whiplash! . . . [H]eart-pounding action from the first page . . . didn’t stop until nearly the end of the book. If you like romantic suspense, I highly recommend this one.”
“Fast-paced and action-packed. . . . DiAnn Mills gives us a real winner with
, a captivating and intense story filled with a twisting plot that will have you on the edge of your seat.”
is exciting . . . thrilling. DiAnn Mills draws her readers in, holding them breathlessly hostage until the very last page. She is a master at her craft and her genre.”
“Mills’s writing is crisply transparent and filled with solid research and believable characters and a spark of romantic chemistry. The mystery-ridden maze of tumultuous twists and turns, suspects and evidence, difficult questions and half answers will rivet the reader’s attention.”
should come with a warning! Be prepared to lose your breath and a lot of sleep with this exhilarating read.”
LYNETTE EASON, BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE DEADLY REUNIONS SERIES
is an up-until-2 a.m. book. . . . I had no idea who the mastermind was until the last two or three pages. Mills keeps getting better and better. Can’t wait for the next one!”
LAURAINE SNELLING, AUTHOR OF THE WILD WEST WIND SERIES AND
WAKE THE DAWN
is a gripping ride that will keep your blood pumping and your imagination in high gear.”
DANI PETTREY, AUTHOR OF THE ALASKAN COURAGE SERIES
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Copyright © 2015 by DiAnn Mills. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of man copyright © Valua Vitaly/Dollar Photo Club. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of woman copyright © Media Bakery. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of pier copyright © Milan Gonda/Shutterstock. All rights reserved.
Cover texture copyright © Toria/Shutterstock. All rights reserved.
Cover photograph of city copyright © George Doyle/Media Bakery. All rights reserved.
Designed by Nicole Grimes
Edited by Erin E. Smith
Published in association with the literary agency of Books & Such Literary Agency, 52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170, Santa Rosa, CA 95409.
is a work of fiction. Where real people, events, establishments, organizations, or locales appear, they are used fictitiously. All other elements of the novel are drawn from the author’s imagination.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Double Cross / DiAnn Mills.
— (FBI: Houston ; #2)
ISBN 978-1-4143-8994-3 (sc)
1. United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
—Officials and employees
—Fiction. 2. Houston (Tex.)
—Fiction. 3. Suspense fiction. 4. Christian fiction. I. Title.
ISBN 978-1-4964-0381-0 (ePub); ISBN 978-1-4143-9865-5 (Kindle); ISBN 978-1-4964-0382-7 (Apple)
Build: 2015-02-18 10:37:35
To Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, media coordinator, FBI Houston Division.
Thank you for your friendship and your faithful attention to all my questions while fulfilling your commitment to the FBI.
WANT TO THANK
the following people for helping me with
. I appreciate you!
—Always grateful for your input.
Stephanie Broene and Erin Smith
—Thank you for your patience and expertise. I’m lost without you!
Special Agent Shauna Dunlap, media coordinator, FBI Houston Division
—I couldn’t write a novel about the FBI without your valuable input and friendship. Thanks so much.
Cecilia Benningfield, Connie Brown, Barbara Gill, and Alycia Morales
—So value your feedback.
—What fun we had brainstorming this novel. Couldn’t have done it without you!
—Thank you for all the hours spent critiquing my story. I so appreciate you!
—Thank you for helping me explore the inner workings of characters’ minds.
—Guns and ammunition. Thanks so much.
—I so appreciate our brainstorming sessions at Panera.
—Thanks for all your encouragement.
Dr. Richard Mabry
—Thanks for the medical assistance about adult-onset asthma and poisons.
—Thank you for believing in me and challenging me to be a better writer.
—Your experience as a Houston police officer helped me portray Daniel as real.
—Thank you for sharing with me how financial institutions work to protect the assets of the elderly.
—Your knowledge of weaponry helps keep my story credible!
—I appreciate the time spent helping me see how the health industry compiles patient and client information.
—Thanks for all the valuable feedback.
—Thanks for helping me through a rough plot point.
Special Agent Laurel Evertson had done everything required of her and more to gain Morton Wilmington’s affections. The gaudy diamond on her left hand proved it. She was prepared to end her undercover work tonight and walk away from this despicable role. All she had to do was find the flash drive that would send her fiancé to prison for life.
Morton reached into his closet and pulled out designer pants, a shirt, and a sports jacket. “Babe, I’m taking a shower. Thought we’d grab dinner downtown before the play.”
“Perfect. I’m ready. So looking forward to tonight.” She despised the lies and the counterfeit love.
“What are you going to do? Read here?”
“I am. A new romance novel.” She pointed to a window seat that offered a scenic view of his condo’s pool bathed in late-summer afternoon sun.
He chuckled, his deep-blue eyes smoldering. “As long as I’m your main man.”
“None other.” She kissed him lightly. “I’m turning on a little Andrea Bocelli to put me in the mood.”
“The book, the play, dinner, and us.”
“Another reason why I love you. Even if you did beat me last night in Monopoly.” He disappeared into the shower.
The moment the sound of water met her ears, she confirmed
his location. Four times she’d found herself alone in his condo and attempted to access his safe, but each time she’d failed to hack into his computer, where he stored the safe combination that changed daily. Today she knew his password, and she quickly located the code on his laptop.
She placed the novel on the bed and removed a framed picture of a tank at Fort Knox from the wall to reveal the safe. Odd for a bedroom, but Morton had served four years in the Army. Probably the only thing he could be proud of. She rested the picture against the nightstand while the digital combination bannered across her mind. Squeezing her fingers into her palm to steady herself, she pressed in the code, hoping Andrea Bocelli’s tenor voice drowned out the low click. If she was wrong, the alarm would blare throughout the condo, bringing Morton out of the shower along with his bodyguard from the kitchen.
Big business had made him one of the most powerful men in the country, and certainly in Texas. Murder, money laundering, and organized crime were his best friends
—legitimacy his enemy. But he’d made one mistake, exposing it all on a flash drive. He’d bragged about where it was hidden one night after drinking too much. It had taken her months to locate the safe and figure out how to gain access.
Was she any better than he, using another person for her own agenda? She shook off the thought and concentrated on her commitment to stop Wilmington from breaking the law.
She secured the flash drive and replaced the picture. Stealing her way to the bathroom door, she confirmed Morton was still showering. His laptop sat on his desk as though beckoning her to prove the FBI’s suspicions. She inserted the drive. Her heart pounded, ached.
“Babe, had an idea for our honeymoon,” he called from the bathroom.
“Great.” She breathed deeply to calm her scattered nerves. “Are you going to tell me?”
“You know I love surprises.” The details on the computer rose like rich cream: names, places, bank accounts. She ejected the device and slipped it into her shoe.
“I sent a check to MD Anderson this morning,” he said.
“For the kids or in general?”
“The kids. The fund-raiser we attended hit me hard.”
But you’d killed men who got in your way.
“They stole my heart too.” She texted the FBI and Jesse, her partner, providing the code to the condo’s alarm system and telling them where the armed bodyguard was located. “Do you need anything?”
“That’s a loaded offer, but I’m good.”
He wouldn’t be so good once the FBI arrived for the takedown. “What time are we leaving?” She moved back to the window seat and opened her novel.
He stepped from the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist. “Is six okay?”
She smiled. “Sure.” Finally this charade would be over.
While discussing what Wilmington wanted to do for the children at MD Anderson, he dressed and she touched up her makeup. Her hands trembled.
“Are you okay?” he said. “You’re shaking.”
“Just hungry.” She hated this game, made her feel as dirty as Morton.
“Want a glass of orange juice?”
“You’re so sweet. Thanks, I’d love it.”
He left the room and went down the hall to the kitchen. She checked her phone.
W r n place. Now
With a confident breath, she pulled her Glock from her purse and trailed after Wilmington. Only moments remained.
A crash sounded from the kitchen and seized her attention.
Morton swore. “Laurel, stay back. Call the bodyguards.”
She rushed from the bedroom, her hand fused to her Glock.
Gunfire exploded. One. Two. Three shots.
A bodyguard sprawled facedown on the floor, blood seeping from beneath him.
Jesse hid in the back of the kitchen by the utility room, trapped but able to fire.
“Morton, drop the gun.” She inched closer.
“You’re part of this?” His eyes and gun stayed fixed on Jesse. “You set me up?”
“It was my job.”
He called her vile names that would echo forever.
“FBI. Lower your weapon.” She moved closer. “Morton Wilmington, you’re under arrest. Agents are waiting.”
“You know how I operate. No one gets the best of me.”
“You can give orders to the prison guards.”
“You have a choice,” Morton said. “Put down your gun, or I’ll blow a hole right through this guy.”
“That works both ways.”
Morton swung a seething look at Laurel, allowing just enough time for Jesse to move into position.
Morton whirled and fired, sending Jesse backward to the floor, a bullet in his neck. Blood seeped across his upper body. His eyes wide-open . . . The cost of her undercover work.
Agents poured through the door. Morton dropped the gun and glared at her. “I have people everywhere. You can’t hide, Laurel. No matter how long it takes. You’ll pay in blood.”