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Authors: Melissa Schroeder

Prelude to a Rumor, Part One

BOOK: Prelude to a Rumor, Part One
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Prelude to a Rumor, Part One
Melissa Schroeder
About Prelude to a Rumor, Part One

S
ean Kaheaku
is
at the top of his game. He’s been trained by one of the best in the spy biz and that definitely comes with perks. One of those is working with Jamie Alexander.  The sexy British spy definitely tempts him in the worst way.

Jaime
has heard enough about Sean to know he is considered one of the best in the field. Of course, he has slept with most of his partners—both male and female. Usually, she wants nothing to do with men like him, but something about the sexy Hawaiian intrigues her.

Their mission is easy. Get in, plant the listening device, get out. But one misstep on their assignment has them pushing the limits of their undercover roles in the most delicious way.

This is a prelude to the full-length book
A Little Harmless Rumor
and has a happy for now ending. It is NOT a serial and it is not required to read this book to understand the relationships in the final book.

C
opyright
© 2015 by Melissa Schroeder

All rights reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

Edited by Noel Varner

Cover by Scott Carpenter

CHAPTER ONE

A
s Sean watched
Lassiter drone on about the mission, he barely paid attention. Sure, the target was one of the richest men in the world, who just happened to be paranoid as fuck. It didn’t matter. He was completely and absolutely entranced by his new partner Jaime Alexander.

He couldn’t remember when he had been so damned preoccupied by a woman. Her light brown skin and curvy body would tempt any man, but the intelligent hazel gaze drew Sean more than that. He liked a smart woman. Stupid women tended to get on his nerves, and there was no doubt, this woman would not.

Of course, at the moment, she was reading over the report and ignoring him. That intrigued him even more.

“Kaheaku, you paying attention?”

He looked up at Lassiter. The man was giving Sean a knowing look. Damn. Busted.

“Yes. I understand the job. It isn’t like I haven’t done it a million times before now.”

Lassiter rolled his eyes. “Listen, this is my last job, and I want it to go without a hitch. Do you understand?” He included Jaime in the question. She glanced up and nodded, then looked back to the report.

Lassiter gave Sean his full attention. Sean held his hands out and smiled. “Of course. Just as long as your fellow countrywoman can keep it together.”

Jaime glanced over at him. “God save me from men who feel the need to have
measuring
contests.”

Instead of getting mad, he chuckled, then looked at Lassiter. “Okay, we won’t have any problems.”

Lassiter nodded.

“Anything else?” he asked.

“No. The event is formal tonight, so make sure to wear a tux.”

He acknowledged that with a nod, and turned to Jaime. “I’ll pick you up at eight, is that good?”

She nodded but said nothing, as her attention was back on the report. He left and started down the hall. He didn’t always fool around on the job. Truth was, before now, he hadn’t been all that interested in his partners—both men and women; Sean had a taste for both. He’d only been a civilian for eighteen months, and he had been in ten operations. He knew that people tended to have intense relationships for very short periods of time. There was always a chance this was the last UC. One mistake and you could end up dead. Still, there was that chance you could die that made a person take romantic chances. And he definitely wanted to take a chance with Ms. Jaime Alexander.

Just thinking her name and he felt slightly light-headed. Jesus, it was like he was fourteen and in love again for the first time. His palms were sweaty just thinking about being with her tonight. She had a saucy British accent, one from the other side of the tracks. Add in her husky voice, which slipped beneath his skin and whispered across his soul, and he was a goner.

He shook his head and drew in a deep breath. He had to keep his brain on the game or they would be in trouble. With new purpose, he walked down the hallway to his room. He had worked a lot of jobs, but this one had more danger than usual. Since they were new partners, Sean knew there would be a few bumps tonight. Hopefully, everything would turn out fine in the end. Bug the office, get out alive, and then, he might just get a taste of the very luscious Jaime Alexander.


H
e’s
as arrogant as I had heard,” Jaime said when they were alone.

Lassiter smiled at her. He was an attractive man, always had been, and Jaime had always had a thing for older men. He wasn’t that much older, maybe ten years, but he had a way about him. From his tailor made suits, to the touch of gray at his temples, Royce Lassiter was a man who drew a lot of attention. For some reason, though, she had never been attracted to him that way. He was more like an older brother to her.

“He has good reason to be. He’s the best recruit we’ve had in years.”

“Walter Hayes trained him.”

He nodded and looked out the window. “And Hayes said he was his best student.”

Inwardly, she sighed. It wasn’t Kaheaku’s fault that she was feeling inferior. Lassiter had found her and trained her. She was as good of an agent as Sean, but she did not have his reputation.

She would soon though. Working with him on her way up would definitely help. Keeping up with Kaheaku would give her some points in other agents’ eyes. It stung that she had to play the game, but she understood. She was the unknown, the one person no one knew about.

“Just remember, he likes to improvise. He’s good at it so follow his lead.”

She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye, then picked up her purse. “Don’t worry about me, love. I know how to handle myself.”

She was almost out of the door when he stopped her with a comment. “This isn’t play time tonight, Jaime. Nicolai Letov will not negotiate if you two are discovered.”

“I’m sure we’ll be able to handle it.”

He shook his head. “Just be extra careful. He will get the information from you and then he will kill you.”

“You think Kaheaku and I cannot keep our mouths shut.”

His lips flatted and he made a sound of disgust. “No. I think both of you could handle it very well—at first. You are both stubborn enough. But, Letov has a particular forte.”

“That being?”

“He gets people to talk, and then he gets them to beg him to die. He was trained by some of the best ex-KGB agents around. Just make sure you listen to Sean.”

With a smile she knew held very little humor, she said, “Don’t worry, sir. I can handle Kaheaku.”

With that, she slipped out the door and shut it behind her. When she was alone in her room, she leaned against the door and closed her eyes. She had heard the rumors, knew of the man, but seeing him in person was a bit more than she had expected.

At least six three or four, he towered over her, but he didn’t use it against her. She could tell he was a man who used his personality for that. She couldn’t fight the smile. She liked arrogant men, and Sean Kaheaku had that in spades. God, he was gorgeous. She closed her eyes and his image materialized.

His inky hair was a tad bit too long, and he had the most amazing green eyes. What she wouldn’t give to have his sexy mouth on her flesh. His golden brown skin looked as if it had been kissed by the sun. It had been rainy the last month or so, and she knew he had been in England, which confirmed one thing for her. His skin was that shade from the tips of his toes to the top of his head. Jaime shivered.

She pushed herself away from the door and tried to concentrate on what she needed to do. They had to look like a couple who belonged. It wouldn’t be a problem for someone like her. Jaime had been pretending to belong most of her life. Now, at least, she could make a living at it and not end up in prison.

CHAPTER TWO

S
ean straightened
his bowtie in the mirror, then checked his cufflinks. The light flashed off the diamonds and he shook his head. It still stunned him that he had ended up where he was before the age of thirty. When he’d left Hawaii with nothing but the clothes on his back and orders to report to basic training, he had thought he would make a career out of the Army. Red tape had frustrated him on too many levels, and when Walter had found him, Sean had been only too glad to leave the military behind. Now, he drove cars that cost more than he had ever earned in one year, and wore clothes tailored to fit.

He rolled his shoulders. He should be happier.

Money does not make a man happy
.

He smiled when he heard his mother’s voice in his head. Money had never been important to her, but it had become a priority to him. When his stepfather had disowned him, Sean had set out to prove he could make it on his own. Of course, now, he couldn’t really tell his family he was working for MI-6—even as a contractor. He had to pretend to be doing something else…but that was okay with him. He hadn’t talked to his stepfather since he’d thrown Sean out of the house. Some people were just never going to accept his bisexuality.

Sean pushed those thoughts aside and grabbed his wallet and car keys. He didn’t have time to worry about shit like that. He definitely didn’t want to keep Jaime waiting too long.

Just thinking her name brought her back to the forefront of his mind, and he glanced at the connecting door. They had a suite of rooms at the hotel, one that provided them with much of the top floor. It also gave people the idea that they were married, or at least involved. Another glance in the mirror and he frowned. What was wrong with him? He was nervous about her on a level he didn’t understand. Maybe it was because he hadn’t been with a woman in a long time. He’d been working mainly with men in recent months, and several of them swung his way. Going out and finding a woman would have been a complication he didn’t need. But, Fate decided to drop what he saw as the perfect woman for the moment right into his lap.

He walked over to her door and waited for a second, listening. Then, he rolled his shoulders, ordered himself to quit being an ass, and knock on her door. Hell, in a few short hours he had gone from interested into almost obsessive about his partner for the night. It wasn’t like him at all, but he had a feeling it had to do with the job at hand. Okay, it had a
lot
to do with the woman, but part of it was the mission. He tended to focus on things outside of the job so that he didn’t freak the fuck out. It was one of the games that Walter had taught him.

He smiled. There had been very few positive male role models in his life. Walter Hughes had been one. He was the reason Sean made the money he did now and had the respect he had. Sean made a mental note to contact his old mentor to check in with him.

Sean knocked on her door and waited. Nothing. No sounds from her room. He frowned and raised his hand to knock again just as the door whooshed open. For the first few moments, his mind went blank. Every bit of brain activity dissolved. It wasn’t a feeling he was accustomed to experiencing. For a former Army Special Forces and now well-known security expert, he normally could roll with any situation.

“Sean?”

He shook his head and brought his mind back to the present. Or at least somewhat. The woman was beautiful before, but she was stunning dressed as she was.

She’d pulled her natural curls up into some loose kind of bun in the back of her head, leaving a few wisps around her face. The dress she wore was made of some kind of soft, body hugging material

“Yeah, are you ready?”

How fucking lame could he get? She nodded, and stepped out of her room. He waited for her to walk by him, then followed her out of their suite.

“Make sure you call me Brett while we are around other people.”

She slanted him a look as they walked side-by-side down the hallway. “What is it you Americans like to say? Oh, yes, this isn’t my first rodeo.”

Of course it wasn’t. She was a seasoned agent and, if Lassiter trained her, there was a good chance she was almost as good as Sean. This was a complex and dangerous assignment. Letov was not a man to be fucked with, and while Lassiter liked to cut corners, he would never mess around with this situation. If he picked Jaime, she was up to the task.

Still, it didn’t mean he wouldn’t make sure she knew where they stood.

“Just don’t fuck it up.”

She said nothing as they stepped into the elevator, but she slanted him a look that would have killed a lesser man.

“And you might want to pretend that we are together.”

She sighed. “Don’t worry, love. I can handle faking it.”

“Ah, so that’s why you are in such a rotten mood.”

She looked at him. “Why?”

“Well, if you are used to faking it…”

He let his insinuation sink it. He saw the moment it hit her. She frowned and stepped forward. Damn, she smelled good. Like
want to lick every inch of her flesh
good. She was definitely a treat he wanted to indulge in…again and again.

“I don’t need you pulling shit on me tonight, S…Brett,” she said, from behind clenched teeth. “If you can hold up your end, I can hold up mine.”

He tried not to smile, but he couldn’t really fight it.

“Don’t you dare laugh,” she said, but her tone had changed and her expression eased. She pulled back. “Wanker.”

“Sorry.”

She shook her head and wisps of her hair flowed with the movement. “No you aren’t.”

“Not really, but just remember that part of this job is fun.”

She slanted a look from the side of her eye, but less threatening than the last. “Fun?”

He stepped closer, his body already humming with being so close to her. “We get to play with rich folks tonight. And, they will all be wondering about us, talking about us.”

He took a chance and leaned down to brush his mouth over her shoulder. She shivered.

“I promise to make every woman in that place jealous.”

Her tongue darted out over her lips and her pulse increased. He could see it in her neck, pounding away.

“Not the men?”

Oh, so she had heard about his tastes.

“Well, if you were interested in something like that, I could definitely accommodate, but at least for tonight, it would just be me and you.”

Before she could answer, the doors slid open. He slipped his hand down to the small of her back and urged her out of the lift.

“You’re very clever, aren’t you?” she asked, her voice breathless.

“Oh, you have no idea.” But Sean had all kinds of ideas to show her just how clever he was.

BOOK: Prelude to a Rumor, Part One
13.87Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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