Raging Fire (Guarded Secrets Book 4)

BOOK: Raging Fire (Guarded Secrets Book 4)
11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Raging Fire


Guarded Secrets, Book Four


Sara Schoen


Raging Fire


Copyright © 2016 by Sara Schoen

All rights reserved.

First Print Edition: August 2016

Formatting: Stolen Glances Promotions

ISBN-13: 978-1534636507

ISBN-10: 1534636501


No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.




“Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced.”

~ Soren Kierkegaard 


Whether or not you like what’s going on in your life currently, it’s happening. The problems you face can’t always be solved, sometimes they have to be faced head on and muddled through.  Remember, you’ll live through whatever it is, and at times it’s rough as hell. We lose friends, family, and suffer in general, but we also find new friends, marry into families and make a few that aren’t connected by blood or law. Life is hard, but it’s worth it. 

Experience everything your life has to offer. Take chances and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Make yourself proud of your experiences and you’ll become an inspiration or comfort to others around you and to yourself.

Everyone goes through something, you, your friends, your parents, even the authors whose books you read. Nothing is perfect, but if you stay focused on what you want to do, and where you want to be, then you’ll come out of the problem with something more meaningful. In the end, you’ll regret more of what you didn’t do than what you did do. Live your life to the fullest. Don’t run away all the problems for yourself or others, experience them and push through them. You’re stronger and can handle so much more than you believe.





Taken captive, that’s how I saw it. Married for gain, rank, or status within the cartel, then ignored and abandoned, before being left for dead a short time later. I pushed those thoughts aside as a guard led me to Camden’s and my meeting place; a concrete box with only one exit, which I had control over. Though it wasn’t Camden’s fault he had been ordered to find someone to marry so he could assume the position of the leader of his family’s cartel, the Cardoza Cartel, it was his fault for taking advantage of Sharp Shooter’s kindness. Sharp Shooter wasn’t going to allow Camden to live after the bloodshed Camden caused when revealed the identities of numerous undercover agents. In my opinion, even with his family’s past, that was the worst mistake Camden could have made.

“If I remember correctly, you must be Spit Fire,” he had said with an arrogant smirk when I first walked into the prison cell he now called home. The guard checked Camden’s restraints, making sure he didn’t escape while we talked, before leaving. We were given privacy for this interrogation, and while two people walked in here, only one of us would be walking out.

“I am,” I replied curtly as I flashed him the weapon I had smuggled in to gain his cooperation. I took a seat at the only table in the dismal room as his eyes locked onto the gun tucked into my waistband. The dark metal of the gun contrasted against my pale skin, making it clear what I was showing him. He gestured for me to begin with a soft flick of his wrist, the handcuffs locking him in place hindered his movements, but he didn’t seem to mind, which pissed me off endlessly. I wanted him to suffer in here. “Must be hard to go from living large in a cartel to living in a dump like this.”

The smirk quickly wiped off his face, only to be replaced with a scowl. “It has been.” His reply was short and to the point, much like mine. It told me neither of us wanted to play games, which I was thankful for.

“I hear you gave up information on our agency to the Russians.” It was a fact, not a question. I didn’t have time to beat around the bush on this one. Night Stripe is currently neck deep in the Russian mafia, and it’s only a matter of time before they catch her and bury her alive as punishment. I needed to figure out how much Camden told Volodya, or anyone else, and hopefully prevent the information from spreading. Somehow Camden knew about our identities from before our recruitment, along with our lives, CIRA protocols, and where our undercover agents had been sent on missions. I don’t know how he got the information, but I’d make sure he couldn’t share it with anyone else. “I want to know who you told and what you said to them.”

“I mostly gave Volodya information on his man, Marco, or who he thought was Marco anyway,” Camden growled, clearly deciding to cooperate instead of fight with me. I had been prepared for a fight and was actually a little disappointed he had given in so easily. It made the end game less fun. “I haven’t had the opportunity to tell anyone else, 
” he added, looking smug.

Renegade’s deception by going undercover as Marco Rykov had taken a toll on Camden, and since then he had been determined to exact revenge, which included revealing over a dozen undercover agents and helping the Russians play into Night Stripe’s infiltration. Despite all of this, the one who had been put at risk the most by ‘the security issue’, as Sharp Shooter called it, was Renegade. The remaining members of the Cardoza Cartel were after him as well as the Russian mafia in Gorod. Frankly, both at one point were as dangerous as the other, but now the Cardozas had lost all of their power. Once the last few survivors were rounded up, they would be gone for good.

Good riddance.

“I also told him who killed Ash Crest,” Camden said with a menacing tone to his voice. I could tell he wanted to elicit a reaction, but when I didn’t give him one he continued. “I spent a lot of time trying to track down who killed Ash. It was shocking to discover one of his marks had finished him off. The irony is almost
perfect. Don’t you agree?”

Once again my face remained stoic, I already knew all of this. Though his smirk had returned, hinting he knew something I didn’t. Camden was just waiting for the right time to reveal his best hand. I wanted to know what he was determined to keep from me. While it was tempting to force him to tell me, I didn’t have the time. I had to get what I came here for.

“Whose identities did you reveal?” I questioned, attempting to get us back on track. “How many agents?”

Camden sighed, clearly unamused that I wouldn’t play into his game. “Not as many as you think. Just the ones I’ve found out so far.”

“Which are?” I prodded.

He listed off a few names, which I mentally jotted down while attempting to determine if any of them were in danger. All of them were currently safe back at CIRA since his information was a few months out of date. Most of the agents he mentioned had finished their missions before the security breach, and thankfully there were no surprises. The last thing we needed was an agent on the outside with their cover blown. I almost believed I was done, that I could head back to Russia and finish assisting Night Stripe if she needed it, which she inevitably would, but Camden had one last bomb to drop on me.

“You never asked how I knew who you were,” he said with whimsy in his voice.

I glanced up at him curiously. Honestly, I hadn’t thought about how he knew who I am. Truly, I didn’t give a fuck. In about half an hour he’d be dead and gone and I’d be out the door. I had assumed he’d guessed who I was because of my vibrant red hair. If he had a list of names from CIRA, guessing who I was would be easy—my appearance and temper matched my code name well—but the knowing gleam in his eye had me curious.

“Okay, I’ll bite. How did you figure out who I was?” I asked, giving him exactly what he wanted. I should have learned my lesson about what curiosity did to the cat.

His reply came quick, spilling out of his mouth in excitement to destroy my hope that the Cardoza Cartel would be gone. “Your father told me.”

My body tensed automatically. A chill darted up my spine, and my brain all but stopped processing as anger filled me.

“Or should I say your
father?” Camden questioned with a smirk once again lining his features. He seemed pleased to finally find something to get a reaction out of me, and he had managed to find the one person I hated more than anything to do it. “But you have multiple stepfathers, don’t you? And somewhere in this mess is a real father. Wow, your mom just couldn’t help but hop from one guy to the next, or should I say dick, could she?”

My hands balled into tight fists as I fought the overwhelming urge to reach across the table and strangle him for talking about my mother in a poor light. She had meant the world to me. She was an amazing person—thoughtful, silly, and one of the kindest people I’ve ever met. She had been an amazing mom, and I couldn’t have been more thankful to have been her daughter. Losing her was one of the hardest things I ever went through. She’s the number one reason I had accepted the offer to join CIRA. I wanted to stop anyone else from falling prey to cartels, mafias, and any organizations like them, as she and the rest of my family had.

“How do you know him?” A growl came from deep in my chest, which surprised me, but only seemed to amuse Camden.

“Was he always traveling a lot for work? Was that how he met his new wife, Grayson?”

I cringed at the sound of my name—my
name. I hadn’t heard it in years; not since I shed the identity to work with CIRA at sixteen. I had taken the offer to escape the stepfather who had gotten rid of my mother and me, and now I’m sure he had managed to fit together the pieces of my disappearance. He and Camden most likely had a nice conversation about me, judging from his knowledge of me and my past. It made me uncomfortable to think about what he could know about me, other than just my name. I hadn’t heard my name in almost seven years, which is why he used it to get my attention. He knew I’d listen now. I had to. But he should have also known that I am a different person than I was back then, so however my stepfather thought I would react to Camden’s knowledge wouldn’t be true.

“Don’t feel like answering my questions anymore?” Camden asked, seeming upset I was no longer playing into his game. “It’s okay, I can continue on my own. You grew up with your family, one sister and a brother, along with your parents. It was fine until your parents got divorced.” Camden’s tone turned condescending as he added, “It’s so hard for a mother to deal with a divorce, especially with three kids. It’s no wonder you were sent around from parent to parent. The oldest one should have been able to handle it, and after all, the younger ones needed a steady figure to look up to.”

I didn’t say anything; I didn’t have to. Camden knew everything. My good for nothing stepfather had told him everything he could. Though I couldn’t help but wonder what, if anything, he had left out. So far,
had been left out. He had no respect for me, which shouldn’t have surprised me since he never had before. He got rid of me the first chance he could, especially so he could have my mom alone to win her over. Once she and my siblings were gone, I wanted to cut ties with him, and I had, or so I thought. Clearly Camden had been determined to drag up my past.

“Everything was fine until your first stepdad started causing problems,” Camden stated tentatively. I knew where this was going before he added, “People abuse mentally and physically all the time. At least once your mom found out what was going on she sent all of you to live with your real father for a while. After some convincing, thanks to the almost leader of a cartel, that is. Sure your real father moved a lot for work, stayed in places less than a few months, and was rarely able to be with you, but she did what she thought was best. You were isolated and only had each other. Well, what did you expect when he moved to the Middle East? Didn’t he know it was dangerous?”

The question had been rhetorical, so I ignored it and waited for him to continue.

“I’m sorry about your brother and sister by the way. Maybe if they hadn’t been out at night they wouldn’t have run into a couple of thugs. I know it’s not your fault, or at least that you try to convince yourself it’s not, and that you fought to protect them, but didn’t win.”

The blow hit me hard and low. Much harder than I had expected. I did blame myself, but I knew I couldn’t have done anything more. My siblings were my life. I loved them, and I had been devastated when I couldn’t protect them. After that, all I wanted was to escape, but more than anything I wanted to find the people responsible and track them down. I guess Demon had been watching me for a while and offered me an escape to make sure no one else, including myself, went through what I did again. I guess he wasn’t expecting Sandtown to go up in a ball of flames because it hurt just about the same to watch agents die at the hands of the Cardoza Cartel. Even after all I’ve been through, to this day, I still remember what he said to me.

“Do you want to help people? Do you want to stop more attacks like this and have the chance to save a few lives? I can see the answer in your eyes. If I’m correct, then come with me. We don’t have much time.”
That was all it took. I vanished shortly after.

“I guess I shouldn’t tell you that it’s all a lie,” Camden stated, regaining my attention. “You have no idea what happened and you never will. Your stepfather is out there, and he’s going to rebuild the Cardoza Cartel. You’ll see him again, but by then it’ll be too late. Much like it is for your friends in Russia. If I’m right, Renegade will go to save Night Stripe against orders to stay out of sight and then they’ll both be dead. Volodya knows who she is, and always has. Sure, drugging Nikolai had been smart, and so was taking Katya with them after covering her mother’s body in the snow, but they’ll get her and Renegade. As for Camo, I recently learned she’s Tessa from the Sandtown compound. They’ll have men after her soon enough, and then it just leaves the leaders of your little team, Demon and Whip Lash, and the director of the whole thing, Sharp Shooter. Then your agency will be gone, and no one will be around to meddle again.” Camden leaned forward slightly with a menacing grin on his face. “Do you know what the best part is?” He didn’t even wait for an answer to his question. “You’ll lose everyone you care for. Again.”

I pulled the gun from the waistband of my pants and pointed it at his head. “That’s where you’re wrong, Camden,” I said, my voice low and menacing. I hope he saw what he unleashed before he died, the firestorm and death toll he caused. He’d even be fortunate enough to be the first casualty. “You’ve given me all the information I needed. I know he’s out there somewhere, and to take control of the cartel you left behind in shambles means he’s in the United States. I can track him down and put him down like the animal he is before anyone else gets hurt. As for Night Stripe and Renegade, I wouldn’t worry about them. Night Stripe has a habit of getting out of sticky situations, and Renegade, well, you’ve seen the destruction he can leave in his wake. Camo got away from your cartel once and she can do it again. My leaders are more skilled than you’ll ever hope to be. The plan between you and the Russians will fail. They’ll make sure it will. It’s a pity, you won’t be able to see your little plan fall to pieces.”

Camden glared at me, as if hoping to kill me on the spot. For a moment, fear became prevalent in his eyes, quickly forced down by his typical arrogance. He had figured out, just a little too late, I had come to kill him. He struggled, but remained locked to the chair the guard had set him in as I leaned a little closer.

BOOK: Raging Fire (Guarded Secrets Book 4)
11.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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