Authors: Cynthia Eden
Heart-pounding action meets smoldering desire in USA TODAY bestselling author Cynthia Eden’s Shadow Agents miniseries!
Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life on a mission gone wrong. And ever since then, he’s been watching her back. Now a hostage-rescue mission is about to blow the Elite Ops agents’ lives apart once again.
Working side by side back in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever—and so are the threats to their lives. With the danger escalating, Sydney knows Gunner is her only hope at successfully completing their assignment. But the ex-SEAL who arouses passion she’d only dreamed about also poses the greatest risk to the secret she carries in her heart…and in her belly.
“When I close my eyes, I see your face.”
His words, so gravel-rough, had her heart racing.
“You’re driving me crazy. Taking over every moment of my life.”
She couldn’t breathe. Because what he was saying—that was the way she felt. As if he’d taken over her life.
“I tried to walk away. I tried to be strong.” He lowered his head.
“There are some lines that if you cross them, you can’t ever go back.”
“I don’t want to go back.” There was nothing in her past to go back to.
“I won’t be able to let you go.”
She wouldn’t let him go. Before Gunner could say anything else, Sydney wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled his head down toward her.
Dear Harlequin Intrigue Reader,
For nearly thirty years fearless romance has fueled every Harlequin Intrigue book. Now we want everyone to know about the great crime stories our fantastic authors write and the variety of compelling miniseries we offer. We think our new cover look complements and enhances our promise to deliver edge-of-your-seat reads in all six of our titles—and brand-new titles every month!
This month’s lineup is packed with nonstop mystery in
Smoky Ridge Curse,
the third in Paula Graves’s Bitterwood P.D. trilogy, exciting action in
the next installment in Cynthia Eden’s Shadow Agents miniseries, and of course fearless romance—whether from newcomers Jana DeLeon and HelenKay Dimon or veteran author Aimée Thurlo, we’ve got every angle covered.
Next month buckle up as Debra Webb returns with a new Colby Agency series featuring The Specialists. And in November
bestselling author B.J. Daniels takes us back to “The Canyon” for her special
Christmas at Cardwell Ranch
Lots going on and lots more to come. Be sure to check out
for what’s coming next.
USA TODAY Bestselling Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cynthia Eden writes tales of romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her books
have received starred reviews from
and she has received a RITA® Award nomination for best
romantic suspense novel. Cynthia lives in the deep South, loves horror movies
and has an addiction to chocolate. More information about Cynthia may be found
on her website,
, or you can follow her on Twitter (
Books by Cynthia Eden
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CAST OF CHARACTERS
Gunner has never been able to control his feelings for Sydney Sloan, the woman who was once engaged to his brother. But now that he has a chance to finally make Syndey his, Gunner isn’t going to let anyone or anything stand in his way.
Sydney can tell when she is in the sights of a killer. But she isn’t sure who she should trust. Putting her faith in the wrong man may just lead to her death.
He should have been a dead man, but when Slade is discovered—very much alive—in Peru, his appearance rips right through the new life that Gunner and Sydney are building. Slade’s appearance also sets off an explosive chain of events that will rock right through the Elite Operations Division.
The former army ranger is determined to protect his teammates, but sometimes even a trained hunter can’t see the danger coming until it is far too late.
The team leader of the EOD, Logan is intimately acquainted with the risks associated with his job. But when it looks as if a member of his team is actually turning on the EOD, Logan knows that he could be in for the most dangerous battle of his life.
I wanted to offer a huge thank-you to all the wonderful folks at Harlequin Intrigue. It is always a pleasure! And for my friend Joan, a woman who loves her strong heroes, I hope you enjoy this story.
The thunder of gunfire erupted around her as Sydney Sloan ran through the remains of the enemy’s camp. Voices were calling out, screaming, but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t.
Her focus was on the man before her. The man lying so still in the middle of that nightmare scene.
“Slade!” Her own scream joined the others as she fell to her knees beside him. She grabbed for his shoulder and rolled him toward her.
His chest was a bloody mess. His eyes—those dark eyes that she’d stared into so many times—were closed. “Slade?” she whispered hoarsely. No, this couldn’t happen. They were supposed to get out of there together. They were going to start their life together back in the States. They were going to get married.
“I’ll get you out of here.” He
She’d get him to the helicopter. Fly him out of there. He’d get patched up, and everything would be just as they’d planned.
More gunfire erupted. Her breath choked out when a bullet drove into her shoulder. The pain burned her, terrified her. If she was hurt too badly, how would she get Slade to safety?
She grabbed his arms. Started to drag him.
More gunfire. This time, the bullet hit her in the side. She stumbled but refused to fall. Slade needed her. She wasn’t going to let him down.
“Sydney!” The roar of her name had her jerking up her head. She saw Gunner Ortez then, running toward her and his brother.
Gunner and Slade. They were so different. Slade was always laughing, so easygoing. Gunner was intense, almost...frightening to her.
But she knew Gunner would do anything for his brother. “Help him!” Sydney called as her knees buckled. She hit the ground, still holding tight to Slade.
Why weren’t her knees working? Why did she feel so cold? It was so hot in the jungle.
Then Gunner was there. He was curling his body around hers, shielding her from the hail of gunfire that just wouldn’t stop.
They’d walked right into this hell because they’d been going after Slade. A rescue mission. They’d had to take the risk of infiltrating the area, against orders.
Gunner’s fingers—long, tan, strong—went to Slade’s throat. She felt the thick tension in the big body behind hers as Gunner checked for his brother’s pulse. Then Gunner swore.
His hand pulled back. She grabbed his fingers. Held tight. “You have to help me,” she whispered. “Gunner, please, we have to get him out of here!”
More gunfire. Gunner curled his body even tighter to hers. She heard the thud of the impact and knew he’d just taken a bullet.
“He’s not here anymore,” Gunner rasped. His eyes—as dark as Slade’s but lined with gold flecks, stared into her own.
“He’s not here.”
She shook her head.
of gunfire came again. Gunner yanked out a handgun with his left hand. He began to fire back, even as the fingers of his right hand twisted and locked with hers. “We have to get out of here! We’re damn sitting ducks!”
“Not without...Slade...” Her side
A deep, agonizing burn, and she wondered just how bad the hit was. But she’d make it, she’d hold on, until they got Slade out of there. They’d come to rescue him, and they’d never failed on a mission before.
The gold in his eyes seemed to blaze. “How many times have you been hit?”
Two? Three? What did it matter? “Slade...”
Then she heard the roar of engines. Coming toward them. The enemy closing in. There wasn’t any more time. “Just...
” Because she wasn’t sure that she’d be able to get out on her own steam. She couldn’t make her legs work, and as she pulled her fingers from Gunner’s, she realized that she was shaking. She’d run out of ammo, and the blood was pumping down her side. “Take him...please.” Her voice broke and her body began to sway. She was already on her knees, but Sydney was pretty sure she’d soon slump forward and crash face-first into the dirt.
Hold it together. Stay strong, just until Slade is safe.
But Gunner’s hands didn’t wrap around Slade’s body. His hands reached for her.
She screamed then, and lunged toward Slade.
But Gunner pulled her back. The bullets were hitting the ground around her, sending chunks of dirt flying into the air. They had no cover, no backup and it sounded as though more enemy reinforcements were coming in.
Shouldn’t have been here. Shouldn’t have happened.
How had everything gotten so messed up? Their cover had been blown pretty much from the get-go.
“Gunner, no.” She tried to pull away from him. “Can’t...leave...”
Another bullet hit her. Driving through her upper shoulder and sinking into Gunner.
She choked, barely managing to breathe as the pain swamped her.
“He’s dead,” Gunner gritted out. She was in his arms then. He was holding her tight, bruising her. “You...
Sydney fought him, using all the strength that she had, but she didn’t have enough. Gunner was wounded, too, but nothing stopped him. Not ever.
So he ran right through the gunfire, holding her in arms like steel. He ran and ran, and then they were in the heavier, denser part of the jungle, evading the men who chased them. No jeeps could follow them here.
Gunner wouldn’t let her go, no matter how much she begged him.
He didn’t speak to her again. Didn’t say a word.
And behind them, in that nightmare, Slade remained in the dirt.
His eyes had never opened. From the time she’d fallen by his side, he hadn’t moved. Hadn’t spoken. Hadn’t even been able to open his eyes.
They never would open again.
* * *
out of that jungle. Patched her up. Stopped the blood flow. She wasn’t helping him. Sydney was barely moving at all.
“Shock,” Gunner told her, voice terse.
Yeah, that was it. She had to be in shock. Because she’d just seen her fiancé die in that trap. She and Slade had fought before, and for him to die with that anger between them...
I’m so sorry.
“You lost too much blood.” Gunner’s fingers curled around her chin. She didn’t know where they were now. Some kind of hut? A run-down shack? Just some shelter he’d found them. Gunner was good at finding shelters. “You
Hadn’t he said that before? It was hard to remember. Her tongue seemed so thick in her mouth, but after three tries she managed to say, “Slade...”
Gunner’s fingers tightened on her. “He’s gone.”
A tear leaked down her cheek.
Gunner’s jaw clenched. That hard jaw. That dangerous face. “I’ve got you, Syd. I’ll take care of you.”
She was breaking apart on the inside. The mission was over. They’d failed.
He pulled her into his arms. Held her against his chest. Gentleness? He’d never seemed the kind for that. “I’ve got you,” he said again, voice deepening.
And it was there, in his arms, that she finally let herself go.
She cried until there were no tears left to shed.