Synopsis: “If you leave on your own, you’ll be dead by morning.”
Critical Care Nurse Natalia Sokolova can’t ignore former FBI Agent Sloan Dryer’s dire warning. After the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia dies under her care, her house explodes in front of her eyes and now she’s found her best friends brutally murdered. Ironically, the only bright spot in this nightmare is Sloan’s bad Ukrainian accent and his willingness to protect her.
Sloan is convinced that someone wants to kill Natalia and when he finds a link to her family, he’s not sure who they can trust. As they run for their lives, and from the passion simmering between them, they uncover a terrorist plot that could bring the nation to its knees. Time is running out. Can Sloan and Natalia save their country and their future, before it’s too late?
June 30th – 11:45 PM – Washington, DC
Sloan Dreyer slouched in his chair, cradling his drink on his stomach. The Russian vodka was far from smooth, but he welcomed the way it burned a fiery path to his gut.
The rotten taste of failure still lingered in his mouth, and he took another sip of his drink, desperate to swipe the bitterness away. Damn. Hadn’t he tried to convince Jordan he wasn’t the right man for the job? The fact that he knew how to speak Ukrainian didn’t mean jack-shit, and he’d sure as hell proved it during the fiasco this afternoon.
He’d failed in his job. Again. Security Specialists, Inc. wasn’t going to survive its first year in business if they continued losing the people they were supposed to protect.
The deputy prime minister of Russia was dead. Had been shot right under his fucking nose. Sloan had stuck as close to Josef Korolev as the bodyguards Korolev had brought with him from Russia, but still, when the screaming had started, he hadn’t even realized Korolev had been hit.
The Russian bodyguards had known, though, and they’d gone berserk, creating massive chaos that had taken hours to sort out. They’d managed to get Korolev to the closest hospital and the guy had actually survived surgery long enough to make it to the ICU.
Only to die of complications a few hours later.
Sloan took another sip of the corrosive vodka. He had no business protecting a toad, much less a Russian VIP. Jordan should have known better than to drop the assignment in his lap at the last minute. The fact he spoke Ukrainian shouldn’t have even entered the picture. Ukrainian was a softer language, nothing like pronouncing the hard constants of Russian. But had Jordan listened? No. Instead, Jordan had demanded he practice Russian for hours, as if cramming for a final exam, yet he’d still only caught a fourth of what the Russians had talked about.
The nurse, Natalia, had spoken in a slow, calm manner to Korolev, but all Sloan could figure out for sure was that she’d said something along the lines of the patient not needing to talk to the three of them.
He stared at the clear fluid in his glass, seeing instead the vision of the enticing nurse. She’d been amazingly beautiful. The baggy scrubs she wore had only given a hint of the slender body beneath. Her long blonde hair had been clipped back at the nape of her neck, but her high cheekbones, clear green eyes, and husky voice had been more than enough to capture his interest.
And the attention of every other guy standing within fifteen feet of her. After months of not feeling anything for anybody, the sensation of noticing her disturbed him.
What exactly had Josef told Natalia? Had her patient confided any secrets to her? Or had Korolev babbled nonsense from the drugs as she’d claimed? The blatant distrust in her eyes when he’d walked in with the two FBI agents, including the assistant director himself, hadn’t been reassuring. But the sound of her voice answering him in Ukrainian sent shivers of awareness darting down his spine. Damn, he had a weakness for a woman who could speak Ukrainian.
Late breaking news on the television diverted his attention from the untimely stirring of lust.
“Firefighters are still battling the five-alarm blaze in the northeast area of DC. One house has been declared as the original source of the fire, and so far the cause of the blaze is unknown. Police are searching for the home owner, Natalia Sokolova.”
The name had him straightening in his seat, his gaze arrested on the TV.
“At this time, they don’t believe she was in the house during the explosion since she was working the evening shift at a local hospital. But the police have not yet confirmed her whereabouts at this time.”
Shit! No way in hell could this be a coincidence. He leapt from his seat, snagged his cell phone and punched in a single number to speed dial his partner.
“Yeah?” Jordan’s groggy sleep-filled voice came from the other end of the line.
“We have a problem.” Sloan shoved his shoes back on his feet and reached for his car keys. He headed for the door at a run. “I need every piece of intel you have on Natalia Sokolova and I need it now. Someone just tried to kill her.”
About L. A. Iding
L. A. Iding is a critical care nurse by day and an author by night. After writing medical romances, winning the Desert Rose Golden Quill Award and the Heart Of Denver Aspen Gold Award, she’s decided to follow her dream to write longer more complex romantic suspense stories. She is currently hard at work on the sequel of this book, Target For Ransom.