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Authors: Liliana Hart

Dane - A MacKenzie Novel

BOOK: Dane - A MacKenzie Novel
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By Liliana Hart

Copyright 2012 by Liliana Hart

Smashwords Edition





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Miami, Two Years Ago

Cade MacKenzie knew fear.

It pressed against his chest and squeezed at
his heart every time his lover screamed in pain. She stared at him
out of wild eyes that had melted like dark chocolate when she’d
climaxed in his arms only a few hours before. She’d been soft and
pliant against him, his name a chant on her lips, as he buried
himself inside her.

But now those eyes were full of terror, the
bruise on the side of her face already discolored and her lips
swollen and bleeding where Miguel del Fuego had taken his fist to
her—a man who never showed remorse or guilt over terrorizing women
or children. Carmen had been caught giving the location for del
Fuego’s next drug shipment to the DEA, and there were no second
chances with the cartel leader. Not even for his own daughter.

Cade and Carmen had been dragged from bed in
the middle of the night, both of them naked, the evidence of their
passion still evident on their damp skin. They’d been blindfolded
and beaten, and Cade knew without a shadow of a doubt that it was
no one’s fault but his own. He’d been so wrapped up in the woman,
so desperate to be inside her, that he hadn’t swept his room for
bugs. He hadn’t found one in over two years. Miguel had begun to
trust him, to groom him to take over the cartel. But Cade had let
his guard down and taken that trust for granted, and now they would
both pay the price.

Cade knew the warehouse they’d been taken to
well—the large wooden crates stacked against the walls, the
oil-stained concrete, the black panel vans parked in the center of
the space. He’d spent the afternoon there himself, making sure
everything was in place for the shipment of Miguel’s new date rape
drug to come into the US from Colombia. Its street name was
, and it was particularly dangerous because it could
be administered through the skin. One touch of the powder against a
hand or the back of the neck, and the person it had been given to
wouldn’t care where, who or how many they were fucking. Man or
woman. Even as their minds screamed no, their bodies would betray
them and beg yes. If it was injected into the bloodstream, there
was no chance for survival.

There had been too many deaths over the last
several years because of the drug, and Cade had been selected to
infiltrate del Fuego’s cartel and take them down once and for

The warehouse was bugged and his team was
aware of the shipment coming in. It would be unloaded at the docks
and brought to the warehouse for safekeeping until it could be
distributed to del Fuego’s suppliers. But the shipment wasn’t
supposed to happen for another four hours, and Cade knew there was
a chance he and Carmen could be shit out of luck as far as having
anyone in place for a rescue.

Cade’s own wounds were severe and made it
difficult to stay conscious. The gunshot wound to his shoulder bled
freely—too freely—and he had at least three cracked ribs. But with
every blow he received, he kept his eyes steady on Carmen’s, hoping
his courage would be her strength. He was proud of her. She didn’t
beg for mercy as she was beaten. She stared at her father with all
the hatred and loathing she’d always felt for him. She’d spent
twenty-two years being his prisoner, and she’d known it was only a
matter of time before she became his guinea pig for the drug he was
so proud of.

When Cade had gone undercover in del Fuego’s
cartel three years before, he’d had every intention of seducing
Carmen into giving him the information the DEA needed to shut down
the cartel. He’d had no problems lying to her, or spinning a future
together he had no plans of delivering. But Carmen had surprised
him. Her sweet, shy smiles, and her need for love had broken
through every plan he’d made. The last thing he’d expected was to
fall in love with her.

“I’m disappointed in you, Carmen,” Miguel
said, caressing the side of her swollen face with his pistol.
“You’ve been telling my secrets to this
. To the
American authorities. Your loyalty should always be to your family.


Cade jerked against his captor’s arms as
Miguel struck Carmen again, and he fought to stay conscious as
fingers dug into the wound at his shoulder.

“Stop it,
,” Carmen cried,
crawling toward Cade. “They’re hurting him. Please don’t hurt

“Would you have me spare this man, Carmen? A
man I trusted? One I hoped would take over my business and give me
strong grandchildren so I could see my legacy continue?”

“Yes. Please, Papa,” she begged.

“Would you die for him, Carmen?”

“No!” Cade shouted. “This is between you and
me, Miguel. Carmen’s loyalties are divided. Let her go.”

Cade fought again to break free of the hold
they had on him, knowing what was coming, desperate to stop it. Two
men weren’t enough to hold him down, and two more came from
somewhere, getting in punches to his cracked ribs to slow him down.
He strained against their hold, sweat and blood running into his
eyes, but he couldn’t get to her.

“Answer me, Carmen. Is this traitor’s life
worth your own? Do you love him that much?”

“Yes,” she whimpered, her hand reaching out
to Cade as she crawled closer, her arm wrapped around her

God, where was his team?
They should
know something was wrong. Know he needed them. Cade used the last
of his strength to work his arm free and hold his hand out to
Carmen, praying for a miracle. He needed to touch her, to hold her.
She placed her smaller hand in his, her slim fingers bloody and
broken, and Cade looked up at Miguel, ready to do whatever it took
to save her. To bargain his soul if the monster in front of him
would take it.

But when he met Miguel’s eyes, they were
mocking and full of hatred. A hatred that had no possibility of
being extinguished.

“Ah, young love,” Miguel said, his smile
becoming crueler. “This is on your head, Cade MacKenzie.”

Cade threw his body toward Carmen, but he was
too late. The shot from Miguel’s gun echoed in his ears along with
his screams, and Carmen’s hand went limp in his, her blood
splattered across his face and chest. Blood he knew he’d never be
clean of.

Chaos reigned around them as the warehouse
went black and the shouts of soldiers and agents swarming through
the building started to penetrate the haze of shock and anger. He
kept waiting for Miguel to finish what he’d started and put a
bullet through his brain, but it never happened. Those that held
him captive ran for cover, so only he and Carmen lay in the middle
of the warehouse floor, flashes of gunfire and smoke building
around them.

He pulled himself closer to her body and
gathered her in his arms, his mind numb with grief, and he snarled
as hands tried to jerk him away from what was his.

“Dammit, Cade, look at me.”

The voice in his ear was familiar, and he
didn’t fight as night vision goggles were placed over his eyes. His
brother, Declan, came into focus.

“I can’t—,” he tried to say, holding Carmen

“We’ll get her out, Cade. We’ll do right by
her,” Dec said, taking her from his arms into his own. “But we need
to get you out right now. The del Fuego cartel will be gunning for

Cade nodded and let his brother lead him out
of hell, but he heard the voice that called to him over the

“You’ll never be safe, Cade MacKenzie,”
Miguel screamed. “You’ll never know peace as long as I’m still
breathing. I’ll take everything and more that you’ve taken from

Cade couldn’t imagine what more the man could
hope to take from him. His future had been the dead woman in his
brother’s arms.



Chapter One


Present Day

Neighbors were a pain in the ass.

Especially neighbors who made as much noise
as possible at the crack of dawn. Did no one have consideration for
their fellow man anymore? She wasn’t asking for much, dammit. Just
a little common courtesy.

Bayleigh Scott rolled toward her nightstand
to look at the old fashioned alarm clock with the giant hands and
noticed it was just shy of 6am. She groaned and pulled the pillow
over her head, trying desperately to block out the grinding noise
from what sounded like a fleet of semis outside her window. She’d
closed her shop at ten the night before but hadn’t gotten home
until after one because she’d been doing inventory. Not even five
full hours of sleep. And she had to be back to open at ten since
her assistant was out sick.

When the pillow failed to have the effect she
was looking for, she tossed it across the room and felt the slow
flush of anger work through her body.

“Who the hell do these people think they
are?” she muttered, throwing back the covers and stomping to the
bay window in her bedroom.

She could only see the back deck of the house
next door from her window, and she scowled as she noted the ferns
already hanging from baskets on the porch, the dimmed sconces
attached to the posts giving her a good view in the darkness.

“Making yourself right at home, aren’t

She let the curtain drop and stomped through
the house, tripping over the edge of the rug and bumping her shin
against the table she had at the end of the couch. The coffeepot
beckoned, so she punched the button to start her morning caffeine
as she made her way to the kitchen window. She had the perfect view
of the neighbor’s front yard.

Bayleigh winced as the screech of the truck
lift going up and down assaulted her ears. It wasn’t like the noise
would bother anyone else. Most of her neighbors turned their
hearing aids off after eight o’clock and didn’t turn them back on
until the sun rose. There was no way her new neighbors were another
little retired couple like everyone else on the street. They were
probably party animals or reprobates. Maybe both.

Powerful lights were set up so they could
unload the truck that was backed into the driveway, but all she
could see was the shadows of men as they unloaded the furniture.
They didn’t even need that stupid lift. They were just being lazy.
There was no reason for the truck to be on at all.

Muttered curses propelled her out the front
door before common sense could take hold. She never did well on
little sleep and no caffeine. It wasn’t her fault. She liked to
think of it as a medical condition. She’d just explain politely
about the noise, and surely they would take care of things from
there. It was the decent thing to do.

The cool October air slapped against her
skin, reminding her she was only wearing the cotton boxers and tank
top she’d slept in. Chills raced across her skin and she tripped
over the hose that ran across her sidewalk. She’d forgotten to roll
it back up after watering her flowerbeds the previous morning.

She paused for a moment, wondering if she’d
made a mistake when she felt three sets of eyes look in her
direction. The sudden stillness of the night was unnerving. She
couldn’t see the two men in the shadows clearly, but she got a heck
of a glimpse of the man standing closest to her. The Devil in
disguise. The sudden urge to cross herself had her squeezing her
fingers into tight fists. She wasn’t even Catholic for Pete’s

His scowl was black and menacing and he
narrowed his eyes at her in warning, automatically putting her back
up. She wasn’t going to be intimidated by the likes of him. At
least not by much.

Bayleigh straightened her shoulders and
marched across the tiny patch of grass that separated the two
houses. She climbed into the cab of the big white truck, the
cracked seats scratchy against the backs of her legs, and turned
off the ignition before taking the key. She jumped out of the truck
and watched warily as the three men gathered close, their arms
crossed over their bare chests and various looks of surprise pasted
on their faces. Maybe Satan was having a convention, because surely
all three of these men were fallen angels of the worst kind, or
hardened criminals at best.

They were muscled and bare-chested, and their
jeans hung low on narrowed hips. It was obvious they were related,
and her gaze passed over them all quickly. But she couldn’t seem to
take her eyes off the one in the center—the one who’d made her lose
her common sense with just one scowl. There was something in his
eyes that had her taking a step back before she remembered she was
standing in the middle of a safe neighborhood. She wouldn’t be
intimidated on her own property. She looked down and took a quick
step back so she was actually on her own property, and crossed her
arms over her chest, daring him to say anything.

BOOK: Dane - A MacKenzie Novel
6.09Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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