Authors: Lexi Blake
Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense, #Contemporary, #Erotica, #Lexi Blake, #Bdsm, #erotic romance
On Her Master’s Secret Service
Masters and Mercenaries, Book 4
On Her Master’s Secret Service
Masters and Mercenaries, Book 4
Copyright 2013 DLZ Entertainment LLC
Edited by Chloe Vale and Kasi Alexander
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937608-12-5
If you have purchased a copy of this eBook, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book. This purchase allows you one legal copy for your own personal reading enjoyment on your personal computer or device. You do not have the rights to resell, distribute, print, or transfer this book, in whole or in part, to anyone, in any format, via methods either currently known or yet to be invented, or upload to a file sharing peer to peer program. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. Such action is illegal and in violation of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please purchase your own copy. If you no longer want this book, you may not give your copy to someone else. Delete it from your computer. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
I want to say a special thanks to the people who make this series work. Chloe Vale, you’re the best editor in the business and I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have on my side. To my other editors and betas – Kasi Alexander and Riane Holt – this series wouldn’t be the same without you. To Sheri Vidal and Lexi’s Doms and Dolls – thanks for all the support, ladies. And to the amazing Liz Berry. You know this book would be so much poorer without your input. And I would be less without your friendship.
But in the end, this book is about a marriage, about long term love and commitment, so I have to dedicate it to the man who taught me what love really is. This is for my husband, Richard.
Six Years Earlier
Alex McKay’s feet pounded against the concrete as he raced into the hospital. A week. She’d been in that monster’s hands for a week. All he’d been able to do was pray, and he wasn’t fucking good at praying.
He nearly slid on the slick tile of the ER floor, his heart beating a rapid rhythm in his chest. For seven days, two hours, and seventeen minutes, his heart hadn’t beat at all it seemed. From the moment his wife went missing, he’d been in a nauseating purgatory of guilt and fear.
Please let her be alive. Just alive. I’ll take living and breathing.
Because he knew damn well she wouldn’t be whole, and it was all his fault.
All he could see was the way his living room looked. That sight seemed to be imprinted on his brain. The room where he and Eve made love and cuddled and watched TV had been desecrated, their pictures cracked and broken, their belongings treated like rubbish. He’d hated that.
He’d really hated the bodies that had been strewn around that room. Bodies and blood.
He stopped on a dime. God, he didn’t even know where he was going. He’d gotten the call that she’d been found and he’d just driven like a madman toward the hospital without asking a single question. His partner was up ahead. Right in that instant, Warren Petty looked like an ocean of calm. He’d been right at Alex’s side since the moment he’d walked into the home he shared with his wife and found it violated, their whole lives in pieces as surely as their possessions had been vandalized.
And Eve had been gone.
“Alex, she’s alive.”
He nearly fell to his knees. “Where?”
Warren didn’t seem to need more than that one word. They’d been partners for years. His face grew grim, and Alex felt himself flush with fear. That was the face Warren used when he told people bad news. As FBI agents working the worst of crimes, he and Warren had been forced to deliver bad news more than once. But Alex never thought he would be on the receiving end of that look.
Warren had been standing beside him when he’d discovered that the guards he’d left behind were dead and his wife was missing. Warren was the one who’d told Tommy and Leon’s wives they weren’t coming home again.
“The cops found her walking along 29.”
Alex took a long breath, processing the information. She’d been in the area? God. He’d been searching every hour of every day and she’d been close. “Did she escape?”
“Evans dumped her on the highway. Alex, I talked to the doctors.” Warren’s eyes closed briefly. “They’re going to run a rape kit when they can, but they need to deal with her injuries first. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. You have to know that I’ll do anything to help you and Eve. She’s strong. She’s going to come through this. I believe it. If anyone can survive this, it’s Eve.”
His wife. His sweet, smart, precious wife needed a rape kit. A million memories splashed across his brain. The first time he’d kissed her. His hands had been shaking because he’d known she was the one. The first time they’d made love. He’d had sex before, but he’d never worshipped a woman until he’d moved inside Eve, her body becoming his temple to love and protect.
They’d been trying to have a baby. Two months. Two months without condoms or birth control. God. What if she was pregnant now? How the hell would he deal with that?
Alive. She’s alive and you will take it. She is alive and that is all that matters.
“Can I see her?” He needed to see her, to be in the same room with her. All he’d wanted for seven days was one more minute with her.
Warren shook his head, glancing down the long white hallway. “No, I’m sorry. She’s in surgery. They couldn’t wait. Stay calm. She’s going to be fine. He pushed her out of a moving car. She’s got a little internal bleeding and her left arm has to be reset. Most of the surgery they’re going to do is cosmetic. He cut her up, Alex.”
Alex was well aware of what Michael Evans was capable of doing to a woman. “Oh, god.”
Warren sat down, his body slumping as though he couldn’t stay standing a second longer. His head fell forward. “Alex, if I’d only…”
“This is not your fault. This is mine. She told me what would happen.” His wife was a brilliant profiler and what had he done? He’d ignored her work because he’d been so much smarter. He’d arrogantly told her she was wrong on this one. “She told me not to do that interview. She told me to keep this little war between us private, but I thought I could get him to come out of hiding.”
He’d been an idiot, going on a national show and basically calling the man out as a coward. He’d been tracking Evans for years, and after the last clinic bombing took the lives of four people, Alex lost all patience. Evans’s latest target was in Alex’s backyard, right in DC. He’d felt impotent, useless, so he’d tried to call the man out. He’d been willing to try anything.
“He came out of hiding all right.” Warren shook his head, his face pale.
“I thought he would come after me, damn it. He was supposed to come after me.” His hands were shaking. He couldn’t stop shaking. He needed to get himself under control. “Michael Evans was supposed to want to kill me. I was the bait.”
But Michael Evans, homegrown terrorist extraordinaire, hadn’t gone for Alex’s throat. Oh, no, he’d gone for something much worse. The man Alex had been hunting for the majority of his FBI career had raped his wife and tossed her to the side of the road like garbage.
Evans is likely to play with his prey. He prefers to cause the maximum amount of pain to his enemies as evidenced in the brutal deaths of several men he believed to have betrayed him, but there is a certain honor to the games he plays. Up until now, he hasn’t come after you personally because you’ve kept this in the Bureau. If you do this interview, he’s very likely to come after you. He’ll see it as a declaration of war. Please don’t do this. You can find another way to catch him.
He could still hear her pleading with him. She’d been terrified that Evans would kill him. She must have been scared when she realized Evans hadn’t come for him. He’d come for her.
Warren turned his head up. “I’ve called Eddie. He said if there’s anything he can do, any way he can ease the way for the two of you, he won’t hesitate to call in a couple of favors. We can get her the best room in the hospital. We can make sure the press stays off her. We’re here for you.”
Warren’s brother was a senator. He had serious pull. There was talk of him going for the nomination during the next election cycle. But none of it mattered. Warren’s political pull wouldn’t make Eve’s pain go away. Nothing could. Alex felt his fists clench. “How long before she’s out of surgery?”
“An hour or so. Sit down, man. It’s going to be a while.” Warren gestured to the chair beside him.
He shook his head. He couldn’t sit. He couldn’t wait. He’d been waiting for days. He couldn’t do it anymore. He pulled out his cell. There was exactly one person who could put him at ease. “I’ll be back. I have to make a call.”
He stepped away. He felt calmer now. Sitting and waiting would only make him crazy. He needed to do something. He dialed a familiar number.
A low voice came over the line. “This is Taggart.”
His best friend. His rock. Ian had flown in the minute Alex called. He’d dropped everything and been in DC before dawn. He’d used his high-level contacts to get Sean a leave of absence as well. Apparently it paid to work for the CIA. Ian kept his connection to the Agency quiet, even from his brother, but Alex knew that Ian worked as a spy. He needed Ian now more than ever. “Ian, I have to find him. I have to bring him in.”
“Did you find Eve?”
“Evans tossed her out of a moving car. She’s alive, but she’s in surgery.” He would know all the gruesome details later. “Ian, you know I have to find him.”
He needed to start making up for his mistakes. He needed to make sure Eve was safe.
“I’ll help you.” Ian’s voice didn’t falter. Like the man himself, it was steady and firm.
His hands stopped shaking as Ian started to talk about his plans. This, at least, was something he could control.
* * * *
Eve opened her eyes. The world was still groggy, hazy.
She stiffened immediately, waiting for the next blow.
“Eve, you’re home. You’re here. It’s Alex. I’m here with you, angel.” Alex’s voice brought her out of the last vestiges of her panic.
How long had she been with Michael Evans? According to the police, it was only a week. Seven days of pain and humiliation. One hundred and sixty-eight hours. It wasn’t so long when compared to a whole life, so how was it those hours felt like an eternity?
She’d been in the hospital for two days. She forced herself to count the time. It brought her back to reality. This was day three, the third day of the rest of her life, and she was home.
“Can I get you anything?” Alex shuffled his papers around. So many papers and phone calls. It was all he did anymore. He shuffled papers around and talked to people on the phone and sat by her bedside.
He wouldn’t get in bed with her. She was too fragile, he claimed. He didn’t want to jostle her in his sleep so he didn’t seem to sleep anymore.
“No.” It was too early for another pain pill. She glanced at the clock. She had an hour’s worth of steadily increasing agony before she could take another one and find some brief moment of relief.
Alex settled back down. He stacked his file folders. “I have a good lead going. There’s a reliable witness who puts him in Memphis six hours ago. Ian is already on the road.”
“I don’t want to talk about Evans.” He only seemed to want to talk about the case. She understood why. He was in control of the case. He could do something about the search for Evans, but couldn’t he see that she needed distance? “I don’t like all these papers and computers around me.”
She felt like she couldn’t breathe. Every piece of paper was another link to the man who raped her. She just wanted some normalcy. Being back in her home actually gave her a sense of comfort. She’d worried it would bring back memories of the initial attack, but all she’d seen was her house in perfect order. From what she understood, Ian and Sean Taggart had made arrangements to put the house back together. Alex’s childhood friends were home on leave from the Army and they were trying their best to make things normal for her again, but Alex kept bringing all those files in. She just wanted a minute where she could fool herself that things were ordinary. Just one moment.
Alex scrambled, pulling the papers off the bed. “I’ll move them to the nightstand. I’m sorry.”
It was a king-sized bed, but more often than not, they ended up cuddled together right in the center so there was always plenty of space.
She moved gingerly, trying not to shift her left arm too much. It ached, a deep throb in her muscles. Every single movement pulled at her as though her skin was now too tight for her body. “It’s late. You should get some sleep. Come to bed.”