Second Chances (Athena Group Novel Book 1)

BOOK: Second Chances (Athena Group Novel Book 1)
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Second Chances

C.W. Stokes

 

Copyright 2013 C.W. Stokes

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

For information contact:

mailto:[email protected]

 

The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following word marks mentioned in this work of fiction: Mini Cooper, Mercedes, Victoria Secret, Sig Sauer and Glock.

 

License Notes

 

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. 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 return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two

Chapter Twenty Three

Chapter Twenty Four

Chapter Twenty Five

Chapter Twenty Six

Chapter Twenty Seven

Epilogue

Acknowledgements

Author Biography

Secret Indulgence Excerpt

Chapter One

 

Hurrying into TAG headquarters Shelby saw Tabby, Jodie and Alex in front of the conference room ready for their Monday morning meeting. Along with Liz they were the executive members of The Athena Group and every Monday morning they would meet to discuss their current and potential clients of the week. She was only there long enough to listen to updates and then she was grabbing her passport and heading out the door for her first vacation in seven years.

“Let’s hurry up so we can get Shelby out of here before she changes her mind.” Liz spoke as she walked off the elevator walking towards them. Liz had to talk her into going on this vacation since next to Liz; Shelby could always be found in her office working, never taking time for herself.

As they sat down at the table Tabby anxious as ever spoke up “We have one rule for you on this vacation and that is to be spontaneous and you know what we mean. Let your hair down, relax and go with the moment. If you meet a hot and sexy man on this trip, don’t think, plunge right in.”

“Thanks Tabby, but any plunging I’m going to be doing is in the water, thank you.” Shelby wrinkled her nose at Tabby’s comment. She quit being spontaneous seventeen years ago when Amanda was born. If anything, she was the most conservative now and everything had to be planned out way in advance. She opened her notebook clicking her pen, “Now if you don’t mind, can we continue with this meeting so I can go?” Eyeing each of them pointedly as she began to lose her patience.

Amanda had already gone to the airport with Steven’s family to wait for her to finish with her meeting.

 

###

 

Standing on the patio overlooking the ocean Shelby was able to feel the relief begin to flow through her veins. It had been so long since she was able to relax, let alone take a vacation. She closed her eyes and breathed in the warm salty air from the ocean breeze that wrapped her body in its peaceful atmosphere. The breeze blew through the palm trees rustling their leaves as they surrounded the house. Sitting on the patio, she admired the clear blue ocean while a small sand crab scurried across the beach towards the water. For the next seven days, she was going to revel in the peace and tranquility laid out in front of her.

She didn’t know what to expect when she got there, but the peace she felt washing over her was unexpected.  She took in the surroundings. The house they were staying in was several miles away from the Port of Progresso, well outside of the heartbeat of tourists. Despite the upheaval in Mexico, Progresso provided a safe haven for visitors. The locals were protective of Americans. They relied on the visitors to help support their families. If a local were caught cheating or stealing from the visitors, they were dealt with swiftly.

“Amanda! Did you put sunscreen on?” She called out to her daughter.

“Yes mom and you should come out here, it’s great!”

“Maybe later.”

Enjoying the moment, she looked all around and surprisingly, even though it was the middle of August; the beach was empty. She stared out at the scene in front of her and pondered over the past.

 

###

 

After graduating at the top of her class at MIT she was immediately sought after by the bureau. She decided to work in the private sector instead by accepting a position with Hawk Enterprises as their advisor on Information Security. Within a few years she had met Eddie and together they started Consortium Technology. 

She looked down as she twisted the Athena band on her middle finger and remembered the day she met Liz Colbert, founder of The Athena Group. They had gone to MIT together with a few interactions in classes, but really didn’t know each other. Liz had shown up at her office to discuss contracting her for her group.

That fateful morning had changed the course of her life. She was grateful to Liz for the opportunity that she had given her. Liz was now not only her boss, but the closest friend she had since Monica had died

 

###

 

Going back inside to unpack the rest of their bags she straightened the master bedroom when she felt the breeze from the ocean sweep through the glass blinds sweeping her hair across her face. She heard a voice, but just barely. Her ears perked up and realized it was coming from the house next door. She looked out the window and saw a man on the phone who was yelling at someone. She paused for a moment, but she couldn’t really tell anything about him. She couldn’t make out what he was saying, but his voice was getting more forceful and louder. Just as well, it was none of her business. She turned back around to unpack when a tingle went up her spine. She knew that voice, but it couldn’t be him. Giving herself a mental shake she focused on the task at hand.

She hadn't planned on going on this vacation. Amanda had asked Liz if she could bring her boyfriend Steven and his family down to stay in the home.  She had been thrilled when Liz told her she could. Her daughter had been planning all year for this trip, and she had wanted her to go.  Liz had been after her to go with Amanda, but the Alcon Virus she had been working on for so long was almost finished. She had been working on it for two years, and there was a lot riding on finishing it, but she hadn’t been on vacation in so long. After she left Eddie, she had been so preoccupied with working out a settlement with him to sell him Consortium Technology that she had no time for vacation. She was training day and night with Liz’s group and spending as much time as she could with Amanda. But today was the day to change all of that. So when she got up this morning she went into the closet and threw her clothes into the suitcase and walked out the door.

Pausing she stared down at her clothes; there had been no method to her madness when she packed. She rarely ever did anything without a long thought out process.  She wasn't a spontaneous person unless forced to be. She decided not to worry about unpacking and went back down stairs.

 

###

 

Everyone was already outside enjoying the sun leaving her on the patio to enjoy the solitude when she sensed him. Looking at the house to the right; there he was, staring at her. It couldn’t be. Narrowing her eyes, she focused on the blue orbs that could penetrate straight into her soul. It was as if time had stood still for he was still the most mouthwatering man she had ever seen. She couldn’t help but notice his mahogany hair was slightly longer with a curl to it and his deep blue eyes shadowed by an unruly lock. Looking him up and down, memories flooded through her body.....wait...no!  Not again! She quickly turned around and tripped over a chair. Damn! Why of all times did she have to show her ineptitude of grace? In front of him! She glanced over her shoulder, but thankfully he was gone.  She straightened up and smoothed her shirt and shorts.

So what if he saw that. She wasn’t there to impress anyone anyway. The last thing she needed right now was six foot of sexy hotness causing her trouble. She looked out, and everyone was going on about their business without a care to what was transpiring on the patio. She felt a burning sensation down her leg and then she saw it.

“Damn, just what I need.”

“Need some help?”

Whipping around she saw him standing there smirking at her. Lightening hot tingles shot through her body as she looked at his hands holding the kit and she knew they were more than capable of administering to her needs. She perused the muscles in his thighs and how they were nicely toned with a light sprinkle of dark hair. Oh snap out of it Shelby! Raising an eyebrow she stood waiting for him to continue wondering what he was up too.

“Have a seat and let me have a look at that.” He nodded his head to the chair.

She cocked her head at him and just stared.

“What’s the matter? You didn’t hit your head did you? Shelby have a seat and let me take a look at your leg.” he said.

Crossing her arms, “Are you in the habit of rescuing people or just bossing them around?”

“I’m not bossing; trust me when I say, you would know it. As for rescuing, no I don’t rescue anyone. You of all people, knows that.” She just stood there glaring at him.

Narrowing his eyes at her. “Fine!” Up went his hands in the air as he stormed off. She could only stare after him as he walked across the sand alley in long angry strides, sand kicking up from his heels with each step he took.

Good, the last thing she needed was a well-built steamy hot blast from the past interfering and making her wires short circuit while she was trying to relax, especially when she had closed that door so many years ago. She pulled the chair upright sinking down into the cushions when her leg began to sting. Looking down, she had a four inch scrape on her left calf which didn't really look that bad. Sometimes she could be a klutz regardless of all the training she endured.  Jo and Tabby were constantly teasing her about her grace. However, when she was CIO of The Athena Group she was calm and precise, but when it came to just being Shelby, it was different. Reaching for the first aid kit, she was thankful that he had brought it over. She patched up her leg pretty quick and sat for a moment wondering about her neighbor. She looked over where he had stormed off to. She really didn’t mean to be rude, but he had a way of making her forget herself and she couldn’t afford to let him anywhere in her general vicinity again.

 

###

 

He stormed back into his house and couldn’t believe how she had reacted. He shouldn’t have gone there. What possessed him? Oh, he knew. His dick had come to life after all these months and decided to do his thinking for him. Well he had no room for people and his little partner was just going to have to get used to it. No matter how sexy she had looked standing there glaring at him. It was hard to believe that, in all of the places, he could have sought refuge; she would show up next door.

He was prepared for a lot of things in his life, but she wasn't one of them.  He had come out of the house and caught a glimpse of her before she turned and found him staring at her.  The first thing he noticed was the intense look in her eyes that he had never forgotten.  With that one look, she could bring a man to his knees.  The moment she looked at him he was transported back in time to the day he tried to recruit her for the bureau. Instead she had poleaxed him, and he had walked away.

She hadn’t changed much since the last time he saw her seventeen years ago. She was average height and fair with her brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. When she caught him looking at her he saw the crease in her brow over eyes that had always haunted him with their deep mossy green tint and lips that begged to be kissed. Whoa, boy....don’t go there. You can't afford to have those thoughts. Just as he saw a glimpse of recognition in her eyes she turned and tripped over a chair.  It had been cute that she couldn’t help but let a few choice words escape her lips.

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