Northstar Security Series, V. 4
Reformed playboy Sloan Cartland doesn’t work that hard to live down his reputation, especially when it gives him an advantage as Northstar’s profiler. But when the company’s network is hacked, he puts on his game face and joins forces with the firm’s cyber queen, Allison Richards, to track down the cyberterrorist.
Sparks fly between the total opposites as Sloan moves past Allison’s geeky-persona. The passion is unexpected but pleasurable, until Sloan receives evidence that implicates Allison as the hacker, compelling him to question her loyalty and his feelings.
Allison must choose between her heart and honor and find a way to use her formidable skills to turn the tables on her enemies before Sloan decides she’s a traitor.
Page Count: 286
Word Count: 70290
A muffled voice from the open bay greeted him with something that sounded like, “Be right with you.”
While he waited for the mechanic, he looked around. The pungent smell of oil and gasoline came with the territory. An unpainted wood shelf held thick auto-parts catalogs, their covers smudged with oil. In the greasy glass case under the counter, there was a half-filled box of chocolate bars. Although he was hungry, he wasn’t tempted to buy one. This building was exactly what it looked like—a place to fix engines. Nothing more.
A wall clock hung next to an outdated pinup-girl calendar. He compared the time on his watch with the clock.
Almost noon, local time. Damn. It was later than he thought.
Anxious to get moving, he looked into the bay again. All he could see was a blue-and-orange ball cap, with a college logo, placed backward on the mechanic’s head. The rest of the guy was hidden behind a snowmobile propped up on a lift and stripped down to the frame. Engine parts littered a workbench off to the side.
As Sloan watched, the mechanic shook out a rag and laid it on the floor. Then, like a mother laying a baby in its crib, he gently placed a part from the engine on it. Finally, he straightened and started around the other side of the lift. As he took off the ball cap, a black ponytail fell over one shoulder. Replacing the cap with the bill facing forward, the mechanic turned and unzipped the grease-stained coveralls.
“Hi.” Sloan offered a smile. “I hope you can help me. I’m looking for—” The words stuck in his throat as he stared.
The mechanic wasn’t a man. He—no, she was Allison Richards. And she was safe.
The look on her face mirrored his own shock. He hadn’t expected to find her so quickly, and certainly not fixing engines in a garage.
That wasn’t his only surprise. Instead of the oversized white lab coat that was her uniform at Northstar’s lab, she wore faded denim coveralls that hung baggily off her shoulders. But it was what was under the unzipped coveralls that showed off attributes he hadn’t realized she owned. The skintight top was one of the sexiest he’d seen in a long time. The swell of her breasts rose tantalizingly beneath the open zipper. An expanse of soft, creamy skin called attention to the length of her neck.
Words failed him as he jerked his gaze up, catching the movement of her throat as she swallowed, and his mouth went dry.
“Sloan! Um, Agent Cartland, what are you doing here?”
The voice was Allison’s, all right. He reined in his errant thoughts. “I’m looking at…I mean, for…you.” He stumbled over his words. She wasn’t wearing her glasses. He’d known her eyes were blue—but shaded by the ball cap they beckoned like a sparkling alpine lake. Clear. Inviting. Honest.
“You came all the way from D.C. to find me?” She took a rag from her pocket.
He watched as she wiped her slender fingers. The mesmerizing movement triggered visions of her hands, stroking his chest—pulling him close. Down, boy. Now wasn’t the right time for schoolboy fantasies, especially ones starring Northstar’s lab tech. He cleared his throat. “O’Neal sent me.”
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