Mon
Feb 10 2014 1:30pm

Love Another Day: Exclusive Excerpt

Gina Robinson

Love Another Day by Gina Robinson

LOVE IS A DANGEROUS GAME

CIA agent Tate Cox works alone. Everyone knows that. And when the object of his mission is to seduce a pretty RIOT agent for valuable technology, bringing his ex-wife Malene along seems like an especially disastrous idea. But no one bucks Agency orders, not even capable, confident Tate. Flirting with the enemy is in the job description—but falling for his sexy, sassy ex all over again is an unexpected complication...  

EVERYONE PLAYS TO WIN

After working for years on cover stories and logistics, Mal has longed for the chance to try her skills at fieldwork. But posing as “Professor” Tate Cox's graduate student girlfriend at the Cheltenham Festival of Science? Hardly a dream assignment. Yet when gorgeous Tate turns on the charm, Mal can't help wondering if she let the real thing go much too soon...

Get a sneak peek of Gina Robinson's Love Another Day (available February 25, 2014) with an exclusive excerpt from Chapters 2-4.

In this fifth book in Robinson's Agent Ex series, Malene Cox is the brains behind creating the “cover” part of undercover work. However, helping her ex-husband, Tate, seduce an enemy operative while out on her first assignment in the field, might be too much to ask, even for her.

Chapter 2

 Tate sat in Dulles International Airport, outside the security check, waiting for his ex-wife, Mal, to arrive. They were traveling together to Cheltenham, England, as mathematics professor Tate Stevens, Ph.D., and his trusty graduate student and research assistant sidekick, Mallie Green.

What the hell had Emmett been thinking assigning her as his cover-life artist for this mission? And insisting she go into the field with him—lunacy. First of all, Tate worked alone. He certainly didn’t need Mal, or any woman, for that matter, tagging along to scare Sophia off. It was going to be dicey enough convincing her he was falling in love with her so he could bring her in. He didn’t want to give her any reason to bolt.

Second, he and Mal got along now about as well as the Agency got along with RIOT—they generally wanted to kill each other. He blamed himself and Mal’s jealous nature. He’d thought when he married her that she understood that sometimes sleeping with other women was simply part of the job.

Third, while Mal was an excellent cover-life artist, she wasn’t a trained agent. Oh, she could shoot with the best of them, but a gun wasn’t her most efficient weapon. No, she wielded words like a pro, cutting as efficiently as if using a stiletto. He knew—he’d been the recipient of her knife’s edge too many times. He didn’t want her sharp tongue anywhere near Sophia.

And last—she was a horror at math. Could barely balance a checkbook. He wasn’t a math genius, but he had a degree in computer science and knew math as well as any engineer. What he didn’t know, his eidetic memory would help him fake his way through. Without one, how was Mal going to convincingly play a mathematics grad student? He shuddered as he thought about how he’d have to cover for her. Could he claim she was mute?

Tate had reasoned, begged, and even pleaded with the chief to let him go solo. He didn’t need a cover-life artist. He didn’t do disguises when he went undercover. He was an out-in-the-open agent.

“You do this time,” Emmett had said. “Our contact in London says Sophia insisted she will contact you. Not the other way around. She’s nervous about being discovered and killed. Very skittish.

“You’re to go to Cheltenham undercover as Dr. Tate Stevens, professor of mathematics. She specified the name. That way she’ll know whom to contact. She says you’re too well-known in RIOT circles as yourself. She can’t be seen anywhere near you. You’ll have to go undercover and in disguise.”

Emmett had given him an up-and-down look and scowled. “It’s too damn bad you’ve never taken the trouble to learn how to use a disguise. They can be extremely useful.”

Emmett was a master of them.

“She also said you’re to dress the part of a geek to throw RIOT off. There will be plenty of them around.” Emmett shook his head. “I need you to be a sexy geek. There’s no way you can carry that off without help. Malene’s your only hope.”

Tate had sighed deeply and resisted pounding the arm of the chair he sat in. “Let her pack me a bag, but does she have to come with?”

“She does. She’s your master of disguise in case things go wrong and you need to escape without attracting notice. Malene can get you new IDs, new costumes, new identities by wiggling her little finger. You need her on-site this time.” Emmett looked amused at Tate’s discomfort.

The chief was well aware of why Tate’s marriage to Mal had failed. This mission was like rubbing it in her face and Tate knew it.

“Then assign someone else for the fieldwork. Anyone else. Call Kendra back from her mommy leave. Tell her I need her. Offer to give her a nice bonus, whatever it takes.”

“And be slapped with a lawsuit?” Emmett’s eyes twinkled. “She’s not leaving her weeks-old baby to dash off to England, no matter what I offer her. I can guarantee that.

“This is a delicate operation. I need my best personnel on it and Malene is it. Besides, her resemblance to Sophia plays in our favor.”

Tate had scowled. It was hard to argue with the chief’s points. “How am I supposed to seduce a twenty-four-year-old RIOT agent with Mal watching my every move?”

“I doubt she’ll be watching you that closely.” Emmett had laughed. “Learn how to use a disguise. And maybe next time I’ll think about letting you go solo.” And then Emmett had dismissed him, sending him to research and development to pick up his gizmos.

Tate had an uneasy feeling about this whole operation and setup. He believed in his sex appeal—he had as healthy a male ego as the next guy—but a college girl falling in love with his picture and file? It seemed a little too fantastic to him. It could happen, he supposed. But he didn’t trust RIOT. Were they behind this? And if so, what mayhem did they have up their sleeve?

The brass and intel and data crunchers at Langley had run through all the intelligence and data. Done thorough background checks. Sophia checked out in every regard. Her father had recently passed away. It was the perfect time to break away and escape RIOT’s death grip on her life.

If she was genuine, she was still taking a horrendous chance with her life. RIOT’s assassin squad, SMASH, would track her down and kill her no matter how long it took. She could live to be one hundred and they wouldn’t give up. Was a life spent in constant fear of discovery worth living?

On the other hand, constant fear pretty much described a life in RIOT’s service. Maybe it was a wash.

However, if she was part of a plot by RIOT, what could they be up to? If they wanted him dead, it was easy enough to send a SMASH assassin to take him out. They didn’t need to lure him out with a girl. He knew intelligence secrets, true, but nothing he could think of that could be seduced out of him by a woman. They’d have to torture them out of him, and again, sending SMASH to kidnap him seemed like a more efficient plan. Neither he, nor Emmett, nor any of the heads of departments could think of a reason to send a girl to get to him.

Tate could have refused the assignment. Emmett gave him every opportunity to turn it down, had even tried to talk him out of it. But the opportunity to bring in such a valuable informant, one who could open up RIOT’s entire encrypting algorithm, was too tempting to pass up.

“Tate!”

Hearing his name being called startled him out of his thoughts. He looked up to see Mal wheeling a suitcase the size of a small travel trailer behind her. Seeing her, he felt his heart stop. When it banged back into action, it beat infuriatingly fast.

She was dressed casually in a tight-fitting dark denim miniskirt, thick, opaque tights, ankle-high brown leather boots with a low heel, a cream blouse, a long, loopy gold necklace, and a reddish-orange military-style jacket with gold buttons and leather trim. Her blond hair fell in loose waves around her face. Her makeup was light, fresh, and natural looking. Except for her lips, which were deep red-brown, moist and glossy, the very look and color he found so hot. The way they’d looked when they first met. Mal had the most kissable, perfect mouth—full and lush, with a delicate bow in the middle. She looked as if she was still in college herself. One of the hot college girls all the guys chased. Why hadn’t Emmett commanded her to deemphasize her looks, to shoot for dowdy?

Now he was going to have to tell her to tone it down and give her the satisfaction of thinking he wasn’t over her. And maybe that was the truth. Maybe he wasn’t. Hell, he didn’t know. He’d been trying to get over her since she’d thrown him out after discovering his infidelity. Lately, he’d grown tired of playing around. Even his affair with Nicole had been an attempt at finding someone to settle down with again. But when she’d left him for the French director, he’d been more relieved than upset.

Damn his body for reacting to Mal. He wasn’t prepared for the impact a college-age Mal made on him. She looked so much like she had when they first met. More updated college style, but still as young and tempting.

He tried not to scowl. Mal was the queen of putting together disguises and cover-life personas. She could have downplayed her looks and gone for major nerd, too. But she’d let her pride get the best of her.

“Traveling light, I see.” He stood as she approached.

She arched a brow, which transformed her into a cynical thirty-three-year-old. Thank goodness. His attraction evaporated. It was easier to keep his distance this way. If he was already reacting to her, what would he do when they reached Cheltenham, the site of their first romantic vacation together?

“Nice to see you, too, Dr. Stevens.” Mal leaned in and whispered to him, “Stop daydreaming and pay attention. We’re supposed to be undercover already.

“I called out to Dr. Stevens three times and only got your attention when I used your first name.”

“What can I say? I’m an absentminded prof. And I just decided—we’re casual at the university. First-name basis only.” He cut her off. He didn’t want her arguing.

“Works for me, Tate. Especially since we’re supposed to be lovers going on vacation together. Just thought we were keeping it on the down low around home. Isn’t that part of the cover dossier? Have you even read it?” She took him in with the look of a tailor eyeing her work. Finally she shrugged and smiled, obviously pleased with herself. “You look good in nerd glasses and three-day growth.”

He appreciated not having to shave regularly. But he had perfect vision. He didn’t need the damn heavy black plastic-rimmed glasses. The frames interfered with his field of vision. He wouldn’t have worn them at all, but the tech department had outfitted them with a concealed camera and rearview capability that made them halfway acceptable.

“Where’s your bag?” she asked. “Have you checked in already?” She smiled sweetly.

She’d picked out his suitcase, bought everything in it, packed it, and had it delivered to his place minutes before he had to leave for the airport. Worse yet—she’d locked and booby-trapped it so he wouldn’t tamper with it. There was no trust in the Agency. He pulled his luggage receipt from his pocket and waved it for her to see.

“Good. Now you can help me with my suitcase. It’s too heavy for me to lift onto the scale. I have our … research materials inside.” She wheeled it toward the check-in stand.

Tate followed her. He could hardly imagine all the torturous things she had in there. He was certain she was going to try to exact some kind of revenge on him for any number of perceived slights over the years.

They walked up to the check-in counter. “Tate? Would you?” She nodded toward the backbreaker she called a suitcase.

He sighed and hefted the behemoth onto the scale. The bag weighed more than it should have, even given its size. He hoped R & D hadn’t given her anything too dangerous.

The casual leather laptop bag he had slung over his shoulder housed a host of goodies. Two magazines of bullets were sewn into a clever hidden and shielded compartment. He also had a stash of gold coins and currency of various kinds in the false bottom. The handle contained two lethal ceramic fighting knives. And, of course, he had his laptop, iPad, and iPod, along with an assortment of bugs and listening devices.

The baggage handler weighed Mal’s bag and charged her for the overage. Within a few minutes she was finished checking in and they were on their way to the security checkpoint. Tate had a special air marshal waiver to get him through security. Mal was on her own.

They were supposed to be undercover, but as they walked side by side toward security, he had to ask about Kayla, innocuously, of course. “How’s the kid?”

“Great. She’s with my mom for the duration.”

Tate frowned. “Yeah, I heard.”

He leaned in and whispered in her ear at an angle none of the security cameras could catch to read his lips. “My mom wasn’t happy. She’d like her turn. Kay’s her only grandchild, probably stay that way. The least you could do is let her see Kayla once in a while. Take her off your hands for a few days. She and your mom could share.”

Tate was an expert at reading microexpressions, tiny involuntary muscle movements that gave away emotions. Though Mal looked calm enough to the casual observer, she was pissed.

“You divorced me, not Mom,” he said.

Mal looked at him and rolled her eyes. “I wish. When I divorced you, I was hoping to be done with that witch.”

“Hey.” Tate grabbed her arm and stopped, pulling her around to face him. He was sure there were no cameras that could catch what they were saying. “Show a little respect. Kay and I are all the family Mom has. All she wants is a little time with her.”

Mal’s eyes narrowed. She glared at him. “And to turn her against me.

“I’m always the bad guy. The girl who stole her little boy from her. The evil villain who keeps her from her granddaughter.”

“If she showed me some respect, I’d show her some. As it is, she’s threatening to petition the court for visitation rights. I suppose you put her up to that?”

He ran his hands through his hair. His mother could be a handful. She always had been. She and Mal had never gotten along, which put him in a horrible bind in the middle. “I tried to talk her out of that.”

Mal shot him a look that said she didn’t believe him.

He had tried. “I did.”

“Dr. Stevens, you say the most amusing things.” A look of hurt swept across her face. Then she pinched his cheek and kept walking.

Damn, he didn’t want to fight with her. He’d never wanted to fight with her. But she never understood that he’d promised his dad he’d take care of his mother, no matter what. And he’d never understood the rivalry between his mom and Mal. His mom was one of their irreconcilable differences.

He couldn’t fight with Mal now even if he had wanted to. In their cover story, Dr. Tate Stevens and Mallie Green got along famously, were a real team, and were engaging in a sizzling secret affair. He had to hustle to get back in step with her.

“Yeah, I’m a real card.”

They reached the security line.

“This is where we part company.” She smiled sweetly at him.

He wondered whether there was any way he could rig the security screening so she failed.

“Don’t even think about it,” she said as if she’d read his mind. “I have Emmett on speed dial and permission to use his red phone number.”

Shit.

“See you on the other side.” She winked at him and joined the line.

That woman was enjoying this way too much. He wondered what delights she’d filled his suitcase with. He knew that gleam in her eyes and it meant trouble—for him.

Chapter 3

 Tate nestled into his business-class seat with its luxurious twenty-two inches of space and cocooning privacy walls, which mercifully shielded him from his ex-wife in the next seat over. He was used to first class, but business class would have to do. Fortunately, the Agency had a policy of sending agents business class on overseas flights. Given that they were living the right cover life, of course.

The famous spy Dusko Popov, the model for James Bond, had it right when he’d said that a spy lives the life of his cover. If your cover is a dishwasher, you wash dishes. In this case, if your cover was a dishwasher, you flew economy. As a respected professor, he flew business. As himself, international playboy, he would have traveled first class. Yes, he and Dusko had been lucky. They had the best covers imaginable—playboys and big spenders. Except when their ex-wives were tagging along with them on a mission.

Tate settled back against the memory-foam headrest. Despite what Mal might have thought, he wasn’t sure, when it came right down to it, that he could prostitute himself this mission, even for his country. It was one thing to seduce beautiful women when you were attracted to them and out for some fun. It was another thing entirely to be commanded to do it. Had he slept with women for the sake of the job? Yes. But Mal hadn’t been tagging along, looking over his shoulder. Despite what she believed, he’d never wanted to hurt her. He still didn’t.

He adjusted his personal reading light and privacy screen. The flight attendant came by and poured him a nightcap—a nice glass of brandy.

“Would you like a bedtime snack, sir?”

He’d signed up for sleeper service, planning to get a good night’s sleep and arrive refreshed for this mission. It might be the last decent night of sleep he got for several weeks.

“No, thanks. I’m fine.” He held up his glass of brandy and grinned, only slightly flirtatiously.

The attractive flight attendant returned his smile. “Very good, sir. I’ll return with your blankets when you’re finished with your drink. Ring if you need anything.”

He nodded and watched her walk off to attend the next passenger before returning to his ruminations. The truth was, Mal was the only woman among the many he’d known that he’d ever loved. Really loved and wanted to make a life with. And three years after their divorce, he was still trying to find a new love to replace Mal. Still kicking himself for losing her. For putting the job first. For not coming clean to Mal before they married about what the job might require of him.

He’d been so damn afraid of losing her. And young and naïve enough to think he could hide it from her. The day she threw him out, she’d screamed at him that the lies had hurt the most. That he should have trusted her with the truth.

If only that damn Italian socialite, he couldn’t even remember her name at the moment, hadn’t gotten jealous and sent Mal evidence of his one-night stand with her. He would have been a dead man if he hadn’t had sex with her. So would have several other agents he’d been protecting, and a major covert military operation thwarted. But losing his marriage was a hell of a price to pay.

Tate knew about, and even privately laughed at, the idea that he fell in love easily. Yes, sure, he fell into flirtations easily. But love? He’d thought about proposing to Nicole. Had even been happy to let the rumors float about that he was going to. But he hadn’t been heartbroken when she’d left him for that director. His pride had been wounded, some. And he was lonely again. But mostly he was relieved and his heart was remarkably intact. Only Mal had ever been able to smash it and there were times when he believed she’d done irreparable damage. He seemed patently unable to ever truly love again.

He had himself to blame. The breakup of their marriage had been his fault. He’d always been ambitious. Mal, with her obvious ties to the Agency, cramped his spying style.

Emmett had recruited him at eighteen, at his father’s urging, just after he graduated from high school. Dear old dad wanted him to follow in his spying footsteps and Tate had been game for the experience. He knew the rules—you don’t fall in love and get married. And at eighteen, when marriage seemed almost a repulsive idea, something an old man did, he was happy to accept them.

His dad complained bitterly of the problems of maintaining a happy wife and child and keeping them safe while living the life of intrigue. Of keeping a marriage on solid ground when traveling so much and keeping secrets from his wife. Of being limited in the kinds of covers he could use. Like Tate, he’d used his real-life job as his cover, until he’d been elected to the Senate, when he’d had to take a hiatus. Tate’s mother had never known that either he, or Dad, were spies. She still didn’t.

But all the fatherly warnings and knowing the rules hadn’t stopped Tate’s twenty-year-old heart from giving itself to Mal, from naïvely thinking that if she worked for the Agency, too, there would be no objections to their marriage, no secrets between them, no problems. It had been a brilliant, if doomed, plan. And sometimes, he was still amazed at his powers of persuasion to talk Mal into it. At other times, he felt guilty for diverting her from her dreams and the fame and fortune she could, and should, have had.

So, yes, he’d chosen career over Mal and Kayla. But only because he’d thought he could have it all. If given the choice again?

*   *   *

Mal sighed as she relaxed into her seat and sipped her preflight champagne. What was she doing on a mission with Tate? Why was she tormenting herself? To protect Kayla, sure, but …

She hadn’t expected him to look so good. She’d even given him glasses. Not just because it would annoy him, or because glasses were all the rage among the nerd crowd. Many guys with perfect vision wore them with empty frames or plain glass lenses as a fashion statement. She’d given him glasses hoping they would make him less attractive, not just to her, but to this reckless girl, Sophia.

But Malene was too good for her own good. She’d picked out the glasses without even looking at a photo of Tate. She knew his face, every inch of his perfect bone structure, from memory—the strong curve of his jaw, the plane of his cheekbones, the depth, shape, and exact shade of brown of his eyes, the swarthy tone of his skin, the perfect oval of his face, and that dark stubble that used to scrub her face when he kissed her—

Stop that, she scolded herself. She was trying to think of Tate as unattractive, not remember the sexy times they’d had and what an excellent kisser he was.

She blew out another breath, reached for her cocktail napkin, and dabbed her lips. She looked at the lip print on it and frowned—Carnelian Kiss—that was the shade of lipstick she wore, covered with a shiny coat of clear gloss. Carnelian Kiss was the color she wore when she’d first met Tate. These days she had to order it online and pay a premium price. But it was worth it. It made her feel young and powerful, luscious, and …

It may have been a mistake to wear it. She may have given Tate the wrong impression. What was she thinking?

And now, here she was, going back to London with him, the very city where they’d met, to help him seduce another woman, a traitorous girl barely out of college.

Remembering how she’d met Tate, she scowled, picturing Sophia’s response to meeting him—pure animal attraction. Tate photographed well, but a flat picture did nothing to showcase his charm and personal magnetism. The girl would go down, hook, line, and sinker, as her grandpa liked to say.

Malene had only been twenty herself, an American student at London’s Central Saint Martins College when she met Tate while visiting the Tower of London. She’d gone by herself, taken the tube. The day was sunny, blue sky. She was homesick, tired of British accents and longing for a good old American twang, drawl, or intonation as she wandered around by herself. Though why she thought she’d particularly find one at the Tower, she didn’t know. It seemed as good a tourist place as any to try. Later, she thought it must have been fate. Now she thought it was fate playing a cruel joke.

She’d simply been hoping to run into a tourist from home, and by home, she meant from anywhere in the U.S. Male, female, old, young, she wasn’t particular, though she was hoping for a grandmotherly type. Someone chatty and nonthreatening. She really didn’t care what kind of American accent as long as the person behind it originated from one of the fifty states. Her friends still laughed at that—wasn’t she enchanted by the way the Brits spoke?

Oh, she had been. For a while. But she reached a point where she needed a sound from home, the feeling of a compatriot right there with her. Someone far from home, too, and willing to laugh about it. She was tired of being an expatriate.

She walked around the Tower Green, staring up at the Queen’s House, shuddering as she remembered her history—Anne Boleyn had been executed here, as well as sixteen-year-old Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen.

Not being much past sixteen, she found it hard to imagine dying, having her head lopped off, facing it bravely with dignity. How could those people of old have been so cruel? Why kill a teenager simply because her dying young cousin the king had named her his successor? That wasn’t her fault. Poor thing, she’d been damned if she did and damned if she didn’t take the throne. History wasn’t exactly as romantic as a fairy tale. Of course, after years in the Agency, Malene had lost her innocence. People killed for much less than a threat to their power.

She was so lost in her thoughts and used to ignoring the sounds of tourists around her, she didn’t hear Tate walk up on her right.

“The Queen’s House is the most haunted place at the Tower.” His intonation was brilliantly American. His voice young and sexy.

She felt almost rapturous, as if she’d conjured him up herself. “Oh, thank goodness! Someone from home.” As she turned to look at the young man, she was thinking he’d never live up to that voice and wonderful East Coast accent of his. Really, she could have almost kissed him just because of that.

But his voice was nothing to the way he looked. Over six feet tall. Broad shoulders. Slender, but taut and fit, with enough bulk to impress. Dark brown hair. Deep brown, laughing, intelligent eyes. She fell in love in that moment. Love at first sight. Why not? She’d been primed for it.

“I call Virginia home. You don’t sound like you’re from there,” he said, cocking a brow.

Her California-girl accent had slipped through. “Maybe I should have said, ‘from the homeland.’”

“That sounds a little too Bolshevist.” He looked around. “No friends with you? Family? Overprotective fathers?”

“Nope. I’m by myself.”

“I hope you at least have some pepper spray on you. You really shouldn’t tell strangers you’re alone and vulnerable.”

“Who said I’m vulnerable?” She shot him a flirtatious smile and made a girlie fist, the kind with her thumb wrapped inside, ready to get broken if she tried to smack someone. She knew better. She knew how to fight. Her brothers had taught her. She was just pulling his chain.

He laughed again. “Vicious, but that’s not going to do much to scare off a ghost. You really should be careful around here. You never know when you’ll run into a spook.”

Her turn to look around. “What about you? Where’s your entourage?”

“I was hoping you’d be it.” He winked. “Anyway, don’t worry about me. I can spot a spook a mile away. You’ll be perfectly safe with me. How’d you like to hang out? Let me show you the Crown Jewels.”

“As long as you mean the Crown Jewels.”

“What else would I mean?”

Uh-huh.

“You could be a psychopathic serial killer,” she teased back.

He shrugged. “At least I’d be a good old American killer. You look thirsty. Let me buy you something to drink. And maybe a biscuit to go along with it.”

“Please tell me you mean a cookie. I could really go for a great, big chocolate-chip cookie.” And she really wanted to get to know him, and listen to that sexy American accent of his for as long as she could.

That was their start, the beginning of the end. Later, when she found out he was working for the Agency when they met that day at the Tower, she finally understood his inside joke about spooks. She’d thought at the time he was just being glib.

She also later learned that he’d been at the Tower meeting a contact. He’d been high with adrenaline after receiving some vital and privileged intelligence from a RIOT double agent.

Thinking about a chocolate-chip cookie made her stomach growl. She should have signed up for the sleeper service, as Tate had, and had dinner before they departed. But, to be honest, she hadn’t even thought about it. Now, she’d have to raid the larder as soon as they took off and the captain turned off the FASTEN SEAT BELT sign.

Half an hour later, her stomach was still growling, and she got her wish. The captain’s voice boomed over the passenger address system, “You’re now free to roam about the cabin.”

About time. They fed you pretty well in business class, but the dinner cart hadn’t yet made an appearance. Malene unbuckled her seat belt, stood, and stretched. When she glanced at Tate, his chair was fully reclined flat. He wore his headphones. All of his lights were off. His blindfold was on. And he was snuggled beneath a particularly soft, comfy-looking blanket and out cold.

Curses on that man. He could sleep anywhere, just drop off in mere seconds. She, on the other hand, usually took at least half an hour to fall asleep under the best circumstances. She never slept well on planes, trains, or in cars. Trying to was practically a lost cause. She was not lulled off to dreamland by the white noise of an engine. And she couldn’t afford to take a sleeping pill, which made her groggy. Tate, on the other hand, was in for a nice, long sleep until breakfast. While she’d arrive at Heathrow with bags beneath her eyes to face the beautiful, young Sophia.

Tate didn’t so much as stir as she scooted past him on the way to the larder. He didn’t look like he was on alert at all. Any old terrorist could probably walk up and off him.

She resisted sighing. Top secret agent, my hind foot. Now she’d have to watch his sleeping backside.

The larder, as the British liked to call a pantry or snack cupboard, was located in a middle section of the business-class cabin. It was a waist-high cupboard; a platter of fruit, cheese, and crackers sat on top. Bottled water—still and sparkling—sat next it.

Malene frowned. She needed chocolate, something sweet and sinful to take her mind off Tate and the current situation. Fruit wasn’t going to do it.

A flight attendant walked by. “Not satisfied with what’s out? Open the cupboard doors and help yourself. We keep all the good stuff behind closed doors.” She winked and walked on.

Why not?

Malene opened the polished stainless steel doors and sighed with happiness as she caught a glimpse of an assortment of Cadbury chocolate bars, and British biscuits. And another of American junk food—chocolate bars, packages of chocolate-chip cookies, potato chips. She kneeled down to get a bird’s-eye view of the selection, being careful to make sure her tiny denim skirt still covered her butt. She’d half forgotten what it was like to wear the tiny things. As she was squatting, she pulled a basket of cookies out from the shelf and a reflection in the open stainless steel cupboard door caught her attention. A man was staring at her from behind from the first row of business class behind the larder.

Malene wasn’t trained in the art of surveillance, but she was observant and she’d lived with Tate long enough to pick up some of his habits. The staring man was good, not too obvious, but he was watching her all the same. The hair on the back of her neck stood up. This wasn’t a “you’re such a hot chick” perusal. Or an “I wonder if there are any good cookies in that cupboard?” glance. Or even a “pardon me but your slip is showing” look. This man was watching her, confidently, and he had a “thrill of the hunt” look in his eyes, from what she could tell through the skewed optics of the stainless steel door. She needed a closer look and a picture to send to HQ.

She rummaged through the basket of cookies, keeping her eyes averted as she studied the man’s reflection. She pulled her phone from her skirt pocket. Malene’s expertise was costuming and dressing. This man was dressed like a business traveler in jeans, a light blue dress shirt, and leather loafers. But something felt off about him.

She needed a closer look. Fortunately, a round, wrapped package of wine gums was just the tool she needed to get up close and personal with the watcher. She managed to snap a quick picture of the reflection in the door at an angle she hoped he couldn’t tell what she’d done. Then she picked up a basket of candy from the shelf, tipped it in the guy’s direction, and “slipped,” sending several rolls of wine gums bowling toward his feet.

He stopped one with his size-thirteen loafer as she scrambled after her rolling candy on her hands and knees. A woman in the seat to his right stopped two packages and handed them to her as she crawled past her.

“Sorry.” Malene winced. “Thanks! I’m such a klutz.”

Her target leaned down and picked up the roll of candy just as she crawled to his feet. The nails on his beefy hand were chipped and dirty. He had a callus on the top of the first finger on his right hand between the first and second knuckle—the trigger finger. The callus was the sure sign of a practiced shooter, someone who shot high enough caliber bullets to deliver a good recoil on the rifle. The man was a sniper or she missed her guess.

As he held the candy out to her, she smiled up at him, avoiding his eyes as if she were embarrassed. “Thanks.”

He grunted. “Welcome.”

Huh, normally pitched male voice, neither high nor low, just average. No special accent she could peg with just the single word.

He had a full beard and mustache. It was a very convincing fake. But Malene knew her costume and stage makeup, and a fake it was.

She took the roll of candy from him and inched away, back to the larder, where she stuffed the jar back into its spot, stood, and closed the cupboard doors.

She had to talk to Tate and warn him about this guy. Now. Even if she had to wake him up to do it. A task she didn’t relish. Tate wasn’t exactly Mr. Sunshine when he first woke up.

*   *   *

Tate was nestled snuggly in his bed, dreaming a confused, and sensual, dream about a mission where he was assigned to seduce a college-age Mal. She wanted him to rescue her, take her away with him.

He pressed her up against the outside wall of an ancient stone tower. In a garden, with blue sky above and the sun shining warmly. Music played in the background, soft, dreamy music. His hand slid up her smooth, firm, yet incredibly soft and creamy bare thigh, beneath her tiny skirt. He used his other hand to prop himself against the wall, leaning heavily on it. His pulse raced. He wanted to take her, right there. And she was willing.

She looked up at him with passion and desire in her eyes, begging to be kissed. He lowered his lips to hers—

“Tate! Tate, wake up. I have to talk to you.”

Disoriented, he squinted as he opened his eyes. Mal squatted next to him, holding his headphones away from his ear as she hissed at him.

What the hell? This wasn’t the willing Mal he’d been dreaming about.

“Mal?” He frowned at her, glad his involuntary arousal was covered with a blanket. It was quickly wilting. “You better have a good reason for waking me up.” And interrupting a romping round of sex with a college-age you.

“I need to talk to you.”

He detected the worry beneath her calm voice. He propped up on his elbows and studied her. “So talk.”

“In private.”

He arched a brow. What could the woman want now? If she’d been a trained agent, she would have known to use a code phrase if this had to do with their mission.

“The only private place around here is the bathroom,” he mouthed back to her.

She shrugged. “Fine with me.”

He sighed, sat up straight, ran his hands through his hair, and reached into his private storage compartment and retrieved his signal jammer. He slid on his in-flight slippers and stood. “You do realize what it will look like?”

“Mile-high with my professor. I get it. Just don’t get any ideas.”

“After you.” He followed her down the aisle to the business-class bathroom. Personally, he was impressed she hadn’t flinched at his suggestion of the bathroom. She did hesitate a moment at the door, even though the UNOCCUPIED sign showed.

He pushed the crease of the folding door, banging it open, and held out his hand in that gentlemanly gesture meaning “ladies first, after you.” However, if a gesture can be sarcastic, then his was. He was mostly impatient.

Airplane lavs, even business-class lavatories, are notoriously tiny. Mal stepped in, turned to face him, and backed in as far as she could, and he still barely had room to squeeze in. It took some jiggling and rearranging to get the door closed. Finally, they stood breast to chest, toe to toe, and Tate was finding things getting hard for him.

Mal had a nice pair, always had. And right now, they were rubbing up against the thin cotton of his T-shirt. She looked so young and sweet, so almost vulnerable and in need of protection. So tantalizing. So much like she had in the dream she’d woken him from, the one he was still trying to shake. Why did dreams have to hang on and feel so real? Why couldn’t he shake the emotions he’d felt—the desire and need?

He looked into her steely eyes, and even their hardness and the fear he saw didn’t cool his ardor, though it should have.

She opened her mouth to speak. He held up a hand to silence her and activated his signal jammer. When he was satisfied it was working, he nodded for her to go ahead. “This had better be good,” he whispered.

She frowned slightly. “Would I pull you out of a deep sleep if it weren’t?”

“You really want an answer?” She would definitely have woken him if she’d known what he was dreaming about. Hell, he would have woken himself. If dreams really do reveal subconscious desires, he was in deep trouble.

She grinned. For just a second, she was that girl from his dreams. “If you hadn’t been out of it and totally vulnerable, you would have noticed—we have a tail.”

“What?”

“There’s a bearded guy in business class just behind the larder in seat 6A. He’s dressed like a business traveler, but the beard is a fake and so is he. He’s been watching me.”

Tate pursed his lips. “You’re wearing a short skirt and look like a college girl, of course he’s watching you.”

“Flattery will get you nowhere.” She took a deep breath. “Didn’t you hear what I said—the beard’s fake and this isn’t Halloween. It’s a very good fake, too, not many people besides an expert would notice. Now, why would a man be wearing a fake beard if not to be able to lose it and make a quick escape unnoticed?”

She had a point. “You mean like after he’s committed a heinous crime?”

She nodded. “He’s an assassin—”

“Wait a minute. Fake beard to assassin, that’s a huge leap in logic—”

“He has a callus on the outside of the first finger of his right hand between the first and second knuckle.”

“Damn.”

The plane hit a small pocket of turbulence. Just enough to bounce Mal’s breasts and distract Tate from clear thinking. He and Mal had always had chemistry. That had never been their problem. Until now. There was no way he was giving her any ideas about how attractive he still found her.

Mal let out a cute little squeak, and arched back and grabbed the counter for support. Which had the effect of pushing her breasts more firmly against his chest.

“What are we going to do? What if we’ve already been discovered? Should we call Emmett and abort—”

“Are you crazy? No aborting.” He had to think fast.

Mal pulled her phone from her pocket and turned the screen toward him. “Recognize this guy? Is he one of your RIOT buddies?”

Tate studied it for a while. “Is this his reflection in a pantry door?”

Mal nodded.

Tate frowned. “Not from these distorted optics. But I like the fake beard. Wouldn’t mind one myself.”

She rolled her eyes. “Be serious—what’s our next move?”

He was thinking fast. “I’m going to have to get rid of him.”

Her eyes went wide. “You’re going to kill him?”

He sighed. “You know what I do for a living.”

She shook her head. “Don’t mistake me for squeamish. I know what all our agents do. I’ve enabled you to do it. I’d agree with that course of action if we had more definite data. But what if I’m wrong? What if he’s really an innocent air marshal traveling undercover?”

“Then why would he be watching you? You don’t exactly fit the profile for a terrorist.”

She bit her lip. Apparently, she had no answer.

He shook his head. “Look. I’m going to disable him for a while is all. Search him. See if he’s sent off any damning evidence. Find out what he’s about, and send him on a ride somewhere so we can escape without him following us.”

She nodded just as the aircraft hit another patch of turbulence, throwing her into Tate and slamming them both against the closed door. In the next instant, the plane pitched in the opposite direction, tossing him into her, and the FASTEN SEAT BELT sign lit up. She landed on her butt on the closed toilet seat with him perched over her.

Her breasts were heaving. Her lips moist. Her eyes wide. Her legs spread and her skirt hiked up. She looked exactly as she had when they’d been young and fallen in love. Tate swallowed hard, trying to fight off the memories and the way his body was reacting to hers. He’d had other women during these past three years. None of them had turned him on as she had, though he’d never admit that to her. He barely admitted it to himself.

He and Mal had been wild, unable to keep their hands off each other, making love in all kinds of crazy, dangerous places. Doing it on an airplane had been on their sexual bucket list. He wondered whether she remembered and if she’d be game for checking that one off the list—for old time’s sake.

This was the perfect setup to join the mile-high club, and damn, with those memories assaulting him and the aura of danger in the air, it was taking every ounce of restraint he had to resist her. The turbulence only added to the thrill and the challenge. Hell, wasn’t turbulently the only way they’d made love those last months together, anyway?

The plane dropped suddenly. Mal seemingly rose in the air to meet him as he was flung upward toward the ceiling. Her eyes were wide and her pupils dilated. She was either hot for him, or afraid. Maybe both. “Brace yourself.”

 

Chapter 4

 They came down with a clunk, landing on the toilet seat, Tate sprawled over Mal. She braced her hands against his chest. Nice, he thought. Until she spoke.

“Off!” Mal shoved him with the strength of a black belt.

He grinned at her futile efforts, but he wasn’t taking any chance she’d use her infamous karate chop on him. He pushed off her and leaned back against the lav door. “Okay, here’s the plan. You leave the lav first before we hit any additional turbulence, go back to your seat and buckle in for safety. I’ll go disable the bad guy. We’ll rendezvous when our would-be assassin is out and the turbulence has passed.” Like the turbulence between them would ever pass. “Sound good?”

“Peachy. Just watch yourself. Turbulence can be deadly. And messy. I imagine there’s a lot of spilled milk, coffee, and liquor out there.”

I’m facing a hard-core, hardened RIOT assassin, and she’s worried about atmospheric instability. How sweet.

He opened the lav door and let her out, closing it behind her and staring at himself in the mirror. Damn, his eyes were dilated beneath the clear glass lenses of the glasses that were purely for show. They may have made him look intellectual, but he hated them all the same. He wasn’t a bookish kind of guy. Or nerdy, even though he was a software guru.

He ran his hands through his hair and pursed his lips as he thought. The damnable thing about airplanes was there were very few places to commit murder, or even mere disabling and hiding of an inert body, in secret, out of plane view. Oh, nice pun, Tate. Corny, but what the hell?

He pulled his cell phone out, brought up a CIA airplane app, one his company, Cox Software, had created, and called up the layout and specs of the particular airplane they rode on.

Oh, nice, there’s a beverage cart dumbwaiter from the galley to the cargo area. Perfect way to dispose of a body. If that bastard out there really is RIOT, he deserves to be in the cargo area with the dogs. And Mal can rest easy. He’ll eventually be discovered.

Now all Tate had to do was get to the galley and lure his tail there. Turbulence played into his hand in at least one way—the flight attendants would be buckled into their jump seats and out of Tate’s way.

Hmmm … If this guy really is following me, he won’t be able to resist seeing what I’m up to in the galley.

Tate pushed open the lav door, walked, or rather bounced, to the back business-class area, and spotted his target.

Mal’s right. He is watching us.

The guy looked nonchalant, but Tate was experienced enough to know when he was under surveillance.

Tate strode past him, and then, when none of the flight attendants were looking, but Tate was sure the suspected RIOT agent was, ducked into the galley. The galley wasn’t much more spacious than the lav. But Tate figured he and the suspected bad guy could fit.

Tate quickly scoped out the dumbwaiter and eyed it, making visual measurements. Yeah, that dumbass should be able to fit. But he won’t be comfy.

Tate looked at his watch. He spent exactly three minutes in the galley. And then he did a trick he’d learned from his magician buddy and now fellow spy, Rock Powers. He created an illusion, making it look as if he’d left the galley, while he actually crouched in wait.

He pulled a stylus pen from his pocket. It was the latest model from research and development. Of course it wasn’t just a pen, a stylus, a laser pointer, a black light, and a flashlight. It was also a syringe with a single dose of a knockout drug that would put a two-hundred-and-fifty-pound man, or a small horse, out for a good twelve hours.

Tate watched as shoes appeared beneath the curtains of the galley. The curtain slid open and the bad guy slid in, right into Tate’s waiting syringe. Tate got him with a direct hit to the neck. The guy barely had time to register shock before he crumpled. Tate caught him and stuffed him onto the dumbwaiter as the plane jounced and bounced in the sky, knocking cans and various airplane cooking supplies off shelves.

A tray of airplane-sized liquor bottles fell off a shelf. Tate dodged them just in time. His victim wasn’t as lucky. He took several to the head.

That’s gotta hurt.

Theoretically, there was room to stuff a six-foot-tall man on the dumbwaiter. But the muscle-bound thug wasn’t as limber as Tate needed. You need to start doing some flexibility and stretching exercises, buddy. For your own health.

Folding the thug’s deadweight into a pretzel in the midst of turbulence as the ground suddenly became air beneath Tate’s feet and unsecured items slid off shelves, Tate both cursed the turbulence, and prayed for it to continue.

Tate duct-taped the guy’s mouth and trussed him up into the smallest package he could make. And then in a flash of inspiration, he seized a luggage tag with a code for Scotland, and slapped it on the suspected RIOT operative.

Very nice. With any luck, they’ll check him through. The guy will wake up in Scotland, far enough away not to be a problem.

The man’s size thirteens were the problem. They kept sticking out and catching as Tate tried to send the dumbwaiter to the cargo area. Finally, Tate pulled them off and stuffed them into a storage cabinet.

He rigged a wedge behind the guy so when the dumbwaiter went into the cargo bin, the thug would roll off and Tate could recall the dumbwaiter.

At last, Tate succeeded in getting the guy’s limp deadweight into the space allowed. Tate pushed the button that controlled the dumbwaiter. “Adios.”

The plane bounced again. Tate dodged a glass coffee carafe, eager to get out of that galley and back to his seat before he was beaned with something more lethal. Like maybe a dull knife or a business-class chafing dish. Besides, he was losing valuable beauty sleep. He had to look his best if he was going to woo a sweet young RIOT thing when he got to England.

The dumbwaiter resurfaced and Tate let out a breath of relief when it returned unoccupied.

He peeked out the curtain. When the aisle was clear and no one was looking, he stepped out and adjusted his glasses as he sauntered toward the larder as if he belonged in the aisle. He picked up a pack of cookies just as a flight attendant looked at him.

“Sir, you’ll have to return to your seat. The captain hasn’t turned off the FASTEN SEAT BELT sign.”

“Sorry.” Tate flashed her an apologetic look. “I just woke up and didn’t pay any attention.” He was going for the absentminded-professor cover. “Head in the clouds.” He laughed again, playing the professor who was amused by his own lame joke. Everyone onboard was literally in the clouds.

The plane took a sudden drop in altitude. Tate grabbed the larder doors and hung on just in time to avoid being thrown against the ceiling.

“I see what you mean,” he said dryly. “It’s dangerous out here.”

Half the passengers looked green. As soon as the plane leveled out, he scrambled to his seat. As he passed Mal, he leaned in and whispered to her. “He won’t be bothering us for the duration.”

“What did you do to him?” she whispered back.

“Let’s just say, he’s laying down with dogs. But he’ll be fine. And found. Once we land and they unload the plane.” He shook his head. “Unless they check his tag and put him through to his final destination—Scotland.”

*   *   *

How can Tate be so calm? Mal thought as they deplaned at Heathrow. Isn’t he at all worried the airport staff will discover the bound thug before either MI-5 can apprehend him or we get out of the airport?

But Tate seemed nonplussed and totally relaxed as they wound their way through the terminal. Mal had never been on a mission with him, and while she knew he traveled with ease, this was a side of him she’d never seen. No wonder the Agency thought so highly of him. He was fearless.

He strode with his typical confident Tate walk, eyeing attractive women and smiling at them as they headed for baggage claim.

“Knock it off,” she whispered to him.

He arched a brow. “What?”

Next time she’d put more hiss in her whisper. “You’re a mild-mannered, nerdy computer science and mathematics professor, remember? Not God’s gift to women. Tone down the charm and act like your cover self.”

Tate rolled his eyes, but mercifully kept them straight ahead. “You’re no fun, Mal.”

“Just doing my job. You’re not supposed to be any fun, either. Not yet anyway. You’re supposed to be low profile, attracting no attention, or as little as possible. So just stop hamming it up and searching for the spotlight and the paparazzi.

“You’re not Tate Cox. Keep that in mind.”

Since their divorce, Tate had once again regularly made a variety of “most eligible bachelor lists.” Because he dated a wide variety of high-profile celebrity women—actresses, singers, and the like—photographers regularly snapped his picture for the tabloids. While he’d been married to boring old, everyday her, the paparazzi had pretty much left them alone. They’d never cared about Mal in the first place. Since their divorce, she’d been invisible to them. And she liked it that way. She was also fierce about keeping Kayla out of the public eye.

The baggage carousel was already in motion when they arrived. Mal pulled her bag off. “Be a sweetie and get a trolley, will you? We’re going to need one.”

“Wait a minute,” Tate said. “Who’s popping out of character now? Aren’t you supposed to be my assistant?”

“Fine, I’ll get the trolley and you get the big, heavy bags.” She grinned.

“Damn,” he said, as he realized she’d just manipulated him into doing exactly what she wanted.

She swiped her card, unlocked a trolley, and returned to find Tate surrounded by their bags.

“I thought you only checked the one?” He was frowning.

“Oh, I did. But the Agency sent a few extras along.”

“How big is the rental car you booked for us?”

“Tiny, minuscule, like all British cars. But relax, I got us an automatic.” She winked and watched as Tate scowled.

He hated automatics, calling them sluggish cows. But what could she do? Dr. Tate Stevens was not an expert at extreme driving. He was a good old American who would have enough trouble driving on the wrong side of the road that he wouldn’t want to mess with also having to shift with the wrong hand.

She laughed and leaned in to whisper to him, “What? You were expecting an Aston Martin DB5?”

He shrugged. “I would have rented a sports car.”

“But with university budgets being what they are these days, Dr. Stevens, frugality is what counts.”

“Damn it, Mal. I can hardly wait to see what accommodations you’ve booked us in. If you’ve reserved a youth hostel, I’ll have to kill you.”

She smiled and shrugged as casually as he had. “Don’t be silly. I’m the only one of us young enough to stay in one. You’re much too old.” Now that was a direct hit and Mal was delighted. She even wiggled her hips and held up her arms, shimmying them in the way the teens and twentysomethings did. Ah, it felt good to be young.

She picked up the smallest of the bags surrounding them and pointed to the rest of the pile. “Dr. Stevens is a nervous nerd, always helpful and kind. He wouldn’t dream of letting his pretty young assistant strain herself by lifting those monstrous bags. Especially when he’s sleeping with her.”

“Don’t push me, Mal.”

“Oh, I wouldn’t dream of it. All of this is clearly spelled out in your cover-life dossier.”

He picked up a bag and tossed it on the trolley, looking as if he’d rather throw it at her. But she merely smiled and held the trolley steady for him, very helpfully, like a good assistant would.

When it was loaded, Tate got behind it and began wheeling it toward the general public access area. “We’re meeting our MI-5 contact for tea and further instructions.”

“Yes, I know,” Mal said. And she was looking forward to it. “I picked the café.” She led the way.

Even though he was raggedly dressed in tweeds and a cap, Mal spotted her MI5 cover-life counterpart, Sir Herbert Wedgefield, immediately. He stood to greet them as Tate negotiated the trolley through the narrow aisles of the crowded café.

Mal would have loved to hug her old friend Sir Herbert, but as Tate’s assistant, she wasn’t supposed to know him. And the Brits were so reserved, anyway. Sir Herbert was Britain’s version of Andre Leon Talley—stylish and dapper with taste coming out his ears. He’d worked as editor in chief at some of Britain’s top fashion magazines before retiring and joining MI-5.

Sir Herbert slapped Tate on the back and shook his hand. “So glad you could make it to the conference, Dr. Stevens. How was your trip?”

“Turbulent, I’m afraid.” Tate released Sir Herbert’s hand.

The MI5 cover-life artist turned to Mal. “And this young lady must be your assistant.” He extended his hand.

As Mal took it, she leaned in and whispered to him. “Tweed, really? You are slumming it, Sir Herbert, darling.”

He laughed. “And you aren’t dressing your age, my dear. But you look lovely all the same.”

They all sat and ordered. Mal ordered tea and scones. Tate ordered coffee, black. Speaking in code, Tate informed Sir Herbert of the real problems of their flight. Tate, of course, knew Sir Herbert as well. After all, he’d been at their wedding and was something of a fashion mentor to Mal. She’d originally met Sir Herbert when she was studying at Central Saint Martins College.

Sir Herbert got on his cell, tapped out a text, and smiled. “Yes, we’ve located your errant piece of baggage and are processing it. It’ll be off to our facilities to be decontaminated within minutes. Good job and very ingenious using the dumbwaiter. Used an airplane app, did you?”

“Yes, well, we Americans are known for our innovation.” Tate grinned. “And we have the very best apps of any in the world.”

“As you can tell, he’s not modest,” Mal said, rolling her eyes.

“And why should he be? We use Cox Software apps ourselves. We’re looking forward to picking the real Tate’s brain. If only you could have come to the science festival as yourself, Dr. Stevens. Although I’m afraid most of what you would have to say is over my head and out of my area of expertise, many in GCHQ would love to hear it. But such is the shadowy world we live in.”

Though few Americans knew about it—after all, it had never been featured in a Bond movie—GCHQ was the third branch of Britain’s intelligence service and worked in conjunction with MI5 and MI6.

“Yes,” Mal said. “I’m with you, Herb.” Using his familiar name didn’t come easily to her, but it was in her brief to use it when others might overhear. “I have no desire to listen to Tate speak.” Her tone was barbed.

Sir Herbert laughed and studied Tate. “It is a shame you two didn’t work out. You have so much in common.”

Mal arched a brow. Her old friend was so obvious and such a romantic for someone who’d remained staunchly single his entire sixty-plus years. “You must mean our love of fashion and the finer things in life?”

“Yes, exactly that,” Sir Herbert said in his staid, upper-crust British accent. “Frankly, I’m surprised your boss sent you two off on this trip together.”

“Only out of necessity,” Tate said. And then explained, speaking in code once again, of how onerous it was working with the ex.

“Well, I expect things will be brighter and pick up in Cheltenham.” Sir Herbert’s eyes twinkled. “The science festival will be of particular interest and quite fun for you, I expect, Dr. Stevens. Given your reputation.”

He meant Tate’s reputation for chasing women.

Mal changed the subject. “What do you have for us?”

“Your car is waiting outside. Inside you’ll find instructions to your hotel and for the conference. As well as a list of events and local dignitaries who are eager to meet you.” By which, he meant contacts.

He called up something on his phone. “Let me just show you some of the lovely local sights in Cheltenham.” He turned his phone around to reveal a picture of the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, building in Benhall, a small civil parish of Cheltenham.

“Wow!” Mal remembered at last to fall back into her young, eager college-assistant self. “I’ve never seen a Regency spa town before. Awesome.”

She’d been many times and loved the place, loved anything Regency, actually. She was a big Jane Austen fan. But she’d also been to Benhall and now the message was clear—she and Tate were to report there for further instructions and briefings.

Tate arched a brow. “I hope I have the wardrobe.”

He was asking whether he should go as himself or the good doctor.

“Oh, they’re eager to show around such an eminent mathematician.”

 


***
Copyright © 2014 by Gina Robinson.
***
Learn more about, or pre-order a copy, of Love Another Day by Gina Robinson (available February 25, 2014):

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Gina Robinson lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and children. She loves humor, romance, suspense, and spies. Not necessarily in that order. She writes humorous romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women's fiction.

If she could meet just one fictional spy, she’d be hard pressed to choose between James Bond and Max Smart. In her opinion, the perfect spy would be a combination of the two. Most days she writes while wearing slippers, flip-flops, or tennis shoes, depending on the season. But she loves a great, sexy heel and has a closet full for special occasions.

Her published novels, Diamonds Are Truly Forever, Spy Candy, Spy Games, The Spy Who Left Me, Live and Let Love and License to Love received rave reviews, establishing Gina Robinson as one of today’s most exciting new authors of romantic suspense.

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1 comment
Kareni
1. Kareni
This sounds like a fun and rather campy read! Thanks for the excerpt.
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