Under Fire

By: Carol Ericson

An experiment gone wrong unleashes the most elite killers on the planet

When an unstable patient opens fire on Ava Whitman’s lab, only a bulletproof window and agent Max Duvall stand between her and certain death. Max vows to prevent Tempest—the covert ops agency behind the shooting—from killing the one witness left standing: Ava. But a victim of a brainwashing attempt, Max is battling his own demons. How can a man who has been programmed to become a mindless, soulless killer keep the emerald-eyed beauty safe? Now on the run and running out of time, Max has to use every ounce of strength to ignore his deadly tendencies. And every bit of willpower to not give in to his desire for Ava.

“Can I do anything to help you?”

Ava touched his arm again, this time lightly, brushing her fingertips across the slick material of his jacket.

The human contact and the emotion behind it made him shiver. Max clenched his teeth. “You can’t do anything to help. You’ve done enough.”

She grabbed the door handle and swung open the door before the car even stopped.

“Hold on. I’ll walk you up.”

“I thought you were anxious to get rid of me.”

He didn’t want to leave Ava, but he had to—for her own safety. “I was anxious to get you away from the lab and back home. The police can pick it up from here.”

He followed her to the front door. She dragged her keys from her purse and slid one into the dead bolt. It clicked and she opened the door.

Apprehension slithered down his spine and he held out a hand. “Wait.”

But it was too late. Ava had stepped across the threshold and now faced two men training weapons on her.

And this time she wasn’t behind bulletproof glass.


Max Duvall—A covert ops agent wired to kill, he’s now fighting to regain his soul and humanity, and he’s in danger of destroying the one woman who can help him reclaim both.

Ava Whitman—A disgraced doctor who discovers she’s been aiding and abetting the enemy vows to redeem herself, and she’s going to start with a damaged, sexy undercover ops agent who will give his life for her…if he doesn’t kill her first.

Simon Skinner—This agent starts a chain of events that will destroy him and put those he loves in danger.

Dr. Charles Arnoff—A mad scientist who will do anything to test his wild theories, even if it means creating a cadre of agents bent on destruction.

Cody Whitman—Ava’s flaky brother has gotten her in deep trouble before, but this time he just might end up saving his sister—and the world.

Adrian Bessler—An agent on the run, will he join forces with Max and Ava, or is he still working with the enemy?

Caliban—The mysterious leader of Tempest—the black ops organization that’s trying to throw world affairs into chaos—wants to rule the world and satisfy his vendetta against Jack Coburn and Prospero in the process.

To Marilyn, for all that you do.

Chapter One

The shell casings from the bullets pinged off the metal file cabinets. One landed inches from her nose and rolled one way and then the other, its gold plating winking at her under the fluorescent lights. The acrid smell of gunpowder tickled her nostrils. She smashed her nose against the linoleum to halt the sneeze threatening to explode and give away her position.

Someone grunted. Someone screamed. Again.

Ava held her breath as the rubber sole of a black shoe squeaked past her face. She followed its path until her gaze collided with Dr. Arnoff’s.

From beneath the desk across from her, he put his finger to his lips. His thick glasses, one lens crushed, lay just out of his reach between the two desks. With his other finger, he pointed past her toward the lab.

Afraid to move even a centimeter, Ava blinked her eyes to indicate her understanding. If they could make their way to the lab behind the bulletproof glass and industrial-strength locks they might have a chance to survive this lunacy.

The shooter moved past the desks, firing another round from his automatic weapon. Glass shattered—not the bulletproof kind. A loud bump, followed by a crack and the door to the clinic, her domain, crashed open.

Greg bellowed, “No, no, no!”

Another round of fire and Greg’s life ended in a thump and a gurgle.

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