Run, Hide(11)

By: Carol Ericson

She peeked out the window at the black night. The stars sparkled in the clear sky, but the sliver of moon cast only a stingy glow on the snow.

The stealth car cruised down the unplowed road, its back end fishtailing here and there when it hit a patch of ice it couldn’t handle.

A hulking shape loomed ahead, and Jenna shivered instinctively. It wasn’t exactly the Hotel del Coronado, where she and Cade had spent one glorious, sun-washed weekend.

The car jerked to a stop and Cade rocketed from the front seat, clutching his gun in one hand and a set of keys in the other.

He unlocked the front door of the warehouse and rolled it open as it squealed in protest. He slid back into the car and eased it through the gaping entrance. Then he made a U-turn and parked the car facing the doorway. Ready for blast-off.

Jenna scooted out of the car and hugged her new jacket around her body. “Why did you happen to have a key to an abandoned warehouse on the outskirts of Lovett Peak?”

“Don’t ask.”

“Oops, I forgot.” She hunched her shoulders. “It’s freezing in here.”

“I’ll get the heat going in the car, and I have a second blanket in the trunk along with some water and snacks.”

“Is being a spy sort of like being a Boy Scout? You’re always prepared?”

“Something like that.” A grin split his impossibly handsome face, a face she’d never been able to vanquish from her mind. “I’m glad to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor.”

“You think I’m joking?” She shook her head, but the truth had slapped her in the face like a snowball. She hadn’t felt this alive in three years. Even before Cade had been recruited for Prospero, his crooked smile and flashing dark eyes had spelled danger and she’d fallen hook, line and sinker.

Her wealthy parents had spoiled her, with stuff not attention, and she’d spent her childhood and teenage years acting out, trying to get them to react. They never did.

But she wasn’t a spoiled, flighty girl anymore. She had Gavin, and she couldn’t afford to live dangerously...or any more dangerously than she’d already been living.

Cade crouched by the open door and tucked the blanket around Gavin. “I can’t believe he slept through that.”

“He’s accustomed to upset and upheaval.” A second later she felt a stab of regret at her words and tone, as Cade’s face, full of wonder over his son, darkened and creased.

“It’s no way for a kid to live. He needs stability and Little League games and a best friend.”

“Are you going to tell me why we’re in danger now? More danger? You owe me that much, Cade.”

Cade squeezed his eyes closed and pinched the bridge of his nose, looking older than his twenty-nine years. “They think I have something, Jenna, but I don’t.”

She squeezed past him and sat on the backseat, her legs dangling out of the car. “Who are they, Cade?”

He shrugged as if the they didn’t matter. “An arms dealer named Nico Zendaris—the same man who put a target on my back after my first mission with Prospero. A band of engineers from nations hostile to the United States got together and developed something that’s very bad news for us. Zendaris laid claim to the plans for the weapon’s prototype and now those plans are missing. Zendaris thinks I have them.”

“What are the plans for?”

“I’ve told you too much already.”

She’d get that out of him later. “Why does this arms dealer think you have the plans?”

“Because I did have them.”

She pressed her hands against her bouncing knees. “What happened to them?”

“Someone stole them.”

“And he doesn’t believe you?”

“Not a chance.”

“He will when the person who stole them makes a move. The thief stole them for a reason—money, power, influence. He’s going to tip his hand soon.”

“But right now it’s better for that person to let everyone believe I still have those plans.”

“And now Zendaris knows about Gavin.”

“That’s right.”

“He’s leverage, isn’t he? I’m fairly dispensable, but if they get their hands on your son, they have you right where they want you.”

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