Feel my pinch…
When a dead body is found in her apartment along with a message saying she’s next, London Times investigative reporter Esland Cartwright knows it’s no idle threat. After all, she’s about to expose a major scandal in England’s Premier Football League. Enlisting MI5 agent Axel “Pinch” Fulton for help and protection is the last thing she wants to do, but “when in a pinch,” she knows she needs the best—and he’s it.
Pinch is buried in work, and after Esland’s poking around threatened to ruin his last case, helping her isn’t his top priority. However, seeing the terror in her eyes, he can’t turn her away. When taking her into protective custody is his only option, he finds twenty-four/seven with her is more challenging—and tempting—than he thought possible.
With the conspiracy widening, danger is closing in. Can Pinch keep Esland safe when an entire football league wants her dead?
While each book in the Military Intelligence Section 6 Series is a standalone with its own HEA, they may be more enjoyable read in order.
Pinch and Darrow always had an on and off relationship. Now it’s truly over and they are both moving on. However the way Darrow is moving on is just a little bit different since at the moment no one knows where she is. Well that isn’t exactly true, some folks know, just not Esland.
Esland is Darrow’s best friend and she’s concerned about her, but she also has a problem. Darrow told her if she ever needed help she should go to Pinch. When she does, well lets say the first encounter doesn’t go well. The second one, gets his attention.
This is a favorite scene.
He shook his head. He didn’t tell her about Wilder’s offer, or that he preferred being farther away from London.
“You understand that your life was threatened, Esland?”
She nodded, looking out the window even though it was too dark to see anything.
“You’re not surprised.”
“I’m a journalist. Many of us are threatened or even killed for the injustices we expose.”
“This is personal. Whoever is issuing the threat knows you as Ezzie.”
She wouldn’t look at him, which was to be expected. Her hand went to her throat, indicating her subconscious was in protective-mode.
“There will be an investigation into the murder. MI5 will take over and can keep it out of the media. However, if there’s anything I need to know before we’re involved in an official capacity, this is your opportunity to tell me.”
“Are you going back to London tonight?”
“I’m not going anywhere.”
That surprised her enough that she turned toward him. “Tomorrow?” He shook his head. “You are, for all intents and purposes, under protective custody.”
“I’m in custody?”
“Listen to what I said, Esland. Under, not in. It means I’m keeping you safe.”
“There must be others who could do that.”
Right. There were presently three others on Kingham grounds who could very well do the job. However, until he was able to gain clarity on why his gut was insisting he be the one to protect her, he’d listen on instinct alone.
“You don’t even like me.”
True statement, although it was more the job she did and how it impacted his investigations that he didn’t like.
“Why did you say you were at the pub to see me earlier?” he asked. “Were you already aware of the dead man in your flat?”
“You’re not a child, Esland. I’ll ask again. Why were you at the pub to see me?”
“I wanted to talk to you about Darrow. And then you dumped me in the street. Nice move, by the way.”
“First, sarcasm has no place in our conversations. Second, you’re lying to me. Lastly, as I said before, I didn’t dump you anywhere.”
“Why did you do it?” she asked. “Am I really that horrible of a person, or that much of a nuisance?”
He honestly couldn’t tell her why he’d picked her up and carried her out of the pub. Even he had to admit it was a wanker’s move.
“I’m sorry I did that.”
“Are you refusing to answer my question?”
“To be honest with you, I don’t know why.” Axel saw a slight nod of understanding.
“Thank you for the apology.”
She did rub on his nerves, but was it her job or was it something else entirely? When Pique offered to take over Esland’s detail, his reaction had been inexplicable as well. Axel had immediately felt an overwhelming need to protect her, even from his colleague. When she asked if he was returning to London, a feeling settled in his chest like a heavy stone. The idea of entrusting her safety to anyone else was unacceptable to him. Why? He couldn’t explain it.
“Tell me about your parents.”
She sighed, taking a long time to answer. “I miss them so much.”
“I’m sure you do. What were they like?”
“I never doubted they loved me.”
“They were a unit unto themselves. I was the third to two who didn’t need one.”
Axel didn’t hear hurt in her voice, he heard acceptance.
“They were on their way home from visiting you when the accident happened.”
“Yes. I was at university.”
“Must’ve been rough. You said earlier that you have no other family.”
“Both my parents were only children. I don’t think they ever tried to have another child.”
So no aunts, uncles, or cousins, also like she’d said earlier.
“My mother was a reporter, albeit a very different one than I am.”
“She was more of a social reporter.”
“How would you describe yourself?”
“As I well know.”
When he saw a slight smile from her, he smiled too.
“I never told a soul about Wren’s true identity.”
“I told you earlier that I found out from Darrow.”
“Yes.” He shook his head. One would’ve thought Darrow, of all people, would’ve known better.
Esland stood. “Where am I sleeping?”
“I can sleep on a sofa somewhere. I don’t need to take the only bed.”
“Not up for discussion.”
“You’re very intransigent, aren’t you? Your way or no way?”
“Right. Only sometimes. I wonder if Darrow would agree?”
Axel watched Esland walk away, knowing her estimation was dead-on. Darrow would say that he consistently refused to compromise, that he wouldn’t apologize, or even try to see things her way. He could hear her voice in his head, saying all of those things. Not that she was any less stubborn than he was.
Heather Slade. Pinch (Kindle Locations 350-397). Military Intelligence Section 6 Book Three.
I have to say getting information out of Esland was much like pulling teeth for Pinch. It doesn’t help that he’s falling hard and fast for her. She on the other hand has loved him for a very long time and her friendship with Darrow is holding her back.
Plenty of suspense and intrigue as we find out why the body and threat turned up in Esland’s apartment. We finally find out where Darrow is, we see some folks from K19 as well, I love that by the way.
Not an easy relationship but one that makes so much sense. Lots of memories, with a few twists and turns that may surprise you.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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I’m an Amazon best-selling author, and a PAN member of Romance Writers of America. I speak, teach, blog, am an executive sommelier, and all-around entrepreneur.
I grew up an east coast girl, and then spent half my life on the west coast. Now my husband, our two boys, and I happily call Colorado home.