Where there’s SMOKE, there’s fire…
And my lover.
At least that’s what she thinks.
After all, she’s been through,
I’ll keep up the charade.
It’s the least I can do
For the beautiful, feisty, smart woman
Who stole my heart.
After the truth comes out,
She leaves without a trace.
But when she’s in danger,
I’ll move mountains to get her back.
He played me.
He broke me.
I refuse to stick around
And be his fool.
He may be strong, rugged, and perfect,
But this SIREN waits for no man’s call.
He may have lit my fire,
But no amount of SMOKE can rekindle this smolder.
Siobhan ‘Siren’ Gallagher was injured during Konstantine’s hospital escape. She now has amnesia but remembers an interlude she had with Smoke on an Island. She thinks they are in love when in actuality they are anything but. Her condition is such that they can’t let the IMI (Irish Military Intelligence) know. She would lose her job even before they know if she will be capable again. Smoke takes a while to decide what to do, but he knows he has to take care of Siren.
To do that he brings her to his ranch, high in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, it’s a beautiful working ranch where he will eventually retire. It’s also close to Ashville where they will be consulting with experts to determine if Siren’s amnesia will be permanent. Fortunately after all the tests and scans are done they believe it’s temporary but it will take time. Smoke also realizes he will have to keep playing the contented lover at least until she remembers she hates him.
With problems of cattle rustlers Smoke has called Decker to set up security like they have on the King/Alexander ranch. When rustlers do the unthinkable, Decker is able to come out sooner to get him set up. It’s toward the end of this installation that Smoke and Decker have a conversation about Siren. One that she only hears part of and runs.
This is a favorite scene.
Zeke and I had spent the morning with Decker while he reviewed what was currently operational and what they still needed to complete.
“Any changes to the original quote?” I asked when he finished the review of the first phase.
“You got an answer for Rile?”
I shook my head.
“Then, it’s double.” We both laughed.
Zeke stood. “If you fellas don’t need me, I’ll get back to work.”
“We haven’t had much of a chance to talk about Siren,” said Deck, leaning against one of the desks after Zeke left.
“There hasn’t been a lot of change. She’s due to head back to Asheville this afternoon. I’m hoping she comes back with more answers.”
“If there’s anything the rest of the team or I can do, don’t hesitate to ask.”
I shook my head and looked down at the floor. “Be on standby to sweep up the broken pieces when Siren learns the truth.”
“Was it really that bad?”
“You saw us together. The other night, she told me that she had a dream and woke up feeling like we hated each other. She asked me about it.”
“What did you say?”
“I told her I never hated her.”
“Was that the truth?”
“At this point, I can’t say. There were times I sure as hell felt like I did. More times that I almost called Rile and told him that either he partner me with someone else, or I was walking off the mission. Something I had never considered doing at any other time in my career.”
“Damn. I didn’t realize it was that bad.”
“It was worse. There was no question she hated me just as much. More, in fact.”
“What I don’t get is why Siren thinks the two of you were an item.”
“Me either. I mean, there was one night when we were in the Seychelles. We had too much to drink, and one thing led to another.”
Decker’s eyes opened wide.
“The next morning, I told her that nothing like that could or would ever happen between us again. She was sure to inform me that she’d rather die first. That’s how it was between us.”
“Damn, Smoke, I’m real sorry.”
“Me too. I’ve wanted to tell her the truth since before we left London. I didn’t, and then when we got here, the psychiatrist told me not to. That her already fragile emotional state could get a lot worse.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Not much I can, except wait until her memory comes back and, when it does, try to keep her from cutting my balls off and feeding them to me. Then I’m sure she’ll go back to IMI and I’ll go back to freelancing, only this time, with the caveat that no one ever teams me up with Siren again.”
I heard something outside the office, but when I looked all I saw were the barn cats.
“It seems like you really care for her, Smoke.”
“It’s more than that, Deck. I think I love her.”
“Fuck, man. I don’t know what to say.”
“Me either. What I said earlier, about sweeping up broken pieces. I was referring to what’s left of me.”
Heather Slade. Smoked (Kindle Locations 1338-1365). The Invincibles Book Five.
Siren makes sure she can’t be traced when she heads back home. Even after she talks with her boss at IMI she remains on medical leave until she’s fit for duty. When boredom hits, he suggests she look for the Irish Crown Jewels. Even though it was really just busy work, she actually does the research and starts looking.
In the meantime Smoke hooks back up with the ‘Invincibles’ to take down the rest of the folks involved in the espionage responsible for the death of many agents. They’ve brought down the head of the CIA in the US, but there are others involved. They need the proof and the names.
Little did they know that these two very different investigations were going to cross paths. Siren also finds out more about her own family during her search.
From hot and heavy to cold as ice and back again, Smoke and Siren are made for each other. They just need to realize it themselves.
There is plenty of suspense and intrigue, Kindle melting heat and so many twists right up to the end. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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My books are filled with things that bring me joy: music, wine, skiing, families, artists, and cowboys. Not always in that order.
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.