USA Today Bestselling Author
Fed up with always feeling one step behind, Quinn is determined to find out who is trying to annihilate all of Bullard’s team. Only the trail takes him to Izzie, Bullard’s niece. The team knows the saboteur was someone close to Bullard, and Izzie had had a hell of a fight with Bullard the last time they spoke. But how involved was she in this plane crash? He didn’t want to think badly of her, but, at this point in time, he was looking at everyone with suspicion.
Izzie is also suspicious of everyone. She’s been to hell and back, all because she was stubborn and angry at Bullard, but she’d never do anything to hurt him. Not knowing anything about the last few months’ trials, she’s horrified to find out why Quinn sought her out. Then he’s horrified when he finds out what happened to her. Working on healing her own soul, she’s desperate to help Quinn find out who attacked the team and potentially killed her uncle.
If she can do anything to help, she will, particularly if it gives her a chance to make amends to the one man who’s always been there for her.
When Quinn and Ryland set out all they have is an address, the address belongs to Bullard’s niece Izzie. Not that they think she had anything to do with Bullard’s disappearance but they need to find her. A neighbor tells them more than they expected and with them furious at what they see in the apartment, they need to see Izzie and soon.
Fortunately Kano has a phone number and they arranged to meet with her. As she explains what happened a year ago they realize they need to speak with the ex-boyfriend. It will give Izzie closure as well.
That whole thing doesn’t end well for Dracon, and Quinn stays with Izzie at her actual apartment. Their conversations don’t really show any romance but there could be some attraction growing. Of course all of that was too easy and the next morning brings a surprise package.
This is a favorite scene.
Quinn looked at Izzie and frowned. “Are you expecting anyone?” She shook her head. She got up, walked to the front door, and, before she got there, she called out, “Who is it?”
“I’m not expecting anything,” she said. But he read off her name and address, and so, with Quinn at her side, she opened the door to see a delivery person with a box. She quickly signed for it, accepted it, and brought it in. She looked at it and said, “There’s no return address.”
“And no company name or logo on it either,” he said. “Are you sure you’re not expecting anything?”
“No, I’m not, so I still don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this.”
“Well, let’s open it,” he said.
“Is it safe?” she asked, with a dry humor.
“Maybe not,” he said, “but we do need to find out.”
She frowned at that. “I was joking.”
“I wasn’t.” He took a picture of it and sent it to the guys. And then sent a text. I’m opening it. He walked to the kitchen, grabbed a knife, and slit the tape. As he moved the box a little farther back on the table, he opened the flaps and then looked at her. “It’s wrapped up.”
“Well, something’s wrapped up,” she said, “but I don’t know what.”
He nodded. “Let’s find out.” He quickly pulled out the fairly small item, and he undid all the Bubble Wrap all around it. When they got down to the end, there was a tab on the side. As the last piece of Bubble Wrap came off, the tab pulled. Instantly smoke filled the room. He swore, grabbed her hand, and bolted for the door.
“What is it? What is it?” Then she started to cough.
“Smoke bomb!” he cried out. At the door, they burst into the hallway, and he could barely see the four gunmen as two reached out for her. He immediately cleared his head and struggled against the two men holding him. He kicked one down hard and turned to fight the second one. Even as he did so, he saw Izzie being dragged down the hallway. He swore and fought harder, until a heavy blow took him on the temple. He barely heard the conversation around him, as he struggled to remain conscious.
“What do you want me to do with him?”
“Bring him,” a thick voice said. “He might behave better if they are together.”
Grateful that they were at least taking them both, that meant that Quinn wouldn’t have to hunt her down. He was dragged behind her, as she screamed and cried out, “What do you want?”
Just as they went past another apartment, one of the gunmen grabbed her by the neck and said, “Shut your face. If you bring anybody else out in the hall, I’ll kill your friend.”
Immediately she shut up. Quinn appreciated her control, but, at the same time, they needed to attract attention, so that somebody would do something. He couldn’t reach his phone right now, and he knew that, within seconds, they would get stripped of all their electronics too— something else that he didn’t want to happen. In the elevator, they dropped him onto the floor, and he stayed there. “What did you do to him?” she cried out.
“Nothing,” he said. “At least nothing he didn’t have coming.”
“What do you want with me?” she asked.
“Nobody said we wanted anything to do with you.”
At that, she froze and stared at him. “Then why?”
“It has more to do with him than you,” he said. “He’s part of a team we’ll annihilate.”
“Ah,” she said, “so you are one of the guys still waiting for Bullard to show up.”
“What do you know about Bullard?” One of the men turned on her.
“I don’t know anything,” she said. “As far as I know, the team is still looking for him.”
He said, “I hope they don’t find him. But we have to wait and see.”
“So you’re taking out the team anyway? Is that what you guys do?” she asked.
“Maybe,” he said. “Not your problem now. Shut the hell up.”
She glared at him. “And if I don’t?”
“I have got more than enough bullets to take care of the both of you,” he said. “And, if you push me, I’ll just pop you right now.”
She fell silent.
With Quinn’s wits about him and still pretending to be unconscious, the elevator door opened. No security was assigned to cover the parking garage, but, as long as he could get his feet under him and pick his timing, he could easily take out these two guys assigned to him.
He waited until they dragged him through the garage to where they were parked. The other two men grabbed Izzie and pulled her to the other side of the vehicle. Instantly Quinn bolted to his feet, snatched the nearest gunman’s hand and fired, incapacitating the other gunman beside him. He immediately kicked his other gunman in the groin, punched him in the face, downing him, snatched up his handgun too and used it to drop one of the other men on Izzie.
But, as Quinn stood here, aiming a shot at the last gunman standing, that man held his weapon against Izzie’s head. “I’ll shoot her,” he said calmly.
“You’ve just sealed your own death right now, and no way they’ll let you live from this.”
“They weren’t letting me live anyway,” he snapped, glaring at him. “What the hell do you want with Izzie?”
“Just a little cooperation.”
“You killed her ex, threw Dracon out a window,” he snapped, “so what do you want with her? And don’t give me any more of your lies.”
“Oh, you figured that was me on the phone, did you?”
“I recognized your voice,” he said. “And you’re not that good to be upper tier.”
The guy’s face twisted in fury. “Sure I am,” he said. “Should have just killed you at the apartment.”
“You should have,” Quinn said. “Anytime you got an opportunity, it is always much better to do that. But you’ve got this big grandstanding thing going on, don’t you?”
“No,” he said, “we have a body count, and now we don’t get paid unless the first body shows up.”
Quinn took a minute to process that. “Ah, so unless you actually show up with the bodies, they won’t pay you? Got it,” he said. “Well, that’s smart, especially after you failed to get Bullard.”
“Bullard’s dead,” he snapped.
“You mean, you want Bullard to be dead, but that doesn’t mean he is.”
“He’s dead. No way anybody could have survived that.”
“Except you already know that two of us did. Another reason for the body count.”
“Besides, I think at this point, our boss wants to kill you himself.”
“And I’m all for it,” Quinn said. “I’d much rather see who’s behind all this instead of dealing with minions.”
“We’re not minions,” he said. “We’re trained assassins.”
“Says you. You’re still just newbies, part of that subversive company under Kingdom Securities.”
“Maybe,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean you know who the boss is. Matter of fact, you’ve been chasing your own tails all week. You have no clue.”
“Maybe not,” he said, “but that doesn’t mean that I’m not figuring it out right now.”
“You haven’t figured it out,” he said, and one of the men groaned at his feet.
“You didn’t even kill him,” the gunman said. “That’s what kind of a loser you are.”
“Right, leave nobody alive. I forgot that was your motto.”
“It is,” he said. “You know that.”
“And yet you’re taking us all in.”
“I want to get paid,” he said. “Of course you do. Too bad you won’t get paid for this one though.”
“Well, I will,” he said. “You haven’t won anything. I’ll just pop her, take her out of the equation, and then I can shoot you.”
“You won’t make even one shot,” he said. “I’ll kill you first.”
“You’re not that fast.”
Quinn looked at him, gave him a taunting little smile, and said, “Yes, I am.”
Dale Mayer. Quinn’s Quest (Kindle Locations 1041-1109). Valley Publishing.
Needless to say Wagner gets called again, and isn’t happy. Izzie has a few words for him as well about the cops and the lack of attention the report she filed against Dracon got and they way she was treated as though it was all made up.
The guys are trying to get her to the compound where it would be easier to keep her safe but she just can’t do it.
There is just so much going on, and there’s plenty of action as Quinn and Izzie get closer and the attraction becomes more obvious.
I really can’t wait for the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.