If sin had a proper name, it would be Jason Banks. He was what Samantha Winslow’s mother would call sex-on-a-stick, and as much as she hated to admit it, Sam wouldn’t mind taking a bite out of him.
In more ways than one.
But then she wasn’t the only woman who felt like that. He was what her mother often referred to as a man-slut. Ever on the make, he went through women faster than Sam went through panty-hose. And when given the fact the she seldom put a pair on without running them, that said it all.
He had that boyish kind of charm that could get him out of most any fix with anything female. Incredible good looks that didn’t belong on a mere mortal man, and enough intelligence to get him into all manner of trouble.
And at the moment, he was in the kind of trouble that none of the above could bail him out of. The kind of trouble that was always fatal.
Sighing, Sam stared at the picture of him in her hand that had been taken by their surveillance team last week as he left his flat in London for a rendezvous with a group of known European terrorists.
He wore a pair of dark designer sunglasses that hid his devilishly green, taunting eyes. His dark brown hair was tousled around his head, but then he always wore it a bit shaggy. She was one of the few people who knew that he paid a small fortune for that supposedly lackadaisical cut that fell perfectly around his sculpted face.
The black leather jacket and turtleneck he wore only added to the air of dangerousness that enveloped him. A dangerousness that was belied by his charming smile.
He was gorgeous. No doubt about it. What a waste that something so hot was about to be extinguished.
She jumped as her cell phone rang from the black leather car seat beside her.
Picking it up, Samantha flipped it open and answered it.
“Have you seen him yet?”
She let out a small growl at the sound of Retter’s dispassionate voice as she scanned the empty dark street where she was parked. “I’m waiting for him to show now.”
“C’mon, Sam. Don’t get cold feet on me. If you can’t finish this, tell me now so I can do it for you. We have to make sure no matter what that our target is neutralized.”
“Don’t worry. I know what my mission is and I understand why I have to do it. The Road Runner is through this time. I told you I’d take care of it and I will.”
“Good.” The line went dead.
Samantha sighed as she tucked her phone into her pocket and glanced wistfully at Jason’s picture in her hand. He was about to become one seriously unhappy double-agent.
But she had a job to do and that was her top priority. Jason knew their code and he knew the rules.
So did she.
Return with your shield or upon it. If you betrayed the Bureau, the Bureau would exact full retribution.
After all, they weren’t called BAD without reason. Originally, the acronym had stood solely for Bureau of American Defense, but since their inception, they had taken BAD to heart and it had become a way of life for all of them.
You screwed BAD and BAD screwed you. The entire lot of them were renegades who lived solely for their missions. This wasn’t a job to them, it was a way of life and a code of honor they held dearly.
And Jason had betrayed them.
Now it was time to make him pay.
After laying the picture aside, Samantha screwed the silencer onto her weapon and held it in her lap while she waited for Jason to enter the street. She was outside his favorite club in Berlin. It was a known terrorist hangout where all sorts of riffraff from all over the world liked to gather and sell their secrets.
It was here that Jason had given over the name to one of their BAD operatives: Hunter Wesley Thornton-Payne. A name that truly suited the self-centered, proselytizing prick. But prick or not, Hunter was one of them.
That had been the week before Jason had blown Hunter’s car into pieces to show the terrorists that he was on their side.
It had been a stupid thing to do.
The door to the club opened.
Samantha froze as she saw Jason coming out. She curled her lip at the sight of him draped around two of the sleaziest looking women she’d ever seen and when given the fact she’d been raised among strippers that said a lot.
She studied his lips as he talked to them so that she could understand what was going on.
“So we’re going back to your place, huh?” he asked the artificial redhead on his right in German. “Are you sure your Daddy won’t come home and disturb us?”
“Oh no, he’s gone until Monday.”
Jason smiled wickedly.
Just keep smiling, asshole. Samantha aimed the infrared at his chest.
Jason froze as he saw the red dot suddenly appear on his black sweater, then quickly shoved the women away from him. He reached for his weapon that was concealed at the small of his back.
Samantha squeezed off two rounds before he could even draw it and watched as they hit him dead in his heart. She was, after all, the best shot in her class. It was why Joe had recruited her from the FBI to work for BAD.
That and the fact that she was a workaholic who didn’t let anything like ethics, laws or morals stand in the way of doing her job.
Jason staggered back as a dark red stain spread over his chest. His eyes large, he fell to the sidewalk. The women with him screamed and ran back toward the club.
Samantha whipped her car around and sped toward him. Parking it next to where he’d fallen, she hopped out and opened the passenger door.
She moved to stand over Jason.
“Sam?” he gasped in disbelief as he struggled to breathe.
She grabbed him by his sweater and hauled him to his feet. “Get in the car, Jason. Now!”
They were running out of time.
He staggered a few steps before she shoved him roughly into the seat, slammed the door shut, then ran to get in as a group of bouncers came running from the club.
Gunning the engine, she whipped her rented car through a back alleyway, far away from the scene. Sirens rent the air. Hopefully no one had caught a good look at her or her car before they notified the authorities.
If they had, she was screwed.
Jason lay in the seat beside her, panting in pain.
“Keep breathing, you lousy bastard,” she said to him. “I want you to suffer before you die.”
Jason was trying to make sense of words that seemed to come to him out of a hazy fog. He felt so strange. So weird. He’d been shot before, but it hadn’t felt like this.
His body didn’t respond to anything and his breathing seemed to have a ten second delay.
All he could focus on was Sam’s angry face. Of course she would be angry. She didn’t know the truth and he couldn’t afford to let her learn it.
“Shut-up, asshole. I don’t want to hear anything from you right now.”
He licked his lips that were suddenly chapped from dryness. Streetlights streaked across Sam’s angry face as she whipped them through the Berlin streets.
There was an air of calmness to her that belied the anger in her tone and the tight grip she had on the steering wheel. She wasn’t classically beautiful, but there had always been something about her that had appealed to him.
But not at the moment. At the moment, he wanted to kill her for this.
“Where are we going, Sam?” he tried again.
She cast a glare at him that was bone chilling. “Just shut-up and die.”
Jason closed his eyes as a wave of nausea consumed him. Fine. They were enemies then, it was her choice not his.
Unable to fight the darkness that wanted to drag him under, he surrendered himself to it and let it take him.