Treat level high. Abduction imminent. Remove target.
The text was clear. There was no time to waste.
I piled out of the van, the mercenaries I’d hired for the two-hour extraction here for a single goal.
Removing the target safely.
However, they were also prepared for the onslaught of enemy soldiers, their instructions clear.
Shoot to kill.
They were buddies, men I’d served with for years. They were well-trained snipers, and they were trustworthy, never asking a single question when I’d made the initial contact. While I usually worked alone, this was the single instance where assistance was needed. I couldn’t underestimate the enemy. Not for a second.
I motioned toward the leader, waiting for only a few seconds as they began to surround the nightclub. After checking my watch, I headed toward the back door. I’d already determined the best point of entry, the rear exit kept unlocked until after close of business. I moved inside, scanning the corridor. While my weapon was secured, the intent to remove the target without incident, I couldn’t rule out the possibility the Russians had already pinged her whereabouts.
The few people I passed backed away. I was a formidable presence and obviously not inside the club for entertainment purposes. As I moved into the main room, I made an immediate threat assessment.
The clock was ticking.
I shifted through the crowd, keeping my actions limited to ensure there was no trouble from the few bouncers who walked the floors. After a few seconds, I homed in on the mark, easing my hand to my weapon. However, I had to look twice, then a third time. She was wearing a wig. No wonder she’d managed to slide away from her security detail.
I’d studied her file for hours, learning everything I could about the young woman. I’d also been told she was difficult to handle, an attribute I considered dangerous. However, it seemed she had a second personality, a penchant for risking her life for nights out. What else didn’t I know about the woman?
As I headed in her direction, my hackles were instantly raised. She was already being watched. There was no time to lose. Once I was within two feet, I studied her face, shifting my gaze down the length of her body to confirm her identity. Every aspect of her physical features, facial expressions, likes and dislikes as well as the locations she frequented had been memorized.
What I wasn’t prepared for was my reaction to the sight of Isabella Adams, the gorgeous woman swaying her hips on the dancefloor very little like her photographs. While there was no doubt I was correct in my determination, the immediate temptation was a red flag and unexpected as hell. The fact I was instantly attracted to her could prove to be perilous.
This wasn’t my first rodeo in reconnaissance, but it was with a civilian. Most prisoners of war were immediately grateful for being rescued. I could instantly tell the pampered princess was going to cause me problems.
The clock continued to tick.
I reacted without another thought, my years of training eliminating my personal feelings. I closed the distance, taking her by the arm and leading her into the shadows. “This is a matter of national security, Ms. Adams. You’re required to come with me.”
“Hey, jerk. Take your hands off me!” Isabella yanked her arm free, her voice loud enough that a few people heard her exclaim, although not a single asshole stepped up to the plate to help her.
Except for the friend she’d arrived with.
“Izzy. Is everything okay?” The bottled blonde came within two feet, her expression guarded.
“She’s just fine, Jenny. I’m just trying to ask Izzy to dance. Perhaps I came on a little too strong.” The last thing I needed was for Jennifer Beaumont to make a scene at this point. While I’d already anticipated the best friend would contact the authorities after Isabella disappeared, with little to go on, the police would find themselves trying to locate a ghost. Granted, there couldn’t be a worse place for an extraction, but the text had been clear.
I’d run out of time.
I’d planned to remove her quickly and quietly from her apartment, working with her Secret Service agents to smooth the way. However, the bozos had lost her, not realizing that for the fifth time in only two months she’d managed to sneak out without their knowledge. The two men should be terminated but it wasn’t up to me.
Whether or not Isabella believed the crap I’d just offered was difficult to tell but she smiled, her eyes opening wide as she nodded to her friend. Suddenly, her entire demeanor had changed. “I’m fine, Jen. I can handle this dude.” She winked at her friend, her cavalier attitude surprising the hell out me. She’d been labeled conservative and often difficult but not reckless. Tonight, her behavior had crossed that line. Sneaking out of her apartment to visit a friend was one thing. This was just asking someone to make good on various threats and no disguise would hide her real identity. There were men and women trained to search for facial features, tattoos and moles, utilizing the latest equipment to guarantee their success.
The organization identified as the antagonist had the tools and means to locate anyone in the world within hours.
“Okay. If you say so.” Her friend, Jennifer Beaumont, daughter of a local senator, gave me another hard look, hesitating before walking away.
“Who do you think you are?” Isabella demanded as she tried to jerk her arm away.
“Ms. Adams. Time is of the essence,” I insisted, leaning in closer
“I don’t think I like your tone. You need to tell me who the hell you are, buddy, or so help me God I’m going to scream bloody murder.”
This would have been so much easier if she hadn’t ditched the Secret Service men assigned to her, but the stunning woman obviously had her methods down to a science. While she’d been cagey in her method of leaving her apartment through a second story window, changing clothes in Jennifer’s car on the way over, the woman hadn’t noticed I’d been following them the entire time, planning on taking her as soon as she left the club. Now this bullshit. I might as well launch into the spiel I’d been provided to say in case of a public situation.
“Isabella Adams. I’ve been ordered by the federal government to take you to a secure location for your safety. It is vital that you come with me.” As soon as I issued the words, I tossed them from my vocabulary forever. What crap.
While her eyes opened wide, she tried to pull away a second time. “Excuse me?” She tossed her long, dark hair, straightening up to her full height.
“This is a serious situation, ma’am. I have less than two minutes to get you out of here safely.” I was already losing my patience.
“I’m not going anywhere with you, at least until you dance with me,” she said with less conviction. “Even if you are one hunk of a hero. A girl’s ultimate fantasy.”
This was a new tactic. “Yes, I’m afraid you are going to follow my orders to the letter. We need to leave now.”
“And why should I?” She brushed her hand down my chest, moving dangerously close to my crotch. We were both shocked by the heavy jolt of current flowing from one to the other, her eyes opening wide.
I removed her hand, lowering my head.
“You need to listen to me carefully. Because it’s what your father requested. We have little time. Come with me quietly and I’ll get you to a safe location.” I flashed her the identification I’d been given, although the limited information provided little more than my operational name and rank, the tagline indicating the government agency was falsified for security purposes.
She barely glanced at the laminated card. “Over my dead body, Cobra. I don’t care if you are a venomous snake; I’m not leaving this club with you.” Without any hesitation, she attempted to bolt into the crowd, creating the kind of scene that would immediately get us noticed.
Hissing, I moved quickly, yanking her against me and heading for the rear exit. That’s when she turned into a hellcat, elbowing me in the chest, the blow hard enough she broke the hold. When she threw a hard punch to my jaw, several members of the crowd gasped. There was no doubt her antics had been noticed.
With the clock almost out of time, I moved swiftly, grabbing and tossing her over my shoulder, taking long strides toward the exit. The moment a bouncer stepped in front of me, I yanked my weapon into view, daring him to get in my way. This was the last thing I’d wanted to happen. My fucking skills needed honing. Two years of retirement and I’d lost the ability to make an extraction without causing unwanted attention.
Why had I been chosen for this mission? Maybe because the man in charge of the program figured I’d have a fighting chance to deal with the likes of Ms. Adams.
Isabella fought me as I slammed my hand against the door, managing to exit the facility without incident. As I headed for the van, I kept my gun positioned in my hand, sensing enemies were already in pursuit. As soon as I rounded the corner, a single shot was fired. I took off running, making it to the van in less than fifteen seconds. Every moment had been timed, but her interference might cost us.
As soon as I tried to place her in the back, she managed to throw another punch, scrambling to get out of my hold.
Goddamn it. The second she slipped out of my fingers, her wig falling to the side of the road, another shot was fired.
Then all hell seemed to break loose.
While she was faster than anticipated, her long legs pumping, within eight seconds I was able to retrieve her, but by then our method of extraction had been discovered.
The mercenaries I’d hired appeared, firing off several shots as assailants swept in from the shadows.
She screamed, forcing me to shove my hand across her mouth. There was no time to explain the situation, the only thing on my mind getting her behind the bulletproof metal of the vehicle. The second I shoved her inside, one of the soldiers I’d hired was gunned down, the bullets he’d taken likely saving her life.
The extraction had been well planned, the soldiers arriving in a second vehicle. Another member would stay behind, providing assistance for the fallen man. The others would remain by my side until we reached the designated drop-off point. Then they’d wait for their ride.
As other men jumped inside, I pushed her further into the van, forced to fire off several shots, killing at least three of the men heading in our direction. As the driver pressed down on the accelerator, I slammed the door, finally taking a deep breath.
The extraction had been unacceptable, messy and violent. That could become a serious problem. Unfortunately, I’d had no other choice, her usual evening activities differing on this single night.
“A little rough. Aren’t you?” she huffed, scampering to crawl further away.
“Sit the fuck down.” I grabbed her purse, yanking her phone into my hand.
“What the hell are you doing? That’s mine!” She tried to grab it from my fingers, but I smashed it on the floor of the van, using my boot to grind the components into fragments. The last thing I needed was for her to be tracked by the use of her phone.
“Protecting you,” I snarled.
“Whoa. Who the fuck are you?” Isabella demanded, but her voice was shaky. Even with her skimpy sequined dress, she seemed entirely different without her long raven wig. Soft curls slipped from pins holding her natural hair in place and she appeared much younger than before, even with garish makeup.
I secured my weapon before addressing her. “As I told you, I was sent to save your life. You need to cooperate with me.”
“Okay. Let me get this straight. You’re not from some agency? This isn’t my birthday present?”
“Meaning what?” Why did it matter?
She fisted her hand, moving closer. “Come on. Tell the truth. I like the whole deal, even the gunshots, but you did come across a little heavy. Still, a nice touch. My best friend always does something like this for my birthday.”
Had she been told about our unit? She wasn’t making any sense. “Ms. Adams. Those were real bullets and one of my men was injured or killed because you ran.”
“Okay. Then you need to let me leave. Now.” She glared at me then scanned the van as if prepared to attempt another escape.
“Listen up!” I grabbed her arm, dragging her closer, doing everything I could to remain calm around her. “I’m not some fantasy hired for your pleasure. I’m with an agency created to provide protection. When we’re called, that means the situation is threat level six. You do know what that means, don’t you, unicorn?”
Her eyes opened wide.
I’d hesitated to use the codename provided by the Secret Service, but at this point I had to get through to her.
“Hold on,” Ryker said from the front.
Mike swerved, the force pitching us back and forth, hard enough I lost my grip. She tumbled onto the metal floor, gasping for air. The popping noises continued for several seconds. Fuck. They’d sent an entire brigade to try to snatch her. This was more dangerous than I’d been led to believe.
“What the hell?” she half whispered when the danger had passed.
“Now do you understand this isn’t a game?”
“Then tell me who sent you. You know my codename.”
“That means you can trust me.”
“Not so fast. I need more information.”
I was more concerned with any additional activity than with her constant questions. “Lose them fast,” I told the man driving.
“Don’t worry, buddy.” Mike threw the van around a sharp corner. He knew every shortcut in the city, able to avoid a significant portion of the traffic jams. Even at this time of night, DC was crawling with activity. I had to get her to the safehouse quickly.
“Who the hell sent you?” Her restraint lasted for three seconds. Then she lost her cool. When she threw herself against me, doing everything she could to scratch out my eyes, I was forced to subdue her. As I wrapped my hand around both her wrists, she spit in my face, issuing several curse words. I yanked her into my lap, the limited light coming from the windshield barely highlighting her face. But there was no doubt about her level of fury.
“You’re not taking me anywhere,” she snapped.
“You need to calm down, Ms. Adams. You’re safe with me.”
“Safe? Are you fucking out of your mind? You just kidnapped me. I was so stupid thinking you were my date for the evening.” She continued wiggling, her buttocks sliding back and forth across my groin. The fact I was aroused wasn’t acceptable. My condition was also something she noticed, her eyes opening wide.
Date. Jesus Christ. No wonder she’d been escaping from the agents at least once a week. For all her brilliance, her childish behavior was going to get her killed.
Not on my watch.
“I’m handling you just like you need.”
“Oh, God. You’re going to…” She didn’t need to finish her sentence. She believed I was about to rape her or worse.
“Listen to me very carefully, Ms. Adams. There were some very bad men prepared to throw a bag over your head, removing you from your life. I assure you that what they had planned for your welfare wouldn’t be considered pleasurable.”
While she stopped moving for a few seconds, my statement only provided fuel for her anger. She struggled even harder, pitching herself against me, able to free one arm for the last time. If I had to tie her wrists, that’s what I’d do.
“Stop fighting me or I’ll be forced to discipline you.” As soon as I issued the words, the spark in her eyes became far too tantalizing. The attraction between us was caustic, explosive, and something I should avoid, but the man inside of me hungered more than usual. I did everything in my power to drive the desire away, but as my balls tightened, I was forced to realize being with her twenty-four hours a day would become a serious problem.
I took advantage of her momentary shock, speaking softly so the soldiers in the front had no chance of hearing me. “You are Isabella Adams, daughter of the vice president of the United States, the man who commissioned the group I’m working with to bring you to safety. You are a scientist with a government operation with no name, your discovery within the realm of nuclear fission potentially altering the use of nuclear warheads. If your early studies are correct, anyone who obtains and harbors this energy will be unstoppable. As such, there is a price on your head, several countries seeking your capture. Now do you understand the level of danger that you’re in?”
Isabella remained quiet, although her breathing was erratic. “Please let me go.”
After a few seconds, I did as she asked, watching as she crawled away by several feet. I studied her for a few seconds before pulling my specialized communications device into my hand. I should have known better than to take my eyes off her even for a few seconds.
She flung herself in my direction once again, shocking the hell out of me when she smashed my head into the side of the van. Then she proceeded to reach for the door, opening it by several inches before I fisted her hair, yanking her back, slamming the door with a hard thud.
“You shouldn’t have done that, Isabella. I don’t think you fully understand, but I’m going to assist you with that.” While my next actions weren’t textbook or allowed by any training methods, my patience had been ripped away. I was attempting to save her life and she refused to accept my assistance.
I tossed her over my lap, jerking up her slinky red dress and exposing the thin material of the G-string positioned in the crack of her ass. The instant I brought my hand down against her rounded bottom, my cock swelled to the point of pain. In the years I’d spent with the military, I’d never had this kind of instant reaction to a woman.
“Get off me!” she hissed, undulating back and forth, the friction driving me insane.
“You need to learn obedience.” I smacked her several additional times, the immediate heat building in my fingers making my mouth water.
“You will never take me.” She squirmed, doing everything in her power to get away. Then she threw back her arm, managing to punch me, almost managing to slide off my lap.
I could see I hadn’t done a good job of explaining the situation. After yanking her back in position, I pulled her arm against her back, wrapping my fingers around her wrist.
“I’m going to have you fired for this,” she exclaimed.
“Go right ahead but after I make certain you’re safe. And still alive.” I cracked my hand from one side to the other, my balls aching from the way her scent wafted into my nostrils.
As she wiggled, pitching her body back and forth, I noticed the insides of her thighs were wet. She was as aroused as I’d become. This wasn’t a good idea at all.
“Let me go!” she demanded but as she rocked against my cock, her breathing changed, becoming as ragged as mine. I closed my eyes briefly, forced to remind myself why I was here in the first place, a duty I couldn’t take lightly.
I continued the spanking, shifting from one side of her buttocks to the other. Every crack of my hand was harder than the one before and finally she stopped fighting me. When she moaned, the sound filtered into my system, creating a fire beneath the surface.
The scent of her perfume was now infused with desire and all I could think about was sliding my cock deep inside her pussy.
Get your head on straight, soldier. You have a job to do.
The damn voice of reason inside my head was right but it pissed me off. It didn’t help that she refused to stop moving or that she was one of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen. Damn it. I shook away my filthy thoughts, issuing six more in rapid succession. She needed to learn a lesson right now or she’d constantly place her life in danger.
“That hurts,” she muttered.
“Maybe that will be a solid reminder that you shouldn’t attack the single man who can keep you alive.”
“You deserved it,” she insisted. While her defiance remained, the tone of her voice was more alluring.
I took a few seconds, caressing her bottom, the heat from the spanking driving another wave of longing straight to my aching balls.
“Are you going to listen to me?” I asked, forcing to suck in my breath.
She shifted back and forth again and I slipped my fingers dangerously close to her glistening pussy lips. That was it. I had to end this. I fisted my hand, ready to end the round of discipline when she had to open her mouth again.
I smacked her six more times, each one harder than the one before, making certain she’d remember this for several hours.
“Yeah, I probably am.” When I felt she’d had enough, I pulled down her dress, easing her onto the bed of the van.
She immediately bent her knees, folding her arms around them, her glare just as hateful as the moment I’d laid eyes on her.
“When my father finds out about this, he will have you killed.”
It was obvious I was wasting my breath. Until I was able to get her into a temporary but secure location for the night, the full weight of the operation as well as the level of danger wouldn’t register. I sat back against the van, never taking my eyes off her.
What she needed to be told would be handled later. For now, all I needed to accomplish was keeping her out of trouble.
“Clean getaway,” Ryker told me from the passenger seat. He didn’t bother looking behind him. The fewer details he was privy to, the better. It was our way, the intense training we’d received aiding in our accomplishments. If you could call annihilation of hundreds of people something to brag about.
She eyed me like a hawk, her breathing labored. While she understood better than most the necessity for covert actions, it couldn’t take away the intense fear of the unknown. I thought about the dossier I’d been provided, memorizing every detail of her life since birth. She was an overachiever, her brilliant mind sought after by dozens of corporations and military personnel. Yet her behavior indicated she had no idea how much her brain was worth.
Handling her could prove to be difficult, if not impossible. The best method of dealing with her rebellious nature was providing as much of the truth as she could tolerate. Terror was inevitable. Hopefully, it would help keep her safe. That was my job, one I was required to perform at all costs.
Including losing my life.
For the next thirty minutes, the only sound was the rumble of the engine, and an occasional horn. It was best to remain quiet. Isabella finally lowered her head to her knees, still shaking but much calmer. It should be clear to her now from the fact I hadn’t put a bag over her head or a bullet in her brain that assassination wasn’t on my agenda.
When the van’s engine started to slow, I shifted toward the front, peering out the windshield. “Any situations?”
“None detected, sir,” Ryker said as he peered into the specialized communications unit both he and the driver had been provided. They would be left in the van prior to their exit, the top-secret equipment never allowed to get into enemy hands. The technology was far too important to allow out of my possession.
The driver peered into the rearview mirror for the first time, shifting his gaze toward me three seconds later. I’d known Mike for most of my life. He had no understanding of my current position, his loyalty to any cause I deemed necessary the reason he was here. As he made the final turn into the secluded area, pulling to a stop and sliding the gear into park, he gave his only statement since accepting the temporary position.
Safe wasn’t in either of our vocabularies, but it had been something every man on my team had said during our time spent in the military. We thought of it as our good luck motto.
The two men exited quickly, walking into the bank of trees without looking back.
“Get into the passenger seat,” I told her.
“Where are we going now? Disneyland?” she asked, not moving.
While we were safer than we’d been forty minutes before, the chance we’d been followed clandestinely was far too significant to waste a single minute. I grabbed her by the arm, yanking her onto the seat.
“Let go of me.”
I planted my hands on either side of her, lowering my head until our faces were inches apart. “You’re going to remain exactly where you are. Do not try and grab the wheel or do anything else I’d consider stupid. You will be able to open the door as there are no locks on your side. If you raise a hand to me, the punishment I’ll dole out will be far more significant than the one you received earlier. Am I clear?”
“Do you always treat the women you kidnap this way? What’s next, tying me to your bed, doing filthy things to me?”
Her spite was fascinating, something that didn’t match her perceived conservative persona. She’d also managed to get under my skin to the point my cock had yet to stop aching.
So I did the unthinkable.
I said exactly what was on my mind.
“Yes, Isabella. If you continue misbehaving, I’ll enjoy stripping away your neat and tidy clothes, exposing the voluptuous body you usually seem desperate to hide, tonight being the exception. Then I assure you that the joy I’ll get in taking everything I want from you will fuel the fire that burns deep inside the both of us. When I’m finished, you’ll beg me for more.”
I took several deep breaths as I allowed her to register what I’d said. There was more fire in her eyes than I’d ever seen in any woman before. I’d crossed a line, and would likely be terminated after my first assignment, but it was well worth it. Why?
Because before the mission ended, the lovely Isabella Adams would be writhing under my body. And yes, she would scream out my name.