Connect the Dots
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by Denise Robbins
Description: When a CIA Operator tries to connect the dots she winds up at the center of an international crisis? CIA Human Intelligence Operator, Charley Duston, gets the shock of her life when she opens her freezer to find the picture of her murdered ex-lover. Worse is the implied message: She is next. Not one to give in to intimidation tactics, Charley is determined to uncover the truth behind her ex's death and bring the culprits to justice. Not knowing whom she can trust, she moves to an undisclosed location where she can covertly investigate the death threats. Here she meets her new neighbor Jake Frisbie at gunpoint when she mistakes him for a carjacker. Attracted to the handsome, easy-going hunk, Charley knows her relationship with Jake would only put him in danger. She tries to fight off her feelings but finally gives in just before her world crashes and she is kidnapped. The beautiful, new neighbor entrances Jake but he can make no sense of her secretive nocturnal disappearances. As a Special Agent, he investigates her and is shocked to learn she is at the center of an international crisis. Despite common sense, he becomes involved with the young woman and when she disappears, he vows to find her. Risking his life, Jake ventures into the world of black sites and international intrigue to save the woman he loves and expose the responsible criminals, no matter how high up in the government they sit.
eBook Publisher: L&L Dreamspell/L&L Dreamspell, 2009 Spring Texas
eBookwise Release Date: December 2009
5 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [351 KB]
Reading time: 215-301 min.
Tiny hairs danced on the back of Charley's neck. Heart thrumming the 'La Bamba' inside her chest, she retrieved her Sig-Sauer from her case and set the bag noiselessly on the floor. Easing the door open wider with the toe of her shoe, she aimed the loaded 9-millimeter to the left then swept right covering the rest of the living and dining room. Nothing.
Holding her breath, Charley listened for any sign of an intruder. She didn't hear anything. Exhaling, she inched her way to the hall and peered around the corner. Nothing.
She slipped off her shoes not wanting her heels to clack against the wood floor and alert whoever might be in her condo then headed toward the back of the house. Her first stop was the kitchen. It was empty. After checking the hall bath and the spare bedroom, Charley moved toward her room.
Outside the door, she stopped in her tracks. It was shut. She never shut the door. Growing up, all doors were left open all the time, including the bathroom. Her father had taught her that leaving the doors open would be an easily recognizable sign of disturbance. Thieves and worse did not usually pay close attention to such things. She never shut doors. But this one was closed.
Something niggled at her senses. A shiver ran up her spine as if someone had walked across her grave. Gnawing at her lower lip, Charley reached for the handle and turned the knob. Gun held at eye level, she pushed open the door and glanced around the room, sweeping it from left to right.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary or out of place, but something was off. She knew it. The light brown string she always placed on the top of the front door between the frames when she left was now on the floor. Someone had definitely been inside her home. Who? Why?
Shaking her head, she had no answer. As she turned to go back out to the living room and gather her belongings, Charley noticed it.
Maybe she had jostled the box from its position when she had gotten clothes from the dresser before she left for her trip. That was possible. Wasn't it? Yeah. That had to be it. Not entirely convinced, Charley reached for the box and the lid. Careful to touch only the corners, so as not to disturb or smudge any fingerprints, she opened it.
Once the lid was up, she examined the red velvet interior. Everything appeared to be fine. The pearls handed down from her great-grandmother were there, as well as the diamond earrings her parents had given her for her high school graduation. Safely tucked away, lay the white gold watch that belonged to her father.
Her mind at ease, Charley checked the time and noted she had less than an hour before she had to meet Kyle. She headed for her bag and that long-awaited shower.
Standing under the hot spray, lightning struck, not literally. She shoved the curtain aside, stepped out of the shower, bumping her shin on the way out.
"Ow." She reached out, grabbed the towel that hung on the back of the door and dripped her way into the bedroom, wrapping the terry cloth around her.
Once again, she opened the cherry wood box. This time, she slid back the secret panel and at the sight of its emptiness, gasped.
"No!" It wasn't there. Frantic, Charley took the box to the bed and with shaky fingers dumped its contents. She shoved everything aside and could not find it. Her father's Purple Heart was gone.
She sat on the edge of the bed, raked fingers through her wet hair and thought. When was the last time she had seen her father's medal? She couldn't remember. Could she have misplaced it? Charley shook her head and the wet, blonde mess fell in front of her face. No way. She did not misplace one of her last remembrances of her dad.
"What else?" What else had they touched, stolen, left behind?
Charley pushed her hair back out of her face and got to her feet. With absolute certainty that someone had invaded her space, she tugged on a pair of linen trousers and a cotton top then began a methodical search of the house, starting in the bedroom.
She checked and re-checked the under sides of the bed and dressers, even dumped drawers. What a mess. It was when she moved the lamp from the nightstand that she noticed it. Charley bit her lip from screaming out. A bug! Under the base of the bedside lamp, someone planted a tiny recording device. She did not touch it. Instead, she left it and went to the other bedside lamp. Nothing there.
Fury bubbled through her veins as she went from room to room tipping lamps over in search of more bugs. Whoever listened on the other end of the insect probably heard her movement, but then again, they probably wanted her to find the bugs, otherwise, why be so blatant. Nowadays, there were micro listening devices that would blend in with the environment.
It did not matter. She still searched. In every gosh-darn room, she found a little critter. In the spare bedroom, slash office, it was under the light that sat on her desk. In the bathroom, the varmint was placed on the bottom of the candle that sat on the back of her toilet. Disgusting! Her fingers curled into the palm of her hand, her nails biting into the skin. Someone listened to her using the potty. Oh, my gosh!
Charley ran for the living room. Panting, not from the short sprint but from fear, she lifted the handset, twisted off the end cap. Sure enough, someone planted another bug inside the belly of her phone. She clamped her eyes shut. Who? Why? And what was she to do about it?
Wringing her hands, she contemplated calling in a technical services team. A technical services team specialized in exterminations of all kinds. They could bring in a device and sweep her place. Of course, whoever had planted the little gadgets already knew she was on to them.