The Admiral's Bride [Tall, Dark, and Dangerous Series Book 7] [Secure]
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by Suzanne Brockmann
Description: His mission was to pretend that Zoe Lange, beautiful young scientist--nearly half his age!--was his new bride. Former Navy SEAL Jake Robinson was sure that his romantic years were behind him, but for God and for country, he would look into Zoe's beautiful dark eyes, kiss her senseless, hold her as if he would never let her go... and then, when the job was done, do just that. The only problem was, with each hour in Zoe's company, the stakes were becoming higher. The game more real. And the dangers within their "honeymoon" chamber more and more apparent...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Silhouette Romantic Suspense, 2007
eBookwise Release Date: September 2007
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Available eBook Formats [Secure - What's this?]: OEBFF Format (IMP) [399 KB]
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Washington, D.C., today
Dr. Zoe Lange gazed out the window of the limo as the driver pulled up to the Pentagon.
She was way underdressed.
Her boss, Patrick Sullivan, had told her only that she was a candidate for an important and potentially long-term assignment. Zoe had figured that appropriate dress for such a meeting meant comfortable—blue jeans, running shoes, a T-shirt with a little blue flower print, and hardly any makeup. She was who she was, after all. If she were going to join a long-term mission, everyone might as well know exactly what to expect right from the start.
She didn't dress up unless she had to.
Unless she were going someplace like, oh, say, the Pentagon.
If she'd known she was coming to the Pentagon, she would have put on her skintight black cat suit, her three-inch heels, dark red lipstick and worn her long blond hair in some kind of fancy French braid, rather than this high-school cheerleader ponytail she was wearing. Because men in the military tended to think female agents who looked like Emma Peel or one of James Bond's babes could hold their own when the going got tough. But little blue flowers, nuh-uh. Little blue flowers meant they'd have to hand her hankies to mop her frightened tears. Never mind the fact that little blue flowers didn't compromise her ability to run hard and fast, the way three-inch heels did.
Well, okay. She was here now. The little blue flowers were going to have to do.
She put on her sunglasses and picked up her oversize handbag that doubled as a briefcase and let herself be escorted by the guards into the building, through all the security checkpoints and into a waiting elevator.
Down. They headed down, further even than the B that marked the basement floor. Even though no more letters or numbers flashed on the display over the door, they kept sinking. What could possibly be this far down besides hell?
Zoe smiled tightly at the idea of being summoned for a meeting with the devil himself. In her line of business, it was entirely possible. She just hadn't expected to meet him here in D.C.
Finally the elevator stopped and the doors opened with a subdued chime.
The hallway was a clean off-white and very bright, not the dimly lit, smoky magentas and red-oranges of hell. The guards waiting for her outside didn't carry pitchforks. Instead they wore naval uniforms. Navy, huh? Hmm, wasn't that interesting?
U.S. Navy Lieutenant Clones One and Two led her down that nondescript corridor, through countless doors that opened and closed automatically. Maxwell Smart would've been right at home.
"Where are we heading, boys?" Zoe asked. "To the Cone of Silence?"
One of the lieutenants looked back at her blankly, either too young or too serious to have seen all those late night Get Smart reruns she'd watched as a kid.
But as they stopped at an unmarked doorway, Zoe realized her joking question had been right on the mark. The door was ridiculously thick, reinforced with steel, layered with everything else—lead included, no doubt—that would render the room within completely spy-proof. No infrared satellites could look through these walls and see who was inside. No high-powered microphones could listen in. Nothing that was said inside could be recorded or overheard.
It was, indeed, the equivalent of Maxwell Smart's Cone of Silence.
The outer door—and it was only the first of three she passed through—closed with a thunk, followed by the second. The third door was like a hatch on a ship—she had to step over a rim to get inside. It, too, was sealed tightly behind her.
Apparently, she was the last to arrive.
The inner chamber was not a big room. It was barely sixteen by thirteen, and it was filled with men. Big men, wearing gleaming white naval dress uniforms. The glare was intense. Zoe resisted the urge to pull her sunglasses down from where she'd pushed them atop her head as they all turned to look at her, as they all rose to their feet in a unison display of chivalry.
She looked at them, scanning their faces, looking for someone, anyone familiar. The best she could do was count heads—fourteen—and sort through the various ranks on their uniforms.
"Please," she said, with her best professional smile. "Gentlemen. No need to stand on my account."
There were two enlisted men, four lieutenants, one senior chief, two commanders, a captain, a rear admiral lower grade and three—count 'em, three—full-grade admirals, complete with scrambled eggs on the hats that were on the table in front of them.
Seven of the men were active-duty SEALs. Two of the admirals wore budweisers, as well—the SEAL pin with an anchor and an eagle in flight gripping Poseidon's pitchfork in one talon and a stylized gun in the other—which meant they'd been SEALs at one time during their long military careers.
One of the SEALs—a blond lieutenant with an even, white-toothed smile and a much too handsome face, who looked as if he might've come straight from the set of Baywatch—pulled out a chair for her. Nodding her thanks, she sat next to him.
"Name's Luke O'Donlon," he whispered, holding out his hand.
She shook it quickly, absently, smiling briefly at both O'Donlon and the SEAL on her other side, an enormous African-American man with a shaved head, a diamond stud in his left ear, and a wide gold wedding band on his ring finger. As she set her bag down in front of her, her attention was held by the men on the other side of the big table.
Copyright © 1999 by Suzanne Brockmann.