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by Shira Anthony, Venona Keyes
Category: Gay Fiction/Romance
Description: Eight years ago, Jake Anders was a college kid from the wrong side of the tracks. Then Trace Michelson recruited him into The Trust, a CIA-backed agency whose "executives" eliminate rogue biotechnology operations. Trace was everything Jake ever wanted in a man: powerful, brilliant, and gorgeous. But Jake never admitted his attraction to his mentor, and Trace always kept Jake at arm's length.
Now Trace is dead and Jake is one of The Trust's best operatives, highly skilled and loyal to the organization. But the secret agent has his own secret: six years ago, before he was assassinated, Trace designed a Sim chip containing his memories and experiences--and now that chip is part of Jake. It's just data, designed to augment Jake's knowledge, but when Sim becomes reality, Jake wonders if Trace is still alive or if Jake really is going crazy like everyone claims. He doesn't know if he can trust himself, let alone anyone else.
To learn the truth about Trace and the chip, Jake embarks on a dangerous mission--except he's not the only one looking for the information. Some of the answers are locked in his head, and unless he finds the key, he'll be killed for the technology that's become a part of him.
Now, more than ever, Jake wishes Trace were here to guide him. Too bad he's dead... right?
eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, 2012 2012
eBookwise Release Date: August 2012
7 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [293 KB]
Reading time: 177-248 min.
The Hitman is Hit
* * * *
I'm falling down a spiral, destination unknown,
I can't get no connection, can't get through, where are you...
--"Twilight Zone" by Golden Earring
* * * *
Shit. Shit, shit, shit!
Blood gushed from his leg, and for just an instant, he watched it with growing anger. Watched it, that was, until the adrenaline kick-started his brain and he realized he would die if he kept bleeding like this.
Gotta stop the bleeding, he thought with desperation.
He dragged himself to the women's bathroom, pushed hard on the door, and stumbled in. Between the sound of the door slamming against the wall and the sight of all the blood, the startled women inside screamed and ran out.
Blood coated everything he touched. He leaned against a stall door, and it swung open under his weight. One hand applying pressure to the gunshot wound, he elbowed the toilet-paper holder. He fell to the floor and the roll sprang free. He placed the cheap one-ply paper over the wound and pressed down hard--it only took a minute before the roll was a deep crimson.
He tapped the microphone on his chest and shouted, "Agent down! I need an extraction, now!"
"Who's down?" came the calm, even voice in his earpiece.
"I am. Sandoval fucking ambushed me. Caught me in the leg. Hit an artery."
"Anders, where are you?"
"I--" He broke off, looking up to see a slender man leaning casually against the stall door, grinning at him. The Silver Fox, Jason Sandoval. Sandoval wasn't Jake's target, but it seemed as though Jake was his. Jake had always detested Sandoval. Now he knew why.
"So... there you are. Thanks for leaving me a trail of bloody breadcrumbs to follow."
"Agent Anders, where are you?" the voice in his ear persisted. He ignored it.
"Looks like ya got a bleeder there, Anders."
They had never been friends, but they had been colleagues. Now, Jake wanted nothing more than to blow the smirk off the other man's face.
"I've had worse," Jake lied. If Sandoval wanted him dead, he'd probably only have to wait a few minutes for him to bleed out. But that wasn't Sandoval's style--he had never been a patient man, and Jake knew it.
"Not sure that's true, but I admire your bravado."
Again, the voice in his ear. "Agent Anders, who's there with you?"
"What do you want, Sandoval?" Jake asked. He'd pretty much always suspected Jason Sandoval was insane. Now he was sure of it.
Who the hell is he working for? Foreign government? Private concern?
They had come here as a team, their mission to intercept a scientist who was in town for a conference. But things had gone horribly wrong. It had been a setup, the entire scenario. Three of their own agents had turned their guns against him and his backup team. But why?
Fucking traitors. All of them.
"Well, I could watch you bleed to death. Or I suppose I could just end it for you now. Seems a shame, though. You really were a first-class ops guy, Jake. Now your life is fading away, and I get to witness it."
Jake slowly reached inside his pants.
"Now, now, Jake," drawled Sandoval, "no cheatin'. Take that hand out of your pocket."
"I'm trying to stem the bleeding at the pressure point."