Mouse over the cover to see the hero, Stewart Rio
Silhouette Intimate Moments (SIM) #1402
2007 RITA Award Nominee
2007 Romantic Times Award Nominee
FBI arch rivals…
They’d ace their dangerous job of deceptions,
But would they survive…each other?
Rookie Special Agent Sass Hawthorne has breaking and entering down to a fine art. There’s nothing she can’t—or won’t—steal for her beloved FBI. But Sass has a big secret, and iron bars around her heart. And she’s made damn sure no man will ever get past those.
Stewart Rio, legendary by-the-book Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s elite anti-theft squad, lives and breathes his job—which is to lock up every thief in the country and throw away the key.
Sparks fly when Sass and Rio are ordered on a top-secret undercover op together—forced to masquerade as husband and wife. Their mission: to retrieve a stolen nuclear trigger about to be auctioned off to terrorists.
There’s no doubt they’ll ace their mission. The question is, will they survive each other?
She went in through the window this time.
That was something they probably weren’t expecting, considering it was thirty stories up and technically wasn’t supposed to open at all.
Kansas Hawthorne allowed herself a good chuckle as she lowered herself another few inches on a thin metal cable against the side of the building, and finished tightening the last of the two-foot-long bolts inserted in the holes she’d drilled through each of the corners of the target office window. Then she wedged the heavy pane away from its casing. Not a simple task, but she managed, as she’d known she would. It had worked fine on paper, after all.
Damn, she loved breaking and entering! It was something you could count on. If you planned carefully and followed the plan meticulously, things always turned out as they were supposed to. Unlike life in general.
She checked her watch. 2:00 a.m. exactly. Right on time.
Squeezing through the eighteen-inch gap provided by the bolts she’d rigged, Kansas quickly flipped down her infra-red goggles and studied the motion detecting laser beams crisscrossing the dark, night-empty office she was breaking into. Complicated, but not impossible. Most of the red beams in the matrix were concentrated around the outer door and the ventilation shafts in the ceiling.
Shaking her head, she directed a silent tsk, tsk, tsk at her adversary–the handsome but obviously unimaginative ANSIR Agent, Stewart Rio. This was going to be easier than she’d thought. He’d be eating crow big-time over this one. Her mouth curved up at the thought.
Earlier, during business hours, she’d slipped in and re-programmed the surveillance camera to freeze-frame at 2:00 a.m., but for only six short minutes. So she went straight to the safe, cracked it and extracted the top-secret government software CD disc that was her objective.
She checked her watch again. Two minutes. Excellent.
She headed around the big wooden desk in the center of the room and back to the window. Trying to avoid one of the laser beams, her leg banged against the desk’s corner.
“Damn,” she cursed crisp and low, and reached for her throbbing knee. Her hand knocked the out-basket off the desk, spilling its contents onto the floor, missing the red beam by millimeters.
Again she swore roundly, then bent awkwardly to gather up the files and envelopes, stacking them neatly back in the out-basket. Straightening, she unzipped her black catsuit, swiftly tucked the software CD under her breasts and zipped it back up, snug and secure. She hurried to the window.
Thirty seconds left.
Her heart was beating like a jack-hammer by the time she’d repositioned the window and replaced the temporary bolts with taps so everything would look normal in the morning.
She raised her fist in glee. What a rush! Everything had gone perfectly.
Oh, yeah, she’d give half her month’s paycheck to see that insufferably arrogant Stewart Rio’s face tomorrow when he realized she’d beaten him.
Laughing out loud, she pulled the band from her ponytail and tossed her head, letting her long hair fly wild and free, then with a squeal she released the brakes on the pulley-reel holding the cable she was dangling from, thirty floors up.
She plunged downward, fast and reckless, using her soft boots to rappel off the building in graceful arcs so she didn’t cream herself on the way down. She shouted a rebel yell at the top of her lungs out of sheer exhilaration, the sound of her voice swallowed up by the height and the dark, fathomless night, her blood pumping to the primitive beat of pure adrenalin.
This was what she lived for!
Some might prefer tamer pursuits, like stamp collecting, or falling in love. But for Sass, there was nothing more thrilling than the danger of pulling off yet another impossible job.
Her feet hit the springy grass of the manicured grounds surrounding the posh office building, and she flipped a switch on the reel in her hand, sending it back up the wall to the roof where she’d attached the apparatus earlier, winding up the micro-thin cable as it went. Just one more small maneuver left, and she’d be home free.
With immense satisfaction, she watched the reel and cable disappear from sight, and murmured, “Take that, Stewart Rio.”
A deep voice rumbled directly behind her, “Thank you. I believe I will.”