Logan (Preacher) Bishop, retired Navy SEAL, flew tourists on helicopter…and was bored. He jumped at the chance to run a mission in Alaska, monitoring the activities of terrorists.
Vivian Sanders, a biologist with the Department of Homeland Security, was tasked with finding out what the terrorists were creating. Logan was stunned to find he was being paired with her…and their cover—living next door to the terrorists and pretending to be married.
Precise in his planning and executions of missions, the impulsive Viv drove Logan to distraction and of all his missions, he was certain this one would fail. Learning to work together, Logan and Viv discover opposites do attract.
When the chemicals created by the terrorists next door threatened to be tested on a small town in Alaska, they fight to survive…both hoping their love survives the battle as well.
Grimacing, he stepped further into the kitchen, looking around at the scrub-worn countertops, wooden cabinets and, glancing to his feet, the faded and yellowed linoleum floors. The appliances appeared to be clean, but older models. Placing the bags onto the floor, he rounded the counter dividing the kitchen to the dining area, where a scarred wooden table with four mismatched chairs sat. His gaze moved sharply to the living room, pleased to see a clean, worn sofa and two wooden chairs with thin, but also clean, cushions tied to the seats. A wood-burning stove sat in the corner on a brick platform, surrounded by wooden plank flooring. An entertainment center held a TV, not new, but not ancient. To his right was a hall, leading to what he knew were two bedrooms and one bathroom.
The front door was to his left, straight from the living room to the front porch. Old. Worn out. It’s like me. Sighing, he turned to go back to the truck to get the rest of his supplies, when his senses went on alert.
Cocking his head to the side, he listened carefully, hearing the faint noise of someone in one of the back rooms—not footsteps, but the sound of someone opening a drawer. Withdrawing his weapon from his holster, he moved stealthily down the hall, not making a sound. Quickly determining the sound came from the bedroom on the left, he glanced through the partially opened door. The person was behind the door, out of sight, but he heard a drawer being closed. Sliding slightly to the side, he peered through the crack in the door on the side of the hinges, seeing the intruder had a ball cap snug on their head and was looking down at what appeared to be the chest of drawers.
With practiced ease, he flung open the door startling them, causing them to stumble backward, losing their balance. With one arm, he flipped them onto their stomach across the bed and planted his hand on their back, growling, “Don’t move.”
The intruder was not only short, but slight in stature, easily held in place by his hand. The fleeting idea of them being a teenager ran through his mind. Using the tip of his gun, he knocked the ball cap off, staring dumbly as long, silky, black hair tumbled across the bedspread, the body underneath his grunting as they tried to breathe.
Jerking his head, with his hand still pressing down in the center of their back, he raked his gaze down his prisoner, seeing a dark green t-shirt that had ridden up over short shorts with long, naked legs hanging over the bed. A woman!
Grabbing her right shoulder, he flipped her again, this time so that she was facing up. Her dark, wide eyes, stared back at him, flicking to the side where the gun rested easily in his grip. Her chest rose and fell with each shaky gasp. She opened her mouth slightly, as though to speak, but closed it quickly as she glanced at the gun once more.
“Who are you?” he growled, his rough voice filling the small bedroom.
“I…I’m Vivian.” Swallowing audibly, she repeated, “Vivian Sanders.”
Logan stared, mute, for a second, not bothering to hide his surprise—and displeasure at the realization that the woman on the bed was his biologist contact.
Vivian watched the man’s stance, noting when it relaxed slightly. Though, his face registered anger and it appeared to be directed solely at her. Swallowing deeply, her voice shook as she said, “You now know who I am…I’d like the same consideration, please.”
With another glance down her body, Logan stepped back from her legs, watching as her hand moved to the bottom of her t-shirt, pulling it down to cover her sleep shorts. Glancing up, he saw the fear in her eyes. An uncomfortable guilt slid over him. An emotion he was unaccustomed to and immediately decided he hated. “Bishop. I’m Logan Bishop.”
Her large eyes popped open even wider as she exclaimed, “You’re Logan Bishop? The man I’m supposed to be working with?” Pushing up on her elbows, she stared at him unabashedly before narrowing her eyes on the weapon. “Do you mind putting that thing away before you accidentally blow my head off?”
His glower met hers as he re-holstered the gun. “When my gun goes off, I assure you, it’s not by accident.”
Scooting to the edge of the bed and standing, Vivian skirted by him, returning to the chest of drawers, where she pulled out a pair of jeans. She looked at him expectantly for a moment, but when he didn’t get the hint, or decided to ignore it, she glared and jerked her shorts down before sliding the pants over her legs and zipping them. Opening another drawer, she retrieved a pair of woolen socks, slipping them on each foot.
Fully dressed, she turned to him, frustrated that the height difference had her eyes at the level of his chest. A very broad chest. Lifting her chin, she held his gaze, irritated that what met her ire was a very handsome man, rough around the edges with his chiseled jaw covered in stubble and penetrating eyes staring back at her.
“Where were you?” His voice, like his looks, was rough as gravel.
Her brow crinkled as she tilted her head to the side. “What do you mean, where was I?”
“You were supposed to meet me at the airport so we could talk about arranging our work schedule.”
“Tomorrow. I was given your arrival date as tomorrow.”
Rolling her eyes, she said, “I was told tomorrow. Sorry, if your people can’t get things right.”
At that, he bristled. “My people? Listen, missy, you’ve—”
“Missy? Oh, no, Mr. Bishop. You can call me Vivian or Ms. Sanders. Your choice. But you Missy me again, and we’re going to have problems.”
“Gonna have problems? Clue in, Ms. Sanders, we’ve already got problems. Where’s your vehicle?”
Pinching her lips together at his quick change of topic, she replied, “Parked on the cul-de-sac. It’s the Fusion. The energy efficient car next to all these gas-guzzling—” Seeing him roll his eyes, she stood toe to toe with her fists on her hips and leaned way back to hold his gaze.
Eyes flashing fire, she bit back, “What is your problem? I was told to come to this house, get settled, and meet my partner tomorrow. Which, I might add, made no sense to me because you obviously have a vehicle. You didn’t need me to pick you up.”
“Settled? Get settled?” he growled, his eyes narrowing even further. “Why would you need to get settled in my house?”
Blinking at his tone and his words, she stepped back, her hands dropping to her sides. “How else are we supposed to work together? I was told we would live here, pretend to be a married couple, and investiga—”
“Pretend to be a married couple?” Logan shouted, the blood rushing through his veins causing a buzzing in his ears greater than one of his helicopter rides. “Oh, no.” Turning on his booted heel, he stalked from the room, pulling out his secure phone.
Vivian heard him in the front room, his voice clipped as he argued with whoever was on the other end of the line. Finally hearing the words, “Yes, sir”, she dared to venture outside the bedroom. Seeing the back of the man, she felt the tension in the air as well as the tension in his stance. From more of a distance, she could see that he was not only broad-shouldered, but his physique tapered to a trim waist and his jeans fit perfectly over his hips. He had to be well over six feet tall, dwarfing her.