Jared walked in, giving Parker the eye that said he’d have to explain the lady reading a book in the war room. So this conversation was going to get so much worse.
“What’s up?” Boss man grumbled.
Winters gave him a look long enough to answer, but he didn’t, so he turned to Jared. “Parker’s got problems.”
“I don’t have problems.”
“Then he has a chick with a problem.”
“Lady in my war room?” Jared’s eyes sliced to him. “Fix it.”
“Yeah. Working on it.”
Jared pushed, eyeing the dynamic between him and Winters. “Fixed soon? Fixed, when?”
Parker rubbed his temples. “Think I need some time off.”
Jared’s brows bit together. “You need time off for a problem that you haven’t explained with a chick I know nothing about who is sitting my war room?”
“Yeah. Basically.” Though when it was laid out like that, it had a problematic vibe.
“No.” Jared’s boots turned and he pounded out of the room, growling as he went.
The headache punching at Parker’s temples worsened. “Alright, wait.”
Jared pivoted, hands on hips, and glared. “You have twenty seconds to try again.”
“The Union Station shooting, looks like… a buddy was the target but she lucked out and is now on the run.”
“And that buddy is a woman,” Winters added. “The woman.”
Jared frowned. “And she was at the safe house I just had to send a clean-up team to?”
“She’s your girl?” Jared looked a couple notches past his normal pissed off.
“No. Not my woman.”
“Then what is this about?”
Parker pulled a breath through his teeth. Explaining the intricacies of something Jared didn’t care for wouldn’t help his case. “First, it’s a hacker thing. Looks like she was targeted and she’s on the run.”
The line between Boss Man’s brows deepened. “A hacker thing?”
“More or less.”
“And your woman’s involved.”
“I don’t have a woman.”
“But still, she’s the one in my war room that you had at a compromised safe house?”
Frustration wasn’t making this explanation any easier. “Yeah—”
Winters, staring over Parker’s shoulder, whistled low and long. “Tell me that’s not her.”
Parker followed his gaze but already knew what was there. The perfect beauty he’d pulled from security footage. Lexi Dare. The woman was all woman.
“That’s her.” He nodded, suddenly not interested in having either married man looking at her.
“Thought you were smart.” Jared shook his head. “Fuck me, I was wrong.”
“Man, you do not think you need some time off. Something looking like that running free with some attack dog after her, you say call up the fuckin’ troops, we’ve got work to do.”
Parker blinked. “This is off the books.”
“Everything’s off the books.”
“This doesn’t pay.”
“The best jobs don’t.”
Parker leaned back in his chair, rubbing a hand over his jaw. “I’m not sure what I’m getting into. Titan doesn’t need that.”
“Shit. If there is one person that knows what shit Titan gets into, it’s you.” Jared shook his head. “Get Rocco, debrief with him. Winters sit in, keep your boy on point. You have whatever resources you need.”
Parker stood. “Seriously, Boss Man—”
“What?” Jared growled.
“This is personal.”
“Somehow, however long you’ve worked here, you missed this memo. If you have personal, we deal with personal. And, brother, you never have got personal. So when shit pops up like it’s done now—and there’s a lady here to prove it—we go in and fix it.”
“This isn’t like that.”
“Then whatever it’s like, it’s the only outside-of-Titan personal connection you have. Whatever the woman is to you, you make her fuckin’ day. That means you save her life, you kill some rogue shooter, you do a hacker thing, you get the job done. Read me?”
His stomach dropped. “Loud and clear.”
Cristin Harber is a USA Today bestselling romantic suspense and military romance author. Fans voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was #1 romantic suspense, #1 military romance, and a USA Today Top 100 bestseller.
She lives outside Washington, DC with her family and English Bulldog.
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The Titan Series: