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Undercover Deception

Written by Cindi Myers

With law enforcement running through her veins, Tamara Dunn is determined to be the best FBI Special Agent possible. Too bad she has a reputation for jumping first and thinking later. So when Scotland Yard inspector Ian Lassister asks for her help tracking down a terrorist, she can't deny him.

Convincing Tamara to break protocol is one thing. But Ian knows the risks of having her join him in this game of subterfuge would prove even more dangerous. With covers blown and bullets flying, this investigation could end careers… and the chance to explore his feelings for the beautiful agent at his side.

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Chapter One

I have an appointment with Special Agent-in-Charge Blessing. Ian Lassiter, Scotland Yard." The man in question, who had interrupted Tamara Dunn as she was leaving her office, offered a smile full of charm and a business card.

Not a badge or credentials, but a freaking business card, Tamara thought, as she stared at the man, who spoke with a posh British accent and wore an impeccably tailored suit that showed off broad shoulders. "Your appointment was two hours ago, Mr. Lassiter," she said, not returning his smile. His faux James Bond act wasn't going to sway her.

"I do apologize. Unavoidable delay." He offered his hand. "Pleased to meet you, Ms…?"

"Special Agent Tamara Dunn." She didn't take the hand, but jingled her keys to let him know she had better things to do than to waste time with him.

"Does the FBI have any regular agents, or are they all special?"

She put a little more chill into her glare. "If you contact the main switchboard, they may be able to reschedule your meeting with Special Agent-in-Charge Blessing," she said.

Lassiter glanced over her shoulder. "Is Agent Blessing in? I'm sure he'd be interested in the information I have to share with him."

Tamara opened her mouth to say that Agent Blessing was a very busy man and couldn't rearrange his schedule for someone who hadn't even had the courtesy to call and reschedule, when the door to the inner office opened and Ted Blessing stuck his head out. "Better make that a double shot," he said then shifted his gaze to Lassiter.

"Ian Lassiter." The Brit strode forward, hand extended. "So sorry about the delay. I trust you have a few moments for me now."

"Of course." Blessing, a twenty-year veteran with the FBI, not known for suffering fools gladly, stepped aside and held the door open wider. At least a decade older, four inches shorter, fifty pounds heavier with skin several shades darker than Lassiter, Blessing provided a sharp contrast to the tall, slim Brit.

Lassiter started to step through the door but stopped and looked over his shoulder at Tamara. "Could you manage an extra-tall mocha for me?" he asked.

She stiffened. "What makes you think I'm going for coffee?"

"Refillable cup in your hand, the Starbucks card on your key ring and Agent Blessing's reference to a double shot. To quote one of my more famous countrymen—elementary."

"I'm sure Agent Dunn will be happy to add your order to ours," Blessing said, already ushering Lassiter into his office.

"Elementary," Tamara mimicked as she rode the elevator to lobby level. Of all the arrogant, smarmy, rude things to say.

The FBI's offices in the Denver Federal Center were just short of exile to Siberia, as far as Tamara was concerned, but at least there was a Starbucks inside the secure area. She placed her order then moved to one side to wait. The television in the waiting area was tuned to CNN, as usual, and she focused on the story playing there. Anything to take her mind off Double Oh Seven, up in Blessing's office.

"Authorities are still trying to determine the intentions of a man apprehended this morning on a flight traveling from Heathrow to Denver," a stern male reporter intoned. "An inspector with Scotland Yard who was traveling on the flight recognized the man as Ibrahim Yasin, a suspected Al Qaeda operative wanted for questioning in connection with several terrorist actions in London and abroad." Footage showed a bearded man in jeans and a hoodie being led from an airplane by two police officers. A third man followed. Tamara gasped as this third man's face came into clearer view. Ian Lassiter, not smiling this time, looked up into the camera, and then the video shifted to a scene in a factory and a group of politicians.

"Tamara, your order's ready, hon." Alicia, the grandmotherly woman who worked the afternoon shift at the coffee shop, called to Tamara.

"Oh, thanks." Tamara scooped up the trio of coffee cups and hurried toward the elevator. An unavoidable delay. Why couldn't he have said so? "I had to interrupt my flight to detain an international terrorist." No need to be so mysterious.

The Bureau was full of men like Lassiter—arrogant, handsome and charming. Charm was a useful tool in an agent's arsenal, after all; useful for hiding ulterior motives. But what worked to allay suspicion in the field or con information out of a suspect didn't sway Tamara. She had met too many charming men who discounted her abilities. Like Lassiter, they wanted to reduce her role in the Bureau to fetching coffee.

The elevator doors slid open and Tamara made her way to her office, pausing at the door to scan her ID and wait for the door to click open. She paused outside Blessing's office and knocked.

"Come in!" Blessing's voice had the sonorous tones of a preacher, and he was just as capable of putting the fear of God into any of his subordinates who made a mistake.

Tamara pushed open the door and slipped inside. She set Blessing's double shot espresso in front of him then slid Lassiter's mocha to him.

"Agent Dunn, take a seat," Blessing said. "Inspector Lassiter has some interesting information to share with us."

Tamara took the chair next to Lassiter, facing Blessing's desk. "I saw a news report in the lobby about the apprehension of Yasin," she said. "Why didn't you tell me that's why you were late for your appointment?"

"I thought it would sound like bragging."

"That was you?" Blessing leaned across the desk. "I got a report about that a few minutes ago, but it didn't have a lot of detail. What tipped you off?"

"I recognized him," Lassiter said.

"You'd met him before, then," Blessing said.

"No. But I'd seen his photograph. I knew it was him."

"In the pictures I saw, he looked very different from his wanted posters," Blessing said.

"He didn't change his basic facial structure. I knew it was him right away."

"How could you be sure?" Tamara asked.

"It's what I do." At their blank looks, he continued. "I'm part of a special detail within Scotland Yard of what is known as super-recognizers—people who have an extra-ordinary ability to remember faces. If I have seen a person once in a photograph or video or face-to-face, I remember them and will recognize them again, even months or years later, and even with most disguises."

"No one has that good a memory," Tamara said.

"I do."

She opened her mouth to protest, but Blessing cut her off. "That's a discussion for another time. For now I want you to hear the reason for Inspector Lassiter's visit."

She sipped her coffee to cover her embarrassment at being caught out sniping with this snobby Brit like a school child.

"You've got a bigger problem than Yasin right here in Colorado," Lassiter said. "A new kind of terrorist, if you will. He doesn't have ties, at least that we've found, to Al Qaeda or ISIL or any known groups. His is a grassroots operation, right here in the United States, and if you don't stop him the consequences could be devastating."

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About the author

I became one of the most popular people in eighth grade when my best f...

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Cindi Myers

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