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Undercover Deception

Written by Cindi Myers

Chapter Eight

Ian and Braeswood rolled across the floor, struggling for the weapon. Ian saw stars when Braeswood shoved an elbow into his nose, but held on, succeeding in shoving the older man's head back against a table, hard enough that a lamp slid off onto his head. The distraction gave Ian the advantage and he pulled the weapon free and pointed it at Braeswood. "Put your hands behind your head and lie still," he ordered.

Braeswood shoved Ian back, sprang to his feet and raced from the room before Ian could get off his first shot. Gary lay writhing in the doorway, so that Braeswood had to jump over him, but this scarcely slowed him down. Ian rose to pursue him, but a cry from Tamara stopped him. The guard had risen to his knees and had hold of her wrists. Ian brought the gun down smartly on his head and the man slumped down. "Find something to tie him up with," Ian told Tamara.

They bound the guard with two ties then stuffed a handkerchief in his mouth to serve as a gag. "I have to go after Braeswood," Ian said.

"Go. I'm going to call Blessing. Braeswood's girlfriend or whoever she is said he planned to set off a bomb at the Federal Center—but she didn't know when or where."

Ian took off in search of Braeswood. The rooms he passed through showed signs of a hasty departure—drawers and cabinets open, the contents rifled, a drink spilled on the kitchen counter, a window open in a back bedroom.

Tamara joined him. She had pulled on her dress, but was still barefoot, her phone in one hand, the gun the guard had dropped in the other. "I don't think he went out the front," she said. "The chain was still on the door."

"No. I think he took another route." Ian moved to the open window in the back bedroom and looked out at the old-fashioned fire escape. The stairs to the next level had been lowered. In minutes Braeswood could have been in the alley, where Eddie and the others could have easily driven around to retrieve him. "He's gone," Ian said. "But he won't get far."

"I hope not. I told Blessing about the bomb and he's ordering the whole area evacuated. They'll bring in dogs and explosives experts. He says if there's a bomb, they'll find it."

Ian held out his arm and she came to him and buried her head on his shoulder. "They'll find the bomb," he said. "Everything will be all right."

"You idiot," she said. "I was doing fine. Why did you interrupt?"

"I couldn't resist the chance to be a hero." He kissed her cheek. "Don't you know I've been trying to impress you ever since the day we met?"

"You have?"

"You hated me on sight. I took it as a personal challenge."

"I didn't hate you," she protested.

"Ah, but now you love me, and that's even better."

"I don't love—"

"Don't ruin the moment, darling. Kiss me."

So she did.

**

By the time Ted Blessing and a team of agents arrived at the hotel, Tamara and Ian were completely dressed and relatively composed. "I'm not looking forward to telling him Braeswood got away," she confessed as they waited at the door of the suite for the agents to make the trip up from the lobby.

"Show him the laptop they left behind." Ian indicated the computer they had discovered stashed in the bedside table. "That should have enough proof for them to at least haul him in for questioning."

She nodded. "Blessing said on the phone that they would issue a BOLO to all local and state law enforcement for Roland and the others. With any luck, they'll bring Braeswood and the rest in soon."

"You were pretty amazing." Ian took her hand and twined his fingers with hers. "Tossing that Scotch in his face was a gutsy move. Before that, you even had me fooled with your weak, submissive act."

"My father always told me the key to both love and war is to keep your opponent guessing. It keeps your enemy off balance and your lover from being bored."

Ian slipped his arm around her. "I don't want to be your enemy, but if the position of lover is open…"

They were still kissing when the door to the room opened and Ted Blessing stepped in. He cleared his throat and they flew apart, Tamara suppressing a groan. "You'll be happy to know they found the bomb," Blessing said. "It was in the coffee shop, hidden in a shipment of coffee beans. We're not sure how Braeswood or whoever he hired managed to sneak it in, but we'll find out."

"That's some good news, at least." Tamara cleared her throat. "Braeswood got away from us. We think he fled down the fire escape."

"But he left behind his laptop." Ian gestured to the computer. "That and the bomb ought to provide plenty of ammunition to go after him."

"Perhaps." Blessing motioned to an agent, who began to bag up the laptop. "Agent Dunn, you and I will have a discussion later about your particularly unique approach to performing your law-enforcement duties."

He stalked past her into the suite. Tamara sagged against Ian. "Being with you is very bad for my career," she whispered.

"I prefer to think I'm the best thing that ever happened to you. Have I told you how much I like women who are willing to take risks?"

**

Three days later Tamara was summoned to a meeting in Blessing's office. She wasn't surprised to find Ian there, too. He had become a fixture in her life these past few days, as they worked on assembling the evidence they had compiled against Braeswood during business hours then dedicated themselves to learning more about each other in their off time.

"Despite the unsanctioned methods you used in your investigations, you achieved good results," Blessing began when they were both seated before him. "Not that the end justifies the means, but in this case it does help you avoid a reprimand."

"Thank you, sir," Tamara said.

"I can also share with you that thanks to your work, the Bureau has decided to form a seventh terrorist search team, to be based in Colorado, with the initial mission to track down Duane Braeswood and members of his organization."

"So they still haven't located Braeswood?" Ian interrupted.

"No. The man has vanished," Blessing said. "But we will find him. We've got too many people and too many resources dedicated to doing so not to succeed. And now we have a new weapon in our arsenal." He picked up a sheaf of papers from the desk. "On my recommendation, the Bureau has decided that all the members of this new team will be super-recognizers, following the example of Scotland Yard's special unit of super- recognizers."

Ian grinned. "I guess you Yanks can learn a few things from us," he said.

Blessing turned to Tamara. "I did get my supervisors to make one exception to the makeup of Search Team Seven," he said. "You deserve to be part of the operation, too, after the work you've put in."

"Thank you, sir. And I appreciate it, more than you can know." She glanced at Ian. "But I think my talents might be better put to use in other areas."

"Oh?" Blessing looked wary.

"I've learned there's an opening with the Bureau's Legal Attaché in London. I'm hoping you'll approve a transfer for me there."

"I see. This wouldn't have anything to do with a certain inspector from Scotland Yard."

Ian held up his hands in protest. "I would never try to deter a United States agent from her duties," he said.

"I thought it was time for a fresh start," Tamara said. "No matter the outcome of this investigation, the truth is I didn't play by the rules, and everyone here knows it. I'll always be seen as that woman agent who can't be trusted. I think overseas, in a different office, I'll have a better chance to find my feet again."

Blessing nodded. "I can see that. I'll agree to the transfer." He offered his hand and she shook it. "Good luck to you, Agent Dunn. And to you, Inspector Lassiter."

"Thank you, sir," Ian said. "I think I'm going to need it." He ducked as Tamara lunged for him. The man was so confoundingly aggravating. And sexy and smart and perfect for her. Though she'd never admit it to him, he might even be the best thing that had ever happened to her.

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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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