Lone Star Lovers, Book 3
Texas Heroes, Book 21
FBI agent Alex Sandoval has never forgiven himself for not protecting a young girl who was gravely injured and her mother killed before her eyes during his first hostage negotiation twelve years ago. Now Jade Butler is a cop herself, assigned to a prestigious multi-agency task force hunting for the killer of several young girls in Austin, Texas—and Alex is the agent in charge of the case.
They never met all those years ago, but Jade recognizes his voice as the one she still hears in her dreams, the voice that has comforted her through many a terrifying flashback. Her role on the task force is undercover, serving as bait for a madman, yet Alex cannot stop trying to protect her as he was unable to do years ago. Tensions ratchet between them as old memories vie with a powerful new attraction, and when Jade is taken hostage by the killer, it’s Alex’s worst nightmare as he must negotiate once again—only this time, it’s to save the woman he loves.
Read an excerpt from Texas Protector
She was halfway down the alley after exiting through the back of the club when he grabbed her.
She swung around, ready for battle.
It suited him down to the ground, but he would not engage in a free-for-all here.
“Throw the switch on your unit.” He’d already done the same on his own. He forced himself to step back. “And cool off.”
“Cool—?” A gasp of disbelief. Her eyes narrowed, but she complied with the transmitter. “You ruined my op.”
“It’s not ruined. And it’s not your op.”
“I was handling him.”
“He had you trapped. He pulled a blade on you.” The memory of those fingers knotted in the fabric between her breasts, the knife menacing, wouldn’t leave him soon.
“I can defend myself.”
“With room to maneuver, probably, but the congestion hampered you. I couldn’t risk it.”
“You don’t have to protect me. I’m not fifteen anymore, Alex.”
“I know that.” He did—it wasn’t a girl he was remembering. “I didn’t break your cover. Or mine.”
“We could still be in there working if you hadn’t waded in like some avenging angel.”
That tore it. “Bullshit. You’re shaking.”
“It’s just adrenaline.” She raked unsteady fingers through her hair.
“You took chances tonight, Jade. You’re trying too hard to draw attention, parading yourself around—” The bastard pulled a knife on her. Ruthlessly, he throttled the savagery bubbling just beneath the surface. “I told you I don’t tolerate cowboys on my team.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Is that what’s going on here, Agent Sandoval?” Her voice dripped contempt. “You’ve finally found your reason to ditch me?” She closed the distance between them and stabbed a finger in his chest. “I heard you and Doc today. Any excuse would work, wouldn’t it?”
He didn’t respond.
“Wouldn’t it?” Her voice rose. She shoved, open palmed.
Her eyes were bright with tears, her magnificent hair a wild gypsy nimbus around that face that wouldn’t stop haunting him. Her chest heaved with emotion, tender flesh barely covered with fabric torn by a brute who had no right—
He grabbed the hand burning into his skin, his control teetering on the naked, ragged edge of yanking her close—
No. By the slimmest of margins, he seized hold of himself. Barely…barely he leashed the beast snarling to break free.
Grain by painstaking grain, he rebuilt the wall of his detachment until he dared speak.
He skinned his shirt over his head and handed it to her. “Go home, Jade.” His voice was barely a whisper. “Now.”
He flipped on his unit. “Bob.”
“Come pick up Butler.” His eyes never left hers, so wide and confused, as he gave Bob directions to their location.
“Be there in two minutes.”
It was three.
Not that he was counting.