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Dead Reckoning

Northstar Security Series

The Wild Rose Press

Heat Rating: STEAMY
Word Count: 78,190
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Egan Maddox isn’t sure he’s the right man for the job when Northstar director, Byron O’Neal, asks him to find his missing daughter and protect her from an unknown danger. Egan’s never shaken off his attraction to Kellee O’Neal and hiding away with her, could be more than trouble than this former Navy SEAL can handle.

Kellee is lost, with no memory, and believes someone wants to hurt her. When Egan appears and seems to know her, he convinces her she’ll be safe with him. As her memories resurface, she turns to Egan for comfort, and her youthful crush transforms into a womanly passion she can’t deny.

With the Russian Mafia closing in, Kellee learns her entire life has been a lie. How can her love for Egan be enough to help her navigate the murky waters of her past and prove that her heritage doesn’t matter as much as the woman she’s become?

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“She’s not dead,” O’Neal said as though he’d read Egan’s thoughts. “She’s alive. I can feel it. I need you to find her.” He placed his elbows on the desk and rested his forehead in his palms.

The only other time Egan had seen the director like this was when his wife died. To this day, Katherine’s murder remained Northstar’s single unsolved case.

“I’ll find her.” Egan knew this was something he could do to repay his debt to this man and ease his own guilt.

“Thank you.” O’Neal lifted his head and looked him directly in the eyes. “That’s not all I need from you.”

Asking him to find his daughter wasn’t enough?

“Once you’ve found her, I want you to go underground. That’s why I called you. It’s what you’re good at. You must make her disappear.” O’Neal opened a drawer and took out an envelope. “Here’s some cash. Buy a prepaid cell phone. More than one, if you have to. There’s a number in there. Memorize it. When you find Kellee, call once. After that, no more contact. My daughter doesn’t exist.”

“Isn’t this a bit extreme? If she got tangled up in a case down there, surely we can take care of it once I bring her home.”

“Please, Egan. Do this for me.” Byron O’Neal’s pleading seemed completely out of character.

Egan swallowed his questions. He couldn’t begin to guess at O’Neal’s agenda, but he could locate Kellee and hide her for a few days. Like O’Neal said, it was what he was good at. “How will I know when to bring her home?”

“You won’t. Once I know you’ve located her, I’ll have an all-clear signal ready to pass along to you.”

“Why all the secrecy?”

“I’m not at liberty to explain. I’m sorry. Please believe me when I tell you, I don’t think it’s safe to bring her home right now.”

“You’re asking me to find your daughter and keep her safe, but you’re blindfolding me and tying my hands.” Egan couldn’t keep the disapproval out of his voice. “This is just like the last assignment. Who am I supposed to hide her from?”

O’Neal hesitated. “Everyone.” The older man leaned back in his chair with a sigh that seemed to deflate him. “I know it’s a lot to ask, Maddox. I believe you’re her best chance at coming out of this alive.”

Egan’s fist found the desktop before he even realized he’d swung it. “Out of what alive? Tell me something, for God’s sake!”

O’Neal’s eyes flashed with familiar fire. His lips thinned and gaze narrowed. “All I can tell you is what my gut says—this isn’t about a case Kellee worked. I believe my past, and hers, has finally caught up with us.”

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