Diamonds Are Truly Forever
Agent Ex Novel #2
St. Martin's Press
“Laugh-out-loud funny…Robinson’s foray into the world of James Bond has its poignant side, assuring that readers will be back for more.”—Booklist
Gina Robinson, master of the sizzling-hot spy novel, lures readers into a world of sexy secret agents—and the women who risk their lives to love them…
SHE CANNOT TELL A LIE
Staci Fields loves her gorgeous husband—and that’s the honest truth. Unfortunately, her inability to lie is a major liability for the wife of a CIA agent. During a previous mission, her loose lips nearly got her husband killed. So now Staci’s filing for divorce to keep him out of danger—no matter how much her lips still crave his kiss…
HE CANNOT HIDE HIS LOVE
Drew Fields knows that his wife doesn’t want to play the spy game anymore. But when he learns that Staci may be a pawn in her stepfather’s secret dealings with terrorists, he has no choice but to step back into her life. This time, the stakes are higher than ever. The closer he gets to Staci, the deadlier the odds. And the more he loves his ex, the more he has to lose…
St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition
Release Date: June 2012
The Agent Ex series is:
“A clever concoction of lust and longing.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Full of laughter, intrigue, and…steamy spies.”
— RT Book Reviews
— Christie Craig, award-winning author of
Don’t Mess with Texas
Don’t miss the next novel
in this thrilling new series by
LIVE AND LET LOVE
- coming December 2012
DIAMONDS ARE TRULY FOREVER
Drew Fields pulled to the curb and parked in front of his former home. He hated the bland, midsize sedan the Agency insisted he drive as part of his mind-numbingly dull, assigned cover life. A marketing director for a microbrewery? Really? At least there’d be free beer. He hoped.
That was the Central Intelligence Agency for you. The government sanitized everything. Even his official title--National Clandestine Services core collector. He was a spy, a secret agent. What kid wanted to grow up to be a core collector? Sounded more like nuclear reactor work.
Which, come to think of it, pretty nearly described his mission to reconcile with his estranged wife and stop her stepfather from selling vital satellite secrets to the Revolutionary International Organization of Terrorists, RIOT. If Staci ever found out what he was up to, there would be fallout. Plenty of it.
He shut off the ignition. Next time he was going to insist on an Aston Martin DB5. A sexy car made up for a lot of crap.
He took a deep breath. How was he going to convince Staci to take him back? Especially after he'd agreed to the divorce without a fight. And why now?
They had an anniversary coming up a week from Friday. Maybe he could play off that? Claim to be sentimental?
He was something of a phenom when it came to lying, a natural talent. His inborn gift had gotten him out of more than a few scrapes when he was a kid, and even more as an adult. But there were limits to even his ability.
Drew had tried to convince his boss, NCS chief and head spook Emmett Nelson, to send another agent on this mission to bring down Staci's stepdad, Sam Deeds, aka the Fisherman. Drew had no desire to infiltrate Staci’s life. But Emmett did what he did best--used emotional blackmail.
RIOT was notorious for taking out family members of their business associates on a whim. It kept everyone in line and on task.
With Staci's stepfather involved in nefarious, traitorous business dealings with RIOT, Staci and her mother were in danger. With a little ingenuity, Drew would be perfectly placed to guard Staci day and night, keep an eye on her mother, and spy on Sam, all without arousing anyone's suspicions. It had to be him.
Stalling, and hoping to be clobbered by a stunning blow of inspiration, Drew studied the two-story house he still owned half of, looking for security lapses. Staci kept the bushes in front of the windows well trimmed and away from the house, and the sidewalk, driveway, and front entry clear of any hiding places.
She’d resisted her natural botanical urge to plant flowers and trees over every square inch of property and columns of junipers on each side of the door. Open spaces made for less stealth and more safety.
Before their marriage went sour, he’d picked this gated neighborhood for Staci because of its low crime rate and excellent security measures. A spy’s family was never 100 percent safe.
The Redmond chief of police lived here; a senator made her home away from the nation's capital here. At least two state legislators and several high-profile entrepreneurs lived in the pricier part of the development.
Drew hated what he was about to do to Staci. The sooner he completed this mission and found an assignment overseas, disappearing deep undercover, the better for both of them. In the meantime, his Farsi was getting rusty.
He never should have married Staci in the first place. What had possessed him to think a girl who couldn’t lie to save her life would make a good wife for a spy like him? She had a tell as obvious as Alaska. The woman couldn’t even keep from giving herself away when she played Clue.
Ironically, that’s what he’d loved about her—she was the one person he could believe, the one honest thing in his life. A little slice of black and white shining through an otherwise gray gloom. When she told him she loved him, he knew she did. When she said she wanted a divorce, she shattered his world.
And now here he was, at her insistence, stopping by the old homestead to pick up a box of odds and ends from their former life. A box Emmett had planted to give him an excuse to see her.
Drew glanced at his watch. Ten thirty. Right on time. He got out of the car, wondering exactly how he was going to convince Staci to give him another chance. He still hadn't figured out exactly where he'd gone wrong in the first place. Other than being a secret agent and lying to her about it to get her to marry him.
He couldn’t believe he was undercover as himself, dressed in Staci’s favorite shirt, wearing his good-guy, boy-next-door persona on his sleeve. He’d rather be in Hawaii, working undercover as a tour guide, like he had last year.
He’d just recently returned from a minor follow-up assignment in Maui and hoped Staci didn’t notice his tan. But how could she miss it? In May, most Seattleites, and that included the residents of Redmond, were still a pasty shade of pale. She’d give him hell over it.
He slammed the car door shut to give her fair warning he’d arrived. The weather was pleasant--clear skies, temperatures in the low sixties. He left his jacket in the car. As he approached the door, he half expected her to open it and throw his stuff at him. He resisted the urge to shield himself with his arm. The woman had laser-beam aim. Instead of mounting a frontal assault, she made him ring the doorbell.
Her voice didn’t sound like hell’s fury, but he didn’t drop his guard. He never dropped his guard. He wondered if she’d suddenly decided they were going to be one of those couples, the ones who seem so cordial you wonder why they ever got divorced in the first place or how they even got up the gumption to file.
She opened the door partway and stood before him, just slightly breathless.
The sight of her gave him an unexpected jolt of desire and regret. Old habits die hard, he told himself. This was just the automatic reaction of a frustrated, celibate male spy to a beautiful woman with snapping brown eyes and slightly parted, highly kissable lips. Lips he was used to possessing.
The smell of freshly baked cookies drifted out from the house, diverting his thoughts. Chocolate chip, his favorite. He hoped his stomach didn’t growl. He hadn’t had a home-baked chocolate chip cookie since they'd separated.
Hot woman. Hot cookies. This is torture.
Staci’s hands were empty. He’d expected her to thrust a box in his arms and shove him on his way.
Evidently, whatever had possessed him to fix up himself had also gotten hold of her. She looked like great sex on a rainy day. Her dark brown hair was recently highlighted with streaks of auburn and flatironed shiny and straight. She wore skinny jeans, black pumps with three-inch heels, and a tight, low-cut, ruffled magenta blouse, belted with a wide black belt just below her eye-catching breasts. The belt made her waist look about two inches wide, her hips curvy, and her breasts double-D.
The heels might have been her idea of a power trip. She’d never liked being so much shorter than he was. Maybe she was hoping the heels would make them see eye-to-eye. Personally, he was having a hard time seeing anything above her breasts, but he forced himself.
"Drew." She smiled and opened the door wide to let him in.
Right away his defenses went up. He couldn’t act too eager and happy to see her. She’d never buy that. "Where’s my stuff?"
"On the kitchen table."
To his surprise, she remained pleasant despite his gruffness. What was up with her?
"It’s heavy. You’ll have to get it yourself." She stood aside to let him in.
He surveyed her outfit again. "Going out?"
She stared straight into his eyes, still smiling. "No. Why?"
He looked her up and down. "No reason."
Just that she usually wore jeans, T-shirts, and Converse tennis shoes around the house. No way she’d dressed up for him, had she? Maybe there was hope for this mission yet.
Staci kept her smile plastered on, thinking positive thoughts and going to her happy place so the smile would reach her eyes. She couldn’t believe she’d missed this last box of Drew's junk. His stuff seemed to be multiplying like the hairs that appeared when she cleaned the tub. But she was determined to be civil now that their marriage was almost over. It was just unfortunate the divorce would be final so close to their anniversary. Drew probably didn't even remember it.
He walked past her so closely, he brushed against her pushed-up-and-out breasts. She got a whiff of his delectable cologne. Her breath caught. Involuntary reaction on her part. Intentional foul on his, she was sure.
He wore the navy-blue shirt she so loved on him, the one that made his eyes look even bluer than normal. It hugged and showed off his broad shoulders and every arm and chest muscle he owned. The man looked hot enough to eat. And tan for this time of year. His sandy-blond hair light and sun-bleached. Should a woman be so physically attracted to her husband mere weeks before their divorce became final? Shouldn’t her hurt feelings take him down a peg or two on the attractiveness meter?
Maybe not. She reminded herself Drew was exactly like his boss Emmett. He could throw on the invisibility cloak or devastate you with charm and good looks. All without the aid of makeup or stage paint.
Just why Drew was putting on this persona confounded her. Last time she’d seen him, at her lawyer’s office over a month ago, he’d been impassive and quiet, a study in calmly ignoring her.
She’d wounded his pride. She knew that. Andrew Collin Fields never failed at anything. Losing her was a slap at his James Bond spy machismo.
She took a deep breath, subtly. Already, she had doubts about the outfit she’d chosen to wear. Judging from the way Drew gawked at her, it screamed Woman on the make instead of her intended Look what you gave up.
Yes, she wanted to spark jealousy and remorse that he’d chosen his career over her. In the name of her pride, though, she was also determined to be pleasant. But she didn’t want him getting any other ideas, something crazy like she was regretting her decision to divorce him. Life apart was safer. For both of them.
"You look tan," she said to make conversation. "Been on a mission someplace sunny?"
He hesitated, looking as if he didn’t want to answer. "I was back in Hawaii this past month. Following up." He had the good grace to appear sheepish and almost apologetic.
He’d been promising to take her to Hawaii for a second honeymoon for years. Well, up until this latest unpleasant divorce business. Soon she’d be free to take herself. When she found another job and got a little cash ahead. She forced herself to smile. "Tough life."
He cleared his throat. "In the kitchen? Something smells good in there."
She nodded, surprised he was being so pleasant. "After you."
She followed him in, nearly colliding with his backside as he abruptly stopped just inside the kitchen door.
"Whoa! Give me a little warning before you brake," she snapped, without thinking. He hated it when she used that irritated tone on him.
Fortunately, he didn’t seem to notice. He was too busy scanning the racks of cooling cookies that lined the counters and the island.
"Why, Scarlett, you’ve been baking!" He pointed to the racks as if counting. "There must be ten dozen cookies, at least." He turned and stared into her eyes.
Her heart did an involuntary little flip. "Baking calms me. You know that."
Oops! She’d slipped up again. Now he’d think she was nervous about seeing him. Which, of course, she was.
"What are you going to do with all these cookies?" His gaze flicked to her midsection.
"Eat them all myself," she said, deadpan. No she wasn’t going to eat herself into oblivion and a spot at Weight Watchers over him, if that’s what he thought. He could just dash any fantasies about her being an old, fat broad he was lucky to have ditched. She stared back at him, trying to keep her lips from twitching at the thought of disappointing him.
He must have seen her trying hard not to laugh. He broke into a smile himself. "Seriously, who are they for?"
"Little Jessica next door. Her class is having a bake sale. Her mom’s out of town and her dad can’t bake. I offered to help her out." She shrugged as if to say No big deal.
In front of her, he was almost salivating. Oh, yeah, he loved her baking. One more thing he should have thought of before putting NCS, the spying arm of the CIA, before her.
She took pity on him anyway. Though she’d intentionally made cookies so the house would smell of tempting vanilla and chocolate, in the end no one could call her a hard woman. "How about taking a few off my hands? I think I overdid it."
She headed to the pantry for a plastic bag without waiting for an answer. "Your box is on the table if you want to take a look. Are you staying with your parents while you're here? I imagine your mom won’t be happy about fitting another box into the garage--"
An explosion cut her off midsentence as she reached for the pantry door. Behind her, she heard the tinkling rain of shattering glass. Something whizzed past her head, buzzing like a bee about to sting. She reached instinctively to swat it away.
"Get down!" Drew tackled her from behind with all the finesse of a quarterback sack.
Her breath left her body with an unflattering oomph as her ribs hit unyielding ash. Her cheek smacked the cold floor and throbbed on impact. Wood flooring wasn’t exactly cuddly and soft like her microfleece sheets.
Neither was Drew as he covered her with his hard body. Her heart pounded wildly in her ears over the hum of a lawn mower somewhere outside. She couldn’t catch her breath.
Another gunshot sliced through the door above her.