- N. N. Light
Mr. Never Again by @NancyNorthcott is a Trick or Treat Bonanza pick #romanticsuspense #giveaway
Title: Mr. Never Again
Author: Nancy Northcott
Genre: Romantic Suspense
When Arachnid agent Dana Gresham is assigned to guard a weapons designer, Dr. Ishna Mahajan, who is suspected of dealing with terrorists, the job has a upside and a downside. The upside is the location, an ancient English castle that’s now a hotel. The downside is working with her old love, agent Blaine Harris. Five years ago, Dana and Blaine walked away from each other after a quarrel spurred by his jealousy of the time she gave her younger siblings.
Now Blaine has realized he made a mistake. He wants another chance, so he asked to have Dana assigned to this case. As soon as they meet, each realizes the old spark is still there. Dana initially resolves to resist it, but as she and Blaine work together to uncover the truth about Mahajan’s intentions, she begins to realize that she also may have been too hasty. The kidnapping of Mahajan’s son by terrorists forces both her and Blaine to recognize what they still mean to each other. Can they mold those feelings into a future together?
Driving past the castle, Dana braced herself for seeing Harris again. He was a solid agent, a good partner. A good man, even. Just not for her. He played as hard as he lived, traveling and partying a lot. He and she were oil and water that never should’ve tried to mix. She’d dubbed him Mr. Never Again for a reason, a reminder to be more careful where she got involved.
Yet thinking about him made her heart beat just a smidgen faster and stirred a strange, warm sense of anticipation in her blood. Dana scowled. The brief affair that had grown out of their Arachnid training had been over for five years. She should be well and truly past that. Had believed she was.
Regardless, now she was stuck with him. But only for a few days. She could do anything for a few days.
The road meandered through a forest. A short time later, she entered the outskirts of the town of Saxon Hundred, a small, picturesque village dominated by half-timbered and stone buildings. As was common in the UK, there was no gradual buildup to the town. She went from open road and forest to close-set buildings lining the road between one minute and the next.
Ahead lay a square of dead grass about thirty yards on each side. Various shops lined the street across the way. In the square’s center, four wooden-slat benches with curving, wrought-iron arms and legs formed a rectangle around a weathered concrete obelisk, probably a war memorial. Beside it stood Blaine Harris.
Dana’s heart skipped a beat. Why did he still have to be so ruggedly handsome? Just over six feet tall, broad-shouldered, and fit, he could still turn heads in any group of women. The sunlight glinted on the thick brown hair he wore long enough in back to brush his collar. Aviator shades concealed his eyes, but he missed nothing. She would need to be on her guard. Having him realize he still affected her would be dreadful.
He raised a hand in greeting.
Dana pulled into the nearest space, facing the green, and returned the salute. Casually, she hoped.
So much for any chance of a warm reunion. The cool, professionally bland expression on Dana’s face held no trace of welcome. Blaine had hoped she might’ve forgiven him by now, maybe even remembered some of the ways they’d meshed so well.
She looked good, though. She wore her light brown hair in a short, turned-under cut with bangs that framed her face and reminded him of doing the same thing with his hands. Her mouth was as full as ever but set in a firmer line. The biggest change, however, was in her eyes. The brown was no longer warm but cool and appraising.
Damn it. But what else could he have expected?
Watching her, he strolled toward her little gray sedan. Best to take his cue from her. Maybe a few days of working together would remind her of all the ways they’d been good together. If they didn’t, he had no shot at the second chance he’d come to realize he wanted.
He folded his long legs into the car and buckled up. “How are you?”
“Same old, same old. Anything new from the lead team while I was driving?”
“Kid’s back at the castle. Mom’s idea of a reprimand will, the team believes, do nothing to discourage further wandering.”
Dana backed out of the space and headed back toward Caynham-on-Ledwyche. “Too bad they can’t tell her they’re here and rein the kid in themselves.”
“Yeah. They figure if she’s open to bribery, this is a good opportunity to find out. It means they can’t tip their hand, though.”
“Was Murtha in the group touring the beehives and garden?”
“No, he went into Ludlow on some kind of business.”
“Anybody follow him?”
Blaine shrugged. “If they did, I wasn’t informed.”
“Typical of MI5.” Dana drummed her fingers on the steering wheel. “The would-be buyers might want some leverage. This boy Vidhur hared off with… I’d like to know which of them suggested that little jaunt.”
“He’s supposedly from Exeter, here with his parents for the big Halloween thing. I agree we should look into him. I’ll raise it with the Security Service. Unless you want to.”
Dana shrugged. “You’re lead. I’m happy to let you deal with them.”
He technically was lead, as she’d said, but she’d dumped him for being pushy and ignoring her priorities. Mostly. Summoning a wry grin, he said, “Oh, sure. You sound cooperative, but you’re just avoiding the joy of liaising with those who dislike us.”
Arachnid existed to go around the rules binding conventional law enforcement agencies, who naturally resented that freedom. In turn, Arachnid resented seeing those others claim credit for what they’d done. There was no help for it, though. The agency’s mandate required keeping its existence secret from the wider world.
“Hey, you volunteered,” Dana reminded him.
The cool tone was another bad sign. He’d always been able to tease her, to get her to jab back at him, always all in fun.
An awkward silence fell.
“How’s your family?” he asked. Maybe that would show he’d gotten past his resentment of their claims on her time.
Dana raised an eyebrow but said only, “All doing well, thanks. Yours?”
“Fine.” Great. Wonderful way to break the ice.
Maybe a risk was in order. If he and Dana stayed in their metaphorical corners for this whole assignment, his personal goal was doomed.
“You know,” he said, going for relaxed, “as we’ve gotten older and our lives have become more disjointed, I’ve come to envy the close-knit way your family does things.”
Her face betrayed nothing, but his gut said he’d rocked her. Would she pick up the cue or shut him down?
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If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
I would go as the original DC Comics Batgirl. Her story has been changed, but at her debut, she was a library who stumbled into being a superhero. The geek girl in me loved seeing a woman geek bring in the bad guys.
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
This is a second-chance-at-love romances that mixes poignant emotion with action and intrigue for a fast-moving story and a satisfying conclusion.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US or Canada) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible.
Runs October 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on November 1.
Nancy Northcott’s childhood ambition was to grow up and become Wonder Woman. Around fourth grade, she realized it was too late to acquire Amazon genes, but she still loved comic books, mysteries, science fiction, fantasy, history, and romance. A sucker for fast action and wrenching emotion, Nancy combines the romance and high stakes (and sometimes the magic) she loves in the books she writes.
She’s the author of the Light Mage Wars paranormal romances, the Lethal Webs romantic spy adventure series, the Arachnid Files romantic suspense series, and the historical fantasy trilogy The Boar King’s Honor. With author Jeanne Adams, she co-writes the Outcast Station space opera mystery series.
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