Countermeasure is the first book of the Countermeasure Series.
Suspicious and determined never to fall into the love trap, security specialist Cassandra James takes on a chase to recover files stolen right out from under her nose. In an effort to prove to her father—also her boss—that she is a capable woman, she follows the digital trail—a trail that leads her directly into the arms of Trevor Bauer, an NSA analyst who appears to have more secrets than she has scars...
Haunted by the mystery surrounding his parents' disappearance, Trevor Bauer's dreams for his own life have been put on hold. But being confronted by Cassandra James derails every one of his best laid plans to avoid a relationship until he can find the closure he desperately seeks. When he accepts her request for help in recovering the files she's hunting, they embark on an adventure that takes them across the ocean and into a world of intrigue and violence. As things between them begin to heat up, Trevor realizes that, if he is ever to win Cassandra's heart and the future he craves, he has no choice but to reveal all his secrets.
Cassandra kept her eyes locked with his wide ones when his curse burst loose with a delicious lilt she hadn't noticed before. His eyes had darkened from indigo to the dark blue of a raging sea in a matter of seconds.
"What were you doing on the server Mr. Bauer?" she calmly asked him. When he simply stared at her, she added, "It's a simple question, Mr. Bauer. It shouldn't be that hard for you to answer."
Her sarcastic tone rubbed him the wrong way again. Who was she to talk down to him like that? He refused to follow her lead. "What gives you clearance to ask such 'simple' questions regarding NSA operations, Ms. James?"
Cassandra raised an eyebrow. "Are you trying to imply your prowling around the server was official NSA business, Mr. Bauer?"
His eyes were drawn to her lips. "What I am saying, Ms. James, is that I am not answering any questions until we establish why you are here and what you want from me." He smirked when her eye twitched slightly under the heat of his gaze.
"The only thing I want from you is the truth regarding why you were worming your way around the server."
Trevor's anger swelled and his eyes narrowed. "I was..."
Before he could finish, she spoke over him, "I know that you were careful enough to leave almost no trace behind. You deleted most of your presence on the server, so technically I can't press any charges against you, since I have no actual proof of what you did. But...we both know that you wouldn't have been there if you hadn't thought there might be something of value to retrieve from it."
Trevor chuckled at her condescending tone and her eyes widened in surprise.
"You laugh. Why?"
"You just confirmed what I was thinking, Ms. James."
"And that would be...?"
"You have no fucking idea what, if anything, I was...." he flashed a smile, lifting his hands and using his fingers to gesture quotation marks in the air, "'...doing in your servers.'"
His laughter, while totally unexpected, ground on her nerves but was simultaneously surprisingly appealing to her ears. She schooled her features and held her emotions in check, but she couldn't hold back the anger from sparkling in her eyes.
She wanted to throttle the son of a bitch for destroying her carefully planned interview. Cassandra had expected to come in and pound him with her questions. Instead, he was messing with her. Trying to trip her up each chance he got. The tension in her neck grew as she stood and placed her hands on the table, leaning over him in an attempt to intimidate him, but even that didn't seem to faze him.
"You can wipe that smirk off your face, Mr. Bauer. I'm not through with you just yet."
Trevor stood and faced her with a thoughtful expression that in a matter of a few seconds transformed into a big, knowing smile. "Nah. That's where you're wrong, Ms. James. We're through," he said, and walked toward the door.
Cassandra, realizing he was serious about leaving, intercepted him and firmly grabbed his arm.
Trevor stopped and looked down at her hand. His thoughts blurred for a split second. Her hand was as soft as it looked and the zing of electricity from her contact was even more potent than he would've imagined. His body grew taut in reaction to the images her touch set off in his mind—images of her touching him in more intimate places, leaving him needy in their wake. He scrambled for control and blurted out the first smart-mouth comment he could think of: "Here? Now? On the table?"
Trevor was quickly losing patience at her refusal to accept that following Allison without back-up had been a mistake. "All I expected was the courtesy of you telling me you were off trailing Allison so I could back you up."
"You need to stop being obsessive about this. I did what I thought was right. I found her and came back for you. I wasn't going to leave you there all night." She looked at him with angry narrowed eyes. "You know what? Forget it. I don't need this. I had to put up with the same possessive attitude from Nate. Neither of you own me."
"Cassandra," he said calmly. "This is not just about you not letting me know right away what was happening. You have to understand that this is about you going off on your own. You could have texted me. I'm your partner in this. I would have followed to give you back-up and, in the end, we would have saved time."
Without a word, she turned her back to him and headed for her door. Before she could reach it, Trevor grabbed her arm and pinned her to the wall. Cassandra struggled and Trevor groaned inside at the feel of her body pressed tight against his. "Damn it, Cassandra. Hold still for a second."
Her heart drummed rapidly against his chest and he saw her pulse beating at the base of her throat. He didn't like using his size against her, but he needed her to understand. "This is not about obsession, and I sure as hell am not like your friend, who, by the way, sounds like an ass. This is about friends caring about friends. You said you wanted us to be friends. You wanted us to be a team, and yet you took off and never checked back with me. The next thing I knew, almost an hour had gone by and I had no clue where you were. We know there is something bigger happening behind the scenes, that Allison didn't act alone. What if you had been hurt?"
"I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself," Cassandra breathed hard in agitation, and bucked against him, still trying to push his body away.
Trevor banked the urge to press harder against her. He continued to pin her arms above her head and put some space between them. "I know you can take care of yourself, but friends are going to worry about your well-being, whether you want it or not—whether you like it or not."
Trevor grew distracted by the feel of Cassandra's sweet breath against his skin and leaned slightly forward. "All I'm asking is that you let me know next time so I can be there for you. With you."
By the time he finished his statement, his lips were mere inches from hers. His mind went into overdrive and the need to taste the texture of her lips overrode his common sense. When her lips parted to protest, he silenced her by capturing her mouth with his.
The kiss made him numb to his surroundings. His sole focus became the softness of her full lips and the mingling of their tastes. Slowly, he released her hands and cupped her face with his, deepening the kiss. A jolt of electricity hit him when she responded, kissing him back just as urgently. Her freed hands gripped his forearms tightly and the kiss grew hot and deep—tongues exploring, teeth nipping.
In a flash, Cassandra pushed him from her. Both froze and stared into each other's eyes. Before he could comment, she slipped into her room and softly closed the door between them. Trevor stared at the door and ran his fingers through his hair. His arms felt empty without her. The taste of her on his lips was sweeter than he had ever dreamed. It only made him want her more and filled him with a desire to taste her over and over again. He couldn't let the heat of the moment die so easily.