In the second novel of the COUNTERMEASURE SERIES, Trevor and Cassandra Bauer are starting a new life across the pond where they continue their search for Trevor's parent while he still works as an NSA consultant. When George Miller, his best friend, comes across what looks to be a new piece of information on his parents' case, they embark on a new adventure following a digital trail to Saint Petersburg.
They are encumbered with the task of infiltrating a Russia Mafia's stronghold and recovering stolen files in exchange for that new clue. As they dive in the job, Trevor becomes bound to a Russian mafia crime lord. What started as a simple data file recovery turns into a dangerous game of cat and mouse deep in a world of betrayal, hidden identities, and secret agendas.
Cassandra will do anything to keep Trevor safe. When everything goes FUBAR and she finds herself on the run, her sole focus is finding Trevor even it if means she has to depend on those who might not have their best interests at heart.
Stephan Connelan, Brennan Enterprises' CEO and Trevor's Parents' friend, has fought his desire for Jessica Forrester since the day they met at Trevor and Cassandra's wedding. Events in his past stop him from giving in to temptation, a temptation that would cause them both regret and hurt. But how long can he resist something so powerful as his attraction for the little vixen who has crowded his thoughts for months.
Jessica knows what she wants. Their age difference won't stop her from having the man of her dreams. She is determined to find a way to reach the heart he has locked away behind high walls. Little does she know that her greatest obstacle is Stephan himself.
As each camera was set and turned on, their images began displaying on the screen and the feeds were automatically saved to their external hard drive. They were also motion activated, transmitting data only when activity was detected. That meant they could run the surveillance for hours on end without running out of disk space.
Cassandra became lost in the flow of activity and jumped slightly when she heard Trevor's devious chuckle ripple through the connection. "Damn it, Trevor. I know that laugh. What the hell are you up to?!"
"What?! Can't a guy have a little bit of fun on the job?" His voice held a rasp of excitement.
"Why is it that when you say 'fun' I hear 'trouble'?"
His voice held a hurtful tone. "No faith, whatsoever, in my skills."
She guffawed. "Yeah, yeah."
"Okay. About to set last camera."
Trevor checked to be sure that the coast was clear before he left the cover of the trees and sprinted for the sidewalk across from the park. He hugged the wall as he pulled the last camera from his pack. Staying out of view of the security camera he'd spied earlier atop the gate's side pillar, he used the intricate design of the wrought iron gate as a ladder to reach the camera. Its location was ideal to record the faces and license plates of cars arriving at the gates, and its angle prevented any peripheral activity from being recorded. Eejits made it too easy.
At the top, he swung a leg over the rounded edge of the gate, balancing himself to keep from falling on his face as he reached from behind for the encased camera with both hands. He carefully attached their micro-camera and battery pack to the top front edge of the casing.
His voice was hushed and cartoonish: "Oh, grandmother, what big eyes you have! The better to see you with...."
Cassandra's snort of laughter traveled over the audio link.
"Oh, you liked that, didn't you?"
"Just because I laugh at your jokes, doesn't mean they're good, you know." Her voice oozed disdain and he could picture her rolling her eyes.
He kept tabs on the surrounding area as he adjusted the position of the micro-camera. He switched it on and gave Cassandra the last signal. "Let me know if this one has a good angle."
After a few moments, her voice exploded over the link. "What the hell?! That is from pretty high up. Really good view, but really high up! How the hell did you accomplish that one, Trevor? Hold on a second. Where are you right now?!"
"Setting the cameras?" He feigned innocence.
"Get your ass out of there on the double!" Anxiety bled through her words.
Her fear beat at him. He sobered immediately. "I'm on my way down; I'll be out of here in no time, Cassie."
Trevor swung his leg back over the gate. Suddenly a deep growl blasted his ears and a heavy weight slammed against the fence, knocking him from his perch. "Umpf!" he exclaimed as he hit the sidewalk. Pain seared through his entire body. His vision dimmed and ears grew muffled as he exhaled in shallow breaths to ease the radiating agony. The low menacing growls and barks from at least two dogs penetrated his haze. Move your arse, man! he grimaced to himself, rolling instinctively up against the wall into the cover of shadows. Sucking in a deep shaky breath, he held his position and tried to regroup.
"Trevor! Report!" Cassie's frantic voice demanded in his ear.
Winded, he couldn't squeeze out the words to comfort her. A commotion inside the gate forced him to press tighter against the wall, hoping his dark clothing would help as additional camouflage.
"Trevor! Report. Now!"
"Here!" he gasped out with a groan.
A voice behind the wall yelled. Trevor smirked. The guard blamed the dogs' barking on a stray cat.
Someone else cursed at the dogs to shut up.
"I would like that, too, thank you very much!" Trevor mumbled to himself as he completed an internal assessment. The pain was fading and, although nothing seemed to be broken, he had landed on his back and on the small toolkit box in his backpack. That's going to smart in the morning. Confident he hadn't blown his cover since he wasn't kissing shoes or facing gun muzzles, he finally responded to Cassie's frantic requests.
"I'm okay. Just sore. All cameras placed. I'm heading back."
"If you think you can just scare the crap out of me and walk home like nothing happened you are very wrong, mister." Cassie's voice, although steady, was now seething with anger. "What the hell happened out there, Trevor!?"
Trevor checked his surroundings, crawled closer to the gate, and popped his head around the corner of the wall to check the house. Again, loud growls echoed in his ears and the gate shook under the weight of a body butting up against it. The dogs were right in his face, doing what they were trained to do—guard the property.
"Dogs, Cassie...big dogs happened."He pushed to his feet and leaned back against the wall. Concern worried at his heart and, to avoid leading a possible tail directly to Cassandra, he decided to take the longest route back.
He headed in the opposite direction from which he had arrived. "ETA, seventeen minutes."
Cassandra immediately picked up on the change of plans. "Why seventeen? Why not the twelve it took on the original route?"
She was like one of the freaking dogs behind the gate chasing him for answers. He sighed. "It's all okay, Cassie. Just taking a different route back. I will explain when I get there."
Cassandra continued to badger him. "Oh, damn straight you will! What the hell were you thinking, climbing the fence to plant the camera up there?" She interjected, "Mind you, it was truly brilliant, but that's not the point! You can't let yourself get carried away and lose perspective of the goal here, Trevor!" Her implication left an ache in his chest.
"It was just the perfect location to get the shots we need of both the people and license plates of cars arriving at the mansion," he commented quietly as he briskly walked around the block and to the street that would lead him to the bridge and back to Cassandra. The risk had been great, but Trevor didn't regret a minute of it. It was a necessary one to get what they needed. Still smarting from the fall, he limped, listening to the concern and anxiety coloring Cassandra's voice as she ranted about how reckless he had been and how she was going to kick his ass when he got there.
The connection had gone quiet as he approached the building and he wondered what it would take to get back on her good side and out of the doghouse. Entering the code, he limped up the stairs and entered the apartment. Cassandra stood right at the door, her flushed cheeks a clear sign of her anger toward him at the moment.
"What the fuck, Trevor?"
As those words hung in the air, his thoughts narrowed to her, her flushed face, the anxiety in her tone, and the pulse beating out of control at the base of her throat. Without a word, he kicked the door shut, dropped the pack to the floor, and roughly hauled her into his arms, seizing her mouth in a hot, searing kiss.
Cassandra's stomach churned. Her throat was so tight she could barely breathe, let alone speak. Her anger was directed both at Trevor for taking risks and at herself for knowing the risks—handling the risks—and still dying inside each time he did. How had she ever let him have so much control over her heart? It was as if he'd chipped away the ice and nursed the flames that now engulfed it.
A part of her wanted to grab him and hold on tight, happy he was back in one piece. But the part of her ruled by anger twisted in his arms, trying to push him away, unwilling to set aside the emotions that ate at her. Her efforts were thwarted by his tight hold, the press of his body against hers, and his relentless kiss determined to conquer her anger.
Under his assault, her struggles subsided and she sagged with a sigh of relief at having him back safe in her arms. Soon, it was washed away in a flood of desperation fed by the last couple of hours filled with pent-up worry and an overwhelming need to feel every inch of Trevor's body against hers.
Cassandra returned his demanding kiss with one of her own, pulling at his jacket and searching for the zipper until her groping fingers landed on metal. She quickly unzipped it and pushed it open, desperate to touch him. She groaned at the feel of his heat beneath her hands before sliding them up and pushing the jacket off his shoulders. Trevor held the kiss, sucking at her lips and tongue while shrugging the jacket off.
Their tongues continued to dance as her hands pulled the turtleneck from Trevor's waistband and slid underneath it, brushing up along his chest, loving the feel of his skin hard and quivering under her touch.