Page 61 of Undercover Agent

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I found myself humming along to the song I knew well.

Moments later, Stephen held his hand out to Nora, and the two joined Emerson’s parents, each couple swaying to the music as they held each other close. I longed to feel Emerson in my arms. In fact, they ached with the want of it. When I looked over at her, I saw the same need written on her face.

I stood and held out my hand, but she didn’t take it. Was I wrong? Had I misinterpreted what I thought I saw on her face? Evidently, I had. I dropped my hand and walked out onto the back porch and then down to the beach. I kept walking until I reached the deserted stretch where Emerson and I had had sex two nights ago, wondering what in the hell I was playing at.

The woman was a challenge. That was the entirety of it. I woke that morning three years ago, and she was gone. If she hadn’t been, things would’ve turned out vastly different. I didn’t love Emerson like Stephen loved Nora. For me, it was about the conquest. It always had been. My job gave me the perfect excuse to walk away when I was ready to. As an MI6 agent, I traveled the world, never knowing how long I’d be in any one place.

My home—which wasn’t much of one—was a residency suite in the same hotel where I’d met Emerson three years ago. I didn’t have one at the time, but I stayed there often enough that it made sense to.

I’d said I’d give anything to feel Emerson’s naked body beneath mine one more time, and I had. But now, what? Was I ready to say goodbye to her like I did to every other woman I’d ever been with? Saint and I weren’t so different.

I laid back on the sand and looked up at the cloudless sky, imagining where we’d be now if she’d only taken my hand.


I rolled to my back and put the pillow over my head. It sounded like a herd of elephants was traipsing on the floor above me. I reached for my mobile and checked the time. “Bloody hell,” I muttered. It was seven in the morning.

I wondered if Emerson was awake yet. Was she an early riser, or did she like to sleep in? The first night I’d spent with her, she was up before dawn, but was that indicative of her usual habits?

While I would normally roll over and at least try to return to sleep—particularly on a Sunday at this hour—curiosity got the better of me.

I’d slept in the nude; my shorts and shirt were tossed on the floor somewhere. I got up and donned both before making my way to the lavatory.

After splashing water on my face and cleaning my teeth, I crept upstairs and eased open the door that led to the hallway off the kitchen. From there, I had a clear picture of the elephants. Stephen was crawling about the floor, as was Brian, gently bumping the two twins with their heads as they raced around them. Emerson was seated at the dining table with her arms once again wrapped around her stomach as tears of laughter ran down her cheeks.

If things were somehow different, if she were mine, I’d make it my life’s mission to make her laugh that hard at least once a day.

I closed the door behind me, nearly slamming it. Things were not different, and they never would be. I’d leave this place when Z gave me the word, and travel on to some other part of the world, for some other mission, on behalf of MI6. I found myself resenting the job I had so dearly loved from the day I was sworn to duty.

I was about to walk back down the stairs when the door behind me swung open. “Breakfast is ready,” Emerson announced. “Don’t expect much. I made it, but Nora did supervise. After we eat, we’re going for a hike, if you’d like to join us.”

“Are you always so chipper first thing in the morning?”

“First thing? It’s almost half-past seven.” The door closed again, and I had my answer. My Emerson was definitely an early riser. Considering at least part of my body was too, that might work out very well for me.

“I feel almost guilty,”I heard her say to Nora when I joined them in the kitchen.

“Why do you feel guilty?” I asked, looking around for a tea kettle but settling on a cup of coffee as easier.

Emerson walked over and refilled her cup.

“Cream or sugar?” she asked.

“Both, if you have it. So, why?”

“You know…Dr. Benjamin and Tommy,” she whispered.

“Dr. Benjamin knew full well the danger he was putting himself in when he decided to take on the entirety of the Chinese government by way of Hong Kong. And Saint signed up for duty just as I did. Can you imagine if everyone stopped living their life whenever there was some kind of crisis? The world would be a bloody sad place.”

She cocked her head. “Good morning to you too, Lynx.”

I took a sip of my doctored-up coffee and let my gaze linger on hers. “I can be a bit off-putting first thing in the morning.”

“Good to know.”

“Not you, though, you’re a right morning person, yes?”

“It’s not something I’m ashamed of.”