A holiday to remember… if they can survive.
Good things are happening in Samantha Arnold’s life. She’s moved into a house in the big city and her first romance novel is almost published. This holiday season she intends to celebrate, especially since it’s her first Christmas with her boyfriend.
Special Agent Mitchell is ready to settle into his life at the Bureau after being sent on a globe-hopping working vacation, but at the airport, he’s met with news that chills his blood—one of the most dangerous criminals he ever put behind bars has been released due to a clerical error.
Finding the bad guy wars with the need to keep Sam safe. Distance is key, but it’s the holidays and his girlfriend has romantic plans. While dodging bullets, family issues and attempts on their lives, both he and Sam will need to find the courage to survive—for each other, for love and for their future.
"Well, that could have been way worse." The sound of Sam's voice jarred him into the present. "I expected a lecture, but Daphne wasn't that talkative tonight." She stamped in the snow covering the street, and when he actually concentrated on her movements, he realized she'd made a happy face outline with her boots.
That was exactly Sam, the personification of happy. "No, she wasn't." Mitchell hadn't thought much of it, but now he wondered. What troubled her? As much as they worked together, Daphne remained a mystery and she valued her privacy. Putting her from his mind, he glanced at Sam as she stood beside him on the deserted street. Snow fell hard about her, alighting on her navy wool coat and covering her hair with a veil of fluffy white. Bride-like, really. His stomach bottomed out. Where had that come from? Marriage was not on his agenda any time soon. He shoved the thought away. "Have I told you lately how great you are?" It was more than that though. Sam brought excitement and fun into his life. He looked forward to seeing her at the end of the work day. She lifted his spirits like no one else could.
A pleased smile curved her gloss-coated lips. "No, because you've filled your time telling me I should be more careful or dictating what I can't do."
He fixed his gaze to those plush lips and the urge to kiss her consumed him. No sense ruining a good moment by saying he was right. "Well, you are." Reminding himself not to let another day go by where he didn't give her some sort of compliment, Mitchell held out an arm. "Come here."
"Why?" She arched an eyebrow then promptly blinked like a maniac when a snowflake landed on her lashes.
A chuckle left his throat. "I want to kiss you."
"Yeah, right here on the street." When she came into the curve of his arm, he reeled her close. "And right here," he murmured as he placed a fleeting kiss on the corner of her mouth as a car made its slow way past them and further down the road. "And here." He followed that with a nibble along the sweep of her bottom lip. "And many other places I probably shouldn't access where any of your neighbors can see." The need to hustle her inside and into their bedroom where he could make those words a reality burned strong.
"Wow, a little bit of peril makes you frisky. Too bad we didn't encounter any while on vacation. We could have enjoyed each other three months ago." She slipped her arms around his shoulders and the second he peered into her blue eyes, the unmistakable sound of a double gunshot shattered the silence and the mood. Strike that. Rifle report.
"What the hell?" Immediately, romancing her was forgotten. He switched gears, threw Sam behind him and yanked his back up Glock from its holster. He darted a glance up and down the still deserted street. "Get in the house. Right now." Nothing stirred, but there had to be someone out there. Bullets didn't fire themselves.
"Who is--" Her hand shook at where she'd rested it on his back.
"For the love of God, don't argue. Just do it." Another two shots rang out, emphasizing his order. Glass shattered. He spared a look over his shoulder at the house. The porch light was no longer there.