RUNNING THE RISK (Endgame Ops, Book 2) by Lea Griffith
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Survival is crucial.
Trust is optional.
Love is unstoppable.
Jude Dagan’s life as he knew it ended a year ago. On a mission gone wrong, he was forced to watch as Ella Banning, the only woman he’s ever loved, was killed. Or so he thought.
Jude wasn’t the only one who lost something on the day Ella was presumed dead. She sacrificed Endgame Ops, the love of her life, and parts of herself she can never get back. Now she’s determined to take down the world’s most dangerous terrorist—even if it means working for him.
When Jude and Ella are reunited, they’ll battle the lies Ella has been forced to tell…and struggle to save a love that knows no bounds.
Jude adjusted his scope’s sight and settled down in the slight depression between two trees. Pine straw, dying leaves and branches covered him. He’d made the blind to blend into the landscape seamlessly. The sun was behind him now, its heat nothing more than a fading promise. The wind had picked up an hour ago, and he allowed its bitter cold to seep into his soul. It was soothing to a degree, though Jude doubted anything could ever completely cool his rage. He’d been here for two days, following intel that would hopefully lead him to…her. He’d stopped even thinking her name months ago. The sound of it reverberating through his mind caused unbearable pain that spread from his heart through every limb. It was debilitating, that pain. And unending. Instead, he remembered her face, the way her body had once moved beneath him, and the promises she’d made that had inevitably been nothing more than lies.
Movement in the compound below had him tightening his grip on his rifle. He’d been trained to take down targets a mile away, but today was simply reconnaissance. When he’d seen her in Beirut six weeks ago, after a year of believing her dead and gone, his mind had denied what his heart had immediately recognized.
Then she’d disappeared in the smoke and confusion, and he’d had no choice but to leave her again.
In the hell that was Lebanon.
He tightened his grip on his weapon, tamping down his dangerous emotions. Below him, four white Range Rovers pulled up to the concrete warehouse that had once been a chemical engineering facility. Unsubstantiated rumors had it that the facility’s purpose was to conceal Horace Dresden’s biochemical weapons stash. Whatever the case, those rumors had hit Jude’s ears and his skin had prickled.
Endgame’s mission for two years had been the elimination of Horace Dresden. For Jude, the mission had morphed. Oh, he wanted Dresden, but his motivation resided in the fact that if he could find that murdering son of a bitch he’d find, her.
The right-side driver’s door of the lead Rover opened, and a dainty foot encased in a nude stiletto heel lowered to the ground. The leg attached to the foot had his gut clenching. He’d tasted the arc of that calf, tongued the indention of that knee, and had his hands all over that thigh.
She stepped out of the Rover completely, and his gut clenched then relaxed. It was a reaction he’d only had with her. Jude was a warrior, a soldier. He’d spent most of his adult life training, fighting and killing. He was damn good at what he did. Had never even realized something was missing from his life until she’d stepped into his sphere and taken him over.
The wind caught her overcoat and tossed the ivory folds, allowing him a glimpse of a body that was thinner than he remembered but no less captivating. Through the scope, his gaze trailed upward over her hips and then higher across her breasts and up along the slope of her collarbone. Her skin was the same color as her coat but softer, glowing. The flavor of that skin danced like a phantom over his tongue.
The trees above him bowed to the wind, and in his spot on the ridge above the compound, His nostrils flared, a stallion scenting its mare. He swore he could taste her on the breeze. She moved to shut the door and, in an instant, froze.
She slowly lifted her hand and removed the dark sunglasses that hid the frost of her gaze from him. The scar at her temple mocked him. It was the only mark on the otherwise unblemished face that stalked his dreams. And then she angled her head toward his location.
His heart locked in his chest. No way she had any idea he was here. He hadn’t even told King where he was headed—had kept the information about Dresden’s supposed compound from the Piper, King, and his teammates. This was what he’d been reduced to. Spying on a woman who’d betrayed him…betrayed them. Desperate for a glimpse of her. Desperate to make her pay.
The wind settled at that moment, but still she gazed up toward him. The man who’d gotten out of the Rover on the other side must have called her name, because she glanced at him and her lips moved before she began walking toward the building. Jude was too far away to hear her words.
Six men got out of each of the remaining Rovers, each carrying a small metal briefcase. Jude would bet his left nut they were here to obtain some of Dresden’s horde of biochemicals.
He trained his gaze on her again, watching as her long legs ate up the distance between the Rover and the building, and for a crazy second, Jude remembered her as she’d been the night before his world had been blown to hell. He saw her walking on their beach in North Carolina, the wind whipping her long ebony hair, the waves playing havoc around her delicate ankles. He saw her head turn as a grin broke across her face. He saw the flush of their recent lovemaking on her body.
A hawk screamed in the distance, and Jude was jerked to the present. Instead of seeing his woman through the sight of the scope, he saw her. A stranger. A traitor.
Jude’s sight remained locked on her, his finger caressing the trigger as he let the anger flow through him. He’d heard the whispers—maybe she was a double agent. Maybe she wasn’t the traitor he knew her to be. Maybe she was both and neither.
Maybe he hadn’t given everything he was to a ghost.
He needed the truth, and he’d resolved that he’d have to be cold and merciless in finding it. She’d led them on this path. She could damn well walk it with him.
The man entered the building, but before she stepped in behind him, she once again turned her gaze to Jude’s location.
She couldn’t see him, but for Jude, it didn’t matter. She knew he was there. He knew she knew. She raised both hands, holding up six fingers. It was so quick Jude wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him as his heart threatened to burst from his chest. Had it been supplication or warning? He didn’t know—but the sadness that passed like a cloud over the contours of her face in that moment had him swearing.
Then she lowered her hands as the soft curves of her mouth lifted in a travesty of a smile.
Jude cursed again, the wind taking the foul word and tossing it to and fro. As she moved out of his sight, his gut clenched again. King had warned Jude that all was not as it seemed, to give him time to figure it all out.
Jude hadn’t been inclined to give himself that time. Until this moment.
Because there’d been one other emotion on her face just now that ripped a hole right through Jude’s shriveled heart. He’d seen it many times over the course of their year together but had despaired he’d ever see it again. It had been the truest of all the emotions she’d ever displayed with him.
It was the one thing that stayed his trigger finger. It was the only thing that could save her.
3 Copies of FLASH OF FURY
Lea Griffith has been reading romance novels since a young age. She cut her teeth on the greats: McNaught, Woodiwiss, and Garwood. She still consumes every romance book she can put her hands on, and now she writes her own compelling romantic suspense. Lea lives with her husband and three teenage daughters in rural Georgia.