Sensory Ops, Book 3
April 10, 2012
March 5, 2013
What’s being said:
“A gritty, sexy romantic suspense that you won’t be able to put down.” ~ Maria, Fresh Fiction
Love could be their greatest liability.
Ava Malia knows three things. She was once a kickass covert operative. She will eventually adjust to her new team, the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit. And the only way to finally be free of her professional past is to solve her first case and get her hands on a game-changing technology. The only problem? Success rides on her ability to swallow her distaste for the persona she must adopt in order to earn the trust of a mysterious scientist.
Dr. H escaped childhood captivity with three things. His sister. Complete control of his gift. And an engulfing distrust of anyone in the government. Adjusting to a life of freedom hasn’t been easy, but he’s found peace in solitude. The sexy woman auditing his empathic studies, though, has a way of getting under his skin that’s both arousing and disturbing. Plus, his psychic ability warns him of secrets so deeply buried in her psyche, they’d be better left alone.
Yet their instant attraction strips away all their protective barriers, down to the foundation of a new, fragile trust. And a vulnerability that, when an old enemy opens fire, could blast away any chance of a future.
Do you easily connect to a lover? Do you easily become aroused?
“Do you easily orgasm?” Ava Malia—Ava Sebastian as far as Dr. H was concerned—flipped her heavy hair over her shoulder and offered up her most seductive smile. The one she’d mastered on her last case as a call-girl.
“Excuse me?” A dark and unexpectedly sexy Greek, Dr. H glanced up from his piles of reports, graphs and charts on the desk before him. His glacial eyes remained as stoic as his face.
“It seems to me you didn’t take this line of questioning as far as you could have.” She spoke low, not needing to raise her voice since she sat so near the Ph.D she’d been tasked to get close to their knees brushed—and sent shocks of awareness up her thighs when they did. “I wonder why.”
The dark man six rows back in the classroom with a buzz-cut and muscles straining his shirt choked and shot a shocked gaze her way. She ignored him for the sake of keeping Dr. H fully engaged.
“You’re task here, Ms. Sebastian, is not to question me. You’re task is to silently gather your data.”
He didn’t need pretense. He didn’t rely on posturing. He didn’t try to appear powerful. He was powerful.
“I am well aware of my task here.” To find out which Whitestone operative has been assigned to kill you and who is likely in this room.
She’d wanted to take a direct approach and ask Dr. H for his help, but her boss Breck, team leader of the FBI Specialized Crimes Unit, had demanded a more clandestine advance. They had no hard proof Dr. H had the contact lenses Whitestone sought. And given his history with the corrupt agency and her former ties to them… Breck didn’t see Dr. H working with them. As far as Ava was concerned, the bastards at Whitestone had ruined enough lives. She was going to witness their fall.
“Isn’t your goal with this questionnaire to get to know your study applicants? To find out what makes people tick and how deeply connected we are to our emotions?”
“Your point?” His smooth-as-butter voice whispered across her consciousness like a gentle aubade, though lingering just below the surface was an almost indiscernible, adversity-forged superiority.
“It just seems you missed an opportunity by not asking people about their orgasms. What could be more closely tied to a person’s emotions, their psyche, than how they react during sex?”
“Sex is not…” He trailed off as his gaze locked on her like a targeted missile. The pulse at the base of his jaw thumped. “This is not a sex study.”
Moist awareness bubbled in Ava’s throat, but she refused to swallow it down. Just as she’d been trained to always sit with a clear view of a room, she’d been trained not to react to certain stimuli.
Whether it was the dislike of her cover name and the memories it evoked for her or the urge to laugh at his slightly flustered response or the arousal pulsing through her body stimulated by nothing more than a hard-eyed look she couldn’t respond.
Maybe she was the one being engaged.
“No.” From what she’d learned of Dr. H he studied emotions, their triggers and effects. He seemed to be on a quest to find genuine empaths, especially young ones, to help them master their gifts.
“Then drop this line of pursuit and focus on your job.”
He was her job and focusing on him was no hardship. “The questions make a girl think. They trigger internal signals…” She rested an elbow on the desk and moved her shoulders slightly forward. “And I don’t mean in the clinical ways of the posters in a gynecologist’s office on communicable diseases like, oh I don’t know…herpes.”
Buzz cut dude barked out a rough laugh. The perky blonde two seats over from him giggled. Everyone else in the half-full classroom shifted in their seats and pretended to be focused on their questionnaires.
Dr. H returned his attention to his papers. “Do your job, Ms. Sebastian.”
For her plan to work, she needed him on her side. Needed him to accept her rather than reject her as a problem. She shrugged and did his bidding.
Dr. H may think he’d kept a low profile since his escape from Eston White, a company she knew by their alternate name of Whitestone. He was cautious and gaining access to his lab on short notice hadn’t been easy, but she’d gotten in. He wasn’t as safe as he thought.
She would wait until just the right moment to point out his weak spots.
After the study applicants had finished and left, Ava flipped back to the first page of the report Dr. H had passed her and skimmed through the data again. She’d had little time to prepare for this assignment, and didn’t want to disappoint her new team. Hoping she’d interpreted the information correctly, Ava jotted a few final notes in her journal and began packing up.
“I hope you got everything you needed, Ms. Sebastian.” Dr. H shifted through the papers without looking up. “Call if you need something more.”
Dismissed as easily as he’d swat away a mosquito. She rounded the desk and smiled. “I’ll be back. Soon.”