Marliss Melton delivers another smartly executed tale of suspense, non-stop action, and romance with SHOW NO FEAR. Well researched and fast paced until the stunning conclusion, SHOW NO FEAR is an adventure that will be hard to put down... As the seventh book in this phenomenal series, I have definitely fallen in love my seventh time, and that's why this book deserves a Perfect 10!
—Romance Reviews Today
Hours later, her mind saturated with as much information as she could memorize, Lucy felt a renewed sense of certainty. The assimilation process had given her back her accustomed self-confidence, reassuring her that her PTSD was a thing of the past. She could do this. The episode in Venezuela hadn't caused any lasting damage.
But first she and James needed to have a good heart-to-heart, which he seemed to be avoiding.
She hurried to catch up with him, trapping him as he stood waiting for the elevator. "James—Gus," she amended with a self-directed grimace. That was going to take a little getting used to. He swung around slowly, his expression both guarded and disapproving.
"Would you like to go out for drink?" she brazened, ignoring the invisible shield erected around him. It was obvious he wasn't feeling social. "We have a lot of catching up to do," she insisted. They weren't going to be able to proceed without airing their differences—whatever they were.
"We're going to dinner soon," he prevaricated. Carlos had instructed them to meet them at a local restaurant where they would practice their new roles as Mr. and Mrs. Gustavo de Aguiler. She sure hoped Gus's Spanish had improved.
Feeling rebuffed, she took a different tack. "Well, I can see you're just thrilled to be working with me," she quipped with sarcasm. "What's the matter? Never worked with a woman before?" she demanded archly.
He looked away, stuffing his hands into his pockets. "From what I recall, you were the one with issues about having me for a partner," he quietly reminded her. Touché. Lucy's face turned hot. "I'm not use to working with anyone else," she explained. "I work alone. No offense intended."
His gaze slid back in her direction. This time he let her see the concern and dread warring in his eyes. "When's it going to end for you, Luce?" he asked her suddenly, ignoring the elevator as the doors slid open. "When will you have had enough?"
"Oh, come on." She waved away his words with a quirk of her lips and a toss of her head. She got a sudden feeling that he knew more about her than she knew about him. Moreover, his concern was unwelcome; it undermined her self-confidence. "So, I took a little beating on my last assignment, so what? I've taken worse and still landed on my feet," she assured him, giving him a not-so playful push.
Beneath the linen-and-silk blend of his suit, he felt as solid as a tree.
Nor did he reciprocate her smile. His lips remained locked in a horizontal line as his eyes roamed her face, taking in every tiny trophy scar that gave testament to her words. "You mean like when you were stabbed by an asset in Madrid in '04?" he demanded quietly.
The breath disappeared from Lucy's lungs. He did know more than he was supposed to.
"Or maybe you're thinking of the car accident in Morocco that put you in traction for six months?"
"Who told you about that?" The elevator doors slid shut, giving up on them to heed summons from a higher floor.
"We work for the same people," he retorted. He took at sudden step toward her, causing her nerves to leap with awareness. Maybe he wasn't any taller but his shoulders were certainly broader, his neck thicker, creating an illusion of immense height. His scent curled into her nostrils, so endearingly familiar that her heart clutched with remembered affection. "I want you to turn down this assignment, Lucy," he growled, his words cancelling out her tender feelings. "Go tell Gordon you've changed your mind, that you're not ready for this."
"The hell I'm not ready for it!" Lucy protested, her spine stiffening with affront. "Why wouldn't I be?" Why, indeed? asked a tiny voice inside her.
A ruddy color stained Gus's cheekbones. "Lucy, those guards beat the hell out of you," he grated with quiet force. "For all I know, they even raped you."
"They didn't," she retorted, tamping down memories that sought to escape. "What's more, I didn't need your help," she added, heaping on false confidence to keep pressure on the lid. "I'd gotten what I came for and I was on my way out."
"Congratulations," he said with a scathing look. "Just answer me this, Lucinda." He used her full name knowing she hated it. "When is it going to end for you? Or are you going to keep this up until you're good and dead?"
"I don't know," she answered him honestly, hating that he was feeding that tiny fear still lingering inside of her. "I've never considered quitting. Have you?"
"I thought maybe it was over for you," he continued, ignoring her question. "You've been lying low for ten months now. Why can't you just keep doing that?"
"You've been spying on me?" she cried in disbelief.
"I told you. We work for the same people," he repeated. "Now, go tell Gordon you don't want this assignment," he repeated, crowding her with his larger body.
"No," she countered, giving him her most stubborn look.
In a gesture that she recognized from their college days, he turned away, jamming his fingers through his russet-brown, neatly trimmed hair. With a muttered curse, he punched the button for the elevator again.
His vehemence gave Lucy pause—that and the inference that he truly cared about her wellbeing. "Why's does it matter to you so much, anyway?" she asked, remembering with a pang the tenderness he used to show her.
He swung slowly back around. "Because now we're partners," he articulated, with a tremor in his voice. "And, as such, it's my unenviable job to keep you alive."
"I don't need you to keep me alive," she retorted. The thought was ridiculous. She'd done fine on her own all these years.
His eyelashes came together as he glared at her with flashing eyes. "Is that right?" he countered, softly. "How many ops have you done in the jungle, Lucy?"
Lucy opened her mouth to shoot back an answer then closed it with a snap. "None," she admitted, self-consciousness pinching her cheeks.
He raked her with another look, this one reflecting honest fear and concern. Then he turned and walked away.
"Where are you going?" she asked, frustrated by her inability to get a good read on him. Why was he so against her involvement?
Without a word, he pushed through the door marked EXIT.
She had the answer to her spoken question, but not the unspoken one. He was taking the stairs.