Crash and Burn - Prologue

Washington, D.C.

“...Navy SEAL is a dangerous calling. Very prone to accidents. I’d be careful, if I were you, agent Logan.”

Reena Logan’s eyes snapped open. Trembling, her skin clammy and cold, she stared into the darkness of her bedroom. There went her beauty sleep. She could never fall back asleep after having the dream. The words evoked too vivid a picture of a man’s body battered and torn, his face bathed in blood, his beautiful blue eyes lifelessly staring at her in accusation.

She’d prevented that from happening five years ago. At the cost of her heart and happiness.

She kicked off the covers and padded barefoot into the kitchen. If she couldn’t go back to sleep, she’d work. That always helped to keep her from dwelling on the past.

Her laptop was open on her desk, the screen glowing in the dark, the processor whirring slightly as it gobbled up the stream of data from her favorite torrent downloading program. Reena smiled sheepishly at the thought of a government employee going pirate, but she needed her daily fix of ebooks and her budget couldn’t sustain her reading habit. At least not at the rate she was going lately with her imposed leave of absence from work and all.

She sat at her desk, tapped the pad, and her laptop shone to life, demanding her password as she accessed her email. Her eyes immediately zeroed on the familiar address sending her an attachment. As she opened the big file and scanned the first few pages, she smiled in anticipation. There was no chance she’d beat her reading record this year. At least not judging by the material she’d just been sent.

Her phone rang and there was a smile in her voice when she answered, “Hey, big bro.”

“Hey yourself,” the man on the other side of the line replied. “I saw you opened the message. Couldn’t sleep?”

Reena chuckled. “I’d say the same goes for you.”

“I bet I have a better reason than you. I’m a workaholic and I needed your input.” Marc Hawthorne was silent for a moment, then he asked, “Nightmare?”

Reena shuddered. “You know me too well.”

“That’s what family’s for, little sister. I’d ask more, but you’d just ignore me, so I’ll take a different approach. You read the file?”

“Just perused it.” She narrowed her eyes. “There appear to be bits missing.”

“Nothing of importance,” he shot back quickly. Too quickly. “So, what do you say?”

“Well, I would have to check my schedule...”

“You’re sitting around your apartment, reading, Reen.”

She clucked her tongue. “I was planning on going to this knitting seminar.”

Marc laughed and she knew he was rolling his eyes.

“Okay, fine. I’m in.”

“You’ll get your ticket by courier tomorrow.”

“You were that sure I’d take this assignment?”

“I knew you were getting stir-crazy. Besides, we both need a change of venue.”

She nodded, though he couldn’t see her. “I guess.”

“And I can’t wait to see you. I miss you, baby girl.”

She felt a tear slide down her cheek. This man was the only family she had in the whole world. “I miss you, too, Muffin.”

“And I’ll finally see you in action.”

She scoffed, but he continued. “I know I’m biased, but I heard only good things about you.”

“See you in a few days.”

“Layover in LA. Coffee’s on me.”

“You got it.”

“Now, go read a good book.”

She was still laughing when she heard the click as he disconnected the line. She’d never admit it, but she was literally itching to get back into action. And with the info in that file, this case would pack a heavy punch. She couldn’t wait to get started.

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