“Trent’s girlfriend?”

“My brother.”

“Your brother Trent. And Travis. And you’re Thomas. Who am I missing? Tiger and Toadstool?”

Maddox wasn’t amused. “Taylor and Tyler. They’re twins. They’re between Trent and me.”

“Why the Ts?” I had to ask, but I was beyond annoyed with the entire conversation.

He sighed. “It’s a Midwestern thing. I don’t know. Lindy, I need you to go to my brother’s wedding with me. I need you to help me talk him into not going to prison.”

“It shouldn’t be that hard for you to convince him. The Bureau is a great alternative to prison.”

“He’ll be undercover. He will have to keep it from his wife.”


“He really, really loves his wife.”

“So do our other undercover agents,” I snapped, not feeling the slightest bit of sympathy.

“Travis has a past. His relationship with Abby has always been volatile, and Travis sees honesty as his commitment to their marriage.”

“Maddox, you’re boring me. Our undercover agents simply tell their significant others they can’t discuss their job, and that’s the end of it. Why can’t he just do that?”

“He can’t tell her anything. He’ll be undercover on an investigation that could implicate Abby’s father. That could certainly become an issue in their marriage. He won’t willingly risk anything that could mean losing her.”

“He’ll get used to it. We’ll just give him a simple, tight alibi and stick with it.”

Maddox shook his head. “No part of this is simple, Liis. We’ll have to be exceptionally creative to keep Abby from figuring it out.” He sighed and looked up at the ceiling. “She’s sharp as a goddamn tack, that one.”

I narrowed my eyes at him, wary of the fact that he’d used my first name. “The S.A.C. wants me to go. Do you?”

“It’s not a bad idea.”

“Our being friends is a bad idea, but us posing as a couple for an entire weekend isn’t?”

“Travis is…hard to explain.”

“You think he’ll get violent?”

“I know he will.”

“I’m assuming you don’t want me to shoot him if he does.”

Maddox shot me a look.

“Then, can I shoot you?” I asked. He rolled his eyes, and I held up my hands. “I’m just trying to understand my role in all of this.”

“Travis doesn’t do well when he doesn’t have choices. If he thinks he could lose Abby over it, he’ll fight. Losing her for lying or losing her because he’s in prison aren’t great choices. He might turn down the deal.”

“He loves her that much?”

“I don’t think that’s an adequate word to describe the way he feels about her. Threatening him with losing her is like threatening his life.”

“That’s awfully…dramatic.”

Maddox considered that. “Drama is the nature of their relationship.”


“Trent has organized a surprise bachelor party the night before in my hometown—Eakins, Illinois.”

“I’ve heard of it,” I said. When Maddox shot me a confused look, I continued, “I’ve driven by the exit a few times on my way to and from Chicago.”

Maddox nodded. “The next day, we’ll drive to O’Hare International Airport and then fly from there to St. Thomas. I’ll have Constance email you the dates and itinerary.”

I had mixed feelings about returning home so quickly after leaving. “Okay.”

“Like I’ve mentioned, we’ll be posing as a couple. My family believes I’m in marketing, and I’d like to keep it that way.”

“They don’t know you’re an FBI agent?”

“That’s correct.”

“May I ask why?”


I blinked. “Okay. I assume we’ll be sharing a hotel room in Eakins and in St. Thomas.”


“Anything else?”

“Not at this time.”

I stood. “Have a good afternoon, sir.”

He cleared his throat, obviously surprised at my reaction. “Thank you, Agent Lindy.”

Turning on my heels to leave his office, I was aware of everything—how fast I walked, the way my arms swayed, even how straight my posture was. I didn’t want to give him anything. I didn’t know myself how I felt about the upcoming trip, and I certainly didn’t want him to speculate.

When I returned to my office, I shut my door and nearly collapsed into my chair. I crossed my legs at the ankles and hoisted them onto my desk.

Agent Sawyer’s knuckles tapped on the door, and he expectantly stared at me through the glass wall. I waved him away.

Maddox had been glad I had transferred to San Diego, and the S.A.C. had thought I lacked finesse—even less than Fuck Off Val or Agent Davies the Slut. I looked down at my crisp light-blue button-down blouse and knee-length skirt.

I have motherfucking finesse. Just because I speak my mind means I’m not tactful?

My whole face flushed red with anger. I thought the days of women in the Bureau being called breast-feds and split-tails were over. Most male agents making sexist remarks would be quickly shut down by other male agents, even when they weren’t aware of my or any other female’s presence.

Lack finesse? I’m going to lack his finesse all over the fucking squad room.

I covered my mouth even though I hadn’t sworn out loud. They might have a point.

The landline’s shrill ring bleated twice, and I held it to my ear. “Lindy.”

“It’s Maddox.”

I sat up tall even though he couldn’t see me.

“There’s one more reason you’re a good candidate, one I didn’t mention to the S.A.C.”

“I’m positively on the edge of my seat,” I said, monotone.

“We’re posing as a couple, and I…think you’re the only female agent who would be comfortable enough with me to play the part.”

“I can’t imagine why.”

The line was silent for a solid ten seconds.

“I’m kidding. Good to know it’s not solely because the S.A.C. thinks I have no class.”