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AGENT l1: TRISTAN (The D.I.R.E. Agency)
By JONI HAHN
Agent I1: Tristan Jacobs
- Second generation Former Navy SEAL
- DIRE’s top agent
Raised in the art of warfare, Former Navy SEAL, Tristan Jacobs, has always been a force to reckon with. Now that D.I.R.E. has successfully implemented his scientific enhancements, he’s a walking weapon. Unstoppable, as long as he stays focused. No relationships.
When ex-BUD/S teammate, Aidan Monroe, interrupts his long-awaited sabbatical to call in a favor, Tristan reluctantly fills the simple request: take out his sister’s fiancé.
One problem: Rachel Monroe – smokin’ hot, kind-hearted, and in desperate need of a protector. After the best sex of his life, Tristan’s afraid unstoppable is just a memory. Knowing Aidan’s temper, Tristan could be, too.
Rachel Monroe had a plan to help her mother. Her brother ruined everything when his gorgeous, super-agent friend teleported her to some forsaken island – and his bed. She’s drawn to him despite the fact he’s a professional agent, much like the people suspected of killing her father.
Now, his enemies have come to her small town, looking for vengeance. Have they found more than they bargained for? Or, does the past have its own retribution in mind?
AGENT l1: TRISTAN (The D.I.R.E Agency) by JONI HAHN
Being invisible had definite advantages – slipping in and out of rebel compounds, stealing enemy technology and weapons, and listening in on private conversations, to name a few. But none, not one, was more beneficial, more gratifying, more freaking hot, than watching Rachel Monroe dress in this church, undetected.
Tristan Jacobs ducked around the full-length mirror to get a better angle. His conscience told him he should be shot for standing there ogling Aidan’s sister. His former BUD/S teammate and swim buddy, Aidan Monroe, had saved his life once upon a time, and Tristan owed him.
Or, had owed him – until last night.
Living with the ability to see himself but not be seen by others had made Tristan’s job so much easier. He could honestly say this was the first time he had used his ability for personal, unscrupulous gain. The ability to teleport from one place to another with the scan of a thumbprint on his armband, had given him a whole new spin on time management.
His lower body hummed as he stared at the bare flesh highlighted in the sunrays shining through the skylight. Rachel was a goddess. Not in the supermodel, movie starlet sense. Those women did nothing for him. She came off more as the small town, girl next door, they-know-how-to-grow-‘em-down-on-the-farm-type goddess. And damn, was she blessed.
The push-up bra she wore urged him to text his broker and buy stock in women’s lingerie. If Rachel walked into the Stock Exchange wearing that thing, she could single-handedly revive Wall Street and the nation’s economy.
Tristan stifled a groan as she slowly rolled up an ivory silk stocking and hooked it to her garter. The woman’s legs were all kinds of long, her stomach flat and smooth. Her skin held the hint of a tan – even the cheeks peeking out of her ivory lace panties were tanned.
He took a steadying breath. Don’t go there, Jacobs.
Aidan had known calling in that favor was the only way Tristan would have left his long-awaited staycation in Trunk Bay. The hothead all but ordered Tristan to help save his older sister, the saint.
Tristan whistled mentally as Rachel shimmied into her fitted wedding gown. He had never seen a saint with curves like that.
Aidan could only blame himself for Tristan standing in the bride’s room of an old, Victorian church in Podunk, Texas, watching his sister don a wedding dress she wouldn’t use. He’d told Tristan to meet him there.
Aidan was late.
“You’re doing the right thing,” Rachel told her reflection as she smoothed the lace skirt over her hips. “This will fix everything for Mom.”
Tristan frowned. No, you’re not doing the right thing. I did the right thing for you.
He’d crashed Cody Brewster’s bachelor party last night. Of course, no one had seen him there but Aidan. Tristan had seen first-hand what an arrogant ass Rachel’s fiancé could be. According to Aidan, Brewster and his father, Jock, owned nearly the entire town. Tristan had seen evidence of that in the way the men sucked up to them at the party. Gifts and drinks were expected from everyone and, other than Aidan, they had delivered.
Rachel’s deep sigh and soft voice brought Tristan out of his reverie. Damn, he hadn’t heard Kate Monroe enter the room. Ogling his only friend’s sister while her mother stood by, well… even a corrupt mercenary like Tristan had his limits. He needed to get out of there.
“Rachel, you’re absolutely beautiful.” Kate rushed forward to give her daughter a hug.
The woman was the splitting image of Aidan, with her copper hair and green eyes. Rachel must’ve gotten her chocolate waves from her deceased father.
The heavy, oak door swung open. Aidan stuck in his head and looked around. “Anyone come by searching for me?”
“No.” Kate pinned Rachel’s veil to the crown of her head. She looked over at her son. “Who would be looking for you?”
Dismissing them without an answer, Aidan pulled the door halfway shut and left.
With sincere regret, Tristan left behind Rachel and the hottest fifteen minutes he’d experienced in a long time. He tiptoed around the faded, olive-colored sofa, steering clear of the glass lamp on the end table.
Invisibility didn’t mean he could move through objects.
Slipping through the opening, Tristan stepped out into the hallway. He wanted to do a quick surveillance of the church and grounds before he found Aidan. With only fifteen minutes to go before the start of the ceremony, he wanted to ensure turmoil loomed on the Brewster side of the church.
Tristan stepped out into the June, early morning sun and took a deep breath. The smell of oil hung heavy and dank, making him long for home. If all went well, he could still get in a full afternoon and evening on his private beach.
Rounding the side of the church, past the statue of St. Michael, Tristan made his way to the back parking lot – and stopped cold.
Jock Brewster and another man had Cody propped up in the passenger seat of a big, black pickup. Jock’s son looked unconscious, his head flopping onto his chest while they tried to slip his arms into a tuxedo jacket.
Tristan did a mental fist pump while he cursed low in his throat. Obviously, the mega-dose of Rohypnol he had slipped into Cody’s drink last night still worked. He just couldn’t believe Jock would still try to pull off the wedding.
He had to tell Aidan.
Jogging down the church hallway, Tristan found a closet. Looking around, he slipped inside and shut the door behind him. He slid open the copper plate on his armband, emblazed with The D.I.R.E. Agency emblem, and ran the pad of his forefinger over the scanner beneath. Closing his eyes, his blood pumped wildly as an electrical current shot through his system, deactivating the gold and copper compound. He saw a bright flash of light behind his eyelids before the bulk of his flesh weighed on his bones.
He was visible again.
Opening his eyes, he smoothed down his grey-striped tie and adjusted the cuffs of his white shirt. He rushed out the door and ran to the bride’s room. Reaching for the knob, he stopped short when the door was yanked open from the inside. Rachel ran straight into him, Aidan on her six.
Don’t look down, Jacobs. Don’t even think about those impossibly perfect breasts crushed against you. Aidan will kill you on the spot.
He stared at Aidan above Rachel’s head. “Houston, we have a problem.”
Aidan let out a breath, his tense shoulders dropping in relief. “Where the hell have you been?”
Trust me, you don’t want to know. “Bogey and company at nine o’clock, about a half click.”
Looking away, Aidan cursed a blue streak. Rachel whipped around to glare at him. “Aidan, we are in a church.”
Tristan grinned to himself. Cocky, smart ass Aidan Monroe actually blushed. If the situation weren’t so urgent, Tristan would’ve harassed him about it.
Rachel stared up at Tristan, hands on hips. “Who are you and what are you talking about?”
An answer formed in Tristan’s head but couldn’t seem to pass his lips. She focused on him now, her big, aqua eyes shimmering against her tanned skin. Tristan’s body felt as charged as it had during his visibility transformation a few seconds ago.
“He’s out cold,” he told Aidan. “The old man is dragging him in here. What do you want to do?”
Rachel’s gasp almost swallowed her words. “Who’s out? Cody?”
Aidan glanced back at his mother, his brows furrowed. Groaning aloud, Kate turned away.
“Rachel,” Aidan said, “go down the hall with Tristan while Mom and I talk to Jock.”
“No.” She turned back to her brother. “If Cody is here, we’re getting married.”
A muffled hum and the echo of heavy-booted footsteps grew stronger and louder with each passing second. Rachel moved in closer, trying to see beyond Tristan’s shoulder.
Without a word, Aidan motioned for Tristan to let him and Kate pass. Rachel pushed forward to follow, but Tristan stepped into the doorway and turned his back on her. She peered around his bicep.
Jock Brewster shuffled into view, dragging his son under one arm. Cody remained lifeless, his head bobbing in rhythm with their steps. The rubber toes of his boots dragged on the concrete floor, leaving twin, narrow tracks down the church hallway.
Somehow, Jock had managed to get his son into a full tuxedo. He labored to keep his hulking son upright.
“Cody.” Rachel’s small hands pushed against Tristan’s shoulders.
It took all he had not to flinch away from the contact.
“Let me pass.” She shoved him in the back.
His arm shot out and braced against the doorframe, blocking her path further.
“Good heavens, Jock,” Kate cried. “Do you honestly expect Rachel to marry him while he’s unconscious?”
Jock lowered his son into a metal, folding chair beside a water fountain. Cody fell over sideways, his blonde head resting in the basin.
“Aw, Kate,” Jock said in a breathless voice, his white hair mussed from the exertion, “we all know they both agreed to this. Why don’t we just have Pastor Collins come back here and marry them? No one in town will know the difference.”
Tristan stilled. Holy shit, was this guy serious?
Aidan laughed, his arms crossed over his chest. “I always knew you were crazy, Brewster, but I never knew how crazy until you said that.”
“Hell, son.” Jock waved a hand at him. “You were in the SEALS. You can’t tell me you didn’t look the other way a time or two.”
“Like Sheriff Andrews does when he catches you breaking the law?” Aiden glared daggers at him. “And, I’m not your son.”
“Stop.” Rachel stood on her toes to peer over Tristan’s shoulder. “First things, first. Aidan, make your henchman, here, let me pass.”
With a smirk at Tristan, Aidan shook his head. “I don’t think so, Rach.”
She pounded Tristan on the back with her fist. He grinned to himself, flexing his shoulders in resistance. So, the saint possessed a streak of hellion. Very hot.
“Is he okay, Jock?” Rachel nodded at Cody.
“Ah, he’s fine.” Jock gave a dismissive wave. “He must’ve had one helluva bachelor party last night.”
Aiden and Tristan exchanged a smirk.
I enjoyed it, anyway.
“He’s embarrassed my daughter in front of everyone in town.” Kate popped Jock on the chest. “This is unforgivable.” Lowering her voice, she said, “I was counting on this marriage, Jock.”
Tristan felt Rachel still behind him. She swallowed hard and took a deep breath.
“I’ll do it.”
Tristan whipped around. What the hell? She couldn’t be serious. No wonder Aidan felt the need to step in on this wedding. The woman didn’t play with a full deck.
“No.” Aidan turned to point a finger at her. “Don’t be ridiculous, Rachel.”
Jock gave a wily smile. “She’s a consenting adult, son.”
A wiry, middle-aged man wearing church robes came around the corner. “Hello, everyone. Looks like someone is trying to wake up.” He nodded at Cody, who made soft, groaning noises in the fountain drain.
Jock and Kate rushed to Cody’s side. Aidan turned to Tristan, his green eyes intense, glittering. Taking Rachel’s hand, he slapped it inside Tristan’s palm. Sparks of awareness erupted under his skin.
“Take her. Now.”
Rachel stiffened beside him. “No.”
Tightening the grip on her hand, Tristan tried to drag her down the hall. Rachel held her legs stiff. He yanked on her arm, nearly toppling her face first on the floor. He helped her straighten.
“I’m not…” She shoved the veil out of her face. “…going anywhere.”
“Rachel, go,” Aidan said through gritted teeth. “We’ll find another way.”
She tried to break free of Tristan’s grip. “There is no other way, Aidan.”
“Like hell.” Turning to Tristan, Aidan clenched his jaw. “Do it.”
Tristan stilled. Oh, hell no. Not here. Not now. “No.”
Rachel halted mid-motion. “Do what?”
Aidan shoved Tristan back into the bride’s room, Rachel stumbling along with him. “Do it.”
“No, Aidan,” Rachel said. “I’m not going anywhere. Now, stop this, once and for all.” She turned her big, blazing eyes on Tristan. “And you. Let go of me… now.”
“What the hell is going on in there?” Jock boomed out in the hallway.
Aidan shoved Rachel flush against Tristan’s chest. The scent of orchids overwhelmed him. “Go.”
Cursing a blue streak in his head, he gazed down into her wide eyes, then lower. Her breasts nearly burst free of her strapless gown.
Damn. He should not have Aidan’s saintly sister crushed against him like this. Did Aidan have any idea how long it had been since he’d had a woman?
Cursing aloud this time, he threw his arms around Rachel. He didn’t sign up for this – he was on vacation, dammit. Only six days remained before he had to be in Brazil to intercept one of Naylor’s gun technology deals.
Intense heat enveloped him. He felt a trickle of sweat at his temple. Was he sweating? Good God. He acted like he hadn’t held a beautiful woman before.
Rachel’s heart galloped against his chest. Fear shone bright in her round eyes and flushed face. He had to get them out of there.
Reaching behind her back, he shoved aside the cuff of his shirt and found the cover plate on his armband. His thumb slid over the scanner. He stared into her big, beautiful eyes as the thick, green plasma surrounded them.
“What did you do? What’s happening?”
“Hold onto me, Rachel. And, whatever you do, don’t let go.”
By day, Joni Hahn keeps her secret decoder ring hidden while she works as a mild-mannered HR manager and accounting generalist. She believes the world can never have too many superheroes, and anxiously waits for the call when one will need help saving the world…or getting into his costume. Joni was born with a hopelessly tender heart and believes there is nothing on earth more exhilarating than falling in love (Other than the rear shot of Chris Evans in The Avengers – that was pretty darn exhilarating). A native Texan, she thinks cowboys are the epitome of masculinity, and that country music is the other soul music.
Joni’s three-book superhero romance trilogy, The D.I.R.E. Agency, is available now. Look for Books 4 and 5 in the Series, Agent M4: Riordan and Agent S6: Jaydan coming in 2014.
Links to Joni’s website, blog, books, etc.
BE SURE TO COME BACK to read more about Joni and the second book in her D.I.R.E. Agency series, AGENT E2: AIDAN MONROE. She’s sharing the third book in the series, AGENT T3: d-ARTAGNAN NAYLOR, on Saturday. Happy Reading!
**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Joni will give away a signed copy of her book, AGENT l1: TRISTAN JACOBS to one of her lucky readers who comments on her Monday Interview or Wednesday Book Bench blogs…a T-shirt with a book cover (winner’s choice) for a lucky reader who comments on her Thursday Book Bench blog…and a $15 Amazon gift card for a lucky reader who comments on her Saturday Book Bench blog!! Don’t miss this chance to read this story!! Thanks, Joni, for sharing your stories with us!