Matt Clipper is a product of the streets. His slot with the Commandos depends on his ability to keep playing a game with death he’s growing tired of. But with no military skill set, no education to fall back on, and no special skills to call upon, the streets and gangs are his only way to contribute to the team. But when the game he’s been playing goes from deadly to suicidal, his only hope of salvaging his sanity could rest in keeping how close to the edge he really is to himself.
“Against the Rules” – Excerpt from MIND KILLER (Underground, Book 2)–
This couldn’t be good. Jen LaSaulle swung her chair toward the hydrolift’s monitor as the signal of keycard activation buzzed in Comms. The only people not in the Underground tonight were Ishmael, who was probably at least three thousand miles away, and Matt, who shouldn’t be back until dawn.
She sucked in a breath and fought away the grip of queasiness as her gaze locked onto the image of the black man currently slumped against the wall of the hydrolift, one hand pressed to his side. Was he injured?
Her heart twisted as she searched his face for signs of pain, and found only weariness. He must have forgotten about the monitoring system, or he’d never show this kind of vulnerability.
“Rough night?” She spoke into the Comms headset, aware only he could hear her, in the confines of the soundproofed hydrolift.
Matt’s head jerked up, and all hint of vulnerability was gone as the badass returned full-bloom. Only now, she knew it was all bullshit. “Nah, I’m great, Catwoman.”
She rolled her eyes, even aware that he couldn’t see her expression. When was Matt going to actually let her in? “I’m a psychologist and a profiler, Clipper. Give me some credit.”
He swore, and glared toward the camera as the ‘lift came to a halt in the Underground. “Then read my mind, Doc. I don’t wanna talk about it.”
Annoyance zipped through her. This was an old argument. She wasn’t prepared to have a relationship with a man who couldn’t share himself with her, and he only seemed to want to have a good time. So they stalled at sex. She told herself she was fine with that, then called herself a liar. Still, they had the job, and if he couldn’t respect her as a lover, he was damned well going to respect her as a teammate. “You don’t have a choice, tough guy. You have to report in.”
The door to the hydrolift slid closed, but not before she saw his response in an uplifted finger. Her cheeks burned with fury. Damn it all, she was sick of this. She couldn’t get him to talk to her, anymore, without pulling rank as the team fitness evaluator. Even then, she knew he was handing her a line, even if she couldn’t prove it. Matt Clipper was not okay.
Shoving to her feet, she stalked through the door and out into the corridor just in time to see Matt heading up the hall toward the housing sector.
“Get back here.” Her words were cold, and laced with all the fury and pain she held caged inside her. Matt wouldn’t treat anyone else on the team with this kind of careless disdain. Why her? “You know the rules, Clipper.”
He turned, and for a split second, the walls dropped. Jen sucked in a gasp of surprise and dismay. Matt was close to dropping – not unusual – but his eyes were wild and troubled. She had no doubt where he was headed, or what he would do once he got there. Her anger was forgotten as she hurried toward him.
“Please,” she softened her tone as she approached, and saw him tense as if he meant to flee. “Just talk to me. Let me be your friend, Matt.”
He shifted, and his face blanched. Jen’s eyes widened and her gaze dropped to the floor, where she saw a growing puddle of blood on the concrete and steel floor. “Oh my god!”
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