Prologue—two weeks earlier
The Highlands, Scotland
Dimitri held his gun tightly at his side as he trudged through the snow behind the psychopath who’d hired him. The sound of gunfire rent the night as the residents of the castle fought back. Reynard Durand, his boss on this job, was an idiot. But a dangerous idiot, the kind who was fluent in violence and lacking in empathy.
Durand’s plan had been simple: go to Scotland, kidnap Claire Donaldson, hand her over to his boss and climb further up the ladder of Abramovich’s skin trade business. To achieve this aim, Durand attacked a bachelorette party. He thought he would waltz in, intimidate the women and waltz out again with Claire under his arm. Idiot. If he’d been watching them for the past week, as Dimitri had been, he would have known that nothing was simple when it came to the women of Invertary.
He might also have known that Claire had an identical twin.
Yeah, Durand was that dumb. He’d managed to nab the wrong woman and Dimitri was scrambling for a plan to get her out of this mess. A plan that didn’t involve blowing his cover.
It was the soap opera finale of fuck ups.
To prove his point, Megan Donaldson chose that moment to trip and head-butt Durand in his back. Dimitri grabbed her arm and yanked her upright before Durand could lash out. His body tensed, ready to strike if the idiot laid a hand on the woman.
“Watch it,” Durand snapped. “Keep hold of her. We need to speed up. I have a couple of snowmobiles stashed at the west exit.”
“What about the others?” Dimitri’s left hand wrapped around Megan’s upper arm. Her silver sweater was way too thin for the icy conditions, but he knew if he shrugged off his jacket and gave it to her, it would set off alarm bells for Durand. Instead he pulled her closer to his body and hoped she took some of his heat.
“They’re on their own,” Durand snapped. “I don’t get paid enough to save their asses.”
Dipshit. You never left a man behind. It was a fundamental code of the armed forces. But then Durand had never been in the military. Another strike against the man.
Dimitri made a show of motioning Megan to move forward and telling her to hurry. It earned him a glare, which even in the middle of this fucked up operation, made him want to grin. He held her tight to keep her upright. Far too aware of her gentle curves. The ones he’d been drooling over since he’d first set eyes on her.
He needed to come up with a way to get her out of this situation, before it became a whole lot worse. A way that didn’t make Durand suspicious of Dimitri’s allegiance. His mind frantically searched for options. And then it hit him. What if he didn’t get her out of this mess quite yet? What if he let Durand take them straight to his boss? It would be the fastest way for Dimitri to get access to the information he’d gone undercover to get.
He glanced at Megan. Would she help him? Would she be willing to play hostage until he had what he needed? And would she do it knowing that he didn’t have a plan to get her out of this at the end of it? Sure, he’d come up with something. He always did. But it was still a huge risk for her to take. A risk he was desperate enough to ask her to take—if he could just get a chance to talk to her alone.
As he reasoned through his plan, he felt Megan’s grip cover his gun hand. Before he could process what was happening, she jerked his hand up, flicked off the safety and pressed his trigger finger down. The gun went off. Durand fell face first into the snow.
“What the—” Dimitri started.
He was too stunned to react, which left him vulnerable. That’s why he wasn’t prepared when she turned and kneed him in the balls. Hard. A white light appeared before his eyes and he forgot how to breathe. A low howl escaped his frozen vocal cords as he bent double, holding his poor decimated balls. Through the pain, he vaguely registered that Durand was out cold. Megan grabbed Durand’s automatic weapon and pointed it straight at Dimitri’s head.
“Drop the gun,” the blonde bombshell ordered.
Dimitri hesitated. Too long. The sadist kicked him again. Dimitri made a gurgling sound deep in his throat as the gun fell from his grip. A second later he was writhing in the snow, hands cupped to his crotch.
He looked up to find Megan standing over him. She was an Amazonian warrior. Her blonde hair a bright halo around her head, her cheeks flushed pink and a manic gleam in her blue eyes. She pointed his handgun at his head and smiled.
Even in agony. Even bested by a Barbie doll. Even though she’d just blown his operation. Even then, part of his brain was applauding her actions and wondering how fast he could get her into bed.
That’s if his poor, mashed equipment ever worked again.