Discover New York Times bestselling author Cherrie Lynn’s Deadlock, featuring a team of elite military hackers who will do whatever it takes to protect their country and the women who enter their dark and dangerous world.
Ex–Air Force hacker Jace Adams is the best at what he does. There isn’t a system he can’t infiltrate or a country his team can’t topple. But when he finds Lena Morris, the woman he hates most in the world, on his doorstep, the last thing he wants to do is help her. Or is it really Lena?
Lindsey Morris can’t believe her twin sister, Lena, is missing, with only a cryptic text to find the man Lena once betrayed. But as easy as Jace is to look at, getting him to agree to help her find her sister is a lot harder. He refuses to put his team at risk, until they find out the enemy they’re facing may be one they have in common…
As Lindsey and Jace race against the clock to save her sister, their shaky truce begins to morph into a fire they can’t control. But their lack of trust might be exactly what gets them killed.
Scrubbing his hands over his face, he glanced at the clock and then finished watching Lindsey’s journey home. He stayed with her until it looked as if she entered her building on the other side of the city and then moved no more. She was home. He checked on Griffin—still no movement. Jace wasn’t sure how the guy fit into anything. He might very well be who and what he claimed—a concerned friend. But very few people were who and/ or what they claimed.
Which was why, earlier tonight while Lindsey had been dressing, he had installed a listener on her computer to see if there was anything she was keeping from him that he needed to know. It wasn’t that he genuinely thought she was in on the whole thing anymore, though it might be good to keep her on her toes in that regard. But if she was compromised or being forced into doing something against her will, he needed to know. Shitty and intrusive, yeah. But utterly necessary.
Never mind that he was holding a secret about Lena that could shake the very foundations of everything Lindsey thought she knew about her twin. There was nothing to be done for it. He had to cover his ass, and as he’d told her—he wasn’t her friend.
He’d planned on doing it through her email at first, since it was still easily accessible to him, but then he had the golden opportunity to visit her apartment. Lindsey probably wouldn’t have trusted anything he sent her himself. His plan had been to clone one of her work contacts and name his payload after a file they’d recently exchanged—something she would readily click on, which would allow him to exploit her system and give him access to record from her computer’s mic.
No need for all that now. He sat back and tried to tamp down on the guilt over invading her privacy like this. He could let those feelings through if he didn’t find anything. If he did…well, he would be glad not to be made into a fucking sucker again over a pretty girl asking for his help. Surely she wouldn’t fault him over a little self-preservation, and if she did, that was her problem.
Never again. Never, ever fucking again, Lindsey. I’m sorry if you can’t understand that.
He wasn’t able to gain access until the next evening. And he began to see what a quiet life she led.
Since he’d seen her apartment, he could imagine her there amid the cozy and comfortable surroundings—nothing like the chic and modern decorations and furniture that had been strewn around Lena’s place. He listened while she talked on the phone to someone who could have only been her mother, never mentioning Lena.
He sipped coffee, listening to her voice, her laughter, her efforts to sound normal, and wondered if only he could detect the faint tremor underneath her words. After she assured her mother more than once that she was fine, he decided that no, he wasn’t.
Silence fell for a while after she ended her call. In the background, he could hear her TV and the unmistakable voice of Bart Simpson. He had to chuckle. In fact, she surprised him even further as time wore on and she flipped over to South Park, giggling at the most inappropriate jokes.
His need for knowledge about her activities became a fascination with her. What made her emit that musical laughter despite everything happening in her life. The sound of her typing—he imagined slender fingers flying over her keyboard with lightning speed.
When he heard her munching on something that sounded like potato chips, he thought of those pretty downturned lips he’d scarcely been able to look away from over dinner.
And later, of all things, she started playing The Legend of Zelda. He knew that old-school, original Overworld theme music anywhere. It had been one of the constants he had relied on during his years of foster-home living. Video games and computers. They had saved his fucking life, given him a connection to people and to the world outside.
But some of the memories that jaunty tune unearthed made his breath burn through his lungs and his heart lodge in his throat. It was so familiar to him it had practically become ingrained in his soul.
All at once, he jumped up and turned his whole fucking system off. There wasn’t any time for shit like that. It was as if she had plugged into his head and downloaded information she shouldn’t have any access to.
She couldn’t have any way of knowing. There was no other explanation aside from her being a fan of the series, too. Which meant she was girlfriend material.
And there damn sure wasn’t any time for thoughts like that.