Isabelle tried to brace herself emotionally when Jack entered the room and asked the police officer to wait in the hall for a few minutes. Jack’s expression was grim as he took the chair Ty had been sitting on and set it across the table from her.
With a heavy sigh, he sat and looked her in the eye. “The significance of the gun is that it means there’s a strong probability the man who shot at you is a professional hitman.”
“Does that also mean you know who he is?”
“Unfortunately, no. The only thing anybody knows about him is that he uses a Nagant M1895, which is an old Russian gun known for being one of the few revolvers to use a silencer. It’s pretty distinctive. There’s not much out there about the guy himself, though.”
“But you know he’s good.”
She watched him struggle with his answer and hoped he’d respect her enough not to sugarcoat her situation. “He’s good. One of the best.”
“If he played ball, what would his batting average be?”
His expression wasn’t eased by her attempt to lighten a horrible conversation. “He bats a thousand, Isabelle.”
“Oh.” A killer with a perfect record. “So … that’s not good.”
“I’m not going to let him get to you.”
She wanted to believe him. It looked like he believed it. But he wasn’t the one being hunted by a killer who’d never missed taking down his trophy buck. And she really needed to get a handle on her sporting analogies.
“Tell me what you’re thinking,” Jack said.
About baseball and deer hunting, strangely enough. “I don’t know what I’m thinking yet.”
“I told you, I’m not going to let him kill you.”
“Doesn’t sound like he gives people much of a choice.”
Jack leaned forward and gripped her hands. His palms and fingers felt hot, but maybe it was because her hands were freezing. It was cold in the room, and her entire body felt numb.
“Isabelle, look at me.” She lifted her gaze to meet his. “I walked, alone and unarmed, into the very large and very well-armed compound of one of the most vicious guerrilla leaders in modern history to save your life, and you think I can’t take one guy?”
His confidence warmed her, even though she suspected it was partly an act to comfort her. Not all an act, though. She’d seen him in action, and there probably weren’t very many things Jack Donovan was afraid of. “What are we going to do?”
“We’re going to start by going back to Charlotte’s apartment. Right now, West is filling in Rossi—Alex Rossi, you remember him?” She nodded. “We’ll keep you safe.”
It was too much. The fear. His soft, firm reassurances everything would be okay. The tremble started deep within her, slowly spreading until her entire body was shaking. He squeezed her hands, but it didn’t help. She wanted to be strong—she’d already survived so much and come out the other side with her head held high—but she had no coping skills for this. For being hunted by a man who had never failed to kill his prey.
Jack let go of her hands, and her fingers curled into fists as he moved around the table. When he tucked his hand under her elbow, she stood, but her knees were weak, and she might have fallen if he hadn’t wrapped his arm around her and pulled her against his chest.
Jack Donovan went through hell and back to save Isabelle once. Now she’s back in his life, hunted by an assassin so elusive some claim he’s only an urban legend. More than just a gun for hire, the killer is driven by a pathological need to take down his targets and, when Isabelle escapes the bullet meant for her, Jack knows he'll strike again. The only way to keep her alive is to keep her close, and Jack’s about to learn what hell really is.
In the year since Jack rescued her from a guerrilla compound and then walked away, Isabelle Arceneau has begun to put her life back on track. Now somebody wants her dead and Jack is once again her only hope for survival. As the Devlin Group races to uncover the killer’s identity and Jack and Isabelle go on the run in a desperate bid to keep her alive, she knows she can trust him with her life, but never again with her heart.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shannon Stacey is the author of over two dozen romance novels and novellas, including her popular Kowalski series. She has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award twice, and was named to a Publishers Weekly Top 10: Romance list in 2013. Shannon lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.
Thanks to Shannon Stacey, five lucky winners will receive a digital copy of No Place to Hide. Good luck to all who enter!
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