No Love Lost (Masters & Mercenaries The Forgotten #5) - Lexi Blake Page 0,2

She’d thought she and Beck would have had their two point five kids and retired to the country where they would raise them, and she would sell homemade jam or some shit.

Instead she was thirty-four and had nothing but a bunch of medals she couldn’t bring out at parties to show for it. She’d tried dating over the years, tried to forget him, but the minute she’d found a way to work herself into his world she’d taken it.

“Come on, Kim. Please have lunch with me. We don’t have to turn it into a session,” Ari prompted. “I’ll stay at your place tonight and we can order in and drink as much as we like and watch ridiculous movies. I won’t say a thing to upset you.”

God, it was nice to have a friend. She was going to miss Ari because when she was back at the Agency, she would go deep this time. She would take an assignment that would last years and lose herself in it. She would start over again, and this time she wouldn’t let herself ever get pulled back in.

“I can’t tonight.” It would be too hard to keep from talking to Ari. Ari had a way of dragging the truth out of her, and there were some things she couldn’t admit to anyone. Some secrets that had to stay hidden or the world would crash in again.

She had promises to keep. Even if they cost her everything.

Ari nodded. “All right, but I won’t let you mope forever. Call me sometime this week. I want to get together before you go back to the States.”

She nodded, though it was another lie. Hopefully she would go back to the States as soon as this meeting was over. “Sure. I should go in. I’ll think about everything you said.”

She wouldn’t be able to do anything but think. That was why she needed to get out of Europe, away from him. Maybe then she could finally move on.

She watched as Ari took the stairs and then forced herself to walk into that office. She stopped at the reception desk and showed the badge she’d been given downstairs at the security check and then let herself be led down the hall to the conference room.

Solo felt every eye on her. It wasn’t that being looked at bothered her. She hadn’t worn the Louboutin boots that came up over her knees to be ignored. But this felt different. Had Damon Knight warned his old crew not to trust her?

Or had it been Beck?

She strode in, her Prada bag over her shoulder. What had her mother told her? Use clothes and makeup and looks like a shield.

No hate can get through a Prada bag, my darling.

Her mother had been wrong, of course.

Her mother had hated Beck. She loathed his middle-class background, and the fact that he hadn’t gone to an Ivy league school. Her mother had cheered on their divorce. Not that it had helped her mother’s cause. She’d died hating her daughter for not following in the family traditions and marrying the wealthiest man she could find.

“Hello, Beck.” She picked the chair furthest from him because his eyes were already staring a hole through her. He was dressed in what she thought of as his uniform. Dark shirt, pressed slacks. She couldn’t see his feet, but she knew he would be wearing comfortable loafers. No brand names. He didn’t care about anything but functionality. His new boss, on the other hand, was quite fashionable. Damon Knight looked like he could be in a James Bond film. He was wearing a dapper three-piece suit, his hair slicked back, and when his arm moved she caught sight of a Cartier watch. “Damon, it’s good to see you.”

“And you, Solo.” Damon sat back as though waiting for the sparks to fly. “I want to say thank you for everything you did for the lads. I suspect you’re the only reason we’re here today, too. I appreciate it all.”

At least one person appreciated her. No. That wasn’t fair, and she wasn’t going to give into pessimism. Ian Taggart had called her, too. He’d thanked her and told her if she ever needed a job, she would be welcome in Dallas. It was a tempting offer, but she couldn’t do it. “I’m glad it worked out. But I’ve got to admit they’ve been stonewalling me about that drive. I tried to go back to DC to help analyze the data and I was told to