Loose Cannon

by Kendal Flynn

When Raeanne Springfield’s son is kidnapped by Dmitryi Petrov, a ruthless enemy from the past, Raeanne finds herself thrown back into the dark world of covert operations she thought she left behind. But when Alex Dante, her former superior at the CODA, the Counterintelligence Defense Agency, shows up to take her into protective custody, Raeanne’s backed into a corner. Should she obey orders from an agency that already betrayed her once, or slip back into the covert life and do whatever it takes to bring her boy home safely—even if it means endangering her heart?

Harder still–how to tell Alex Dante that Ryan’s his son?

Between Petrov’s demands, the agency’s evasiveness, and Alex’s whirlwind reentry into her life, Raeanne can trust no one but herself, and only after she gets Ryan back will she worry about fixing past mistakes. If she lives long enough to fix anything…


Excerpt From Loose Cannon

Outside the bar, the battered gray Ford crawled by once more. Then it stopped just outside the open glass doors. The front and back windows slid down and two faces appeared—the driver, wearing aviator shades and a goatee, and a passenger behind him, fat and completely bald with small round glasses. The barrels of two MP5 submachine guns poked out of the windows and pointed straight at Raeanne.

“Get down!” Alex yelled. He dropped the denim jacket concealing his Smith & Wesson and tossed over a cocktail table. A wave of beer and glassware crashed to the grimy linoleum, stunning the place into a momentary hush.

Raeanne dived behind the table. Alex went down beside her and covered her with his body. In one fluid motion, she drew her Glock, flipped off the safety, and pulled back the slide.

The chatter of automatic weapons ripped through the air. Plate glass doors exploded in a ringing crash and bullets bit into the wall beside them. Rounds tore into the padded booths, filling the air with a snowstorm of yellow foam. People screamed and dove for cover, some running, some dropping to the floor where they stood. In front of Raeanne, the thick wooden tabletop shuddered but held against the barrage of 9 mm fire.

The guns fell silent; then came the angry screech of tires. Alex poked his head out from behind the table and raised his pistol. Raeanne came around the other side, holding her own gun in both hands.

She got the passenger window in her sights as the rear end of the gray sedan fishtailed sideways, but a fleeing patron ran across her line of fire. She jerked her weapon up with a curse and watched the car disappear.

Her heart thundered in her chest. Death hadn’t walked so close for a long, long time.

“I need to find my son.”

Alex scanned the room briefly. “Back door.”

The bartender yelled a few incoherent obscenities, but Raeanne ignored him. She made for the fire exit, keeping as low as possible.

Ahead of her, Alex threw his weight onto the handle and pushed open the door. The harsh clang of the fire alarm blared over the shouting of the patrons, then warbled to silence as he fired a round into the cables. He stuck his head out into the alley and glanced left and right, while Raeanne spun to cover him from possible fire from inside the bar.

Just like she’d done so many times, so long ago. The sense of déjà vu was so powerful it almost broke her concentration. But not quite. Somewhere in her mind she had reached that calm place, the place where she separated from the human element and simply did her job.

Nothing like incoming fire to put you back in business.

“Clear,” Alex said and slipped out the fire door into the alley.

She stayed a step behind him through the narrow alley, her ears still ringing from the roar of gunfire, but her hands were steady on the pebbled grip of the Glock. The air reeked of old garbage and vomit and ammonia. Something in a bag beside the Dumpster had drawn flies, loads of them, humming around it in a pulsing black cloud.

“Follow me.” Alex started running, weaving through mounds of discarded junk. From behind them came the distant wail of sirens.

Raeanne glanced backward, expecting to see a police cruiser. Instead, the gray Ford appeared at the mouth of the alley. One of the submachine guns slid its muzzle from the rear window.

“Alex, behind you!”

He spun back and raised his .45. Gunshots exploded around them– everyone’s– echoing along the narrow alley. The barrel of the submachine gun jerked, then dropped from sight. Raeanne aimed and fired again, and the pistol jumped in her hand. Her shot blew out the driver’s side mirror as the car fishtailed away from the alley entrance.

She knelt to locate the spent shell casings, found them, and swept the hot brass gingerly into the breast pocket of her plaid shirt.

Alex grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. “Hurry up. We need to get out of here before the police show up if we expect to get your son.”

A jolt of adrenaline pulled her out of the calm place and twisted in her gut. This was nothing like the old days. This time, she had a son.


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