regarding the suspected lead researcher, Dr. Ty Adams. We need to know if they’re aware that Kiarra’s a Talent. If not her, then check to see if they know of any of the others.”
Taka nodded and said, “I have a few contacts I can reach out to who might be able to help.”
“Use only those you trust, and most of all, swear them to secrecy. I don’t want the AMT or any of Adams’ lackeys to find out what we’re up to.” He looked at both of the men in turn. “Report progress to Neena as often as you can. She’ll help if she’s able, but for the most part, you’re on your own this time. If anything goes horribly wrong, contact me or the others, and we’ll see what we can do to help. It doesn’t matter if we’re scattered around the world, we’re still a team.”
Taka and Marco nodded and Jaxton realized that they’d been heading toward this crossroads for quite some time. Darius and Taka had been more than ready for missions of their own, and while Marco seemed inexperienced, the young man had surprised him once or twice in the past.
Taka, Darius, and Marco were more than merely his team, they were his friends. Yet as much as he wanted to help them, he would have to trust them to take care of themselves. Someone else needed his help more.
A few hours later, Kiarra stood in the front hallway and faced her sister, trying to find the words to say goodbye.
Cam had spent the short time they’d had together teaching Kiarra the basics of handgun operation and safety. The task had given both women something to talk about. In a reverse from their childhood, Kiarra had been the one asking Cam a million questions; her younger sister now knew more about the world than Kiarra did.
And while she knew that going to Edinburgh with Jaxton and helping DEFEND was what needed to be done, a small part of her wanted to be selfish. After all this time, she wanted to stay and get to know her sister.
Marco strutted out from the shadows, taking Kiarra’s hand with a flourish and kissing it. She didn’t even realize how she didn’t shy away from his touch.
Marco straightened with an exaggerated look of heartbreak on his face and said, “Our time together has been too short, but rest assured that I will keep an ear out for both you and your sister, just to make sure you’re both safe. The world can’t afford to lose two smart, sexy beauties such as yourselves.”
Cam looked bored and the expression made Kiarra smile. She may not know Marco that well, but he had a natural talent for lightening a situation. “I think Cam can take care of herself. I’m more worried about you.”
Kiarra’s smile widened. She’d heard that Cam and Marco were being sent to the jungles of Latin America, on separate missions. “I think that without a challenge like my sister, your ego will inflate to uncontrollable proportions. And smart, sexy women don’t like that.”
Marco laughed. “I really hope Jaxton doesn’t scare you off.”
Kiarra heard a grunt behind her before Jaxton said, “Hurry it up. Do you want to waste your time saying goodbye to Marco or to your sister? You have three minutes until we leave.”
A quick glance and Kiarra saw Jaxton was grumpy. Or irritated. Either way, she wasn’t going to let it ruin her time with her sister. “We’ll leave when I’m done, not before.”
Before Jaxton could reply, Cam touched Kiarra’s elbow, garnering her attention. “No, he’s right. Taka left a few hours ago to try and draw away any nearby AMT enforcers, but the longer you stick around, the greater the chance they’ll figure out Taka was a decoy.”
Cam shook her head. “Save it. We’ll see each other soon enough. Just remember what I taught you, and try not to get captured. I don’t want to wait another fifteen years to see my sister.”
Kiarra nodded, afraid that if she opened her mouth, she’d start to cry.
She started to turn away but Cam grabbed her hand and squeezed. She murmured, “Be safe, Kiarra,” before letting go and heading up the stairs.
Willing herself not to think about Cam, Kiarra focused on putting her things into the car and helping Jaxton and Marco load Garrett into the back seat. They’d drugged Garrett unconscious again, and Kiarra could tell Jaxton didn’t like it—he was being terse and disagreeable with her.
When they finally drove away, she stared out the window, watching the green forest go by in a blur, pointedly ignoring Jaxton.
Yet her thoughts kept drifting to what Cam had told her about their brother. She shouldn’t feel guilty about it, but for some reason, she felt awful about withholding the information about Gio from Jaxton.
Cam had said nothing about keeping the information a secret, but Kiarra’s gut told her to wait. If she told Jaxton about her brother now, he would mostly likely order her to forget about Gio until they’d finished their mission with James Sinclair. But by then, it might be too late. The longer it took to find Sinclair and get the information Jaxton was looking for, the higher the chance that Gio would be heavily involved with Sinclair’s operations. Especially since Cam had said that Sinclair treated Gio as his heir.
If there was any chance of Kiarra persuading her brother to change sides, it had to be sooner rather than later.
Kiarra felt Jaxton’s eyes on her and she looked over to see him staring. “What?” she asked.
He focused his eyes back on the road and said nothing. He checked the rearview mirror, and again. Kiarra looked over her shoulder at Garrett, slumped in his seat, and felt her heart constrict a little. The sight couldn’t be an easy one for Jaxton.
After being reunited with Cam, Kiarra had an inkling of what it was like to want to protect a sibling. “It must be killing you to give up your brother so soon, after all the time you spent looking for him.”
Jaxton’s grip on the steering wheel tightened. “I have complete faith in Amma.”