Let Mercy Come by +
Corpus Brides #3: The Conclusion
Let mercy come
...and wash away our sins...
A woman on the run
Valeriya Morozova has managed to carve out a do-over for herself away from the clutches of the Corpus agency. The one formerly known as Anastasiya still lives on the edge, paranoid anyone will bust her secret and turn her in. Agency leaders believe her to be at the heart of the failed mutinous plot to overtake command, and the price of that betrayal—never mind that she is innocent—will be her life, paid in blood.
A man who’s always followed orders
In his decades inside the Corpus agency, case officer and former super-spy Graeme Whitman—aka Scott—has always paid heed to rules and obeyed all his orders. When he is chosen to bring the traitor Anastasiya back into the fold, Scott knows it will be just one more job he will successfully complete. After all, doing the right thing is atonement for your past mistakes, right?
Secrets running deep
Scott has secrets; who doesn’t? But he isn’t prepared for the full cupboard of skeletons Anastasiya carries with her...starting with the reason why she ran away from the agency. The more he digs, the less he is certain of, until he comes to ask himself why everyone has falsely painted her as a hard-hearted sociopath.
But is Anastasiya a victim, or a skilful manipulator? When her past collides with her present, the future as both she and Scott conceived it shatters. They’ve answered the call of duty all their lives—will they have to make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of love?
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She closed the distance between them to go stand right in front of him. She had her out; would he listen to her, though?
“Then let us go, Scott. Antonia and I can disappear. You don’t need to put your life on hold because of us. Seth, your son, he needs you.”
“I can’t do that,” he murmured.
“Why not? If this is atonement for you, then I’m asking you to let us go. Do this and you’ll be free.”
“I don’t want to be free.”
She blinked. “What?”
“Not when you are, too.”
He’d completely lost her there. She glanced up into his face, and the breath whooshed out of her at what she saw on his face. Pain, but of a different kind. The type that accompanied unrequited longing for another person.
She shook her head. I must be getting delusional. Why would Scott—
All thoughts screeched to a halt when he brought a big hand up and gingerly cradled one side of her jaw in that warm palm.
“Forgive me for saying this, Ana, but I’ve wanted a future with you ever since the first day I saw you.”
A small puff of air escaped her.
He smiled as his eyes took a faraway glint. “You looked so prim and proper in that white lab blouse. Still so young, but your eyes... They said you had lived a long life already, that you had a lot concealed behind the façade you showed the world. Then you looked up and asked me—”
“...did you have a choice to be here?” She remembered that instant probably more vividly than he did.
He gave a lazy blink, as of coming back into the moment to stare at her in the now. “I had one back then, and I have one now. That day, I chose duty. Today, I choose you, Ana.”
“Graeme. My name is Graeme.” He rubbed the pad of his thumb along her cheekbone. “Say it. I want to hear you say it.”
She parted her lips. He’d trusted her with his real identity, and if she believed all he’d said until now...
“Graeme,” she said softly.
He closed his eyes as he took in that sound; at least, that’s what it seemed like to her.
He opened his eyes and peered at her. “What is it?”
When his touch on her cheek lost some of its pressure, all the life inside of her ebbed away like the tide gathering for a tsunami. It took everything from her. If she lost him now, when he’d showed her how much he wanted—no, needed!—her, she would die.
She had to show him. That’s when she reckoned her body had gone stiff from the second he’d touched her, petrified in surprise, and he must have gathered her response as being this aloofness in her body language.
He was wrong. Oh, so wrong!
First step; she’d have to take it.
So Valeriya listened to her heart, and she brought a hand up to clasp his where it had started to recede from her jaw. She pressed her cheek into his palm, soaking in his warmth.
“Graeme, please...” She glanced up into his eyes. “Kiss me.”
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Author, editor, smitten wife, in-over-her-head mum to a tween boy, best-buddy stepmum to a teenage lad, bookaholic, lover of all things fluffy & pink, chronic shoeholic, incompetent housewife desperate to channel Nigella Lawson (and who’ll prolly always fail at making domestic goddess status)...
Zee hails from the multicultural, rainbow-nation island of Mauritius, in the southern Indian Ocean, where she grew up on the figurative fence—one side had her ancestors’ Indian and Muslim culture; the other had modernity and the global village. When one day she realised she could dip her toes into both sides without losing her integrity, she found her identity.
This quest for ‘finding your place’ is what she attempts to bring in all her stories, across all the genres she writes. Her heroines represent today’s women trying to reconcile love, life, & relationships in a melting pot of cultures, while her heroes are Alpha men who often get put back into their rightful place by the headstrong women she writes. Love is always a winner in her stories, though; that’s a given.
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