The Maze (ATCOM)

The Maze (ATCOM) by Jennifer Lowery Read Free Book Online

Book: The Maze (ATCOM) by Jennifer Lowery Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jennifer Lowery
hadn’t stopped him. It was so out of
character for him that he stood there a full five minutes contemplating what
had just happened.
    Hell.
    Instead
of drawing her out he’d pushed her even farther away. He’d crossed the line and
no amount of mutual desire could change that. Good thing she was retired
because his behavior was inexcusable. She’d needed an outlet and he’d let it
get out of control. He wanted to rebuild her trust, not break it even more. His
actions sure as hell didn’t help his cause.
    Regret
replaced desire. Why did Attie send his control out the window? He wanted to
call his brother, Camron, who would give him a good ass chewing. At the very
least Camron would tell Noah to find out just why this woman had him acting
irrationally, and to get his head on straight before they met up with Santiago.
Good advice. Maybe after the mission he’d take a short leave of absence and go
for a visit. It had been way too long.
    Bending,
Noah picked up the lantern, snagged Attie’s coat off the branch and followed
more slowly toward the cave. Taking his time before going back in so she could
cool down, he used the time to let the rain rinse the mud off him. When he
entered the cave Attie was buried in her sleeping bag with her back to him. All
he could see was the top of her head. She lay very still, but he knew she
wasn’t sleeping. Tension radiated off her in waves.
    Once
he’d turned out the lantern so that only hers lit the small cave, he quickly
changed out of his wet clothes. He didn’t attempt to start a conversation with
her. It would be a waste of time. Attie wasn’t in the mood to listen and he
wasn’t sure he could explain. The past lay between them as big as an ocean. She
blamed him for Seth’s death and her failing her mission by sending Seth in
unscheduled to check up on her. Which he had, but not for the reasons she
thought. He hadn’t sent Seth in because he doubted Attie’s abilities. He’d sent
Seth in because his conversations with Attie had put up warning flags. Not by
what she said in their calls, but what she hadn’t.
    Damn,
this was more complicated than he’d thought. He’d had no idea she felt this way
and he didn’t know how to fix it. He always had a plan, always knew what his
next move was. He might be able to get rid of Santiago for her, but how could
he get rid of Attie’s nightmares? Convince her that his decision was based on
instinct, on her protection, not his lack of faith in her abilities?
    Attie
held strong to her belief that she could have saved Seth. And nothing anyone
told her would change her mind or make her see reason. The ATCOM shrink Max
made them visit periodically to keep them on a good mental track said it was
part of Attie’s survival mechanism. Believing Seth was alive and she could save
him gave her a reason to fight. Knowing Attie like he did, he knew she’d do
whatever it took to get to her partner. She wasn’t a quitter and nothing short
of death would have stopped her. Unfortunately, the downside to that was now
Attie suffered survivor’s guilt. She’d tried and failed to save the life of a
fellow agent and it only exacerbated her PTSD.
    Rubbing
a hand over his face, he picked up his sleeping bag and inched toward the
entryway. Silently, he moved to the mouth of the cave and laid it out so he
didn’t get wet all over again. When Attie’s temper cooled he would try and
recover the ground he’d lost. This needed to be settled before they met up with
Santiago. He wanted her focused, not angry and unreasonable.
    Ah,
hell. He wished she didn’t even have to be here to do this.
    Stretching
out on top of his bag, Noah stacked his hands under his head and stared into
the darkness. Attie wasn’t the only one too edgy to sleep. At the moment he was
better off focusing on Santiago.
    The
bastard had to be stopped. Permanently. He never should have slipped through
their fingers. He’d proven resourceful and slipperier than a snake. He’d
slithered

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