The Trigger
get treatment—was the Queen Liar, and Dallas had adopted the habit at an early age. She’d been making shit up for as long as she could remember. Her Aunt Lynn had tried to correct the unpleasant habit, and out of respect, Dallas had tried to be honest with her. She had also focused on getting better at misdirection and obfuscation. Mixing in a bit of the truth was essential. She glanced at McCullen. “Spencer will buy it. Civilians want to believe that others are essentially good and truthful. Only criminals and law enforcement personnel assume the worst.”
    “You’re too young to be jaded.”
    “You haven’t met my parents.” Dallas glanced at her tablet. Spencer had responded:
Maybe it is fate. Let’s meet for lunch tomorrow at the Cornerstone Cafe. Noon?
    Yes!
She keyed in her agreement, and a tingle of excitement played in her chest. She would soon contact her target. She loved the challenge of extracting people’s secrets. “Maybe he’ll take me out to Destiny for a tour.”
    “Don’t go anywhere without contacting me or one of the team. We’ve named this undercover project Eden.”
    “As in Garden of Eden?”
    “More like East of Eden.”
    McCullen wrote down two email addresses and phone numbers, tore the paper from his notebook, and handed it to her. “These are for Gibson and our tech guy, who can help you with anything computer related.”
    “The support team is the best part of undercover work.” Flirting was in her DNA, as natural as breathing.
    “I’ll be there for you 24/7.” McCullen was cute even when he was serious.
    “I’m very attracted to you.”
    His eyes widened in surprise. Before she could stop herself, Dallas leaned in and kissed him.
    He grabbed the back of her head and met her mouth with passion. For a long moment, she was lost in the pleasure. Then a phone rang in her shoulder bag, and they both pulled back.
    “Sorry.” Dallas stood and moved away. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
    “No. We shouldn’t have.” McCullen looked a little stunned.
    Dallas dug for her personal phone, which she hadn’t hidden away yet. The caller ID said
Trevor
. What the hell? She’d only been gone twelve hours. She hit reject and turned to McCullen. “We’d better call it a night.”
    He stood. “You’ll keep me updated? I want to know when you head for the compound. I’m worried for your safety.”
    “I’ll stay in touch, but worrying is pointless. I plan to move out to the community as soon as Spencer will let me.”
    His eyes tightened. “Are you going to seduce Spencer?”
    Was he jealous
?
“Spencer Clayton is my assigned target for intel gathering. But my goal is to find Emma Clayton… and her baby. I’ll do what needs to be done.” She hoped he could see the regret in her eyes.
    “Just remember that Spencer probably kidnapped Emma, so he’s dangerous, no matter what he seems like on the surface. And everyone in the community is tight. You can’t trust any of them.”
    “I’ll keep that in mind.” Dallas kissed his cheek and sent him on his way before she changed her mind again.

Chapter 7
    Wednesday, May 8, 10:17 a.m.
    Caleb McCullen forced himself to stop thinking about Agent Dallas and how she’d kissed him. She was so pretty—and confident. He loved women who showed no fear. Even though he would communicate with her every day while she was undercover, he wouldn’t see her again until she released her UC role, and then she would fly out of here. It was probably for the best.
    Meanwhile, he was on Dallas’ team and she needed him to dig into the Claytons’ past. He’d already checked the gas tank of Emma’s car and found it empty. Now he had county records open on his desktop and was looking at the building permits the Claytons had been granted over the years to see if any structures had a basement.
    A moment later, his boss stepped into McCullen’s cubicle, a small bright space in a big office they shared with other professional firms—only their

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