Home > The Medic (Norcross Security #8)

The Medic (Norcross Security #8)
Author: Anna Hackett

 

Chapter One

 

 

She leaned against the bar and sipped her drink.

It was sparkling water in a cocktail glass. While she wouldn’t have minded a real cocktail, she was working.

Siv Pedersen sipped again and glanced at her watch, then made an annoyed face.

“Nice expression,” an amused male voice in her earpiece said. “It says ‘that damn, good-for-nothing boyfriend of mine is late again.’”

She snorted. There was no boyfriend, she was just playing the part of an abandoned woman in a bar in order to keep an eye on her target. The guy was currently eating a filet steak medium rare at a table by the windows of the fancy steakhouse.

“He isn’t worth it, Siv,” the voice in her ear said. “A man should never stand up a gorgeous woman like you.”

She hid her smile from the restaurant.

“Quit flirting with our newest recruit, Oliveira,” came the darkly lethal tone of their boss, Vander Norcross.

“I’m a one-woman man these days,” Ace Oliveira said. “I’m just making the rookie feel welcome.”

Ace was also about to become a dad. He and his fiancée, Maggie, had a baby due very soon. The tech guru of Norcross Security couldn’t stop sharing snaps of Maggie’s very large belly.

Siv did feel welcome. She’d needed a change, and moving from Norway to San Francisco to work in private security for Norcross was proving a good decision.

Her hand tightened on her glass and she crossed her legs. After she’d left the Norwegian military, life hadn’t felt right. She’d loved the Army, but she’d known it was time for a change, but civilian life had initially proved harder than she’d guessed. She hadn’t found a job she enjoyed. And then once her ex, a man who professed to love her, had dumped her to marry a pretty socialite with connections, Siv had decided it was time for a change.

“Siv, target is finishing his meal.” Ace’s voice was all business now.

She swiveled a little and scanned the target. Mastro’s Steakhouse was pretty quiet this evening, but nearby, she saw a server carrying a huge seafood platter to a table. Her gaze shifted to the man just beyond.

Anthony Patterson Robson the Third. Tony to his friends.

It was a pretentious name for a mediocre man. He was an analyst at a San Francisco tech firm, and he’d decided that making a decent paycheck for hard work was beneath him. Instead, he’d decided to try his hand at corporate espionage.

Unfortunately for Tony, Norcross provided security for his employer, Nova Tech.

“He’s on the move,” Ace murmured.

“Siv, are you ready?” Vander asked.

“I’m on it.” She fluffed her hair. It was brown, but shot through with gold streaks. She was wearing more makeup than normal, highlighting her blue eyes.

Tony headed her way. He was good-looking enough, but boring, with a weak jaw. He reminded her a little of her ex. As Tony drew near, Siv put her plan into action.

“Damn the man.” She slammed her phone onto the bar and lifted her drink. She let a few tears fill her eyes. She also let more American leak into her accent. It was easy enough. While her father was Norwegian, her mom was a California girl, through and through. Living in Norway had never softened Christie Pedersen’s accent.

“Excuse me? Are you okay?”

Despite being about to meet his contact outside to hand over a flash card full of data, Tony stopped in front of her.

The man’s other weakness was leggy blondes.

She shifted her legs, and watched his gaze drop. She wore a short, silver-gray skirt and a silky shirt in deep emerald green. Her hair was loose, and she tossed it back.

“I am now.” She shot him a smile. “My boyfriend, make that ex-boyfriend, has stood me up for the last time.”

Tony smiled, and flicked another glance at her legs. “I find it hard to believe that any man would stand you up.”

She laughed. “I’m Eve.” It made a good cover name since her real name sounded similar, just with an S.

“Eve. Look, I need to step outside and meet a business contact, but would you like to go somewhere, and have a drink?”

She pretended to consider. “You know what? Why the hell not?” She leaped off the stool and grabbed her handbag.

“Um, great.” Tony’s smile turned a little strained. “So I just need to hand over some files to my colleague and I’ll be done.”

I bet you do. She knew the man couldn’t risk sharing the files on the internet, hence why he’d copied them to a flash card. She fluffed her hair again. “Sure thing. I’ll touch up my makeup while you do your work thing.”

Tony’s smile brightened. “Great.” He waved a hand toward the front of the restaurant.

She walked ahead of him and put a little extra sway into her hips. She could practically feel his gaze glued to her.

Men. So predictable.

Her ex, Johan, had been. Not at first. No, at first, he’d loved her strength. Said he was proud of her military career. Was falling in love with her.

Until he hadn’t been.

She knew when it had started. A night out in Oslo with some friends. A drunk had been shouting abuse and grabbed the arm of their friend Espen’s date. The woman had been scared and shaken. Siv had taken the man down in about three seconds and then passed him off to the bouncers at the nightclub.

She’d thought Johan would’ve been pleased. Instead, he’d been quietly furious. When they got back to his place, he’d ranted that she’d embarrassed him. He was the man, not her. He was the one who should’ve protected them.

Siv opened the door of Mastro’s and rolled her eyes. She could open her own doors, drive her own car, lift her own bags, and defend herself. Protection wasn’t what she’d wanted from Johan.

They’d broken up three weeks later, and a month after that, he’d been engaged to an elegant, well-dressed, twenty-something, whose father owned a shipping company. Siv had discovered he’d been screwing his new fiancée while he was still seeing Siv.

Siv’s pride had been hurt, and she’d been mad that she hadn’t realized he’d been cheating on her. It was then that she’d also, thankfully, realized that she hadn’t been in love with Johan.

She’d wanted to be in love with a man who adored and respected her. But she was coming to realize that love was a stupid fairytale that the movies used to sell shit.

Total fiction.

Her parents’ disastrous marriage should have already taught her that. And her father’s subsequent parade of women.

Siv didn’t need love. A hot night here or there would do the trick. She only needed herself—not someone who tried to erode her sense of self, her confidence, and her pride.

“I’ll just be a second, gorgeous,” Tony said.

“Sure thing.” She pulled out her lipstick and compact from her handbag.

“Saxon is parked in a vehicle out front,” Ace said. “And the contact is incoming.”

She angled the compact mirror and saw a man striding up the street. Despite the warmish evening, he had a windbreaker on. The man was walking fast, like he had somewhere important to be. Some corporate espionage to conduct.

Tony straightened, looking nervous. Siv swiped some lipstick over her lips.

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