Hard Target

By: Marquita Valentine

The Target Series Book 2




Acknowledgements





Special Thanks to Autumn, Andrea and Amanda—The Triple A-Team. I don’t know if they know I think of them like that, but I do. You guys are awesome and amazing and out of sight (wait, that didn’t start with an a, but you have to know what I’m talking about, right?!)

Big Breakout the Handcuffs Thanks to Andris Bear and her husband for schooling me on police procedures. Also, Andris is the best crit partner a girl could ever have in life.

Like Whoa Thanks to Carly Phillips for her uncanny ability to nail characterization every flipppin’ time. You are inspiring!

Grateful Thanks to Liliana Hart and Scott Silverii as well as the entire SilverHart team. Thanks for taking a chance on this series and brining it back to life.

Thanks to my readers for being the best readers in the history of readers. I couldn’t do this without you.

Last, but never least, I have to thank my family for putting up with me and supporting me. I love you guys! xo









Ten years ago, Benjamin Romanov left behind a world of violence and intrigue. Now he’s living the dream as the chief technology officer at PharmGen, the world’s largest provider of vaccinations. The perks are amazing—a luxury penthouse, fast car, and his pick of women. The only downside to his job is reporting employees for less than scrupulous e-mail practices, but when he is forced to confront an employee in the lab, he ends up preventing a security guard from killing an innocent woman.




Receptionist Morgan Tanner never meant to get caught in the crosshairs of a deal gone wrong. All she wanted was one night of excitement with the sexy and elusive Benjamin Romanov. But now they’re on the run, and Benjamin thinks she has something to do with why everyone wants to kill them. Only she has no idea what’s going on at all—she was only in the lab to deliver a time-sensitive package.

With time running out, Benjamin must find a way to protect an innocent woman while keeping his distance… and expose PharmGen to the world before the deadly virus is unleashed.





Chapter One





Benjamin


PharmGen, London Headquarters

“It wasn’t me.”

If I had a quid for every time I heard that, I would…well, I’d only have thirty-five quid, but that’s not the bloody point. The point is that in my line of work, I hear it all the blasted time and it’s become annoying as hell.

Sure, one could say that I bring it upon myself, but honestly, to ferret out rats and moles is in my job description at PharmGen. It’s a far-sight better than what I used to do as one of the grandsons of the head of the Bratva.

Murder. Espionage. Global banking.

Yeah, I’ve gone all straight and narrow. With my employer’s blessing and dictate, I legally spy.

Admittedly, it’s not my favorite part of my job, but I console myself with the fact that the people I report on are disloyal, a character trait I loathe. They are the ones sending company secrets to our competitors, or looking for ways to cheat our employer out of millions.

“You’ve got the wrong guy, Romanov,” Clark insists.

Slowly, I shake my head. “Afraid I don’t.” I push the packet of emails across the desk to him. In this digital world, there is something so satisfying about the physical. “This was downloaded directly from your computer’s hard drive, then personally printed out by me.”

“Bullshit.”

Leveling him with a look, I say, “You do realize that everything you do on your laptop here, or at home, is tracked?”

He starts to argue again. “It’s not—”

“Check the fucking packet, Clark.” That’s another quid.

Fingers shaking, he pulls it to him and begins to read. His face pales. “But I used the private browser,” he says more to himself than to me.

“We monitor keystrokes.”

That seems to take the fight out of him. “What happens now?”

“You quit.”

“But I’ll lose my retirement,” he protests.

“Better than being sued.”

He nods, then visibly swallows. “Anything else?”

“A deposit in the amount of last year’s salary will be deposited into your account by the close of business.”