Out of the Shadows - Tiffany Snow

Acknowledgments

About the Author

Devon drove through the night as though the devil himself was at his heels. A part of his mind couldn’t stop replaying the images he’d seen in Beau’s apartment. Ivy, fighting for her life against Clive, then again against the FBI agent and his men. It had taken every ounce of training and self-discipline he had not to storm the hallway and kill those who’d taken her from him.

From him.

He didn’t know when he’d begun to think of her as his, but it didn’t change the fact that Ivy belonged to him now. Perhaps it had been the moment he’d first walked into that bank and seen her, so beautiful and lovely, she’d taken his breath away. And she’d been completely unimpressed by him. Even now, as deadly serious as things were, a smile tugged at his lips as he remembered the barely concealed disdain she’d treated him with, as though he was as far beneath her notice as a mere peasant to a princess.

Or maybe it hadn’t been love at first sight, but had been the night she’d lain in his arms and told him of the horrors she’d endured as a child. Her voice matter-of-fact as though recounting a laundry list. Completely unaware of her own strength, delicate in form and appearance, but underlain with a refined steel, she was a package of resilient femininity whose inner beauty and light hadn’t been dimmed by the tragedies of her life.

Becoming something more than what you thought you could be, that was something Devon could relate to. Adversity tended to bring out the reality of what someone was made of, either turning them bitter and angry at the vagaries of fate, or taking whatever was good within and refining it, turning it into a more pure distillation of their being.

Ivy was the latter, and he liked to think he was, too. He’d also like to think he’d been good for her, helping her to see herself as he did. But at the moment, he was more concerned about her physical well-being than her emotional and psychological one.

It was a twist of fate that Ivy should be the one the old man had chosen to vaccinate against the virus his father had created, so many years ago. Devon winced when he thought of what could have become of her had he not been the one to realize what had been done. But the vaccine that had saved her life now made her invaluable to too many deadly players.

The streets were empty of traffic at this hour as the wheels ate up the miles from the city center to the suburb where Devon knew Vega would be temporarily housed. It always amazed Devon, the places where the Shadow kept offices around the world to be used strategically on a moment’s notice. St. Louis was ideally located, situated nearly dead center in the US.

Vega already knew of Ivy’s immunity and had ties to the Americans that could work in Devon’s favor to locate Ivy. Given her prevailing interest in the Shadow’s control over the virus, Vega should be as willing to regain custody of Ivy as Devon was.

And Clive. Devon couldn’t forget Clive. A shudder went through him. He’d been careless. He hadn’t made certain Clive was dead that night in Kansas, and Ivy could have died because of it. Instead, he’d taken her. But where? To Vega? And why hadn’t he been the one to bring her back?

All these questions and more were swirling through Devon’s mind as he pulled into the vacant lot of the small, three-story office building. The ground was wet from rain, and his shoes slapped against the pavement as he went inside.

The empty hallways were well lit but sterile, as Devon entered the lift. Holding the button for the ground floor, he waited. The light blinked twice, then a small panel slid open. Pressing his hand to the screen it revealed, Devon waited for the scanner to finish. A voice then came from the speaker inside the lift.

“Agent identification complete. Welcome. Please proceed.”

The screen disappeared and the doors closed.

The car descended two levels before coming to a stop. When the doors opened, Devon was quick to exit, his steps sure as he walked to a door at the far end of the hallway. He rapped twice, then let himself in.

The office was a far cry from the linoleum floor and fluorescent lights of the exterior. Devon’s shoes sank into plush carpet as he entered the office,