Out of the Shadows - Tiffany Snow Page 0,1

closing the door behind him. It was a large room, big enough to hold a couch and two chairs, plus an expansive maple desk. Windows lined one wall, though underground, their glass displaying an image of a bright morning in the city of London, beamed across the ocean so the woman who sat behind the desk would feel at home no matter her location.

If someone saw her on the street, they’d never guess who she was or of what she was capable. Of average height, she was an attractive woman, but not striking. Exceedingly well preserved, there was faded beauty in her features, from her carefully coiffed hair that never was allowed to touch her shoulders, to the expensive tailored suit in a warm ivory. Pearls she rarely went without gleamed at her throat. Always in sensible, low-heeled shoes, Vega was the high school English teacher that no one ever talked back to because, frankly, they were too afraid of her.

Though Devon had never fallen into that group of people who feared her. Vega had taken him in when he’d been stripped of everyone he loved in a brutal IRA bombing, leaving him an orphan. They’d had a stronger, closer relationship than any of her other recruits into the Shadow. She’d given him a purpose and identity, and never let him go about feeling sorry for himself.

“Sometimes life doesn’t turn out how you expect, Devon,” he recalled her saying to him. “You have to take the hand that’s been dealt to you and make of it what you can. No one can do it for you. It’s your decision to make. It’s your life, but I can help you live it.”

Devon had taken the advice to heart. He’d dedicated himself to the Shadow—to Vega—completely. Had trained and done his job better than any other agent, without ever once questioning Vega’s orders. He’d trusted her implicitly, with his life, for as long as he could remember.

“Devon,” Vega said, glancing up from a file she was perusing. “It’s rather late for a visit. To what do I owe the honor?”

Devon took a seat in one of the two leather chairs opposite the desk, unfastening the single button on his suit as he sat down.

“We’re in a spot of bother with the Americans,” he said. “They took something of mine.”

“Oh?” A pair of reading glasses was perched on the end of Vega’s slim nose and she removed them, sitting back in her chair to view Devon. “And what is that, pray tell?”

“More of a who, actually,” he said, careful to keep all emotion from his voice. It wouldn’t do for Vega to know how panicked he was at the thought of Ivy being beyond his reach. “Ivy. The FBI has become aware of how . . . special . . . she is and in their usual clumsy way have blundered into kidnapping her under the guise of national security.”

Vega regarded him silently, waiting, he assumed, for an explanation as to why she should care about this development.

“I want her back,” he said.

“Our relationship with the Americans is tenuous at best,” she said.

“I’m aware of that.”

“And why would you want me to jeopardize it for this one woman? Who isn’t British, I might add, but an American herself?”

Devon chose his words with care. “It’s my fault she’s in the position she is,” he said. “I feel responsible to free her, set things right. Her involvement wasn’t of her choosing.”

“I’m not sure I would agree with you,” Vega said dryly. “I doubted your judgment when you took her to Amsterdam and I’m doubting it now.”

“Then perhaps you’d concede that it is in our interest to have her under our control rather than allowing her to remain with the FBI.”

“My scientists were able to get a blood sample from her and are studying it as we speak. I’m not certain she’d be of any more use to us whether the FBI has her or not. Or whether she’s necessary period, dead or alive, for that matter.”

Devon realized that what he’d suspected had been correct after all, and his heart gave a lurch. Clive had taken Ivy to Vega as his own bargaining chip. “Clive been around lately?”

Vega didn’t blink at the abrupt change in topic. “He was, but left some hours ago. I sent him to Geneva on a mission.”

Devon nodded. “And what mission is that?”

“Not yours, in case you’re wondering,” she replied dryly, closing the file that had been lying open on her desk.