Prime Target (Target #1)

By: Marquita Valentine

A moment later, she looks up at me, excitement in her eyes. “You need to read this.”

I read the coded message inside. “A duchess has been kidnapped? But Sebastian is not yet an earl.”

“You are correct. But his good friend, Liam Stewart, is the one in need.”

“I think you should do this,” Everly says.

“Absolutely not.”

“Is it dangerous?” This she asks of the stranger.

“Potentially, but honestly, all they want is money. You would facilitate that, and bring the duchess to the location specified in the document.”

“And that’s all?”

He nods. “Your family is welcome to stay at Mr. Romanov’s London townhome while you are…busy. In any case, you have six hours to get back to me. My information is also in the document.” He tips his hat to Everly. “Madam.”

The bell rings once more as he leaves.

“She’s right, you know.” Ben appears, holding Nicky in his arms. “I’ll go with her and little man. Watch over them while you do your thing.”

“My thing?”

Everly turns her hand into a mock gun. “You know. Pew. Pew.”

Slightly affronted, I begin to defend my guns and the sounds they make. “No.”

“Yes.” She marches to me. “I went into this relationship knowing what you used to do. I never wanted you to stop, if that’s what you had to do—I only wanted you to be honest with me and say what you were doing.”

“Roman Smith,” Ben says. “Shopkeeper by day, retrieval expert by night. I quite like the sound of that.”

“Well, then by all means, I must go. What with a proper job title and all that.” I roll my eyes at him. “I cannot, in good conscience—”

Everly places a finger on my lips. “Do you want to save the girl or not?”

I pull out my phone and call the number written on the front page of the book. A familiar voice answers on the first ring.

“Have you made a decision, then?” he asks pleasantly.

“Tell Mr. Romanov I’d be delighted to help.” I hang up. It feels as though everyone’s eyes are on me. “What?” Anticipation runs through me, twining with excitement. “I figured it would be nice to be the hero for once.”

My wife lets out a little sigh. “Roman, you have always been the hero of our story.”

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