|Cover Art by BitterGrace|
Sanctuary; protection or a safe place, especially for someone or something being chased or hunted.
Manny Sullivan is the backbone of Sanctuary, and involved in every mission. After rescuing Josh Headley, his skill helps Sanctuary to solve the Bullen case. When Manny risks his life could it be time for Josh to risk his heart?
Manny Sullivan has his fingers in every pie and when he spots Josh Headley where he shouldn't be, it is Manny who goes in and rescues him.
Josh is in Sanctuary witness protection after his dad turns on the Bullens. Not only is his dad a murderer but his ex is a liar who was using him for information. With his skill in information retrieval, he hopes to make a contribution to the solution.
What started with the death of Elisabeth Costain is drawing to a close and Josh and Manny are in the middle of it all.
When Manny risks his life could it finally be time for Josh to risk his heart?
Guarding Morgan (Sanctuary #1) is currently free, claim your copy here.
Book 1 - Guarding Morgan
Book 2 - The Only Easy Day
Book 3 - Face Value
Book 4 - Still Waters
Book 5 - Full Circle
Book 6 - The Journal Of Sanctuary One
Book 7 - Worlds Collide
Book 8 - Accidental Hero
Buy Links - eBook
Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Smashwords | iTunes
Buy Links - Print Book
Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)
|Click cover to enlarge|
Dark Diva Reviews - 5/5 - "....Once again, Ms. Scott has another winner to add to her ever-growing list of accomplished works. Full Circle does not disappoint; with suspense, intrigue, as always, great sex, and a very interesting twist at the end of the story. Of course this twist leaves the door wide open for more of this hit series.
MM Good Book Reviews - 4/5 - "....So I highly recommend this if you like intrigue, a touch of action, adrenalin rushes, some really hot sex, guns, computers and a happy ending...."
"What did it do?" Jake asked. He was watching as Manny stripped the viral attack from file after file. Leaning against the desk next to Manny, his expression still held that disbelief that was all pervasive in the office at the moment.
No one had ever managed to get close enough to the hub and ops to actually get inside Sanctuary files. Considering it was Manny who was in charge of security and that what he didn't know about the Sanctuary system wasn't worth knowing, the attack had been one huge clusterfuck.
"I'll give Sean fucking Hanson this," he said grudgingly. "It's damn good coding. Gave him back door access to lower-level stuff. It's odd though…" Manny paused and peered at the screen closest to him.
"It could have been so much worse. Whoever created the code knows their stuff. The infection itself is clever and Sean could have taken so much more than he did. Instead he's left a trail here like a pair of size tens in fresh concrete."
"Which means what?" Jake leaned even farther in, his gaze flicking from screen to notes and back again.
Manny laughed inwardly. Billionaire owner and creator of Sanctuary, Jake Callahan was a lot of things. Computer programmer wasn't one of them. To Jake the code scrolling on the screen would look like something out of The Matrix. Manny checked the percentage done, nearing seventy-two percent and painfully slow. He had an awful lot of sitting around time watching the clearance programs run and thinking on why Sean had left such an easy to follow audit trail to locate the infection. The suspicious side of Manny immediately assumed the worst. That the easy stuff had been telegraphed to find so that anything deeper down would be ignored. Thing is, he had completed an incredibly deep clean and there was nothing untoward other than this shit curling and edging its way into comms. He wasn't normally hesitant to bring his thoughts to Jake's attention but he was honest enough to admit to himself that he was suffering from acute embarrassment that Sean had even gotten this close to Manny's baby.
Jake had said nothing. Accused Manny of nothing. But Manny's pride was dented.
Manny pressed the escape button to halt the scrolling and pointed at the screen. "Look," he said. "This part here is almost as if the interruption to comms was simply designed to hide what happened at the cabin. Then it began to self-delete. As if it had a sell-by date."
"Just to cover Sean killing Adam and Lee?" Jake leaned back and away and the familiar bitterness laced his voice. He hadn't been the same since Sean had exposed himself as the FBI mole, working for Alastair and Greg Bullen. Sean was now in Federal interrogation. He hadn't put up much of a fight when Adam and Lee had confronted him but in an ensuing altercation between two other gunmen accompanying Sean, Lee had been shot. Sean and Jake hadn't exactly been friends but Manny had seen a defrosting in the iciness caused by Jake having to accept an FBI rep trailing his every move. Jake had given in to the request that Sanctuary and the Bureau should have close ties. That went well, considering Sean turned out to be one of the bad guys.
Manny shrugged. "I wish I knew. All I do know is it was easy to find once the event happened. Markers showed up on every part of my system. Inconsistencies and warnings. As it was, comms were down for little more than ten minutes."
"That was enough though. To ensure Adam and Lee were dead."
Manny looked up at Jake. His boss looked exhausted. Pale and with dark rings around his eyes, he was rough around his normally very straight edges. He'd taken Sean fucking them all over very hard. He hadn't had much choice in having a Fed liaison mirroring his every move and auditing procedures but he still blamed himself for letting Sean anywhere near operations.
"From the reports he wasn't exactly going in guns blazing to take our guys out. Also, a trail in the computer still doesn't tell us why he was involved with the Bullens or with Headley."
"He's still not giving the Feds anything." Jake yawned widely behind his hand. "At least nothing they are sharing with us."
Sean Hanson had been secreted away by the FBI and was currently being, in their words, vigorously debriefed. They were as stunned as Sanctuary that one of their own had turned quite so spectacularly. Information was not being streamed to Sanctuary. So much for cooperation.
"And still no chance of us having a chat?" Manny had been all for getting up in Sean's face with a well-thought-out 'what the fuck?' Jake had shot that one down instantly.
"It's not our remit," he commented softly. Repeating what he had said before was more telling than he realized. The first time Jake had said it had been full of anger. This time there was only sadness and resignation.
"I'll keep going with the digging," Manny offered. He had to say something to break the tension. "Maybe he'll show up on some surveillance feed. Do we really not know anything of what the Feds have on him yet?" Manny huffed a laugh. The FBI putting barriers up and not sharing was so not going to be a problem to Manny. "You want me to hack into their systems?"
Jake laughed. "Not today. I'll let you know when."
Jake pushed himself up and away from the desk. "Do we have any reports back on the Headleys?" he asked. The Headleys were the wife and son of the guy who started this whole mess. The cop who had shot Elisabeth Costain in an alley. Only because Sanctuary offered them safety away from FBI involvement did Gareth Headley finally agree to turn state's evidence on Gregory Bullen.
"Jennifer reported in a few hours back. Everything's clear but Josh Headley is getting antsy."
Josh Headley was a really bright guy—some kind of genius-level criminology student with an added layer of brilliance in computers, apparently. Although Manny doubted the guy's expertise was at his own level it was an interesting fact about an otherwise on the surface boring kind of guy. Good-looking. Tall. Dark-haired. Green-eyed. Gay. But the son of a murderer and likely to be disappearing off into witness protection sometime soon.
"We need to get them moved on," Jake said absently. He was gazing into the distance with a thoughtful look on his face. He was probably contemplating what Sanctuary could finance and where would be best. Sanctuary wasn't just a foundation to Jake. It was his life.
"You should go home, boss," Manny said firmly. "Make decisions tomorrow."
"Says the guy who may as well pitch a tent in the corner of the comms room."
Manny ignored the comment. How could he keep on top of everything if he wasn't here? "I'll come find you if I track anything down." He concentrated on the screens and the code that was being stripped and barely noticed when Jake left. The lines of code were actually very intricate and he again felt that wash of admiration for Sean if indeed it had been him who had planted the code. Someone brought him coffee. People did that. He tended to get so buried in his work that he forgot to eat. Inevitably he would turn to do something and a plate of sandwiches would be next to him, or a coffee, or a soda. Sometimes all three. He suspected Abbey in accounts or Cain in ops, but had never actually been able to catch either of them at it.
Sitting back in the seat he checked the time—a little before midnight. By habit he scrolled through each individual camera feed on the eight locations that Sanctuary was keeping tabs on. He didn't really need to, ops was on a twenty-four hour watch alongside their normal work. The cameras and feeds were focused tightly on the senator's house and office, the Bullen mansion in the Catskills, and several other key positions including the house owned by the Bullens' lawyer. Of course none of this observation was strictly legal; it was Manny hacking into government feeds and street cams. The picture was sharp in the clear night and all was quiet. The mansion was empty as far as Manny knew. Intel had the senator in his own house and of course Greg was dead and Alastair was under arrest. As for the Bullen lawyer—he was a quiet guy with two sons who seemed to spend his entire working life nixing cases against the family. He was probably incredibly well paid for that as well.
There was no link between him and the senator—he worked to protect the other two Bullen brothers. But given what Morgan was presenting to the masses tomorrow it paid to be watching everyone. Midnight came and went and Manny drank cold coffee. The bitter taste was something he was accustomed to and he wasn't hungry so the chicken sandwich joined a half-eaten banana in the bin. Settling back in his chair he reclined it and lay back. To settle at Sanctuary and fall asleep was not an unusual occurrence. Ops had his back and would inform him if anything came up. Hell, traipsing all the way across town to his place just to sleep seemed to make little sense to him. Anyway. He was happy here with his computers and his statistics. He felt important and that the job he was doing was worthwhile.
He yawned widely and stretched. His neck was aching from being bent over printouts of code but after some sleep he should be relaxed enough to be able to concentrate on the tasks at hand again.
A small movement on one of the scrolling screens caught his attention and he blinked away tiredness to focus. At the lawyer's house? He paused the rotating screens on that feed. Was that someone hovering by the back wall? Climbing over it? No one would be that stupid. The house was walled, secure, and gated. Going over said wall was the work of an idiot. He clicked to zoom in on the feed. The closer the zoom the more pixilated the image but there was no denying who the hell it was taking his life in his hands.
"Shit." He pushed himself to stand and within seconds he was in the ops room.
"Manny, we have movement at location K," ops reported. Cain was on rotation and sat at the desk already tapping away at a keyboard. Doing his job. Finding out who was in the locale and trying to pull as much information as he could.
"Who do we have in the field?" Manny asked quickly. The question in itself was stupid. It didn't matter if any of the Sanctuary operatives were available, none of them would be able to get to the house as quickly as he could.
"Thirty out for two operatives." Cain blinked up at Manny as he reported, his eyes wide behind large round-rimmed glasses.
"Forget it," Manny said brusquely. "I need comms."
Cain passed Manny a small box that contained an ear bud and he grabbed it quickly. Pushing it in his ear he left comms at a run. He took the stairs three at a time and was in the parking lot in the space of maybe two minutes after seeing the figure climb the wall.
Calling details in as he started his car, ops were booking everything and finally Jake was there on the line with him.
"Talk to me, Manny."
The roads were quiet and Manny pulled out on to the main road from the business district to the outskirts of the city. "Punch in the lawyer's house," Manny instructed comms and didn't check as the soft tones of the sat nav filled the car. Cain knew what he was doing and Manny glanced at the screen. Eight miles out. Eight minutes with no traffic and sticking to the speed limit. Six if he pushed it.
"Manny?" Jake asked again.
"Just saw Josh freaking Headley at the lawyer's house."
"Wait." Jake was firm and the line was quiet for a second. Downtown Albany sped past the car and Manny narrowly avoided running a red in his determination to find out what the fricking hell was going on. "Jennifer says he's gone from the safe house and that security was down."
There was no time for argument as to how the idiot had managed to get out of a Sanctuary cabin lockdown and away from a bodyguard as switched on as Jennifer. "I'm three minutes out," Manny confirmed.
"Nik's on his way. He's twenty out now. Fuck." Jake paused. Manny concentrated on winding his way past cars parked in the first lanes of the housing outside the city limits. "We can't let the lawyer get Josh. It'll blow everything up that we have with his dad. Can you get Headley without being seen?"
Manny imagined the layout of the house and the walled garden as he narrowly avoided a parked Toyota with its ass too far out onto the street. To cross the garden would take mere seconds but it would be longer to break security. Could Josh even do that? What was Josh doing breaking into the house? Was he after some kind of revenge on the Bullen lawyer? Was this a misplaced sense of justice? Why did he leave the safe house? Why was he screwing everything up?
"I'm on it, Jake," Manny answered instead. No point in rehashing fears, concerns, and his own questions. He pulled up a street down from the house and was out of the car and at the wall in little more than a minute. The property was set back from the road, entirely walled, and had security on the house itself. He calculated Josh had been on the lawyer's property a good ten minutes. Fuck. Anything could have happened.
Inhaling and centering his focus, he pulled his gun from the small of his back, the weight of it in his hand was settling him. He wasn't entirely sure what he would find inside the gardens or the house. The lawyer could have muscle. Hell, the lawyer could have Josh at gunpoint. Checking the chamber, he imagined the path from here to the house. He was very aware of the cameras put in by the owner's security company. Facing away from the camera that formed part of the Sanctuary feed he briefly gave ops the thumbs up. If comms crashed again he wanted them to be sure he was on-site but there was no sense in having his photo plastered everywhere. He turned up the collar on his jacket, took a few more calming breaths and then he was up and over the wall and dropping noiselessly to the grass on the other side. He listened carefully but couldn't hear anything.
"It's all quiet, guys," he reported to the mic that sat in his ear. "No guns. No police. No dogs. No shouting."
"Get him. Get out," Cain said quickly. "Three entrances," Cain interrupted. "One front, two rear. All alarmed."
Manny passed over entrance one and stopped outside two as the breeze that moved the leaves in the trees made the flimsy door move slightly. It was open and the security panel to one side was unhinged. Clearly Josh wasn't waiting around with this one. Although why anyone would spend money on A, such a crap system and B, on a door as fragile as this one, was beyond Manny. He moved in as quietly as he could, gun at chest level and every nerve ending in him alive.
"Don't get caught," Cain said very carefully.
I never get caught, Manny thought. He followed the sound of a raised voice. Seemed like one person had a lot to say and get it off his chest. Manny stopped outside the door that was open. He chanced a quick look but all he could see was the back of tall, dark, and handsome whom he clearly identified as Josh. Josh was the one doing all the talking.
"…naive to think I wouldn't find out. What was it? That day at the club? Was that you muscling in on someone who you could keep your eye on?"
"What did you do, E?"
E? Eric Santez. The lawyer's eldest son.
"He's my dad. He said it was important—"
"Did you report back to him every time I let you bend me over the sofa? Or the night we fucked in the back room—"
"He'll hear you—" Eric was sounding way past overwrought and working his way up to really damn worried. "You need to go."
"Did you ever mean it?" Josh's voice again. "When you said you loved me?"
Manny thumped his head back against the wall. Shit. Why had no one joined the dots? The boyfriend Josh wanted to say goodbye to was the Bullen lawyer's son? That made an awful lot of shit-filled sense. Josh had been played. Clearly he'd found out.
Cain's voice echoed in his head. "Jennifer called in. There's a load of intel that Josh has pulled together on Emilio Santez and Eric Santez. It's all on the PC. Josh wasn't hiding what he found. He broke the code on the shutdown."
"I didn't," Eric was saying. "I couldn't love you. It was never going to amount to anything—"
Manny heard the sound of a fist hitting flesh, followed by the noise of someone falling back on maybe a table. Fuck. Josh was going to be bringing down a rain of crap if he didn't cool it.
Taking a deep breath and exhaling, Manny entered the room gun high. He catalogued the room in an instant. Eric Santez sprawled on the floor, his chest rising in a breath and blood trailing from his nose. Josh Headley stood over him with cold fury etched onto his face. Then Josh looked at Manny with glassy-eyed shock.
"I hit him," was all Josh said as he raised his hand and shook it disbelievingly at what he had done. "Shit."
"Hands where I can see them."
"I'm not going anywhere—"
"We're leaving," Manny instructed brusquely. He indicated with the gun and Josh got with the program fairly quickly. He strode out of the door with his hands high and Manny followed. Only after they passed out of the main room with the unconscious Eric did Josh try his luck. With a move worthy of a man who watched too many action movies he twisted on his heel and grabbed for the gun. Manny allowed him to move his balance and in a practiced move of his own he had the other guy face to the wall and one hand pushed up and held hard with the barrel of the gun in the small of Josh's back. Six foot of man was effectively imprisoned between wall and hold. Manny felt a small thrill that yet again someone had underestimated him based on his size and felt he would be an easy target.
"Manny Sullivan," he whispered harshly. "Sanctuary. Stop fucking fighting me and get yourself out and over the damn wall."
Josh relaxed in Manny's hold and without turning he moved out of the house as soon as Manny released him. Lights began to switch on as they reached the wall and as they dropped to the other side the sound of an alarm from inside the house interrupted the silence. Manny put his gun back in the space at the small of his back and started to half jog to his car. Josh was on his heels and without argument he climbed into the passenger seat.
Within a minute they had moved away from where Manny had parked, and the car was pointed back to Sanctuary.
"I'm sorry—" Josh started.
"Shut the hell up," Manny snapped as he exited the housing area and entered the city again. Josh did as he was told and in a few more minutes they were back in Sanctuary's underground parking and out of the car to the elevator. Josh remained quiet when Manny pressed in the code for the right floor and then leaned back against the wall.
"I said shut up." Manny was pissed. Why did Sanctuary bother with any of this shit when people like Josh screwed it all up?
Josh bristled and stood away from the wall. Clearly he had something to say. Manny simply pulled his gun from where he'd placed it, made a show of checking it and refused to meet Josh's eyes. Josh in return heaved a sigh and relaxed his stance.