Sneak Peek of The Eagle

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The Eagle

Release date: October 11th

Revenge won’t change anything—or will it?

From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the second book in a sizzling series filled with action and adventure. Fans of The Selection and The Hunger Games will discover a heart-pounding thrill ride of espionage and suspense set in glittering high society.

The world’s most deadly assassin, a man known only as The Priest, has come back from the dead to take a series of high profile hits. When the assassin completes his first task—shooting an important world leader, the global community goes into collective shock and his government vows retaliation.

With her cover firmly cemented as Huntley Von Allister, Spy Girl’s vacation on the Royal Yacht is cut short when she’s called home for her next mission—and, this time, it’s personal.
Can Huntley accomplish her mission before the next hit takes place?
And what will happen when she finally comes face-to-face with the man who killed her mother?

With a kickass heroine and intrigue, this page turner will have you spellbound and drooling over your new book boyfriend. – H.M Ward, New York Times Bestselling Author.

The Spy Girl series is an intrigue filled, exciting ride through a world you’ll wish you were part of and want to know more about! – J. Sterling, New York Times Bestselling Author.

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Sneak Peek

Revenge won’t change anything—or will it?

From USA Today bestselling author Jillian Dodd comes the second book in a sizzling series filled with action and adventure. Fans of The Selection and The Hunger Games will discover a heart-pounding thrill ride of espionage and suspense set in glittering high society.

The world’s most deadly assassin, a man known only as The Priest, has come back from the dead to take a series of high profile hits. When the assassin completes his first task—shooting an important world leader, the global community goes into collective shock and his government vows retaliation.

With her cover firmly cemented as Huntley Von Allister, Spy Girl’s vacation on the Royal Yacht is cut short when she’s called home for her next mission—and, this time, it’s personal.

Can Huntley accomplish her mission before the next hit takes place?

And what will happen when she finally comes face-to-face with the man who killed her mother?

PRO:LOGUE

Two men are seated in a large room with ornate gold leaf bookcases and a deeply toned, hand-painted mural covering a large, domed ceiling. The mural features the Archangel Michael in a battle with Satan. It was painstakingly created for this room based on the Baroque painting, “The Fall of the Damned,” and it took an artist three years to complete.

Although one of the men seated owns the home this beautiful room is in, he is not sitting in a place of power behind his mammoth hand-carved mahogany desk, but rather both men are seated in matching wingback chairs covered in the softest of plaid cashmeres and are situated near the room’s French doors, which overlook the estate’s vast grounds.

“We have some loose ends to tie up regarding Montrovia,” the owner of the home says after taking a sip of amber-colored liquid from a heavy crystal tumbler.

“We shouldn’t have trusted the girl,” the other man says.

“Easy to say in retrospect, especially considering she came very close to succeeding. If she would have become Queen, it would have made things much easier for us. We will prevail, regardless.”

“What is our next course of action, then?”

“We continue with our plan,” the owner states. “Although, I’m afraid there will have to be a few slight variations.”

“Does one of those variations have to do with why the Eagle wasn’t present at our meeting today?” the man asks, the understanding of an unusual event earlier in the day showing in his furrowed brow.

“He isn’t doing what he promised. Now that he controls the world’s most powerful military, he seems to have forgotten who put him into power.”

“That was a very expensive endeavor.”

The owner of the home nods in agreement. “One of which we are not reaping the reward from. So, I’m afraid we have no choice. We must liquidate our bad investment.”

The man sets his drink down, trying to keep his hand from shaking, knowing it could just as easily be him if he dared to cross the man in front of him. “But he’s our friend.”

“Something he has also forgotten. Do it. And I only want the best, for obvious reasons.”

“Sadly, the best is dead.”

“Are you referring to The Priest?”

“Yes. He was killed after the Eagle’s father hired him for a hit then double crossed him.”

“I don’t believe he’s dead. Find him.”

“I’m sure we can find someone equally as talented—”

“I want The Priest and no one else,” the owner interrupts.

How in the world am I supposed to hire a dead man? he thinks, but he doesn’t dare say.

“It’s going to be dangerous for us to even try to find him, but I will see what I can come up with. What if he is still alive, but says no?”

“You will make him an offer he cannot refuse. And see if he will give us a group discount regarding the outstanding Montrovian situation.”

 

The assassin known as The Priest enters an empty bar in France. The hole-in-the-wall drinking establishment is supposed to be open this afternoon, but the owner just hung the closed sign on the door.

“What is this nonsense about an offer?” the assassin asks, freaking out a little. “Everyone thinks I’m dead. We’ve worked hard to establish ourselves here. How did they contact you?”

“Through a secure network. I left a few trusted assets in place in case we ever needed the money.”

“We could be traced though that.”

“No, we can’t. I’m good at what I do. Are you interested in hearing the offer, or not?”

“It doesn’t matter how much it is. I’m not interested.”

“So are you saying that fifteen million dollars wouldn’t sway you?”

“Fifteen million? Who the hell is the target?”

“It’s a series of three hits, but they have only revealed the first one.” He whispers the man’s name.

“You’ve got to be kidding. No way.”

“This money could set us both up for life.”

“We’re already set up for life. Sort of. Besides, I retired. With good reason.”

“They will go as high as twenty.”

“You know how well-guarded a man of his stature is.”

“Are you saying no because you don’t want to do it, or because you don’t think you can do it?”

“Whether or not I can do it is not the question. I always complete my tasks. However, in this case, getting away with it would be another story. I’d have a whole country after me. And they’d find you first, since you are the one brokering the deal.”

“You don’t trust my skills?”

“All I know is that I’m lucky to be alive. It’s been over six years since I was double-crossed, and you know as well as I do, that when Lara was killed it should have been me driving. I had gotten careless with my cover.”

“That was four years ago.”

“Two years after I was presumed dead. Men like that never forget. For all we know, this could be their way of setting me up.” He pushes himself away from the bar. “No. We can’t risk it.”

“If we could get them to twenty-five million, we could buy our own island and live in paradise forever.”

“We already live in paradise, my friend.”

“I’m tired of running this bar.”

“This bar is your cover. Hiding didn’t work before. Hiding in plain sight is. And we will continue to make it work.”

“Whatever,” the bartender says, his disappointment showing in both his expression and gestures. But he does as told—logs into a secure network and declines the offer.

He’s surprised when there is an immediate response.

“They just offered thirty million.”

The assassin closes his eyes. The thrill of the hunt is something he craves, but he can’t.

He shakes his head no.

The bartender relays his decision, then his eyes go wide with shock.

“You need to see this for yourself,” he says, handing him the laptop.

The assassin reads the instant message.

Thirty million is my final offer, but I suspect it’s not about the money. I have other information that may interest you. The first target is not only a powerful world leader, but he is the legacy of the man who double-crossed you six years ago. 

He’s rereading it again just to be sure, when another message pops up.

Does that change your mind?

The assassin drains the beer in front of him. “Tell the man that it most certainly does.”

MISSION:DAY ONE

My cell buzzes on the table next to me as I’m sunning on the upper deck of the Royal Yacht, fending off a slight hangover and lack of sleep.

I smile when Lorenzo’s name pops up on the screen.

“How’s Ibiza treating you?” he asks.

“Ibiza is one big party.”

“It has quite the club scene. Have you been relaxing, as well?”

“Hard not to on your beautiful boat,” I reply, glancing around at the sheer luxury of the place. Amazing how quickly I have become accustomed to it.

“Have you thrown any parties? I’ll be honest, I was hoping to get an invite.”

“No parties. Daniel is up early training every morning. The Olympic tryouts are a few weeks away, so he hasn’t really—”

“Wait. Did you just say that Daniel is on my boat? With you?”

“Uh, yeah.”

“Why?”

“Because you sent him here to be my party?”

“Lee,” he says, his voice sounding strained, “you and I—you know how I feel about you.”

“And you know how I feel about you.”

“Yet you suggested I call Elizabeth,” he counters.

“Did you?”

“No, Huntley, I did not.” He sighs. “Even though I was upset to learn the truth about you, I’m certainly not over you. And I could never offer you up to another man.”

A quick glance over the railing confirms that Daniel is still training in the pool a deck below. Knowing I won’t be overheard, I say, “I’m sorry, Lorenzo. If I weren’t who I am, if I didn’t have to do this—”

“Things would be different,” he says, finishing my sentence. “I know. I’m a King and you’re—you. It would never work.”

“Right.”

“But what if it could?” he asks.

“The only way it could is if one of us were willing to quit.”

“I can’t quit my country.”

“So you want me to quit?”

“I’m not sure. I have so many unanswered questions.”

“What were you told about me?”

“Very little. The man who called simply stated that your training and cover had taken years to put into place. He then requested I not tell a soul, for your personal safety.”

“Lorenzo, it’s one thing to know what I do. It’s another thing to have witnessed it.”

“While I will admit your talents are slightly unusual, it doesn’t make them any less spectacular.”

“You saw me kill people. I’m good at it.”

“And thank goodness that you are, or I’d be dead.”

“And I’m a liar.”

“I watched you work the crowd to perfection at both the Queen’s Garden Party and Her Majesty’s Royal Ball. Where I come from, we call that being diplomatic.”

I laugh out loud. “You almost make me feel like a normal girl.”

“Will you tell me how you ended up in this profession at such a young age?”

“Can I be honest with you?”

“Of course.”

“I’m not doing this for my country.”

“Good, then it will be easier to convince you to live in mine.”

What he says tugs at my heartstrings, but once he knows everything, I know he won’t feel that way. “To answer your question, I ended up in this profession because my parents were spies.”

“That was not in your dossier. Were they really killed in a car accident?”

“Lorenzo, what’s in my dossier is what they want people to see, and what I’m about to tell you is probably going to make you hate me more.”

“I don’t hate you, Huntley. I don’t think I ever could. I’m sorry I reacted so badly, but there was so much to deal with at once—being kidnapped, discovering I was your mission, my father’s passing, and then becoming King. I’m known as the Playboy Prince. Women flock to me. The idea that I was your job was so foreign to me that it’s taken a bit to sink in. But I keep coming back to one thing. Do you remember what you said to me after our mermaid bath?”

“That when you drop all the prince shit and be yourself, I really like you.”

“Tell me the truth, Huntley. Were those your true feelings?”

“Yes.”

“See, I feel the same way. Your job is not what enthralls me about you, you do. Not to mention that I will never be able to look at a chess game and not think of—”

“I’m doing it for myself,” I interrupt. I can’t let him think we have a chance. Because we don’t. In no world can I envision being lucky enough to be with a guy like him. Besides, once I tell him the truth, he’ll see me as the hardened assassin I was trained to be.

“Because you like killing people?”

“No, because my mother was murdered in front of me.”

He audibly sucks in his breath. “Oh, Lee.”

“I managed to shoot and wound the assassin and then escaped.”

“How old were you?”

“Twelve. A few days later, my father’s car exploded. I got out. He didn’t. I was sent to a very private school and trained for this.”

“So you seek revenge?”

“Yes. I’m going to find the assassin.”

“Then what?”

“Kill him.”

“Huntley, revenge won’t change anything. It won’t bring your mother back.”

“It’s my fault she’s dead. If I had been better trained, I would have killed the assassin before he killed her. I had a gun—I knew how to use it—but I was scared. I’m not scared anymore.”

“You were only twelve. It’s not your fault. You can’t just go kill the man.”

“Yes, I can. He deserves to die. You told me it was okay that I killed the bad guys in order to rescue you. You said they deserved to die. That makes you a hypocrite. Killing people is fine when it saves your life, is that it?”

“Maybe you are right. How about we agree to disagree?”

“This is why we could never be together, Lorenzo. I was trained to kill bad people. What if an assassin had killed your father? Would you send your army after him? The Montrovian Secret Forces? Would you want revenge?”

“Yes, I probably would,” he says with a sigh. “It’s just that I wouldn’t be the one pulling the trigger.”

“And that makes it any better?”

“No, you’re right. It doesn’t. Lee, I care about you. I worry about you. Look, just promise me, from this moment forward, we will both be completely honest with each other. About what we’re doing and about our feelings. Can you agree to that?”

I hesitate. I was trained to lie, but those lies are meant to both protect me and further my mission. Lorenzo already knows the truth about me, so I’m not sure quite how to respond. “I can sort of agree.”

“I’m afraid I need more of a commitment than that.”

“Some of the things I may be asked to do will have to be kept secret.”

“Fine. Then can you at least agree to be honest with me about your feelings?”

“Yes, that I can do.”

“Very well. I hope that means you will be able to handle what I’m about to say.”

I brace myself for it. I’m so torn emotionally when it comes to him. Part of me wants to tell him goodbye forever. The other part of me wants to never let him go.

“Daniel’s being on my boat does not make me happy. Did you really believe I am so gracious?”

“I will admit, I was surprised, but I assumed it was because you no longer had feelings for me. When you kissed me after the coronation, it felt like goodbye. You gave Ari girls. I thought you gave me Daniel.”

“I’m far from over you.”

“I’m not sure I will ever be over you,” I say, kicking myself the second the words come tumbling out of my mouth.

“But yet you and Daniel have been together.”

“Not as much as you would think.”

“Anything is too much, and I am typically quite liberal sexually. Was Daniel part of your mission, too?”

“You were my only mission, but we were purposely seated with him and Peter Prescott at a gala. The plan was to befriend both of them in the hope that they would give our cover validity.”

“And our encounter at the tailor’s shop? That was also somehow set up?”

“Nope. That was completely by chance. I was shocked when you walked in.”

“So the fates brought us together regardless of your plan?”

“I guess, maybe.”

“You played very coy with me. I was crushed when you didn’t come to my party.”

“Had I gone, I would have just been another notch on your bedpost.”

“Perhaps.”

“Definitely.” I laugh.

“It feels good to hear you laugh. Now, please go tell Daniel to get the hell off my boat, otherwise I may be forced to have the Captain throw him overboard.”

“Be sure they take his trainer, too.”

“You are sleeping with him, as well?”

“No, of course not. But since he arrived, I haven’t slept with Daniel. His training exhausts him.”

“I like the man already. So, when are you coming home?”

“Home?”

“To Montrovia. It is your home now, Contessa Von Allister, and I would very much like you back in my country where I can keep an eye on you. How would you feel about me sending the chopper to pick you up? Rescue you from boredom.”

You’re going to rescue me?” I can’t help but laugh, especially considering I’ve saved his life on numerous occasions. “Any chance you could wear shining armor, ride in on a horse, give me the full fairytale treatment?”

“If that’s what it takes. Although, the Queen’s Ball felt like a fairytale to me. Did it not to you?”

“Part of it.”

“Which parts?”

“In your office. When I first saw you dressed in full military garb. It was easy to forget you were a prince sometimes. That night, you definitely looked the part. Then there were the shoes. And the dress. And the jewels.”

“But not the dance?”

“Not the dance. I had to constantly be vigilant. You were so exposed. I was stupid to take Allie to the restroom. I should have never left you. I screwed up and let my guard down.”

“In retrospect, it’s a good thing you did. Otherwise, you would have gotten a dart to the neck, and Ari and I would have been shark bait.”

I consider this. “Maybe you’re right.”

“So when we were alone, we felt like a fairytale?”

“In most fairytales, the girl doesn’t lie to the Prince.”

“Cinderella did.”

“She didn’t lie. She just omitted a few details about herself.”

“Does Daniel know what you do?”

“No.”

“Are you going to tell him?”

“I can’t.”

“Do you love him?”

“I care for him—but I’m not supposed to have feelings for anyone. It was part of my training.”

“You can’t train people not to love—” The sound of a door banging open causes him to stop mid-sentence.

I hear the voice of his trusted guard, Juan. “Sorry to interrupt, Your Highness, but I thought you would want to know. The President of the United States has just been shot.”

“Um, hang on, Huntley.” He says to Juan, “Can you repeat that?”

“The President of the United States was shot, possibly fatally. It happened only a few minutes ago.”

“Did you hear that?” Lorenzo asks me.

“I did,” I say, getting up and slipping into a robe. How could this be? They send me to save the Prince of a teeny country like Montrovia but allow our own President to get shot?

I rush down the stairs to the salon, grab the remote control from the bar, and flip on the television.

And there it is running across the bottom of the screen: Breaking News:  The President of the United States has been shot.