Page 85 of Way of the Shadows (Shadow Agents 8)

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“Sometimes, Paula,” Randall murmured, “I wish you and I could give it all up. Just be together...”

Paula’s cuffed hands grabbed for the laptop. She shoved the top down. “I don’t want to see anymore.”

Noelle realized she’d been right. Of all the clips on that laptop, and there were plenty, the one of Randall had been the one Paula needed to see. “When Patrick kills him later—and Randall certainly wasn’t easy to kill—your name is the last thing the general says.”

The color was completely gone from Paula’s face. Her lips twisted into a snarl. “Pointing at his accuser, is he?”

Thomas’s fingers stilled on the table. “No, I think he was just calling out for the woman he loved.”

Noelle turned her head to look at his hard profile.

“In those lasts minutes, you know what really matters,” Thomas continued. His gaze flickered to Noelle. “You want to be clear, no words left unsaid, before you draw that last breath.”

A sob broke from Paula.

Noelle had to swallow to clear the lump from her own throat. She could still hear Thomas’s rough growl in her ears. “I...love you...”

“It was all Lawrence!” Paula said in a rush. “He’s the one who made me work with Patrick! He found out that I’d killed my stepfather when I was sixteen.” Tears trekked down her cheeks, but they weren’t fake any longer. “He was hurting me, and I stopped him. No one would believe my stories about my stepfather, so I had to do something!” Shudders shook her. “Then Lawrence came along.... I—I thought he was going to help me, but he had other plans. Everyone always does....”

“Everyone but Randall,” Noelle said softly.

Paula’s shoulders bowed. “Lawrence flipped out when we got confirmation from Randall about the EOD. He was sure someone there—someone called Mercer—would be coming after him. That all the dots from his crimes would be connected. So, yes, he went after them. He didn’t want the hit coming right back to him and Patrick, so he hired some guy for the job.”

Jack.

“But since I’m here...and they’re all dead...” Paula blinked away tears. “I guess the EOD didn’t end, did it? Mercer... He’s not dead.”

Thomas pushed away from the table. The legs of his chair groaned. He headed for the door.

Noelle sat at the table for a moment longer. His job was finished. Hers wasn’t. Now she needed to get the rest of the details. Names and dates. Closure would be given to families, and if Noelle’s instincts were right, they would even get new leads to follow based on the information Paula would give them. Paula had been deeply connected in the senator’s life. If there were others who’d tried to hide secrets in D.C., then Paula would know about them.

The woman would cooperate now. There was no reason for her not to do so.

The door closed softly behind Thomas.

Noelle stared at Paula.

“I loved him,” Paula whispered.

Noelle reached for a pen and a pad.

“I loved him,” Paula said again. “And after Randall was dead...I—I wanted to be, too....”

* * *

THOMAS HEADED INTO the next room. He shut the door behind him. Mercer was standing at attention, just a few feet away from the observation window that let him watch Noelle and Paula.

“The EOD isn’t dead,” Mercer said voice curt. “And we won’t ever be. No matter how many times they come after us.” He turned, focusing on Thomas. “Because of men like you. Women like Noelle. Agents who will risk their lives to protect the division.”

It wasn’t the division Thomas had thought of when he’d leapt to take that bullet in Alaska. It was the only woman he’d ever loved. “I’m marrying her.”

Mercer’s left eyebrow shot up. “Does Noelle know? Or is this some—”

“Noelle knows I love her, and she’s agreed to marry me.” And I know just how lucky I am. “I won’t have any more secrets between us. Not ever again.” He was giving that warning to Mercer.

“Good. That’s the way it should be.”

“Sir—”


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