Strategic Maneuvers - Jemma Westbrook


THE ROOM WAS too cool.

“Where would I find the thermostat?” Pierce scanned the enclosed space from his spot in the corner, looking over the same four walls he’d been staring at for two hours.

The physician hovering over Zeke slowly turned his way, one brow lifting.

“It needs to be warmer in here.” Pierce stood from the horribly uncomfortable chair he’d occupied since his arrival at GHOST headquarters.

The doctor turned away, going back to checking Zeke’s blood pressure. “The temperature is just fine.”

“He was submerged in freezing water.” Pierce stepped toward the most current issue he was facing. “How do you expect to warm him in a room that’s like a refrigerator?”

Zeke needed to wake up and he needed to wake up soon. There was too much on the line for him to continue lying there like he was.

The doctor turned to face him, not a hint of hesitation or uncertainty in his cool gaze as he repeated himself. “His temperature is just fine.”

“Then why, might I ask, is he still unconscious?” Pierce tucked one hand into his pocket, running the pad of his thumb over the item inside it, reciting the lines he said to himself a hundred times a day now in an attempt to stop the past from returning.

And in an attempt to convince himself it hadn’t already arrived.

One slow inhale.

A slow exhale to follow.

“He is still unconscious because we sedated him.” The physician smirked. “Men like him don’t appreciate being out of control.”

Pierce scanned the physician from head to toe.

If he only knew.

“Be that as it may,” Pierce turned from the doctor’s cocky smile, taking slow steps across the small room to put a little distance between them, “there is information I need to ascertain from him, and in order to accomplish that, I need him to be awake.”

It was the only reason he was willing to come here. He would get what he wanted.

And offer them what they asked in return.

Whatever that may be.

“He’ll wake up when he wakes up. You can’t control when that happens.”

Pierce stopped, his gaze slowly leveling on where Zeke laid. His skin was pale, but the color was beginning to return to his cheeks. His breathing was slow and even. That of a man who slept well and deep.

Unfortunately for him, this was not the time for sleeping.

Pierce turned to fully face the man carrying more secrets than he cared to consider, staring down his unconscious face.

A few heartbeats later Zeke sucked in a deep breath, his eyes flying open as his entire body tensed.

Pierce turned toward the doctor, this time with a smirk of his own. “You may close the door on your way out.”

Normally he would attempt to behave in a way that wouldn’t risk severing the potential ties that could be formed today. He’d learned long ago connections were many times the only thing that saved you.

Normally he would be polite and appreciative and considerate.

He would be the man he worked so hard to show the people around him. The people who never knew the man he once was.

But he’d also learned that many times connections were the thing that ruined you.

Zeke held Pierce’s gaze as the doctor left, the on-site physician for GHOST closing the door harder than necessary on his way out.

“I understand you saved Heidi.”

Zeke didn’t answer, but his stare didn’t waver.

“As a thank you, I will respect your condition.” Pierce’s thumb warmed as it worked across the small bit of smooth surface on the item in his pocket, the drag creating more friction with each pass. “However...”

“What do you want from me, Pierce?”

“I want,” keeping his words even and relaxed was almost painful at this point, “to know what the fuck is going on.”

Zeke’s brows barely lifted, the slow motion sending Pierce’s hand to a fist in his pocket.

The urge to punish Zeke was strong. Show the lead of Shadow who was in charge.

Who made the decisions when Alaskan Security and all it protected were involved. “You took Heidi and Shawn from headquarters.”

Zeke kidnapped them. Stole them in broad daylight.

“They almost died because you believe you can do anything you wish.”

“They almost died because of you.” Zeke’s tone was so sure. So certain.

Pierce’s breath stalled. “I’m to believe it’s my fault you took them off-site to a supposedly non-existent location before driving them straight into the Chena River?”

“It’s your fault I had to do it.” Zeke glanced at the rails along the sides of his bed, reaching out to press one of the many buttons. Copyright 2016 - 2023