Betrayed by a Kiss
his truck, trying to stop him from getting himself killed. Her decision had prompted a chain reaction she couldn’t regret.
    The truth was always better than fantasy. She’d loved her job at Whitman Enterprises, with its patina of respectability, but it wasn’t real. Marnie deserved real. MacLain deserved to find his closure. She’d give it to them, but he needed to back off. If there was one thing Marnie was good at, it was surviving a grift, and survival meant working alone. Just the thought of partnering with MacLain made her nervous. He’d get to know her. It was intolerable.
    “Say something,” he said.
    She searched for a reason he’d understand. “If we steal the files again, they’ll be acquired without warrants. Still inadmissible. You should go through regular channels.”
    “Without those incriminating files, I’ll never get the authorization I need to subpoena the servers. No probable cause. They’ve branded me a troublemaker with a vendetta against Whitman Enterprises. Why would a judge take my word for it? No judge would. I need evidence. I need those files. I should have taken that flight to the Caymans tonight.”
    “They would have followed you to the airport.”
    “We’re stealing the files again.”
    The company’s security team was waiting for that move, salivating to catch her. Marnie had her own plan. She was going to hunker down with her electronics until she hacked her way into bankrupting the company. She could do it remotely. It would take time and money, and it wouldn’t be quick or pretty, but she was motivated. She’d get the job done. The files were lost to them. They had to get Whitman another way.
    “Call the FBI,” she said. “Homeland. Whitman Enterprises has offices outside the U.S. You could call Interpol. Have them subpoena Whitman’s servers.” It would keep him busy and out from underfoot while she got the job done, but would it keep him safe? She wasn’t so sure.
    “You’re trying to make me someone else’s problem.”
    “You are someone else’s problem. I came to warn you. I did. I don’t owe you anything now.” Blatant lie. At the creek, at the cabin. Yup. She’d be dead. “Now leave me to my work.” She saw an exit that promised a gas station ahead. She could hitch a ride from there. “Take this turn. Let me out at the gas station.” He didn’t pull over and looked no more inclined to follow orders than she was. Frustration put an edge to her words. “You don’t understand what you’re asking. Say you jump over the hurdle of getting past the guards, past the coded entryways, past the video surveillance. How will you know where to look for the files and programs you need? And then there’s the problem of encryption and finding the decryption key. Do you even know what an algorithm is?”
    “You do. We can do this.”
    “ Don’t tell me my job. You said it yourself, they’re a cutting-edge cybertech facility that specializes in security. They’re protected with on-site armed guards.”
    He scowled at the road ahead. “You did it once.”
    “They didn’t know I was coming. They had no idea I was trying to help you, otherwise they wouldn’t have let me anywhere near that building.”
    “Trying to help me? Good to know, because it certainly doesn’t feel that way.”
    She scowled. “Sooner or later you’ll pull this car over, and then I’m gone. Whatever you decide to do is on your head, not mine.” She fell silent, wondering if she were capable of following through with that threat. Hell, was it even what she wanted?
    …
    It was two in the morning, and they were almost at the safe house. An hour ago, when Marnie finally realized he wouldn’t allow her to fend for herself on the side of the highway, she gave him the silent treatment, and that quickly turned into an exhausted sleep. He was glad. She needed it. Hell, he was envious. Sleep and he hadn’t been friends for a while now.
    When he was still a detective and railed against

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