Excerpt from

Alaina Claiborne

British Agent Series

Book 1

from Chapter Three

British Agent Safe House, Scottish Highlands

TRISTAN  STARED AT the stains covering his hands. He couldn't tell where the  dirt ended and the blood began. From across the room, he watched as  Devon took his turn at the washstand. Charles sat on a stool nearby, his  blood-stained shirt partially unbuttoned, revealing his bandaged chest.

Devon  Clayton and Charles Blackwood had been with him on every mission since  they joined the agency after they had all finished their studies at  Oxford. For three years, they worked side by side, mission after  mission, with the highest success rate in the agency. The youngest,  brightest, and best trained, they were called on by Britain because they  succeeded where others had failed. However, they had not expected this.

Tristan  had killed men before—it came with the work—but he had always believed  those killings had been justified. At the tavern, they had done  everything possible with their combined knowledge to save the woman and  child who had unknowingly fallen victim to their hunt. Their target—the  woman's husband—had used her as a shield. Another man had used the  child. They had never fired on a woman or child and had momentarily  backed down—a mistake which cost too many lives, including two of their own.

Tristan  replayed everything from the moment they had reached the tavern,  attempting, in vain, to see any other way for a different outcome. There  had been five agents and six men expected to be at the location. Their  source had been mistaken or had betrayed them. There were eight men and  the woman and child, sitting down to supper. Tristan and his agents did  all they could to make the arrests without injury, but the men had  refused to go peacefully.

He  saw again the woman's husband throw her into the middle of the ruckus  as he attempted to escape out the back door. Charles shot the man. The  other, who had used the child as a shield, had held a knife to the boy's  throat. As he tried to make his exit, the knife slipped.

Tristan  remembered every man and every move. He had seen two of his agents go  down, each taking a culprit with him. One had escaped, but he couldn't  recall how. They might be the best at what they did, but they had made a  deadly mistake. Tristan once again studied his partners and friends.  Neither would forget what happened either. The woman and child's screams  promised to haunt them all for years to come.

Tristan  cleaned his hands, watching the blood darken the water. Some of it left  a temporary stain on his hands, but a more permanent one stained his  mind.

He  nodded to his friends and they all left the room. They were due to  return to England, and there were bodies to collect before they left.

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Excerpted from Alaina Claiborne by MK McClintock. Copyright © MK McClintock. Published by Trappers Peak  Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be  reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the author or publisher.

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