Chapter 1

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Ayah couldn't believe they were in the same mess all over again. It was just two weeks into their first March as a married couple and how it had happened she still wasn't quite sure. There was only the throbbing pain in her head and the ache in her heart that still grieved for Reed.

Her husband of only a year who was now dead.

How had they ended up that way? Everything had been great before. They had left her engagement party for the fake relationship between herself and Blake a year ago and moved to Rome. They had bought a house, got married and she had celebrated her twentieth birthday. It was all as expected. They had the dogs...Abby who Reed had saved and the two Dobermans he had surprised her with, Delgado and Mirek. He gave her a beautiful wedding ring, a faked replica of a Ptolemaic twenty-two karat ring from the Cleopatra days, made especially by Abdul with a pearl and turquoise and amethyst stones. It had been the most special day of her life.

Reed had even got a new job just two months after their move, working legitimately in a museum where he could be surrounded by the artifacts he loved and had given up to start their life together. He could spot a fake antiquity a mile away and was the perfect man to take on the job of the new curator, knowing how to properly handle and care for the artifacts and all about their history. She had even had the chance in the last few months to tease him about the fact that artifacts were going missing from the museum and that it was pay back for all the stealing he had done on the governments dime.

For a while, he had reverted back to his usual self, getting together with Raidon, secretly from the rest of the team, to find out why the artifacts were disappearing and who was taking them if it was a matter of theft. It hadn't taken them long, just two weeks to discover Marley's involvement. All trails led to him and she had warned Reed that it was all too easy to find him but he didn't take any notice.

And now he was dead.


Out of her life for good and she couldn't believe it.

Ayah's disappearance had remained unsolved in England and Blake had been put into prison for a ten year sentence, whilst being pumped for information by the FBI. But even with that and the theft from the museum, things were still perfect between them. That was, until she stood pacing the floor three nights ago, in their beautiful town house, only to be attacked from behind. She had been chloroformed and taken to the old warehouse where she was currently being held.

Ayah was sitting on a rickety old chair, her hands tied behind her back and still dressed in the knee length silk nightgown she had been wearing in anticipation of Reed's return home. She had important news for him. But for those first few hours, sitting in the warehouse, she couldn't do anything but cry after being given the news that her husband, her wonderful Reed, the man she loved more than anything, had died in an altercation with one of Marley's men.

Marley's theft from the museum had been noticed weeks ago and he had been fired and arrested. Reed had hired a replacement and it had been forgotten about until Marley began explaining how his method of torture had worked better than planned. He had taken her to hurt Reed, to make him suffer. And then, after sending someone to tell him where she was being held, an altercation had taken place and Reed had lost.

It was heartbreaking for Ayah to hear. But the longer she sat there, with Marley pacing the floor, not knowing what to do with her now that Reed was gone, the more she thought she would never see another sunrise, she would never start another day or laugh again, cry again and worst of all - she would never see her husband again. He would never know the secret she had waited up to tell him. But that evening, as she sat there, numb and devastated by her new position, she could hear Marley making a phone call to Raidon, ransoming her off to the team. All he wanted was his antiquities, whether or not Reed was still alive to deal with him.

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