Fair Game


By Josh Lanyon

A crippling knee injury forced Elliot Mills to trade in his FBI badge for dusty chalkboards and bored college students. Now a history professor at Puget Sound university, the former agent has put his old life behind him—but it seems his old life isn’t finished with him.

A young man has gone missing from campus—and as a favor to a family friend, Elliot agrees to do a little sniffing around. His investigations bring him face-to-face with his former lover, Tucker Lance, the special agent handling the case.

Things ended badly with Tucker, and neither man is ready to back down on the fight that drove them apart. But they have to figure out a way to move beyond their past and work together as more men go missing and Elliot becomes the target in a killer’s obsessive game…

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On cue, the blonde in the front line of chairs made a moue of surprise and shifted in her chair to better display her long, slim legs.

What was her name again? Mrachek, Leslie. That was it.

Catching his gaze, Mrachek smiled demurely. Elliot bit back a sardonic grin. Barking up the wrong tree there, Mrachek, Leslie. If Elliot was inclined to get involved with a student—and he wasn’t—it would more likely be the broad-shouldered redhead sitting next to her. Sandusky, John.

Sandusky was chewing the top of his pen, staring into space.

Elliot sighed inwardly and continued, “The treatment was no better for officers. More than three hundred of the nine thousand men held at Johnson Island in western Lake Erie, died—primarily of starvation and disease.”

His phone buzzed again.

Funny, how you just knew when it was trouble. Granted, Elliot didn’t get a large number of calls these days. Not like when he’d been a hot shot special agent with the FBI. His physical therapist, his teaching assistant, his father…that was pretty much it. Maybe that explained why he was having trouble tuning out that ghostly knocking on the desktop. So much for his vaunted power of concentration. Tucker would have—


Elliot turned away from the lectern.

“Professor Mills?”

Mrachek, Leslie accompanied by a bored-looking Sandusky, John smiled up at him.

Elliot raised his brows in inquiry. His expression must not have been encouraging because her smile faltered.

“Leslie, right?” he asked more cordially.

“Yeah. Leslie Mrachek. I’m also in your Film and History: The American West class.” She was turning the full battery of white teeth, blue eyes and adorably freckled nose his way. Elliot controlled his impatience. Not her fault if his knee was beginning to ache and he was suddenly, keenly feeling the frustration of his new sedate, confined life in academia.

“Oh, yes?”

Her escort, Sandusky, was checking the messages on his cell. Leslie said, “I was wondering if I…if you would consider looking at my essay on the films of John Ford before I officially turned it in?”

Was that done? Though he’d earned his doctorate before joining the Bureau, Elliot had done almost no teaching. All too often he felt like he was feeling his way through the dark, way less savvy than some of his younger, fresh-out-of-college peers.

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