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Court & Dagger: A YA Teen Spy Thriller (Courting Disaster Book 1) (E-Book)

Court & Dagger: A YA Teen Spy Thriller (Courting Disaster Book 1) (E-Book)

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To spy or not to spy.

That is the question.

Main Tropes

  • Kid & Teen Spies
  • Child Prodigy
  • Blackmail
  • Diverse Cast
  • Saving an Unknowing Victim
  • Chase Scenes & Double Agents


To spy...or not to spy. That is the question.

Eighteen-year-old Kat Dagger is recruited to work for a black-ops spy network. Little did she know her boss was a ten-year-old child genius being held against her will by the government.

On her first day at work, the Director is killed, her boss is promoted, and Kat becomes second-in-command. Add a car chase, blown-up house, and a growing body-count, and Kat begins to second-guess her career choice.

Courtney McMasters must work for the government or be torn from her family and sent to jail for treason. All before the age of ten! When she discovers the same person who killed her boss is also after her one-and-only chance at ditching the AGENCY, Courtney recruits Kat to help her.

Now Kat must decide whether to follow her tiny boss into battle, or be responsible for Courtney's lifetime sentence as an unwilling government spy.

Court & Dagger is an action-packed teen spy thriller with a diverse cast of characters and fight scenes that will knock your socks off. It's a brand new spin-off series from the Unleashed world that will keep you reading well into the night!

Intro Into Chapter 1

Small Surprises

I sit alone in the back seat of the Suburban and stare at the driver, wondering if this day could get any stranger.

Henry is his name. He’s young like me. Nineteen maybe? Kinda cute. A tattoo peeks out from under the sleeve of his dress shirt. Olive skin; clean-shaven; short, black hair gelled to perfection; likes to tap his thumbs on the steering wheel; eyes continuously scanning the scenery outside.

“Let’s get a couple rules straight before you meet the boss for your interview,” he says, glancing back at me through the rearview mirror. “First, never talk about her age. You’ll piss her off.”

I raise an eyebrow and nod. Hmm. Either she’s really old, or young like Henry and me. I Sigh. She’s probably old.

I glance down at my navy-blue skirt and white button-down shirt, smoothing any wrinkles, then run a hand down my long, brown curly hair. I hope it didn’t frizz after my shower.

“Second, never ever talk down to her. She’ll fire you, and you’ll end up in the brig.”

“Got it.” Duh. I’m in the military. Who, on God’s green earth, would be dumb enough to talk back to their superiors?

“Most importantly, do absolutely everything she says. Sometimes her requests are bizarre. But she hacked the FBI when she was five.” He glances back at me, pausing for effect. “She knows her stuff, and she knows she knows her stuff. She’s here to stay. For a long time. Understood?”

“Yes.” I tuck a rogue hair behind my ear and glance around the Suburban. It’s clean. Military clean. As in scrub-every-crevice-with-a-toothbrush clean. It smells of leather polish and is exactly seventy degrees Fahrenheit, despite the bite to the air outside. The interior matches the exterior: black, high gloss, lots of chrome. Noticeable in a sea of early model sedans with not-so-glossy paint jobs.

“If she’s asked for you, it means you’re the best at whatever it is you do,” he says, flashing an almost imperceptible smile. The first hint of emotion I’ve seen since Henry picked me up at my hotel.

I raise my brows. “Thanks.” After my last mission I expected to be stuck at a desk job for the next thirty years. That tends to happen when most of your team dies. Especially when you’re the team leader and you’re barely old enough to vote.

“Let’s hope you survive the week.”

My stomach drops and I stare at him, my face smoothing. I fold my hands in my lap, forcing them to still. How many people has this old lady been through?

I glance out the Suburban’s window. Large, leafy trees in oranges, reds, and yellows. Forest-covered mountains. Crisp air. Autumn in Spokane, Washington is surprisingly beautiful. It’s nothing like Afghanistan, that’s for sure.

Henry pulls the Suburban into a fast food drive-thru. “One medium orange juice, please.” He glances back at me. “Want anything?”

“Coffee. Black.”

“No coffee. It’s another of her rules. Something about no addictions and coffee being smelly. If you wanna drink it, do it on your own time. Oh, and no swearing. Bad habits and all that.”

“Noted.” I stifle a sigh. No coffee? I’m gonna die.

We drive another couple blocks to an elementary school. It’s a brick building teeming with energetic children jumping out of cars and waving goodbye to loved ones. Henry pulls into a parking space facing the playground.

A bell rings, and the children skulk off the toys, aided by adults herding them toward the school.

A girl wearing a hot pink dress covered by a zebra-print jacket breaks from the crowd and strides in our direction. Her jewel-encrusted ballet shoes glint in the sunlight as she adjusts the pink backpack on her shoulders.

Straight brown hair; large eyes; cherubic cheeks. Most likely fourth or fifth grade.

I expect her to walk past us to another car. Instead, she stops at the back-passenger door and opens it. She pushes a button on the side of the seat cushion, and the bottom, back, and armrests move like a transformer robot until it metamorphoses into a sophisticated booster seat. She steps onto the running board, then into the Suburban.

“Ah, Kathryn, I see you’ve made it.” Her voice is high and sweet. Her eyes dance as she smiles at me. Turning, she places both hands on the door handle, leaning back to shut it. She drops her backpack on the floor and holds her hand out to Henry. “Do you have my juice? If Mom feeds me oatmeal one more time, I’m gonna freak!” She shudders.

I’m staring, and I know it. But how can I not? She’s like...ten!

The girl settles into her seat, takes a sip of her juice, and holds her tiny hand out to me. “I’m Courtney. It’s nice to finally meet you.”

I’m usually pretty good with my composure, but thinking of this little girl as my boss weirds me out. I stare at her delicate fingers, as if they’re foreign.

She smiles, pulling her unshaken hand away and crosses her legs. “That’s okay. I get the same reaction with everyone.”

She jabs a finger at Henry. “You should’ve seen what he did when we met.”

“Hey now. No need to spread rumors,” Henry says, shaking his head.

Courtney half-giggles, but doesn’t elaborate, turning back to me. “Thanks for coming. I’m sorry about the mystery surrounding your interview,” she says, half-shrugging. “But everything from this point on is confidential.” She takes another sip. “I already know we want you for the job. The question is, will we get along? I figured today you could shadow me and learn what the A.G.E.N.C.Y’s about. Then you can make a decision afterward.” Courtney tilts her head and looks up at me. “Does that work for you?”

I stare at her, blinking several times. I glance at Henry to see if this is a joke. He’s staring straight ahead, concentrating on the road. ”You’re interviewing me for a job?” I say.

“Yep.” Courtney fluffs her skirt around her legs and sips on her juice again. “You’re not gonna have a problem working for someone my age, will you? I read your file and saw you’re the oldest of eight, so I figured you’d be used to being around kids, unlike some of the other people I’ve worked with. And I know you’ve led your last several missions with subordinates twice your age, so you know what it’s like to have employees much older than you. I thought you’d understand that age is just a number and has nothing to do with a person’s ability to lead. Plus, all your superiors say you’re smart, resourceful, a quick learner and—”

“Courtney.” Henry’s voice is gentle, yet firm.

Her eyes dart from mine to his. “Yes?”

“You’re rambling.”

A sheepish grin washes over her face. “Sorry.” She focuses back on me, her eyes expectant. “So, you wanna see what the job’s all about?”

I press my lips together, trying to squelch the smile threatening to appear. She’s certainly not boring, that’s for sure. Curiosity burns through me, wondering what use the government would have for a ten-year-old girl. And in the position to be my boss? I’d always thought my being in the military as a teenager was an anomaly—a position afforded to me because of my IQ, and because my father was a high-ranking General in the Army. But if she’s working for the government, how many others are just like us? What sort of people allow - no encourage - children to excel at this level?

“One day of observation?” I ask.

She nods. “That should be long enough for you to get a good idea of what we’re all about.”

I glance at Henry, catching his eye.

He breaks into a grin. “C’mon. You know you want to. The curiosity will eat you alive if you don’t.”

I glance back at Courtney, and she wags her brows at me, then clasps her hands together, giving me her best impression of puppy-dog eyes. “Puh-leeze?”

“Oh, my word. You’re worse than my sisters.” I roll my eyes, sigh dramatically. “Yes. I’ll observe.”

Courtney’s face lights up. “Great. Let’s get to work.” She pulls a tablet out of her backpack and taps the screen with one hand while sipping her juice with the other. “What’s the schedule for today, Henry?”

“You have a meeting with the White House as soon as you arrive. Apparently, there was an incident last night. Something to do with Operation Snowball.”

Courtney’s face jerks up, and she stares at him. It’s as if a switch goes off and all humor drains from her body. “What happened?”

Henry’s eyes dart to me, then back to Courtney. “There was an accident.”

“Was anyone hurt?”

“Yes ma’am.”

Courtney waits a beat. When Henry says nothing, she raises both brows. “Spit it out, Henry.”

“The Summers, ma’am.”

“As in his entire family?”

Henry nods.

She takes a long drink of her orange juice, her brows pinching together as if she’s thinking. She sets down the drink, chews on her lip, then pulls a bracelet off her wrist. The bracelet, like the rest of her outfit, is pink and bedazzled. But when she tugs on the band, it straightens, turning rigid with a cell phone touch screen on the underside. She dials a number from memory.

“I need you to find out as much as you can about what has happened with Director Summers and his family in the past twenty-four hours,” Courtney says, her voice businesslike. “Is this accidental or intentional? Collateral damage? How bad is it?” She pauses, listening before shaking her head. “I have a meeting in five minutes. Contact the team leaders. After I meet with the White House, I want status reports on each of their projects. And can you pick up something for me to eat?”

My eyes dart from Henry to Courtney. Who is Director Summers? Was I supposed to be debriefed on him earlier? The White House? What the freak is going on?

Courtney pauses as she listens to the voice on the other end of the phone. “Yes, call me as soon as you find anything out.” She pushes a button on her screen before slapping the phone to her wrist, causing it to arch into a bracelet again.

We drive in silence as she closes her eyes and shakes her feet, humming a lullaby I haven’t heard since I was a child. I wonder if I should ask her what’s going on. I glance at Henry, who catches my eye and shrugs as if to say, “I have no idea. Just go with it.”

The phone rings and Courtney pulls the bracelet taut again. “What have you got?” She shakes her head. “What’s the unofficial report?” She gnaws on her lip, listening, then says, “What’s the condition of the children? Do they know their parents are dead, or that the other is alive?”

Our Suburban slows. We’ve pulled into an industrial lot filled with acres of identical brick warehouses. I search for street names or building numbers but don’t find any.

Courtney nods. “Initiate protocol Bravo. We’ll go over the rest once I’m inside.”

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