Chapter 1

Sasha Madden sat alone inside the locker room wishing the workday was over. Being an FBI agent and apart of Truman's CID group there was no set time to go home, she could be stuck there for more hours to come. The thought depressed her, the fact she could be out of the stressful job depressed her more. Long hours and all she had loved her job.

The day worsened when the door opened and he stepped inside. Nicholas McBain gave her a hard look of disappointment. They had never gotten along and their latest case secured they never would.

She started to feel small under his glare and stood from the bench. "I'm sorry and I've said it over a thousand times, I'm sorry."

Losing the last of his temper he grabbed her arm, pulling her close. "It's your fault everything went straight to hell, people died Sasha." he explained as he held on to her arm, their faces were close and both their eyes full of fire.

"Let me go," Sasha softly said as she stared into his deep blue eyes. "Before I make it so you can never have children." she warned, her expression stern as he finally let go. "Look, I know I screwed up but I wasn't the only one there, everyone made a mistake." she kept trying to justify her slip up inside her mind. It all a chain of events she had the bad luck of being apart of.

"The worst being yours. You shouldn't have taken charge like that, you knew we were dealing with a crazy fuck, he snapped and two men are dead and one is half-way there." Nicholas said as he tried to keep calm, he was furious at that she could be so careless.

Sasha let out a long sigh. "If I hadn't done what I did, both those kids would be dead. No one told Green and Holden to rush in like that, their deaths are on them, not me!" she snapped. She'd admit until she was blue in the face she had acted hastily to save the children before they were killed. The children didn't have a choice in the events, the agents did.

"You know Truman's not going to see it that way." Nicholas pointed out, walking behind her as they left the locker room.

"No of course not. He'll take your side; his favorite. Do me a favor Nick and just let me do my job." Sasha was good at keeping calm, but never around Nicholas McBain. He always made everything harder for her; they were always at odds trying to beat each other at everything they did and today put those feelings into overdrive pushing them over the edge.

The case went hay-wire, agents died, Sasha made a moments decision to save the two children's life that were at stake from a crazy serial killer that had already killer eight other boys and girls, he needed to be stopped that's all Sasha thought about when she finally was face to face with the man, everything else went out the window, she couldn't let him get away.

"The way you do your job is costing a lot of people." Nicholas pointed out as they neared the end of the long hall. It wasn't the first time Sasha acted without thinking just the first time people were injured.

Sasha came to a halt so quickly that Nicholas almost bumped into her. "I am having a hard enough time with this as it is." she explained, trying to stop her eyes from tearing up. "I don't need you breathing down my neck reminding me how much I messed up." she said then opened the conference room door where Pete Truman was sitting at the large rectangle table.

"Sasha, Nicholas, please sit down. How are you both?" Pete asked. He treated his agents like his children, he cared for them all personally as well as professionally.

Dr. Pete Truman ran a special unit who worked along side the CID, criminal investigation division, stepping in with local police stations when they needed a helping hand with cases that focused on violent crime, financial crime, organized, public corruption, and drug related. Truman was also a psychologist and joined the FBI once he had his degree, he was highly respected even though most thought he was crazy because of the way he saw things but that made him good at his job. He knew how to read people, he read Sasha and Nicholas, and he wasn't blind to what was in front of him.

The meeting began once Sasha and Nicholas sat down, purposely putting two seats between them. "I heard about how the Kellermen case went down earlier." Pete said as he looked at his agents, settling on Sasha. "I understand what you felt had to be done. Tell me what you were thinking." he said to her, it was common for him to speak more as a doctor rather then a federal cop.

"Thinking when?" Sasha wasn't quite following. She thought Truman was going to be furious, although that wasn't the type of man to resort to anger. But she had been expecting some sort of anger.

"When you shot Ron Kellermen dead, what were you thinking?" Pete asked, crossing his hands over the notepad he carried.

Sasha looked at Nicholas then back to Truman. "I wanted him to pay for the rest of his life for what he did but I didn't have a choice I had to shoot him and when I did, I was glad he could never hurt anyone else again. I wanted to kill him." she explained, looking down at her hands the whole time, it shouldn't have been easy to take a life that easily. It scared her.

"You did what you had to do-" Pete held up a hand when Nicholas started to protest. "I know what happened with Green and Holden and it was a great loss but the children are safe and the case is finally closed."

"Thank you." Sasha softly said, glad someone finally saw her side.

"I know Nicholas is bound to give you a hard time,"

"That's an understatement." Sasha mumbled.

"Now that this case is over, you know with this job it's time for another. You both need to learn how to get along, considering you're going to be husband and wife now." Pete briskly explained.

"What?" Sasha asked in shock, Pete had spoken so fast she wasn't sure she heard right. Hoping what she heard was just a trick of the mind. Nicholas couldn't help but laugh, it was too funny to be true, she a sent him a death stare.

"I think you both heard me, husband and wife." Pete explained more slowly. "You will be posing as a married couple in a small town named Maple Oaks in Iowa. You'll be spies, something in the town isn't right, it's to believe the Mayor, Sheriff and the rest of the town is dirty, their hands in deep with the drug world but nothing is sure, it's just talk right now, very bad talk. Your jobs are to find out the truth, find out who is and who isn't clean and dirty." he explained.

"But why do we have to be married?" Nicholas asked the same question on Sasha's mind.

"You won't seem out of place and I don't want anyone going in alone. Newlyweds

moving into their first home won't raise any questions; it's a great cover up." Pete explained with a glee in his eyes. He was fond of the idea of them having to live together, now maybe they would work out their feelings, Pete hoped for his sake and the rest of the team.

"But why us? Why can't it be other agents?" Nicholas asked, he didn't want to be stuck with Sasha, he hated working with her. The last case they worked resulted in too much death.

"Because you both are the same age and a better match and because I said so." Pete explained. He rarely pulled rank and when he did, you shut up and took it gracefully. "Plus Maple Oaks is Sasha's home town."

Sasha wanted to punch a wall; she was having the worst day of her life. She hated where she grew up and never wanted to go back. Nicholas looked at her, waiting for a reaction but no one said anything. "When does it start?" She asked in a less then happy tone, she clenched her fist to keep from hurting someone.

"You leave first thing tomorrow. Here are your plane tickets and keys to the car you will be using. Keys to the house and some information about it; a cute little place, great for a couple of Newlyweds." Pete explained with a hint of amusement.

"We're a married couple, scooping out the town. I'm guessing we have to act like the happy couple." Nicholas said, thinking out loud, voicing his fear of being stuck with Sasha and having to pretend to love her without anyone seeing his true feelings of dislike for the woman.

"Yes." Pete answered. "You have to put on the perfect act. Hand holding, kissing in public, showing how much you love each other."

Sasha and Nicholas looked at each other, and both thought the same thing, why start a battle they knew they wouldn't win by protesting to Pete. He handled them a file concerning the case and their new information. "You both head home and get some sleep, today was long drawn out day." he explained as he stood from his seat. "Nicholas you pick up Sasha and drive to the airport together and please get along." he said before he left the room.

"Sounds like such a simple case but what it entails is the worst of them all." Nicholas remarked, looking through the file.

"This is going to be hell." Sasha ran her hand through her brown long hair and rested her elbows on the table.

"Maybe it won't be so bad. Are we going to consummate the marriage?" Nicholas grinned as he looked at her.

Sasha shook her head, Nicholas was known for his one track mind. "When hell freezes over then you and I will sleep together."

"Oww that kind of hurt. I do hear hell is getting a cold front soon." He joked as he went back to looking at the file. "Shouldn't we come up with some lies?" he asked after a couple of minutes as he closed the file and looked at her.

"Lies about what?"

"How we met, when we fell in love. How many kids you want. A small town, people will ask." Nicholas pointed out.

"I guess you're right." Sasha said and began to think of what to say. "We met in college and it was love at first sight, we began to date and a couple of years later you finally got the balls to ask me to marry you. Now after six months we bought our first home and we're settling down. We want three kids, it doesn't matter what they are, boys or girls."

Nicholas watched her, he liked the sound of that and wondered if that was what she wanted. When they talked, mostly fought, it was about work, he didn't know much about her.

"That sounds easy enough to remember, what do you think?" Sasha asked pulling him out of his thoughts.

"It's great." Nicholas said. "And everyone thought you were cold inside, that sounded…sweet."

"Gee thanks." Sasha sarcastically said as she ran her hand through her hair again, it was something she always did during moments of frustration.

"Are you a good kisser?" Nicholas suddenly asked.

Sasha looked at him with a raised eyebrow, she knew why he asked. "Yeah the best."

"How do you know?"

"Because I've been told, what about you?" Sasha played along with the questions because it was easier then continuing to fight.

"Am I a good kisser? Oh yeah, just ask around." Nicholas said as he finally stood from his seat. "I'll pick you up at seven tomorrow, be ready." he said before he left the room.

Sasha stood from the table and pushed in her chair "This is just great, I'm stuck with the guy I despise and have to act like I love him, and I have to go home to that damn town. This job is just great." she mumbled to herself as she left the room.

Sasha drove home to her apartment building, she lived on the fifth floor in a one bedroom very small place but she didn't mind, it was enough space for her. She made enough money to buy the whole block except that's not what she wanted or needed. She threw her keys down on the kitchen table and head straight for bed. She took a showered then changed into a large t-shirt and laid down, and couldn't sleep; the images of what went down were still too fresh in her mind.

The next morning Sasha changed into a pair of dark blue pants with a pale white top. She packed up her favorite outfits and whatever stuff she didn't want to leave without. Once downstairs she made a pot of coffee and placed her bags by the front door and waited for Nicholas to show up. She couldn't believe Pete shoved them together like that; they've worked together before but nothing like this; living together as a married couple. Sasha hoped they would get the case done without killing each other.

As she took a sip of her coffee there was a knock on the door. "Damn he even his knock his annoying. Calm down you can't kill him, yet anyway." she said as she made her way to the door.

Nicholas knocked on the door and waited for Sasha to open, he wondered what was taking so long. She was probably dragging it out because once they left; their lives will change, at least for awhile. "What took you so long?"

"I was in the kitchen. Why the hell are you rushing?" Sasha asked as she let him in and walked back into the kitchen for her coffee.

"I'm not rushing. Trust me, I'm not rushing." Nicholas commented as he leaned against the sofa armrest. "Pete called me before."

"Yeah? What did he say?"

"'Happy faking being in love and have a fun trip.' He sounded glad about it. I have a feeling he's happy we're stuck together."

"He wants us to get along." Sasha said as she came from the kitchen. "He has a better chance of winning the lotto. Let's go."

Isabelle A.