The winners are…Candi Kandelas, Colleen C, and Amanda Zook!
Protect: keep safe from harm or injury; what real men do
I guess I have a hero complex because my favorite stories are the ones with strong heroes who have a soft spot and who also will do anything they can to protect women, especially those they love. Protecting Maddie kicked off a series for me in Susan Stoker’s Special Forces World, and brought to life Hawkeye St. John, one of my favorite heroes. Readers loved the story so much I was urged to keep it going. Well, of course! Writing about real heroes is one of the best things to do. And Maddie’s success brought readers to the other stories.
So here, for you, is a taste of all five books in the series:
Leave a comment for your choice of one of these books!
When Maddie Winslow talked a student out of his gun in her classroom, she never figured it would set off a chain of events that put her life in grave danger, and the lives of her parents.
Hiding in WitSec for thirty years, her parents thought they had beaten the odds—until the image of Maddie, an identical replica of her mother—hits the television airwaves and the people who have been seeking revenge all these years find her. Intent on learning where her mother is hiding, they break into her home and then try to kidnap her. Frightened, she goes to her friend, Zee, who once dated someone in Delta Force. She calls him to explain her friend’s situation, but he’s prepping for a mission and can’t leave the base.
Hunter “Hawkeye” St. John, a Delta Force team member, is on medical leave recuperating in Tampa and chafing for some action. When the he and Maddie meet, the sparks flying between them sizzle the air. But if Hawkeye wants to move forward with Maddie he first has to keep her safe and then eliminate the bad guys.
Injured and discharged, he is lost…
Sam Alvarez is newly discharged from SEALs that had been his entire life. Without the Team he is lost, but a bad injury to his left arm ended his career. His rehab is slow and he resents everything. The tiny isolated cabin in Maine former SEAL John “Tex” Keenan found for him is just what he wants.
Frightened and in hiding…
Physical therapist Cassie Malone had a job she loved, great friends and a man in her life she thought was Prince Charming. Until by accident she discovered he’s one of Boston’s drug kingpins. Now she’s hiding out in tiny Castile and scared he’ll find her.
When Fate throws Cassie and Sam together, it’s a battle for him to let her help him relearn everything. His surliness is in high gear and she’s always looking over her shoulder. But neither of them counted on or expected the hot, hot attraction blazing between them.
When drug smugglers show up and put everyone in danger, including Cassie, it’s up to Sam to use his skills to take them down and save the woman he’s come to love. But can he do it before it’s too late?
She thought her past was firmly behind her…
Amy Ressler was a vivacious, outgoing person, looking forward to her first job after graduating college. Until the night her stepbrother slaughtered her entire family and thought she was dead, too. For ten years she’d been living under an assumed name in a house in Tampa with security guards and a security system. Her agoraphobia keeps her a prisoner in the house where she designs sought after video games.
Quinn Molloy couldn’t seem to find a place for himself when he left the SEALS…
He has been part of the teams for eighteen years and suddenly an injury left him with no place to go, except to visit his friends Melody and Tex Keenan. Where they introduce him online to KitCat, Amy in her online disguise, a terrified woman who needs a bodyguard.
The killer is loose…
When Matthew Baker escapes from jail the hunt is on, led by the US Marshals. But with Amy helpless in her self-imposed prison, Quinn accepts the job as her personal bodyguard, and they discover that what starts online can explode n the bedroom. As long as he can keep her alive.
She wasn’t a no-name sex kind of woman but stress had gotten the better of her…
She’d never see him again so she could indulge every need and desire she had with this hot, sexy, intense, troubled man. Now she has to put it out of her mind as the DEA task force she’s on prepares to take down dangerous drug kingpin Luca Vasquez, coincidentally her brother-in-law. When her sister is murdered and her niece disappears, se leaves he task force to find her.
He couldn’t get the memories of the woman out of his mind…
Being a SEAL was the only thing Clint “Razor” DaCosta had known for twenty years until a disastrous mission ended his career. Now dreams of the raw sex with the passionate redhead are the only things that keep the nightmares of that mission at bay. He’s still trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life when a phone call from a friend brings him to a shocking meeting.
Passion…danger…murder…a lethal combination
No one is more shocked than Razor and Arizona when he answers her call for help. The heat is still there and it’s hard to put aside the memories of their scorching sex. But first, they must find her niece and avenge her sister’s murder. And hope they both don’t get killed in the takedown.
And the newest…
When Terra Oenning and Griffin Dunne were paired in a Department of Homeland Security Op, neither of them expected the heat that exploded between them like the cabin they were surveilling. Personal relationships have no place in their lives. Ever. Period. That’s it. Except the night the cabin blows up so does their restraint, the sex between them so hot it sets fire to the sheets.
When the trail they are following takes them to the frozen north of Maine, even that isn’t enough to cool them down, but like experienced DHS agents, they never take their eyes off their assignment. Terrorists, computer hackers and the Croatian Mafia are combining to destroy the United States and Terra and must focus on destroying them. No problem. Despite the addictive, off-the-charts sex, they are trained agents who do their job, surveilling key players and helping to set up the takedown.
But when it goes awry and Terra is caught in the crosshairs, it will be up to Griffin to rescue her, a wake-up call for both of them that maybe, just maybe, what they have between them is real.
Following the same theme as my last post, where I introduced or reminded you about an older series that’s been updated, I’m including an excerpt from the second book in the Danger Zone series, Mutiny’s Bounty. It’s my favorite story in the series because of the shark cage scene, which I share a bit of below. And of course, it’s sexy as hell. The hero’s a SEAL, and my heroine falls quickly into insta-lust (who wouldn’t?) then love, because again, he’s hot, heroic, and knows just how to turn a girl inside out.
Remember, the first book, Dangerous Liaisons, is on sale for just $0.99! That price is not going to last long!
But then, you really don’t have to read the stories in sequence, although I think you’d enjoy the series better! Or if your reading time is limited, you could just jump straight to Mutiny’s Bounty, because, again…sexy as hell, SEALs, danger at the bottom of the sea, an excursion on a billionaire’s yacht…
Solve the puzzle. Then tell me where you’d like to travel to enjoy this kind of scenery!Win a $5 Amazon gift card!
Excerpt from Mutiny’s Bounty
Dex strode aft and glanced over the side of the boat to the escort skiff bobbing on a gentle sea.
Justin raised a hand to wave.
Dex touched his earpiece. “How’s everything going?”
“No worries. Except Johnny thinks something’s up with the engine. It’s been hiccupping a bit.”
Damn. Dex blew out a breath. “If he’s worried, radio back to shore to muster another boat. Halloran has a cruiser we can put to use.”
“Will do. Is your lady friend nervous about the dive?”
“Not too much.” Dex grinned. “She’ll have me in the cage.”
“No worries then. No Great White’s a match for a SEAL.”
Dex gave the men another wave then pushed away from the side. There wasn’t a cloud in the clear blue sky. The sea was calm. Shrugging off his momentary frisson of unease, he went in search of Lace. She’d be his focus throughout this adventure. Still, he ran up the metal steps and entered the bridge, eyeing the captain who gave him a little wave and the other white-suited crewman, who was one of Halloran’s guards.
Dex nodded toward the screen, free of any blips. “No other boats in the area?”
“Screen’s been clear since we left the island. We’ve got it covered. Enjoy the dive.”
The other man’s grin was friendly enough. Unworried, Dex nodded then headed out the door. The other white-suited guard was probably serving drinks while keeping watch. All the activity of the staff and the dive team seemed to be business as usual. Dex didn’t know why his gut was telling him something wasn’t right, but he trusted his instincts. Always.
After taking more steps to the highest platform where a couple of guests were sunning themselves, Dex gazed out over the ocean. The water was calm and a deep, dark blue. Still nothing on the horizon. Looking down, he spotted Lace, holding onto the rail while she made her way toward the back of the yacht. Likely, she was beginning to get jittery about the dive.
Shrugging off the bad vibes, he took the stairs to the lower deck. The cage holding the first pair of divers was being winched up. They dropped their breathing apparatuses and grinned at Troy and his crew, the female bubbling an excited, “It was awesome!”
Dex glanced at Lace. She stood in the raised, caged platform, the spotter’s cage, gazing downward, likely counting fins. While her attention was drawn there, he went to the diving gear, chose a BCD, and then grabbed a tank, regulator, and weight belt. He checked filters, attached the regulator, then checked the tank’s pressure, assuring himself he had plenty of air for the short dive. He inspected the regulator and the alternate, checked inflation and deflation of his BCD.
Everything was in order, all the equipment well-maintained. He stripped off his tee, toed off his shoes, and placed his earpiece atop the folded bundle. Gearing up, he noted Lace heading down the ladder from the spotter’s cage and walking over to Troy.
Dex joined her, giving her a quick grin. “Still time to change your mind.”
She shook her head. “I watched the others. The cage is sturdy. And I have no wish to stick my hand outside the bars to try to pet them.”
Troy laughed. “We’ve got tiger sharks and Whites. Should be a good show.” He turned to Dex. “You ready?”
Dex gave him a nod, and then handed Lace goggles and a weight belt. “This will keep you from floating to the top of the cage.”
Her smile stretched across her face. “I actually think this will be fun. I didn’t much like swimming above them, but the cage is almost like wearing armor.”
Minutes later, the second couple exited the cage, and one of Troy’s team opened the cage door and signaled for them to enter. Dex followed Lace as she ducked through the entrance. Once inside, she donned her goggles and belt, and then reached above her for the hookah tube with the mouthpiece.
“Anything goes wrong with the air in the tube…” he held up the alternate regulator, “I have this. Just remember to breathe in through your mouth, exhale through your nose.”
“Got it,” she said, her expression tense but happy.
Dex glanced behind him just as the cage door swung closed.
Troy stood outside the cage, giving him a hard stare. “You take care of her, and no one gets hurt.” He turned the latch to close it.
Dex cut a glance around him, noted that the dive crew members were opening plastic tubs, pitching aside spare BCDs, and pulling out firearms, pistols and rifles. Dread clenched his gut. Trapped inside a cage, he couldn’t make a move.
Lace’s fingers curled around his wrist. “What’s happening?”
Through the bars, Dex’s gaze locked on Troy’s grim smile. “They’re taking the boat. My crew—”
“Will be busy fishing you two from the bottom of the sea,” Troy said. “They won’t be able to follow us because their engine’s about to seize. While they’re occupied, we’ll be rounding up Halloran and his rich friends, and inviting them to wire funds to our accounts. By the time that second escort boat headed this way arrives, we’ll be long gone.”
Lace curled her body against his. Automatically, he grabbed her waist.
“You’ve got another boat coming,” Dex guessed, his heart beginning to race as he realized there wasn’t a thing he could do. Already, the chain holding the cage was tightening, lifting them off the deck.
“Like I said, if your men don’t try anything stupid, everyone lives. I’m not a murderer. I’m just looking out for my retirement.” Troy gave another grin, one that was tight. His eyes gleamed beneath lowered brows. “Stop worrying about what’s happening up here. You’re gonna have your hands full.” He angled his head toward Lace.
The cage rattled and shook as the crane swung it out over the water. Another chum bucket was lowered over the side. Dex’s attention went to the sharks circling beneath them, and then to the woman standing beside him, her eyes wide as saucers, and her body beginning to shake. “Grab tight to the cage, baby. Hold your breath as we go down. Soon as we’re in the water, I’ll share my tank. We’ll be okay.”
With the cage poised above the water, Dex knew what was about to happen. He grabbed the rail and sank to his knees.
Lace did the same, staring back at him.
The moment the crane released the cage, chain rattling through the winch, they dropped into the water. A second later, they were fully submerged and lowering fast, Lace’s eyes widening behind her mask, her lips pinched closed and cheeks billowing as she held her breath.
Counting the seconds of their descent, Dex cleared his mask, put his regulator into his mouth, purged the water from it, and sucked in air. Then he slid his hand down the hose to the alternate regulator. With the cage still sinking, he held the rail with one hand and moved toward her.
He held up the yellow alternate regulator, but before allowing her to put it in her mouth, took out his own, showing her how to insert it, then hitting the purge button to let out water, before exaggerating an indrawn breath.
Lace followed his lead, at last breathing through the alternate. The panic in her face lessened as she breathed, and they both gazed upward. The chain rolled out, snagged at the end, then released. The cage free-floated the last few feet to settle in the sand at the sea bottom.
When you’ve been writing as long as I have, you can have a rather large backlist of books. I’ve got a huge backlist! And yet, my new converts (er, readers) have likely never heard of them.
A case in point is a trilogy I wrote and published, um, six years ago? I think. It’s when I first began toying with writing series based around military heroes. I’d done cowboys and vampires, but military heroes? I thought I’d be bored, after all, I lived that life. You know, I was a veteran… I worked with these cocky bastards. I’m over lusting after men in uniforms, right? (Never, actually. Ever.)
The series never sold well. And I knew what the issue was. I named the series after the travel agency my three heroines ran rather than putting the focus on the story. These were sexy thrillers. Couples were chased through the jungle by a drug cartel, dropped to the ocean floor in a shark cage with one tank of air, and stranded on a desert island.
So, when I was thinking maybe I needed to brush off this old series, because, hey, I loved it—action, sexiness, and humor abound—I decided to give the stories new covers, the series a new name, and to give the books another brush of editing to make them even more perfect.
So, here’s the new lineup. All pretty, sexy and flashy. Plus, I’ve placed the first book in the series, Dangerous Liaisons, on sale for just $0.99! So, if you’re looking for something to read this weekend, I have just the thing—and did I mention that the stories are very, very sexy? 🙂
Enter the Danger Zone!!
Dangerous Liaisons On Sale for $0.99!
A pampered travel agent, roughing it at an anti-terrorist training school, escapes through the jungle with an undercover DEA agent when a drug lord mistakes her for a rival’s daughter…
After surviving a week of anti-terrorist training at a school deep in a Central American jungle, learning evasive driving techniques she’s sure will help her negotiate Chicago’s rush hour traffic, Maya Cordoba is ready to kick off the mud from her designer boots and find a Starbucks—or the closest cantina serving cosmopolitans—after she hijacks her sexy driving instructor. Instead, she finds herself staring down the barrel of an AK-47 (which she recognizes from her weapons familiarization class, thank you very much!), and being ordered in incomprehensible Spanish into a SUV. She’s being kidnapped! When she figures out she’s been mistaken for the daughter of a rival drug lord, it’s too late. If they learn she’s not who they think she is—she’s dead.
Rescue comes from ex-marine and mercenary/now driving instructor, Angel Rickman, who just so happens to be among the kidnappers. He says he’s really undercover DEA and he’ll take her out, but she has to do everything he tells her to, no balking. Together, they make a mad dash through the jungle, borrowing a cocaine-laden boat, with the drug cartel’s army on their tails every step of the way.
A former Navy SEAL races to rescue the passengers aboard a luxury yacht after it’s captured by pirates, but first, he has to rescue the woman he’s trapped with inside a shark cage on the ocean floor…
Interested only in experiencing an adrenaline-packed adventure first-hand to give her credo when she books her clients’ adventure vacations, Lace McElhannon finds more excitement than she can handle when she meets and falls into bed with ex-SEAL Dex Haygood.
Fresh from protecting transport ships from Somali pirates, Dex figures his latest job will be a cakewalk, until he finds himself in deep water, swimming with sharks and trying to protect Lace when the yacht they’re sailing on is taken.
A travel agent visiting friends in the Bahamas is stranded on a desert island with a sexy ex-SEAL after their private pleasure cruise is interrupted by men who mistake her lover for a reclusive billionaire.
When Susan heads to the Bahamas, she thinks the sexiest part of the trip is that she can count it as a tax deduction. After all, her agency has new offices in Miami and the Bahamas, and she needs face-time with her partners, who also just happen to be her best friends.
However, her plans for a working vacation, emphasis on work, go quickly awry when she meets ex-SEAL now security specialist, Justin Walsh. His lead-footed, fast-talking ways creep beneath her cool reserve and make her yearn for the kind of relationships her besties have with their ex-military husbands.
When his billionaire employer comes under possible threat, the ever-crafty Justin organizes an op that will kill two birds with one stone. He’ll pose as his employer aboard his luxury yacht while he woos the woman who stole his heart from the first moment he met her.
However, even best laid plans have their hiccups. When Justin and Susan are stranded on a desert island, it’s up to Justin to keep them safe while he orchestrates the ultimate seduction.
Check out my newest release, Blind Trust, part of Elle James Brotherhood Protectors World.
Blind Trust is the third book in my world within Elle’s world, with books set at the Triple C, or Three C’s ranch. These books are near and dear to my heart because I take on the subject of domestic abusive, moving each heroine from victim, to survivor, to thriver, giving the heroine a Brotherhood Protector and a happy ever after.
There’s always a bit of danger in the middle. (Which you will find in almost all of my stories. Suspense, danger, and a fight scene. This is true no matter what romance genre I’m writing in.)
Now about the Triple C’s ranch, how was it born?
If I could wave a magic wand and create a world where domestic abuse did not exist, I would do it in a heartbeat. Since I don’t have a magic wand, I created the Triple C, or Three C’s as it is affectionately known. On this ranch in Montana, in Brotherhood Protectors country, women who have been attacked or abused come to learn self-defense, horseback riding, gun safety and shooting, swimming, and other skills to become stronger, and more empowered.
If you’ve been following along, reading the other books, you may have guessed from the cover that Blind Trust is the story of Cecelia, the receptionist at the Triple C. It took me a little longer to write this one than I had planned, as I learned it wasn’t quite so easy writing from a blind heroine’s point of view. I had to back up a bit, do more research and then rewrite many scenes.
They do not have to be read in order, though they are all connected, and there will be more stories to come, set at the Triple C. In fact, I am working on a Christmas story this week that is set at the ranch. I haven’t picked a title yet, but it will come to me before the first draft is done.
Leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of either Defensive InstructororMarine Protector. Have you read any of the books set at the Triple C Ranch yet?
Blinded by a bad date, Cecelia lives and works on a ranch that helps victims of domestic abuse. All she wants is to stay on the ranch, a place where she can find her way around in her perpetual darkness. She has no intention of dating again, especially not Marine Force Recon veteran, Brian “Barbie” Ken, even if his voice is so sexy it makes her knees weak.
Assigned to protect the patrons and workers at the ranch, Brian is fascinated by everything about Cecelia and has made it his life’s mission to take her out on a date. She might be the biggest challenge of his life. Convincing her to leave the ranch will take more than smooth talking after an ill-fated date robbed her of her eyesight. It will take Blind Trust on her part to go out again.
When her cousin ends up in the hospital in San Diego, Cecelia is desperate to visit. Brian offers to drive her. Cecelia agrees to go, taking a leap of faith to leave her familiar surroundings. When a sex trafficker kidnaps Cecelia from the hospital, Brian crosses the border into Mexico to rescue her and bring her home.
Author Debra Parmley believes, “Every day we are alive is a beautiful day,” and she likes to give her readers and her story people a story with a happy ending.
A hybrid, multi-genre author, Debra’s first romance, A Desperate Journey, a gritty western historical romance, was published in 2008 in eBook and 2009 in print after being selected as one of ten novels to compete in the American Title II contest put on by Dorchester Publishing and Romantic Times Book Lovers magazine. Debra has written three western historical romances.
An Air Force veteran’s wife, Debra enjoys writing Amazon best-selling military romantic suspense. She married her high sweetheart and after living in five states, has lived for the last 20 years near Memphis, TN.
Founder of Shimmy Mob Memphis, a chapter of Shimmy Mob international, which raises funds for local domestic abuse shelters around the world, Debra is a retired belly dancer. Several of her books feature belly dancer heroines.
Debra enjoys writing historical romance and writes a 1920’s flappers romance series, each book about a different flapper. She also writes contemporary and holiday romance, a dystopian romance trilogy; paranormal romance, fairy tale romance and poetry.
She is a professional speaker and a world traveler who often brings home folk tales and music from countries she has visited.
Her five favorite things are shooting primitive archery with her Mongolian horse bow, shooting long guns, shooting pool, walking on the beach, and hearing from her readers. Each card and letter is a joyful treasure, like finding that perfect shell on the beach.
To Catch an Elf:
Debra Parmley’s Creepy Shelf Elf Group: Every Dec. I host a 12 days of creepy elf party and have SO much fun doing it! To be notified when the party starts, join this group, which is mostly quiet the rest of the year. https://www.facebook.com/groups/793115644206381/
I am giving away a bag of goodies and some books from Heather Graham’s Writers for New Orleans in conjunction with celebrating the release of Blind Trust! Drawing is tomorrow night so be sure to get your entry in by leaving your comments over there!
Thanks to Delilah for having me on her blog for the first time! What a great honor.
I write contemporary romance about sexy, alpha heroes in uniform: US Marines. Once upon a time, I learned the core values of the Marine Corps are Honor, Courage, and Commitment. These values resonated when I began writing romance. Namely, the courage part. In fact, I have a necklace with the word courage written in script that I wear every day.
My courage was sorely tested seven years ago. My oldest son, Patrick—the Patrick part of my pseudonym in the S. Patrick—at age nine was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Incidentally, he turned 16 this week…how did THAT happen?! He’s the most courageous person I know.
Not to bore you with the details of this autoimmune disease, but it’s a 24x7x365 condition. Diabetes never sleeps…and neither does this mom. So, as I was up every three hours each night testing his blood glucose levels in the beginning of his diagnosis, and at times unable to get back to sleep…I wrote. About courageous heroes and heroines who overcome obstacles, push their limits, and show their mettle. What better subject matter, right?
This past weekend our family and friends participated in the JDRF One Walk in NJ for the seventh year. We celebrated Patrick’s courage in living with Type 1. Pat’s a stellar student and accomplished athlete. Nothing stops him.
We should all take a page out of his book.
It doesn’t have to be big mountains you climb, so to speak, to show courage, but simply getting up, facing what each day brings, good, bad and challenging. That equals courage in my book!
Oh, and coffee helps, too! Gets me through my day job.
What is your definition of courage? My guess is it manifests in different ways to different people. Comment below and include your email, and I’ll send one random commenter a Dunkin gift card!
Finders Keepers: The Purse
Now, onto some shameless plugging…
My latest book is part of a boxed set of stories called Finders Keepers: The Purse. Along with seven other marvelous romance authors we were given a prompt:
You find an item in your purse, you’re not sure how it got there, and how does it catapult your hero and heroine into their HEA?
So much fun to write!
My story, Flutter, involves my heroine Kit Caruso at her twenty-year high school reunion. Later that evening she finds military dog tags in her purse which happen to belong to her high school crush and the first man to break her heart, Matt Warton (aka Mac). He’s a former Marine and he wants Kit back in his life.
Yeah, that got interesting. I hope you explore this great set of feel good romance.
It’s Thursday! Just past Hump Day. Tomorrow’s Trash Day (the day we take the bins to the road for pickup). Then it’s the weekend… So, we can start the celebration now, right? We’re almost there…
Today’s also the day I begin writing the next installment of the Montana Bounty Hunters series! Woot! It’s Quincy’s time to shine. Don’t forget to pre-order your copy. The wait won’t be long. Quincy drops on September 24th, so I better get my butt in gear and write it, right? No worries, I’m super motivated. I love Quincy and his beautician-in-the-bunker! I hope you have it pre-ordered already. If not, here’s the link: Pre-order Quincy now!
In the meantime, drool over the eye-candy cover of today’s featured flashback story, read the exciting opening pages of Cochise, and enter the contest! Happy Thursday!
MONTANA BOUNTY HUNTERS: Authentic Men… Real Adventures…
“Excellent… Cochise (Book 4) was exciting, fast paced, scary, filled with plot twists, & with humorous moments… The bonus material, The Bounty Part, 2 was also A+++.”
A hunt deep in a national forest forges bonds between a bounty hunter and a woman desperate to find her sister…
Former Army sniper, Cochise Mercier, left Denver SWAT under a cloud of controversy, which was why he ended up back home in Montana, and where he heard about the Montana Bounty Hunters. The “cloud” didn’t seem to bother his new boss, so he’s all in and finding he enjoys hunting down fugitives for bounties, encumbered by fewer rules.
Sammy McCallister is a by-the-book sheriff’s deputy, who has a beef with bounty hunters. Forced to stand by with her gun in her holster, while hunters take down scumbags, she’s particularly irked by the new guy in town. Cochise, with his long black hair and thousand-yard-stare makes her uncomfortable, itchy in ways she’s never felt before. When she finds herself needing his help, the reason for her irritation becomes all too clear. She wants him. But first, they must make it out of the mountains alive…
**Includes a free short story at the end!**
Comment below for a chance to win a copy of one of the MBH books shown below!
Are you all caught up with the bounty hunters?
Check out the latest release, Big Sky Wedding!
Cochise Mercier, the new hire at Montana Bounty Hunters, took a deep breath to force his heart to slow its pace. A trick he’d learned as an Army sniper to make sure a jerking breath didn’t mess up a shot. The trick worked in most situations when he needed his mind to slow and for his focus to home in on a target or a situation. Clearing his mind meant he was able to take in more of what was happening around him and enabled him to discard the things that weren’t important—like the way the wind beat a tree branch against the side of the house, a steady thump that sounded almost like clomping footsteps. Instead, he concentrated on the way the light, beaming through the tall arched windows at the front of the house, flickered whenever his target paced left or right, telling him where their mark was. An important fact, because in minutes, he’d have to breach the oak front door and be ready to take him down—with his weapon or his body, depending on whether Randy Pinter was armed. A fact Cochise would have to ascertain in a split second.
“Can’t see any movement in the back rooms,” came Jamie Burke’s voice through his earpiece. “I think he’s alone.”
He still wasn’t used to hearing a woman’s voice on the comms. He’d never had a female as part of any of his missions on the ground with the Army, and Denver’s SWAT had, at the time, been all male. That voice interrupted his calm. His instinct was to protect women and children, but she was a part of this team—and his boss—so again, he drew a deep breath, pushed aside his concern, and concentrated on his target. Pinter was pacing in front of the window to the right of the front door.
“Girlfriend’s car isn’t in the garage,” came Sky Reynold’s deep voice. “Must have gone for takeout. I’m moving around to the front.”
“Deputies just arrived,” Lacey Jones’s too perky voice sounded. “I’ll go brief them about what’s about to go down. Make sure they know we have the owner’s permission to be here.”
Cochise could hear the excitement in her higher pitch. Thank God, she was back at the road with the vehicles. The thought of her cotton-candy sweetness being anywhere near Pinter made him shudder. The girl might have qualified with her weapon and might be doing well with her self-defense classes, but she had no real experience going head-on with bad dudes. He didn’t want to be around the first time she was truly tested.
“You call it, Cochise,” Jamie said.
With his heart as slow as when he slept, he felt the familiar ice-water chill flow over him. “Ready,” he whispered and then stepped away from the bushes beside the porch. “Moving toward the door… On three. One…two…three.” Read the rest of this entry »