Archive for 'Uncharted SEALs'
Sunday, March 3rd, 2019
Get your copy! This offer won’t last long! Pick up the first story in the Uncharted SEALs series, Watch Over Me!
Here’s what the story is all about…
When Deke Warrick accepts an unsanctioned detail to keep tabs on a congressman’s niece while she vacations in the Caribbean, he expects the only dangers he’ll face are sunburn and a rum hangover. Determined to keep his distance, his resolve is challenged by a chance encounter with the beautiful Nicky Martir—and then shattered when she’s snatched from their hotel room.
Get your FREE COPY here!
Wednesday, February 27th, 2019
UPDATE: The winners are…Ann and Michelle Levan!
I’ll make an announcement soon about a new SEAL story. Can’t share the news until I have a hard date and cover to share, but it should be very, very soon! In the meantime, I have lots of military heroes for you to enjoy, including several stories centered around a Navy SEAL or two or three… 🙂
Enjoy the excerpt I’ve included. I really, really enjoyed writing a story that featured a female amputee. And you would not believe the number of online articles I read and YouTube videos I watched to make sure I got the details right! I was determined to do Kylie justice.
Here are all my currently available titles in Uncharted series.
Peruse these lovelies…
Click on the covers to learn more!
I’ll choose two winners! Tell me whether you’re ready for more SEAL stories for a chance to win your choice of an Uncharted SEAL story!
Hard SEAL to Love
Former SEAL, “Big Mac” McLane, is sure he earned all kinds of bad karma somewhere when his first mission with Charter Group is guarding the “Love Boat” and its activity director. Okay, so the cruise line is sponsoring a special cruise for wounded soldiers and their families — a great cause — but Big Mac doesn’t do well around families and children, and Kylie Hammond is cute, but he feels like he has two left feet whenever she’s around. But he’s going to do his job, keep it strictly business, fade into the background whenever she’s around, but it seems Kylie has other ideas…
Kylie knows the big SEAL isn’t exactly gung-ho for his new assignment, but she can’t be more pleased. The big man’s the yummiest thing she’s ever seen, and coaxing blushes and glares from him becomes her favorite sport. But then things begin to go wrong aboard ship, people disappear, and then someone’s killed. The thing her charity most feared — a terrorist attack at sea — appears to be underway. Now, she has to trust Big Mac and his team to keep her wounded soldiers safe.
Mac stepped through the entrance of the Hampton Inn. The lobby was a study in orderly chaos. Suitcases were lined up and stacked against one wall. Men and women, some in wheelchairs or walking with crutches and walkers, and missing limbs—some multiples—filled the space.
Mac tamped down a feeling of guilt for being able-bodied and whole as he walked through the throng, nodding now and then as he passed the veterans. He headed to the concierge and asked where he could find Kylie Hammond. After being informed which conference room Soldiers’ Sanctuary had commandeered to hand out welcome packets to arrivals, he headed down a hallway, relieved he didn’t have to push through a sea of bodies. He was ready to start this op. Sooner the better. Five days would fly by, and then he’d have the down time he needed to get his head on straight before the next assignment.
Stepping inside the room, he noted two long conference tables filled with plastic buckets of folders. Three elderly men manned the table.
One of them who sported a gray buzz cut and a surprisingly muscular build glanced his way. He lifted his chin in greeting.
Mac decided he was as good a place to start as any and strode toward him.
The old man held out his hand. “Joe Olinksy,” he said, in deep, loud voice. Then he leaned against the table edge and whispered, “You with Charter?”
Mac eyed him then glanced at his two buddies who were moving closer. His presence as part of the security team was supposed to be on a “need-to-know” basis.
Grinning, Joe waved a hand. “We’re part of your support. Eyes and ears only. We’re a little too long in the tooth to be the muscle, but we’re here to help. We’ll be staying in the stateroom next to yours.”
Skeptical that this band of elderly brothers could be of any service at all, Mac drew a deep breath and gave Joe’s two companions another look.
“This is Morty,” Joe said, pointing toward a thin man with a round, pot belly. “And that’s Sly.”
Sly smiled, and his teeth were blindingly white and little too large in his mouth.
“Ex-marines, 3rd Division during Viet Nam,” Joe said. “You a SEAL like Wiley?”
“Semper Fi,” Morty said, grinning.
Mac grunted, revising his original assessment. These guys had seen real action. “I’m looking for Kylie Hammond.”
“She’s out in the atrium,” Joe pointed toward the windows behind him, “getting a cup of coffee. She’s been manning the tables since dawn. And don’t worry about us. We can handle ourselves. After all our help on the last cruise, Poppy made sure to add us to the team. We’ll have your six.”
The three elderly men hadn’t been mentioned in any of the briefings he’d attended back at HQ. Wiley for damn sure hadn’t said a thing, but then again, Wiley had looked a little smug when he’d heard Mac was being assigned to protect his wife’s best friend. He cleared his throat. “Mac McLane by the way,” he said, giving a nod to all three men.
“We’ll see you aboard the Oceanus,” Joe said.
Mac left them and thought about calling Wiley to find out why the hell he hadn’t mentioned his geriatric buddies. Just to bitch because he was already dreading the coming minutes. He didn’t have a lot of experience with Ms. Hammond’s brand of womanhood. He’d served with women in the field, and slept with the women who swarmed bars outside Navy bases, hoping for a hookup with a SEAL.
Women outside those two categories tended to make him nervous. In his experience, women had served only two purposes, as support and/or stress-relief for a SEAL. Not that he looked down on them. He liked the women he’d known. But he hadn’t had to think much about what kind of impression he made or how to talk to them. He could be gruff and blunt. What the hell would he talk about for the days and nights he and the princess would be glued to each other’s sides?
Entering the atrium, he glanced around for someone who fit the picture he’d made up in his mind. She’d be pretty, no doubt. He couldn’t imagine anyone who was friends with Poppy Shackleford and attending her social functions looking any different.
Most of the small round, brightly tiled tables were filled with men and a few women. Probably wives of the wounded soldiers, who’d be accompanying their husbands on the cruise.
One woman sat alone, her head bent over her cell phone which lay flat on the tabletop, a tall Styrofoam cup beside it. Her hair was a mass of dark brown curls. Her body, what he could see of it hunched over the table, was slender. Her bare arms and the tops of her shoulders, revealed by an olive tank, showed well-developed muscles. She wore no jewelry, save for a watch on an olive-colored web strap. Faux military-issue? And now he wondered whether she was one of those who was so enamored of military men she wore cammo pajamas. He’d met a few like that. As he moved nearer, she must have sensed someone watched her.
The woman’s gaze lifted from her phone and locked with his.
As he took in her features, he slowed his steps. Wide-set green eyes whose gaze never wavered, tan skin, rose-colored lips, cheeks that were prominent and high. She was lovely, but didn’t wear a hint of makeup. She didn’t need it. Unbidden, interest flared inside him, heating his blood.
“Are you Mac?” she asked, her voice even and little husky.
His tongue felt thick as he gave a crisp nod and replied. “You Kylie?”
Her smile was a little tight, but she pushed up from the table to greet him, her arm reaching forward.
When he looked down at her hand, with its long fingers and short bare nails, his gaze dropped to her legs. Another shock stole his breath. She wore shorts which ended at mid-thigh, revealing one long, nicely turned limb paired with a shapely thigh that disappeared into the black cup of a prosthetic limb.
Saturday, February 2nd, 2019
UPDATE! My two winners are…Eileen and Sheryl!
I hope you haven’t forgotten my Uncharted SEALs stories! I do have quite a few of these action-packed stories for you to enjoy—12 of them! And I’m not saying I’m done with them either. In fact, one of the stories, Big Sky SEAL is about to have a sequel inside the Montana Bounty Hunters series, Big Sky Wedding! I’ll have that story to you before the end of this month!
Uncharted SEALs spawned my Montana Bounty Hunters, and soon, MBH will spinoff to another series, but I’m not talking about that yet! Just know I love my military heroes, and I don’t plan to stop writing them anytime soon! I love writing them! They’re fast and funny. I make myself giggle when I write them.
And why write if you don’t have fun doing it, right? My Motto, always!
Here are all my currently available titles in Uncharted series.
Peruse these lovelies…
Click on the covers to learn more!
I’ll choose two winners! Tell me whether you’d love to see more Uncharted SEALs or Montana Bounty Hunters, or both for a chance to win your choice of an Uncharted SEAL story!
Between a SEAL and a Hard Place
The last person world-class sniper, Wolf Kinkaid, expected to see in the crosshairs of his rifle during an operation to take down a drug cartel assassin was his pretty, bounty hunter wife. He takes the shot, disarming the bad guy, but the assassin wasn’t working alone, and now, Piper is a target for revenge.
Solution? The two of them hole up in a safe house while his team tries to find the assassin’s psychotic brother. Piper and Wolf have issues to resolve, and all that time alone gives them something they haven’t enjoyed in excess for a while—each other. But while they get close, the enemy closes in…
So many things were the same. Merciless heat beating down from above. Staring through the scope of a Macmillan Tac-50 from a dusty perch. Spotter at his elbow. Familiar chatter from the mission commander in his ear. And yet, everything was different.
For Wolf Kinkaid, the differences made the experience surreal. Yes, the air was hot, but he wasn’t wearing a heavy helmet, which would have cooked his brain.
His position was on a high-rise rooftop rather than amid rocks in a lonely mountain pass. The spotter at his elbow was dressed in SWAT black rather than a uniform of woodland camouflage, as was he. And the commander providing updates of what was happening inside the building entrance he surveilled wasn’t talking about insurgents. He gave details about an Assistant District Attorney, a “suit” who was about to exit the law building they watched.
Yup, he was a long, long way from Afghanistan.
“Suit’s taking the elevator,” Deke Warrick, the mission commander, said quietly over the comm in his ear.
Wolf checked the pictures he’d taped to the wall he knelt behind. One was of ADA Ben Souther who had a hit on him from a Mexican cartel, primarily for the fact he was preparing to prosecute a high-ranking cartel member for murder and racketeering. The second photo was of the assassin that the team—which consisted of FBI, ATF, and Charter agents—was trying to take down. They wanted to arrest the bastard and maybe milk him for names of other members residing in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Wolf’s particular talent was needed to implement Plan B if the assassin got too close to Souther.
Outfitted with a Kevlar vest, Souther was accompanied by two bodyguards, both provided by Wolf’s new employer, Charter Group. They’d trained for this mission for a week in another city with a similar topography, all while keeping Souther in a safe house. Souther’s office had hired the company to provide added protection and, hopefully, nab another cartel member, because the cartel lieutenant they’d captured had, so far, remained uncooperative. After weeks of lying low, Souther had grown restless and suggested they end the impasse by allowing him to act as bait.
He was a gutsy bastard, an ex-Marine who’d used the GI Bill to complete his education and become an attorney. So, Charter had agreed, figuring he knew the score and could handle himself should shit go sideways. A situation which chatter from paid CIs said was about to happen.
“Get ready,” said Deke. “He’s about to come through the doors.”
His sights already set, Wolf looked through his scope, noted Souther’s set jaw, his short buzz-cut. Determination and fearlessness radiated from the man. He wasn’t a SEAL, but the man was a warrior, no matter he now wore a suit and tie. His battlefield was a different kind of minefield, a courtroom.
The doors swung open, and one of his guards preceded him, glancing left and right before turning to usher Souther through them. His second guard kept close to his back, glancing behind then taking in the sidewalk and the armored car placed behind a barricade that stood in front of the doors.
“We have movement from the West,” said Deke.
Wolf pivoted his weapon on its tripod. A slender figure with an impressive rack, wearing a ball cap, moved forward at a fast clip. But she wasn’t the target. He recognized that long, fit frame. Her brown and copper hair was drawn back in a ponytail that bobbed behind her. He noted a cord extending from her ear to her collar.
Damn, his fears were confirmed, the little twit was on the job, and likely looking for the same target they hoped to capture.
“Wolf, is that—”
“Southwest corner of the building,” came another urgent voice.
Again, Wolf sighted down his barrel. No time to wonder why she was here or how she’d discovered their plan. A man wearing blue jeans, a cowboy hat drawn low over his forehead, and wearing a casual jacket also made his way down the sidewalk from the opposite direction.
“God dammit,” he whispered as he took a bead on the man, ready to pull back the trigger at the first sight of a weapon—should the team closing in on him not get there in time. He glanced to the left, hoping the damned woman wasn’t about to get in the way of his bullet. Then she glanced up to the rooftop where he perched, mostly hidden, and he cussed again. She knew he was there, but she was still coming fast.
She reached behind her and drew a handgun then kept it hidden against her thigh.
“Dammit, he’s got a gun!” Deke said. “Wolf! Take him out!”
Wolf adjusted, aimed for the middle of the cowboy’s thigh, drew a breath, held it for a split second, and then pulled the trigger. Blood spurted from the wound.
Piper sprinted the last few feet and took the assailant down at the knees. His cowboy hat fell away, long black hair spilled, a dark hard-edged profile was revealed. They had their man.
Or rather, Piper did, pressing into the wound Wolf had made while shoving her Glock hard between the bastard’s legs.
The man reached out his hands and dropped his weapon to the pavement at the same moment the first of Souther’s guards took position over him and Piper, his stance wide and his weapon pointing downward.
Blood pounded in his ears. Wolf cussed again and put down his weapon.
“Want me to pack up for you?” his spotter drawled.
Wolf shot him a deadly glare. “Not a fucking word.”
The man smirked and took up position behind the weapon, likely to watch the fireworks through the scope.
Wolf headed to the stairwell and hopped the steps two at a time, racing downward. At ground level, he hit the bar on the exit door with a bang and sprinted across the street.
The team was converging. Souther had been moved to the armored car. Piper was still on the ground, but now lying face down beside her “collar” with her hands cupped behind her head.
“I have paperwork in my pocket,” she said, annoyance in her voice. “He’s mine to return to Houston on an outstanding warrant.” Frowning, she glanced behind her shoulder. “Is this really necessary?”
Deke shook his head then spotted Wolf bearing down on them. “Mind explaining how she knew to be here at this exact moment?” he bit out.
Wolf shook his head, too furious to get out the words. She’d promised him she’d be taking easier jobs, ones close to home. And although she’d never promised to stay completely out of harm’s way, something that would have been impossible for a bounty hunter to do, she had said she wouldn’t be seeking the most dangerous, high-value jobs. At least, she’d kept the first promise about staying closer to home. He bent and tugged at her earpiece, dislodging it.
When she looked over her other shoulder at him, she ventured a thin smile. “Hi, there, hon. Thought that might be you on the rooftop.”
He brought the device to his mouth. “Calvin, hustle your ass down here. Now,” he gritted out then dropped it. She began to open her mouth. “Just shut up.” He glanced at Deke, wanting to know if he had a preference for how this should be handled.
“Bring her along. I’d like to hear her sorry excuse, too.”
Several of the team turned as a large man barreled down the walkway, huffing. “Damn, Piper,” Calvin said, pausing beside her, then bending, hands on his knees as he gasped for breath. “Told you this was a bad idea.”
“I took him down,” she said, her voice gruff. “He’s mine.”
“Don’t think they’re gonna agree, baby girl, and your man looks ready to pop an aneurism.”
She glanced back again. “Can I get up?”
Barely able to keep his motions contained, Wolf reached behind his back, drew out a set of cuffs and snagged her wrists, drawing them down to the small of her back, and quickly snapping on the cuffs. Then he gripped her upper left arm and levered her to a stand.
Deke handed him her piece and the keys to the vehicle they’d come in. “See you back at HQ.”
Wolf grunted and goose-walked his wife to the underground garage.
Thursday, October 4th, 2018
UPDATE: The three winners are…Tamara Kasyan, Janelle, and Misty Dawn!
I hope you haven’t forgotten my Uncharted SEALs stories! I still have two to refurb and put in the lineup, Head Over SEAL and SEAL Escort, which I hope to get to this month, so I do have quite a few of these action-packed stories for you to enjoy. And I’m not saying I’m done with them either. This series spawned my Montana Bounty Hunters, and now, Montana Bounty Hunters will soon spinoff to another series, but I’m not talking about that yet! Just know I love my military heroes, and I don’t plan to stop writing them anytime soon! And as for Montana Bounty Hunters, I have many more stories to tell there. I love writing them! They’re fast and funny. I make myself giggle when I write them.
And why write if you don’t have fun doing it, right? — That’s my motto anyway.
Here are all my currently available titles in the series. Peruse these lovelies…
Click on the covers to learn more!
Win your choice of one of my Uncharted SEALs stories! There will be 3 winners! All you have to do to enter is answer me this…
When you daydream, what sort of hero do you imagine? A cop or a firefighter? The boy-next-door? A SEAL?
Heart of a SEAL
Aislinn Blalock is the lone survivor of the extraction team sent to rescue hostages in Cambodia from the vicious criminal gang holding them for ransom. After her helicopter crashes, she has to stay one step ahead of them to stay alive long enough for a rescue team to get to her.
Ash’s husband Sam watches the mission go sideways on a computer monitor, sidelined by management because one of the team happens to be his wife—but now, there’s no way in hell he’s sitting this one out. He’s getting to Ash before the armed gang can cause her any harm. He’ll risk everything to save the woman who holds his heart.
Can’t wait to win it? Purchase it here: Amazon | Nook | iBooks | Kobo
What a difference six months made. Aislin Blalock lay in tall grass beside a withered rice paddy, staring up at a clear, starlit sky. A billion pinpricks of light scattered across a dark canvas. No moon, thank God. Beautiful, really. But the distant stars only deepened her sense of unreality. In the distance, she heard metallic creaks and groans, as well as the crackle of fire. She had yet to move, afraid adrenaline was giving her brain the wrong signals, masking the fact she’d been hurt. She had, after all, just fallen from the sky.
Six months ago, she would never have imagined she’d be here in Cambodia in December, participating in a mission to rescue wealthy tourists who’d been kidnapped for the fat ransom their families would pay. She’d been a cop, still suffering the loss of her boyfriend and partner during a robbery. Just met the man who would drag her out of hell and show her love was still possible. That guilt didn’t have to consume her. That she had the right—and the duty—to survive and find happiness. No longer did she drink herself into oblivion for the chance to dream of Marc and pretend he wasn’t gone. Now, she had Sam.
Ash drew a deeper, sharper breath. He hadn’t been happy about her being pulled from her training with Charter to be part of this team, but the company had wanted a woman along, and she was one of the first female operatives they’d hired. He’d been supportive of her decision to apply for a position with his company as a field operative. Naively, she’d believed that being part of Charter, rather than remaining with the New Orleans Police Department, would mean they’d see each other more often. And she’d needed a change. A new job. New home. Without constant reminders of what she’d lost or the time she’d nearly lost herself grieving after Marc’s death. When Charter had tapped her for this mission, she hadn’t hesitated.
Two of the hostages were nuns—not wealthy tourists like the rest. And Charter had decided she’d make the women more comfortable during the rescue and transit. But her team never made it to the drop zone, a click from the kidnapper’s jungle encampment. Although they’d flown well below radar, someone had alerted the well-organized, well-funded group holding the hostages.
Her helicopter had been in the lead. She’d already shuffled toward the open door, ready to drop down a rope when they’d been hit. She’d had a split second to react. Thought she’d heard a voice in her ear, telling her to jump. Marc’s voice, but that had to have been a dream. Her subconscious prodding her to take that leap of faith.
Her landing had been cushioned by deep, soft vegetation. She’d landed on her feet. Sort of. Her bottom making contact a split-second later.
Even if she’d suffered a break or a spinal cord injury she couldn’t yet feel, she was far better off than the men who’d been aboard her helicopter. She’d had time to jump from the left door when the right side of the helo sustained a direct hit from an RPG. The rest of her team, whom she’d met only two weeks before, hadn’t been so lucky.
She drew deep, ragged breaths. Lungs expanded. No hitch, so her ribs were likely fine. Inside her combat boots, she wiggled her toes and felt them scrape hard leather. Time to move. But she was still afraid. After a few wasted moments, at last, she rolled to her right and came up on her knees. Everything appeared to be working, but maybe she’d sustained internal injuries. Gingerly, she dropped her pack and unlatched the cover, feeling inside for her headset. Her hands closed around thin bands. She donned her headset then the night vision goggles, set her mike beside her mouth, and tapped ON, using the team’s call sign to identify herself. All actions were performed by rote, because if she’d had to think, she would have frozen. “Do you read me?”
She almost smiled at hearing Sam’s break with protocol. But his curses, so harsh in her ear, relaxed her. For the moment, she felt his reassuring presence.
“We see one heat signature a distance from the helo. That you, babe?”
“Yes. I don’t think anyone else made it out.”
“The second helo just crossed back into Viet Nam.”
Which meant she was alone. If anything had gone awry with the mission, the pilots had been ordered to return to Charter’s base camp. She swallowed hard to still the panic rising in her throat.
“Are you hurt?”
She heard the soft note of hesitation in his voice. Knew he was bracing for the worst. Not sure, yet. “No,” she said, more firmly than she felt.
“Fuck. More heat signatures. Nine of them. Coming from the West.”
Her stomach clamped. Men from the kidnapper’s encampment. “Roger,” she said, her voice clipped. She knew what she had to do. Run.
“Head northeast. You’ll be in deep jungle. It’ll give you cover.”
She checked the illuminated dial of her wrist compass, took her direction, and pushed up into a crouch. As quickly and as quietly as she could, she streaked toward the tree line.
Sunday, August 12th, 2018
I can’t believe it’s mid-August! Where did the summer go? Yesterday was the first time the pool felt cool. 🙁 I’ll be lucky to get a full month more of swimming. And, tomorrow the kids go back to school—including the almost-5-year-old. Her mom and I are feeling a little sad about that. The baby’s growing up. Double- 🙁
In the meantime, I have plenty on my plate to keep me too busy to cry, and I’d better get to it. Hope you enjoy the excerpt and the contest!
For a chance to win one of my Uncharted SEALs stories,
winner’s choice, answer me this…
If you were dating a SEAL, where would you prefer to vacation?
Mexico? Destin? Fiji?
Through Her Eyes
Ex-SEAL and expert sniper, Wolf Kinkaid, is taking a little downtime while he considers his options. Being wooed by two elite spec ops groups, he’s enjoying Charter Group’s beach house in Cancun while he considers his options. A loner by nature and occupation, he wonders if he’ll ever really be able to connect to people around him. Afraid his loner nature will sentence him to spending his life alone, he’s not even sure he wants to continue looking down a scope, even if the pay’s good.
Bounty hunter Piper Ames loves the adrenaline rush she gets from her high-stakes hunts, but, now, she has time on her hands as she waits for her collar to pop up his head, so she can take him down. While she’s waiting, it doesn’t hurt that a big, buff, ex-military type is staying right next door. Not the least shy about going after what she wants, she’s surprised when he’s equally as aggressive. Their chemistry is off the charts, and the sex is the hottest she’s ever had.
While Wolf and Piper connect in the only ways their independent natures allow, danger lurks. When, at last, her target arrives, guns blazing, Wolf and Piper have to pull together to make it out alive.
Order Ebook: Kindle | Nook | Kobo | iBooks
Wolf hated the wait. Especially in the white-hot heat. Even at this elevation, the sun was merciless. Hot wind gusting through the pass provided no relief.
Sweat dripped from his hair down the side of his cheek, but he ignored it. His muscles cramped. His eyes grew dry. And still, he kept staring through the scope of his Macmillan Tac-50, watching the long line of insurgents trudge along the goat trail of a road below his position. Waiting for them to get close enough…
“A thousand yards. They’re coming within range,” came the voice of the mission commander through the comm in his ear.
Wolf reached for his box magazine, sitting on a rock beside him. He’d been heating the rounds in the sun to increase their range, but now, the time had come to lock and load.
Below were a couple dozen of the enemy, seemingly unaware of the weapons trained on them from above. All fresh from a battle in Ghazni. Intel said his target, Khalil Alam, would be among the group. So far, he’d searched every face but hadn’t found one that perfectly matched the grainy photo lying beside his mat.
The soldiers were all dark-haired. All wore beards or had the lower halves of their faces covered by cloths. His mark should be a little taller and gaunt. He’d spent months hiding in the mountains, orchestrating attacks from afar—a high-ranking Taliban commander who’d stepped out of the shadows to lead their latest attack, which left half a dozen Marines dead and fifteen more wounded, some maimed for life.
Again, the silence was broken. “Crosswind from the east.”
Wolf didn’t have the luxury of waiting for the wind to die down. He might have only one shot. One kill. If he was lucky.
Beside him, his spotter shifted, crunching the sand. “I see him,” he whispered, although they were nearly a mile away from the rag-tag army ambling through the mountain pass. “He’ll be coming over the hill, facing you. Best time to clip him. Nine hundred twenty yards.”
Quickly, Wolf rechecked the data he’d entered in his scope. He’d maxed out the windage. Maxed out the elevation drum. He’d need a one mil lead—aiming just ahead of the target for the four seconds the .50 Cal round took to travel.
Five seconds later, a tall angular figure climbed the trail. A weapon was slung over his bony shoulders. His robe billowed outward, caught by a sudden breeze.
Wolf kept his sight trained on the enemy’s center of mass—he’d aim for his heart. The distance was too far to even attempt a head shot. But he wasn’t the only sniper on this mission, although his was the most important target.
“Snipers, everyone found their mark?” their commander’s voice sounded. “Chime in when you have your target.”
In quick succession, the snipers called out.
“Sniper One, ready.”
“Sniper Two, ready.”
Wolf squinted down his scope at the tall Afghan he was about to take out. “Sniper Three, ready.”
He kept his breathing even, readying for the command to kill. All shots had to break at the same time, or the group below would scramble for cover and the opportunity would be lost.
“This is Foxtrot One. I have control. Shoot on my command.”
Wolf expelled a quick breath then drew in a long one and held it.
He pulled the trigger and stared down his scope.
Beside him, his spotter cursed. He’d followed the vapor trail of the round Wolf fired and watched it splash in the dirt. He called out adjustments, which Wolf made in a second.
Still staring down the scope, he watched as everyone around Khalil Alam dove for cover. Not his target. The Afghan insurgent stood still, his head raised, his gaze narrowing as though he could see Wolf where he lay with his rifle, hidden in the shadows of a large rock. And then he did a strange thing.
Khalil Alam raised his arms out to his sides and bared his teeth.
Again, Wolf took aim and fired.
This time, his target dropped.
But so did the much-smaller figure behind him. One with a beardless, bloodied face…
Wyatt “Wolf” Kinkaid awoke and threw off the covers tangled around his legs. Sitting on the edge of the mattress, he set his elbows on his knees as he drew in deep, cleansing breaths.
He didn’t know why that particular kill haunted him. He’d killed kids before. Some intentionally. But that one…
Maybe because of the shock frozen in the young boy’s eyes. Khalil Alam’s son, he’d been told later. No blame, no censure came from his team. The boy was a terrorist in the making, following in his father’s footsteps. A “preemptory kill” someone who’d been trying to be helpful said. And yet, the memory still sickened him.
He wiped a hand over his face. Sleep-time was over. Daylight was burning. Not that he was on any kind of schedule. The sound of surf washing against sand in the distance reminded him he was as far from Afghanistan as a man could be. Rising, he strode to the window overlooking the beach. The large sea-side villa hadn’t impressed him nearly as much as the sight of the strip of pristine white sand. By the placement of the sun, he’d guess the time was around nine AM. He’d slept a full nine hours. And he wasn’t dead.
The peaceful view didn’t do a thing to slow his heart rate. To shake off the last sticky spider webs of his nightmare, he turned, rifled through the duffel sitting on the floor beside him, and pulled out his spotting scope. Cupping the compact Hensoldt in his hand, he stared through the lens.
If he’d needed confirmation before, he knew he was losing it when a few adjustments brought the surf closer, and, at last, he stopped hearing his pulse pound against his temples. Maybe he wasn’t meant to be up close and personal with anything. Ever.
The name he’d been given by the Team—Lone Wolf, which had been shortened over time—had never felt truer. Read the rest of this entry »
Thursday, July 5th, 2018
I love my Uncharted SEALs series. All have rugged, alpha heroes. All have strong heroines. Humor. Action. All the ingredients that make the stories fun for me to write, and hopefully, fun for you as well.
With Uncharted SEALs, I experimented a bit. For the first time, I did sequels with the same characters—for the simple reason I couldn’t say goodbye to them. I wanted to see inside their Happy Ever Afters. Through Her Eyes and Between a SEAL and a Hard Place share the same main characters, as do Dream of Me and Heart of a SEAL. Big Sky SEAL gave birth to my Montana Bounty Hunters, introducing Jamie and Reaper, who as a result of their work in Big Sky earned their own satellite office of MBH.
A fun theme I used in two of the stories was a cruise ship. Both Before We Kiss and Hard SEAL to Love are set on the same ship, and have the same supporting characters. You’ll meet the old guys in the scene below. Hope you enjoy it!
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If you could go anywhere in the world, what would be your cruise destination?
Before We Kiss
Navy SEAL, William “Wiley” Coyote, should have known his “piece of cake” assignment would go sideways in a hurry. But he’d been lured by the promise of an all-expenses-paid cruise. A nice “fluffy” assignment after the last one spent escorting freighters through pirate-infested waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
A general’s daughter, Poppy Shackleford, wasn’t some spoiled daughter of a man made famous for defeating insurgent forces. She’d endured her own tragedies—the loss of her mother when she was young and her father stationed in Afghanistan, and the loss of her fiancé after he’d sustained wounds in Iraq—not from the physical wounds that had claimed his two legs—he’d taken his own life. His death was why Poppy was involved in Soldiers’ Sanctuary, a non-profit that helped disabled soldiers adjust to their new circumstances. Her mission in life is to see that no veteran of war would ever feel so alone, so hopeless he’d choose her dead fiancé’s path. Which was why, despite the current threats against her father, she was on this cruise, assessing the ship’s ability to accommodate the soldiers rather than sending a surrogate.
However, the first threat doesn’t come from terrorists with an axe to grind. Mexican banditos stop her tour bus heading toward Mayan ruins to shake down the passengers for their money and belongings. When one snaps a picture of her, he soon figures out there’s a much bigger payday. She knows she’s going to be kidnapped, but she didn’t know someone was on that same tour bus who had her back.
Wiley’s unconventional takedown of her would-be kidnappers exposes the fact her father didn’t honor her wishes to fly under the radar. And now that the cat’s out of the bag, Wiley’s made it clear he’s moving into her suite for the rest of their time at sea to keep her out of harm’s way.
Excerpt from Before We Kiss…
William “Wiley” Coyote should have known the “piece of cake” assignment his team leader, Deke Warrick, offered him would go sideways in a hurry. But he’d been lured by the promise of an all-expenses-paid cruise. A nice “fluffy” assignment after the last one spent escorting freighters through pirate-infested waters in the Strait of Hormuz. He was due a vacation, and he’d envisioned slipping into a chaise on the cruise ship’s deck while his target sunbathed nearby. Something his team leader had warned him might not be in the cards. After all, Deke’d had a similar, simple assignment when he’d been tasked with protecting a girl. And look what it had gotten his buddy. Shot at. Then married. Happily, it seemed.
Not that Wiley had marriage on his mind. No, sir. Not him. Everything he owned was stuffed into a duffle bag. He lived in hotel rooms, tents, and, now, a cruise boat cabin. No, he had nothing to offer a bride. Marriage wasn’t something in his cards. And certainly not to some celebutante who couldn’t keep her picture off multiple social media sites on a daily basis. That sort of exposure, even by association, would be deadly in his line of business.
He’d listened intently when Deke outlined his assignment, determined to keep this job all business, despite the photos that had spilled from the envelope during his initial briefing.
“Every time she steps out of her suite, the room attendant will buzz you. You keep on her tail, but not close enough she notices. Her daddy said she’d raise hell if she knew he’d hired security after she refused a special detail.” At that point, Deke had grinned. “I think he’s a little afraid of her.”
Wiley hadn’t smiled. Instead, he’d grunted. General Shackleford wasn’t any lightweight desk-jockey. He’d seen his share of action.
The ship had barely left the Port of Miami before Wiley understood. The woman never stopped moving. Or talking. Sometimes loudly, if she didn’t like what she heard. If he could have worn earplugs, possibly his first impressions of her would have been very different.
Poppy Shackleford was a pretty little thing. Blonde-haired, blue-eyed, lightly tanned, curves in all the right places. And maybe five-foot-two in her espadrille sandals. He’d had a girlfriend charge two pairs to his credit card years ago, so he knew darn well what they were and how much the cork-heeled things cost. Although he could appreciate the sexy curves the three-inch heels gave her toned calves, he wasn’t risking getting any closer. So far, he’d managed to operate under the radar. He had no doubts she’d know exactly what he was there to do if she got one good look at him. Nothing escaped her attention. Not the too-steep ramps leading onto the ship when they’d embarked. Nor the undercooked steak she’d been served last night in the dining room.
He’d begun to think she was deaf because she talked so loudly, but then he’d realized her complaints were on behalf of her fellow passengers, and this cruise had been billed as senior-themed. Most of the thousand passengers on board were over seventy. The dinner conversation surrounding him last night consisted of tracking blood sugar levels as his companions pricked their fingertips and fed droplets of blood into their readers. Afterwards, their conversation drifted to the best fiber to promote healthy bowels and where the captain would store their bodies if they happened to pass during the night.
“No kidding?” Deke had said after Wiley’s status update early that morning.
Wiley’s jaw ground shut at the snickering no hand over a receiver could muffle. “The Countess cruise line’s security seems pretty tight. Someone is always nearby, although they’re better at blending in than I am.”
“You mean you didn’t pack any Hawaiian shirts?”
“Don’t own one,” he’d gritted out.
“How are you keeping from blowing your cover?”
Wiley grunted. “I haven’t shaved, and I have on my cowboy hat and boots.”
“So you’re sticking out like a sore thumb.”
“She won’t expect a security detail to blend in quite like I do.”
Deke grunted. “Just remember you have people positioned around the ship. Channel two if you need them.”
Which would be great if his assignment was actually aboard the ship. The farther into the jungle their tour bus drove, the deeper his concern grew. They were on an excursion to view Mayan ruins. Anywhere along their route would be a great place for an ambush. The two security people provided by the cruise line to accompany his target were in good shape, but he could tell neither was armed. Conventional weapons were impossible to smuggle aboard the ship, and the weapons kept under lock and key aboard the vessel wouldn’t have been permitted for this little jaunt.
And why were they out here? If he remembered right, the pyramids weren’t exactly wheelchair-friendly. But he knew Poppy was thorough, that she took her tour coordinator job seriously. No stone would be left unturned. No tour unvetted, personally, by her.
He’d read the dossier Charter Group had put together. Poppy Shackleford, daughter of Lieutenant General Randall Shackleford, wasn’t some spoiled daughter of a famous man. She’d endured her own tragedies—the loss of her mother when she was young and her father stationed in Afghanistan, the loss of her fiancé after he’d sustained wounds in Iraq, although not from the physical wounds that had claimed both his legs. Frank Sutton, who’d been despondent over the loss, had killed himself.
His death was why Poppy was involved in Soldiers’ Sanctuary, a non-profit that helped disabled soldiers adjust to their new circumstances, whether supporting wounded vets with additional therapies the VA was slow or unable to provide, or seeking the latest in prosthetics and mobility devices. And the organization provided mentorship, one wounded soldier to another, to ensure no veteran of war would feel so alone, so hopeless, they’d choose Frank Sutton’s path.
Wiley understood and admired her for not simply crying then moving on, but embracing a cause that might help others. However, today he wished she wasn’t quite so determined to make it impossible for him to protect her. Not that she had a clue he was there. If she’d glanced toward the back of the air-conditioned bus, all she might have noted was one dark head amid a sea of white, gray, and blue.
The fellow seated next to him gave another narrow-eyed, flinty glance.
Wiley aimed a frown his way, hoping the old guy would mind his own business. The man was burly, surprisingly muscled for an old dude.
He leaned sideways in his seat and whispered, “Name’s Joseph Olinsky, but you can call me Joe. I’m a Marine.” He nodded toward the head of the bus where Poppy stood beside the tour guide, asking questions. “She someone important?”
Not as invisible as I thought. Wiley blinked. “No, sir. I think she’s just another passenger. A noisy one.”
Shaking his head, Joe grunted. “She has a detail. That guy with a clipboard ain’t a cruise director. I’d say he’s ex-Navy, probably a SEAL. Has a trident tattoo on his upper arm. Saw it when he was stowing her backpack into the overhead.”
Knowing there was no use convincing Joe he was just a guy on a trip to see a pyramid, Wiley gave him another look. He recognized the type—his dad had been the same steady, patriotic sort. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Maybe he did need backup, should shit go sideways. “You’re right,” he murmured. “The cruise line provided her security.”
“What about you?” his gray-haired companion asked.
“Name’s Wiley, and I was Navy.”
“A SEAL,” he said, nodding. “Can’t hide that look. Everyone else, besides her, has been taking a nap. Not you. You’ve been watching the road ahead. Expect trouble?”
“Not expecting, but prepared.”
Joe nodded. “Don’t get along as well as I used to,” he said, patting his right knee. “But I can be another set of eyes. And I do know who she is, son. She’s the daughter of that general ISIS wants taken out. They had his face and his daughter’s plastered all over Facebook faster than Homeland and the FBI could take down the pages.”
Wiley almost smiled at how in tune the old guy was. “Nothing much gets past you, does it?”
Joe lifted his chin toward two older gentlemen seated across the aisle from them.
Wiley glanced over to find both old codgers staring back.
“We were in the same division, the 3rd, during Vietnam. We’re all that’s left of our company. Try to take a trip every couple of years. Went to Nam five years back. There were eight of us then.”
Wiley nodded his understanding.
“That’s Morty,” he said, pointing at the thin one with a round belly. “The other one’s Sly.”
Sly gave him a grin that displayed unnaturally white teeth.
Wiley gave both men a nod then turned his attention back to the front of the bus.
“She know you’re tailing her?”
How had the old guys figured out he was there for Poppy? He remembered how the old men had jostled him, cutting him from the rest of the group when they’d boarded the bus. He’d thought it unintentional, but now knew they’d meant to be seated beside him. Admiring their cunning, he shook his head. “She doesn’t know. Not yet, anyway.”
“Need a better cover,” Joe said, eyeing his boots and the scruff on his chin. “Could tell folks you’re my grandson.”
Wiley chuckled. Sounded like a better plan than the one he’d started with. “Just don’t get in the way. If things go down…”
“You could use another set of eyes—between the three of us, we might just make one good pair.” Joe tilted his head toward his buddies.
This time, Wiley laughed.
Joe grinned and gave a slow nod to his companions, who settled back in their seats and now directed their attention to the job at hand—and the woman wearing the pretty blue dress at the front of the bus.
Suddenly, the bus shuddered and slowed. Cries arose from those seated near the front.
“Fat’s in the fire now,” Morty said, pointing forward.
Wiley cussed. A pickup was parked sideways in the middle of the road. He began to rise, but then he noted the four men standing in front of the truck. All dark, but with features that were clearly Mestizo. So, bandits rather than terrorists. He settled back in his seat. He’d let this play out a bit before he gave himself away. As long as no one was hurt, he’d keep his cover.
Tuesday, February 6th, 2018
We’re still on grandma watch here. Her respirations are slowing, and she’s only woken up a couple of times the past day or so. My sister, Elle James, and her dd arrived yesterday to provide much-needed relief. We’ll likely be holed up in grandma’s room, tending to her while we try to sprint through some pages today. Anything to keep our minds engaged elsewhere.
Do you have big things planned for today? I have a suggestion! Read the excerpt below from Baby, It’s You, and tell me you’re not tempted to find a SEAL book-boyfriend to spend your day with!
Comment for a chance to win one of my Uncharted SEALs stories!
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Baby, It’s You
Carter Vance, Jr. stands at the fork in the road. Wounded in action, the Navy SEAL has a decision to make: whether to find work with a spec ops unit, or return to his family ranch in Texas and repair his fractured relationship with his dying father and the woman he wronged. Complicating the decision is his reignited attraction to Melanie Schaeffer and his confusion over his feelings for his dead brother’s little girl, whom Melanie has raised since his brother’s and her sister’s deaths by a terrorist’s bomb.
Read an excerpt…
The morning that would change Melanie Schaeffer’s life forever began quietly enough. The whoosh of a curtain opening sounded a moment before sunlight spilled across her bed. Melanie rolled to her back to see the maid picking up clothing Melanie had left draped over a chair the night before.
A blush crept into her cheeks. She didn’t think she’d ever grow accustomed to having someone else handle her intimate items. “You don’t have to do that,” Melanie said as she pushed another pillow behind her head. “I can clean up after myself.”
The maid gave her a cheerful smile. “It’s my job. And I wouldn’t have woken you at all, but you did say you wanted to get used to the time change…”
Yes, there was that. After two days, she still felt a little muzzy-headed. The nine hours’ difference in time zones from Austin to this little city bordering Asia and the Middle East took some getting used to. Melanie rubbed her eyes and blinked, focusing on the sun peeking through the arched window and the view of the lovely, lush garden beyond it. Bushes exploding with large cabbage roses and tall, fruit-laden palms nearly obscured the ten-foot wall surrounding the estate nestled in the diplomats’ sector. Read the rest of this entry »