His Every Fantasy
Fans of Sylvia Day and E. L. James will love the second book in New York Times bestselling author Delilah Devlin’s sensual and erotic series.
The last thing ex-SEAL Sergei Gun needs is a complication. As part of a powerful black-ops company, he’s led an extraction team into the Mexican jungle to rescue two men who have been kidnapped. Everything has gone according to plan until Serge discovers a third hostage-an exquisitely beautiful woman with a secret haunting her stormy gray eyes…a woman who refuses to make this rescue easy. With no choice but to bring her back to the compound deep in the sultry, steamy Louisiana bayou, Serge vows to protect her, body and soul…
Kara Nichols never imagined that she’d capture the interest of a powerful man like Serge. Yet from the moment they met, she’s fantasized about his strong hands caressing her naked skin, his musky scent lingering on her sheets. What began as a simple rescue mission ignites into a passionate affair. As Serge teaches her the tantalizing art of surrender, Kara finds herself more than willing to shed every last one of her inhibitions and submit to him fully. But the dark, dangerous forces that captured Kara aren’t ready to let her go so easily…
Read an Excerpt
He’d been here before.
A makeshift tent city on a lonely stretch of Iraqi desert with a shamal wind kicking up fine, wheat-flour sand into a blinding storm.
Tar-paper shacks nestled in a rock-strewn valley in the Hindu Kush mountains under fat snowflakes whipping into a blizzard.
And just like those times, this ramshackle camp hidden in the middle of a Yucatán jungle was surrounded. About to be destroyed. The men guarding the perimeter, smoking cigarettes and bragging about their latest sexual conquests, were already dead. They just didn’t know it.
Sergei Gun drew a deep breath, inhaling scents of rotting vegetation and diesel fumes from the site’s generator. Dim lights burned in huts close to the entrance of the encampment. He’d chosen the far side of the camp, illuminated only by slivers of moonlight peeking through the forest canopy, for their attack. Checking the lit dial of his watch, he noted the time. Although he couldn’t see them and they’d maintained radio silence throughout their trek from the rutted road to the camp, he knew his team was in place.
He raised his arm and motioned twice with sharp pumps of his fist to the men beside him. Five seconds later, the soft muffled thuds of silenced rounds took down each guard. Seconds after that, his men, with faces blackened and bits of vines stuck into their helmets and the straps of their web gear to obscure the outlines of their tall frames, crept into the encampment, the crunch of their footsteps on the jungle floor masked by the howling wind from a tropical storm.
One by one, the security force paid for with drug money fell beneath swift, brutal knives and brawny, suffocating headlocks.
Sergei slipped past his men, making his way to the hut where their intel said the kidnapped Tex-Oil men were being held—one of a line of shacks with slatted wood sides that did little to keep out the elements. Tin roofs clapped with each gust of wind.
Through his night-vision goggles, he noted the shape of a man sitting beside the door of the hut, his head slumped toward his chest in sleep.
Sergei snorted softly. The guards were poorly trained, likely recruited from the local village to do the cartel’s bidding, given guns and more money than they’d ever see farming or leading tourists into the jungle. One or two actual cartel members were somewhere in the camp, and they’d be harder to take down than this one slumbering idiot.
With only a moment’s regret for the man’s poor judgment, Sergei slipped beside him and encircled his neck, his arm cinching to cut off his oxygen. He waited as the man’s heels drummed the dirt and his weakening hands clawed at Sergei’s arms, until the mercenary finally hung limply inside his embrace. Setting the body to the side, Sergei motioned to his second in command, Bear, to follow him while another extraction team member kept watch.
Inside, they found the two Tex-Oil men sleeping on the dirt. Bear moved to one man and went down on a knee beside him. Sergei reached down to the man nearest him and placed a hand over his mouth.
The man’s eyes sprang open.
“Shhh,” Sergei said softly. “Your name?” He lifted his hand an inch.
“Frank West,” the man gasped.
The ragged texture to his voice was a testament to the ordeal he’d endured the past weeks. “Is that Campion beside you, Frank?”
At the man’s quick nod, Sergei gestured to Bear to help the other man. “Mr. West, we’re here to get you both out. We’re Black Spear.”
The man’s relief, even in the green glow of the night-vision goggles, was written on his face. Frank gave another quick nod, signaling he understood, and Sergei backed away, holding the man’s arm to guide him upward. “Hold on to my shirt and follow me. Don’t let go.” He turned to head for the door.
Frank tugged on his jacket. “Wait,” he whispered. “There’s a girl.”
Sergei stiffened. “We’re here for you. Only minutes remain before the whole camp knows we’re here.”
“She’s in the shack next to ours.” He pointed with his free hand. “They brought her in yesterday. She’s the only other hostage in the camp. You can’t leave her.”
Sergei hesitated. Their mission was to extract the two executives who’d been kidnapped. Ransom demands had been met, but the cartel had decided to squeeze the oil company for more. Sergei’s plan called for an extraction so swift that it wouldn’t give the guards the ability to escape or tip off the cartel that they’d been raided. Still, the thought of another hostage, this one a woman, rankled. Breaking protocol, Sergei tapped his headset. “We’ve got another lamb. Need two on West and Campion.”
Stepping outside, he kept close to the side of the hut as two more of his team peeled away from the trees and sped quietly toward them. He and Bear handed off the men, and then peered around the side of the hut at the other isolated shack. This one was guarded by two men, rifles slung over their shoulders, standing on either side of the door of the hut and peering up into the swaying canopy above them as limbs creaked ominously in the storm.
Signaling to Bear that he’d lay down cover fire if needed, Sergei raised his weapon, sighting on the man nearest to him.
Bear crouched then ran past him, but neither guard noticed his movement between the huts. Once safe, Bear knelt at the corner of the building, his weapon trained on the men as Sergei darted across.
Leaning against the hut, Sergei signaled thirty seconds, holstered his gun, and drew his knife from the sheath on his web belt. Cautiously looking around, he circled behind the hut, coming to a halt at the front corner of the building. At the end of the thirty count, he slipped around the corner, rushing the man nearest as Bear launched toward the other.
The struggle was brief. Neither guard had time to draw a breath, much less shout.
Sergei wiped off his bloody hand on his jacket, then opened the latch of the hut and stepped inside. A scuffing sound from his right had him whirling. Liquid spilled over his head, the scent acrid. Urine. A bucket clanked next, shifting his goggles and blinding him, but he was already on his opponent, clamping an arm around a slim body that he backed into the rickety wooden wall. Sheathing his knife because he didn’t want to inadvertently hurt her, he slipped a hand over the woman’s mouth.
Her jaw opened.
“Don’t. Bite,” he gritted out. “Ma’am, we’re here to rescue you.” Her body quivered inside his embrace, her curves pressed so close she could barely draw a deep breath, but he considered that a good thing. She’d be less likely to scream.
“I don’t believe you,” she said in a harsh whisper. “No one knows I’m here.”
“I came for the two men in the cabin next to yours. They wouldn’t leave without you.”
When her wriggling ceased and she appeared ready to cooperate, he righted his goggles and stared downward. Even bathed in a blurry neon glow, she was beautiful. And terribly young. Dark-haired, slender, and wearing shorts and a very thin tee that hugged her upper torso. Braless. That fact bothered him even more than her youth. He wondered if she’d already been raped. His body tightened. “I’m your way out. Or do you want to stay here?”
Her lips pursed. Her gaze darted to the side. When her chin shot up, he knew her answer even before she whispered, “No.”
“Then do exactly as I say. Hold on to my jacket when we leave here. I’ll guide you out. But, lady, I’m warning you, I won’t allow any antics. If you try to make a run for it, you’ll put me and my team at risk.”
“You have a team?”
Sergei pressed a finger over her lips. “Not another word. Follow me.”
He turned, felt her fist gather a bundle of his camouflaged jacket, then stepped outside. She followed on his heels, her steps soft. A quick glance behind him confirmed she was barefoot. But better she suffer bruised and cut feet than remain trapped here. There wasn’t a thing he could do about that situation now.
Not that she was complaining. Her expression was tense, her mouth a tight, determined line.
From the periphery of his goggles, he noted his team, slipping into the forest, melting away. Sergei hurried toward the trees then pulled his compass from a pack on his web belt, checked the tritium-lit direction lines to orient, and took off at a swift pace in the direction of the rutted logging trail they’d used as their assembly area.
Sergei trudged quickly forward, not speaking, impressed despite himself when the barefoot girl behind him kept quiet, her breaths even as he set a swift pace. Fifteen minutes later, he stopped at the edge of a road, checking up and down the line as members of his team slid into their vehicles.
He turned and put an arm around the girl to guide her toward the second vehicle in the line, although here in the clearing moonlight provided plenty of illumination. When he felt stiffened muscles against his touch, he kept his arm around her, telling himself he didn’t want to risk her falling and injuring herself, but the truth was, he wanted her near. Wanted her close enough to grab in case they came under attack or she tried to run. His hand glided from her shoulder to the small of her back. All nicely fleshed, firm muscle beneath. Not relevant, but interesting.
At the SUV, he opened the rear door. “Get in.” Tapping his headset, he asked for a quick head count, and each of the team members chimed in using hushed tones.
They’d made it out without setting off alarms. And without a single casualty. Another tap of his headset. “You set the charges, Linc?”
“Yes, sir. Countin’ down now. Eight, seven, six…”
Sergei swung into his vehicle, tore off his goggles, and gave a quick glance at Bear, who tapped the ignition button. At one, explosions ripped through the air, light bursting above the trees. Satisfied the cartel camp would be busy for a while, Sergei said, “Now let’s get the fuck out of here.”
Engines fired, wheels bit into the muddy trail, and they careened down the rutted track. Bear’s smile gleamed in the moonlight.
“Don’t say it,” Sergei said, not wanting to hear a celebratory whoop. “Don’t jinx it.”
Bear glanced into the rearview mirror at their unexpected passenger. “Get a name?”
Sergei aimed a stare at the young woman huddled in the center of the seat, moonlight filtering over her features. She wasn’t just beautiful, she was exquisite, despite the frown marring her dark brow. “Not yet. Time for introductions once we get to the helos. We’re not out of Omega territory yet.”
The vehicle hit a deep rut then bumped over it, unseating him. He reached for the strap above his window. “Better grab the oh-shit handle, sweetheart. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.” And then he grinned because for the first time since his feet had hit the tarmac in Cancun, tension lifted. Still too soon to announce the all clear, but this operation had just gotten a little more interesting.
As VP in charge of special operations for Black Spear, Limited, his presence in the field was no longer required. He had well-trained teams he could scramble at a moment’s notice. Mercs on auto-dial. But he was fiercely glad he’d decided to accompany them this time. It was all about the woman. And the mystery surrounding her. Something about her pulled him in. Was it her youth? Her vulnerability? Or was it the courage she’d shown in those first moments when he’d entered her hut? His gut churned as he considered what else she might have endured. Women were often an easy casualty of war and crime. As many times as he’d stood witness to that truth, he still barely contained his revulsion for men who’d take advantage.
Again, he sought her lovely profile in the rearview mirror and his resolve solidified. No more harm would come to her. Not on his watch.
Kara Nichols wrapped her fist around the plastic strap and slid toward the door, jamming her shoulder against it and gripping the top of her rescuer’s seat to keep from flopping around the backseat like a rag doll. Her stomach lurched as they sped along the rugged trail. How “the team” managed to drive at breakneck speed in near darkness without headlights was a testament to their skill.
Who they were didn’t matter as much as what their intentions were. Not that she’d really had any choice but to come with them. Not since the moment the burly man in front of her had crept like a thief into her hut had she had a moment to think. She’d reacted on pure instinct, first tossing her pee into his face and then beaning him with the bucket it had been stored in. She’d intended to scamper past him, but he’d been faster, knocking the breath out of her as he’d pinned her to the wall.
At that moment, her worst fears had risen up, like the scream she hadn’t been able to emit because he’d taken her breath away. Convinced he was one of the kidnappers, there, at last, to rape her or worse, she’d been ready to fight him to the death.
But the struggle had revealed a couple of things. First, the guy was heavily armed and armored. A big man. Obviously not one of the dirty, ragtag bunch who’d been guarding her. And his first words had been in English. He was an American. Relief had poured through her body, leaving her shaking, even though there was no good reason to trust he meant her no harm.
Everything after that moment had happened so quickly, she hadn’t had time to decide whether or not she was jumping from the frying pan into the fire. He was from home. A way out of the hell she’d found herself in, when one really bad decision landed her in this mess.
The fact her “rescuers” were well organized, well armed, and appeared to have military training by their gear and the precision of their raid left her hopeful for the first time in days.
“What the fuck’s that smell?” the driver asked, his glance going to his companion. “Man, you reek.”
Kara suppressed a smile, although plenty of the bucket’s contents had splashed back on her. Better to smell like a cesspool than to smell like something they might want to jump. She’d read stories about female prisoners who’d covered themselves in wastes rather than be raped, and those tales had looped endlessly in her mind ever since her capture. There was nothing she wouldn’t do to protect herself.
“Just shut up and drive,” her new captor bit out. Then he cast another dark glance her way.
She wished she could see his face, but the helmet he wore deepened the shadow obscuring his expression. “Sorry about that,” she muttered, not really meaning it, but she didn’t want him pissed off too.
“Don’t be. That move was gutsy.” A flash of white gleamed.
His smile tugged an answering grin from her own mouth. Somehow, his humor humanized him. And shouldn’t she be getting on his good side, anyway? If she really was being rescued, she owed him big-time. If this was only a preparation to hand her off to another captor, she needed his guard to be down so she could make another dash for freedom.
His free hand reached around to touch the mic wire poised in front of his mouth. Then he aimed a glance at the driver. “The pilots are firing up the helos,” he said. “We’ll be in the air in a few minutes.”
In the air. But what was their destination?
They left the dirt track, bumping over the edge of a paved road, the rear of the vehicle fishtailing, but not losing any speed, as their convoy headed north. Kara held tight to the strap, a mixture of hope and dread building up bile in her empty belly. At least the road was smoother now. If they didn’t take too many turns, she might not get sick. Although he hadn’t been fazed earlier, she didn’t want to test his temper if she messed up his vehicle too.
The forest receded. They passed houses crammed together with dark narrow alleys separating them. The men in front grew more tense, their bodies tightening, their jaws honing to sharp edges.
Another turn, and they were passing dilapidated industrial buildings and shops with boarded-up windows. They pulled into a parking lot, the entrance guarded by a gate topped with rolled-up barbed wire. The chain-link gate slid back, and they barreled past a long row of shipping docks to a wider lot lit by security lamps on long poles. Three large helicopters awaited them, blades chopping the air.
The man in the front passenger seat flashed her a smile. “Ever flown in one?”
She shook her head.
“Stick with me. You’ll be okay.”
The door locks clicked open, and she stepped barefoot onto crumbling pavement. Again, his arm went around her back, and this time she didn’t stiffen against it, accepting his support as he ushered her to the smallest of the three waiting aircrafts. Metal steps were lowered by a crew member. Hands gripped her elbows to help her inside. The interior was not what she’d expected. Plush, leather-upholstered seats, a row of three facing the front of the helicopter, two facing backward. Her captor indicated with a hand that she should take one of the two backward-facing seats.
He pulled a blanket from the console compartment separating the two seats. “Here, you’ll need this. The air gets cool in the upper elevations.”
Reminded she was wearing only a very short pair of pajama shorts and a tight tee, she reached for it, hesitating only when the interior lights blinked on. She stared at his hands, her entire body tightening in horror.
Dried blood streaked his palms and dirtied his sleeve. His gaze dropped and he pushed the blanket toward her again, letting go the second she accepted it.
A glance at his face told her she’d made a mistake. His expression was carefully neutral, no trace of a smile left. Not a hint of warmth. Kara sank into the seat and pulled the blanket around her body, looking away. Oddly upset with herself for showing him even a hint of revulsion.
Hadn’t she known the rescue had come at a price? That lives had been lost and she might be next? Just because she hadn’t witnessed the attack that removed the guards before she stepped out her door didn’t absolve her from any guilt over the fact men had died during the rescue. Intellectually, she knew feeling ashamed made no sense, as though the violence were her fault, but good sense had nothing to do with why she’d been in that camp in the first place.
Three more men climbed into the cabin and took seats across from her and her rescuer. They sat, unstrapping belts and packs and dropping their gear to the floor of the helicopter. Then helmets came off.
“You’ll need to buckle up,” came a gruff voice from beside her.
Because she’d screwed up before, she pasted on a smile before she looked his way. Her breath caught.
He’d removed his helmet, his armor, and the bloody jacket. Seated next to her on the edge of his seat was a hunk, every thick muscle of his broad chest defined by the T-shirt stuck to his sweaty skin. Her heartbeat thudded. He wasn’t her usual type. Too muscled, too burly, but good Lord, that physique didn’t intimidate her. He was built for protection. Something she desperately needed. That had to be why she was reacting this way, her body warming. And then she glanced up into his face.
Again, so not her type. And yet, her type—lean and sophisticated, wickedly handsome—instantly lost all of its appeal. This man’s face was shuttered, still, but radiated a quiet calm. The strength of his firm jaw, his tight mouth, the intensity of his dark gaze tugged at something inside her. His hair was dark and long, restrained by a thick rubber band. His brows were dark, but not so heavy they looked foreboding.
His gaze rested on hers, waiting for something. Oh yeah, he’d wanted her to buckle herself into the seat. Reaching beneath the blanket, she caught the two ends of the seat belt and pushed them together.
Although the cabin was insulated, the sound of the blades beating the air and the drone of the powerful engine were overwhelming as the aircraft slowly lifted into the air. She glanced toward the parking lot. The other two crafts were rising, as well. The lot beneath them was now empty, the security lights blinking out and leaving it dark.
Kara swallowed hard, wanting to relax, not trusting the situation she now found herself in. The men opposite her had their gazes trained away. Had he done that? Asked them not to stare at her? Then she glanced at him again. He leaned back against his seat, his body relaxed, but his head turned her way.
Across the short distance, their gazes locked. He gave her a small smile, then reached into the compartment again and pulled out a box of wet wipes and carefully cleaned his hands, streaks of red-brown grime soiling the white cloths. Then he reached under his seat, opened yet another compartment and pulled out water bottles. He handed three to the men across the way, then another to her. The bottle was cool, and she quickly twisted the cap and drank it down, groaning because the water tasted sweet after the warm, metallic-tasting stuff she’d been drinking from canteens in the camp.
When she lowered the bottle, she looked at him, wanting another.
But he shook his head, mouthing, Two-hour flight.
And no bathroom. She nodded her understanding and sat back, pulling the blanket high around her shoulders. If she wouldn’t have looked foolish, she would have pulled it over her head to hide. She wanted to be alone. To think. But sleep was another kind of escape. She closed her eyes and drew deep breaths to calm her tremors. Her body needed rest. Fear had stalked her from the moment she’d awoken, choked inside the tight fist of an unending nightmare. For now, she’d accept this “rescue” at face value. Let herself hope that her worries were past. Surrounded by men capable of protecting. And willing. If only it were true.