Allison Benson wants to cut loose as an exchange student in Colombia, finally away from her father’s overbearing protectiveness for the first time. But she grows careless and soon finds herself being kidnapped, headed for certain hell on earth.
Captain Zachary Garrett shouldn’t even be on the ground in the Colombian forest, but the helicopter he was piloting was shot down behind enemy lines. When he hears a distinctly American, distinctly female voice screaming for help, he realizes that he is probably the only hope the beautiful woman has of escape.
After he has returned her to safety, she disappears from his life, but he can’t stop thinking about Allie. They spent just a few hours together, so how and why was she able to get under his skin in so short a time? More importantly, does she feel the same way about him? Should he try to find her, to see if they can turn a short, sizzling encounter into something more?
Publisher’s Note: This fast-paced military romance with action adventure and suspense that will keep you on edge.
This was the part of the mission Zach hated the most. The waiting sucked. It wasn’t exactly like he could play a game of Angry Birds on his phone or text his friends at Camp Lejeune back in North Carolina. He needed to watch his six.
He turned off the engine. He was used to the ringing that hummed through his ears from the helicopter engine. It took several minutes to grow accustomed to the sudden silence of the forest surrounding him. He took his headphones off and flipped the switch on the dash that allowed him to listen in on the comms with his squad, not that they’d be doing much talking for the next thirty minutes. They’d be on radio silence until they arrived at the compound.
The buzzing sound of insects replaced the buzz in his ears. The late summer heat was oppressive as the sounds of the active forest life infiltrated the cockpit of the small helicopter. He unlatched the triangle of a window next to him, pushing it out the few inches, hoping to catch a breeze.
A familiar yearning for a cigarette hit him right on schedule. He’d given up the nasty habit over two years before and most of the time he didn’t miss lighting up. The only times he truly missed his previous habit was when out drinking with his buddies, and during downtime like this while he waited to pick up the gang after they got to play Superman.
If they were Superman, what did that make him?
The snap of a nearby twig grabbed his full attention. The tall trees surrounding the slight clearing he was parked in now obscured what little moonlight they’d had on the flight in. He leaned down to grab his high-powered flashlight, shining it into the surrounding trees, looking for anything that could pose a danger to his location.
Not for the first time, he was glad he wasn’t afraid of the dark. The night was pitch black; the kind of dark that could hide the boogieman. He was about to turn off the light and chalk the sound up to a small animal when his narrow beam of light caught a flash of red moving about ten yards into the dense tree cover.
“Fuck.” He threw the flashlight to the floor, reaching for the ignition button, bringing the engine to life. He had just lifted his baby off the grassy ground when a half dozen men rushed out of the trees, heading for him with their weapons drawn, pointed his way.
Thunder didn’t hesitate, lifting up quickly and pitching to the right as soon as the copter cleared the treetops. The sound of gunfire could be heard a split second before the bullets started ripping through the bottom of the helicopter. The sound of projectiles ricocheting threatened to deafen him in the confined space, and he cursed taking his ear protection off.
Yeah, well, if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t have known how close they were.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he was out of range of the guerrillas he had left behind, but he wasn’t foolish enough to think he was out of danger. He grabbed his comms unit and broke radio silence.
“Watch your six, Superman. Thunder taking fire. Headed to secondary location ahead of schedule. Copy?”
“Copy that, Thunder. Looks like we might have been expected.” ”Copy that, Superman. On standby.” Major McIntyre had said the words he’d been thinking. No one should have been in the
forest tonight. It was why they’d chosen that location for their drop off. It was mountainous terrain, miles away from the nearest farms or crime compounds. If they had a welcoming committee at their drop off, there was a good chance they might have company at the Blanco Compound or, worse yet, the pick-up rendezvous.
Zach started running contingency plans through his head and decided to deviate from his planned flight plan. It might be risky, but he needed to get eyes on the compound to see what the squad would be stepping into. He banked hard left, heading south for ten miles before circling around to come at the compound from the opposite direction. This was a risky flight because it would have him flying directly over Carlos Blanco’s mountaintop residence, located three miles south of the compound. At this hour, any movement there meant the whole area was awake and waiting for them.
Thunder flew as low as possible, the running boards of the helicopter skimming the treetops more than once. This—this was what he lived for. His ability to go where most of his peers wouldn’t dare was why he was the most requested pilot.
The drug lord’s personal fortress was over the next ridge. Zach would fly west of the tall wall meant to keep out unwanted visitors. Their recon of the residence had shown armed guards would be in strategically placed towers at the corners of the property. He’d need to steer clear of them or he might be taking her back with a few more bullet holes.
The second he cleared the ridge, he knew he was in trouble. Several high-power spotlights shone into the sky from the four corner towers of the property. The engine of the Huey was one of the quietest in their fleet, but he knew that out in the country it would be more than loud enough to be picked up by the goons on the ground. He banked left, confident he could avoid the searchlight long enough to get out of range of the rifles.
What he hadn’t counted on was the enemy arming the tower guards with the very ground to air missiles they were on a mission to destroy. The bomb tore through the tail of the copter with a thunderous explosion. Zach’s training kicked in, allowing him to keep his cool long enough to send his mayday.
“Mayday, mayday, Superman. Hit by bogie over target’s crib. Thunder going down. Need to call for backup bus.”
“Roger that, Thunder. Hoof it to the rendezvous for extraction.”
There was little control left. Zach struggled to navigate to the only small clearing in sight, setting down hard enough to lurch his body forward. Only the heavy seatbelt buckling him in kept him from projecting out through the front windshield.
The immediate silence of the dead engine was replaced with the crackling of fire. He needed to get out before the whole craft blew up.
Or before those assholes get here with their guns.
USA Today Bestselling author Livia Grant lives in Chicago with her husband and two sons… one a teenager, the other a furry rescue dog named Max. She is blessed to have traveled extensively and as much as she loves to visit places around the globe, the Midwest and its changing seasons will always be home. Livia started writing when she felt like she finally had the life experience to write a riveting story that she hopes her readers won’t be able to put down. Livia’s fans appreciate her deep character driven plots, often rooted in an ensemble cast where the friendships are as important as the romance… well, almost.
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