Czech Mate (Navy Seals of Valor 2)
released November 18, 2014
Captain Baylee Stiles is attacked by a mysterious gunman at the Bagram Air Force Base Exchange. She’s blindsided by attraction when Navy SEAL Nathan Brooks risks his life to rescue her. Battling to fight down her feelings and protect herself from her painful past, Baylee puts up a bristly front as they team up to track down the gunman.
Women rarely hold Nathan’s attention for longer than one night–until he smashes into Baylee. Not only does he feel raging attraction for the beauty with the platinum blonde hair, he also finds her fiery temperament intriguing and a challenge. When Nathan is ordered to take medical leave, he decides to meet up with his best friend and SEAL teammate Darryl, and his new love, Olivia, in Prague. But only if he can persuade Baylee to join him.
Wearing dark sunglasses, Baylee Stiles squinted to block out more of the blinding desert sunlight as she strode toward the Exchange. She looked beyond the ugly rows of buildings toward the jagged, snow-capped peaks of the Hindu Kush Mountains. For a minute, she forgot the perpetual taste of dust and imagined she was skiing with her friends in Vail, Colorado. Gazing at the pristine snow of those peaks, she could almost feel the bite of cold on the tip of her nose.
Swirling dust from the barren ground made her sneeze. She reached into her uniform pants for a tissue, blew her nose and then glanced at her watch.
She had thirty minutes to grab a few items and rush off to a four o’clock meeting. A bombing raid had been planned for o two hundred the next morning and she and the other pilots would discuss every phase of the operation during the pre-mission briefing.
After yanking open the front door, she picked up a plastic carrier and glanced at her list—energy bars, electrolyte drinks, deodorant. She pushed her cart toward the drink shelves. She balanced on her toes, straining to reach the row of plastic bottles on the top shelf when she spotted a man out of the corner of her eye.
Her knife sharp mind processed his features in a split second. Jet black hair, dark complexion, olive green hat pulled low over the eyes, a uniform that looked more like a Halloween costume than official attire. He doesn’t belong here.
He must have seen the fear in her eyes because in a split second, the man jerked his head in her direction and pulled a pistol from his waistband.
His voice an ominous whisper, he glided her way and dug the nose of the gun into her ribs. “Don’t move or I’ll blow your guts all over the floor.”
His breath reeked of sour cigarette smoke. Baylee’s heart thundered inside her chest. As an Air Force pilot, she was accustomed to conducting bombing raids, not dealing with weapon wielding maniacs up close and personal. I’m as tough as anyone on the ground, she told herself. I can handle this.
She knew she was lying to herself. She’d done that constantly since Tyler’s death. “What do you want?” The confident, in-control voice she projected masked the terror simmering inside her.
The man gripped her arm with a rough hand and shoved her toward the front door. “Just you as collateral for now. If you do what I say you’ll live.”
Her gut clenched. “Okay, fine. What do you want me to do?” She spoke calmly, as if he’d asked if she knew where the men’s clothing aisle was, not threatened to splatter her insides on the floor.
The man’s foul smelling breath blew hot in her ear. “Take me to the mission control center.”
Fuck. Baylee felt conflicted. She couldn’t lead this miscreant straight to where they stored maps of every intended target. How did he evade security? Bagram was usually tight as Fort Knox. She’d never heard of any unauthorized person getting through security during the six months she’d been on the base. She winced as metal jabbed her ribs again.
“What’s the matter with you? Are you deaf? If you want to live, you’ll move your ass.”
“I’m going.” Baylee took a hesitant step forward. All at once, a wall of muscle darted in front of her, obscuring her view of her attacker’s dark, menacing eyes. The butt of the pistol slid away from her rib cage and her assailant groaned. Her first thought was how large and strong her rescuer appeared and then her second was how rock solid his body felt as it struck her and knocked her to the ground.
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