Authors: Cat Johnson
Red Hot & Blue, Book 3
Special Forces gave Jimmy Gordon the undercover skills of a chameleon, but nothing prepared him for Amelia Monroe-Carrington, the governor’s hot, redheaded daughter. She thought she was seducing a banquet waiter, and he let her.
His next assignment pulled him from her bed and into the worst six months of his life. Images of Lia were what kept him alive imprisoned in Kosovo, and even now he’s home and recovered, she’s still in his head.
For her father’s political career, Lia has always done the appropriate thing, right down to dating a senator’s son. Her one rebellious act, an incredible night with a totally
man, ended when he disappeared. And then never called.
When they unexpectedly meet again, the pull between them is stronger than ever, tempting Lia to stop sacrificing her own happiness for the family dynasty.
This book has been previously published and has been revised and expanded from its original release.
Warning: Contains incredible one-night-stand sex hot enough to withstand time, distance, and some really nasty terrorist torture.
They cannot be sold, shared or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
577 Mulberry Street, Suite 1520
Macon GA 31201
Copyright © 2010 by Cat Johnson
Edited by Heidi Moore
Cover by Angela Waters
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
electronic publication: October 2010
For all my military consultants who so patiently answer my questions day and night. I thank you.
6 months ago
Jimmy Gordon glanced down the length of the table packed nearly shoulder-to-shoulder with the bulk of the men seated there. All five of his teammates wore a similarly confused-looking expression in reaction to their leader’s vague orders to “suit up and let’s roll”.
“Excuse me, sir.” He raised his hand and got the attention of the commander. “Could you clarify? What exactly is our assignment?”
In the front of the room stood a rolling rack that held black trousers, white button-down shirts, short black coats and bow ties. Six of each and all on hangers under clear plastic, the reason the team had the same baffled look on their faces. They usually wore flak jackets and weapons, not waiters’ jackets and bow ties.
The commander remained unfazed by the doubt-filled question. “You heard me, Gordon. Change into the black-and-whites. Tonight, you’ll all be waiters. Except for Coleman, he’ll be manning the communications equipment, and your brother, he’ll be a bartender.”
“Why do you get to tend bar?” Jimmy frowned at his brother, Jack, seated next to him.
“Because I’m so pretty, I need to be behind something sturdy to keep the women off me?” Jack grinned.
Jimmy scowled at Jack’s high opinion of himself while the commander continued with the instructions for their mission—if you could call it a mission.
“This party is being attended by some big shit VIPs, both domestic and foreign. Government and civilian. The chatter on the lines indicates there could possibly be an
attack. I say attempted because our team will be on-site replacing the waitstaff. Anything goes down, we’ll be ready for it.”
BB Dalton raised his hand hesitantly. “Um…but, sir. I don’t know how to be a waiter, sir.”
“Yeah, and like
know how to be a waiter?” Bull snorted.
Bull had earned his nickname through sheer size. Jimmy got a mental image of Bull in a china shop and figured that was pretty much what it was going to be like tonight, except Bull would be carrying a silver tray in his big mitt-sized hands and wearing a bow tie.
Matt Coleman chimed in from behind his ever-present laptop. “It’s easy. I waited tables at one of the catering halls on Long Island during high school and summers when I was in college. Just don’t spill on anybody and you’ll be fine.”
Bull appeared doubtful. “Then why aren’t
playing a waiter, Coleman, if you know so much about it?”
“I’ll tell you what, Bull.
learn how to do what
do by tonight and I will.” Matt looked like he was feeling pretty damn confident when he made the offer. He had every right to be cocky. His technical skills had saved all their asses a time or two.
“No way that’s going to happen.” Trey Williams chuckled. “I doubt Bull’s fingers would even fit on the keys.”
Laughing, Jimmy had to agree. They were all safer with Matt on the console, even if it meant Bull spilling things on the rich guys tonight.
Watching the exchange with an expression of amused patience, the commander finally held up one hand to silence them. “If we’re done bickering, ladies, grab your uniforms and weapons—leg holsters only—and let’s go. I want you all as familiar with the layout of the venue tonight as you are with your own dicks. Got it?”
Jack smirked. “That will be pretty familiar for you, big brother, considering I haven’t seen any women around lately volunteering to hold yours for you.”
Jimmy got laid plenty. He was just discreet. Although he had been experiencing a bit of a dry spell lately. He raised a brow in his brother’s direction. “They’re not exactly lined up for you either, little brother.”
“That’s because I’m holding out for the love of my life. That cute little thing who tends bar down the street.”
He knew the one Jack was talking about. Word was she didn’t date military guys. “If that’s true, then I think you’ll be holding your own for quite some time yet.”
“Twenty bucks says I get a date with her before summer.” Jack stuck out his hand to shake on the bet.
“You’re on.” Jimmy took it with pleasure. Easiest twenty bucks he’d ever make. With the wager secured, they both rose from their seats as the table began to empty. Jimmy found the hanger marked with his name and grabbed his uniform from the rack. Wondering what the hell the night would bring, he headed out of the meeting room with the rest of the team.
Two short hours later, Jimmy winced as he ran a finger under the incredibly stiff collar of his white tuxedo shirt. The damn thing felt like a noose around his neck. There was a reason he’d joined the Special Forces instead of taking a corporate job. It was so he wouldn’t have to wear a shirt and tie to work everyday. Yet here he was, not only in an overly starched shirt, but in a bow tie no less. Figuring the loaded .40 caliber handgun strapped to his leg balanced out the sissy bow tie on the testosterone scale, he still wasn’t happy about the whole situation.
“Don’t all you boys look cute.” Matt’s voice came through the communicator implanted in Jimmy’s ear and interrupted his internal soliloquy about his hatred of the shirt and tie. The mocking only seemed to make the discomfort seem worse since Matt was safely locked away in the surveillance van wearing his own nice comfortable clothes. “I’ve got eyes and ears up and running. Talk to me.”
“Gordon, Jimmy.” In the usual, preset order, Jimmy checked in first and confirmed his receipt of Matt’s communication, such as it was, about having audio and visual surveillance in place.
The rest of the team checked in, except for the commander.
“Commander?” Matt’s question came through Jimmy’s earpiece.
Jimmy could see the commander across the room in his own penguin suit, looking just as uncomfortable as he felt.
“Yeah, I’m here, Coleman. Damn it. Let’s get this show on the road. This tie is killing me.”
At least rank didn’t have its privileges on this op. Enjoying the thought immensely, Jimmy smiled.
“You guys better go into the kitchen and find out what you’ll be passing,” Matt warned.
“You mean besides gas?” Obviously pleased with his own wit, Jack beamed. He looked comfortable in his position behind the bar. If only Jimmy had been lucky enough to be assigned the job of bartender instead of stuck out here trying to play waiter.
He heard a round of snickers through his earpiece in response to Jack’s juvenile joke.
“Ha, ha, Jack. Very funny.” Judging by his tone, Matt was not amused. “You’re all lucky. Tonight is butler service, just passed hors d’oeuvres. But I’m serious about this. People are going to ask what’s on your tray. Take it from me, you’ll feel like an idiot if you don’t know.”
Jimmy had a feeling they might actually be better off with Bull on the communications console and Matt out here. He really was the only one who knew what the hell he was doing as a waiter. All of their training for Special Task Force Zeta didn’t prepare them one little bit for butler service.
Damn, did people even have butlers nowadays? Jimmy saw the first guest arrive, and judging by the look of him, these people did. “Guests are arriving.” He turned his head to face the wall as he spoke and kept his voice low as a few more people filtered into the room. Then, always alert, Jimmy went back to visually sweeping the room.
“I’m ready.” He heard Jack’s voice and a champagne cork pop simultaneously.
The commander nodded once. “Let’s roll, boys.”
Their leader looked impatient to get this assignment over and done with. Jimmy couldn’t agree more.
Trey, Bull and BB all headed toward the entrance to the kitchen. Jimmy decided he better follow and see what the hell waited for them on this butler service crap. When he arrived in the rapidly filling kitchen crowded with cooks and now his teammates, a counter covered in big silver trays containing tiny food greeted him. The team lined up. Being in the military, they were all extra skilled at waiting in line. It was the next part Jimmy was concerned about as the chef shoved a tray at BB.
“Herb-encrusted goat cheese.” The chef’s words were spewed with every bit as much disdain and authority as a drill instructor barking orders to a new recruit at boot camp. Maybe this wasn’t going to be as far out of their realm of familiarity as Jimmy had anticipated.
BB picked up the tray with two slightly unsteady hands. Turning in slow motion toward the door, he tenuously balanced the tray as if it held a nuclear bomb.
Trey stepped forward.
“Bruschetta,” the chef barked with another shove.
“Bru-whatta?” Trey frowned down at the little red triangles laid out in an artful display in front of him.
The look the chef shot him could have wilted the green leafy things garnishing Trey’s tray.
Jimmy laughed to himself at his own little joke. He’d have to find a way to use that later.
“It’s chopped tomatoes with basil on garlic toast points,” the chef explained none too patiently.
“Oh.” Trey grabbed his tray with one hand, raised a brow and then left the kitchen.
“Don’t piss off the chef, whatever you do. I had one throw a butcher knife at me once.” Matt’s voice issued that warning to them all, unbeknownst to the chef in question.
Great. Now Jimmy had to worry about the chef throwing things at him on top of terrorists blowing up the rich guys who were going to be asses to them for not knowing what bruschetta was.
Bull stepped forward as the chef shoved another tray forward.
“Wild mushrooms and brie on sourdough toast.”
Hmm. Who knew toast was so highbrow? It was in two of these things already. Jimmy had been eating toast all his life. He hadn’t known he was so classy.
Bull took the mushroom toast things and looked like a storybook giant carrying a doll-sized tray out of the kitchen.
Uh oh. Jimmy was up next. He stepped up to the stainless steel table.
“Hot parsnip soup.” The tray slid toward him as the chef announced its contents.
Uh oh, again. His silver and very slippery tray contained about twenty tall shot glasses filled with a whitish liquid that he thought looked too much like semen to even contemplate drinking, or eating or whatever. But that wasn’t the least of it. How was he supposed to carry this without those shot glasses sliding all over the place?
The commander was behind him, so he stepped aside to magnanimously allow him to go first. “Sir?”
“Oh no, Gordon. That one’s all yours. And don’t call me sir.”
Under the impatient scrutiny of the chef, Jimmy cringed a bit and picked up the tray with shaking hands. He could shoot the bull’s-eye out of a target with a hand so steady he could perform brain surgery with it, but carry a tray full of semen-soup-filled shot glasses and he was…well…shot.
Jimmy somehow got himself out the door without spilling, although the whole lot of glasses shifted slightly to the left, along with the white lace doily that may look nice, but did dick to help him keep from spilling. He paused to scope out the situation in the rapidly filling room and nearly got knocked into by a guest as he did.
That was it. He couldn’t keep his eye peeled for the bad guys if he was staring at this gross soup in a vain effort to not accidentally dump any. Jimmy gingerly walked over to his brother at the bar. “I’m leaving this tray here with you before I spill it.”
“What the hell is it?” Jack glanced at the contents of the glasses.
Jack winced. “Well, it looks like—”
Jimmy held up his hand to stop Jack before he went any further with his most likely X-rated description. “I know what it looks like. Just tell the guests what it is if they ask. I’m going to do a walk-through and see what’s up.”
“All right, but nobody’s going to drink that shi—I mean stuff.” Jack censored himself just as a couple walked up to the bar and into earshot.
Jimmy smiled. This gig might not be too bad. It would definitely be something to talk about over drinks later. Until then, he’d just keep dumping his trays with Jack so he wouldn’t have to deal with them.
Proud of his stroke of genius, Jimmy was still congratulating himself when he saw one hot number walk into the room on the arm of one of the VIPs they were there to protect. An old dude he sincerely hoped was not her date. That would be a shame, since she was hotter than that soup he’d ditched and a hell of a lot more attractive.
Her red hair was pulled up to reveal the sexiest porcelain-white neck and shoulders he’d ever seen. Her legs seemed to stretch nearly up to her armpits. Her black, strapless dress slit up the side nearly hip-high was pretty nice to look at too. Big eyes, which he could see from across the room were as blue as the cool pond on his mama’s farm, completed this vision of walking, talking sex that would fulfill any man’s fantasy.
Wow. Good thing he’d ditched that tray. Otherwise, he definitely would have dropped it when he saw her.
She was gorgeous and she knew it. Head held high, she waved off BB and his tray with a flick of her wrist without even glancing at him. Jimmy watched the commander sidle up to her. It looked as if he had teeny tiny lambchops on his tray. That figured The commander not only got food easy to carry, but it was something the hot chick actually wanted. She grabbed a chop and a little white napkin and turned back to listen to something her companion was saying to another old guy in a tux.