Authors: Kimberley Troutte
“Really?” Mack didn’t believe in hocus-pocus, but Ty’s old Apache granny was something else. She forecasted the oddest things, and hell, if some of them hadn’t proved true.
“Nah. I’m pulling your leg. I’ve got caller I.D. So, what’s up? Got a job for the team?”
Ty agreed to the mission, even though he was bummed that there would be no helo flying.
“You almost got the team killed on the last mission,” Mack said.
being the operative word. I haven’t downed a helo, yet, and I don’t intend to. I’ll see you in Hong Kong.”
Jenna stirred in her seat. “Mack?”
“I’m here, babe. Tavon and Ty are both in. I’m calling the Handlys next.”
“They’ll agree,” she mumbled and turned on her side.
That’s why he’d waited to call them last. Of course the Handly brothers were in. Willy and Charlie gulped adventure and swilled excitement. They played hard, fought harder and were insanely good at their jobs. They only had one big problem—technically, two big ones—that wouldn’t stay in their pants. To the Handly brothers, no woman was off-limits. Not even the team’s Commanding Officer’s daughter. Because of those two horndogs and their sexual escapades, the whole team had been slapped with extended leave. That punishment stung. Before Colombia, Mack had thought there was nothing worse for a SEAL than being benched.
Now, he knew better.
Mack lost his mind when Jenna was kidnapped in Colombia. He never wanted to feel that terror or powerlessness again. He couldn’t. It would kill him. For the first time in his life, Mack didn’t want to let a woman out of his sight. He found himself constantly touching her soft skin, breathing in her coconut shampoo scent, and watching her chest rise and fall in her sleep. Time and time again he had to prove to himself that she was really there. His Jenna.
Loving this woman had always been hot, but now it was…deeper, scarier. Is this how other men felt in love? Shit, who knew? Navy SEALs didn’t talk about this crap. His obsession to keep Jenna safe was making a mess of his life-long goals. How in the hell could he be a SEAL with a woman strapped to his hip?
The Handlys wouldn’t understand such a dilemma. They went through women like a twelve-pack of beer—fast, hard, without any remorse. He’d still ride their asses for the trouble they’d put the team in, but secretly he thanked them. If he hadn’t been on extended leave, he wouldn’t have been reunited with the love of his life. Even if his life was upside down, he’d thank the Handlys someday.
Not this one. Today, they owed him.
In Austin, Texas, Willy Handly pressed a girl up against the wall in the back of his favorite honky-tonk. The band played an out-of-tune version of George Strait’s, “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” while he nuzzled her neck. Slowly, he ran his hands up her sides and cupped her breasts.
“Willy.” She gave him a half-hearted push. “I work here. I don’t do this.”
“You don’t do…” He kissed her, rubbing just-right so that she could feel his hard-on. “…this?”
She pulled her lips away. Her face flushed with excitement. “That’s you?”
“Uh-huh.” He gave a little thrust. “All me, baby. Wanna ride?”
She wrapped her arms around his neck. “I’m supposed to be taking inventory. My boss is going to kill me.” Pulling hard, she brought his lips to hers and grabbed his ass with her other hand.
That’s more like it.
He wrapped her smooth leg around him. She was on one foot now, off-balanced, just the way he liked it. She kissed him harder, holding on, swaying in his arms. Her skin was soft under that skirt. His fingers kept traveling, up, up way up until he was inside.
“Oh, wow,” she moaned.
He shifted so that he could whisper into her ear. “I’ve got you, um…”
Michelle? Janet? Lisa?
He couldn’t see her nametag. “…sweet thang. Let go. I’m going to make you come, right here, right now. And then I’m going to pound into you. Hard. Deep. You’ll feel like you’ll never stop coming.”
Willy wasn’t lying. He knew what he had and exactly how to use it.
“Oh! Willy, that’s hot…” she panted. Her muscles tightened around his finger. She tipped her hips, grinding into his hand. “Don’t stop.”
“Hell, no. Get ready because when I take you it’s going to be so good. You won’t be able to walk straight for days. I’m going to touch you in places you didn’t know you had—”
The cell phone in his back pocket rang.
“Don’t you dare answer that,” she ordered.
“Sorry, sweet thang. I’ve got to.” He pulled his fingers free. The caller I.D. made him grin. “Mack! What’s up? Are we back in yet?”
The girl patted his chest. “Hey, remember me?”
He lifted one finger. If Mack was calling it was important. “Damned, C.O. Charlie and I make one lousy mistake…”
The girl, whatever her name was, cupped his balls through his jeans. “Helloo. I’m still here.”
He pulled her hand away and listened to what Mack was saying. Hong Kong? Hell, yeah. Danger. Political B.S. Sneak in, snatch, grab, bug out. Hoo-rah! What Mack suggesting sounded great, besides, he couldn’t really tell his Lieutenant Commander no, could he?
Willy smashed his fist against the wall. “Hell, yeah!” He was pumped. “Just one question, can I blow something?”
“Hey, baby, I’d like to blow something.” The girl’s leg tightened, as she ground herself against him.
He turned and her leg easily slipped off of him “This is great news, Mack! Have you called Charlie? Cool. I’ll meet you guys at your hotel.”
“Come on Willy, I’m this close,” the girl whined. “Do me good. Like you promised.”
Putting his phone back in his pocket, he glanced at her name tag. “Sorry, Lisa. Maybe next time I’m in Austin. I’ve got to jet.”
The bar towel she threw pegged him in the back. “My name’s Lena! Don’t forget to call
mber did her best to blend into the crowd of people pulsing toward Temple Street. Beads of sweat ran down her back under the coat. A few stray pink hairs escaped the new hat and stuck to her cheek. Discreetly, she tucked them back in and kept moving.
“Stop! Woman, stop,” a man behind her yelled in English.
Several heads in the crowd turned around. Amber kept hers down and picked up her pace, walking as fast as she could through the throng in Mong Kok. A woman screeched, followed by the Mandarin word for “jackass”. Amber didn’t dare slow down. Racing by a window, she caught the reflection of a Chinese man behind her dressed in black and shoving people out of the way. He was gaining on her. She ran faster, smashing into men and women, panting her apologies in Cantonese. Across the street another man pointed at her and a third joined the chase. They seemed to be everywhere.
Up ahead, she saw a chance to hide. She raced under the giant red and turquoise-blue gate and entered the Temple Street Night Market. Her stomach growled when the smell of fresh seafood from the street-food restaurants hit her nose. She hadn’t eaten anything since lunch, but she wasn’t about to stop at her favorite
Dai Pai Dong
for their delicious Chili Pepper Pissing Shrimp. She weaved in and out of the market stalls, trying to disappear.
One of the best-kept local secrets was just around the corner—Mr. Lee's Teas. Dodging into the little hole in the wall, she pulled the door closed behind and waited. Did they see her go into the shop?
“Chased by demons?" A man asked.
She jumped. "Mr. Lee! You scared me."
“Scared of an old man? I think not. Something else frightens you,
." He dipped his bald head toward the door where she still had a death grip on the handle.
Amber sucked in a deep breath so perfumed by tea that she could taste the musty flavors on her tongue. She scanned the shop. It was full with cartons and barrels of herbs and teas, no other
s, or daughters. They were alone.
"I’m in big trouble. Men are following me. Can I hide here?"
His old eyes widened with concern. "Come in the back." He took her hand. "There is no exit, but perhaps they will not come in here." He pushed aside hanging beads and ushered her to a tiny room, just large enough for his cot. This was where he slept? Had she just brought a whole boatload of trouble to a nice old man's house?
"Thank you. I am sorry. I didn't know where to turn."
His round face perspired. "You are welcome here,
I will protect you as best as I can."
"Mr. Lee!" She tugged on his long sleeve. "If they do come in, please, don't stop them. I don't want you to get hurt. But I must hide this." Amber showed him the memory stick. "No one can have it. Understand?"
Mr. Lee gazed at the stick as if it might talk, but he did not touch it. “Very well, you may put it—” Just as his gaze darted to a large vat of dried tea leaves, a bell jangled. Someone had come into the shop. He brought his tea-stained finger to his lip. Amber nodded and ducked down behind the barrel.
“Welcome,” Mr. Lee said. “What can I do for you gentlemen? A nice tea of
to clear the sinuses? Or maybe you seek horny goat weed?”
Amber quickly shoved the memory stick down into the barrel of tea leaves.
Gentlemen? How many?
“Horny goat weed! Do I look like I would I have problems with my manhood, old man?” A deep voice barked in Cantonese.
“Where’s the woman?” Another demanded.
“A good question.” Mr. Lee chuckled. “I, too, would enjoy a woman. Perhaps you should venture to the corner. All sizes and shapes out there. I would go with you, except I have a shop to run and little money to pay. Those women always want more from an old man as it takes much longer than with boys like you.”
There was a loud crash as if something large had been thrown to the floor, followed by the sound of breaking glass. Mr. Lee! Amber’s heart jumped into her throat.
“I am not going to ask again. Where is the American woman?” A man snarled. “We know she came in here.”
“I do not know, friend. As you can see, I am alone.” Mr. Lee’s voice was muffled as if he was face-down on the floor.
“Beat it out of him!”
No! Mr. Lee!
Pounding and groans followed.
She couldn’t let the old man be hurt. She grabbed the knife from her bag and ran into the room, surprising a Chinese man who held his boot on Mr. Lee’s neck.
Holding the knife in front of her she said, “Let him go.”
“Sure, I’ll let him go.” He gave Mr. Lee a sharp kick to the ribs.
“Don’t!” Amber screamed and lunged toward the man. He blocked the knife easily and gripped her wrist so hard that he could snap the bones.
"Do not harm her," Mr. Lee said and was rewarded with another swift kick.
She struggled. It was no use. She wasn't strong enough to hang on and the knife soon clattered to the floor. The man spun her around under his arm and covered her mouth. “Stupid, stupid woman. You should’ve known better than to screw with the 14K.”
She sucked in a terrified breath and smelled gunpowder on the man’s skin. The Triad 14K! That’s who Jacques was working for? Cutting her eyes over to Mr. Lee, she was horrified blood dripped from his head. He struggled to rise to his feet and was shoved back down. Her heart broke. Was he going to be all right?
“You stole from us,” the man growled in her ear. “And now you will pay.”