Undisclosed location, US Navy Special Warfare
February 4, 2015/1802 Zulu
“Meeting. In my office. Now.” The captain barked into the phone.
The captain only got that tone when it involved someone special so I turned around and headed back toward the building.
“What the fuck is wrong with you? Did you forget something?” Master Chief called after me.
“No, captain needs to see me ASAP. You guys go on without me.”
I was headed to lunch with Master Chief, Doc, and my dive buddy, Shaq. As I made my way toward his office, I’d lost my appetite. When I stepped into the command suite, I nodded to the captain’s yeoman in a silent what’s up? Friday pointed his thumb toward the captain’s office.
“Captain’s got a meeting in a few minutes with a commander from an outside unit.”
When you’re in a Special Ops unit, you learn real quick how to read your teammate’s expressions, hand signals – basically, how to read between the lines. It clicked. Thank you, Friday. I nodded and quickly got a little more prepared to see the captain. I could add I had a feeling I knew exactly who was coming to see him. Bella had started dropping bombs all over social media about her latest, and this commander was about to get clotheslined.
“You needed to see me, captain?”
“What’s the status on Bella’s mole?”
“I don’t have one, sir. Whoever it is isn’t talking to her from this building.”
“We have a problem, Dan. I’ve been hit up by another group out of Barksdale, Louisiana; the commander thinks she may have infiltrated their group.”
Oh shit! This woman was relentless. Didn’t she have anything better to do? Then I remembered our last mission over Christmas.
“Hold on, isn’t she on our side? I mean that last op and all?”
“I don’t know what the hell she does. All I know is this guy’s dick is in a knot and he has friends who are pressing for answers.”
I knew what had this guy’s dick in knot – the same thing that had mine in the same twisted mess. I remembered reading his book when the edits came through on Bella’s email. This poor guy had it worse than I did. I was just the commander of a unit – this dude was the commander of an Air Force Reserve RED HORSE battalion, and he owned a very well-respected company in San Antonio. If our books came out, both of us would lose our man cards in a huge way.
I also knew what was coming in the next few weeks, and I’d ramped up my investigation out of self-preservation. At last check, I was next on Bella’s hit list of exposed SEALs. I really didn’t care about the guy whose book was coming in early February. That was his problem. Not that I didn’t understand his plight: we could sit down, have a beer, swap stories, and not judge. That’s how much we had in common. Bella had to be stopped. Right in her high-heeled tracks. Maybe teaming up with someone would give me the edge I needed. The captain was right about one thing: Bella’s spewing didn’t need to see the light of day.
I had to find the motherfucker spilling all of these secrets and take him out — with extreme prejudice.
The door opened again, and an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel stepped inside the office.
“Colonel,” the captain said as he and I stood to greet the man.
“I won’t waste your time, Captain. I know where you are on your investigation. I need to identify patterns to see if I can find a mole in our organization.”
“I wish I had something for you, Colonel. What we do know is she’s an expert at hacking government communications systems, being an IT security professional, she’s been able to get in and read about some of our operations and—“
“I don’t give a damn about operations, how the hell is she finding out about my personal life?”
I cringed when this man cut my captain off in mid-sentence. Obviously, he’s never heard of the Rock. I remembered hearing about a throw down between the Rock and the base commander at our duty station. That was one for the record books, and Bella managed to capture it word for word in Rock’s book Dominant Deception.
“Calm down, colonel. I know how you feel. I’ve had the displeasure of being a character in one of her books. I understand the urgency.”
The man sat back in his chair, and it was obvious to anyone with eyes that he was trying to get a grip on his paranoia. At this point I was really feeling for the guy—until he asked the million dollar question.
“What sort of progress have you made?"
I couldn’t believe my captain threw me under the bus then backed it up over me. I cleared my throat and sat forward.
“Well we managed to gain access to some of her mail and some of her systems. Since she’s an IT professional, it can prove challenging to stop her at times. But we did manage to shut her down for about a year.”
“Stop the presses, Lieutenant. Shut down servers, put publishers out of business, I don’t give a fuck what it takes,” the Lieutenant Colonel said.
The captain spoke, “She has rights, colonel; we have to work within the confines of the law. I have the FBI—“
“You’re not hearing me, captain. Stop the fucking presses and the release of this book. Am I clear? This is a matter of international importance.”
The captain’s eyes narrowed. “Lieutenant, go back your office and continue monitoring our tango.”
He didn’t have to tell me twice, “Yes, sir.”
I got up and left, closing the door behind me. I didn’t want to think about the throw down that was about to happen. I know the poor guy was desperate, and I didn’t blame him. I opened up this guy’s book to do some research. I’d intercepted it while it was in edits and going back and forth between her and the publisher. Before I could read two sentences, a voice out of my nightmares called out to me.
"What kind of no good fuckery are you engaged in now?”
“Excuse me Master Chief,” Shaq said elbowing him out of the way and taking a seat.
Oh Shit! Whenever Master Chief came around asking me what I was up to and my dive buddy took a seat in my office – the day was going to hell in hand basket. Now all I needed was for Doc to come in and tell me I needed some kind of exam.
“What the hell?” Master Chief glared at Shaq.
“I need to help him.”
“Help him do what? Hold his dick?”
“No, Master Chief, the project he’s working on.”
“Oh? And what project is that?” Master Chief asked folding his arms.
I shivered when I caught a glimpse of Master Chief with arms folded and staring down at me. I hated when he’d do that in SQTs. It usually meant the shit was going to hit the fan and go viral.
“You’ve drawn a slot in Operation Golden Shower, 1500, today, at the clinic,” Doc handed me a sheet of paper. “What’s going on in here?”
Yup, my day was headed for the seventh level of hell aaannnyyy second now.
“I hope you ain’t on drugs, boy,” Master Chief growled.
Not right now, but I must’ve been high when I signed up for this shit …
“No, Master Chief, no drugs here,” I opened up my calendar and saw that Friday had scheduled the meeting thirty minutes before my appointment. “Doc, I have something really important I’m working on.”
“The only one who can get you out of this is the captain,” Doc said.
“Shouldn’t be a problem, he’s the one that gave me the project.”
“What the hell is so important that he’d need to get you out of this?”
“I didn’t ask, Master Chief. He said I needed get something done and I didn’t question him.”
“Ask him, Master Chief.”
“What the hell are you doing anyway?”
“Research, for a project.”
“OW!” Shaq screamed grabbing his face.
“What the fuck?” Doc said rushing over to him, “What the hell happened?”
While we were talking, I noticed my dive buddy trying to peek around to what was on my screen. I had a rubber band on my desk and while everyone was distracted talking, I slowly picked it up, took aim, and fired. I got him in face
“Something stung me! Damn, Doc! Quit feeling me up,” Shaq said fighting him off.
“Then die motherfucker. The next time you get shot, dig the fucking bullet out yourself.”
“I need to jump on something for the captain,” I said.
“Bullshit! What‘s going on with the IDF?” Master Chief growled.
“Say what? IDF? He’s USAF not IDF, ” I said.
“Boy, wake the fuck up, how in the hell did a USAF Lieutenant Colonel walk in here and give Rock the what the fuck for?”
This dude was Israeli Defense Force? No wonder he was freaking out so bad.
Back up the fucking bus …
How the hell did Master Chief know about the closed door conversation with this guy? Could he be …?
“Yes?” Master Chief asked with a sly grin.
“Nothing,” I said.
Master Chief always had an uncanny way of finding things out. The smallest details would come back and bite me in the ass with him… details no one should know. I never could figure out how he did it maybe, just maybe …
“What? What’s going on?” Shaq said looking between us.
“Stay clueless will you? It’s for your own good,” Master Chief said.
“I think Rock and that guy are having a throw down. It got pretty heated,” I said stirring up the scuttlebutt to find out what else would come out of Master Chief’s mouth.
“Oh, Lieutenant? Enlighten us will you?” Master Chief said.
“I didn’t hear it, I could feel it coming. You know how the captain gets that look. Kind of like what happened with the former base commander over Doc running exercises on the flight line.”
“I never ran —“
“Yes you did,” I said.
“No I — OW, fuck! What the hell?” Doc yelled grabbing his arm and scratching.
“See I told you, some little bug is going around sting people.”
“Shit! I’ll put in a request to get this place fumigated.” Doc said leaving.
Those rubber bands on my desk were coming in pretty handy. I managed the distraction I needed to change the subject. Once everyone had left, Master Chief and I just looked at each other. That slick bastard was up to something and I had the feeling I knew what.
“We both know that Rock didn’t have any throw down about medic drills on the flight line, so what’s up?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.”
Master Chief’s eyes narrowed, “There something you want to say, boy?”
“No, Master Chief. I have a project for the captain I need to get done.”
“You take care of that project, lieutenant. I’ve got a couple of projects of my own I’m working on.”
Master Chief vacated my space. I sat back for a moment and thought before I started working on trying to find a way to stop Bella. There was nothing I could do for the guy sitting in the captain’s office and I felt sort of helpless, kind of like when you watch a train wreck. You just can’t look away, he’d live, just like Badass, the Rock, Master Chief and Doc all had. I noticed as I dug that she had a new folder in her BlackOps Brotherhood file.
What’s this… Counter Strike… BlackOps Brotherhood seven… humm…
I clicked the file and read the first few words…
“LT I need you to look at something for me… What the hell’s wrong with you?”
I almost jumped out of my skin. It was the guy I was reading about, our executive officer, COBRA! Bella was upping her game, Cobra was one bad motherfucker. He told me what he wanted and I assured him I would have it by the end of the day. I went back to reading. The book was half done and it was a doozie! Cobra was going to be one pissed off snake if this ever saw the light of day.
Oh Bella, I have to stop you—for your own safety. I have to stop you.
Counter Strike, Book Seven of the BlackOps Brotherhood Series:
“What the hell were you thinking?” He demanded.
“We’re not aboard ship, Captain. If wanted to fuck that skanky son-of-a-bitch that was my choice, not yours. I’m on liberty. So go to hell, you ain’t my daddy, and I don’t have to explain a damn thing to you!”
“No? Well I’m tempted to do something your daddy should’ve done to you a long time ago. Now, why the hell were you at that place dressed like that.”
Cheryl took a step back to get control of her anger. She knew she wasn’t dressed any type of ‘way.’ She had on a black dress with heels; she’d dressed to go out for a nice dinner. She’d read online that the place was a nice wine bar and it was near the hotel where she’d planned to stay. When she’d arrived at the place, it was just as advertised—a nice, quiet wine bar with soft music playing in the background. Could she help it if some man-skank walked in and thought it was a pickup bar?
It used to piss her off when Rafe acted like this. A guy couldn’t even talk to her without him exploding into some kind of rage. He’d always accuse them of something dirty. Maybe those were their intentions, but she never got a chance to make the judgment call. During the years at the boarding school and later at the academy, he always interfered—never mind that he’d fuck anything that moved. She’d blamed his outbursts on the fact that for the first few years of their lives, Rafe had to take care of her. While they were at the orphanage, when the other kids would pick on her, he’d go bat shit crazy defending her. Back then she had to rely on someone to defend her; now she was capable of taking care of herself, her son, her dad, and anyone else that came along. Lance was picking up right where her brother had left off, and this man had no excuse; he had no claim and was acting like a jealous boyfriend.
“Get out!” she said pointing to the door.
“You’re welcome, Cheryl.”
“You haven’t given me five minutes of peace since you got on my boat. You interfere with my job, you go behind my back and change my decisions without telling me. You make me look like an idiot in front of my crew! And now you think you’re my self-appointed knight in shining armor?” She laughed ruefully at him. “I’ve had men think that before, they all turned out to be assholes in tin foil.”
Suddenly she found herself in his iron grip again. “I do what I have to do. And I don’t want any man-skank son-of-a-bitch fucking you ever again!”
Before she could respond, he took her mouth in a searing kiss. He released her only to snake his arms around her body in a tight, possessive embrace. She suddenly understood what it meant to be claimed by a man and why it drove some women crazy with lust whenever a man went Neanderthal on them. Time seemed to stop as she found herself an observer watching as this man took what he wanted with impunity. In her mind’s eye, her arms went around his neck and her hands raked through his hair pulling him even closer. He responded by nipping at her lower lip and she opened her mouth to let him get closer yet. No man had ever kissed her like this. They’d always treated her like spun glass, fragile and delicate.
There would be nothing gentle about this encounter. This man was different. She knew for certain that Lance was going to show her the dark side of desire, and the way her body responded was frightening. Her nipples beaded to hard points aching for his touch, and her pussy creamed in anticipation of the rough, thorough fuck that was in store for her. Her body arched into his in a silent dare to carry out his forbidden promise. Visions of a dark, dangerous passion she didn’t know she had in her played out like a movie her head. He’d force her to discover it, taste it, live it. The need he drew out of her was intoxicating. He groaned and her eyes flew open.
Seizing her last shred of reason, she remembered who he was and why she hated him so much. Pushing on his broad shoulders, she moaned and he broke the kiss long enough to look at her. She fought to catch her breath, every inch of her filling with fury at the way he’d just assumed he could take another man’s place. There were no words for her anger and the only thing she could do to retain a shred of her reputation was to raise her hand as she screamed at him, “I hate you!”
Before she could feel the sting of her hand connecting with his face, he’d grabbed her by the wrist and stopped her. The fury in his blue eyes matched hers. Holding her arm behind her back, he pulled her roughly against him. An angry growl rumbled in his chest. Her body’s reaction to the sound shocked her. Her whole body was on fire with desire for him. Her body’s adulterous reaction to his manhandling pissed her off even more than she thought possible. Struggling against his hold, he shook her and pinned her with the most dangerous don’t fuck with me look she’d ever seen.
Aaron Rosencrantz is the owner of Rosencrantz Architectural and his firm is thriving thanks to his brilliant and tough as nails COO Natasha Rodriguez. They deny a powerful attraction for one another where family promises and business seem to always interfere. When Aaron catches a glimpse of Tasha’s attraction, his hopes soar only to be dashed by a misunderstanding. When their two powerful personalities come together in Las Vegas Carnivore Club thanks to Madame Eve’s 1NS which one will bend?