First of all, a very happy birthday to the fabulous Elle Jade. And welcome to the celebration blog hop. We are 107 strong! I hope you will hit all the stops and celebrate with us. Lots of great books to discover and terrific prizes to win.
Top prize! $100 Gift Certificate!
When I think of birthdays I remember a special one with my late husband. We lived in Tampa at the time and a shopping and residential venue called Harbor Island had just opened. He took me there for dinner and gave me a beautiful gold bracelet. But the best part? It was opening week, they had a tall ships parade that we could watch from where we ate dinner, and then some spectacular fireworks. Of course I was sure he had arranged them just for me, because he brought a lot of fireworks into my life.
So what’s your favorite birthday memory? Leave me a comment. One lucky person will win their choice of two ebooks from my backlist. And while you’re deciding which book you’d like to have, here’s a taste of Jungle Inferno, Book #1 in the Phoenix Agency series. All of the first five books are now available and Jungle Inferno just released in print, Books #2-4 will be out later this year and they are available for preorder from audible.com as well.
For Faith and Mark, the telepathic connection they’d shared for years was nothing compared to the scorching physical connection they realized as adults. From the first moment they came together, erotic was too pale a word to describe their relationship. Together they explored each other’s deepest, darkest desires. But now Mark, survivor of an ambush to his Delta Force team, is a prisoner of a terrorist group in the Peruvian jungle, and his telepathic communication with Faith is his only contact with the world. While she searches for help to save him, they survive on dreams that took them beyond all sexual boundaries. Can she persuade the men of Phoenix to undertake a treacherous rescue and bring Mark back to her arms?
The sun was a globe of fire creeping up in the sky, turning everything below it into an oven. It was barely nine o’clock in the morning yet Mark Halloran was sure the temperature was already close to triple digits. The humidity was as thick as a rainfall. The roar and grunt of the howler monkeys was already splitting the air as they leaped from tree to tree feasting on the canopy leaves.
How the hell did people live in places like this?
Or work in them.
And this appeared to be a permanent camp, with tents, lean-tos and crude buildings. It also boasted a campfire pit and other amenities they wouldn’t have taken the time for in a transitory situation, unlike the temporary setup where the meeting had taken place. Where they’d been told the Wolf was going to meet with Escobedo’s group. A friend of a former Special Ops soldier Rick Latrobe’s, deep undercover with Escobedo’s group, had risked his life to get the message out that the Wolf was going to make a personal appearance. Unusual for him but this shipment was so large and involved so much money, Escobedo insisted.
Not at his camp, however. Not even the Wolf would be privy to its location. A meeting place not far away was set up. For the Wolf it would be in and out. Just like that. He would arrive with the shipment, Escobedo would bring the money. As soon as both parties were satisfied with the goods, the transaction would take place and that would be that.
Mark had gone to his commanding office, Major John Gregorio, with the information. The major had passed it up the chain and the word had come down to act. The United States government had waited a very long time for a chance at the Wolf. To make it a two-fer upped the ante.
A simple mission. Get in. Take out the bad guys. Get out. One less group of Al Qaeda plotters to worry about. And the arms dealer meeting with them. That was the key. That’s what he and his men had been told. It was a chance to clean out a viper’s nest and take out a key arms player at the same time.
With the weakening of the Tupac Amaru terrorist group and the decline of Shining Path, Al Qaeda had been recruiting heavily and spending big money to rebuild Peru’s terrorist structure. Another foothold in South America for the promised Islamic world.
But someone had leaked the mission, Escobedo’s group was waiting for them and now most of his men were dead. After burning the bodies of Mark’s men they’d cleaned up every trace of what had taken place and moved, all of them including the Wolf, what Mark reckoned was about ten miles away.
He grunted, trying to shift to a more comfortable position. The tent gave him little protection him from the ruthless sun and having his ankle chained to a stake barely two feet away severely restricted his movements. For maybe the thousandth time he wondered what had gone wrong and landed him in this abominable mess.
God, what a mess it had been. One minute they were finding their positions to take their shots, carefully hidden, the target painted. The next they were the targets instead. The noise of the AK47s still echoed in his ears, along with the stench of the blood of his dying men. They’d even gotten the comm guy they’d left at the insertion and extraction point with their gear.
He’d forced himself to look when they dragged the bodies into the center of the camp, piled them together and set them on fire. They stood watching with arrogant, evil grins on their faces, then opened bottles of whiskey to celebrate. Mark was sure it was a sight he’d never forget.
He knew what they wanted—the name of the man who had betrayed them. They could kill him and very well might but the source had to be protected at all costs.
Yet as much as they tortured him, for sport and pleasure as well as information, there were things he hung onto that kept his sanity intact. For one thing, despite his wounds he kept himself alert and counted the bodies. One was missing, Joey Latrobe. The kid. The sniper. Rick’s brother, who’d brought them the information. Mark was convinced he wasn’t dead or they’d have found him. No, badly wounded or not, he’d found a way to hide from them. Now if Mark could only be sure he got away.
Of course he had no idea what shape Joey was in, or even if he could give his rescuers, if there were any, information about the camp.
But what gave him real strength was his connection to Faith. God. Beautiful Faith. The woman of his dreams. How stupid was he to walk away from what they could have to play soldier? No, not that. To defend his country. His sense of honor and patriotism was stronger than almost anything. But now, if he died here in this godforsaken hellhole, the only memory he’d have would be that long weekend they’d shared before he was deployed the first time.
And the erotic dreams that came to wipe away the pain.
When he closed his eyes she was in his arms again, her lush body naked against his, her breasts pressing against his chest. His hands coasted over her satiny skin, fingertips exploring every dip and hollow.
“It’s a good thing you aren’t around when I’m planning a mission,” he murmured, his lips against her throat. “I just look at you and my cock gets so big I’m afraid my pants won’t contain it.”
Her laugh was throaty and musical, and her fingers drifted down to close around his thick erection. “Good. That’s the way I like it.”
She moved her hand in a slow pumping motion and he groaned at the heat that rushed through him. Lowering his head he closed his lips over one taut nipple, pulling it into his mouth. It hardened even more at his touch and when he dragged his teeth over it lightly her grip on his cock tightened.
“Easy.” He released the nipple and lapped around the edge of it. “We don’t want the dance to end when the music has just begun.”
“Ah, but we can always dance again,” she reminded him.
He tasted the skin in the valley between her breasts, doing his best to take control of the situation even as her fingers continued to stroke the hard, thick length of his cock. Light movements that teased him and heated his blood.
But then just being near her did that.