Above All Else: A Bad Boy Military Romance (Easy Team Book 2)

 

 

 

 

Above All Else

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gemma Hart
Copyright 2016 Gemma Hart
All Rights Reserved

This work is not bound by DRM, which allows you as a reader to enjoy this story on any digital platform you choose to use. But please respect the work of this author. No part of this book may be reproduced or copied without permission.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Any similarities to events or situations is also coincidental.

 

 

© 2016 Gemma Hart

All Rights Reserved

Dedication

To literally the BEST readers in the world!

Hands down.

No question.

Author’s Note

              For this story, I’ve created a fictional nation and monarchy. Please let your imagination run wild! Hopefully you fall in love with the story as much as I did writing it!

 

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Table of Content

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter
One
Xander

              I spotted her almost as soon as she walked in.

              It was impossible not to. We were literally in the middle of nowhere in Colombia. Out near the edges of the jungle there was a thatched room that served as a very rudimentary bar. In one corner was an ancient jukebox that looked like it had come straight from the set of Happy Days. The small place was packed with people, glistening with sweat from the intense humidity outside. A ceiling fan spun above us, almost mocking us with how useless it was.

              And the only people in the small bar that wasn’t a local was me and five of my brothers from Easy Team.

              That was until
she
walked in.

              With a wavy tumble of reddish blonde hair and creamy fair skin, the girl walked in like a cool breeze of air. She had glittering blue eyes that were deep and rich and spoke of many coy secrets. But after being out in the deep field for over two months, the number one thing that called out to me was her absolutely fuckable body.

              Wearing some kind of crocheted halter top, she gave everybody a tantalizing glimpse at her ample cleavage. The top stopped right below her breasts so then we were also treated to a good look at her slim and toned waist. She wore cut off denim shorts that just barely hugged her round ass and gave men a mouthwatering look at the bottom curves of her ass, peeking out from the cuffs.

              As tired as I was from my recent mission, as sore as my body was, my cock immediately twitched at seeing her. It was a deep and primal reaction to seeing a girl like that.

              But regardless of how gorgeous she was, this girl was fucking insane. Did she know where she was? This was unchartered territory in Colombia. These people didn’t live in towns or cities. They lived in villages where they played by their own rules. Small roving gangs and thugs owned these parts. And no cop would come out here no matter the issue.

              With the way the girl was laughing and throwing her hair about, looking at the men in the bar that flocked around her as if she was playing with toys, I knew this girl was either going to get herself raped or kidnapped. Probably both.

              The men surrounding her were looking at her with such obvious violent lust and desire. A
gringa
girl in their midst! And a beautiful one at that. They were obviously imagining themselves being the first to get a taste of her creamy skin. And I felt a sudden and ridiculous rage at their unspoken thoughts.

              “Fucking crazy,” I muttered under my breath, trying to keep my anger in check.

              Hawk turned to me, taking a deep pull from his beer.

              “You mean the girl?” he asked, even though he knew what I was referring to. Hawk was captain of Easy Team, a small and covert band of mercenaries. But even though he was captain, he was also one of my closest friends. And we spoke a shorthand that saved a lot of wasted breath for both of us.

              I watched as the girl smiled as men fought to buy her a drink. She fluttered her eyelashes at one man while another sidled up against her right, clearly taking in the view of her curvy breasts over her shoulder.

              The girl was clearly enjoying the attention so much that she didn’t notice that nearly all the men carried some kind of weapon. Some had guns, some had knives, and I had seen one guy with something that looked like homemade nunchucks.

              That was why Easy Team even felt comfortable finding some rest in a place like this. We had just finished a grueling mission and had about three days rest before we moved on to the next country and our next assignment. On rest days, we’d love nothing more than a cold beer and a pretty girl but we stuck out like sore thumbs at most bars and clubs in town.

              Civilians always seemed to feel that we were dangerous. They naturally shied away from us and gave us odd looks from a distance. It almost seemed like they could smell the blood on us or hear the bullets we had fired.

              So if possible, we always tried to find a place out of the way. And a bar like this was perfect. Everyone was always armed in small village bars like this in Central and South America. They had to be. There were no laws that governed places like this so they had to be ready to defend themselves no matter the cost.

              Where everyone was armed, no one was, and so Easy Team always felt comfortable slipping into the vibe. And we never seemed to attract too much attention except for the initial surprise at seeing a bunch of tired but heavily armed
gringos
.

              But this girl had no idea what she was walking into. Obviously. She was flirting with pure, flammable danger here.

              How did she even find this place?

              “The man on the left, third person out,” Hawk said quietly, right before he took another swallow of his beer.

              I looked at the person Hawk took sight of. The man was beefy with tattoos running up and down his arms. And I could tell that he was getting frustrated by how crowded it was getting around the girl. He wanted some attention from her as well but was not getting any luck.

              And I could see his frustrated fists stroking his belt. Half hidden under his shirt was a gun. I could feel Easy Team getting ready to take action if things escalated any further.

              Working on an instinct to avoid unnecessary violence and to sate my own selfish physical desires, I got up from my seat and plunged straight into the small crowd that had formed around this temptress.

              I heard her laugh. Her voice musical and somehow, very sweet. From how she was dressed and how she was acting, I had imagined a more seductive, huskier laugh. But instead, she laughed like a girl who had just found a load of presents underneath the Christmas tree.

              “Aún estoy apriendiendo,” I heard the girl say with a small giggle.

             
I’m still learning.

              The men protested, saying her Spanish was perfect. Too good for a white girl, in fact.

              She giggled some more at the profuse compliments, completely ignorant to the men around her who were either staring at her much too lasciviously or with daggers in their eyes because they had not yet gotten their turn with her. I saw one man glare at the girl before whispering to a friend, making some kind of motion of taking the girl outside. One too many hands were reaching for their waistbands.

              I pushed through the crowd, head and shoulders taller than everybody else in the room.

              “There you are, Annie!” I cried out loudly in a voice of complete familiarity.

              The girl looked up at me in complete surprise. She stared up at me, clearly not having seen me or the other white men in the far corner of the bar. I felt ridiculously insulted that she hadn’t already noticed me. But then, I realized smiling, she was certainly noticing me now.

              “Excuse me?” she asked in English. She had a slight accent that was hard to place. It sounded a little British almost.

              I grinned as I stepped forward and wrapped an arm around her shoulders. “Annie, I’m glad you were able to find the place. I know it’s way out in the middle of nowhere,” I said, pulling her in close to me. I could see the men surrounding us look around in confusion. They eyed me, unsure what to make of my sudden appearance.

              The girl tried to squirm out of my hold but I held fast.

              Her skin was so soft under my hand. It immediately made me imagine her on my bed, completely naked, with her soft body open for my touch. But I shook the tantalizing thought away. First, I needed to get this girl to safety.
Then
I could start thinking about naked touches.

              “Excuse
me
,” she said in a huff, glaring up at me. With her dark blue eyes narrowed into a squint, I almost wanted to chuck her on the chin for being so damn adorable. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about but would appreciate you desisting in this familiarity.”

             
Well, that’s an odd kiss-off
, I thought, mildly surprised. Her language was so formal for a girl in hot pants and essentially a bra. Suddenly, I had the oddest feeling of recognizing her, but for real. Had I seen her somewhere before?

              “Very funny,” I said, starting to lead her towards my table. She tried to resist but she should’ve known it’d be no contest. The top of her head barely brushed against my shoulders. “Now come say hi to the guys. They’ve been waiting forever for you.”

              The crowd around us slowly began to pull apart, unsure what to make of this new couple. Clearly, they weren’t too keen on taking on a tall and well-armed American.

              I leaned my head down and muttered, “What kind of crowd do you think this is, princess? Some kind of rodeo? These men are more than capable of taking what they want, when they want, and damn anyone who tries to stop them.”

              The girl jerked in my arms at the casual endearment of “princess.” I stared at her. She looked up at me with a calculating squint, as if trying to figure me out. But finally she just pressed her lips together before murmuring, “If you can’t tell, I’m a perfectly capable grown woman who can take care of herself, thank you. And I don’t need you to—”

              “Capable?” I said in the same low voice, interrupting her. To the others, it must’ve looked like we were sharing some kind of personal and close conversation. “Well, Miss Capable, did you notice that the four men closest to you have guns tucked into their belts. M1911s, if I’m not mistaken. The one who just bought you your drink also has the tattoo of a local gang that recently hanged a cop for interfering in their business. Oh and this man right here,” I jerked my chin slightly towards the man right in front of us as we slowly made our way through the crowd, “that spider tattoo on his right cheek means he’s part of a gang that’s been famous for decades now for child rape. Still feel like practicing your Spanish with them, sweetheart?”

              I saw the flush slowly drain away from the girl’s cheek as I listed off the kind of men she was surrounding herself with. Clearly, she had not known what she had walked into. Maybe she was one of those European tourists who had wandered off the normal tourist paths to say she had gotten the
real
Colombian experience. This was not a country to play those kinds of games. Games like that could get you killed. Easily.

              But almost just as quickly, the girl’s eyes narrowed and her chin stiffened with determination. She looked up at me and glared before digging her heels into the ground and elbowing me hard in my side, making me grunt.

              “I don’t know what kind of joke you are trying to play here,” she said, glaring up at me, “but I don’t find it one bit funny. Now, please stop pretending to have any kind of relationship with me. I
don’t
know you.”

              She leaned a little forward and added quietly, under her breath, “I don’t need a hero. So stop trying to be one.” With that, she threw back her hair over her shoulder, sending me a whiff of her floral shampoo, and turned back towards the bar.

              Even though this was all said in English, the men of the bar seemed to understand the girl’s tone. And they could see that instead of being the girl’s boyfriend or brother, I was just like them—another anxious suitor wanting some of her attention. And they quickly threw jibes at me in Spanish and pushed in around me, surrounding the girl again.

              The men said a toast for her and cheered, clinking bottles, as the girl laughed again. She rewarded them with a sparkling smile that said everything and nothing all at once. Incredibly intoxicating. Clearly, this girl was no novice in playing that coy flirt.

              I turned back to my table, frustrated with the girl’s complete lack of worry about safety and a little put out by my wounded pride.

              “Someone dared to shoot down our Bear?” Dozer teased as I took a long pull from my beer.

              I glared at him. Dozer grinned, unrepentant. Easy Team men have been through hell and back together more times than I could count and that meant we had the brotherly bond that allowed merciless teasing whenever and wherever we felt like.

              “Bear,” Hawk said, slapping a hand on my shoulder, using my call tag, “I know that—”

              Whatever he had been about to say was soon cut off by loud, raised voices behind us. I turned around and saw two men suddenly yelling at each other, each gripping a bottle of beer.

              I had enough Spanish to understand them yelling at each other about who’s bottle of beer should be given to the girl next.

              “You already bought one!” one of the men shouted.

              “But she didn’t drink from it!” the other protested.

              “Well then she has no interest in you, asshole!” the first pronounced.

              Suddenly the second man grabbed the girl by her upper arm, jerking her towards him. The girl cried out in surprise, stumbling over her feet at his pull. The man pressed his lips against her throat and murmured something to her that made her blue eyes go as wide as marbles.