Authors: Rie Warren
BAD BOYS OF X-OPS IV
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Rie Warren
Excerpt from Hunter
© 2015 by Rie Warren
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations.
Bane / Rie Warren – 1
1.Contemporary Romance—Fiction. 2. Alpha Male—Fiction. 3. Black Ops—Fiction. 4. Erotica—Fiction. 5. Action—Fiction. 6. Thriller—Fiction. 7. Military—Fiction I. Title
By Judi Perkins of Concierge Literary Designs
By Gilly Wright
Table of Contents
Location: Mexico City
I RUSHED INTO THE crib, shouting, “Justice!”
Walker—slung across my shoulders—hung like dead weight. Blood from his bullet wound oozed through his pants and dripped down my back, a warm sticky reminder of how badly we’d fucked up.
The goddamn narcos.
And goddamn Walker with his big mouth.
I shouted for Justice again, but all I got in return was the stomping sound of my own boots on the concrete floor of our Mexico City outpost.
Blaize had said she was just sending Kiki and me, but she changed her mind at the last minute. Everyone had relocated to this kitted-out warehouse—Walker, Justice, Storm, Kiki, Blaize, and me. Which was A-OK on the one hand because I had no desire to be alone with the woman we dubbed
Or maybe the prob was I had
desire to be alone with her. Really alone. Naked, sweaty, fucking, and
with Kiki Damage/Baby Spy.
None of the dudes had a damn clue what I really thought about the woman. They all pretty much wanted her dead after Walker’s near mission-fail last spring. Kiki was the only possible target to blame.
Me? I’d had a huge hard-on for her since the first time I’d set eyes on her. All bad attitude and wild, long, half-shaved hair. Those enormous ice blue eyes. Her absolute fearlessness and the rockin’ body that could probably withstand every single thing I threw at her.
One massive reason having the entire gang in Mexico City definitely wasn’t a good thing? I’d been given private orders. Not from Blaize. From those above her head. No one else knew. Turned out my fellow operatives weren’t the only ones who’d rather see Kiki more dead than alive.
When I’d gotten the kill order through secret channels just before our mass exodus from DC, I’d almost lost my shit.
I’d been tasked with killing Kiki Damage. Apparently I was the one operative the higher-ups at T-Zone considered to have absolutely no morals whatso-fucking-ever or a conscience to dictate my actions.
And even though everybody on the team, plus the boss lady, had been mobilized for this mission, not a single motherfucker answered my distress call as I stormed through the crib.
Walker struggled in my fireman’s hold, coughing. “Put a rush job on shit? Kinda bleeding out here, Bane.”
“Justice, goddammit!” I bellowed again, my bulging muscles finally beginning to tax out from the weight of the heavy man stacked on my back. “Where the hell are you?”
Stalking through the cavernous sectioned-off warehouse, I checked the barracks, our armory, the computers and logistics unit.
Empty. Empty. Empty.
“Shit,” I muttered, making it to the high-tech triage I’d outfitted like a miniature combat support hospital.
Laying Walker down on his front as gently as possible on the clean-sheeted gurney, I spun around to hit the operating room lights. With the area thrown into high beams, I washed my hands in the sink.
Walker moaned from his prone position.
Storm skidded around the corner, a frown puckering his forehead as soon as he caught sight of wounded Walker, who’d turned pale beneath his normally mahogany-colored skin.
“What the fuck happened?”
. Great. Just what I needed after tonight’s FUBAR detail. There was no way this night could unfuck itself now.
“Where’s Jus?” I asked.
“Blaize?” I dried my hands after two thorough cleansings. Snapped on a pair of nitrile gloves.
“Kiki?” Pulling a pre-prepped surgical tray from the shelf, I set it on the wheely-table next to Walker’s side.
“I’m really bleeding here, dudes.” Walker started shivering, maybe in shock, but it wasn’t like he’d never been shot before. “Know you hate each other, but what say you bury the hatchet long enough to make sure I live to see another day?”
“What the hell happened out there?” Storm scrubbed and gloved his hands then took up a stance across the gurney from me.
“Asshole here got shot . . .
in the ass
.” I took the scissors to Walker’s clothes, shearing his jeans from ankles to hips.
“I’m totally not laughing.” Yet Storm’s shoulders shook.
“Yeah. Me either.”
We raised eyebrows at each other, my mouth twitching and Storm chewing down on a growing smirk.
To say Storm’s and my friendship—not to mention our working relationship—had been rocky since that night so long ago in Egypt
was the fucking understatement of the century. We avoided each other as much as possible, went out of our way to piss each other off, and generally hated one another with two years of brewing animosity.
So whenever we caught ourselves getting along? That never lasted
“You want me to put him under?” Storm asked, hooking bags up to the IV pole.
“Walker.” I tapped him on the cheek. “You wanna stay awake for this or not? Up to you.”
“Just dull the edge. I’m good. Don’t want you disfiguring my ass.”
“Damn. Do you wax or somethin’?” Storm glanced at Walker’s bare rear—crusted in iron-colored blood—while I snipped off the rest of his clothes.
“Didn’t you fucks get enough of talking about my ass in Yemen?” Walker barely flinched when Storm sank the needle into the arm he’d swabbed. “I’m Native American. We’re smooth dudes. Unlike you hairy fucks.”
Storm rolled his eyes. “I say knock him out.”
“Don’t worry, Walker. Your precious ass is safe from us.”
“Probably not from Jade though,
?” Storm outright grinned at Walker’s discomfort.
“Fuck you and get on with it. I think the bullet’s traveling to my nads.”
“I think it’s firmly lodged in your left cheek, dude.” I swished Providine all over the skin surrounding the oozing bullet hole, listening to Walker’s muffled hiss.
“Serves him right. After all that talk at his wedding about shoving dynamite up
asses.” For once, Storm looked to be enjoying himself at Walker’s expense instead of mine.
He glanced at me, and I nodded. Without a word, we communicated like we used to, and he slowly dripped more of the good drugs into our hurting buddy.
Just like old times.
Justice was my right-hand dude when it came to patching up, stitching lacerations, sometimes even bringing people back to life—Walker’s wife Jade, and that night in Beirut, case in point.
But Storm used to lend a willing, and adept, hand.
That had been before . . .
The two of us were probably a
episode waiting to air live. Or Doc Phil. Or whoever the latest TV head-talker/train wreck mastermind was these days.
I held out my hand, and Storm handed me the 10 blade.
Making the incision, I watched Walker’s eyelids peel wide before they drooped. Then I turned my attention to locating the bullet bored into his ass with the least amount of intrusion possible.
“Los Reyes de Guerra muchachos didn’t much like the new terms we presented for the AKs.” I passed the scalpel back to Storm, and he slid the forceps to me without being asked.
Moving like a well-oiled machine, he packed the weeping hole with gauze to soak up the worst of the blood.
“And?” Storm reached overhead and adjusted the light to shine exactly where I needed.
“Then Walker started getting lippy with
.” Gently probing deep into Walker’s gluteous medius, I gripped the bullet.
But shit was slippery.
Before I finished the word, Storm vacuumed up the seeping blood with the
“Walker talked back to Carlos? The self-proclaimed killer? You tell him about the 50 calibers?” With a grunt of satisfaction, he pulled the instrument away from the field of surgery.
“Was saving the best for last. Didn’t get the chance before they opened fire. Big mouth here”—closing my eyes, I concentrated on easing the bullet out—“just wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“I’m still copacetic,” Walker slurred.
“Can fix that in a second.” Storm hit the plunger again.
“Shit. Liked it better when the two of you wanted to kill each other.” Walker’s body relaxed completely, but his eye—the one I could see—still blinked slowly.
“What are you? A fucking horse? How are you still talking?” Disbelief crossed Storm’s features.
“Raise horses. In Wyoming. Where’s Jade? She here?”
“Oh yeah.” I chuckled. “He’s feeling it.”
With one quick move, I tugged the slug free and pinged it into the dish Storm held out for me.
“Ouch.” Walker half-heartedly complained.
“Shut up. Just saved your ass. Literally.”
. Donut cushion for you for a couple days,” Storm drawled out. Then his glance slid to me. “You sure you weren’t the one who pulled the trigger on Walker? You have a habit, y’know?”
Typical Storm. Getting a dig in anytime he could.
I ignored the cunt, clanking my teeth together.
Despite his jab, he continued to assist me, anticipating my every need.
Like old days
, to save a life or to get out of trouble.
Suturing up the ragged hole with neat rows, we worked quickly, in tandem, trading off-color jokes about Walker’s wounded ass while he muttered and swore and fought against the drugs and pain to stay awake just because he was such a stubborn bastard.
“You retaliate against Los Reyes?” Storm asked.
Finishing up the final stitches, I took stock of our tidy work.
“Figured since we’re trying to start a trade relationship with the cocaine cartel, I probably shouldn’t kill them all on our first meet.”
Storm nodded. “El capitan’s wily, my man. Know that from my time with the Blood Legion.”
“You two gonna kiss and make up already?” Walker, loopy from the drugs, rallied when we swabbed his butt clean and bandaged him.
I snorted. “
What are you
? A fucking matchmaker? Go. To. Sleep. Already.”
Storm and I started cleaning up, Walker watching us with glazed-over eyes.
. The man had the willpower of a fucking elephant. Or whatever.
“I’ll pass out when you two finally clear the elephant from the room,” Walker grumbled.
What the shit
? Are you a mind reader now?” Forget about being a matchmaker. I glared at the prone asswipe.
“Shaman.” He tiredly wiped a hand across his face.
Middle finger. Stiff and sent in Walker’s direction
Scrubbing my hands, I remembered that night everything went wrong between Storm, me, and our mission in Egypt two years ago.
Egypt: holiday destination and terrorist hotbed. That shit needed to be on a postcard. A T-shirt maybe. Probably not a compelling slogan, but hey, I never was good with the words.
Just Storm and me, and we’d been surrounded by the Bedouin tribe we’d been trying to take out. A group who’d kidnapped a husband and wife couple, American aid workers. The simple hostage-retrieval and hostiles-takedown had gone from tits up to totally fucking ballistic in the space of ten minutes. Our nighttime retreat from the land-locked, mud-daub, desert buildings cut off, there’d been little hope of escape.
Storm had stashed our Land Rover a klick away, hidden in what little brush cover we could find, but we couldn’t reach it, taking heat from in front and behind us.
Hiding out behind one mud hut with Storm holding out at the back of another, I’d faced the advancing targets and he the rearguard coming closer.
“No green targets. Repeat. No green targets!”
Storm’s voice came over the coms unit.
The Bedouin warriors hadn’t come out alone. Smart fucks. Too many women and children mingled between, in, and around the armed men for us to get clean shots on our pursuers.
We’d rescued the hubs and wife, but only by the skin of our teeth with bullets flying at our heads. The two of them had been beaten and almost executed, to be broadcast on TV. As it was, they huddled beside me, working on adrenaline alone.
We’d only made it as far as the settlement’s outbuildings, caught in the middle of nowhere on a Hail Mary mission.
And we weren’t the only ones after the natives.
Maybe the other agency was our saving grace that time.
Maybe the Mukhabarat—also sent in for the same shakedown of the tribe—would get us well and truly fucked.
When I turned back to check on the welfare of the couple, goddamn bullets started crackling like a hailstorm toward us. Hunkered in front of the former captives, I provided a big, black-dressed barricade, hefting my Sig Saurs and popping shots.