Bound to Danger: A Deadly Ops Novel

BOOK: Bound to Danger: A Deadly Ops Novel
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PRAISE FOR THE DEADLY OPS SERIES

Targeted

“Fast-paced romantic suspense that will keep you on the edge of your seat!”

—Cynthia Eden,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Mine to Hold

“Sexy suspense at its finest.”

—Laura Wright,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Branded

“Reus strikes just the right balance of steamy sexual tension and nail-biting action. . . . This romantic thriller reliably hits every note that fans of the genre will expect.”

—Publishers Weekly

“Nonstop action, a solid plot, good pacing, and riveting suspense.”

—RT Book Reviews

“Katie Reus pulls the reader into a story line of second chances, betrayal, and the truth about forgotten lives and hidden pasts.”

—The Reading Cafe

“If you are looking for a really good, new military romance series, pick up
Targeted
! The new Deadly Ops series stands to be a passionate and action-riddled read.”

—That’s What I’m Talking About

PRAISE FOR THE MOON SHIFTER SERIES

Mating Instinct

“Katie Reus creates a vivid world filled with sexy shifters, explosive danger, and enough sexual tension to set the pages on fire. A fabulous paranormal romance!”

—Alexandra Ivy,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Darkness Avenged


Mating Instinct
’s romance is taut and passionate. Add to that a fast-paced suspense plot and a deftly built paranormal world, and Katie Reus’s newest installment in her Moon Shifter series will leave readers breathless!”

—Stephanie Tyler,
New York Times
bestselling author of
Viper’s Run

“I could not put this book down. . . . Let me be clear that I am not saying that this was a good book
for
a paranormal genre; it was an excellent romance read,
period
.”

—All About Romance

“Once again, Reus delivers another clever page-turner.”


RT Book Reviews

“A sexy, well-crafted paranormal romance that succeeds with smart characters and creative world building.”


Kirkus Reviews

“This series keeps getting better and better.”

—Joyfully Reviewed

Primal Possession

“Reus has definitely hit a home run with this series. . . . This book has mystery, suspense, and a heart-pounding romance that will leave you wanting more.”

—Nocturne Romance Reads

“Reus’s world building is incredibly powerful as she seamlessly blends various elements of legend and myth. . . . But the romance between a shifter and human is the real highlight—it’s lusty, heartfelt, and shows love can conquer all.”


RT Book Reviews

“[
Primal Possession
] has all the right ingredients: a hot
couple, evil villains, and a killer action-filled plot. . . . [The] Moon Shifter series is what I call Grade-A entertainment!”

—Joyfully Reviewed

“If you like your romance hot with plenty of buildup and a plot that sucks you right in,
Primal Possession
is simply a must read.”

—A Book Obsession

“Impossible to put down. . . . Ms. Reus bangs out a top-quality story.”

—Fresh Fiction

Alpha Instinct

“Reus has an instinct for what wows in this perfect blend of shifter, suspense, and sexiness. Sexy alphas, kick-ass heroines, and twisted villains will keep you turning the pages in this new shifter series.
Alpha Instinct
is a winner.”

—Caridad Piñeiro,
New York Times
bestselling author of
To Catch a Princess

“You’ll look forward to visiting this world again soon!”


RT Book Reviews


Alpha Instinct
is a wild, hot ride for readers. The story grabs you and doesn’t let go.”


New York Times
bestselling author Cynthia Eden

“Reus crafts a fast-paced action story. . . .
Alpha Instinct
is awesome: an engrossing page-turner that I enjoyed in one sitting. Reus offers all the ingredients I love in a paranormal romance.”

—Book Lovers Inc.

“Prepare yourself for the start of a great new series! . . . I’m excited about reading more about this great group of characters.”

—Fresh Fiction

“A strong book full of mystery, intrigue, and a new world to explore.”

—Ramblings from a Chaotic Mind

“If you’re looking for a new shifter romance to sink your teeth in, then look no further.
Alpha Instinct
is action-packed with a solid romance that will keep the reader on the edge of [her] toes! . . . Highly recommended for fans of Rachel Vincent’s Werecat series.”

—Nocturne Romance Reads

“A well-plotted, excellently delivered emotional and sensual ride that grabs hold and doesn’t let go! . . . Ms. Reus delivers mystery, suspense, and a romance nothing short of heart pounding!”

—Night Owl Reviews

A
LSO
BY
K
ATIE
R
EUS

The Moon Shifter Novels

Alpha Instinct

Lover’s Instinct

(A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

Primal Possession

Mating Instinct

His Untamed Desire

(A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

Avenger’s Heat

The Deadly Ops Novels

Targeted

Enemy Mine

(A Penguin Special from Signet Eclipse)

SIGNET ECLIPSE

Published by the Penguin Group

Penguin Group (USA) LLC, 375 Hudson Street,

New York, New York 10014

USA | Canada | UK | Ireland | Australia | New Zealand | India | South Africa | China

penguin.com

A Penguin Random House Company

First published by Signet Eclipse, an imprint of New American Library,

a division of Penguin Group (USA) LLC

Copyright © Katie Reus, 2014

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

SIGNET ECLIPSE and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.

ISBN 978-1-101-61774-8

PUBLISHER

S
NOTE

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, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely
coincidental.

Version_1

Contents

Praise

Also by KATIE REUS

Title page

Copyright page

Dedication

 

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Epilogue

 

Acknowledgments

Excerpt from
TARGETED

For my husband, who puts up with my odd hours and sometimes stressful deadlines. I would be lost without you.

Prologue

Landing Zone (LZ): area where military aircraft can land.

Six years ago

C
ade O’Reilly ran full force through the triple-canopy jungle, the unbearable summer heat and giant mosquitoes barely a blip on his radar as he dodged low-hanging vines and branches. With his M-4 carbine slung over his back and grenades and claymore mines strapped to his jungle BDUs, he was armed to the teeth.

He hadn’t planned on needing the extra firepower, but as a United States Marine, he was always prepared for an apocalypse-type situation. Like the fucking Boy Scouts, only well armed. As part of a classified intel unit with the Marine Corps, he often worked with various branches of the government. Including the CIA.

And just like
always
, the jobs he did for the CIA in Central or South America got screwed six ways to Sunday. It was as if he had a homing beacon on him or something when he got in this region. Trouble just found him. So now he was making a
really
hot exit from deep within
the jungle with trained guerrillas on his ass. Luckily he’d scouted his escape route days ago.

He could hear the
whop-whop
of the Huey in the distance, the sound unmistakable. Most civilians couldn’t tell the difference between choppers, but any military guy could. That shit got ingrained into your psyche. And what he heard now was pure music.

His extraction point was less than a hundred yards away. He couldn’t see it because of the thick trees and foliage, but a giant clearing the size of a football field was waiting for him up ahead. And so was his rescue team.

Staccato fire sounded behind him, closer now. A loud thud landed in the dirt to his left. Then another. Then a louder thud into a tree on his right as he raced by. They were lucky shots because with the thick overhang it was damn near impossible to see much. Didn’t matter that it was daytime. That triple canopy was so damn dense it was hard to comprehend until you’d seen it for yourself. He didn’t have time to stop and return fire. There were too many men after him, and while he was good, he couldn’t hold them off forever.

He’d been tasked with blowing up four underground bunkers deep in the jungles of Colombia that belonged to a vicious cartel leader. From what he’d seen firsthand, the war on drugs was a waste of time, but Nesto Valencia was a piece of shit who preyed on the innocent. Foreign travelers, his countrymen, it didn’t matter. Cade was more than happy to help purge the asshole’s income. Soon the guy wouldn’t exist anyway. The CIA wanted to stop Valencia before he grew too big, so they’d coordinated a planned strike to completely wipe out him and everything he owned from the face of the earth.

This was totally off the books and wouldn’t go on
Cade’s official dust jacket. Classified and all that shit. Valencia had made the mistake of letting some of his men target a student tourist group that just happened to include a powerful senator’s niece. She’d been killed and Valencia had become a dead man walking overnight. He just hadn’t realized it.

Pulling a grenade free from his jacket, Cade slid out the pin and tossed it behind him without losing any momentum. He couldn’t afford to.

As he jumped over a jagged tree root, he pulled another grenade free as a wave of heat and an explosion tore through the air at his back. Shouts of agony followed as he tossed another behind him.

Whop-whop.
The sound was louder now. Now that the trees were thinning, he could see daylight and the twin-engine helicopter hovering high above the LZ clearing, but he didn’t allow himself any relief. He wasn’t free yet. Not even close.

The next explosion sounded seconds later, and as he pulled the canister of blue smoke free from his LBV, there were more cries of pain. Good. He hoped he got all of them.

He’d brought three different canisters, each of which signaled something different. Blue meant that he was coming out hot and they needed to make a fast exit. The only time he would have needed it was if his radio had been busted, but since he’d already relayed to the pilot that he’d been burned, there was no need to signal. Even so, he planned to use the smoke to cover their escape once they hit the air.

Gunfire still sounded in the distance behind him, so he knew he hadn’t gotten them all. Sweat poured off him as he burst into the clearing. The Huey rose, but a rope
dropped immediately. His legs and lungs burned as he ate up the distance to his freedom. As he reached the dangling line, he immediately hooked the carabiner to the harness he wore. His entire body jerked as the chopper lifted higher and he left the earth far behind.

He didn’t let his guard down. The wind whipped around him, the sound of gunfire and shouting into his radio fierce. He twisted just in time to see at least a dozen men spill into the clearing like cockroaches.

As he released the top on the smoke canister, a sharp pain pierced his upper leg, then his shoulder.

“Fuck, I’m hit,” he ground out, letting the pilot know even though above him he could hear the backup team returning fire with rapid speed. Adrenaline still pumping through him, he hauled back and threw the canister like a football. Blue smoke rolled everywhere, the color invading the air and whipping around with the wind, completely covering the men below and destroying their visibility.

As he was winched up, he gritted his teeth against the pain shredding through him. Each tug and swing with the wind increased his aching. He couldn’t tell if the bullets had gone through, but he’d find out soon enough. After what felt like an eternity, he was finally hauled into the belly of the Huey to find two Marines he’d gone on missions with before, a Navy medic, and an older guy in a suit he didn’t recognize. Cade blinked, trying to get his bearing, but his vision was starting to blur.

One of the Marines started applying pressure to his shoulder while the medic ripped open a packet of QuickClot and poured it on his leg wound. The unknown man sat there strapped in as he watched with piercing green eyes that made Cade feel as if the guy could see right
through to his soul. What the hell? Maybe he’d been hit worse than he realized.

Iciness snaked through Cade as he tore his gaze away and watched the team work. The medic asked him something, but the edges of his vision started to dim as he tried to force his voice to work.
Damn it
, he was going into shock. He wanted to fight it, to resist, but his body won out as cold and blackness took over, sucking him under like an angry vortex.

•   •   •

Cade blinked, opening his eyes to a steady beeping sound. His surroundings quickly came into focus as he glanced around the sterile white room. He was on his back, had an IV attached to his arm, and was lying on an uncomfortable bed with starchy sheets. Groaning in pain, he pushed the sheet off to reveal a blue-and-white hospital gown that barely covered his dick. The white bandage around his leg looked stark compared to his tanned skin, and as he shifted against the bed his arm ached. Yep, he’d been shot twice.

At the sound of male voices outside his room, he glanced around again. It didn’t look like a field hospital, but a real one with walls. Where the hell was he? He remembered being in the Huey, then being in a small plane, but the trip was fuzzy in his memory.

His heart rate increased as the door opened. The man from the chopper stepped inside, holding a manila folder. He wasn’t wearing a suit now, but slacks and a green Polo T-shirt. His eyes widened a fraction when he met Cade’s gaze before he ducked back out, still keeping the door propped open.

He spoke in low tones to someone, then stepped back inside with Colonel Abraham Winters, Cade’s commander.

He tried to push up, but the colonel frowned. “At ease, son.”

Cade semi-relaxed against the bed but reached for the remote to push his bed up to a sitting position and pulled the sheet over his lap. He was sure the two men didn’t want to see his junk any more than he wanted to flash them. When he found the right buttons, he watched the two men out of the corner of his eye as he worked the controller. The movements intensified the aching in his arm and upper thigh, but he embraced the discomfort.

Pain sharpened his senses and pushed out some of the fuzziness. “Where am I?”

“Mexico.” Colonel Winters looked at the man who still hadn’t spoken, then back at Cade. “This is Lieutenant General Wesley Burkhart. You know who he is?”

Cade nodded. “Head of the NSA.”

If the man with dark hair just barely graying at the temples was surprised Cade knew his name, he gave no indication. He just watched Cade with that unnerving stare. Not that Cade would ever show he was uncomfortable. Nope, he stared right back. The man didn’t put off evil vibes, but he was a predator. Trained. Just like Cade.

“All right, enough of the staring contest. O’Reilly, listen to what the lieutenant general has to say. He’s a straight shooter. Whatever he says, he means, and he has the highest clearance in the country. You can ask or reveal anything to him. I . . .” He paused for a long moment, then cleared his throat. “It’s been an honor to have you under my command, O’Reilly.” Then he was gone, slipping out the door like a ghost.

Cade frowned at his commander’s words since they sounded a lot like that he wasn’t going to be working
with him in the future. He hadn’t screwed up his mission, he knew that much. “Why were you on that Huey? Did something go wrong in the jungle? Did the rest of the mission go off as planned?” Since his commander said this guy had the highest clearance possible and Cade didn’t feel like getting into another staring contest, he asked everything on his mind.

Standing at attention with the manila file tucked under one arm, the man looked as though he’d have no problem commanding thousands. “I was on it because I wanted to see you in action. Nothing went wrong; you completed your mission in record time. It was . . . impressive.”

Normally he would have gone in with two to three other men for a mission like that; even with the top-secret intel unit, they always worked in teams. But for this mission he’d been assigned to go in alone. It had surprised him, but he’d wanted the challenge, so he hadn’t questioned it. Cade nodded, not sure if he was supposed to respond.

“The rest of the mission is also complete. Valencia is dead.”

Okay, then. “Why are you in my room and what do you want with me?”

The man pulled out one of the cheap-looking blue plastic seats against the only window and moved it closer to the bed before sitting. “You know a Marine named Sam Kelly?”

Cade nodded, a pang of sadness shooting through him at Kelly’s name. “Yeah. Best sniper I ever worked with. I was sad to hear he’d died.” KIA in Afghanistan. Cade had done a few missions with Kelly as backup for really hot exits. The finest damn backup he’d ever had, in fact. That man never missed a shot.

“He’s not dead. He works for me now but under a new name. If you’re smart, and I know you are, you’re going to accept the job I’m offering. You’re one of the best men Winters has ever worked with. You take directions well, but you’re not a fucking machine. You think for yourself and if you don’t like an order, you ask questions. I like that. I don’t want some moron on my team. You’re also twenty-nine. Jumping out of planes and helicopters isn’t something you can do long-term. I know you’ve been thinking about getting out of the Corps when your next term is up.”

Sam Kelly was alive? Cade was going to go back to that, but first . . . “How the hell do you know that?” Asking that was as good as admitting the man was right, but Cade was too stunned by the spiel Burkhart was giving him to care.

“Because I’ve been watching you. It wasn’t by chance you were sent in for the Valencia mission by yourself. I needed to see how you’d handle things solo. I could have waited to approach you, but I’m not wasting any more time. I’m putting together a team of men and women with certain skill sets. Black ops, not as many rules as the CIA. I’m offering you a job and under normal circumstances I’d be telling you that your name and past would cease to exist. Since you don’t have any family and all your missions have been top secret, you get to keep your name and you’ll have an honorable discharge. But if you take this job, as soon as you’re healed we’re leaving. If the mission calls for it, you might have to adopt a cover ID—you most definitely will sooner or later.” He held up the manila folder. “I’ve got a lot more to discuss with you, but if you’re feeling up to it, you can start reading some details on what your new role would be.”

Cade nodded as he tried to filter through his pain and everything the lieutenant general had said to him. “I thought the NSA was into cryptography.”

The man half smiled. “That’s exactly what Kelly said. And we are, but we also do a lot of other things. Read the file while I make a phone call. You hungry?”

He nodded, feeling overwhelmed as the surreal quality of the situation settled in. “I haven’t said yes yet, but you told me about Kelly.” Clearly that was top-secret information. “What if I don’t agree to work for you?”

“You will,” he said as he strode from the room, his voice absolutely confident.

Arrogant bastard. As Cade flipped open the file and started reading, he realized the man was arrogant for a reason, because as soon as Cade was capable, he was taking the job.

BOOK: Bound to Danger: A Deadly Ops Novel
13.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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