Authors: Becky McGraw
Text copyright ©2015 by the Author.
This work was made possible by a special license through the Kindle Worlds publishing program and has not necessarily been reviewed by Cat Johnson. All characters, scenes, events, plots and related elements appearing in the original Hot SEALs remain the exclusive copyrighted and/or trademarked property of Cat Johnson, or their affiliates or licensors.
For more information on Kindle Worlds: http://www.amazon.com/kindleworlds
Deep Six Security and Hot SEALs
Kindle Worlds Crossover Novella
First, I want to thank the tiny, yet ten-foot-tall-fabulous, Ms. Cat Johnson for including me in the launch of her Hot SEALs Kindle Worlds project. She is proof that dynamite comes in small packages. It was an honor to be included with this group of amazing authors for your launch and I’m thankful for the opportunity. Writing your Hot SEALs guys into this book was an inspiring challenge and I loved every minute of it. Because of you, I may have to write my own SEAL series soon!
I would also very much like to thank my Navy and SEAL consultant, and awesome alpha reader, Eileen McCall who is a former US Naval Officer. You have no idea how much I appreciate your help and support. Without you holding my hand and leading me through the shark-infested waters of military jargon and regulations, I doubt I could have gotten it right. As a side note, there is one thing that I did take creative license with because it better fit my story.
Lastly, thank you to all the brave men and women of the United States Armed Forces and their families for their service and sacrifice to keep us safe and free to follow our dreams.
“I don’t want to lose you, man. Deep Six can’t
to lose you. Just wait until Dave gets back from the honeymoon, and he’ll work it out.” Slade huffed a frustrated breath.
Jaxson Thomas knew that was bullshit. He was just as dispensable as any man was on this security detail with Prince Ahmed Khalil. Deep Six’s most lucrative contract was not. If he didn’t do this, there wouldn’t be anything
of Deep Six when Dave and Susan Logan returned from their honeymoon. Every one of them would be unemployed.
Slade knew that too, even though he wouldn’t admit it. Because not only had they become friends, Deep Six was shorthanded, and he was the one left in charge until Dave and Susan returned even though he didn’t want to be.
“Say something, man.” Slade tapped his fingers on the desk.
Jax’s fingers dug into the wooden armrests of the chair as he fought to keep his face passive, to hide the anger and fear that was burning a hole in his stomach. To keep his resolve to do what they both knew he needed to do. The Prince was demanding heads, and as supervisor Jax’s was at the front of the line. That meant he needed to offer it up to salvage things.
“I said all I need to say—I quit,” Jax replied.
This whole screw up was his fault anyway. Jax had been in charge, it was his responsibility to make sure the family was safe, and he’d failed miserably. He’d let the Prince’s son get kidnapped on his watch. Yeah, the other guys had too, but he was taking the blame for the team. Not the first time he’d done it, but he hoped it would be the damned last.
me,” Slade said, running a hand through his hair.
Slade’s pretty German Shepherd Lola evidently sensed his agitation because she got up from her bed near the bookcase to walk behind the desk and nudge his arm with her nose.
Jax pushed up to his feet to stretch his hand over the desk to Slade. “It’s been nice working with you, brother.”
Slade just stared at his hand and ground his jaw. “I tried to call Dave, but his cell phone is off.” He dragged his eyes back up to Jax. “What are you going to do? I mean, there aren’t a lot of job options for a dishonorably discharged ex-SEAL.”
Hearing that said so bluntly made the acid in his gut swirl. Funny how always doing the honorable thing got Jax labeled as dishonorable.
“It wasn’t dishonorable—it was
,” Jaxson corrected, his gut boiling now.
“Some people say it’s the same thing,” Slade pointed out with a shrug.
Most former military people held that opinion, but Slade knew the extenuating circumstances surrounding his discharge, and so did Dave Logan, the owner of Deep Six Security. Maybe that made no difference to them though because they were both ex-military themselves.
You know damned well that’s not true, and you know what he’s doing, so don’t take the bait, just get out of here
. Slade was trying to change his mind about leaving by pissing Jax off to break him down. Although it was a wily change of tactics, it wasn’t going to work any better than begging or inflating his ego had done.
Leaning over the desk, Jax shoved his hand closer. “Just shake my damned hand so I can get out of here!”
After a long sigh, Slade finally took his hand. “Call me whenever you land somewhere, and let me know what you’re doing. Dave should be back by then and he’ll want to talk to you.”
“Yeah, I’ll call you,” Jax promised, pumping Slade’s hand, but he knew he wouldn’t. His time at Deep Six for the last four years had been good, but it was over. Slade dropped his hand and Jax turned to leave, but Slade stopped him.
“I have a meeting with the guys tomorrow, so we can make a plan to find that kid. I want to make sure I have all of the details. You sure you don’t remember anything else hinky that happened over the last few weeks that could help us?””
Only his suspicion that the Prince’s brother, Tariq, was somehow involved. Jax watched the man closely because Tariq was one of the family, and it was his job. He was a sneaky bastard, always disappearing even in the middle of the night. When he was around at the luxury hotel, he was often huddled in the corner on the phone speaking Farsi even though his British-flavored English was perfect. Jaxson had caught snatches of his conversations, but his Farsi wasn’t conversational. What he did know was that for an unemployed playboy who depended on his brother for support, Tariq sure was a busy man.
But Jax had nothing concrete to base his suspicions on, no proof at all. Mentioning it would just make him look like more of an idiot if it proved untrue.
“No, nothing. I told you everything that happened,” Jax replied, without turning around, and before Slade could press him, he opened the door and got the hell out of there.
The Deep Six guys were smart, they didn’t need him to figure this shit out. All of them were either former military, or former high-level government employees, so if Jax noticed it, the others had too.
. Paramilitary, black ops, ghost ops—hell, I’ll even take mercenary gigs, and I’m willing to go OCONUS.” Jax zipped up his bag and tensed. “Well, anything that doesn’t require high-level clearance, because you know that won’t work.”
Those days were over for Jaxson Thomas.
Men who were escorted out of the Navy SEAL teams, more specifically the elite DEVGRU counterterrorism team, formerly SEAL Team Six, with a General Discharge no longer had that type of clearance. Neither did men like him, who would rather take one for the team than stand up for themselves. Those men were too stupid to have that kind of clearance.
Pinching his phone between his shoulder and ear, Jaxson stuffed his last pair of cargo pants into his duffle bag the next morning. He was moving out of his rent-by-the-month apartment today because he didn’t need it anymore.
His time in Texas was done, and it was time to move on.
“You’re willing to go overseas again?” Grant Milton, asked, his voice full of concern.
Jaxson hated calling his former commanding officer, who was now an instructor, but it was necessary. Grant recommended him for the job at Deep Six Security, so he felt obligated to explain what happened and warn him that he may be getting a call from Dave Logan.
Telling the man he thought of as an older brother that he’d fucked up again was the hardest part of the call. He was sure Grant now thought of
as the younger brother who couldn’t stay out of trouble. This call would probably be the last straw to their friendship.
Grant should be tired of bailing him out, but so far, he hadn’t blasted him like Jax thought he might when he called. He hadn’t blasted him when shit hit the fan over Cancun either. No, his former CO had fought to keep him out of jail when JAG wanted to Court Martial him because James Sharpe was pushing them to do that. He was the sole reason Jax received a General Discharge under honorable circumstances instead of the dreaded Dishonorable. At least that meant he had a chance of finding a civilian job.
Jax owed the man a lot.
“I’ll go anywhere and do anything,” Jax replied with a huffed breath. “I’m so sorry about this, Grant.”
“You know I’m not upset, right?” Grant asked, and Jax rolled his eyes wondering how in the hell this laid-back, understanding man had ever become a Navy SEAL commander.
Yes, he did. Jax had seen this man in action, had witnessed the result when someone pushed him over the line of his tolerance. Grant Milton was a different man then, a very scary one. He gave new meaning to the term ‘silent but deadly type’. When Grant got quiet, all the guys on the team knew they’d better run.
“You should be—I screwed up again, and Logan is going to be upset. When he gets back from wherever the hell he went on his honeymoon expect a call.”
“I can handle Logan. What you need to remember is you’ve paid your price, Jax. That situation in Cancun was not your fault. Quit punishing yourself.”
my fault because I decided not to open my mouth and tell JAG that our team playboy had a booty call with one of the hostages we rescued during that mission, not me.” Jaxson regretted that decision, but he couldn’t have made a different one.
Making excuses or throwing someone else under the bus to save himself was not the way a SEAL did things. Zane Alexander was his SEAL brother, almost the same as a
brother, so rather than name him, Jax had taken a discharge and left the teams in disgrace, which was pretty much the same as taking a bullet for him. Hell, an actual bullet would’ve probably been less painful.
“And that’s why I respect you—want to help you. You did the right thing to stop the ugliness that was about to go down. It would have embarrassed the whole damned team. I didn’t want to have to testify against you if it went to court, but I would have.”
“I know, and I’d have expected you to,” Jaxson replied.
Even though Grant knew what
happened that night, it was speculation, because Hannah Sharpe wouldn’t talk. He believed Jax because he knew he would never lie to him. What Grant actually
twenty-year-old Hannah Sharpe coming out of his tent naked during the mission
would have looked extremely bad in court.
After a moment’s silence, Grant said, “You know Alexander and Rudnick have decided to leave the teams, right?’
Shock rocked Jax as he sat back on the narrow bed to press his phone tighter to his ear. “No, I didn’t know that.”
“Yep, their contracts are up and they both decided not to renew.”
“That surprises me greatly.” Those two were the backbone of their team when he served with them. Entry men for their squad and leaders. “Something happen?”
“Well, other than they both have girlfriends stateside now, you mean?”
That reason didn’t wash. The work a SEAL put in to get to that point in his career said those two wouldn’t give it up lightly.
Jax snorted. “Sorry, but I don’t believe you. Those two wouldn’t let a woman drag them away from the teams, especially love ‘em and leave ‘em Alexander.” Zane Alexander had worked just as hard to perfect the fancy footwork Jax had seen him employ to avoid clingy women, as he had to develop his skills a SEAL. The man was a master at it.
But he guessed it was possible. A woman had removed Jax from the game, just not voluntarily, and definitely not one he would ever have considered dating.
Visions of frizzy red hair, horn-rimmed glasses that held thick lenses, and a mouth that was bigger than her face floated through his mind. Frumpy Fallon, Jax’s secret nickname for his accuser during the throes of the JAG investigation, the older chaperone on the Rich Girls Gone Wild trip to Cancun. Thank God,
hadn’t been the one to sneak into his tent naked. That was her blonde younger sister, someone his
nicknamed Hot Hannah. It fit just as well as his name did for the prudish chaperone.
Spending two days trekking through the Mexican jungle with the federal judge’s daughters and their high-maintenance friends, a millionaire’s little princess and a Senator from New York’s daughter, after rescuing them from the cartel stronghold, had been absolute hell. Jax had never met whinier, prissier women in his life.
Grant laughed. “Well, yeah that’s not the main reason. They opened a private security company in Virginia called Guardian Angel Protective Services, GAPS for short, and I’ve heard they’re trying to land a shipping security contract. If they get it I hope they don’t empty the squad, because they’ll need more men. That’s where I’d suggest you go first if you’re willing to go OCONUS. Alexander owes you anyway.”
Surprise had Jax sitting up straighter, gripping his phone a little tighter. “Thanks, Grant. I’ll give him a call.”
“I’ll text you the number. Good luck, and let me know if I need to give them a call to get them in the right frame of mind for you.”
Jax hung up the phone and sighed. It looked like he was heading back to Virginia a lot sooner than expected. Hell had definitely not frozen over, but he needed a damned job.