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SEALs of Honor: Markus: SEALs of Honor, #7

SEALs of Honor: Markus: SEALs of Honor, #7

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SEALs of Honor: Markus: SEALs of Honor, #7

évaluations:
4/5 (5 évaluations)
Longueur:
230 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
Nov 19, 2018
ISBN:
9781988315164
Format:
Livre

Description

Markus learned firsthand that love hurts when he lost someone who'd meant everything to him. Afraid to feel that deeply again, he's buried his pain, believing his heart is dead. So certain that he'll never be the same, he devotes himself wholly to serving others. Meeting Bree wakes him from a deep sea of grief, and he's stunned to recognize his heart beating for the first time in so long.

Lost, alone and in serious peril, Bree reeled at how her life became such a mess, but, when she can finally breathe again without death on her heels, she wants nothing more than to wring every last drop of joy out of life again. But Bree had seen and heard too much and, for that, her enemy can't afford to let her get way with her life intact…

Sortie:
Nov 19, 2018
ISBN:
9781988315164
Format:
Livre

À propos de l'auteur

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It's a Dog's Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series). She honors the stories that come to her - and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres! To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her at http://www.dalemayer.com. Or connect with her on Twitter @DaleMayer or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/dalemayer.author. If you like Dale Mayer's books and are interested in joining her street team, sign up here - https://www.facebook.com/groups/402384989872660/ Books by Dale Mayer Psychic Vision Series Tuesday's Child Hide'n Go Seek Maddy's Floor Garden of Sorrow Knock, Knock... Rare Find Eyes to the Soul - fall/winter 2014 By Death Series Touched by Death - Part 1 - Free Touched by Death - Part 2 Touched by Death - Full book Haunted by Death Chilled by Death - fall/winter 2014 Second Chances...at Love Series Second Chances - Part 1 Second Chances - Part 2 Second Chances - Full book Novellas It's a Dog's Life- romantic comedy Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy Broken Protocols #1 Broken Protocols #2 Broken Protocols #3 New adult/adult crossover books In Cassie's Corner Gem Stone (a Gemma Stone mystery) Design Series Dangerous Designs Deadly Designs Darkest Designs Family Blood Ties Series Vampire in Denial Vampire in Distress Vampire in Design Vampire in Deceit Vampire in Defiance Non-Fiction Books Career Essentials: The Resume Career Essentials: The Cover Letter Career Essentials: The Interview Career Essentials: 3 in 1

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SEALs of Honor - Dale Mayer

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Back Cover

The 7th book in the ever popular SEALs of Honor series is coming in late September. This is Markus and Bree’s story.

Love hurts. Markus lost someone he loved, and for a long time, he’s been dead inside.

Now he spends his life in service to others as he slowly pulls himself together, but he’ll never be the same. And then he meets Bree…

Lost and alone and in trouble, Bree wonders how her life has become such a mess. After coming so close to dying, she’s eager to explore and enjoy the life she almost lost. Getting kidnapped and then escaping into the wilderness of Alaska was not in the plan.

But someone knows she’s seen and heard too much. He can’t afford to let her live. Her second chance is about to be shattered…

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Chapter 1

Shit he was tired. Not that Markus Donner would let anyone know.

Not bone weary. That implied he could feel his bones. And that was beyond him. This last mission had been hell. But he’d made it home. Enjoyed four days of rest. Not that enjoyed was quite the right word. Maybe survived?

Now back to training. In Alaska this time. The military base here was huge and he enjoyed coming to this part of the country. The north offered unique geographical challenges for them. In a way that was a relief. He could use something to beat down. Home was empty. Lonely. He’d slept the first day away. And the second had been like moving through treacle. His body was recovering fine. His heart, his mind…not so fast.

Yet the melancholy had nothing to do with his work. Lord he loved his job. Loved his chance to serve. Especially in this capacity. He gave his all every day. He’d buried himself in his work for years. And it had helped him to heal.

Only now there was just a hole in his heart. A void in his life.

One he wasn’t sure how to fill.

Life wasn’t the same when you came home to an empty house. An empty life. More than that it was hard to come home and know it wasn’t going to change – if he didn’t change it.

And that was a mission he wasn’t ready for.

When he’d found out they were heading to Alaska for wilderness training, he couldn’t wait. He’d had enough of his own company by then and needed to focus on something he could grab onto and do something about. Not stare at this emptiness inside. How could something that didn’t exist hurt? It made no sense. But it was a reality that he’d lived with for several years now.

God he’d loved Fiona, his wife of five years.

Losing her had been the toughest thing in his life. He’d gone off the wall for a while. It was the guys who’d reined him back in. He’d have died happy on a mission. He’d been crazy and on edge and had pushed the edge farther. He knew he’d been out of control for a time. He hadn’t cared. He’d needed to die in action. It was the only way he could live. But the guys had knocked some sense into him.

Levi had finished the job by making him realize that his death would be on his team. That’s what Levi had finally gotten through to him. And that was something he couldn’t do. He knew the guilt, the pain of losing someone – how could he force that onto them?

So he’d forced himself to deal with the new reality of living without Fiona.

But damn it, it hurt.

Still, he went out, gave his heart to the mission and came home. Alone.

It had taken months before the guys let him do that alone thing. For the longest time he was babysat by one or the other as they kept a watchful gaze on him. He’d both hated them and loved them for it.

As he healed they’d eased back.

In a way that was worse. Now he was always alone and he didn’t want to be. Not any longer. The emptiness clawed at him. Now he craved more.

And buried that need in work – again.

Alaska was good. Tons of rough territory. His muscles screamed to run free. He loved to feel his heart pound, his muscles burn. It was beyond anything.

And he enjoyed every minute of it. Soaking wet, mud in his face and his heart pounding in his chest. The hunt. There was nothing like a good chase to keep him alive and moving. This training exercise was man against the wilderness and man against himself. And of course man against one another. Sure there were always bad guys, but right now he was after another SEAL team. And he wanted to beat their ass. He grinned ferociously. Was there ever anything more primitive than being pitted against an enemy that was equal to you? That age old fight for dominance. To find the alpha between them. The thing was his buddies were the best of the best and they were all alphas. This wasn’t so much about being the top as much as it was about knowing that in real situations he would be top, regardless of who stood with him.

There was no room for error in the real world, and that meant there was no room for error here either.

Shots fired, whizzing past his head.

Shit. He ducked and was moving before his mind had registered that someone had snuck around and seen him.

He zinged to the left and then right as he slipped through the wetlands. The river water was high, the ground soft and marshy. And the clumps of wild grasses deceptive. The ground was so rough with hillocks he could lie flat behind one and be completely hidden. Movement on the right had him sliding to his belly as he waited and watched. The ground cover was such it was damn near impossible to see anyone. It became a waiting game. He knew the drill wasn’t over until the other team was caught. There was no surrender in this instance.

The training area was forty square miles. He had a lot of ground to cover.

He slowly lifted his head and looked around. And heard a rifle click behind him.

Shit. Shit. Shit.

He hated to lose.

Slowly he raised his hands, considering his options. He wasn’t going to get taken. No way in hell was that going to happen.

Move.

Markus froze. He didn’t know that voice. But making these practices real was what it was all about.

Only this training session was on taking out snipers. Not plaid wearing grizzled hunters.

Wearing a bright orange cap and with chew in his mouth, the man nudged him hard with an old 30:30 lever-action rifle.

Markus almost smiled but the rifle looked too well used for humor.

I said move.

Not sure how this was playing out, Markus followed the orders. This was not public land, and no one but military should be anywhere close.

People did sometimes accidentally trip into the region though. It happened. And to give the old man the benefit of the doubt, maybe Markus had stepped onto private land. Not sure how possible that was considering the area, but he’d been wrong before.

He turned and walked forward as ordered. He looked around hoping to see one of his men sporting a huge grin.

Don’t know what the hell you think you’re doing here, the old man growled, but I am not going to find out.

Markus shook his head but stayed quiet. What the hell just happened? Or was he part of the practice session?

That was the best explanation given the circumstances. Then again, there was nothing normal about this guy. Trying to wrap his head around the sudden change, he knew one thing – the old rifle in the guy’s hand was non-military, but it had a serious end and lots of years of use.

So an old geezer who lived alone and hunted when he pleased and where he pleased most likely. Still Markus’s job was as it always was…to escape and take down the sniper.

But not at the expense of getting shot. And never by hurting a civilian – unless he deserved it.

And if this guy was a civilian, the last thing he wanted was for his team to find out he’d been given the shake down by this guy. Friend or enemy? Too early to tell. They hadn’t been aware of any friendlies in the region – even confused ones.

But that’s what a real-life session was all about. You couldn’t plan for every contingency. It wasn’t possible.

And this was just another example.

Where are we going? he asked in a low conversational voice. He was in full combat gear so it was impossible to not understand who he was on one level. He was obviously a soldier. That he was a SEAL wasn’t something he planned to divulge.

Don’t matter to you none.

The serious end of the gun nudged his back.

Still confused and half afraid he was being taken for a ride while the other half worried he’d stumbled into something much more serious… Markus kept on walking. But he reached up his hand to his ear and under the pretext of scratching he sent out a series of taps on his earpiece asking for help. He had a cellphone but that didn’t mean he had service.

He didn’t know if his team could hear him or not, but the communications had been working at the beginning of the day. They’d gone to silence early on.

Now he had to deal with the outdoorsman.

How long have you lived here? he asked in the same conversational voice as he walked forward.

Doesn’t matter.

Right. Not very talkative. Do you live alone?

Doesn’t matter.

Markus tried again. It’s beautiful out here.

Yep.

Well, that was an improvement. He considered his options. Instinct said this wasn’t part of the training exercise and that they’d moved a mile to the left of where he’d been. The ground had smoothed out as they backed away from the marshy land, giving way to less rock and more grass. They were also heading into skinny growth forest. He glanced around, but there was still nothing to indicate this man had a home here. If he did and it was somehow inside the training area then his actions might be understandable, but that didn’t mean taking another person hostage at gunpoint was acceptable at any time.

Inside he was laughing in disbelief. This was not the way he’d planned on spending his day. And the fallout for the rest of his team – huge. What the hell? The last thing he wanted to do was let them down. He could have taken this guy out, ripped the rifle away from him…for him that was easy enough. So why hadn’t he?

Because he’d have likely hurt this man in the process, and over what? What did he want? Markus never hurt a civilian. Never hurt anyone who didn’t have it coming.

Hell, no one knew who he was or what he did most of the time anyway. That was the way his group liked it. Secrecy was paramount given the kind of work they did. There was always someone looking for payback.

So, was it surprise? Curiosity? Confusion? All of the above? He straightened. Besides they’d been walking in the direction he’d planned to go anyway…

Turn here. And the rifle prodded him on the shoulder to go deeper into the trees – and not the direction he wanted to go. Okay, enough of this shit.

His muscles tensed as he searched for the right moment…

Now be quiet, the man snapped, his voice harsh, deep. I don’t want them knowing we’re here.

Them? Markus froze and narrowed his gaze while he tried to adjust his vision. They’d gone into a deep pocket of trees, dark enough he had trouble seeing for a few moments.

Who is them? he asked, but his gut said the news wasn’t going to be good. There was something about his tone. Senses on alert, Markus lightened his steps. Who the hell was here? And if there was someone – why were they here?

Doesn’t matter. They slipped to the back of the dense treed area. Given the wilderness up here in Alaska, he couldn’t imagine that anyone lived like this permanently, but he knew hundreds did. He could see the appeal of homesteading for a short time period, understand the thrill and the sheer joy in living so close to the land, but it wouldn’t be his choice long-term. But here he hadn’t seen anything that resembled a house in any way. So where were these people?

Intrigued, he had to reconsider the options. Was this man in trouble? Did he need help? Not likely if there was a rifle at his back.

What–

And the gun prodded him again.

Shh.

Frowning, Markus continued to move forward, wondering what the hell he’d stumbled into. Had the training mission gone south? Or was his team going to jump out and laugh at his fool ass? He’d almost prefer it. Still, if this was a training mission, it was a hell of a side shoot. And had nothing to do with taking down snipers. He reached up and tapped his earpiece again…then caught sight of something out of the corner of his eye.

He spun and dropped as the butt came down hard – and missed him.

He rolled and lashed out, dropped the man to his knees. Grinning fiercely, he bounced to his feet and quickly overpowered the older man. With him pinned in a headlock, Markus said in low tones, Now you’re going to tell me what the hell is going on?

It’s my daughter, the old man said, wheezing. Now that Markus could see him clearer, he could tell he had to be in his seventies.

They’ve got my daughter.

Markus froze. Who has your daughter?

The old man waved a hand at the heavily wooded area in front of them. Over there.

Then why didn’t you just ask for my help?

Didn’t know if you were one of them.

Why the hell would I be part of the group holding your daughter? Markus asked.

You’re dressed like them.

Shit.

Chapter 2

Two weeks.

Bree had been at the job two weeks.

What the hell had this world come to that she’d been bussing tables early Monday morning, running around filling coffee cups and slamming down plates full of eggs and bacon, to this? Now she was locked up in a cabin with two other female captives, and she was baking for the kidnappers.

One of the other women had taken a hit across the cheek for arguing, but no one called Bree stupid. A fool? Yes. She’d only gotten off the damn bus two weeks and two days ago. Alaska was as far away as her meager pennies could take her. It was also one of the few places she’d hoped to visit in her lifetime. Now that her lifetime had been extended – hopefully – she’d been successfully working her way around the country for six months. Until this.

She hadn’t planned on overhearing a conversation at the diner where she worked. Who did? But these men had stacked up a serious amount of firepower and were making plans. Betsy had overheard part of the conversation first and raced to the back to talk to Boomer, the cook and owner. Mary had rushed over to hear what was going on. At the same time Bree had been placing fully ladened plates on the table and had been

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