Trisha O’Malley rebelled against her affluent family by joining the U.S. Army’s secret helicopter regiment, the 160th SOAR. Now a Chief Warrant Officer, she found her toughest fight yet in the pilot’s seat of an MH-6M attack helicopter.
William Wallace Bruce is an undercover CIA agent who doesn’t trust the military. But when the Horn of Africa is threatened by Somali pirates, Trisha flies out to recover ships and hostages…including one very ungrateful Will. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety’s edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion’s fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia’s pirate lords.
Trisha looked up at Billy. His narrowed eyes revealed that he was indeed totally perplexed.
It was perfectly clear to her, and she just figured out that meant she was too damn stupid to live. She shrugged to herself, feeling the warm weight of his large hands still resting on her shoulders.
Well, stupid is something I’m really good at, she had to admit to herself. With one foot she shoved the door to her cabin closed until the latch clicked. Then putting a hand on either side of his neck, Tricia pulled his face down to hers.
His hesitation didn’t last long, then the kiss became everything she remembered from the first one. Power, heat, strength.
And then it became more. When he folded his arms around her and held her tight against him as they teased each other’s lips, she was just gone.
She’d never felt such a thing before. In Billy’s arms, Tricia O’Malley felt … safe. As if someone else would take care of the world, just for awhile. That was so foreign, she almost pushed away. Then she changed her mind and leaned closer because it felt so damn good.
Trisha wished she was still wearing the stupid towel, so that she could just let it slide ever so slowly to the floor like some heart-fluttering romance heroin. But she was dressed now, so she went for plan B.
Sliding her hands down to his waist, she tugged Billy’s T-shirt free and dragged it off over his head. If she could have shredded it with her teeth, she would have.
When she reached bare skin, rather than throwing herself against it, she hesitated. A desecration of multiple scars ran across one of the most beautiful chest she ever seen. Two obvious bullet holes, one by his waist another terrifyingly near his heart. A third, old one deep on his arm, just below the shoulder — the one Ralph of Detroit had given him. Thin white lines crisscrossed as if he’d been whipped or dragged over rough ground.
And one deep line that matched the scar across his face, as if a knife had been dragged diagonally down from his ear, over his chin, then sliced him from clavicle most of the way down his ribs below one breast.
Tricia look so slowly back up to his eyes, which watched her intently from just inches away.
Awaiting her reaction.
She didn’t know what to think. She’d been all freaked out over a bullet that hadn’t even penetrated her armor. He appeared to have been tortured and clearly been close to death several times.
At her continued inspection, he shrugged slightly as if to say, “It’s who I am.”
She watched a shiver ripple over the skin as she stroked a single finger down the long line of the deep knife cut.
Then she leaned in and kissed it. The shiver turned into a soft groan that rippled across his magnificent chest.
It was the last sound they made.
M. L. Buchman has over 25 novels in print. His military romantic suspense books have been named Barnes & Noble and NPR “Top 5 of the year” and Booklist “Top 10 of the Year.” In addition to romance, he also writes contemporaries, thrillers, and fantasy and science fiction.
In among his career as a corporate project manager he has: rebuilt and single-handed a fifty-foot sailboat, both flown and jumped out of airplanes, designed and built two houses, and bicycled solo around the world.
He is now a full-time writer, living on the Oregon Coast with his beloved wife. He is constantly amazed at what you can do with a degree in Geophysics. You may keep up with his writing at www.mlbuchman.com.
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