Grady “Buck” McCormick blows shit up for a living as the explosives and demolitions expert on his SEAL team. He grew up on a thoroughbred farm in Kentucky, but he joined the Navy to escape the pain of watching his mom die a long, slow death of cancer. Since then he’s lived with the guilt and dedicated his life to protecting others, carefully guarding his heart along the way.
Melinda Emerson loves chemistry but isn’t so crazy about people. A pharmaceutical chemist with social anxiety, she’ll happily climb through a jungle canopy in search of medicinal plants, but put her in the middle of a party and she passes out. As the only child of older parents, she struggled watching her father fall victim to Alzheimer’s, and is determined to find a cure. Instead, she discovers a cognitive enhancer that has everyone from the CIA to the Russian mafia after her and her new invention.
When Melinda’s social anxiety spikes at a friend’s barbecue, she lands in Buck’s arms. After their one-night stand, Melinda makes a desperate call to Buck for help when her lab is attacked by Russian terrorists intent on kidnapping her and stealing her drug research. He blasts in guns-a-blazing, but under his watch, the relentless Russians manage to kidnap both of them, holding them hostage on board a container ship steaming toward the motherland. Now Buck must protect Melinda, her research, and his heart as he embarks on the mission of his life.
Melinda was more than embarrassed when her anxiety causes her to faint at Caroline’s party. She didn’t want to attend but her other friend and co-worker Jayla talked her into it. Now instead of going home with her friend she is being escorted by Buck, a SEAL she could definitely fall for.Buck (Grady), is at Coronado for specialized training. His home base is in Virginia. He is not looking for romance or really even a fling. Something about Melinda strikes at the core of him, and he’s not sure what to do about it.
The drug Melinda has been working on for Alzheimer’s accidentally produced another, one that is dangerously mind altering with fatal side effects. The government wants her to perfect it and she has been holding off answering them. She wants to focus on finding a cure for Alzheimer’s not something that was a dangerous mistake.
Unfortunately the Russians found out about the drug and they not only want it, but her too.
This is a favorite scene after the first attempt to capture Melinda.
She pulled a couple of bottles of beer from the fridge and offered him one. “You want some?”“Sure. Thanks.”
Melinda opened her bottle and took a long, cold gulp. For the first time since the Russians invaded Triada, she breathed deeply and let it out, allowing herself to relax some.
“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. I understand. But I’m curious, what was that all about?” Buck asked. “At Triada. Why were they after you?”
The muscles of her neck tightened as the whole thing came back again. She didn’t really want to talk about it, but he’d saved her life, and her colleagues’ lives. He deserved some answers.
“Remember I told you I work with cognitive enhancing drugs? I’ve been researching cures for Alzheimer’s, but not too long ago I created something else, completely by accident. Unfortunately, it has a lot of bad side effects, but when the government got wind of it they wanted it anyway. And they wanted me to continue perfecting it. I guess someone leaked the information and the Russians decided they should have it, too. And me.”
“At least they didn’t get it.”
“Well, they got the drug and the research, but they didn’t get me. Thanks to you.” She leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder and drawing comfort from him.
“Then they missed the most important thing,” he said, kissing her forehead.
“You should get some sleep.”
“I want a shower first,” she said. Her skin itched to clean the horror of the day off. “I still have Brent’s blood on me.”
He nodded. She suddenly wanted the blood off of her. She guzzled the rest of the beer, went to her room to grab some clean clothes, then into the bathroom to start a shower.
As she stripped her clothes off, tears stung her eyes and her throat clogged with grief and anger and confusion. She threw the clothes in a corner and climbed into the shower, setting the water as hot as she could tolerate, and stood under the spray as the tears poured down her already-wet face.
The tears turned to sobs, and when her knees went weak, she collapsed into the tub, wrapped her arms around her bent legs, and rocked and cried while the hot water pounded down on her.
She didn’t register the door opening and only noticed Buck when he pulled the curtain open.
He squatted down to her level. “I heard a thump. I wanted to be sure you were okay.”
She dropped her forehead to her knees. “It’s my fault they’re dead.”
He reached in and turned off the shower before grabbing a towel and held it open for her. “Come on. Stand up.”
She looked up at him. Kindness warmed his eyes, but his jaw set firm like he wouldn’t tolerate any argument from her. She was too tired to care, anyway. It was easier to do as he asked because it didn’t require her to think.
She stood, unashamed of and comfortable in her nakedness, and stepped out of the shower into the towel. He wrapped it and his arms around her, holding her tight.
Leaning into him, she allowed herself to absorb his warmth and solid strength.
“It’s not your fault,” he said.
She looked up at him, gazing into the deep blueness of his eyes. “It is. They were there for my drug. And for me. If not for me, those people would still be alive. And if not for you, more of them would be dead. Oh my God. I haven’t thanked you yet. I’m so sorry.” She’d been so wrapped up in her own feelings about the incident that she hadn’t even thought to thank him for rescuing her.
“You don’t have to. It’s what we do.”
“No. You put your life at risk to come after a woman you’ve known for three days. You didn’t have to do that. So, thank you. I’m so grateful you saved the rest of those people. And me.”
He smiled and caressed her cheek with his knuckles. Her heart lurched at that little expression of kindness and affection. “You’re welcome, darlin’.” He backed away and took her hand. “Now, let’s get you into bed. You need some sleep.”
Madigan, Margaret. Special Forces: Operation Alpha: Bang for the Buck (Kindle Worlds Novella) (SWAK Series Book 1) (Kindle Locations 848-884). Kindle Worlds. Kindle Edition.
This night doesn’t go so well and the rest of this is fraught with danger, fear and unparalleled strength of will.
A nail-biter for sure, with plenty of action and a sizzling relationship, you will definitely want more of.
5 Contented Purrs for Margaret!
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I write romance for Entangled Publishing and Evernight Publishing. I write and indie-publish romance and sci-fi through M&M Publishing.
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