What happens when the very men—trained to make the hard decisions—come up against the rules and regulations that hold them back from doing what needs to be done? They either stay and work within the constraints given to them or they walk away. Only now, for a select few, they have another option:
A covert black ops team that steps up
and breaks all the rules …
but gets the job done.
Welcome to a new military romance series by USA Today best-selling author Dale Mayer. A series where you meet new friends and just might get to meet old ones too in this raw and compelling look at the men who keep us safe every day from the darkness where they operate—and live—in the shadows … until someone special helps them step into the light.
USA Today Bestselling Author
After his last assignment, Ryker is ready for a rest.
And he gets it—but only a few hours …
That’s even too long for a geologist kidnapped by guerrillas in the Columbian jungle. Ryker has plenty of experience in jungles around the world but, keeping Manila safe—along with the two men she’s traveling with and their injured guide—exposes them for who they are. It quickly becomes apparent, under these most gruelling conditions, which of her party steps up and which plan to step out.
Manila’s life has become one of never-ending misery at the hands of her captors as they await word from their bosses, who decide her ultimate fate. That she’s hunting platinum doesn’t matter to them. Nor that she’s fighting against the invasive illegal gold mining taking over parts of the area. When Ryker rescues her from her prison tent, she places her trust in his ability to get her and her team safely away. Not yet realizing she’d be gifting him both her body and her heart too.
Ryker needs to keep them all alive and together long enough to get them out of this hellhole—hopefully alive …
After working with Asher, Riker is next for his own assignment. I really feel sorry for these guys, it seems that call comes before they have a change to recover from their last mission.
Riker had just arrived at his brother’s when his call came, he has one night and he was leaving for the wilds of Columbia. On the Navy cruiser he was traveling on he was approached by Miles, a friend and now it seems his partner on this mission.
Manila was the team lead on this excursion to find possible platinum ore. She has a couple of promising stones, but she’d like more. Unfortunately as she was getting ready to unload her finds she and her team are captured by guerillas.
So far they’ve been left alone, although with very little food or water. With her is a grad student, Andy, who seems to be holding up well, and a colleague Benjamin who seems a bit pessimistic. She has no idea what became of their guides, but that’s the least of their worries. Manila has faith that the company she works for will send someone in to get them, and prays that it’s sooner rather than later.
Riker and Miles find them without too much difficulty and manage to get them out the back of their tent. Now they needed to put distance between them and the camp.
This is a favorite scene.
Ryker didn’t know how far they had traipsed, but they were leaving a trail a mile wide. Couldn’t be helped when there were five of them, and three didn’t know how to slide secretly through the jungle. He took some time every once in a while to clean up as they went. It wouldn’t fool any real tracker, but maybe it could fool these kids.
Ryker kept on going until he noticed the woman stayed with him. He studied her closely in the half-light. She wasn’t panicked nor appeared to be anxious in any way. “Why aren’t you with the others?”
“Because you’re slowing down, trying to hide our path,” she said. “And I won’t leave you alone.” She almost sighed when she said the last part, and he rolled his eyes at her. “So hurry.” She glared at him, but she turned and immediately moved faster.
He raced up behind her, grabbed her hand to keep her with him as they ran and whispered, “We have to catch up.”
She nodded and started running. Of course, it sounded like a herd of elephants going through the brush, and that would immediately cause them more problems. He bent down and scooped her into his arms.
She gasped in outrage.
“I have to do it this way to keep you quiet.” He glared at her.
With a sniff, she subsided. “How is it you can run so quietly?”
“Practice,” he said. Between her and her backpack and his own bags, he knew he could manage a couple miles but not too much more. But the more miles they put between them and the gang of teenage guerrillas behind them, the better. If they were ever caught again, the guerrillas would not be so easy on any of them.
He kept running until they could see the others up ahead. At the sound of his footsteps, Miles immediately moved the others off the path. Ryker smiled at that and let out an odd whistle. It sounded like an owl, a cry of a bird of prey. Immediately Miles responded with an answering cry.
Ryker slowed when he caught up with them and lowered her to the ground. One of the other men, the tall young kid, stepped forward and asked her, “Are you okay?”
She wrinkled her face up at him. “I’m okay,” she said. “But apparently I was making too much noise.”
The kid looked at her in surprise and looked up at the man behind her. “Thank you for the rescue,” he said, his voice heartfelt. “I’m Andy.” He pointed at the other man and said, “He’s Benjamin, and Manila is our geologist.”
Ryker nodded. “I’m Ryker. He’s Miles. Let’s go.” And that was all he would say, but he moved them rapidly, his hands pushing and shoving to give them an idea of just how fast they had to move. And, with Miles leading, they headed off again. As soon as she made more noise, she winced and looked at him, and he nodded. “One more like that,” he said, “and you’ll get carried.”
She glared at him, and he grinned.
But he knew his teeth were flashing white in all this jungle darkness, and that would get a bullet between his jaws if he didn’t watch it.
It didn’t take long to come across more guerrillas. These were an older bunch, fully armed and more experienced. Ryker could imagine what they had gone through to live to be this old in their line of work. Miles and Ryker tapped out their strategy; then Miles took Manila’s two team members first, detouring deeper into the brush. Waiting a good thirty minutes, then Ryker carried Manila to meet up with the others. Another couple hours later, they heard more voices.
Following us? Ryker tapped out to Miles.
It took a minute or so before Miles responded. Can’t see them. Heard two on patrol. So I think not.
Finally, after four hours total on the run since being rescued, Manila stumbled to a stop, gasping. Her two team members were almost done too. Ryker looked at Miles and nodded. “We need a place for them to rest.”
“I think I hear water,” Miles said.
“And that brings its own dangers,” Ryker warned.
Miles nodded. “We need to go up farther toward a pool off the river.”
“Just make sure you pick one that’s not jaguar-infested,” Ryker said.
So the two softly wrangled back and forth.
Ryker quickly picked out a stand of trees, and, boosting Manila to the lower of the branches, he came up behind her. When they got up about another ten feet, he removed several other branches too, hacking at them with a machete, and made a crossways platform that would hide them from people below. There he pointed out a very large branch and said, “You can rest up there.”
Nodding obediently, she sank against the trunk and, with her eyes closed, took several deep breaths.
“If you think you can sleep here, I have ropes to tie you to the limb, if you want that added security.
”She nodded. “Maybe later.”
Ryker pulled water from his backpack and handed it to her. She looked at it in surprise and then drank greedily. Then she stopped suddenly and looked at him with a guilty expression.
He shook his head. “Yes, you shouldn’t drink too much at a time, but drink up whatever’s left,” he said. “We’ll refill it as soon as we get fresh water.”
She nodded and quickly emptied the bottle. When she handed it back to him, he slung both his backpacks up on a higher branch and pulled out a canteen and another bottle.
“I’ll be back,” Ryker told her. “Don’t move, and don’t make a sound.”
Dale Mayer. Ryker (Kindle Locations 413-457). Valley Publishing Ltd..
Manila stays close to Ryker throughout this dangerous trek. A the hours turn to days, Benjamin becomes more and more irritated with everything. He takes whining to an artform and places all the blame on Manila.
A wounded guide, slows them down as they do their best to get him help. They need to know what happened and what they find starts them investigating closer to the group they rescued.
In all of this Ryker finds himself a little more than attracted to Manila. She has courage and fortitude not seen in many who have been held captive.
Once again Dale Mayer has delivered a page-turning, action-packed tale that has romance in the form of banter and just the right amount of sizzle.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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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. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.