Counterstrike Book 4
She’s a magnet for trouble…
After they saved her from a violent marriage years before, Bea Stanz made a vow to fix her own problems and not rely so much on her brother and his fellow operatives at Counterstrike. Her newfound independence has been far from easy, but Bea 2.0 is determined to handle whatever comes her way. When a simple errand exposes a dangerous international kidnapping ring, she turns to the one man who’s taken her protection as a personal mission.
He swore to keep her safe…
Joe “Hazard” Santos left military service and joined Counterstrike after they rescued his sister. Protecting innocent women and children is his new mission, one he won’t fail. The beautiful, impulsive, and passionate little sister of a fellow operative is a task—one who blew into his life like a hurricane. He’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if she doesn’t want his help.
They will need every resource at their disposal to face this threat, but will all of Counterstrike and a Delta team be enough to succeed?
Bea has been working hard to stand on her own, she’s almost finished her courses to become a paralegal and has a great job. When she’s asked to bring some files to one of her bosses Evaline Cumberland she doesn’t hesitate. What she finds at the gated community disturbs her greatly. Evaline’s reaction to her even more so. The secret pass of of something tells her something was very wrong. Leaving the area the only person she thinks to call is Joe ‘Hazard’ Santos. Hazard has always been there for her and her son Ryan.
Hazard and a Delta force team are testing possible hires for Counterstrike. They need a specific level of expertise to handle dicey situations. They are quickly finding that many can’t make the cut. Bea’s call comes at a time when they are ready to stop for the day. When she arrives they settle in to eat and take a look at what she has.
The results of the data on the USB using HERA has flagged the Arsenal, who is shorthanded at the moment, and Tex is brought in to assist. After gathering as much intel as they can about the situation, Hazard and Bea head home. Well his home, as they’ve decided Bea could be in danger.
This is a favorite scene.
Home turned out to be his house, not hers. They’d swung by her place long enough for her to pack up a few days’ clothes and toiletries. Exhaustion had kept her from arguing too fiercely. And in all honesty, she wanted to see Hazard’s home.
While a part of her expected an apartment rather than a house, she wasn’t surprised when he pulled into the driveway of a small brick home a few blocks from where she lived. “No wonder you always show up so quick when I call.”
Amusement glimmered in his gaze, along with something deeper she didn’t want to think about. “My secret’s out. I don’t fly at the speed of light.”
Bea chuckled. “It’s beautiful.”
“It’s a work in progress. The guys helped me re-floor and paint the place. The kitchen and bathrooms have been redone, but the yard is a mess and I want to redo the bedrooms.” Hazard opened the door and stepped in to deactivate the alarm. “Come in, make yourself at home.”
The pale gray walls offset the dark flooring perfectly. While the colors weren’t standard, they suited Hazard’s taste. Unique and mysterious. Different but spectacular. Dark leather furniture filled the living room.
“Marisol thinks I have something against color,” Hazard said.
“She might be right,” Bea mumbled. Splashes of bold color would go nicely with what he’d done so far. Dark red or maybe blue curtains. Green? Hmm… “You don’t strike me as the type to spend hours looking for the perfect curtains or throw pillows.”
“Throw pillows are useless.”
Hmm… she could think of very interesting ways to use throw pillows where Joseph “Hazard” Santos was concerned, but she didn’t comment. She could count on one hand the times she’d ever been alone with him the past few weeks.
And, yet, here they were alone in his home. His lair. Anticipation flared at the thought. She licked her lips as she wandered into the immaculate kitchen. Stainless steel appliances gleamed beneath the soft lighting overhead, a newer reset model she recognized because she’d hoped to one day install it in her house.
She ran her hand along the light gray marble island. “I love it. The softer hues will coordinate well with anything someone adds. You’d be good at flipping homes, you know.”
“That’s what Field said. He and Patch have flipped a couple places,” Hazard said. “This three-bedroom is a good starter.”
“Do you think you’ll need something bigger?” Bea swallowed. Her pulse quickened when he closed the distance. He braced a hand on the island behind her and leaned forward. “You know, when you settle down and have kids.”
He’d be a great dad. Heck, he was already a great one to Ryan even though he hadn’t ever asked for that. It’d just happened because her boy sucked up every ounce of love and attention he was offered.
“Yeah.” Hazard’s voice turned husky. “The backyard is too small and there’s only one bedroom for kids if the other is an office. I’d want a large, open common area for them to play in together. And my wife would need a bigger master bedroom.”
He caressed her cheek. Her skin tingled from the contact. “You’ve thought a lot about it.”
“I have,” he whispered. “Have you?”
“Yeah. I had Ryan when I was young. I want him to have a little brother, maybe a sister or two. It was just John and I growing up, but I had cousins and always pictured myself having a big family.” Bea wasn’t sure what to do with her hands. She wanted to run them along his muscular chest and enjoy the ripple of hidden contours beneath her touch.
“He’s a great kid.”
“It’s been a community effort.”
“You’re a great mom.” He stroked down her neck. “You know that. Right?”
“Most days I do. Some are more of a challenge,” she admitted. “You’ve been a huge influence on him. I think he might like you more than Ethan and Milo.”
“We’ll keep that a secret.” His voice lowered. The husky tone cast awareness through her. “Hearing that just made my day.”
Intensity registered on his face as he leaned closer and cupped her neck. She grasped his waist and pulled him forward. “I never know where I stand with you, Hazard.”
“Joe. When we’re alone, I’m Joe. I love hearing you say my name.”
“I’ll try. You’ve always been more than what you do to me, but I don’t want to risk you by using the wrong name at the wrong time. Hazard is safer, but you’ve always been Joe to me.”
He feathered his lips across hers, a tentative glide that she felt clear to her toes.
A moan escaped her as she deepened the contact. He took control of the kiss, nipping at her lips and exploring her mouth as though they had all the time in the world. She wrapped her arms around him, relishing the way her body molded against his perfectly.
He severed contact with a groan. “I love the way you taste. I’ve been wanting to do that for a long time.”
“Why didn’t you?”
“Twitch will put my head on a pike if I screw this up.” “This isn’t his business. Nor is it Ethan’s or Milo’s or anyone else’s.” Bea licked her lips. “I’m scared, though. I don’t want to lose you. You’re too important to Ryan.” And me.
“You think I’d scrape you off if we didn’t work out.”
Bea shrugged. “It’s a strong possibility. Relationships are hard work and I’ve never done well with them, as you know. I’ve made a lot of bad choices. I can’t afford to make any more.”
“I’m not a bad choice, Bea,” he whispered. “But I think you know that and that’s what has you scared.”
He was right, but she wasn’t ready to voice the truth. She had to be smart about whatever happened between them. The inevitability of him and her had loomed on the horizon for a while now. “I keep thinking there’ll be a perfect time to take that leap and admit I want something more.”
“Is that what you want?” Hazard kissed her jawline. “More?”
“Yes,” she whispered. So much for not voicing the truth.
“Me, too.” He kissed behind her ear. “We’ll go slow and do this the right way because you and Ryan are the most important people in my world, and I won’t do anything to risk losing you.”
God. She loved hearing those words. She’d never felt so…
Cara Carnes. Loving Bea (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): Counterstrike, Book 4 (Kindle Locations 641-692). Aces Press, LLC.
The attraction between these two is off the charts steamy and as this story unfolds that only gets more intense.
With most of Counterstrike involved, the Delta team and Tex this investigation swiftly moves forward. Ethan and Milos are involved as well as Victoria as they identify the key players. Now they have to get everyone involved safe and get rid of the bad guys.
I love the way Cara weaves these stories, they are intense, suspenseful and action-packed as the level of heat between Bea and Hazard escalates.
I really hope Cara continues to contribute to this series, I love seeing Susan’s teams along with the Arsenal’s crew in these Counterstrike tales.
5 Contented Purrs for Cara!
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Born in small-town Texas, Cara Carnes was a princess, a pirate, fashion model, actress, rock star and Jon Bon Jovi’s wife all before the age of 13. In reality, her fascination for enthralling worlds took seed somewhere amidst a somewhat dull day job and a wonderful life filled with family and friends. When she’s not cemented to her chair, Cara loves traveling, photography and reading.