NY Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today Bestselling Author
Renowned chef Elodie Winters’ dream job, private chef to a powerful family in New York, quickly becomes a nightmare when her employer turns out to be the head of a notorious mob family. Now on the run, she thinks she’s finally safe, having landed in the middle of the Arabian Sea, cook on the Asaka Express cargo ship. When the ship is taken by pirates, she can’t believe her bad luck…but it’s about to take a turn for the better.
Scott “Mustang” Webber is pulled from his current mission, along with the rest of his SEAL team, to prevent an act of piracy in the Middle East. They’re all surprised when the first person to radio for help is a woman. He soon senses “Rachel Walters” is hiding something, and offers his help. He’s both shocked and pleased when she actually comes looking for him in Hawaii months later. He’d felt a connection with her on that cargo ship…one he’s looking forward to exploring further.
Keeping Elodie safe in Hawaii turns out to be easy…until it isn’t. Long days in paradise have a way of making one complacent. Now Mustang is working against the clock and the elements themselves, as he faces his greatest mission ever—finding Elodie.
Finding Elodie is the 1st book in the SEAL Team Hawaii Series. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.
When Elodie Winters ran from her situation in New York she never expected to be in the situation she was now. She changed her name to Rachel Walters, became the chief cook on a large cargo ship and the last thing she expected was for it to be boarded by pirates. Sure it was a possibility but it had been many years since such a thing had happened. When the Captain made the announcement she headed to the galley with her emergency radio. Using the radio she got an answer from the USS Paul Hamilton.
Admiral Light answers her and the SEAL team from Hawaii is with him. They were already in the gulf when the distress call went out but they had no information other than they were being boarded and needed immediate assistance. Hearing from ‘Rachel’ was their first break. She gave them the little information she knew and the channel to the bridge that had been opened.
Mustang ‘Scott’ and his team Midas, Aleck, Pid, Jag, and Slate would be the first to board the ship. After securing the bridge they head floor by floor, until they find one of the pirates and ‘Rachel’.
This is a favorite scene.
When a radio suddenly crackled and one of his fellow pirates began speaking, Elodie nearly leaped out of her skin. She jolted badly and almost dropped the knife she was holding, which would’ve been a disaster.
The man on the other end of the radio sounded agitated, and Elodie wished she knew what he was saying. The man next door swore…at least, that’s what she thought he was doing.
Then he yelled, “If anyone is here, you come out now. I won’t kill!”
Elodie didn’t dare move a muscle.
“If you hide, you die!”
She still didn’t move. Elodie wondered briefly who the man suspected was down here before he suddenly shot off a volley of rounds from his rifle. She jerked and gasped. Luckily, the sound of the shots was slightly muted, since the pirate was shooting in the pantry behind a closed door.
“That was warning!” the man yelled again.
Nothing about him shooting his weapon made her want to come out of hiding.
Then he muttered something under his breath before speaking on his radio once more.
He was still speaking when the door to the officers’ mess opened.
If Elodie hadn’t turned her head at the exact right moment, she wouldn’t have seen the two sets of legs entering the room. A sliver of illumination from the pirate’s flashlight, flickering through the pantry window, momentarily highlighted the figures. The door shut without a sound, and she almost threw up with fear when she lost sight of the men.
Were these more pirates? If so, why weren’t they calling out to their friend? She was confused, but didn’t dare make a move, much less breathe. She couldn’t see what was happening, but she could faintly hear the fabric of their pants as the two figures walked past the table, and her hiding spot.
The pirate in the galley seemed to be arguing with someone on the radio now. He sounded upset and pissed off. Then he stopped talking—and the sound of something large being thrown against the wall made Elodie jump in surprise yet again.
Apparently, while the pirate was throwing his temper tantrum, whoever had entered the officers’ mess had opened the door to the pantry. The sound of gunshots made a small whimper escape her lips. The shots were much louder, since the weapon was fired in the same room where she was hiding. Now she could hear little but the ringing in her ears. Elodie strained to hear what was going on, and for several seconds heard nothing but her own heart racing.
“Tango down in the galley.”
With the ringing and her heartbeat, Elodie wasn’t sure she was hearing correctly.
That sounded like English. Non-accented English. And she was pretty sure her fellow Asaka Express employees wouldn’t use a word like “tango” to describe the pirates. She also didn’t think they’d be slinking around like these two men were.
She’d waited what seemed like forever for Scott and his team to arrive—and it sounded like they finally had.
It had been a couple hours since she’d been in contact with Scott, which she understood. He was busy planning a way to get onboard, and he couldn’t exactly take the time to reassure her every other minute. But each time he’d reached out, it had made her feel so much better. Less alone.
“We need to find Rachel,” one of the men said. She knew it was Scott because she recognized his voice.
“Maybe we should leave her where she is,” the other man said.
“No. She would’ve heard the shots and is probably freaking out,” Scott argued.
The last thing she wanted to do was get shot, so Elodie knew better than to pop up out of her hiding spot and surprise the men, but she definitely didn’t want to stay where she was either.
“I’m here,” she said softly, hoping she didn’t startle them badly enough that they’d turn around and start shooting.
But she should’ve known they were too professional to do something like that.
Elodie winced at hearing the name from his lips.
She wanted to tell him that wasn’t her name…but she couldn’t. She’d changed her name in the first place because Elodie was too unique. It wouldn’t be hard for Paul to find her if she’d kept it. But the drawback was that she sometimes forgot to respond when someone called her Rachel.
“It’s me,” she said.
“Where are you?” Scott asked.
“Lying on the chairs, under the table.”
She heard more than saw movement on the other side of the table.
“Damn, that’s smart,” the other man said. “You fit perfectly up there, and in this darkness, even if someone looked they probably wouldn’t see you.”
“How are you seeing me then?” Elodie blurted. She hadn’t been blinded with a beam from a flashlight.
“Night-vision goggles,” Scott said.
Elodie jerked because his voice sounded from right next to her.
“Easy. How can I help you get out from under there?” he asked.
“I got it,” she told him, amazed that she hadn’t heard him come over to the side of the table. She kept her voice down as she climbed off the chairs. “I had to improvise. I snuck out of the pantry in the other hall to use the bathroom and when I came out, that guy was in the galley. I literally had nowhere to hide other than under here.”
She crawled out from under the table and stood, using the table as a crutch. Her legs felt shaky from the adrenaline dump.
“Careful with that knife,” Scott told her.
Elodie hadn’t even remembered she was holding the thing. Now, she realized her fingers hurt from grasping it so tightly. She looked up, toward where she’d heard Scott’s voice, and was frustrated when she couldn’t see him. The flashlight the pirate had been holding was lying on the floor in the room next door, but it didn’t give her enough light to see either of the men.
“Are they all dead?” she asked, proud when her voice only shook a little. It was surreal that she was talking about killing people so nonchalantly, but she supposed she could be forgiven, given the circumstances.
“No,” Scott said, dashing her hopes that they could get in touch with the others onboard and have the electricity turned back on.
“This is the first pirate we’ve run across,” the other man said.
“Which one are you?” Elodie blurted. He chuckled. “I’m Midas.”
Just then, the radio the pirate had been using cackled to life, and a man began speaking urgently in whatever language the pirates used.
“Shit,” Scott muttered.
Elodie felt a rush of air as he moved away from her.
“I don’t suppose you’re a language savant and can understand what they’re saying, are you?” Midas asked. She’d already told him and the other guys on the team that she couldn’t understand the pirates, but she appreciated that he was trying to lighten the mood. “Sorry, no,” she told him. “But right before you got here, he was talking to his friends and none of them sounded happy. He threw something big and it broke.”
“Yeah, I think it was a jar of spaghetti sauce,” Midas said, seemingly unconcerned.
She heard more sounds in the other room, but didn’t dare move from her spot next to the table. Then Scott was back. She wasn’t sure how she knew he was there, but she did.
Then he spoke, confirming his location. “Okay, we have to continue clearing the ship. You need to go up to the bridge—”
Elodie didn’t let him continue. “No!” she said frantically.
“Yes,” he countered.
“I’m staying with you,” she insisted.
“We’ve cleared the floors above this one. It’s safe for you to go back up to the bridge. Two other members of my team are up there, they’ll keep you safe.”
Elodie was shaking her head. She knew she was being completely irrational, but the thought of being alone even for the short trip to the bridge was terrifying. “You don’t know where the other pirates are. You said yourself that you’re clearing the ship. And I think they somehow know, if that conversation I overheard was any indication.”
The radio Scott had taken off the dead pirate came to life again. “Djama?” A few more words were said after that. It was obvious his friends were trying to get in contact with him. “They’re going to come looking for him,” Elodie said. “And if I go up to the bridge, I could run into them. And you don’t have time to escort me up there. They could be hurting or killing my friends. And if they find me, they’re not going to hesitate to kill me either. The safest place on this ship at the moment is with you guys, so that’s where I want to stay.”
Stoker, Susan. Finding Elodie (SEAL Team Hawaii Book 1) (Kindle Locations. 633-701). Stoker Aces Production, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Mustang felt an instant connection to ‘Rachel’ even though he’s sure that’s not her real name. So much so that before they leave the ship he gives her his phone number. Telling her to come to Hawaii and call him if she needs anything. Unfortunately she loses that number. But she does go to Honolulu in the hopes of finding him.
That they run into each other at all is quite the twist and as this tale continues the romance, fun, and the intrigue will keep you turning the pages.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!
5 Contented Purrs for Susan!
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New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.