HOT VALOR by Lynn Raye Harris
Published: July 18, 2017
Military Romantic Suspense
A new standalone romance from New York Times Bestselling Author Lynn Raye Harris. Sexy, action-packed, and thrilling!
Colonel John “Viper” Mendez searches for a ghost from his past… and when he finds her, nothing will be the same!
Google Play: Coming Soon!
There were days that changed your life forever, though at first they felt perfectly ordinary. You got up, you got dressed, you prepared to go to work and Charlie Mike the hell out of the day. Continuing the mission was what Colonel John “Viper” Mendez lived for. Every day he sent teams around the world to save pieces of it, and every night he went to bed knowing that tomorrow would be more of the same.
He lived for the mission. He played sometimes, but not often, and when it was over he went back to work. He’d been doing it for so long that it was normal and expected. If he got up tomorrow and didn’t have a mission, he’d probably go out of his mind.
But today… Today there was still a mission.
Mendez—he’d long ago stopped thinking of himself by any name but that one—watched the news while he got dressed and fielded the usual calls about operations and statuses. His aide pulled up to the curb at precisely five-thirty a.m., and Mendez prepared to walk out the door.
His phone rang again and he lifted it to his ear with a clipped “Mendez.”
“Good morning, colonel,” a cheerful voice said.
Mendez stopped. “Black? What’s up?” Because Ian Black never called unless there was something important going on. Something that Mendez would want to hear.
“I’m saving your ass today, colonel.”
Lieutenant Connor waited patiently in the car as Mendez stared out the window. “What does that mean?”
“It means I’ve got news you need to hear. Today, around nine a.m., the military police will arrive at HOT HQ. They’ll be accompanied by a general officer who’s there to relieve you of command. They’ll probably arrest you, by the way.”
A boulder formed in his gut. It wasn’t fear. It was fury. “Why? And where did you hear this?”
“Why? Because Vice President DeWitt has finally convinced the president that you’re dangerous and need to be stopped.”
That little motherfucker. He’d been after HOT for the last couple of years. Being President Campbell’s running mate in a successful election had elevated him to a position he’d only dreamed about—and given him the power to do things he hadn’t had as a junior congressman.
“I’m not worried. The president’s daughter is married to one of my operators. Campbell won’t let HOT be defanged, and I can handle an inquiry.”
“This isn’t an inquiry, John. It’s a witch hunt. And I can’t tell you where I heard it, but trust me, it’s real. The president is caving in to pressure, whether he wants to or not.”
Ian had never called him by his first name in all the time they’d known each other. Black was a mystery, a disavowed CIA agent who wasn’t disavowed at all in Mendez’s opinion. He was deep undercover, so deep that Mendez couldn’t figure out who his handler was in the CIA. He’d questioned Samantha Spencer, the on again off again agent he had sex with, but she claimed not to know anything. Still, Mendez hadn’t forgotten how her fingers trembled that first time he’d asked.
“I still gotta go to work. Not showing up is an admission of wrongdoing, don’t you think?”
“No. I think it’s smart. Run while you can. Far better to work on exposing the truth than to be locked up and at their mercy.”
Jesus H. Christ. What a clusterfuck. Maybe he should run, but it wasn’t the way he was wired. Besides, he wasn’t helpless. A general and a few MPs weren’t enough to stop him if he really wanted to get away. He’d been in black ops far too many years to be helpless.
“You do things your way and I’ll do them mine.”
Ian Black sighed. “Your funeral,” he said. “But I think you should know something else.”
Mendez’s patience hung on by a thread. “What?”
“Katya wants you to run.”
“Who the fuck is Katya?”
“Ekaterina. She says you knew her sister. She said you’ll recognize her name.”
Everything inside him went still. It couldn’t be the name that sprang immediately to mind. He’d searched in the year since Dmitri Leonov had told him she wasn’t dead, but he’d found nothing. A sister? He didn’t remember Valentina talking about a sister. Must be someone else, yet still he hoped. “What name?”
Ice coated his veins, stilled his blood. Someone was fucking with him. Baiting him. Hoping he’d do something rash. Hell, it could even be Leonov. Who, true to his word, had gotten sprung from an American prison within months of being captured. It could also be Sergei Turov, who against all odds had survived the bullet Dex “Double Dee” Davidson put in him last year. He’d even learned to walk again. Now that man had an axe to grind for sure.
But rash was not how Mendez operated. Ever. He wasn’t called Viper because he reacted too quickly. No, he was Viper because his strike was silent and deadly.
“That name means nothing to me,” he said.
“Doesn’t it? Valentina Alexandrovna Rostov. Katya says you have a locket that belonged to her sister. Bring it to the Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. Tomorrow morning, ten-thirty sharp. Ball’s in your court.”
The line went dead.
EXCERPT TWO (RACY WITH LANGUAGE):
Katya had dropped her backpack and fished out guns and ammunition. She was currently checking her weapons. She looked up at him, one delicate eyebrow arching. Her beauty was a grenade to his brain. A lightning rod to his cock. He wanted to fuck her and it pissed him off. He’d been with her less than eight hours and he wanted to strip her naked and make her scream his name.
He hadn’t had sex in months now, not since he’d broken it off with Sam. He wasn’t the kind of man who could walk into a bar and pick up a woman for a night of casual sex. At his rank, and with his job, it wasn’t wise. Foreign governments sent spies for just such occasions. Seduce the commanders, get information. Happened all the time, even though it seemed like a plot out of a bad spy movie. He’d seen it more than once. Idiots who should know better had their heads turned by free pussy—and lost their careers over it.
Therefore, he did not fuck around lightly. Even when the sexual drought took its toll and he was so sick to death of his hand he couldn’t even work up the enthusiasm to jerk himself off.
“Where did you find this place?” Katya asked.
He dragged his brain back from the brink of a full-blown waking fantasy. He’d been about to undress her and see if she tasted as hot as she looked. See if she had a fucking scar on her left thigh. He still wasn’t convinced that she didn’t.
Safer for her if she didn’t. Safer for him, too. Because he’d go fucking ballistic if she had that scar. If she was Valentina instead of an identical twin. He couldn’t even imagine what kind of person she’d have to be to lie for twenty-one years. To let him think she was dead and buried.
“We’re safe here, don’t worry,” he said roughly.
“That’s what I thought at the other place. Turns out it wasn’t true.”
“We won’t be here long.”
She shot him a questioning look. “Really? Where are we going?”
“You’ll know when we get there.”
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