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Hell Bent

By Nancy Washington,2014-11-04 17:38
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Mindy is being stalked by someone with a vendetta against one of her older brothers and promises to kidnap her to 'make him pay'. After discovering that he is a military man, she's convinced that things like this are the reason she is hell bent against marrying military, even if it is five generations strong in her family.But the military policeman assigned to her case is smoking hot and hard to ignore. Shane Newhope promises to keep her safe, is it so bad that he sends tingles down her spine in the process?Only if you've told your brothers that you want nothing to do with the military, and they're convinced that a military man is just what you need. Published by Carnal Passions on 2010/04/07

Carnal Passions Presents

    Hell Bent

    By

    Arlene Knowell

    &

    Judith Noelle

    This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of theauthor’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events orpersons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.

    No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronicor mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrievalsystem, without permission in writing from the publisher.

    Carnal Passions

    A Division of Champagne Books

    www.carnalpassions.com

    Copyright ? 2010 by Arlene Knowell & Judith Noelle

    ISBN 978-1-926681-82-5

    April 2010

    Cover Art? Amanda Kelsey

    Produced in Canada

    Dedication

    In loving memory of the greatest Marine I ever knew, this is for you Chris. Special thanks tomy many other Marine friends for their service: Mike, Russ, Bert, Mitch, Nick and Richard. Tothe special group who are now serving in Iraq, thank you is just not enough: Jason, Russell,Brad, Joal, Takashi, Jason, Brian, Mel, Ricky, Christian and Brian. May God bless and keep youall, because our country is nothing without the warriors.

    ~Arlene

    I would like to say thank you to those who have read and critiqued my work; Amy, Lindy andTonya. My writing is dedicated to my children and in memory of my mother, Judy.

    ~Judith

    One

    Mindy took a deep breath and started her car. It seemed that getting to and from work was likea tense scene from a thriller movie. Pierre, her work assistant, rounded a corner ahead of herand she followed. Parking garages were spooky enough without the threat of a looming stalker. Agrey SUV backed out ahead of her but she thought little of it. When the SUV didn’t move,however, her heart stuttered into a faster pace. She scrambled to open the center console.After a tense moment of panic, her hand wrapped around the familiar grip of a gun. Her fatherhad taught her to shoot even before she knew how to ride a bicycle, and if it meant thedifference between life and death, she wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger. She blew her horn.Nothing. The pounding in her ears matched her heartbeat as pure adrenalin surged through herveins. She jammed her car into reverse and backed quickly up the lane behind her. If shecouldn’t get out through the exit, then she’d damn well take the entrance. She wasn’t aboutto sit there and wait for someone to take her.

    Her mind flitted back to when she had realized that the eerie feeling of being watched turnedout to be true. She couldn’t understand why she, of all women, would have a stalker. She’donly moved to San Diego six or so years ago and she had very few friends. She had even fewer

enemies, or at least she’d thought so.

    She backed into an empty space, turned the car around then sped toward the entrance as if herlife depended on it, and it may have. Her heart sank when the SUV pulled into the lane andblocked her.

    “Oh, God,” she sighed as her tires squealed to a stop.

    She crammed the car into reverse and disappeared out of sight of the SUV once again. How longwould she have to play this cat and mouse game? Would it come down to taking a human life? Shewasn’t willing to be a victim.

    She brought her Firebird to a stop and picked up her phone. She punched in Pat’s number. Hewas closest to her location and she needed a big brother like never before. Of course, it wouldmean certain death for the person in the SUV if Pat actually caught him in the act of harassingher. Her brothers, Pat and Pete, were her self proclaimed keepers since childhood. When theirfather had attempted to make her self sufficient, the twins could see that little girls werejust different than boys. They knew that even if their father said otherwise, she, six yearstheir junior, would always have two big brothers to turn to. Their protectiveness had onlygrown more intense when she’d moved in with them a few years ago.

    “Hey, li’l sister.” Pat’s smooth tone flowed through the phone.

    “Pat, I need help.” Her voice wasn’t as fearful as it was desperate.

    She searched the dim garage as mounting fear wracked her mind with wavering apparitions andshadows that disappeared into the dark distant corners. She wasn’t the kind of girl who wentscreaming into the night at the first sign of trouble. She fought to keep calm. In her family,she’d learned that panic was most often the killer in a dangerous situation.

    “What’s wrong?”

    now,” she ordered. “A grey SUV has“I’m trying to leave work. I need you to get here

    blocked me at the exit of the garage. I went around to the entrance but it had already movedand blocked me there, too.”

    “I’m on my way,” he said as the sound of boots on pavement filled the phone. “Stay on thephone with me. Don’t get out of the car and if he gets near you blow his ass off.”

    She worked her way back to the exit and wasn’t shocked to find the SUV waiting there. Anyother time there would have been twenty people wanting to leave the parking

    garage, but just like in the movies, this time she was alone.

    Logic told her this game could be never ending, but with a little quick thinking she might justmake it out in one piece and save her stalker’s life in the process. Pat wouldn’t be anunderstanding brother if he got within arm’s length of the person in the SUV. Little did theman know that his life depended on her escape as much as her own. She took a deep breath andsquinted in thought; odds were good the stalker had returned to the exit to block her again.She glanced at the gun in her lap, took a deep calming breath and turned the car around.

    “Do you recognize the truck?” Pat asked as he ran across the Marine Corp Base parking lot, afew miles away. His sudden voice coming out of her cell phone startled her.

    “No,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before.”

    “I’m leaving now,” Pat informed her as the sound of an engine roaring to life filled hercar.

    She remembered the anger on her brothers’ faces when a man had called their home andchallenged them to try and keep him from kidnapping her. Pat had just walked in from a week ofmaneuvers and Pete had returned the day before from another Hell Week.

Hello,” Pete had answered.

    “Is this Mindy’s brother?” a male voice asked.

    Pete allowed his eyes to find Mindy sitting on the couch. “Yes, it is, this is Pete. Do youneed to speak with her?”

    “No. I called to talk to you.”

    Pete furrowed his brow. “Me?”

    Mindy quirked her eyebrows, put down the magazine she was glancing through and twisted on thecouch to watch him.

    The person laughed. “You would want to know that I plan to kidnap your sister, wouldn’tyou?”

    “Who the hell is this?”

    Mindy tilted her head in confusion as Pete glared at the phone. “Who is it?” she mouthed.

    Pete shrugged and shook his head, the ferocity never leaving his eyes.

    “It doesn’t matter who I am,” the voice rasped. “Can you keep me from taking her?”

    “I don’t know who you are,” Pete growled, “but you’re talking crazy stuff that’ll get youkilled.”

    Pat walked from the kitchen with a banana in hand and looked first to Pete then Mindy. “Who ishe talking to?”

    She shrugged, pulled her feet onto the sofa and turned her full attention toward Pete. “Idon’t know.”

    “Try me,” the man challenged. “If you think you’re such a bad-ass, come and get me.”

    “You stay away from my sister,” Pete warned, seconds before the line went dead. He turned tohis siblings. Mindy twisted at the corner of a throw pillow and stood up, a thread of anxietycreeping down her spine.

    “What the heck was that about?” Pat asked. He used the banana to point to the phone Peteheld.

    “Some guy just threatened to kidnap Mindy,” Pete explained, meeting Pat’s eyes in some sortof twin-like exchange of thoughts.

    “Kidnap me?” Mindy’s voice shot up an octave. “You think he was serious?”

    “Don’t worry,” Pete said, his voice softening. “Surely he’s not that stupid.”

    Her hands shook and fear traveled through her veins like a cold drink through a straw. “Whywould anyone want to kidnap me?”

    Pat cut his eyes toward her, peeling the banana and taking a gigantic bite. “Sounds like youmight have broken one too many hearts.”

    She scowled at him. Threats of kidnapping had to be taken seriously. Kidnappings rarely had ahappy ending, and the last thing she wanted was to end up dead, especially if she didn’t knowwhy. “As if.”

    “He didn’t say why.” Pete checked the screen on the phone. “Private caller. He just saidthat if I thought I was such a bad-ass to come and get him.”

    “Mindy?” Pat called. “Mindy!”

She gasped as her mind returned from the memories. “I’m here.”

    “Be careful, and watch what’s going on around you,” Pat advised. “You’ve got to be at thetop of your game. Don’t let yourself get distracted, keep your mind on what you’re doing. Hecould be waiting for an opportunity to walk right

    up to you.”

    Her brothers always spoke of the power of distraction and confusion that could be thedifference between winning the battle and licking your wounds. It was strange how the feelingof being trapped made people do strange things. They would spend so much time, effort andthought trying to escape that they would overlook their obvious weaknesses. The problem wasthat Mindy wasn’t on the battlefield, and something told her that if she slacked for even amoment she’d become someone’s personal play thing.

    She pressed the speaker option on her phone and threw it into the passenger’s seat. “Iwouldn’t advise anyone to walk up to me right now.”

    “I’ll be there in about two more minutes,” he said. “Just hang tough.”

    Her nerves were so alert that her skin seemed to crawl. She felt like one of those stupid womenin horror movies who would walk weaponless into a basement to investigate a noise, when sheshould’ve known damn well the killer was there waiting. She’d always said she wasn’t thatway, yet here she was trapped in a parking garage as the sun faded more with each passingminute. She drove toward the exit ramp. The SUV wasn’t there. She zoomed down the lane far toofast but her life probably depended on getting out of there. The sound of her front spoiler andbumper giving way when she made contact with the street echoed over the phone in a loud crash.

    “Mindy?” Pat’s voice filled with alarm.

    “I’m okay.” She glanced back to the empty roadway behind her. “But I think I need a newbumper.”

    The relief was evident in his laugh. He wouldn’t have to call his parents and tell them thathe, a highly skilled Marine, had allowed someone to snatch his sister. Someone actually makingan attempt to take her had also brought the game to a whole new level. It was a level shewasn’t sure the stalker would want to play. When it came to their little sister, the twinswould kick ass and ask questions later.

    Mindy stomped the accelerator, leaving the SUV that rounded the corner to deal with the soundof her screaming engine and the smell of hot rubber. Ahead she could see Pat’s truckapproaching and he ordered her to call her other brother and make her way to him where shewould be safe. Pat was no doubt going to look for the mysterious SUV, and with any luck, he’dfind it.

    As much as her two brute brothers got on her nerves, they were dependable. She could count onthem. Of course, they were always bringing guys by the apartment in hopes she’d fall in lovewith a military man. They’d invited her to move to California with them because they knew ifshe kept dating civilians, she would eventually find one she liked well enough to marry. And tothem, that was unacceptable.

    She sighed, then dialed Pete’s phone and explained what happened in the parking garage, andasked him to meet her close by. Leaving her car in a department store parking lot, she climbedinto the truck with Pete after he pulled into the parking spot beside her.

    Pete’s cell phone buzzed and he answered it, pressing the speaker option. “Yeah?”

    “I found our boy,” Pat said. Mindy sucked in a breath and pushed her back straight againstthe leather seat.

“Who is he?”

    “Don’t know that,” Pat said. “But there is a Navy sticker on the truck. I think he knows hefucked up. He’s headed back toward base now.”

    “We’ll be there in about ten minutes.” Pete pressed down on the gas pedal, speeding througha yellow light. “We’ll meet you at the gate.”

    ~ * ~

    Pete stopped the truck at the base gate and Pat climbed inside. Pat wrapped his arm aroundMindy and gave her a squeeze, commending her on keeping a level head while all hell wasbreaking loose. A warm sensation of pride bubbled deep inside her. A compliment from herbrothers, especially for bravery, was the equivalent of getting a silver star and living totell the story.

    Mindy listened to the conversation between the twins as Pete concluded that he knew thestalker. It seemed that although Mindy was the target, she wasn’t the reason for the attemptedkidnapping. Pete, an instructor for the Navy SEAL’s BUDs Training Facility, noticed a weaklink trainee by the name of Sanback. When he was convinced Sanback couldn’t handle thestrenuous job, he’d pushed him harder, knowing he’d make the crawl of shame up the beach andring the bell in defeat. Then he would finally head back to his regular MOS with his tailtucked between his legs. Pete had been right and Sanback quit after two hours of surf torture,but not before standing nose to nose with Pete, his mouth spewing obscenities for causing himto lose his life long dream of becoming a SEAL.

    Mindy could sense the tension in the vehicle. Her brothers’ tempers were hotter than theleather seat beneath her. Once her brothers laid eyes on Sanback, he’d have hell to pay. Shewasn’t proud that she needed her big brothers as bodyguards, but no one else had evervolunteered for the job. Pete pulled along side the gate's guard shack, shoved the transmissioninto park and locked his eyes on the Marine on duty. Mindy turned her attention to the youngMarine, and listened as he discussed the situation with Pete. She sighed with relief when theMarine called for two extra MPs to assist in the search for Sanback.

    They waited, impatient, until an old Hummer came into sight. Pete and Pat stepped from thetruck and stomped toward the MPs. Mindy watched as her brothers explained the situation to themen inside the Humvee. She sighed when one of the MPs motioned her brothers to follow them.

    The twins quickly made their way back to the truck, got inside and closed the doors behindthem. The silence was deafening, but it was obvious they weren’t going to let her in onwhatever they’d learned from the MPs. Logic suggested that they were headed toward Sanback’squarters, but her better judgment wouldn’t allow her to ask. Pete advanced the accelerator andthe truck jumped forward. This scene reminded her of life on base at Ft. Bragg when she was achild. She hadn’t liked the feeling of being on a military base then, and she certainlydidn’t like it now. She wasn’t sure if it was the base itself or the people there that madeher so uncomfortable. Military men were too unpredictable, too cocky and too willing to provethemselves through bloodshed.

    She gripped the edge of the seat with both hands and locked her eyes on Pete’s sidearm layingin the console tray between her feet. She swallowed hard and glanced toward Pete. His eyes werelocked on the roadway ahead, he seemed set on his mission and that mission was to find the manresponsible for blocking her in the garage. She blinked against the cool air that flowed fromthe vent in front of her, and then turned her attention toward Pat. He sat erect in the seat,his right leg bouncing with anxiousness as his left thumb drummed against his thigh. Hisnostrils flared slightly and he reached for the door handle. The truck began to slow and sherealized that the Hummer had come to a stop at a housing unit.

    “Stay here.” Pat ordered, his eyes meeting hers in a kind of warning.

    She nodded and took a deep breath when the twins jumped from the truck like a couple of coldblooded crocodiles looking for dinner. She wasn’t sure if she was ready for this, but therewas no stopping it. She wanted the stalker to disappear from her life, but she hadn’t been solucky. She didn’t like needing a hero; her father hadn’t raised her that way. Self-sufficientsince she was a child, she could do anything she set her mind to, and that included standing upto the bullies on the school playgrounds. At sixteen, a slight 101 pounds, she’d even foughtoff a date one night when he wanted more than a kiss. She’d kept that to herself for more thanone reason, but then she’d kept a lot of things to herself through the years.

    She recognized the grey SUV sitting in a parking space to her right and her breath caught. Shehadn’t really imagined until now that the driver might actually have the capability of takingher. The thought of what might have happened if he’d actually succeeded made her skin crawl.She’d always considered herself a strong person who would rather be killed than abducted.Perhaps there were people who would rather be alive, and face the unknown. Not Mindy. Beingkidnapped would mean she’d lost control of her own life, that she’d been weak. Losing controlwasn’t an option in her world. No, her choices had been to avoid being kidnapped or dietrying. She would rather be found lying dead on the pavement than somewhere no one would everlook for her with an evil stranger.

    The entire stalking episode seemed harmless at first. Someone paying a bit too much attentionto her, until it quickly escalated. When Mindy returned home one morning after a mysteriousphone call, she found her bedroom window broken and a rose on her bed.

    She had wished a thousand times since that day that she’d looked at the things the stalkerleft on her bed. At the moment, however, the only thing on her mind had been to call for help.Her brothers wouldn’t tell her what had been left behind, but it was obvious they’d taken itas warning that his threats were serious.

    ~ * ~

    As one of two MPs pounded on the quarter’s door, the other stood patiently on the sidewalk. Hewas tall, fit and even wearing that ridiculous camouflage uniform, he was hot. She blinkedrapidly. The feelings that bubbled to the surface were as unexpected as an earthquake, and lesswelcome. It didn’t matter how brutally sexy he was, he was off limits. All military men were,without exception. She’d grown up in a military family, lived by military rules and she wantednothing more than to escape the only lifestyle she’d ever known. She didn’t want any part ofthe arrogance that usually went along with such men. She wanted an average Joe, no more and noless.

    A young man walked onto the sidewalk where the MPs summoned him, and Mindy wondered how manyhours he had watched her. He’d probably spent more time looking at her than any other man onthe planet. He didn’t look like a stalker, at least by the dramatic movie description. Hedidn’t have wild, crazy eyes and he certainly didn’t appear mentally disturbed. She squirmedagainst the oddness of admitting to herself that he was handsome, or at least as handsome as astalker could be. However, he had turned her life upside down and left her to deal with theturmoil.

    Pete stepped toward the stalker and the MP blocked him as if he were a worthy opponent for theNavy SEAL. Mindy snorted at his attempted.

    The tension escalated. The MP had a job to do, but she was sure Pete wasn’t about to backdown. He had earned the title of Navy SEAL, and it wasn’t because he’d lagged behind in handto hand combat training. He was as skilled at killing with his bare hands as most butchers wereat extracting a steak from a fresh kill.

    “Don’t do nothing stupid man,” the MP suggested.

    “Stand down, I’ll handle it.”

    Pete arched his head the slightest bit and squinted at the MP. “You can handle it when I’mfinished.”

    “Negative,” the MP stated with a solid jaw and eyes of cold steel. “Stand down.”

    “Stand down, my ass.” Pete moved another step closer to the stalker. His body seemed toripple with ferocity.

    The MP put his hands on Pete. Big mistake. She sucked in a quick intake of breath as shethought about Pete going to jail for kicking the MP’s butt. She hadn’t meant for any of thisto happen. It seemed only natural to call her brothers, but she was wondering if she might havebeen better off to have handled it on her own.

    “I won’t tell you again,” the MP growled as he furrowed his brows in warning. “Standdown!”

    Mindy held her breath and leaned forward in anxious anticipation of Pete’s reaction. Petestepped back and Mindy had to admit she was impressed the MP managed to avoid Pete’s wrath.She studied the MP’s rigid stance as he glared at Pete, almost daring him to take anotherstep. A smile teased her lips when Pete didn’t move.

    ~ * ~

    As the second of the two MPs questioned the stalker, the first walked with the twins toward thetruck where Mindy sat. She squirmed. She hadn’t expected a man in a uniform to ever light afire in her, but this MP did.

    “Ma’am, are you okay?” he asked as he looked at her with blue eyes that seemed foreign to agirl who came from six generations of brown eyes.

    She nodded. “I’m okay.” He didn’t need to know about the sudden heat that engulfed her. Hewas none the wiser that her core was throbbing with a demand that left her fighting for breath.

    “Is that the truck that was chasing you?” He pointed to the SUV to her right.

    She forced herself to look away from those beautiful eyes. “Yes sir, that’s it.”

    “I understand that you’ve had a stalker for the past few weeks,” he stated withunderstanding.

    She wanted to touch the five o’clock shadow on his face as he talked. She wanted to feel thedemanding touch of his hands against her skin. She wanted him alone in a big soft bed. Histaut, muscled body assured her he could make all her sexual fantasies come true. Her thoughtsdrifted as her mind tried to rationalize her crazy thoughts. She had sworn off military menlong ago. But her brothers were as hell bent on her marrying a military man as she was hellbent against it. For once in her life, she wanted to be normal, not having to deal withdeployments and weeks of uncertainty during wartime. An average Joe, someone with a house inthe suburbs and a job at the local factory. She would be fine without a man who knew more waysto kill than he knew how to love.

    “Ma’am?” he questioned, lifting his clipboard in attempt to get her attention.

    The uncontrollable laughter of her brothers brought her back. Their high five couldn’t havebeen any more obvious if they had told the MP why they were celebrating. Her face burned, butit still wasn’t as hot as the fire that ignited in her loins. She looked hard at the twins,daring them to utter a single word.

    “I’m sorry, yes.” She sat straighter in the seat and met the MP’s gaze. “Phone calls, onebreak in, flowers, pictures that my brothers won’t let me see…and now this.”

    His blue eyes searched her as if he were feeding off her energy. She couldn’t control thesudden wetness rushing to her core any more than she could the wind. She held his stare, not

    knowing if she was comfortable with him seeing what she already knew was in her eyes. He wasconfident, enough so that he’d backed down Pete and she’d never thought that could happen. Heseemed unbothered that she’d seen hungry lust in his eyes, but then she was certain that a manlike him could have any woman he wanted.

    “Yeah, man, she was certain it wasn’t a boyfriend because she says nobody will ask her outbecause of us.” Pat interjected and tossed her a wink. She folded her arms against her chest.

    Her face couldn’t have gotten any redder had it been on fire. That statement had been intendedto prove a point to her brothers, not something for them to use against her. She’d even goneso far as to say that she was like the gold in Ft. Knox, because men might want her but theyweren’t

    brave enough to try and get her.

    The MP lowered his gaze and sucked in a quick audible nasal breath, fighting a smile as herealized her brothers’ intent. “No offense, but I can’t imagine that I’d ever let a brotherstop me if I wanted to ask a girl out.” His gaze met Pat’s.

    “See, Mindy, we rest our case.” Pat nodded as he slapped his right hand onto the MP’sshoulder. “This is the kind of man that you need.”

    She rolled her eyes, unsure if it was good or bad that the MP had made it known that herbrothers wouldn’t stop him. Of course, he hadn’t asked, and for that she was thankful. Thelast thing she needed was to complicate her life with a man like him. But, wow, he was hot andshe couldn’t help imagining the fire that would burn if he touched his tongue to her clit.

    “Pictures?” the MP quizzed. “It seems we’ve deviated from the subject.”

    Pete nodded and stepped away, asking the MP to follow. She’d probably never see the picturesthat had been left on her bed. If only she’d taken time to pull them from beneath the covers.But she was too terrified to do anything but call for help. It wasn’t everyday that she camehome to find her window broken, her bed covers turned down and a single rose on her pillow.Ofcourse, the twins had spotted the photos. The MP nodded and asked that the photos be brought tohim as soon as possible.

    “You also mentioned phone calls. Phone calls to where?” the MP asked, his eyes searching her.

    “Work and home,” she explained, squirming from the heat of his wandering eyes. “I work inthe medical field and I live with my brothers.”

    “This has had our routine so screwed up the past few weeks that I was going nuts,” Petechimed in. “We’ve switched bedrooms so many times that I forget which one is mine. I swearI’m ready to hire her a date so we can get a break.”

    Her eyes grew large. She couldn’t believe he’d crossed that line, too. There was no way shecould hide the humiliation, anger and betrayal coursing though her. She forced a grin, thenlooked at the MP. “As you can tell, my brothers are anxious to fix me up with someone becausethey don’t want me to be like them, thirty-two and alone.”

    The MP tried to hide the grin on his face, but he was unsuccessful, and soon his perfect pearl-white teeth began to show. He shot a quick wink her way and stood silent while waiting for thebrotherly reply.

    “Ouch, that bites.” Pat admitted, stepping forward to meet his little sister’s gaze. “Atleast it hasn’t been six...”

    She gasped. That had also been a conversation she’d had with them while trying to figure outwhy she was being stalked. Since moving in with them six years ago, every man who had come tothe apartment to pick her up for a date had left as scared as a pursued rabbit. Her brothershad probably threatened them within an inch of their lives. Pat had commented with a laugh that

    he didn’t believe she was a virgin. She’d replied that her life had been normal up until thepoint she’d moved in with her self-assigned keepers. From that, the twins had drawn theconclusion that she had been six years without sex.

    “Patrick Gregory Austin, if you finish that sentence, so help me God I’ll jerk a knot in yourass the size of Texas,” she sat erect, her face glowing and her fists clinched in defense.

    Pete winked at her and turned his attention to the MP. “How long have you been in theMarines?”

    “Five years with the Marines, and ten years in the Navy; two as a Seabee and eight with theSEALS,” he replied, his chest puffing with pride.

    She took a slow, deep breath and fought the feeling building within her. Not only was the MP amilitary man, but he was the worst kind. He was a Marine—cocky, arrogant, and fearless—likePat. And a former SEAL, like Pete—oversexed, boastful and full of pride. She’d lived withthose two elements for years and couldn’t image the kind of man that would evolve from acombination of the two.

    “I’m with the SEALS now. I’ve been doing BUD’s training for the past three years,” Petesaid, his own chest puffing out as he reached a friendly hand toward the MP.

    “I noticed your shirt. It brought back a lot of memories.”

    Pete’s hand engaged with the MPs, and something inside her knew that the guy had to be specialfor Pete to set aside his pride and warm up to him. She’d never seen anyone, even their dad,back Pete into a corner that he didn’t come out fighting. She smirked, wondering if Petethought that the MP might be able to bring him down a few notches. If that was the case, thenshe was looking at the only man of his kind on earth.

    “Excuse me, Pete, I’m sorry to interrupt your reunion, but could we please finish this so Ican go home?” she said, exhaling a deep breath. She was getting far too worked up over the hothunk of sex in front of her and she needed to get away.

    The MP gazed back at her, his blue eyes telling her things words could not. His lips puckeredthe slightest bit as his eyes trailed onto her cleavage and, dumbstruck, her heart almostjumped out of her chest. It was as uncharacteristic of her to be intrigued by a warrior as itwould be for a millionaire to weed a garden.

    “I’m sorry about that.” A coy expression teased the MP’s face. “I have some good news andsome bad news.”

    “Let’s have it.” Mindy sighed, her core throbbing so hard that she wondered if he could feelthe vibrations.

    “I don’t have enough to hold him. But if you‘ll give me your phone numbers I’ll get withNCIS about obtaining his phone records. It’s possible that we can tie him to you that way.”

    She nodded with a smile. She had hoped for something a bit more reassuring, but it didn’t seemlikely. This wasn’t television and the good guys didn’t always win. It was her fear, however,that one of her brothers would end up in prison after beating the life out of her stalker.

    “You’re letting him go?” Pat shouted, stepping forward. “He’s stalking my sister andyou’re going to let him walk?”

    The MP shrugged. “It isn’t that I don’t want to take him in. It’s just that I have noevidence.”

    “Let me guess, we need to call you after he kidnaps her?” Pete’s face twisted as it grew red

    and tight.

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