Ex Ops Series Book 3, Sweet #1
(Ex Ops Spinoff)
Published: March 30, 2016
Published by: Jessie Lane
Beware of falling in love with the boy across the street.
Disappearing from their dangerous life in Chicago, Ginny and her mother went from riches to rags by way of a new life in the sleepy, rural suburbs of New York. Under the illusion of safety, Ginny blossomed into a beautiful young woman with hopes and dreams for a future her mother was determined she would have.
Lucas Young, her best friend’s oldest brother, was the dashing hero in all of her dreams. The man she fantasized about sweeping her off her feet and giving her the happily ever after she had only heard about in her mother’s fairytales.
Sometimes, reality wasn’t what we wanted it to be, though.
What would happen when Ginny found out Lucas wasn’t her Prince Charming after all? Instead, he was a rough and tumble soldier in extremely tarnished armor who had a propensity to break her heart.
Maybe happily ever after wasn’t meant for everyone.
Warning: This is the first book (50,000+ word novel) in a three-part serial spin-off from the Ex Ops Series. Each of the three books will feature a piece of Lucas & Ginny's story and leads directly into the next installment. IN OTHER WORDS, THIS STORY ENDS ON A CLIFFHANGER. Also, be forewarned their story will make you laugh, cry, and possibly throw your e-reader at the wall. <- You've been warned.
Letting the love of my life go was not the hardest thing I had ever done. No, there was something much worse—pushing her away when every fiber of my being told me she should be mine yet couldn’t be.
See, when you let someone go, there was that whole cliché phrase everyone heard at least once that, if the person loved you, they would come back to you, and then they were yours forever. When you pushed the person you loved away, however … Well, that was a whole different story.
My parents had raised me to cherish and protect the ones I loved. The bonds formed in my lifetime had always run strong. The very core of who I was came down to the ideals of loyalty and responsibility. Some might say it was the first born child mentality. I didn’t give a shit what anyone called it. When it all came down to the bare bones of reality, those strong bonds were eventually what led to me ending up as I was now: alone.
Ginny DuBois was the girl who had lived across the street during my childhood. She was my baby sister’s best friend, the scared girl with big blue eyes and the face of an angel. She had worked her way into my heart, and once she’d had it, I had never wanted it back. Too bad she didn’t know what she had been carrying with her for all this time.
I had resigned myself years ago to not having her the way I wanted. To be brutally honest, it was more than mere want with Ginny. She was the only craving I couldn’t fulfill, an addiction I couldn’t ease. Eventually, I realized she was the oxygen I needed to breathe. And now, it felt like I had been slowly suffocating for years.
You see, my strategy to keep her at a distance was to protect her from the dangers and heartbreaks of the life I lived. It didn’t mean I ever planned on letting her go, at least not entirely.
Not having her the way I wanted her was never supposed to mean not having her in my life at all, only keep her at a safe distance. Never once had I planned on living a life where I didn’t see her sweet face every once in a while. I had planned on enough contact to make sure she was breathing easy, living life, and simply happy. Now I saw why “they” said the path to hell was paved with good intentions.
The sweet agony of my plan to give her up had blown up in my face when she had disappeared without a single trace.
The sooner I found her, the sooner she would know just how deep my feelings ran. The time had come for her to know what she’d had all along.
Thirty Years Old
Why couldn’t I be in Miami on vacation? Instead, I sat in my commander’s hotel room with almost all of my team members, waiting for the two Sullivan brothers to show up so we could begin our meeting on the status of our mission here.
Leaning back in the hotel’s shabby green arm chair, my hands folded over my stomach, I gave the impression that I was relaxed and nonchalant. It was a façade I had perfected years ago during my time in the Special Forces as a Green Beret. On the inside, I was ready to strike at any perceived threat, responding to any call to action from my commander or fellow team members.
I might not be in the Army anymore, but my life as a deep undercover operative in the black ops unit was not so different. There were only a handful of people who even knew of our existence, including the president of the United States and our CIA handler who had formed the Ex Ops team. My missions were always top secret, dangerous, and sometimes paramount to national security, but they were also off the government’s books. When they couldn’t send in the SEALs, Green Berets, Rangers, or the Marines, they sent us.
There was always the chance that we might be caught by our enemies, and if that ever happened, the president himself would deny any knowledge or approval of our actions. That was something we all had known when we signed on for this unit.
For some, such as my teammate Arturo Chavez, there was no family or anyone who would miss them if they disappeared. For others, like me, there was too much that had been seen, so you distanced yourself from everyone as much as they would allow, including immediate family, to keep them from the inevitable loss.
I’d let my parents, two brothers, and one very annoying little sister think I worked in private security and investigations. They didn’t need to know any differently. After all, the reality of my job would only cause them undue worry. It wasn’t that they wouldn’t understand; it was that I didn’t want to explain my decisions.
The Army had fulfilled my need to serve my country. The Ex Ops team allowed me to truly make a difference in the world when politics made things tricky for the higher ups. I still had to follow orders, and my life felt like one giant secret after another, but it felt damn good to know I served as one of the men they called in to kick ass instead of giving up.
There were only two things that bothered me about my job.
One, the men in my unit were some of the best men I had ever met in my life. I could trust every single one of them to have my back. The problem was I’d lost too many guys I had called “brother” on missions gone wrong. Somewhere along the way, I had shut down my emotions—call it emotional survival. I still did my job and still watched the other men’s backs, but I no longer invested myself in their lives like I had with other people before. Keeping myself separate allowed me to focus more on the mission and worry less about who wasn’t going to come home at the end of the day.
That might make me sound like a heartless bastard, but it made me a deadly predator. Being on the top of my game meant there was a greater chance every man on my team might come home. It also meant I could move on to the next mission without my mind and emotions tied to the last. In my world, this was a necessary skill.
I’d had more than one superior officer complain that I was too much of a lone wolf when I was still in the Army. Nothing about me had changed since then except for the fact that I had joined a unit where it was easier to hide my solo tendencies.
Regret number two about my job?
It often kept me so busy I had little time to devote to looking for the girl who had gotten away. I watched as some of the guys around me found their second chances with the things they had fucked up, and it gave me hope I shouldn’t allow myself to have. The more time that passed, the more the hope crawled inside me.
I had pushed her away, but I damn sure hadn’t let her go. I just needed to find her so I could tell her that. With every mission, I felt like I needed to right the wrong even more. The longer I waited, the more I wondered if I would ever get the chance.
“Young, did you get any further intel from your connection?” Commander Wall’s question pulled me from my dark thoughts. He was talking about my connection to the Regulators Motorcycle Club. I had served with Ice, the prez, in the Army. Brett ‘Ice’ Grady and some of our old Green Beret teammates had their own thing going on now in the Regulators MC.
I shook my head. “Trust me when I say they’re tight-lipped bastards. If they know anything more than they told us, Ice isn’t sharing it. I highly doubt that’s the case, though.” I didn’t think they would withhold anything that might help us in the current situation. Too many women in their territory were disappearing. They wanted the operation shut down as much as we did.
Jaxon gave a curt nod. “Good. As soon as Declan and Riley get here, we can debrief and plan our next move.”
Commander Jaxon Wall was a former SEAL. He lived and breathed to lead this unit. The man had no personal life to tell of or ties that could lead anyone back to anything on him.
I scanned the room. Bobby Baker was present. He, like me, had come from the Army. As a Ranger, he had taken a bullet to the leg, which had resulted in his medical discharge. Beside him sat Arturo Chavez, the Marine who had come out of MARSOC—Marine Corps Special Operations Command—with a reputation as one ruthless motherfucker. Wyatt Brooks was leaned back on the rear two legs of his chair. The former Air Force Pararescueman now served as our team medic. Chase Anderson stood silently in the corner, watching. Having been recruited from the CIA, he was the one member of our team who had not served in the military.
Logan Price was tapping some random beat on his thighs with his thumbs. He had also served in the Marines as a sniper in MARSOC. The good ol’ Texas boy swore he could shoot a flea off a cat’s ass at a thousand yards. That might have been his way of joking about his skills, but I doubted any terrorist would find anything about him a laughing matter. Besides, maybe he really could knock a flea off a cat’s ass. Either way, we were all currently waiting on the Sullivans.
It came as no surprise that the Sullivan brothers were late. The two men were some of the best the Navy SEALs had to offer, but they were also hell on wheels. Riley Sullivan was self-destructive and had apparently been that way since his marriage had ended in divorce after his wife lost their first child in a car accident. Declan Sullivan couldn’t stop sticking his dick into any pussy thrown at him.
We were all recruited from different walks of life to assemble as the proverbial boogie man to scare those in the world who wouldn’t normally fear anything or anyone. The problem was, dealing with scum like that on a regular basis tainted a man’s soul. It covered us in a film of darkness that made it hard to see the light of day sometimes.
Baker was lucky enough to have a woman he could go home to at the end of a mission, someone to help him erase the bad. The rest of us had to drown our demons in other ways. Regardless, every single man here wouldn’t turn down any mission we were given if it helped an innocent in need. Hence, why we were here in Miami—to avenge Annabelle, Laura, and every other woman who had been kidnapped, tortured, and much worse by this particular ring of slavers who were selling women like cattle—after we had gotten a tip from one of my old Army connections.
Hoping to finally shut down the man who was behind it all, I could feel my trigger finger twitching. I was ready for action. As much I liked the positives of being around scantily clad women in the strip club the Regulators MC owned and riding a kickass bike as an undercover biker in their group, I needed to be busy. This sitting idle shit was for the birds, because when I wasn’t busy, my mind travelled to the one person who was always at the back of my thoughts, haunting me like a bad dream I never woke up from.
In The Series:
Secret Maneuvers (Ex Ops 1) - Available Now
Stripping Her Defenses (Ex Ops 2) - Available Now
Mission Delivery (Ex Ops 2.5) - Available Now
Sweet Recovery (Sweet 2/Ex Ops 4) - Coming May 2016
Sweet Eternity (Sweet 3/Ex Ops 5) - Coming July 2016
Meet Jessie Lane~
Jessie Lane is a best-selling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance, as well as, Upper YA Paranormal Romance/Fantasy.
She lives in Kentucky with her two little Rock Chicks in-the-making and her over protective alpha husband that she’s pretty sure is a latent grizzly bear shifter.
She has a passionate love for reading and writing naughty romance, cliff hanging suspense, and out-of-this-world characters that demand your attention, or threaten to slap you around until you do pay attention to them.
Connect with Jessie~
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