Read an Excerpt
Sleeping With the Agent
By Gennita Low
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 Gennita Low
All right reserved.
Mountain pass, Macedonia
Love's like riding a wave, dude. Sometimes you fall on your face, even when the ride's incredible, you know? All you have to remember to do is get up, get back on your board, and paddle out and meet the next big one.
Reed settled back against the shrub, one eye trained on the scope, arcing the night viewfinder across the midnight-dark landscape. Dead silence. Nothing moving. He put the scope down and looked up into the clear night sky.
The situation was code yellow, just a notch up from green. His SEAL team was out here in the cold Eastern European terrain going through a few quick practice runs before going out into the mountains of Albania for the real thing. He could hear the lazy banter between members of his team over his helmet intercom.
Reed kept silent. He always paid attention to what was being said but rarely joined in unless necessary. He had always been like that, and not understanding his reasons, the others at training camp had started calling him Joker for irony. The name had stuck.
He studied the constellations, searching for the North Star. It was Archer who had taught him to read the night sky, Archer who had given him his love of the ocean. Reed had been just a spoilt, wealthy, blond-headed surf-rat taking a break from boarding school when Arch had come along and shown him that there was more to surfing than name brands and bright-print baggy pants.
But Arch had been gone for a long time now. The man who had said those words about love hadn't really followed his teachings. When his lover of almost thirty years had unexpectedly been taken from him, Arch had taken his surfboard and headed out for that "next big wave." Or so he'd said. Except he hadn't come back.
"We'll be moving to Position Two when day-light breaks, over," Jazz, his team commander, said over the helmet radio. He was relating position and sitch-rep -- situation report -- to Hawk, their co-commander through Satellite. Hawk was still in the military hospital recovering from an injury.
"How's the river? Nice and cold?" Hawk asked.
"Why don't you come and try it for yourself?" Jazz invited. "Oh, I forgot, you're in a hospital skirt and can't escape from the loonie bin."
Reed smiled as he heard the others chuckle. He and his team had visited Hawk just that morning, and after making sure that their commander wasn't suffering too much from his internal injuries, they had all teased him about chasing the nurses around in his wheelchair while wearing nothing more than a white skirt.
"You're just envious."
"Of your hairy legs, yeah, of course."
Reed had the utmost respect and admiration for both his co-commanders, two best friends who seemed to have an uncanny ability to read each other's minds on and off the battlefield. He knew Jazz had been worried all these months while Hawk had gone solo undercover, especially when he'd disappeared and had been presumed dead. But things had worked out in the end. Mostly. Two weeks ago, the bad guy was killed. The team was now going to destroy the weapon caches that Hawk had located before they fell into the wrong hands again. Only one thing was missing -- some kind of explosive device trigger.
The Joint Mission between GEM and STAR Force SEALs had two objectives, and only one had been accomplished. Reed wondered about the missing weapon that was so top secret that even his team didn't know much about it. He was sure that even as his team focused on the hidden caches, someone else was looking for the device.
Tonight, they'd had a more difficult time than anticipated at one end of the bridge, where the water had basically turned into cold, stinking mud. By the time they'd made it past the bridge, they'd pretty much been caked with the slime. "Come on, Lieutenant, make an escape. You'd love it," Jazz said.
"Pardon me, sir," Cucumber chimed in, "but I think Miss Hutchens will object."
Miss Hutchens was Hawk's current love interest. Reed wondered how long that was going to last. His commander had a reputation with women -- Catnip was one of his nicknames. But after being gone from the team all these months, Reed had felt a change in Hawk during their reunion. He guessed Amber Hutchens had a lot to do with this change.
Hawk chuckled from his end. "At the rate you guys were moving down there, I'd considered coming down to give you sloths a hand."
Reed checked the surroundings again with the nightscope as he continued listening. The practice runs were to familiarize the team with terrain and weather, so whether the code was red or yellow, it meant doing everything -- from rolling in mud to setting up lookout points to staying up in shifts -- by the book. Still nothing out there.
"Sloths. Like slothful in the Bible?" someone asked.
"He meant sloths, man," Mink's voice came over. "Those creatures don't move more than an inch at a time or something. I read somewhere that it takes them a year to get down from a tree to have an annual crap."
"Man, why don't they just crap from the tree then?" Dirk asked.
Reed shook his head, a reluctant smile lifting the corner of his lips. It was a good thing no one else could hear their inane conversation. This was how his team was when they were semi-relaxed. Conversations like this reminded him of surfing. The ocean, too, had a language all its own, and the surfer had to pay attention to the ebb and flow of the tide as one rode the board and paddled out. Reed shook his head again. It'd been a while since he had ridden the waves. He was missing it tonight.
"Do you think sloths have big balls?" someone lazily chimed in after a quiet lull.
"Ask Cumber," Mink quipped back.
Excerpted from Sleeping With the Agent by Gennita Low Copyright © 2005 by Gennita Low. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.