Bitten Under Fire

Bitten Under Fire

by Heather Long

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640633414
Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Publication date: 05/28/2018
Series: Bravo Team WOLF , #2
Sold by: Macmillan
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 307
Sales rank: 13,978
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas summertime. From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories—her characters drive the books.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Bianca Devlin could be accused of many things: working too hard, never making time for herself, being crazy willing to go into dangerous places for good causes. It would go a long way toward explaining why the day before she had been sitting next to a crystal-clear swimming pool, drinking frothy concoctions from fake coconuts with little umbrellas, and today she stood in the middle of the jungle, still wearing her one-piece white bathing suit with its tattered sarong as she dug her own grave.

An unmarked grave in the middle of the jungle didn't lend itself to an epitaph, but she liked to think they'd go with She meant well, she did her job. Too bad vacation killed her.

Just went to show all those vacation days she'd saved should have stayed in the bank.

"¡Andale!" The sharp shout from the pistol-wielding guard as he motioned for her to get moving roused her from her stupor, and she thrust all of her weight onto the heavy shovel and into the dirt. She'd barely reached a foot of depth. If they really wanted her to dig a six-foot grave, they might be here a while.

Funny, her life might be extended by her inability to dig. Of course, guerilla soldiers who kidnapped small children from resorts then took them by forced march through the jungle to the middle of nowhere didn't seem to have a lot sympathy for the foolish woman who'd tried to stop them.

Another scoopful of dirt landed atop her paltry little pile. She tried not to grimace at the rubbing sensation of the handle against her slick, sore palms. Her hands were already scraped raw from falling several times during the hard march. Each time she'd shoved herself upward against hard underbrush, jungle growth, thorns, and sharp vines sliced at her bare skin.

Who knew how clumsy she'd have turned out to be in flip-flops? Of course, they weren't designed for jungle travel. As much as she'd wrinkled her nose at the idea of frozen alcoholic beverages when she arrived at the resort, she'd sell her soul for one right now. Sweat soaked through her bathing suit and slicked her arms and back. She must have smelled absolutely delightful to the insect life fluttering at her constantly. At least a half-dozen bites irritated one of her legs, another nasty one on the inside of her wrist. They all itched horribly.

When the guard snarled something else to her in Spanish, she paused her haphazard digging to look at him.

"I don't speak Spanish. If you want French, Russian, or Mandarin, great. And yelling at me isn't going to make me dig any faster."

With a menacing step toward her, the guard raised his weapon as though he planned to strike her. Her bravado only went so far, and she flinched. Another shout cut him off, thankfully. The guard had already struck her with the pistol once, and she had the bruised and bloody cheek to prove it.

That blow had been earned when she'd tried to shield Collin. The little boy's tears had earned the ire of their captors, and the guard went to smack him with the weapon. She'd seen stars and tasted blood.

Collin had been terribly brave right up until the moment they separated her from the sobbing child. She had no way to communicate with her captors to tell him she wouldn't interfere, just let her stay with the little boy so he wouldn't go through this alone. They didn't want to hear what she had to say or maybe, like her, they were trapped on the wrong side of translation.

Another man in dirty camouflage joined the first. He didn't look any friendlier. They snarled and shouted at each other. Without the gun being pointed at her head, she didn't feel any great hurry to get the task done.

Wearing a fierce expression, the second soldier marched over to her and suddenly jerked the shovel from her hand, gesticulating wildly at the first soldier. When their voices rose, she took advantage of the break to retreat from the two men. If they decided to shoot each other, she didn't want to be anywhere near them.

Fieldwork in Africa, in the Middle East, and in the Asian subcontinent had made her all too familiar with how fast a poor situation could get worse. The argument escalated, and she warred with watching the two men and keeping her head down. This wasn't her first rodeo with gun-wielding bullies — a lowered gaze reduced her threat level.

That her life experience included being threatened by everything from military juntas to scavengers, pirates, and rebels should probably tell her she needed a new line of work. At least, she'd had more than one friend suggest she went looking for trouble. Perhaps true, but it was also the downside of what happened when a person was invested in trying to save the world.

Maybe she couldn't really save the world, but she could save people. She had saved them — inoculations, rebuilding decimated villages, transporting refugees, searching for survivors ... And today? Today she'd held a terrified little boy's hand so he didn't have to face this nightmare alone.

With another snarled invective, the second soldier flung the shovel into her poorly dug grave, then seized her by the arm. His fingers biting into her flesh hurt like hell. When he dragged her away, she tempered the brief flare of elation.

She had no guarantee wherever he took her would be better.

Bits of foliage snapped at her legs as they cut through the jungle. Even though she hurried to keep up, he kept increasing his pace.

When they reached the village, she studied the collection of mud-brick huts surrounding a central fire pit. It had a tribal feeling to it, hastily constructed and using only local materials. No women or children were visible, just more guerilla soldiers like the one dragging her, a couple of pigs, and one very sad-looking cow. The sun-heated ground left little waves rising in the air, shimmering and waving.

Her captor dragged her right up to one of the little buildings, opened the door, then flung her inside. She landed on the dirt floor. The torn skin on her knee opened up, and pain jarred through her. The door slammed closed — with him on the other side of it — leaving her alone in the hot building.

"Is it you?" Collin's horrified voice reached her. When she pushed herself up, she turned in the direction of the voice, then suddenly found herself with an armful of little boy.

Wrapping his arms around her neck, he held on fiercely.

"Hey, kiddo, sorry about that. They wanted to see if I was any good at gardening." Keeping the quip light would hopefully alleviate his fear, even if it didn't do much for hers.

"They're going to kill you." Collin's voice trembled and climbed. He wasn't old enough to have gone through the voice-cracking changes of puberty. And she was determined he be allowed to live long enough to endure the perils of said development.

"Not today," she assured him. Faking confidence she could do. Fake it until she could make it. "What about you? Are you okay?"

She couldn't really assess his condition in the dusty gloom of the cabin. What windows the place had were closed over by shutters. It stunk of urine, sweat, and what she could only describe as fear.

"Really hungry," Collin complained. "And there's water in the corner, but it's nasty."

Water in the corner, really? They could both use some fresh water right about now. Her lips were dry and cracked. With all the sweating, she hadn't had anything to replace the fluid she was losing. In the short term, that was okay. In the longer term, dehydration could do wicked things to the body and mind.

"We'll take a look at it, shall we?" She rose on shaky feet, and Collin helped. He wouldn't release her hand, maybe desperate for the security that contact with a stranger provided. Though they really weren't strangers anymore, were they? She was a friendly face in the hellish destruction erupting into his safe life.

She understood the need. They'd faced the fear once. They could do it again.

Hand in hand, she and Collin walked over to the barrel. A musty, almost brackish smell came from the water. It wasn't too briny — likely it had just been sitting in the barrel a long time. In these hot conditions, though, that meant insects could be in the water, and the very thought made her skin crawl. Using the hem of her torn sarong, she dipped it in then lifted it to test the fluid against her lips.

Parasites sucked, but she'd have to live long enough to have an issue with it. She also had all of her shots up to date, another perk of traveling the world. If it existed, she'd been inoculated.

"Gross," Collin announced. His courage seemed to have buoyed with her arrival. Grateful for his colorful response, she still grimaced. The water didn't taste foul, but it wasn't pleasant, either. If they could boil it, they'd both be better off.

With her eyes gradually adjusting to the low light inside, she tried to see what they had. A fireplace was inset against one wall, with a funnel leading up — hopefully to release smoke. There was no wood stacked near it. She doubted they had peat ... maybe they used dung? If she could get some wood or enough material, she could get a fire started.

In the corner of the room was an oversized box frame with a dilapidated mattress, stained to hell, with no blanket or pillow.

They'd apparently spared no effort in the five-star accommodations.

"Hey, kiddo, are you hurt? Are you bleeding anywhere?"

She turned her attention back to Collin. Her leg was dripping blood where she'd torn open the scrape. It hurt like a bitch, but she'd certainly survive.

He shook his head solemnly. "Just hungry. And I don't want to drink that water."

"I get it. Let's see what we can do about making it taste little bit better." Bianca tried to extract her hand from his grip, but he refused to release her. When his eyes widened, she gave his fingers a squeeze then nodded toward the bed.

"If we can find some wood or debris over there, we can use it for burning."

Maybe there would be loose boards or something she could chip away. Not that she had any tools, but one problem at a time.

"Start a fire?"

Holding up two fingers, she winked. "Better than a Boy Scout." Volunteers with Doctors Beyond Borders, her parents raised her to be prepared.

"You couldn't be a Scout," he said, a hint of uncertainty in his tone. "You're a girl."

"I know, but I know how to make a fire. Want to help?"

"Yes." A single, sharp nod. The kid's courage impressed her. Whoever he was, he'd been important enough the guerillas raiding the resort seemed to make a beeline for him. If he was important enough to take, then he would be worth a rescue effort. All she had to do was keep them alive long enough for the cavalry to come and get them.

"I have another job for you first. Think you can handle it?" Even if she got the fire going, they needed something to boil the water in.

His expression brightened at the challenge, and he nodded with more enthusiasm.

"Search through here and see if you can find us something like a cup or a bowl — hopefully metal — that we can put the water in."

"Okay." Though he hesitated briefly, he let her go. Collin headed to the other side of their tiny one-room house.

Getting wood off the bed was going to suck, but she gripped the mattress and pulled it out. Something skittered from under the bed and disappeared into the dirt in the corner. Putting the creepy crawlies out of her mind, she forged onward. Wood slats stretched from one side of the bed's box frame to the other. Bracing her weight on the side with one hand for balance, she slammed her foot down, snapping a slat free.

That was one.

Maybe her boss had been right; maybe she did have a martyr complex. If she got out of here, she'd send him a cookie. But the only thing that mattered was the kid.

She would save Collin or die trying.

* * *

Twenty-four hours later ...

His wolf stretched within him. His other half was ready, and radiating patience. Today was the day Sergeant Carlos "Cage" Castillo proved his mettle. Funnily enough, his wolf held no concerns or illusions. It was the man who had to concentrate, because today he had his first field command as senior on a four-man field op. He tapped two fingers against his M4 as he sat at relaxed ready in the helicopter hurtling them across the countryside toward La Amistad International Park. They'd deployed from a carrier group currently participating in peacetime exercises in the Caribbean Sea.

"Thirty minutes to insertion point," the pilot called back. The helicopter dropped lower, hugging the trees and running well below radar. The Central American country they were about to "invade" didn't have much in the way of military resources. The rich, verdant economy depended on a lot of factors — including tourism.

Time to go to work.

"Review the op," Cage ordered. Once they hit the ground, they had to move. A full day had elapsed since Collin Valenzuela had been kidnapped from the Amanacer Hermoso resort. Beautiful sunrise ... irony.

"Strictly a search and rescue," Silver acknowledged. The corporal served as his second for the team, as well as sniper. The wolf's easygoing attitude and sense of honor made him probably the most well-liked member of the whole of Bravo Team WOLF, even if he was also the one most likely to tease the others. "Our target is eight-year-old Collin Valenzuela. His mother is the US Ambassador to Costa Rica. She and her family were at the resort for a function celebrating American investments in the region. It is undetermined at this time if he was the direct target of the assault or taken because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time."

A hint of a growl underscored Silver's words. Taking kids rubbed them all the wrong way. Children were to be cherished, protected, and above all else, never used as tools.

"According to Kat's report, no one has taken responsibility for the kidnapping, no contact has been made with the embassy — also currently on lockdown with the ambassador secured," Butler said in an even tone, picking up the thread as he leaned forward in his seat. Though his pack lived in Canada, his alpha agreed that protection of pack secrecy overrode nationalism or borders. "Based on satellite surveillance and interviews with the staff, Kat believes we're dealing with a splinter group hidden in La Amistad International Park."

Corporal Kaitlyn "Kat" Amador, the team's intelligence officer as well as mate to the team's captain, Jax, vetted all of their ops now. Someone somewhere in the government's hierarchy suspected the team's origins and capabilities. After running into a trap on a previous op, the team had taken a more circumspect approach. They went where they were ordered, but they wouldn't go in blind.

"Are we sure only the boy was taken?" This from the fourth and final member of the team, Jeremiah. The dark-skinned wolf had a bland, almost studious attitude, which belayed a vicious and brutal fighter. Though often a man with few words to offer, he didn't miss much and often zeroed in on nuances Cage or the others might not see.

"Maybe," Butler hedged. If he had any hesitancy in the answer, it was because Kat's gut told her something was off. "The resort hadn't done a full accounting of their guests. The event the ambassador attended also included some two hundred other individuals not staying at the resort."

"Which means we trust Kat's gut on this." Cage didn't have to explain why. During her initial training with the team, Kat impressed them all. It took a great deal of stamina and character for a human to not only run with the wolves but also prove herself invaluable. She'd done both. "Our primary objective is to rescue the kid. If we find any others with him, we get them out, too."

They all nodded.

Though he hated the idea of a child in danger, Cage needed to compartmentalize the primitive reaction. Only 110 percent focus on their mission promised to achieve success. "Now for the rub, we each have an item of the child's in sealed containers. We have no idea where they took him. Satellite imagery didn't find him, and without more information on his kidnappers, it's up to us. We're dropping five klicks from the resort perimeter, but inside the park. We're going to have to go old school on this and track the kid. Weather may work against us. No rain has been reported in the hours since they took him, but that's not going to last."

Cage and his team deployed as soon as they had their orders, but it had taken hours before the request for their Bravo team even arrived.

"Our mission is strictly search and rescue." Repeating the command might not be necessary, but it also reinforced his control — and his wolf's. "If we get intelligence on these guys, fine. If we take some out, fine. Once we have the kid, though, we run and get him out." They could go back later for the mop up.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Bitten Under Fire"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Heather Long.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
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.

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Bitten Under Fire 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
closkot More than 1 year ago
My Thoughts - 5 out of 5 Unicorns - I loved it!!! ***I choose what I read and review based on what intrigues me!! Yes, I got a review copy of this book, but no one tells me what to think, feel, or write about any book! I have bought this book and the first one too! The cover is what attracted me to the book because military and shifters means must read! This is my first time reading Heather’s work though I’m not sure why since I own 26 of her books currently. This is the 2nd book in this series, and it is for adults only due to the violence and steamy content. You should be aware that there is abuse by guerillas in this book, so take appropriate action for you. This book was action-packed and humorous! I love both Bianca and Cage’s senses of humor. They fit together and are a matched set. Bianca can definitely take care of herself, but now Cage wants to protect her. The camaraderie with Cage’s unit is awesome. I love how they all come together to help Cage. HEAs are my favorite kind of book especially where shifters are involved. I can’t wait to go read book 1 and more of Heather’s books that I own. I really liked Heather’s writing style and the humor that went into it. I highly recommend to wolf shifter lovers who love military men, romance, and HEAs!
WLRagan More than 1 year ago
I was gifted this book in exchange for my honest review. This was introduction to author Heather Long. Bianca is a World Aid worker and for the last 10 years has been going from one disaster to another. Mudslides, floods, tsunamis, fires, hurricanes she has seen it all. Her job was her life which makes sense since she grew up with parents who travel the world with Doctors without Borders. After 10 years her boss sends her on mandatory sabbatical and books her the first week in a resort in Costa Rica. Guerilla's kidnap a young boy from the resort and she attacks them to try and save him. Instead she gets kidnapped too. Drug through the jungle and beaten she is constantly protecting Collin. When a military team rescues them she meets Cage. In his wolf form he might have bitten her and now he needs to watch over to see if she will change. The story takes you through the two of them discovering a chemistry that is more than rescuer/rescuee. I really liked the author's writing style. She got me hooked on the story from the very beginning. The characters are well developed and you fall in love with them and want them to be happy together. You can't get much hotter than a shifter who is also a Marine! I recommend this book and will be reading her again.
Belu-Ruiz More than 1 year ago
*5 stars* “I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” After almost a decade as an aid worker, Bianca takes a vacation to Costa Rica, where she is kidnapped -next to eight year old Collin- by local guerrillas. Talk about bad luck. While rescuing Bianca, Sergeant Carlos Castillos -Aka: Cage- from the Bravo Team WOLF -a team of werewolves and Kat- accidentally bit her. I really liked this book, and its characters. I love how Bianca doesn’t hold her tongue and her determination towards her job. Other thing that I absolutely love is the way that Cage respects her decisions even if his “hero complex” and wolf tell him the opposite. This book is an easy read with lots of hot scenes, really funny ones (“easy tiger”) as well as serious ones. All things considered this is a book I highly recommend for anyone looking for an easy read or a paranormal-romance.
crazy4peanutbutter More than 1 year ago
Great story. Loved the characters. Lots of action and excitement. I totally enjoyed this book and recommend it *****Gifted copy **** L
Rainn2978 More than 1 year ago
This is book 2 in the Bravo Team WOLF series. This one is about Carlos (Cage) Castillo and Bianca Devlin. Bianca is kidnapped while on vacation when she tries to stop the kidnappers from taking a child away from the resort. She is dragged along as collateral. Cage and his team are sent in to rescue the child as he is the son of a diplomat. They hoped to be able to save the woman taken with him. But in the rescue something goes wrong that was not expected. After she returns to the US she doesn't expect to run into Cage again. Especially not living right across the street from her. And now there are things happening that she isn't sure can be explained. Even with them getting closer to each other every day. I loved this book. Cage is sweet and definitely Alpha but when he finds the one person he want and needs to be his mate, he wants to do everything he can to make sure she is happy and healthy. Bianca is a completely selfless person, even when she acts in a selfish it's not for something truly for herself. The only thing I didn't like was his keeping secrets even after they had gotten close. I get that he has to keep things secret but there were ways to get around it. But on a whole, I definitely loved this book. They both grew as individuals and realized that even by being together that they could still have the things that they need to be happy. Great read!
gdsnv More than 1 year ago
Bitten Under Fire is about Bianca Devlin and Carlos “Cage” Castillo. Pretty simplified explanation for this story: you should know it is fast and furious, full of bad guys, good guys, men who act like silly boys (sometimes), and a very brave little boy. Bianca is at a resort when a little boy is abducted right from the resort. She jumps right in to try to rescue the boy but they end up in a heap of trouble. Enter Bravo Team WOLF for the rescue! Bianca doesn’t know about shifters and the team is forbidden to spill their secrets to humans. However…Cage may have bitten Bianca when he rescued her. I loved how clueless Cage was, mostly about his own feelings and actions. Bianca is recovering from the trauma while falling for Cage…except she knows there is something he is holding back from her. It’s fast-paced, there’s intrigue, there’s some wonderful moments between Bianca and Cage…and Cage’s grandmother. (I will say I wouldn’t want to be on HER bad side!) Enjoyed the story and completely fell for Cage. I received a free, advance copy of this book from the publisher. This is my unbiased and voluntary review.
PennySparkles More than 1 year ago
There were many things I loved about Bitten Under Fire. Bianca gets in a bit of a situation while holidaying, and by “situation” I mean she tried to prevent a child from getting kidnapped by guerrillas but only succeeded in getting herself dragged through the jungle. Fortunately, they get rescued by a team of sexy bada**es just in the nick time but not before Bianca got heavily banged up. Unbeknownst to everyone, the shifter packs of the US have agreed to form a special ops team working for the military to keep their existence on the down low. Cage is the one leading the group that goes into the jungle for the S&R of Bianca and the kid. His attraction to Bianca is immediate and powerful, but in the midst of a rescue, he can’t really do anything about it. Nor while Bianca is recuperating in a hospital bed but when he sees what it says in her medical report, he knows he can’t just walk away. That is how they end up across-the-street neighbors. While Bianca finds this iffy, when they start to spend time together she can’t deny the pull she feels towards Cage and their chemistry soon ignites into passion. Everything is hunky dory until Bianca begins to feel off and we realize Cage’s presence is not only fuelled by his attraction but that he is on a mission of his own. I found the storyline, as well as the overall world it takes place in, really interesting. I enjoyed the slightly different take on shifters, though I must confess that the whole Alpha thing between Cage and his father was rather off-putting. I mean I was waiting for Cage to fart and his dad to see it as a challenge. I guess I’m used to reading about alphas that act in a less strictly-animal-to-the-letter way. I loved Bianca completely. She was one very tough cookie and totally selfless. Her whole life was about helping those in need, and she never thought twice about lending a hand. She really just rolled with the punches and took everything mostly in stride, which I thought was really impressive. Cage was one sexy wolf hot-guy. He had the muscles and the moves to drive anyone crazy. It was loads of fun to watch him struggle with his feelings for Bianca. I do have to admit I did a fair bit of skimming, as both main characters could go into their heads and spend quite a long time there. This also made for the pace of the story to be on the slower side, and I was constantly prompting myself to carry on reading. With action, some suspense and lots of hot sexiness Bitten Under Fire was a solidly good read, although the pace was not to my personal taste, I really enjoyed the overall story. *I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book*
DarGee More than 1 year ago
Cage and Bianca captivated me from the start. I really liked them as people and how they treated each other. They aren't coy, they are open and honest. Now, you may say Cage not so much, but he wasn't dishonest, he was waiting. And then, he did the right thing as soon as he knew what needed to be done. It was refreshing to have a couple that was, well, normal. They didn't have baggage that they carried, they dealt with their lives. They had family, and accepted them for their flaws, and loved them. They didn't need to be in the centre of the spotlight, or flashy, or stand out in the crowd, they were accepting of who they were, and embraced what made them happy I really liked Cage and Bianca, and reading their story, let me get to know them, and how perfect they were for each other!
In_My_Humble_OpinionDA More than 1 year ago
Emergency aid worker Bianca Devlin is used to being the rescuer. When she sees a little boy being kidnapped while she is on a forced vacation she rushes to his aid unfortunately getting kidnapped along with the boy. She does her best to keep the boy from more trauma. This all means that she and the boy need rescuing. Call in the Marines - Bravo Team WOLF to the rescue. Rescuing the boy and Bianca is supposed to be an easy in easy out op. Sergeant Carlos “Cage” Castillo is leading his first mission and everything is going to plan until he accidently bites Bianca while tearing the guy who is about to kill her away. Now he has to wait and see if she will change. I LOVE Bianca! She is smart, strong and totally human in the best way. I love that Cage is so secure in himself as a Marine but just as messed up as the rest of us in relation to his father (his alpha) and oblivious in relation to women. Bitten Under Fire is a heartwarming tale that kept me smiling and rooting for love.
CathyGeha More than 1 year ago
Bitten Under Fire by Heather Long Bravo Team WOLF #2 Paranormal romance – check Strong hunky alpha hero – check Strong smart admirable heroine – check Engaged me – check Would read another book by this author – check This story had me from me page one and kept my attention throughout. I loved the WOLF team and can’t wait to read more of their stories! In this book we have the team heading in to find an ambassador’s son and the woman that attached herself to him when guerilla warriors kidnapped and drug him away into the jungle. Bianca Devlin has devoted her life to making the lives of others better by working for NGO’s providing relief to those in need around the world and though on vacation stepped in to help Collin when others did not. Enter Carlos “Cage” Castillo and three of his team sent in to find Collin and remove him, and any other innocents, from the bad guys. And, they do so, in a very bloody manner. An accidental bite occurs that could change the path of Bianca’s life and Cage feels the need to stay nearby to determine what the outcome will be. I love books that provide characters I would love to know in real life and this book did just that. Bianca is a wonderful person who cares about others and actually does something to make the world a better place. Cage is a dedicated Marine, team player and there for his pack. The two of them together are a match that is a joy to read about. When I finished the book I wanted to read more in the series and now have to wait to see what will come next. Thank you to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the ARC – This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars