Deadly Descent

Deadly Descent

by Kaylea Cross

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Don't miss this fan-favorite, heart-pounding military romance from New York Timesbestselling author Kaylea Cross.

Devon Crawford is an officer; Air Force PararescuemanCam Munro is enlisted. Dev flies medical evacuations; Cam jumps into danger zones to savelives. Dev wants to return home from Afghanistan with her heart untouched; Cam will doanything to win the woman he loves.

Reaching for happiness in a war zone is the last thing Captain Devon Crawford plans,but she can't ignore the feelings she's hidden for so long. Cam's sexy charm and wickedkisses weaken her resistance, but she's too afraid of losing him to give in.

When Dev's helicopter and crew are shot down and set up as bait by a notorious warlord,Cam risks all to save the team. What he doesn't know is that the trap is set forhim…

Previously published

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781459295339
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 02/15/2016
Series: Bagram Special Ops Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 4,266
File size: 515 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Kaylea Cross writes edge-of-your-seat military romantic suspense. Her work has won many awards and has been nominated for both the Daphne du Maurier and the National Readers' Choice Awards. A Registered Massage Therapist by trade, Kaylea is also an avid gardener, artist, Civil War buff, Special Ops aficionado, belly dance enthusiast and former nationally-carded softball pitcher. She lives in Vancouver, BC with her husband and family.

Read an Excerpt

Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, DC

Shivering in her Army National Guard dress uniform, Devon flinched when the Air Force honor guard fired their twenty-one gun salute beside Ty's grave. His flag-draped silver coffin sat suspended over it, waiting to be lowered into the dark hole.

The haunting strains of Taps rang out, and her skin erupted in goose bumps. When the last note died away in the crisp fall air, the honor guard folded the flag into a perfect triangle that showed part of the blue field and white stars. Across the grave, seated with her husband's comforting arm around her shoulders, Ty's mother accepted the flag from his commanding officer. She clutched it to her chest and stared with swimming eyes at the box that held the remains of her only child. Her shattered expression alone made Devon want to weep.

She jerked when her friend Ryan put an arm around her, but after a second instinctively moved closer to him. Away from the other man flanking her. Both wore their dress blues, and both had borne Ty to his grave. She was grateful for their presence, but standing this close to Cam hurt almost as much as knowing Ty was going into that hole.

Because they both knew the truth about why he'd died.

The wind gusted through her dress jacket and over her legs below the hem of her skirt. She barely heard what the chaplain was saying-she didn't care what he had to say. Nothing could ease her pain. Or the suffocating guilt that came with it.

When he stopped, the family stood to say their final goodbyes. One by one they placed yellow roses atop the silver casket until the lid was smothered in flowers. Ty's mother trembled beneath her husband's arm for a moment, then let out a keening wail of grief so sharp it made the hair on Devon's neck stand up. Struggling to hold her composure, she bit the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood.

As his family left the graveside Devon stood there, rigid in the cold, staring at her ex-boyfriend's coffin. I'm so sorry, Ty. So very sorry…

Ryan stepped up to the edge of the grave. He saluted, bringing his right hand to the brim of his scarlet beret. His square jaw was clenched tight. After a few silent moments he dropped his hand and walked away without a word, leaving her with Cam. The lump in Devon's throat threatened to choke her.

Cam came forward next and raised his salute against the maroon beret that marked him as a Pararescueman. Like Ty had been. She risked a glance at him, and the grief etched in his face stabbed at her. He took something out of his pocket and turned it over in his fingers. Her throat tightened when she realized what he held. She automatically put a hand to her neck, touching the chain that held the lucky quarter's twin over her heart.

Cam stared at the keepsake a moment longer before hunkering down beside the casket. The quarter flashed briefly in the weak afternoon light as he placed it gently on the lid. "See you on the other side, buddy." He rose and took up a position behind Devon, staying at a respectful distance to let her say her final goodbye. Killing her with his presence and not even realizing it.

The tears were there, just as they'd always been since she'd been notified of Ty's death. But tears didn't relieve her suffering, and didn't change the fact that Ty was gone.

Devon squeezed her hands into fists, her short nails cutting into her damp palms. She wished Cam would leave so she could say goodbye properly. So she wouldn't betray Ty more than she already had.

Cam didn't move, but she'd known he wouldn't leave her to face this alone.

Fighting to ignore him and the unsettling effect he had on her, she tried to think of something to say to Ty. She'd already said the most important things while sitting next to his zipped body bag in the morgue at Bagram.

She snapped a smart salute and held it while she stared down at his coffin. "Bye, Ty," she whispered, easing her trembling hand down to her side.

Cam's hand settled on her shoulder. She flinched, and he dropped it. She couldn't bear his touch right now. It hurt too much.

"Come on," he said quietly. "It's time to go."

She swallowed and managed a nod, but couldn't look at him as she turned from Ty's casket. Walking away from his grave was the second hardest thing she'd ever done.

The hardest had put him in it.

She walked through the rows of pristine white headstones. So many of them, and many more still to come before the war on terror ended. If it ever did.

With each step the heels of her pumps bit into the damp, meticulously-kept grass. She kept her eyes focused on Ryan standing at the line of their cars, but she was acutely aware of Cam's undeniably magnetic presence a few feet behind her.

Ryan forced a tired smile when she neared him. "Okay?"


"We'll follow you back."

"Are you sure you're okay to drive?" Cam's voice was full of concern.

She didn't look at him. "I'm sure." The last thing she needed was to be trapped in a car with him.

Devon climbed into her rental car and drove to her hotel, wondering what the hell she was doing hosting the reception for some of Ty's military buddies.

You're tough. You can handle this.

Back in her bland hotel room, she ordered Mexican takeout because Ty had loved it. Cam and Ryan went out to pick it up and find some beer while she took a shower and changed into her civvies. The guests arrived, and the PJs told stories about Ty as they ate, but Devon couldn't relax. They should blame her, hate her, but they didn't. She wished they would. It would be easier for her to bear.

They finished eating, and Cam raised his Corona, Ty's favorite beer. "To a hell of a PJ, and the best damn friend anyone could have."

"Hooyah," Ryan and the others chorused, holding up their bottles.

Devon's throat was too tight to speak. She tapped bottles with guys around her and avoided Cam's gaze while she took a sip. She was doing fine. All she had to do was hold it together for a little longer.

She was still okay when the other guests filed out and left her with Ryan and Cam. But when Ryan stood to leave, she jumped up with him, assaulted by a wave of dread. Given the way she was feeling, being alone with Cam was not a good idea.

She knew it, but couldn't summon the will to ask him to leave with Ryan. Truth was, she didn't want to be alone right now. Not when she'd just been reminded that death stalked all of them. Their professions ensured that.

Beneath the vulnerability that came with knowing how fleeting life was, she was all too aware of Cam's Pacific blue eyes resting on her face as she walked Ryan to the door. Cam's presence had always unsettled her, right from the first time she'd met him.

While she'd been dating his best friend.

Pulling on his shoes, Ryan smiled up at her with his endearing bad-boy grin. "Wish I could stay longer."

She wished that too. "Can't you stay for one more beer?"

"Wish I could take you up on that, darlin', but I can't. Flight leaves in two hours." His mahogany gaze moved to Cam over on the couch. "See you over there."

"You know it."

Just the sound of his deep voice sent traitorous shivers of pleasure up her spine. "You might see me there too," she blurted to Ryan, wishing she could leave with him.

Ryan's brows shot up, but it was Cam's gaze zeroing in on her that she noticed. The touch was almost physical, so strong it made the skin at her nape tingle.

"For real?' Ryan asked. "You just got back."

"I heard a rumor that they might extend my tour." She shoved her hands into her jeans pockets and shrugged. "Not sure, though."

He paused, studying her face. She held her spine straight and kept her expression blank, refusing to show even a hint of the paralyzing doubt she carried with her now.

"Well let me know if you're coming, so I know to look for you." He hugged her. His arms were warm and strong, offering the comfort she badly needed, but it wasn't what she really wanted.

Damn her to hell, she wished with everything in her that Cam was holding her. The knowledge made her feel sick.

"You sure you're okay?" Ryan asked quietly against her hair.

She nodded, fighting the sting of tears caused by equal parts grief and guilt. "I'll be fine."

He released her and stepped back. "No wonder Ty was hung up on you."

More guilt settled in her belly, but she forced a smile. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do over there."

His eyes twinkled with mischief. "Now what fun would that be?"

Devon shut the door behind him, and it seemed like he took all the oxygen with him. Being alone in the same room with Cam made it hard to breathe. Especially now with the silence building between them like a wall.

"Why didn't you tell me?"

She tensed. The low timbre of his voice brushed over her nerve endings like a caress.

Bracing herself, she turned around and met the vivid stare that threatened to suck the remaining air out of her lungs. He had one muscular arm draped over the back of the couch, and his dark blond brows were pulled into a tight frown. She couldn't ignore him now, yet she couldn't summon the courage to go sit beside him. She stayed where she was. "It never seemed to be the right time. A lot's happened over the past few weeks."

For an instant she thought the muscles in his jaw clenched, but it was gone so fast she told herself she'd imagined it. Cam never got annoyed. He was easy-going personified. And the sexiest, most mouth-watering man she'd ever met, much as she hated herself for thinking it.

"Did Ty know you might be extending your tour?"

She nodded, fighting the urge to rub her suddenly damp palms on her jeans.

Cam tilted his head. "There a reason why you're still standing next to the door like that?"

"No." She forced herself to walk over, grab her Corona off the low table strewn with takeout Mexican containers, and sit stiffly on the opposite end of the couch. She searched for something to say to fill the awkward void stretching out between them, but nothing came to mind.

Cam watched her in silence for a long moment before making another attempt at conversation. "Ty once told me you became a pilot because you were afraid to fly. That true?"

The change to a more neutral subject helped. "More like I was afraid of crashing." For good reason. She shrugged, pushing the memory away. "I went to therapy for a while, and thought learning to fly might help me overcome it. Seemed like a good idea at the time."

Cam grinned, flashing a dimple in his lean right cheek. "Helluva way to conquer your fear."

"Yeah. I know it sounds stupid, but being in a helicopter always feels safer than being in a fixed wing. I'm closer to the ground, can land pretty much anywhere if I need to." She shrugged. "I like being in a helo better."

"Especially if you're at the controls."

"Yeah," she said with a reluctant grin. "Especially then."

"You'll have to take me up sometime."

She shot him a bland look. "Right, because you don't get enough chopper rides already."

"Never been up with a female pilot, though."

Because she was tempted to keep staring, she looked away from his beautiful face. "Well, we fly pretty much the same as the boys do." Only better.

"I bet you're great at it."

"I'm not bad," she admitted, brushing at an imaginary piece of lint on her jeans. "I love flying medevac. I like knowing I might give someone a chance-" The words clamped her throat shut like a garrote. No one had been able to get to Ty in time. He'd died before the rescue crew could get there.

She knew the reason behind that too. And so did Cam.

Devon hastily took another sip of her beer, half-afraid it would come right back up. The bitter taste rolled over her tongue and lingered in her mouth.

"Dev. You know you-"

"Want another beer?"


She wouldn't look at him. She could barely look at herself in the mirror anymore. And she was facing another six-month-long deployment back to the place and job that haunted her every waking moment. Not to mention her dreams.

Forcing the thought away, she made herself focus on what Cam was feeling. She wasn't the only one hurting. This had to be really tough on him. "You okay? You must miss him."

"Yeah. I miss him like hell."

Her heart ached for him. He suffered through his grief stoically. "How long were you guys friends?"

"Almost four years. We went through The Pipeline together. Me and Ty and Ryan."

A sad smile formed on her lips. She was proud of every single one of them for getting through that grueling program. It wasn't called Superman School for nothing. "You know, if I was a guy and could qualify for Special Ops, I'd be a PJ too."

One side of Cam's delicious mouth turned up.


A strange pressure began to build in her chest. Like a balloon being filled with helium. "I admire the hell out of all of you." She cradled the cold, damp bottle between her hands and managed to look at him. "What's it feel like to be a medic commando?"

"Nothing like it. I love what I do." He reached for his own beer and took a sip before offering her another smile. "What's it like to fly a Black Hawk on a night mission?"

She bit back a grin. "Pretty damn awesome."

"There you go, we're not all that different. Besides, you've got some medical training."

"Nothing like you guys." Some of the tension bled out of her tight shoulders. This was better. She could almost forget he was the reason for her discomfort when they talked easily like this. "Did Ryan want to be a Combat Controller right from the start?"

"Yeah. He wanted to be on the front lines with the SEALs and Delta boys. And he's good. It suits him."

Yeah, it did. Special Ops suited them all, but Ryan had that knife-edge to him. He was harder than the others. More suited to killing than saving lives like the PJs did. But Cam wasn't fooling her. "You work with 'mixed company' too, if you're stationed at Bagram. If you were working conventional missions, they'd have you based at Kandahar."

His eyes glinted with humor. "Yeah, but you're not supposed to know about that."

She had trouble envisioning him working with soldiers that hardened and deadly. "Have you worked with Ryan out there?"

"Couple of times."

She hated the thought of them going back into harm's way. She didn't want to bury any more of her friends. Or be the cause of more funerals.

"Can I ask you something?"

Something told her she wasn't going to like the question he had in mind. She tensed instinctively. "Sure."

"How come I make you nervous?"

She shot a startled glance at him. There was no amusement on his face, just a kind of puzzlement. And maybe a hint of disappointment. She looked away. "Why do you say that?"

He snorted like she'd just insulted him. "Because you're sitting over there as far away from me as you can get. Any further, and you'll fall off the end of the couch."

"That's not why. I've just…got a lot on my mind."

"You used to be comfortable with me," he pointed out. "But since Ty passed you keep giving me the cold shoulder. Have I done something?"

"No." Oh no, she'd done this to herself, and all on her own.

He was quiet a long time, scrutinizing her. "I wouldn't do anything, you know. Not unless you wanted me to."

Her gaze flew to his. "What?" She couldn't keep the alarm out of her voice.

His eyes held hers, direct and brutally honest. "You know I wouldn't."

So she hadn't misunderstood him.

Oh, Jesus. After all this time the awful truth was out, thrown into her face like a slap though he hadn't meant it that way. The blood rushed to her face so fast she felt dizzy. This isn't happening.

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Deadly Descent 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hands down the best book I've ever read. It was shocking how much I loved it. The war is more realistic than most romantic suspenses out there... the emotion just grabbed me. I cried for their love for each other and the obsticles war threw at it. I think its a shame how little known Kaylea Cross is. If it weren't for goodreads I'd never have discovered her. Spread the word!
K_Holt More than 1 year ago
WOW!!! Absolutely loved it. I'm a huge fan of the genre (military romantic suspense) and this book has it all. Easily gave it 5 stars without hesitation; a KEEPER....I'll reread this one! Can't wait to delve into the rest of Cross's books. Highly recommended.
SmittenWithReading More than 1 year ago
My Review: Whoa, this is a seriously powerful book. I think that, honestly, this is the most that I have ever cried throughout the ENTIRE book. Oh my goodness. Such a powerful story with so much incredible emotion!! Wow... WARNING: the following has slight spoilers which may affect your ability to react emotionally to the story. Dev is a helicopter pilot. She is dealing with issues of guilt after the death of her boyfriend, a PJ named Ty, on a mission in Afghanistan. They only dated for a few weeks before he deployed and then they were cooling things off. They were never serious or even exclusive. They simply had a fun time together, until Dev met his best friend Cam and realized that she was much more drawn to him than she was to Ty. That doesn't change the fact that she was on the mission to rescue him when he was wounded (although she didn't know it at the time) and she called off the mission because the fog was to thick to get to the landing zone. He died and now she can't get past the fact that she didn't go into to get him out or the fact that she is falling for his best friend Cam. Cam is pure hero material. Another PJ, he tells it exactly like it is. He knows that there is something between him and Dev and knows that Ty would never have had an issue with it after his death. He is a protector with a capital "P" which he proves over and over throughout this book. His first priority is Dev and her safety. When they both end up stationed at the same base in Afghanistan, things start to heat up a LOT! The main issue, besides lingering guilt about Ty for Dev, is that Dev is an officer and Cam is enlisted. This is a HUGE no-no in the US military and was really my only issue with this book. This is a major no-no in the military...not only can it end your career, but you can also go to jail for it. The only saving grace was that they are separate branches of the military, so it may be allowed to slide somewhat. (After discussing it with DH who is retired Lt. Col from the Air Force, he was more concerned about the PJ mission at Bagram and said that didn't really fit with how they actually operate, but I honestly don't think he was really listening to me when I explained the story and how it played out. Hehe!) From the moment I picked this book up, there was no stopping me from reading it. It was so good!! So much suspense and they are operating out of a war zone so it was seriously emotional and high-stress. I could NOT put this book down...and like I said, I cried from the very beginning...all the way throughout the book. The emotion was there all the way through. Really just a phenomenal book. If you are looking for a great emotional read with a beautiful romance, then you are going to like this one...a LOT!
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
Captain Devon "Spike" Crawford is Blackhawk pilot counted on to do her job and make the right call at the right time. She is steady under pressure and can handle decisions with a clear train of thought. However, when someone she cared about was not recovered on her watch the guilt she bore was weighing her down. What Devon also understood was the very clear, concise rules of non-engagement with those ranked below you. Time and hard word back in Afghanistan have Devon trying to concentrate on work and not US Air Force Technical Sergeant Cam Munro, her late boyfriend's best friend. Cam is a Paraescueman who performs an elite function on the battlefront and truly is a woman's dream walking around on two legs. Cam wants in her life, every inch of her personal space, and he has expressed sincere feelings for her. Devon, the woman under control, comes completely unhinged when he is around and wonders is it the rule of not fraternizing with rank and file or a fear of commitment. Devon has as much trouble being with him as she is scared of losing his love. They are both in high stress combat positions and Devon does not think she can go through the loss again but being with him in the same room and not putting her hands on him is more control than she can muster. While Devon and Cam fight the warlords, rebels, and suicide bombers in Afghanistan day in and day out but knowing that they are together at the same airfield causes as many sleepless nights as it does dream filled days. No one could imagine the horror of one man's vengeance against the military that would rock both Devon and Cam to the core and shake up everything they thought they knew about each other and how to function under pressure. It was their destiny to fight their way home, ignore the rules, and not let what people think shape the way they lived any more. I have been a fan of Kaylea Cross since the first book I read of hers. She is able to take technical, detailed military information and scenarios and write them so that you know the characters, where they are, and what they are doing. That is a gift in a writer because while the military is an efficient machine it is also a complicated one and not readily understood, especially in a book. This story shares the grief of loss as well as the love in recovery, and how we all face down our demons.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
HEABookNerd More than 1 year ago
The action and emotions started from page one of Deadly Descent and I was quickly immersed in Kaylea Cross's writing and storytelling. I really loved Devon as a character because she's just so real and genuine. Cam was also a great hero because respects Devon and understand the conflict she's experiencing. He's a natural born protector and that trait is just magnifying by his work as a pararescueman, putting his life at risk to save others. The tension of Devon and Cam falling in love while fighting a war kept the suspense interesting and engaging. Cam is all-in on a relationship while Devon is more cautious, but regardless of their feelings, there's still military protocol to navigate. Kaylea Cross keeps the focus where it needs to be during each part of the book and that keeps the suspense and romance well balanced and real. I also loved meeting the side characters, especially Devon's roommates who are a bunch of tough women. I can't wait to read their stories!
MsRomanticReads More than 1 year ago
First of all, I love military romantic suspenses where the heroine is not a civilian, but holds a position that makes her more than just arm candy or a uniform groupie, if you know what I mean. Devon “Spike” Crawford delivered on that front as an officer and pilot flying Hawks in medevac missions. Career-wise she was solid, but her personal life was complicated. She had dated Ty, a PJ, under the radar for a short time before he was deployed to Bagram. They were casual about it, and instead of a clean break, she’d just let things fizzle out after he left. That, compounded with the fact that she’d fallen in lust with Ty’s best friend Cam from the moment Ty introduced them, left her feeling guilty about the whole situation. Even though Cam felt the same way, they never acted on it. And after Ty’s death, it seemed even more inappropriate to Dev. I didn’t care for her much in terms of the romance—she wanted Cam but worried about her career. The risk vs.reward was a constant factor in regards to her hot and cold behavior that I often wished she would make up her mind. The revelation that she learned to fly because she was afraid of crashing (a plane crash is how she had lost her father) was pure foreshadowing. I LOVED Cam! If he hadn’t brought up the fact of their mutual attraction, he would most likely have remained in the friend zone forever. He didn’t push her to give in but reassured her that he would be there when she was ready, and he was mindful of her concerns about fraternization and how they behaved in public. The suspense portion of the story was so good! It was a lot like Black Hawk Down, but in the mountains of Afghanistan. My heart was thumping the entire time Dev, Cam and co. were on the run. I didn't dislike the villain's POV per se, but I did end up skimming a lot of his ramblings. And with that said, don’t expect a lot of sex with the romance (there was only one steamy, and one sex scene at the very end). The story didn't need sex to make their feelings believable. The romance was fueled by the type of people they were, the high-stress of their jobs, honor and loyalty. I enjoyed the side characters, and it seems they all had a little set up for future stories. I look forward to reading more about these men and women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have other books by Kaylea Cross and I love them. Recently I have gotten into reading Military based romances. I was kinda iffy about this series because it hit a little close to home. My brother is in the Air Force and he was station in Bagram, so it was hard for me to start reading. But once I started it was hard to not Stop reading. The characters are good and they all have their quarks. I love the spunk in Devon and how she handles everything. Cam is pretty cool. Reading about this characters makes me want to be friends with them! It is as well written series and I would recommend it to anyone (A friend already has it on a reading list). This is the First book in this series, and it is easy to get hooked to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the book awesome story line so relevant since we are still in the middle east love the whole Dev and Cam loves story between them glad they got together can't wait to see the Liam and Honor story come
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AMR0406 More than 1 year ago
Love Kaylea's books! As with all of Kaylea Cross’s romantic suspense books, this one is filled with that edge of your seat suspense that keeps you from putting the book down until you get to the end. This story introduces us to Devon and Cameron who have to go through so many things before they can be together. Just when you think it is their moment, something else comes up. I really enjoy Kaylea’s writing. She writes characters that are very smart, witty, a little damaged, and so loveable that you want to root for them. She also writes stories that seem so real when you read them that you sometimes forget you are reading fiction because of the emotions that you feel. You also realize how much you do NOT want to be in the hero and heroine’s place at times during the story. Devon and Cameron meet through a mutual friend who Devon dated. They had such an attraction to each other, but they did not act on it due to their loyalty to their friend at the time. Now that the situation is different they find that they want to explore those feelings with each other, however their different ranks make it impossible to do this. Devon starts to realize that life is short and why not go after what her heart wants? Throughout the story Devon and Cameron try to find a way that they can be together but one thing after another prevents that. I love watching how this story unfolds and how they never give up and follow their hearts the entire time! I thought the ending to this book was perfect.
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