Retired Marine Viper helo pilot and ground cover expert, Kacey O'Donnell is called out of
retirement for a special assignment: to assist in extracting the kidnapped daughter of a U.S.
Senator, after an FBI team is betrayed and taken out.
Former SEAL hero Nathan Weatherly looks forward to his new job as Deputy Sheriff in the
small, quiet Normal Rockwell town where Kacey grew up. The former lovers have a history she
has no desire to revisit, and a dark secret she refuses to share.
With a young girl's life at stake, Kacey helps pull Nathan's team together for one last
assignment. But, she finds it next to impossible to work with Nathan again—especially when she
know he wants so much more, and she has so much to hide.
About the Author
Sophia Roslyn, Jersey-bred, is now lucky enough to live and write in a welcoming 200-year-old farm house on ninety acres in central upstate New York, tucked in her complete disaster of an office, with a monstrous treadmill staring at her through malevolent eyes, and any number of Whippets underfoot or under-desk.
Barring snow and monsoons, inspiration often occurs while Roslyn mows down the fields with a tractor and Bush-hog, or while cruising on one of the four-wheelers. She's been known to attend sighthound field trials armed with her trusty laptop and a power adapter for the dog-mobile, so she can write or work on edits when she's not judging or running hounds.
Roslyn usually writes contemporary erotic romance, but her works-in-progress include suspense, paranormal, and time travel—all with an erotic twist. "Guessing what goes on behind closed doors—or anywhere else—is for pansies. I want to know what happens to characters in detail, and described in full, living color."
When not writing, Roslyn reads voraciously, her interests spanning a number of genres. Beyond that, she admits to trying anything within her power to avoid doing housework.
Roslyn also writes erotic romantic suspense under the pen name, Danica St. Como.
Read an Excerpt
Her Special Forces
By Sophia Roslyn, Nina Bruhns, Terese Ramin
Entangled Publishing, LLCCopyright © 2014 Sophia Roslyn
All rights reserved.
Winterpine, New Hampshire
Hallucinations were a hell of a way to start the day.
She knew she must be having a hallucination, since Nathan Weatherly couldn't be in Winterpine. She knew he couldn't possibly have strolled past the Farmer's Dell organic produce market, looking supremely cocky and oh-so-handsome. She'd left him at Delaram Forward Operations Base in Afghanistan. A Navy SEAL had no reason to hang around her touristy little village, right? Right. Well, except for ex-team member Jonah, but he didn't count because he did live in town and she knew he was real.
Ponytail swinging in time with her steady seven-mile-an-hour pace, U.S.M.C. Captain Kacey O'Donnell, recently retired, acknowledged her delusion and locked it down, continuing her morning run to the Sweets Treats bakery. Her mission: acquire two extra-large coffees, freshly brewed — black, beige packets of raw sugar on the side — plus two toasted, buttered, cranberry-walnut corn muffins, made from scratch every day. Daily routines had become essential to her, since she'd bailed on her career as a Marine attack helo pilot. No more Viper. Sad, but she still missed her bird.
Leaving the bakery with her goods securely stashed in a zippered Lunchasaurus bag, she zigged and zagged across the intersection, past a bilious yellow SUV stopped at the red light, its windows plastered with school and soccer decals and kids' grubby fingerprints. Holding the bag upright so the coffee wouldn't slosh, she sprinted by an elderly woman walking an equally elderly Chihuahua with a rhinestone collar that matched its leash. The Lilliputian canine barely wasted a couple of short yaps on her before it returned to the important business of ground sniffing.
Not believing in the power of prayer, Kacey at least hoped the hallucination would stay confined. Confidence was high that the man she thought she saw was not Nathan Weatherly. No sense getting all worked up without a good reason. After all, what were the chances — and why would Nathan be strolling through her hometown? She considered that. Probably because she'd left him high and dry — no pun intended — in the freakin' desert, and he hadn't deserved it. He'd always had her back, and what had she done? Slithered away like a lizard in the hot sand, without explanation.
Worried that her brain had played yet another trick on her, her breathing kicked up a notch. So what if last night's trick turned out badly? She'd survived the nightmares until dawn's early light to fight another day. She'd wrestled the fear back to the netherworld from which it sprang. She'd be fine. Jonah Taylor, Doctor of Family Medicine, former SEAL, Nathan's best friend, obviously continued to be wrong. She didn't need meds. She didn't need therapy. At least not yet. Good exercise endorphins should kick in at any moment, and she hadn't even had her morning caffeine fix. Yeah, she'd be just fine.
Still balancing the zippered coffee bag by its strap, she hopped up the wide concrete stairs to the Winterpine Police Department offices, backed against one of the heavy glass doors, pushed it inward with her butt. Mid- shove, she announced her arrival. "Sheriff, the coffee's still hot, and you know damn well that I don't serve."
As she turned, a solid body blocked her forward motion, forced an oof out of her. "Hey, buddy, you'd better watch where you're going, or someone's gonna —"
Sea green eyes met honeyed hazel. Familiar fresh-as-summer-rain aftershave assailed her nostrils. She reared back so suddenly she lost her balance. Worse, she nearly lost her grip on the coffee carrier. Omigod, she really was losin' it. Maybe Jonah was right after all, and she was overdue for meds. Loads of meds. Eyes squeezed tightly shut, she counted to three. The image didn't disappear when she opened them. She counted this as her second daytime hallucination, both in the same morning, both during awake time. Not a good thing.
A hand shot out from the unyielding wall of great smelling man and grabbed her by the upper arm. Okay, definitely too solid to be a hallucination.
The voice, male and smooth as honey. "I guess you haven't learned to slow down yet, O'Donnell. Still pinballin' all over the place without watching where you're going. Some things never change."
Surroundings disappeared behind a crawling fog. Try as she might, Kacey couldn't breathe. Crucial air remained trapped in her lungs, which refused to inhale or exhale. It was him. Navy SEAL Captain Nathan Weatherly wasn't someone a woman could forget. Not ever.
It was the SEAL who'd nicked her flight helmet one night and painted "Hellhound" across the front in bright yellow marker. The SEAL who referred to her AH-1W Super Viper attack helicopter as his personal watchdog service, who painted Cerberus, Guardian of Hades, on the nose of her helo with white shoe polish.
It hadn't been true, of course. She hadn't been his personal driver. She and her copilot-gunner flew ground cover for the infantry troops in the hot zones. That had been early on, when she still loved her job. Early on, when she still got off on the nearly orgasmic thrill of launching and landing the helo as if it were a mighty bird of prey, the mythical Firebird, a powerful mechanical extension of her mortal body, deadly weapons at the ready.
If she'd been a dragon, the rush of air that finally roared out of her lungs would have incinerated everyone in the station. "Weatherly? What the fuck?"
The sheriff, Big Bob MacCaffree came up behind Nathan, his large, stocky frame taking up half the cubic feet of space in front of the counter that separated police dispatch from civilians. "Nice mouth on you, Kace. I know your momma taught you better manners than that. You know Captain Weatherly, right?"
She totally ignored the question.
Big Bob reached for the teal and periwinkle dinosaur lunch bag, unzipped it, removed his breakfast from the interior cardboard drink tray. "Aww, for me? It would be so nice to drink my coffee hot, instead of letting it get cold while you stand there, gawking like a tourist."
He sipped from the opening in the plastic lid, smacked his lips. "Mmm. You're lucky — it's just right. Kacey, don't you be chasin' away my new deputy sheriff, hear me?"
Weatherly's surprise appeared genuine. He cleared his throat. "Sheriff, you decided already?"
"What's to decide, son? On one hand, due to weird circumstances beyond my control, I have four full-time deputies, ten part-time deputies, and only two training officers to ride herd on the whole lot of 'em. Most of those boys are fresh from the Academy. Half of them don't look old enough to shave. They are, but they don't look it. Good men, technically proficient, but not seasoned. On the other hand, you're mature, experienced, overqualified, and agreed to be sadly underpaid, which is perfect. Definitely someone I can groom to take over, so I can finally retire. The brook trout will hear the news and tremble with fear."
Nathan, living in town? Kacey's nipples tightened the same instant her gut clenched. This didn't bode well for her. But being in town meant he wasn't dead, which was good. The conflicts just added to her current level of insanity — wanting his hot body panting over hers in a soft bed, yet wanting him to go away. Far away.
Invisible bands across her chest ratcheted down tightly as she fought to regroup. Arms folded across her exercise-dampened bosom, she threw her best smirk at Big Bob. "And here I thought you planned to expire in harness, like an old plow horse."
"You watch that smart mouth, girly. I swear, I don't know where your bad manners are comin' from." He took another swig of coffee, heaved a contented sigh.
She wrinkled her nose. "I hung out with you when I was too young to know better, that's what happened. Picked up nasty habits. Keep buggin' me, and you'll lose your daily coffee and bakery delivery."
"Won't happen. You love me too much." The man with the football blocker body and the once-black hair that was now short and grizzled turned toward his private office, coffee and muffin nearly lost in his giant paws. "Plus, you wouldn't be cruel enough to force me to drink the motor oil they brew in the break room."
A lanky deputy squeezed his way through the trio of bodies, grabbed the remote for the television mounted on the waiting room wall. "Chief, check this out." He cranked up the volume.
"... the FBI has no leads at the moment. Again, Gemma Mansfield, eleven-year-old daughter of Senator John Mansfield, is missing from her bed at the family's summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The senator was not in residence at the time. He and his entourage are returning to the compound after cutting short what has been rumored to be a special meeting with the governor in the capital city of Augusta. Viewers will recall that Senator Mansfield recently lost his wife, popular socialite and philanthropist Maria Tostini Mansfield, in a tragic single-car motor vehicle accident. So far, no ransom demand has been received. The FBI and local law enforcement personnel are tight-lipped as ..."
Big Bob shook his head. "That's not going to end well, I can feel it in these old bones. Kacey, they need you on that hunt. You always had a special gift for outthinking the bad guys. Should have come to work for me, instead of the Marines. Not that I begrudge the USMC their crackerjack pilot, of course. Better yet, the FBI, that's where you would have been the most use. Even the CIA. I have contacts — you could still give 'em a call, y'know."
Her throat, as well as her chest, tightened at his suggestions. Breathe, dammit, breathe. A squawk was all she could manage. "No more. Retired, remember?" Sheriff, I love ya like a father, but stay out of my life. You all need to stay out of my freakin' life.
He made a rude noise. "The hell you say. Someone like you never gives up, never retires. It's in your blood. Your daddy and all your greats and great-greats would never give up."
Maybe once upon a time, but she didn't have enough left to give. Her throat still restricted, she couldn't manage a reply, not even a smartass comeback. She could only shake her head, while she did her best to ignore up-and-coming new sheriff's deputy Nathan Weatherly. While she did her best to ignore her body's insistence that hot, wet, naked flesh-upon-flesh was the only acceptable form of hello, Nathan.
Township employees were clocking in for the day shift. Some hurried to their desks to view the breaking news on their smartphones and iPods and iPhones, others gathered around the flat-screen televisions that hung on walls throughout the offices.
Then there were the women who all too obviously checked out the new man on campus. In such a small town, reports of the arrival of fresh meat, single and gorgeous, would spread like wildfire. But women had no idea what they'd be letting themselves in for. Once in his arms, any woman would be ruined for run-of-the-mill, common garden variety men. One taste of his lips ...
Damn. She finally managed to sneak an honest look while his attention remained riveted to the television screen, her first since she'd left him behind in Delaram.
Yep, there he stood, large as life, looking romance-book-cover luscious in a tailored navy blue sport jacket, light blue V-necked pullover, black Dockers, black dress boots, which she knew would be Salvatore Ferragamo's. His only adornments were a brushed aluminum diver's watch and his Navy SEAL trident ring. He'd let his military-cropped hair grow out. Now thick and lush, the richly golden waves were tucked behind his ears and fell to his collar. Put back in uniform — except for the new length of his hair — he could be the next cardboard cutout poster boy for recruitment offices. Join the Navy, See the World.
Nathan turned, boldly matching what she thought had been her covert scrutiny. His expression wasn't arrogant, exactly, more like assured. Always so secure, his confidence barely missed swinging over to full-blown swagger.
His gaze smoldered as if they'd been writhing in each other's arms barely moments before, instead of so many months ago. As if she'd continued to be numero uno on his hit parade. His thickly-lashed eyes still reminded her of fresh, deep gold honey produced by bees that pollinated only the plumpest, sweetest blueberries. Hot blood pooled in her lower extremities, and it wasn't from running.
Scenes flared up, invaded her brain. Images of how he'd looked just as scorching, as sexy, and as fantastic in smeared camo face paint and sweat-soaked combat fatigues. Of course, he'd looked even better freshly showered and wearing nothing to cover his tanned, somewhat scarred but still beautiful hide. With her nostrils drawing in his scent, her nipples reminded her clit, which reminded her pussy, causing her girly bits to race from tingly to painfully tight in a flash.
"So, darlin', did you miss me?"
Ahh, yes, and there emerged the finishing touch. His voice, deep and sensual, smooth as melted Richart chocolate, the vocal equivalent of bedroom eyes. A woman could overdose just by listening to him speak. A masculine, land-bound siren.
Facing him was mandatory; the sigh, involuntary. "Fuck. Nathan, go away."
She recognized the effort he put into his boyish, innocent look, complete with his hands tucked into his front pockets, a favorite pose of his when he wished to be especially charming. Successful more often than not, but she wasn't buying the charade, not for a moment. She was more than familiar with the hardness, the tough steel core that lurked behind the boyish demeanor. She knew the SEAL beneath the act.
"Kilo Delta, you could say hello — might be a good beginning."
Knocked off her emotional pins, she froze for a microsecond, then found her voice. "Kilo Delta died in Afghanistan. Let her rest in peace."
He nearly hid the creases of pain in his face, which instantly aged him beyond his fortyish years. Nearly, but not quite. "All right, Kay-cee. Hello. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Great. Wonderful. Couldn't be better. Now, go away."
His half-smile forced his cheek to dimple, which she did her utmost to ignore.
"Kace, that's no way to be. If I'm going to live here and work here, don't you think we should at least take a stab at coexisting in peace and harmony? The war is behind us."
Fuck you, the war will never be behind us, pal. Suddenly, she felt it coming on. Her heart's extra beats, her lungs pumping fast and shallow. The all too familiar curtain of darkness pulling in the wings of her peripheral vision. The sound of the ocean roaring in her ears. The omigod-I'm-gonna-drop-like-a-stone warning that quickly approached. Her body trembled.
He reached for her. Ah hell, does he know what's happening? No, he can't know. How could he? The wood and laminate counter was the closest stationary object, so she grabbed for it before he could touch her, managed to steady herself.
Voice strained, she forced out, "Nathan, please leave. Go back to wherever you came from. Don't make me beg."
Before he could respond, she twisted away, slammed through the doors, reached the sidewalk, bent over, resting her palms on her thighs. He's not dead, not dead, not dead. She gulped in fresh air to help clear her head. Home. She needed to get home. Home was the only place she could feel safe. Maybe.
* * *
As she headed for the house, Kacey's symptoms began to ease up once she settled mechanically into a comfortable pace. It was just stress, that's all, with the funeral and everything. Anyone would be under the weather. She'd nap for an hour or so, then she'd be fine.
She placed the picnic bag containing her cold coffee and stale muffin on the granite countertop next to the closest of the two oversized kitchen sinks. Finding what she needed in the medicine chest set into the wall of the nearest bathroom, she popped two over-the-counter pain killers, then splashed cold water on her face until her cheeks were numb. She toweled off, unbound her hair, ran a brush through it. It felt good to leave it loose.
Excerpted from Her Special Forces by Sophia Roslyn, Nina Bruhns, Terese Ramin. Copyright © 2014 Sophia Roslyn. 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.
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