Buttoned-up Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is dangerous on every level. As a human, she poses a threat to Marine Captain Jax Raymond’s special Force Recon unit. Though the team has a reputation among the other recon units, only their commanding officer knows their secret. As a woman, the danger posed is entirely different. Jax can survive the temptation for only so long before his wolf takes over and pursues what it wants.
Military intelligence specialist Corporal Kaitlyn Amador is the first woman in the Marines to be assigned to a recon team. And everyone’s watching her. Her mission? Not only prove herself worthy of her place in the group, but uncover the mystery of why Bravo Team is so successful. A mission that gets more difficult every time she’s near Jax...
Each book in the Bravo Team series is STANDALONE:
* When Danger Bites
* Bitten Under Fire
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Captain Jasper "Jax" Raymond leaned his motorcycle into the turn. The wind ripping past him filled him with a sense of exhilaration, and the engine's roar satisfied a more primal urge, the growl echoing that of his inner animal. His wolf.
Heading back to base after leave always felt a little like shedding his wild freedom for a leash. Not his favorite analogy. Fortunately, Jax liked the other wolves assigned to his squad.
Training and fighting together had forged them into a cohesive team — a team he ran. At home, he was just a wolf, a member of the pack, a strong dominant with only his family to protect and his alpha to follow. When his alpha had asked Jax to serve and protect the pack, Jax had risen to the occasion. Leading had never been his goal in life, but now on base he was the alpha, and he was responsible for all of them.
As he came out of the curve, he zipped past an SUV on the side of the road. It took his mind a few seconds to process why the car had halted there. The vehicle had a flat tire and sat almost drunkenly in the grass off the blacktopped edge. A woman in full dress uniform had the rear of the SUV open and was reaching inside, presumably for the jack.
Slowing the bike, he checked the road behind him. No oncoming vehicles. He turned the bike around and headed back. No way an officer in Class As should be changing their tire on the side of the road. The fact she was a woman might have played into his desire to render aid, but mainly, he was in jeans and a T-shirt. If anyone should be getting dirty, it was him.
Parking the bike in front of her SUV, he shut off the engine then dismounted. "Afternoon, ma'am." He kept his tone polite. Uniform or not, he was a big guy, and politeness went a long way to setting strangers at ease.
The officer in question stepped out from behind her SUV and eyed him. His wolf went on point the moment their gazes collided. She was gorgeous. But more, her deep, whiskey-brown eyes had a fierceness to them. His wolf recognized that ferocity, and it filled the man with the need to respond. The point of Class As was to provide a severe, if uniform, look to all officers and enlisted. From her buttoned-up jacket to her formfitting skirt, she proved alluringly female. The dark tan of her skin reminded him of a bronzed statue, but a hell of a lot warmer. Her dark hair held the promise of red where the sun struck it, but she had it all confined into a serviceable bun.
The image of freeing all that hair and satisfying his curiosity about the color and the texture flashed across his mind's eye. Wolves were tactile creatures, and she was so damn put together. Reminding himself her bun wasn't a ball of yarn and he wasn't a cat didn't a do damn thing for the mental suggestion.
"I'm fine," she said, her clipped tone perfectly polite. The chill in her voice jerked him out of his gawking. "Thank you for stopping."
"I'm sure you are ... Corporal." He zeroed in on the bars on her uniform. "It would be a shame to get the uniform messed up, especially since I'm right here, and I'd be happy to change the tire for you."
Her brows raised a fraction, and the corners of her lips tightened. They were full, pretty lips with only the barest hint of gloss. Maybe she'd licked them? He liked the lower lip; it was plump and completely kissable ... Why the fuck am I leering at her like some dumbass?
Yeah, his wolf had rather basic standards.
"I appreciate you making the offer, but I really can handle it." Dismissal hung in her tone as she returned to the rear of the SUV, but a quick grin softened the sting. "Really, I can ..." Were those last three words for him? Or herself?
She paused then blew out a breath.
One part of him said to leave it alone. If she thought she could change the tire without fucking up her uniform, fine. She was a big girl. The rest of him vibrated with the need to overcome her objection and take care of it for her.
The wolf won; it usually did in moments like this. Human or not, she was a Marine. It didn't matter that he served because his alpha had asked for volunteers, he'd been a Marine for five years, and he had two more years on his contract. He'd always been a wolf, and the wolf would always win.
For all intents and purposes, the Marines were his pack. He wouldn't leave a packmate to change her own damn tire, would he? Not when he was right there. The big question hovering in the back of his mind as he cleared the rear of her vehicle was, did he make it an order since he outranked her, or did he go for charm?
"You have trouble listening?" she asked him as she pulled the jack out and set it to the side. She had on a pair of work gloves. He admired the choice, but they clashed completely with the uniform and were a hell of a long way out of dress code. If she had the misfortune of encountering a senior officer — like him — she could get in trouble.
"No trouble at all, ma'am." Hoping a smile and a bit of a coaxing tone would charm her out of her reticence, he grinned. The temperature hovered somewhere in the mid-80s. Perfect for a ride on his bike, even better for hanging out to have a cool drink, but standing there in the sun while she changed the tire would have her sweating through the uniform. "If you'll forgive me for not just leaving you here on the side of the road, I would be honored to render assistance. My mama would take my head off if I let you tell me no."
Instead of being impressed, she gave him a sideways glance. "You're not southern enough to pull off the mama, and I don't think she would take your head off."
Jax blinked. It was rare for anyone human to call him on one of his stories. The other wolves could smell a lie, but humans? They generally went with it. His mother had told him once he had a face made for sin and a mouth to go along with it — or at least to get him out of trouble.
Reclaiming the jack, she chuckled, and the sound teased along his spine like a caress. Following her, he wanted to growl when she squatted with care. She wore three-inch heels. Perfectly within regs, but the fact she could squat so gracefully in them did wonders for his libido. "Sorry, friend. You can't bullshit a bullshitter."
"Huh." The wolf might want to pet her, but the man liked her. "Fair enough. My mother would kick my ass, though." And then some. His mother had taught him to hunt — she could track circles around his father.
"Somehow, that, I believe." She slid the jack into place then paused. He could almost see the wheels turning in her head. The lug nuts needed to be loosened before she jacked the car up, or else the tires would just spin.
Still intrigued, he pivoted to return to the rear. He tugged out the spare and the tire wrench. The lug nuts wouldn't take him any time at all to remove. The spare, however, wasn't much better than the tire she needed to change. "I could tell you stories about my mother," he said as he went over the wheel.
The rubber was frayed, held together by goodwill and maybe a little faith. The tread had practically vanished, and if he applied even an nth of pressure, it would shred. "You know, Corporal — as much as I hate to say it ... this tire is crap."
"What do you mean, it's crap?" She paused, with one hand on the pump.
"I mean it's crap." He swung it out so she could see it. "Barely any tread, rubber's frayed in a couple of spots. You'll likely have a second blowout on this one."
"Son of a bitch." The heat scorching the invective warmed her right up.
"You kiss your mother with that mouth?" The quip escaped him before he gave it two thoughts, but her sudden, blinding grin was more than worth it.
"Yes. She's been married to a Marine for thirty-two years. She'd be worried if I didn't cuss."
Born and raised to the green. Made for tough kids and solid Marines. "Well, crap or not, we can't put this on your car." Too many sweet curves on the road, and rocks were a natural hazard. It wouldn't take much to blow it out. She was lucky she'd had the flat here where the road widened out enough.
Annoyance stained her scent, but rather than bitch, she stripped off the work gloves and studied their surroundings. "At the risk of sounding ungrateful ... if I can't use that tire, what do you suggest?"
She didn't sound ungrateful. Frustrated? Yes. Impatient? Definitely. Yet open to advice, so he focused on that aspect. "We're about ten minutes from a garage — but we have to backtrack to it. Luckily, it's Saturday, which means Martha's Peach Pit will be open."
"Are you assigned to the Edge?" Edge. She knew the lingo. The home base for his Bravo Team required classified clearance and special security authorization even to visit.
"Guilty," he told her, then shifted his grip on the tire. "I change the flat, put on the spare, then you follow me down to the garage. We get them to repair the tire or buy you a new one." Not like he couldn't afford it.
"That's an awful lot of being helpful for a woman on the side of the road." The earlier challenge reentered her tone, and his wolf batted at him. She'd served them a ball — they needed to respond.
"Yep," he said with a grin. "Corporal, I'm hungry, and you need a tire, and Martha's Peach Pit has the best pie in the area." Corporal. He liked the way it rolled off his tongue. "So you can buy me lunch. Fair?"
No, not fair. He'd baited the trap. Would the gorgeous corporal consent to walk into it?
"You had to mention pie." If ever there was a concession, she'd given him one. "Thank you —?"
"Jax." He wiped his hand on his jeans before offering it to her.
"Kaitlyn — Kat." The softness of her palm on his satisfied his need for touch even as it awakened a need to know more. "Nice to meet you — Jax." She tossed the gloves on the roof of the car, then checked the slim watch on her wrist. "Looks like I've got plenty of time, and I am hungry and you've been great. So — would you mind switching it out to the spare and then letting me buy you lunch?"
"I'd like that." Beat the hell out of getting back to base right away, and he had time, too. Time to get to know Kat before she realized he outranked her.
* * *
Twenty minutes later, her white knight pulled open the door to Martha's and let Kat enter ahead of him. The bell over the door jingled to announce their arrival. The men at the garage had promised to replace the tire and check out her other tires while Jax took her to eat.
"Grab any table you like, folks," an older woman behind the counter called. "Menus are on the table."
It was pretty dead inside the little diner, but it was also two in the afternoon. The diner's sign announced they closed at four — apparently they didn't do dinner — and if they had a lunch rush, it had cleared.
"I'm going to wash my hands first," Kat told him, needing to wash off the road dust before they ate. The implied promise in his devilish grin followed her into the restroom. Catching her breath as she washed her hands, she gave her appearance a critical once-over. A flush had ruddied her cheeks, and her eyes were a bit too bright.
Because I'm imagining that man naked. Bad Kat. The mental chastisement didn't erase the idea of what he looked like under the tight T- shirt and jeans. After splashing a bit of water on her neck to cool her overactive imagination, she dried her hands and headed back out.
Dammit. Jax had waited for her. The gentlemanly behavior was enough to leave a quiver in her belly. "After you," he murmured, sweeping his hand toward the open diner.
Kat chose a booth near the window, and Jax dropped into the seat opposite her. Though wearing only a hint of his earlier smile, he still managed to look like a cleaned-up rake.
"They make the best burgers here," he said, gesturing to the flyer stuck in between the napkins.
"I believe you." She didn't reach for the menu. Instead, she folded one of her trembling hands over the other even as she settled her gaze on him. The man was a threat to her equilibrium. "Tell me about the pie."
Pie was not only a safe topic, it was a decadence she could focus her sudden desire upon.
"Molly over there," he said in a voice all liquid heat and power, pointing to the waitress wiping down the counter, "she's the secret ingredient. She makes all the pies."
Pie. Think about pie. Kat smiled slowly. Don't think about the way the veins in his arms look sculpted, or how the scruff on his jaw would feel rough and teasing if we kissed — no, dammit. Pie. "I can't wait."
Thankfully, the wondrous Molly made her way over to them wearing her open welcome on her sleeve. The woman struck her as the kind who had never met a stranger, and she treated everyone like family.
"What can I get you folks?"
As it turned out, Kat wasn't immune to her open warmth, either. She got a rundown on the pies, then doubled Jax's order for a burger and fries, but substituted water for his sweetened iced tea and added a slice of apple pie.
When they were alone again, Jax leaned back against the seat. "Thanks."
For not ogling you anymore? You're welcome. It took effort, but the chat with Molly had helped her regroup some. "For what? I thought you were doing me the favor."
He had stopped to give her a hand on the side of the road. No one forced him. Fortunately, for her at least, he was easy on the eyes, seemed to possess an overabundance of charm, and was honorable. The latter turned her on nearly as much as the first two.
Pie. Think about pie.
"No." He chuckled, though she didn't think he'd be laughing if he could read the riot in her mind. "I'm thanking you for accepting my advice and for the lunch."
"You're welcome," Kat said, relaxing. Stop acting like a horny teenager. She was nearly a decade past letting her desire make her decisions. "I think I needed the break." In more ways than one. Though she didn't say the last aloud.
"Long drive?" The question gave her a jolt. Curiosity sparkled in his eyes, and she could stare at them all day. They were the loveliest shade of green she'd ever seen.
"Pretty long. Left Virginia way too early this morning." They were in upstate New York. Her ass had been numb before she made it halfway through Jersey.
"That's a long drive." A hint of reproach toughened his tone, but he didn't chastise her about the tires.
"Not too bad, but it's nice to be out of the car." In more ways than one. She'd changed into her blues at the last rest stop. Prior to that, she'd been in jeans. She kind of missed those jeans right now. It would be nice to just hang out with him, two random strangers ...
"How about you?"
"On my way back from leave." He didn't sound like he wanted to talk about work, assignments, or deployments. "Tell you what, let's table the work convo."
Kat chuckled. A man after her own heart. "Kind of hard to ignore the work aspect, considering I'm wearing a uniform."
"I'm really good at pretend." The promise of something wicked danced in his eyes.
"Are you, now?"
"Hell, yeah, and I've decided we're going to have a good time over lunch. We'll laugh, we'll talk, and we'll get to know each other." God help her, he was temptation on a stick. Why couldn't she have met him back at Quantico?
Where was the harm? I'm on my way to a secret assignment to investigate a classified force recon team. I can see lots of harm. Still, they were only having lunch.
Lunch and pie. "So you have a plan?"
"Absolutely. The only question I have is, are you onboard?"
Their food arrived, and the burgers smelled mouthwateringly good. Kat's stomach rumbled audibly. With food in front of her, she could pour all her pent-up interest into eating.
Licking her lips, she unfolded a napkin then met his gaze. "I'm totally onboard," she told him, especially since she could use a break before she immersed herself in Bravo Team culture. "But only for the burger."
"Hard to compete with Martha's burgers," he agreed as he pulled his burger to him. The first bite she took was so good, she damn near groaned. The meat was hot, the onions crisp, and the tomato sweet. Damn. Then her gaze locked with Jax's as he raised his burger. She found herself mirroring the action, and they both bit into their burgers at the same time and sighed. It went beyond intimacy, the way his eyes seemed to caress her and the warmth invaded her veins.
Trying to laugh off the crazy sensation, she lowered her burger. "Okay, that was a little more food porn than I'm used to with my meals."
"We need to feed you more, then."
"Sounds — meaty." And I sound like an idiot. She grimaced. "I'm terrible at the flirting thing."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "When Danger Bites"
Copyright © 2017 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.
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