Dirty Dare: The Rescue (Sexy Suspense) (Part 1, spin-off to the Dirty and Dare Me series)

BOOK: Dirty Dare: The Rescue (Sexy Suspense) (Part 1, spin-off to the Dirty and Dare Me series)
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DIRTY DARE

Part One: THE RESCUE

A sexy suspense spin-off of
Dare Me
& the
Dirty
Series

by

JULIE LETO

Praise for the “Dare Me” and the “Dirty” series:

“A must read for anyone enjoying a little female butt-kicking with a little flare.”

C.J. Yasay

Bookstove

“Compelling drama, engaging and vibrant characters…a must-have for fans of truly well written romantic suspense.”

Sonya

Fallen Angel Reviews

“The characters were fun and sexy. The story was fast paced and exciting…a great read. I recommend it to all.”

TheresaF

Julie’s Book Reviews

Main Menu

Start Reading

Afterword

Other Works by Julie Leto

About the Author

Contact Information

Copyright Information

Table of Contents

One

“Don’t move.”

The sound of a feminine voice shocked Sean Devlin to consciousness. He couldn’t see her. He couldn’t see anything. Hours ago, maybe days, his eyes had slammed shut, blocking out the sadistic sneers of his torturers as they tried to pry information out of him. Now, his lids were glued to his bone-dry eyes, cemented by caked blood and swollen flesh.

But now, she was here. He knew the voice, didn’t he? Unfortunately, he also knew what she was capable of. More dangerous than a thug with a cattle prod, she could rip him from the inside out, exposing the wounds he’d stitched up and protected with layers of scar tissue.

Then again, he also knew that he was too smart and too careful for three guys to jump him in an alley and drag him off.

What he
knew
wasn’t worth shit.

He tried to speak, but the sound was nothing more than a grunt.

“Shhh,” she ordered. “I’ve got to get you free. Damn, what did they do, weld you to this chair?”

He tried to remember where he was, but remembering meant more pain—and he’d already endured more than his fair share. To protect her, he’d kept his mouth shut. Now, she was repaying the favor.

But how could that be? The woman his captors wanted so badly to find—the woman who’d come to his rescue—was dead.

Harnessing control over the muscles in his face, Sean willed his lids to part. Through a red glaze, he saw her—her raven hair streaked with blue, her almond-shaped eyes narrow with concern as she examined his injuries without laying a finger on his naked flesh.

Good. He didn’t want her to touch him. Allowing her to touch him all those years ago had resulted in him being shackled to a cold, metal chair in a dank, windowless room and beaten until he could hardly breathe.

“You’re a bloody mess.” Her epicurean accent, a mixture of her British boarding schools and American training, played like a sweet melody in his shattered eardrums.

“I’ve looked worse,” he croaked. He concentrated on keeping his head upright, half-afraid it would drop off his neck.

She smirked. “I wouldn’t know.”

Didn’t she? Hadn’t she been there with him in Azerbaijan? Or was it Yangon? He had no idea if he looked half as bad as he had then, but there was no way he looked better.

But he’d won. He hadn’t given up her location. His attackers had put a lot of blood, sweat and tears—
his
blood, sweat and tears—into finding their missing super-spy, but Sean had resisted. Kept quiet. Jayda hadn’t been in his life for over five years, but that hadn’t stopped his kidnappers from pounding their fists into his abdomen, slamming police batons across the bottoms of his feet and dousing his flesh with chemical accelerants until he could see the gates of hell opening like a fiery maw.

All to find her.

And now she was here. But how could she be, if she was dead?

“How are you here?” he asked.

She shifted into his narrow line of vision long enough to impale him with a forceful green gaze. “You have friends in high places.”

Wait, what?

Sean’s connections were impressive, but not that impressive.

As she worked with the apparatus binding him to the chair, the conduits in his brain sputtered and coughed. A dead woman couldn’t pick a lock. And her eyes. In the misty haze of near-delirium, this woman’s irises had glowed electric green, like hot images spied through night-vision goggles.

Jayda’s eyes were as black as sin.

“Who are you?”

The stranger freed him from the metal straps, reigniting the burn in the slashes crisscrossing his wrists. The wounds wouldn’t kill him, but the blood loss had drained his energy.

“My name is Brynn. Brynn Blake. My partner is keeping your captors busy, but she’s jet-lagged and outnumbered. We need to get out of here quickly. Ugh,” she said, her revulsion evident as she slipped her shoulder under his dead-weighted arms. “I’m going to kill Dante Burke for calling in his marker this way.”

Dante Burke
. The name bought his green-eyed rescuer some clout—and reminded him of how prolonged torture could make a man believe things that were impossible. He’d thought she was Jayda. He’d thought she’d come back—like he had for her when she’d been the one tied to the chair.

In the clouded moments between unconsciousness and pain, he’d let down his darkest, thickest wall. When Brynn Blake lifted him to his feet, he slammed a leaden gate down on the memory. For the first time since he’d learned about Jayda’s death, he’d allowed himself to think of her with longing.

It wouldn’t happen again.

Not if he wanted to live—which he did.

Despite Brynn’s best effort, Sean’s knees buckled and slammed hard onto the blood-slicked, stone floor.

She cursed and worked her shoulder underneath his again, not so gingerly this time. “How long have you been here?”

“Not sure,” he managed. His tongue, dry and thick, stuck to the roof of his mouth.

“Dante said you went off his radar a week ago. He sent me to retrieve you as soon as he had a general idea of your location. Whatever you did to earn that man’s protection must have been impressive.”

Sean didn’t reply. The effort required wouldn’t have been worth the result. He’d saved Dante’s life once. It was no big deal. In their business, saving lives—sometimes by taking them—was the name of the game.

Brynn dragged him to the door. He filtered out the pain. Pushed aside the agony. Her hand slammed twice against the thick metal.

The door clicked open. Another pair of arms shot under his. The bodies of his captors scrolled by him as Brynn and her partner, also female, dragged him down the hall. The fact that the unconscious men seemed to suffer mostly from broken noses, bloodied lips and bashed heads rather than gunshot wounds told him a lot about his rescuers.

Dante Burke might have sent them, but he hadn’t sanctioned their mission. Outside contractors had to be more careful when there wasn’t an international covert organization to clean up their mess.

He was lucky Dante had sent anyone in to retrieve him. Sean wasn’t an agent anymore—hadn’t been for a long time. His methods had never quite jibed with the status quo.

“What’s the collateral damage?” Brynn asked her partner when they reached a back exit to the abandoned warehouse where he’d been held.

“Define collateral damage,” the other woman replied, a snarky lilt in her voice. “Anyone dead?”

“Not anyone who mattered.”

“Marisela,” the green-eyed woman said, her tone dipping low.

Marisela let loose a string of curses in rapid-fire Spanish that made Sean’s brain spin. He picked up every fifth word, which was more than enough. If he hadn’t been half-unconscious and afraid his head was going to teeter off his neck, he might have laughed.

“I’ll take that as a no,” Brynn replied.

“They’ll all live, but I can’t guarantee they’ll all have full brain function.”

“Works for me.” Brynn shifted his weight onto her cohort, unholstered a wicked Wilson Combat Stealth 9mm, and slid open the back door long enough to eye the alley for signs of life. “Get the car.”

Like a wraith, Marisela blended into the shadows. Or else, Sean’s diminished vision made it seem like it. He forced himself to speak, despite the shards of hot fire that sliced through his jaw every time he moved it.

“Why you?”

“Lucky, I guess.” She dragged him out of the meager moonlight and shoved him against a wall, holding him steady with the full pressure of her body.

Sean might have been half-dead, but he couldn’t help but notice how she felt pressed flush against him. Unlike her partner, who’d left behind the impression of hard muscles and unapologetic sweat, Brynn Blake was soft and toned and lithe. A runner, perhaps. Maybe she played tennis or ice-skated. His mind swam with images of women who looked sweet and delicate on the outside, but once in competition, they could whoop his sorry ass in a heartbeat.

Fantasies aside, he was certain he’d never met this woman before today. This mysterious Brynn Blake, his rescuer, was not the kind of woman a guy like him forgot.

“You’re not a spy,” he said.

“You so sure about that?” she snapped. “Do you even know your own name right now?”

“Touché.”

“Any idea who those men were?”

“No.”

“What about how long you’ve been in that hole?”

“What’s today?”

She told him, but Sean’s brain was too befuddled to do the necessary math. He wasn’t even sure when he’d been taken.

“Where are we?” he asked.

“Birmingham,” she replied.

“Alabama?”

She snickered. “That would have made things easier, since I was just returning to the States when Dante summoned me. No, Birmingham, England. Were you on the continent when they took you?”

Though he wasn’t one hundred percent sure, he shook his head. Pain knifed down his vertebrae, shooting out across his musculature like gunpowder ignited by napalm. He nearly fell, but she slammed against him and kept him upright.

“You’re going to be fine,” she reassured.

“You sure?”

She shifted so that her face caught the only stream of light brassy enough to shine in this dank, shadowed corner. Her eyes were hypnotic, a rare shade of emerald that dug into his soul and tugged at the primal part of him that had always been proud of his wild Irish roots.

“I don’t make promises I can’t keep. You’re safe now. I promise.”

He must have believed her because a split-second later, the world went black.

Two

Brynn watched him sleep, sprawled out across the crisp white sheets of her stateroom while the chartered yacht streamed across the channel toward the coast of Spain. Never in a million years had she expected to be spending the first days of the year on a covert mission for a secret government agency. But when Dante had called, she’d responded. The man was not only impossible to resist, she owed him her life.

And now Sean Devlin owed his to her. She wasn’t sure she liked the feeling.

His life was in her hands. Though the doctor had assured her he’d survive his injuries, the ache in the core of her stomach intensified with every rise and fall of his chest. Rescuing him had been only part of her assignment. Now, she had to keep him safe, alive and hidden from the psychopathic bastards who had nearly tortured him to death.

The door from the hall opened without warning. Brynn moved toward her gun a second too late, but luckily, the unannounced visitor was on her side.

“Sorry,” Marisela whispered, holding up her hand until Brynn slid the weapon back onto the bedside table. “Didn’t want to wake him by knocking first.”

“With the amount of pain killers the doctor gave him, I doubt he’ll wake up for days.”

Brynn did not bother to lower her voice. If Sean was aware of what she was saying, she’d never know. The man was expertly trained, and judging by what he’d endured at the hands of his captors, even if he were half-dead, he probably still had a few tricks up his sleeve. She’d expect no less from a man under the protection of the director of the Arm, the most covert division of the notoriously clandestine CIA.

She shifted in the chair she’d drawn near the bed, wondering how long she’d been sitting, transfixed by the undeniable evidence of the cruel and constant torture he’d survived. The doctor had found burn marks, welts, cuts and bruises on nearly every part of his body. He had at least three broken ribs and fractured fingers. His internal bleeding had been staunched by surgery performed in a suite better equipped for Botox injections, but Sean had survived.

BOOK: Dirty Dare: The Rescue (Sexy Suspense) (Part 1, spin-off to the Dirty and Dare Me series)
8.37Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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