Read Enemy Within (Unseen Enemy Book 1) Online

Authors: Marysol James

Tags: #romance, #military, #sex, #contemporary, #fiction

Enemy Within (Unseen Enemy Book 1)

BOOK: Enemy Within (Unseen Enemy Book 1)
2.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Enemy Within

(Unseen Enemy #1)

By Marysol James

© 2014 by Marysol James.
All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, including information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission from the author, except in the case of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages embodied in critical articles or in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Cover design:
www.doc2mobi.com
Cover photo: © yurmary/Fotolia

Dedication

For Dr. G.
I’m alive today because of you.

Chapter One

 

When Emma Cartwright pulled in to the parking lot of Shooter’s Bar on that Friday night, she was a woman with a mission. Like the best of missions, it was simple, clear, and had a defined and measurable aim: Emma was going to go in there and pick up a scorching hot man and go home with him.

Shooter’s was, she knew, hands-down the best damn place in Denver to embark on such a mission. According to Kat, the guys in this place were pretty much after nothing but a good time. And Emma needed a good time tonight.

She sat in her car for a minute, running over the game plan in her mind. OK, so a few deal breakers in terms of her choice for her very first one-night-stand:

First, Kat said Shooter’s attracted lots of soldiers passing through, and Emma wasn’t so interested in guys recently back from combat. Chances are they’d be traumatized, and she had more than enough trauma going on in her life right now. No, tonight was an escape for her, and as such, she wasn’t interested in damaged, possibly dangerous, guys. And she’d have to keep her wits about her here: no getting drunk and putting herself in a bad situation with the wrong guy.

Second, nobody too sweet. He had to be a nice guy, clearly, but not relationship material. She had a tendency to get attached to sweet guys, guys who held her hand and wanted to take her for dinner. But if this was just casual sex, then she didn’t want it to be with a guy that she’d really want to see again.

Third, she needed to lie about herself. Not her name; that was going a bit far. But she definitely didn’t want anyone knowing that she was a psychologist – that tended to freak people out even at the best of times – so tonight she was going to be Olivia Jameson’s personal assistant. She was sure that Liv wouldn’t mind the deception, though she was pretty certain that her
actual
assistant Nigel most definitely would.

As if she had conjured Olivia up just by thinking about her, Liv’s ring tone trilled from Emma’s purse. She pushed ‘reject’ and then turned the ringer to vibrate. She knew that Kat and Liv and Jenny were all anxious to hear the final diagnosis after almost a month of tests, but Emma didn’t want to talk about that right now. Tomorrow was fine for gloom and doom. Tonight was about grabbing on to life with both hands, as hard as she could, as many times as she could take it.

She knew what she was doing was unhealthy and reactionary. If one of her patients received the kind of bad news that she’d gotten that day, and they then turned around and flung themselves full-on in to a one-night-stand, Emma would have
plenty
to say about that. She’d say they were in some major denial, and desperately trying to avoid inevitable pain, and maybe even engaging in some complicated form of self-harm.

Shut it, Dr. Cartwright. Looking for affirmation of life is completely normal when you’ve been marked by death.

She looked at herself in the mirror. Her blue eyes had shadows under them and she looked pale. She slicked on a bit of concealer and blush and shook out her long, dark hair. She unbuttoned the top button of her shirt, hesitated, then undid the second one. And there she was, a curvy, thirty-one-year-old woman looking good in her tight black skirt and high heels, a pretty young woman just looking for a good time.

In the mirror, Emma met her own eyes for a few seconds.

Here we go.

**

It was the same Friday night that he had had the week before. And the week before that and before that. The same damn Friday night that he’d have the next week, and the one after that. Every Friday night was the same, and Dean Jessop was sick to death of it.

Not that he was in Shooter’s every fucking week, but the location hardly mattered, did it? If he was in Shooter’s or at The Cave or drinking beer with Dallas and Chris and Jim at his place, it was always the same.
He
was always the same. And God knows, the women were always the same.

Dean glared around the bar, pissed off at the noise and heat and smell. The other guys were all paired off already with women draped over their laps, and he knew as the lone man without a chick, he was a vulnerable target. Sure enough, the blonde at the bar was still eyeing him even though he’d shot her down pretty firmly earlier in a fit of bad mood. He knew she figured that after a few more drinks, he’d change his mind about her. The sad thing was, she wasn’t wrong. Another two rounds, and he’d be ready to go home with just about anyone.

“Hey, Dean. You gonna relax and get in to the spirit of the party?”

He looked back at his friends. Chris’ chick-of-the-night was up at the bar getting another horrible fruity drink and Chris was leaning forward, staring at him.

“I’m trying, man. Slim pickings tonight.”

The two women at the table looked offended.

“I’m not referring to
you
, of course, ladies.” Dean flashed them his charming smile and they calmed down. “I mean everyone else.”

Dallas ran a massive hand up and down the redhead’s leg. “Uh-huh. We sure lucked out, huh?”

“I think
we
did, baby,” she purred back. “The second you guys walked in, every woman in the place wanted to be where I am right now.”

“And where you’ll be later,” Jim said. The blonde on his lap smirked and rubbed his broad chest.

Yeah, OK, Dean knew that the four of them made an impressive group when they walked in to a room. Tall, muscular, strong, with a general air of don’t-fuck-with-us, they were all former Rangers now living semi-civilized civilian lives in their own ways. They weren’t in active combat anymore, but every man still lived and breathed what he had been through in Afghanistan, and they were one tight group. It seemed to Dean that women couldn’t wait to work their way in to their little circle, but it was a hopeless case: no woman would ever be able to be much more than a fuck to any of them.

Dean, Jim and Chris had been through training together and then served in the same unit. After three tours, they were all fully operational and highly-trained and skilled killers. By contrast, Dallas had been the sharpest sharp-shooter around. He had been brought in for extreme situations and he’d blow someone’s head off, pack up his shit, and then disappear until the next assignment; as befit a sniper, the man had practically been a ghost. Despite that, they’d all become friendly. There was lots of downtime when waiting for a target to emerge from a building, and they spent it hanging out, talking, learning to totally have each other’s backs.

Back in the real world now – as Dean still had to remind himself to call it – they stuck together, they picked up women, they fucked and drank and worked out. And they talked; they talked all the time about sports and poker and their jobs. But never about anything else. They knew better than to go back there unless they absolutely had to.

Dean sighed and looked around the bar again, wondering if maybe he’d just give the whole night up as a lost cause. Maybe he should just duck out, leave the boys to it. Go home alone, have a beer and watch some bad late-night movie on TV with his feet on the coffee table.

Dallas saw Dean’s face and knew his friend wasn’t in to it. “Hey, man. One more beer before you go. Yeah?”

“Yeah. Yeah, OK.” He shrugged his huge shoulders. “Sorry, guys. I’m just not feeling it tonight.”

“You’re not feeling
that?
” Jim nodded at the blonde leaning on the bar so her ass jutted out. “Really?”

Dean’s well-practiced eye took her in. Tall and curvy and in a tight dress which left nothing at all to the imagination, he thought she wasn’t even wearing the tiniest of tiny thongs under it. She was all cleavage and thighs and deep tan, and he honestly couldn’t figure out what the fuck the problem was here. She was stretching her neck and arching her back, displaying herself for him, but he didn’t want one single thing that she was offering.

You’re just tired. Take a night off from it all.

“No, not really.” Dean turned away from the blonde again. “But yeah, I’ll grab one more beer and head out. You guys need anything?”

They shook their heads and Dean got to his feet. The blonde obviously thought he was coming over to her, because her eyes lit up as he headed towards her. When he passed her and kept on walking, he heard her make a loud sound in her throat and mutter something under her breath.

Ignoring her completely, he walked farther down the length of the bar and leaned on the counter. It was damn hard to get service in this place if you didn’t have boobs hanging out, but the guys tending bar did know him a bit. One caught Dean’s eye and he nodded and held up one finger. The guy nodded back and grabbed a bottle of beer. Dean took it and sighed and stared around again, wondering if maybe he should just get shit-faced and go back to the blonde. He was sure she’d forgive him if he played nice.

“No, thank you. I appreciate the offer, but no thanks.”

The voice was low-pitched and sweet and it came from right next to him. Dean glanced to his left and saw a dark-haired woman standing there talking to some guy. He was clearly drunk and leaning in pretty close to her.

“Come on, why not?” the guy slurred. “One drink never killed anyone, did it?”

“Thank you,” the woman said again. “But I have a drink.”

“And I’m offering you one more.”

“No, really –”

“Tight-assed bitch,” the man said, his voice rising. “I’m not fucking good enough to have a drink with, is that it?”

Startled, the woman backed up right in to Dean, spilling his beer. She turned.

“Oh, God. I’m so sorry…”

“Not your fault,” Dean said.

“Hey, bitch.” The man grabbed the woman’s upper arm and jerked her around. “Don’t fucking turn your back on me!”

That was enough, Dean decided. He stepped around the woman and nailed the guy with a glare. The drunk dropped the woman’s arm right away and blinked at Dean’s ferocious scowl.

“I do believe that the lady said no, thank you,” Dean said in a low, controlled voice. “Take the rejection like a man, and move on. Lots of women in here would love a free drink and anything else you may be offering. You don’t need to bother with one who’s not all that keen, huh?”

The idiot opened his mouth to protest but then he seemed to reconsider. His eyes focused a bit and he saw Dean’s height and width, took in the tattoos on his muscular arms. Dean knew his eyes were glittering bright, his face set and hard. He had seen his friend’s faces change quick as a knife-flick when confronted by even the most minor of annoyances in the real world, and in the blink of an eye they looked like the killers they were. It about scared people to death.

The man’s eyes widened as he got the full measure of Dean and he backed up a bit. “Sure thing, man. She’s all yours… but the best of luck. This one’s not fucking worth it.”

“Thanks for the advice,” Dean said. “Now get on with your night.”

The drunk stumbled away with barely a backwards glance and Dean turned his attention to the woman. She hadn’t said a word the whole time.

Emma had watched the exchange in shock. She rubbed her upper arm where the guy had grabbed her and stared at the man who had stepped in from out of nowhere.

“Ummm,” she said. “Thank you.”

“Sure,” the man said. “You OK?” He gestured at her arm. “Did he hurt you?”

“Oh. Oh, no. Surprised me more than anything.”

The man nodded and Emma got a good look at him for the first time. Hmmm. Actually, he was kind of delicious. Tall and broad, his chest muscles were clearly visible through his black t-shirt. Those jeans looked good on him, too, and Emma hoped she’d get a glimpse of his ass. His eyes were bright green, clear and shiny, and his blond hair was long and curled up a bit in the back. He was scorching hot, that was for sure. Despite the hair, he had the posture and demeanor of a soldier, especially with all those tattoos, and was light-years away from the sober, professional types that she’d always been involved with. No relationship material here.

Despite the intimidating appearance, he obviously had a protective side and although it killed the feminist in her to admit it, she liked that. He was rough and tough and a bit wild, and there was no chance in hell their paths would ever cross again, she knew. In other words, he checked every box on her list of one-night-stand requirements. Best of all, he was gazing down at her now from his great height and there was what looked like a spark of interest in those amazing eyes.

Dean
was
interested in Emma, as it turned out, but he couldn’t for the life of him figure out why. He’d never been all that partial to short women
or
brunettes, and this woman was far more formally attired than his usual choices of female company. The shirt she was wearing was tight and clung to her curves just-right and was open enough that it showed a hint of black bra, all of which was very nice indeed. But the skirt was severe and tailored and looked pretty damn expensive.

Then again, that hair was fabulous: long and thick and curling over her slim shoulders. Her eyes were so dark blue they looked almost purple, and her mouth was generous. She looked like a sexy secretary or hot librarian, and Dean had no idea that he even
liked
that type. Until this exact moment.

Maybe
this
was the problem, the reason for his funk earlier – maybe he just needed a different kind of woman in his bed. A palate cleanser of sorts, a bit of something-else to get him back to himself.

They stared at each other.

You’ll do,
they both thought.
You’ll do just fine.

“So,” Dean said. “I know you turned down that guy’s offer, but maybe
I
can buy you a drink?”

“Actually,” Emma said. “I spilled your beer, so I owe
you
a drink.”

He grinned down at her. “How about we buy each other a drink? Call it even?”

“Perfect solution.”

“I’m Dean, by the way.”

“Emma.”

“Emma.” He imagined her moaning his name in that sweet voice. “Nice to meet you.”

**

Dallas looked over at the bar, wondering what was taking Dean so long. When he saw that Dean was chatting up a cute brunette, he grinned.

BOOK: Enemy Within (Unseen Enemy Book 1)
2.79Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Star Shack by Lila Castle
Into the Black by Sean Ellis
The Ancient Breed by David Brookover
The Snack Thief by Andrea Camilleri
Cuff Me by Lauren Layne
Innocence of Love by Gill, Holly J.
Dying for Revenge by Eric Jerome Dickey