Authors: Helen Grey
Serving the Soldier
By Helen Grey
Copyright © 2015 Helen Grey
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This is Part 3 of "Serving the Soldier" – a five part Hot Alpha Military Romance Series by Helen Grey.
Angie is smart and strong; caring and conscientious. She’s played by the rules all her life.
Now, she’s risking her heart, her career and her very existence after falling hard for Jax, her sexy patient. A man who’s made it perfectly clear that she’s only a fling.
Just when things look up, another obstacle knocks on her door. This time in a tight dress and high heels.
Can things possibly get worse?
Find out in the third steamy installment of "Serving the Soldier"!
This book is intended for a mature audience, 18+ only.
I woke up early the following morning, just as the sun cast a dull light into the room. The house felt cool and I heard nothing. Total silence. Then the events of last evening rushed back into my mind and I sat upright, alarmed.
I couldn’t believe last night actually happened. It felt more like a dream than reality. Nothing exciting ever happened to me—not
exciting. Last night certainly hadn’t been fun, not like something really thrilling, or safe.
As I sat up in bed and stretched, I realized that the house felt quiet. Too quiet. That was a good thing, surely, but at the same time it made me feel as if I were all alone in the world. Then again, it was better than getting slammed into by a car and listening to the sound of crunching metal and squealing tires.
I also had to admit that, despite the danger, last night had gotten my adrenaline pumping. While I certainly didn’t like the feeling of being in physical danger, there was a certain life-affirming thrill that still tickled my brain following the incident. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want a repeat performance, but maybe it was good to get a scare once in a while, to make you appreciate life a little more.
Secretly, I was also impressed with myself for my skill driving the SUV last night. Okay, so that skill was based on survival instinct, but it still counted, didn’t it? That ability to survive, to focus on a specific task like driving while being slammed by a pursuing car was something that captivated me, in an odd sense. I couldn’t quite rationalize my thoughts about the entire episode, but one thing I knew for sure, I was definitely impressed with Jax’s calmness, not only during the car chase, but afterward. While he had been on high alert, he certainly hadn’t been panicked. He was probably used to life-threatening situations.
Anyone in Special Forces, no matter what branch of the military, knew the risks they took. They experienced things that civilians like me could never imagine, not even in our wildest dreams, or nightmares. The fact that I had experienced just a smidgen of what he probably experienced every day while he was deployed humbled me. I was in awe of him. Yes, danger surrounded Jax and, loath as I was to admit it, that sense of danger was also oddly thrilling.
I shook my head and scolded myself, throwing back the covers of the bed and then immediately regretting my sudden move to stand. I felt a wave of dizziness and could only imagine it was the liquor that I had downed just before bed last night. Bourbon? Whiskey? I wasn’t sure. I certainly wasn’t a drinker, but such a small shot glass of the amber liquid should not have had such an effect on me. I wondered if he’d slipped something else into the drink. A Xanax or an Ambien perhaps? No, he wouldn’t have done that without telling me. I had slept, thank God, and apparently the hard liquor had a calming effect on me. I snickered. If Jax knew that I was such a pantywaist when it came to the hard stuff, he’d probably laugh his head off.
Then again, maybe my sense of being off-kilter was a leftover reaction to the danger we had been in last night. I wasn’t sure, but this morning, I felt that my attraction to Jax had intensified. I felt comforted by the fact that he had been with me last night. His sense of protection and security had been the only positive thing that emerged from the disastrous evening. Well, that and the mind-blowing sex we had on the beach. Still, the car chase had just about pushed any memory of the sex out of my mind until just now. I stretched and made a low noise in my throat. Just thinking about it made me horny.
I shook my head, gently this time, and stood, making my way to the bathroom. I took care of things, brushed my teeth and my hair, and then got dressed. I’d fix something for breakfast, see what was on Jax’s agenda for the day.
As I left my room, I noticed that his bedroom door was still closed. I padded down the hallway, glancing into his office as I went. I wasn’t being nosy. After all, the door stood half open. Empty. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be venturing into that room again anytime soon. Not if he could smell me, which I still found rather alarming.
I headed downstairs and made my way to the kitchen. I knew without even asking that everything was still locked up tight; all the windows shut, the doors locked and double bolted. He’d even drawn the curtains, giving the downstairs a cave-like atmosphere. Actually, it was rather nice, and would probably leave the house feeling cooler anyway.
I got a pot of coffee going, and without making too much racket, retrieved a skillet from the cupboard next to the stove. I was thinking to make some scrambled eggs, bacon, and some toast. In a matter of minutes, the smell of coffee and sizzling bacon filled the kitchen with homey and comforting memories of my childhood. Nothing like the smell of bacon to remind someone of home.
I reached into the cupboard overhead and pulled out two plates.
The sudden sound of the male voice startled me so badly that I jerked around in surprise. The plates flew from my hand as I spun, a scream tearing from my lips. The plates shattered on the hard floor as I stared at Jax, who was staring down at the plates splintering into dozens of pieces in disbelief. Then our eyes met, and I nearly sank to the floor in relief as my heart continued to hammer in my chest.
As usual, he stood there, totally naked. He didn’t look any different than he had the last time I saw him, but for some reason, his chest seemed broader, his biceps larger, his abs tighter. His beautiful cock lay flaccid in its dark nest of curls. I tried to act as if his nudity didn’t affect me in the least. The tingling sensation in my pants defied my brain and got my pulse to thrumming again.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” I gasped, horrified.
“Sorry about that,” he said. “Still feeling a little jumpy, are you?”
I said nothing else, just crouched down and began to pick up the pieces.
“There’s a broom and dustpan just inside the doorway in the garage,” he suggested, standing in the doorway in his bare feet.
“Don’t come in here,” I warned. Heading toward the garage, I glanced over my shoulder at him. “I’m afraid there’s probably bits and pieces of ceramic all over the place. Give me a few minutes, okay?”
I stopped halfway to the garage door, turned around, and stepped back to the stove. I turned off the burners underneath the bacon and the scrambled eggs. I didn’t look to see if he had followed my instructions, but I carefully avoided pieces of ceramics dotting the floor, stepped toward the garage, reaching for the doorknob.
“Wait,” he said. “I have to disarm the alarm.”
The alarm? I hadn’t even noticed it before. He walked carefully around the edges of the light oak hardwood floor close to the counters, eyeing the flooring carefully as he made his way barefoot to the alarm panel. I didn’t want to stare, so I glanced away as he keyed in the code. I heard the resulting beep.
“Okay,” he said.
I turned the knob and opened the door leading into the garage. It was dark and gloomy and I couldn’t see anything.
“Hanging on the wall just to the left of the door.”
I reached my hand out and felt the broom, and then the dustpan. Retrieving them from their hooks, I carried them into the kitchen. He immediately closed the garage door after me and reset the alarm. I glanced at him as I began to sweep up the shards.
“You think those men are still after us?” I asked, my heart squeezing in fear again.
He shook his head. “Not today anyway, but there’s no sense in taking chances.”
I quickly swept up the shattered pieces of ceramic plates, feeling bad that I had ruined the set. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem to care. After a few minutes, I had successfully gathered all the pieces, or at least the larger ones, into the dustpan. I dumped them into the trash can under the kitchen sink, and then took another turn of the kitchen, this time making sure I got all the small pieces. Only then did I gesture that it was okay for him to sit down at the table.
Again, I tried not to focus on his nudity, although I did allow myself one comment. “Do you plan on eating all your meals naked?” He sat, forearms resting on the table, grinning at me.
“How many times have you seen me naked since you arrived?”
“More than I probably care to count,” I said, immediately turning toward the kitchen cabinet to carefully retrieve two more plates.
“Really?” he asked. “I don’t remember you complaining too much on the beach last night.”
I heard the humor in his voice and refused to be drawn into his teasing. I gave him all but two slices of the bacon and most of the scrambled eggs.
“Oops,” I said, glancing at him. “I forgot to make toast.” I had just about sat , but as I rose to return to the counter, he gestured for me to sit down.
I did so and watched as he dug into the scrambled eggs with what I could only term as gusto. On the contrary, I picked at mine.
“You still upset about last night?” he asked, his mouth half-full. He picked up a piece of bacon and ate half of it in one bite. “This is good. It’s been a long time since I was able to enjoy a homemade breakfast.”
“You need a balanced and nutritious diet to help you heal faster,” I said, nibbling on my own strip of bacon. “And to answer your question, I guess I am. After all, it’s not every day that things like that happen to me. I can imagine you’re probably pretty used to it.”
He shook his head. “Like I said last night, no one’s ever tried to run me off the road before. Still, if it’s the same people that Michael was telling me about, it seems to be their modus operandi.”
“Modus operandi?” I asked, not familiar with the term.
“Method of operation, or status quo,” he explained, digging again into the scrambled eggs.
He ate quietly for several moments and then glanced up at me.
“I meant what I said last night, Angie. I won’t hold it against you if you don’t want to stay. In fact, even the thought of you being in danger makes me uncomfortable. I think it might be better if you left.”
My heart sank. “You want me to leave?” I blurted out, cringing at the sound of my own disappointment.
He stared and then offered a shrug. “Well, not personally,” he said, his lips pressing into a thin line. “But my common sense tells me that that attempt last night was only the first.”
“Why are you and your squadron being targeted in the first place?” I asked. “I just can’t imagine it. What could you have done to cause this type of retribution?”
He said nothing for several moments, but quickly finished off the bacon before replying. “I can’t give you the details, Angie, but let’s just say we really pissed off a certain family in a certain part of Afghanistan that had connections not only to Al Qaeda, but the Taliban. They seem to be taking it as a personal affront to their sense of pride. To their way of thinking, somebody’s got to pay.”
I shook my head, my scrambled eggs growing cold as I place the fork on the plate, having lost my appetite. “But to put out a hit on you guys? How did they even find out who to go after?”
“And that’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it?”
He was looking at me, but I don’t think he saw me. I think his mind was back in Afghanistan, or trying to figure out exactly who was after him, and how they had found out where members of the squadron lived.
“Michael’s going to be coming over later on today. A couple of others might come along as well. Do you think you could prepare a pot of something so I can offer them something to eat? I’m not sure when they’ll be here though.”
I nodded. “Sure, Jax, I can do that. I’m also going to repeat my statement from last night. I’m going to stick around. If things get really crazy and dangerous, or if you think, or I think, that my life is in immediate danger, then we’ll talk about this again. Until then, let’s just focus on your recovery, okay?”
He nodded. “Sounds good to me. But if you need to go anywhere, do any shopping, or run any errands or anything like that, I want you to tell me first. You obviously can’t take the SUV until I get it repaired. I’ve got a tow truck coming this morning to take it to the garage.”
That reminded me. “I gather that you called and told Michael about what happened, but did you call the police?” He said nothing and I gave him a look. “You didn’t call them, did you?”
He shrugged. “And tell them what? That a mysterious dark sedan tried to push us off the road? What else? I have no idea who they are or even if they’ll be back. They’re certainly not going to pay for the damage to my SUV, so what’s the point?”
I sputtered for a moment. “Well, maybe they could provide some protection—”
“I’m perfectly capable of protecting us, and my home.”
Us. He said us. Then I realized what else he’d said. So this
his home, I confirmed. Why not? He was bloody rich! Still, one man against a sleeper cell?
“You have no idea how many members are in a sleeper cell, do you?” I asked and he shook his head. “You don’t have any indication if or when they’re going to try to hurt you again, do you?” Again, he shook his head.
“Angie, I’m used to dealing with things like this. I know it’s frightening, which is why I once again suggest you leave. This is not your fight. You shouldn’t have to be dealing with this. I lived with this every day overseas. While I can’t say I’m looking forward to it, it’s something I’m familiar with. This has been my life every day for years. My instincts have been honed by years of practice. Yours haven’t.”