She’s the one that got away…

Kevin MacDonald’s been in love with linguist Lucky San Ramos since the moment he first saw her. Kev let the better man have her when his teammate fell for her too. But now Marco’s dead, and Lucky’s in grave danger.

When Kev is tasked with bringing her back to HOT HQ for an explosive mission to capture a terrorist, Lucky fights him at every step. It’s not easy being forced to work with the man she once loved while also battling her deep guilt over marrying the one she didn’t.

As the mission grows more dangerous, secrets from the past get harder to keep. And when the truth’s finally exposed, their love will either rise from the ashes – or burn completely away.

If they can survive an enemy’s deadly plan…

**Start reading the Hostile Operations Team Series – Strike Team 1 today and enjoy an action-packed, seriously romantic and steamy-good-fun military romantic suspense. Each book can be read as a standalone. No cliffhangers or cheating and a guaranteed happily-ever-after ending!

Read an Excerpt


Hostile Operations Team Headquarters
Near Washington, D.C.

“Fuck me,” Kevin “Big Mac” MacDonald said on an exhaled breath.

He was the only one who’d spoken, but the expression on the other guys’ faces echoed the sentiment. Colonel John Mendez stood before the team, hands on hips, face grave. Mendez was a throwback Army officer, the kind who ate nails for breakfast and took no prisoners. Not one man in this room had ever dared to disobey an order from him.

Well, maybe one. Matt “Richie Rich” Girard had done it, but he’d nearly lost his career in the process.

“That’s right, son,” Mendez said, giving Kev a hard look. “Al Ahmad ain’t dead.”

Matt swore. Kev could only clench his fists in his lap and pray he didn’t break something. HOT went after terrorists. It’s what they did, what they lived for. Al Ahmad was a terrorist. A low-life fucking evil bastard who liked to hurt people.

He was supposed to be dead. It hadn’t been more than a few months ago now that they’d gone after his second in command, Jassar ibn-Rashad. That mission had got fucked up six ways to Sunday, and they’d lost two good men in the process.

Kev swallowed. God, he still missed Marco. Marco San Ramos had been his best friend, the guy he’d gone through boot camp with. Kev wouldn’t have made it this far if not for Marco.

Thoughts of Marco inevitably led to Marco’s wife. Lucky. Kev squeezed his fists tighter, trying to keep himself from going down that mental road.

It was no good. He always thought of Lucky. Always felt the guilt and regret roiling away in his gut. Goddamn he was an asshole, thinking of his best friend’s wife.


Yeah. Wife, widow, what the fuck. He wasn’t allowed to think of Lucky, not like that, but he hadn’t ever been able to turn it off. Not since the first moment he’d seen her, before she ever belonged to Marco.

“If I don’t get out of here, take care of Lucky. Promise.”

“You’re getting out. We’re both fucking getting out.”

“Promise anyway.”

“Yeah, fine. I promise.”

Some promise. Lucky hadn’t spoken to him since they’d shipped Marco back in a casket. She’d left the military, taken Marco’s military life insurance, and gone to Hawaii.

“We’re going after him,” Mendez was saying. “This time, we’re getting that bastard.”

“Yes, sir,” Matt said for them all. “What’s the plan, sir?”

Mendez eyed them very deliberately. He was a wily bastard, but Kev knew there wasn’t a better soldier in the whole damn Army. “We need someone who can ID him, someone who can get close enough to do so.”

Kev’s blood ran cold. He told himself there was no reason for it, no way Mendez would want to bring in an outsider. But Al Ahmad was a tricky bastard. Unlike other terrorists, he didn’t like to make videos and broadcast them to the world. Because of that, few knew what he looked like. There were sketches, always sketches, based on intel they’d collected here and there.

And then there was Lucky’s debrief. The only person who’d gotten close enough to see his face and survived.

Mendez’s eyes were cool and penetrating as he swung his gaze toward Kev. “We need someone who got close once before. We need Lucky San Ramos.”

Kev felt like he’d been sucker punched. Matt looked at him, and he knew the horror was written on his face. Goddamn.

The two new guys—Sam “Knight Rider” McKnight and Garrett “Iceman” Spencer—looked confused. The others glanced at each other, faces grim. Kev’s gut twisted into knots. He’d been the one who’d gotten Lucky out the last time. The one who knew what that evil bastard had done to her.
He’d lost Lucky, thanks to Al Ahmad. Given her to Marco and walked away. Because he knew he couldn’t be what she needed then, and Marco could. Because Marco loved her, and Kev owed Marco too much to let one woman stand between them.


Kev sat immoveable, like a block of granite. How was it cowardly to let a woman go because you couldn’t be what she deserved? Because all you wanted was to have sex with her until it burned you up and you could move on to someone else?

Because a man like him didn’t do forever and happy ever after and all that bullshit. It didn’t exist. Not in his world. He might have been tempted to think so once, when he was much younger and far more naïve, but he’d learned in the hell of his childhood that love — or what passed for love in his family — was often a brutal thing.

“She’s out now,” Kev said, focusing on the problem at hand instead of the nightmare of his past. “And it’s been two years since she’s seen Al Ahmad. How do we know he hasn’t changed his face? Hell, how do we even know it is Al Ahmad? What if someone in his organization is trying to make us think he’s alive? Ibn-Rashad might be yanking our chain.”

Mendez’s expression didn’t change. Which, come to think of it, wasn’t necessarily a good sign. “Good questions, Sergeant. But trust me, if we didn’t have confirmation at the highest levels, we wouldn’t be here now. Do you think HOT goes out in the field for nothing, son? You’ve been here long enough to know better.”

He leaned forward then, two broad hands on the desk in front of him. “We need Lucky, and we’re getting her back. One way or the other. We can do it nice, or we can do it hard. But since my mama always said you get more flies with honey, I’m sending you after her, son. Go to Hawaii and convince her to come back. Or I’ll make her come back.”

Acid roiled in Kev’s stomach. He wanted to stand up and wrap his fists in the man’s perfectly starched collar. But he wouldn’t do it. Not if he wanted to keep his ass and his job. Not if he wanted to remain a part of HOT — which he did because he damn sure couldn’t imagine a different life than this one.

No, there was only one thing to say. Only one thing he could say, even though it about killed him to do it. He stood and snapped a salute.

“Sir, yes, sir.