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Jax “Gem” Stone & Everly Fairhope
H.O.T. Strike Team 2, Book 6
Everly Fairhope is desperate. When threats against her mother’s life escalate, there’s only one man she can turn to. But he’s as likely to slam the door in her face as he is to help her.
Special Ops soldier Jax “Gem” Stone didn’t think he’d see Everly again after the abrupt way she walked out of his life and got engaged to someone else. So when she turns up at his front door, begging for help, the answer is no.
Until someone takes a shot at them both.
Gem doesn’t want to get involved for good reasons, but there’s no turning back. He’ll protect Everly and end the threat, then he wants her gone.
Some things are easier said than done, though.
Saving Everly from danger could be harder than expected when powerful forces work against him. But letting her go a second time?
Impossible. She’s his, and he intends to prove it to her. If they survive what’s coming…
**Start reading the Hostile Operations Team Series – Strike Team 2 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!
Audiobook coming soon!
Read an Excerpt
She turned blindly to the door, needing to escape before she said anything stupid or broke down in front of him. She couldn’t afford to break down when she needed to go to yet another party and smile for her mother’s donors.
A hand closed around her arm and she stilled in the act of opening the door, her body trembling with his touch. She’d missed it so much.
“I can’t let you walk two blocks in the dark alone in that outfit. I’ll drive you to your car.”
“I’d rather walk. And I’ll be okay.”
“Sorry, no can do, princess. I’m taking you to your car and watching you get in.”
“You aren’t going to take no for an answer, are you?”
“Nope.” He grabbed his jacket and keys and pulled the door open. “I may not like you much, honey, but I’m still a gentleman. Here, don’t forget your scarf. Wouldn’t want you to have to come back.”
He dangled it in his fingers and Everly snatched it, cheeks flaming. He no doubt thought she’d done it on purpose so she’d have an excuse to return. She wrapped it around her neck and glared. “Thank you. It was a present from Stuart. I’d hate to lose it.”
His eyes hardened to chips of ice and she spun away before he could see the lie. She was a terrible liar, which was yet another reason she’d never make a good politician. They all lied, even when they were trying to do good. It was how things got done in this city.
She went onto the landing and Gem locked the door before leading the way down the stairs. His strides were naturally long but he shortened them to match hers. She’d always appreciated that when they were going somewhere together.
They walked to his car in silence. The locks chirped and he opened the passenger door for her, like always. Everly brushed past him and maneuvered her way into the sports car. He got in and the engine purred to life, rumbling like a kitten.
“Which way?” he asked.
She pointed. “I came over the fence there. I didn’t notice the street name.” The fence was a white split rail, decorative not security. It was more appropriate to say she’d come through the fence since she’d bent down and slipped between the top and middle poles.
Gem backed out of the space and drove to the main road. He had to take a series of rights before he navigated around to the adjoining road where she’d left her BMW. It was there, the only vehicle in a parking lot that belonged to a real estate office. Gem pulled into a space facing her car. Everly dropped her chin and stared at her clasped hands. Her heart thudded. Disappointment soured her stomach.
“I’m sorry, Everly,” he said, the first hint of softness she’d heard from him.
Somehow, that made it even harder. “Me too,” she whispered past the lump in her throat.
He got out of the car and came around to open the door for her. The gesture made regret flare bright. Still, she swung her legs around and pushed up from the low seat of the sports car without taking the hand he offered. The top of her head came to his chin and she tilted her face back to gaze up at him.
“I want you to be happy, Gem. So much.”
His gaze shuttered. “I am happy, Everly. I’ve got the best job in the world, the best team, and what I do matters. You didn’t break my heart.”
Was it wrong to be disappointed about that? Of course it was, but she couldn’t take it back.
“Good,” she lied. “I’m glad. Well, best be going.”
He pulled open the driver’s door for her. She hesitated, wanting to say something more, but nothing would come.
Until a red dot appeared on his jacket and her insides turned to ice. “Get down!” she screamed.
A moment later glass exploded, raining down like ash.
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H.O.T. Publishing, LLC
February 21, 2023
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