Hard Target, Book 1 in my new Cobra Elite romantic suspense series, is now available for pre-order! It will be out in ebook on April 25, and hopefully, print that same day or shortly after that.
It will be available on Smashwords (all formats, international) on its release date.
This is a high-octane spin-off to the I-Team series, featuring Javier Corbray, Holly and Nick Andris, and Derek Tower and all the heroes and heroines at their private military company, Cobra International Security. Expect the occasional I-Team cameo in this series.
Here’s a description of the story:
Derek Tower has spent his life at war, first as a Green Beret and then as the owner of a private military company, Cobra International Security. When a high-ranking US senator asks Cobra to protect his daughter, a midwife volunteering in Afghanistan, Derek’s gut tells him to turn the senator down. The last thing he wants to do is babysit an aid worker. But Jenna isn’t just another assignment. She’s also the younger sister of his best friend, the man who died taking bullets meant for him. There’s no way Derek can refuse.
Jenna Hamilton doesn’t need a bodyguard, especially not one hired by her intrusive and controlling father. She knew the risks when she signed on to work in rural Afghanistan, and the hospital already has armed security. She also doesn’t need the distraction of a big, brooding operative skulking about, even if he is her late brother’s best friend—and sexy as hell. As far as she’s concerned, he can pack up his Humvee and drive into the sunset. And, no, nothing her hormones have to say about him will change her mind.
From the moment his boots hit the ground in Afghanistan, Derek does his best to win Jenna over, posing as her brother so the two of them can spend time alone. Except that what he feels for her is anything but brotherly. Stolen moments lead to secret kisses—and an undeniable sexual attraction that shakes them both to the core. But events have been set into motion that they cannot escape. When a ruthless warlord sets his sights on Jenna, Derek will do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if it costs him his heart—or his life.
I’m super excited to share the story with you. Without further ado, an excerpt.
In this scene, Derek, who is pretending to be Jenna’s brother so he can speak with her in an environment that mandates total separation of the sexes, helps Jenna get the hospital safe room ready just in case.
From HARD TARGET —
Derek jogged back up the stairs, making four more trips — two for the remaining two drums and two for the rest of the MREs and the water — while Jenna tore off the shrink wrap, opened the boxes, and piled the meals into the barrel. Then she fitted the lids onto the barrels, stepping back as he pounded them firmly into place with the heel of his palm.
“That ought to keep out the mice.”
“I’d like to store some medical supplies down here, too, just in case—first aid supplies, IV fluids, pain meds.” Her headscarf had come loose, and she instinctively reached up to straighten it.
He caught her hand. “Don’t. I want to see your hair.”
Jenna forgot to breathe.
~ ~ ~
What the hell are you doing?
This hadn’t been part of Derek’s plan. The words had just come out of his mouth, but for some reason, he wasn’t taking them back.
A part of him tried to convince himself that he was just doing his job, just trying to win Jenna over. But he knew that was bullshit. He truly did want to see her hair.
Jenna stood, frozen in place, looking up at him, green eyes wide, her pupils dilated. “I-I probably shouldn’t…”
He took hold of the damned headscarf and pulled it off to reveal thick auburn hair that hung well below her shoulders.
She reached up, ran a hand self-consciously over her hair. “I’ve gotten used to covering up. I don’t spend any time styling it or…”
Her words trailed off when he lifted a handful of silky strands, raised them to his nostrils, and inhaled, the feminine scent sending a dart of arousal to his groin. “You smell like flowers.”
“It’s … uh … my shampoo.”
Had he managed to fluster her?
“I like it.” He slid his fingers through the thick tresses, grazing her cheek with his palm, his fingers finding her nape.
Her eyes drifted shut, her lips parting on an exhale.
Lust punched through him, sharp and bright.
Reluctantly, he drew his hand away, fighting an irrational impulse to pull her close and kiss the hell out of her. “You’re a beautiful woman, Jenna.”
She shook her head, her cheeks flushing pink. “I’m not wearing any makeup.”
“You don’t need it.” He truly meant that.
Her skin was nearly translucent, her eyelashes dark and long, her lips full and…
Hell, he should not be thinking about her lips. If anyone caught them kissing, they would both end up very dead. Not that anyone would wander in just now. The women were shut in the hospital wing, and Farzad was likely too afraid to set foot in this place.
Don’t take chances.
He wouldn’t, not where Jenna was concerned.
Besides, kissing her wasn’t his mission.
“I wish you would come with me back to the U.S.” He rested his hands on her shoulders. “There are men not far from here who would tear you apart if they could.”
“Are you trying to scare me? It won’t work.”
“No, I’m just telling you the truth. I’ve seen the aftermath of more than one Taliban massacre — women and girls raped to death or shot in the head, entire families slaughtered.”
She took a step backward. “I know it’s dangerous to be here, but it’s more dangerous for these mothers. If I bail out of my contract and go home because I’m afraid, where does that leave them? Where does it leave Marie, Delara, and the students? The world can’t just abandon these women. I know that what I’m doing is just a drop in the bucket compared to what’s needed, but at least I’m doing something.”
Derek could tell she meant every word, and he respected her. That didn’t change the fact that he had a job to do. “At least think about it.”
“I should get back to work.” She bent down to pick up her headscarf.
“Let me.” He took it from her, draped it over her hair, tucking it beneath her chin and drawing it around her so that the ends fell over her chest to cover the gentle curves of her breasts. “That should do it. Not a single strand is showing.”
Copyright (c) Pamela Clare 2019