Authors: Kemmie Michaels
Copyright © 2014 Kemmie Michaels
All rights reserved.
Published by Bruce Street Publications, LLC
This is a work of fiction and does not in any way advocate irresponsible behavior. This book contains content that is not suitable for readers 17 and under. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.
Names, characters, places, brands, products, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademark status and ownership of any location names or products mentioned in this book. The author received no compensation for any mention of said trademarks.
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To my family, you are everything, and I am so blessed.
Karen…there aren't enough words, but I'll give you two anyway: totes perf.
Kim & Carrie, I less than three you.
Sarah Ratliff, I owe Mason to you…both the man he
evolved into and the reason for writing his story.
He's all yours, but I hope you share.
Crystal Stewart Guenthner, thank you for helping
me with Jackson's name. I'm still not sure how
far his character will go, but he's ready.
Torrais Glenn and Allie Meredith for
Callen "Bash" Reed's nickname, as well as
inspiring part of his story. Thank you so much!
I LOVE MY CREW!!! Thank you to
my street team who supports me and tolerates
my crazy on a weekly basis. Don't worry, ladies.
Another freak out will be along shortly.
I don't have much else to say except thank you
to all the readers and bloggers who make indie
publishing a reality. You all make me smile daily!
Lilly, Kaprii, Francessca…yeah, you know.
The minute the gunshot rings out, I want to jump up and whoop like a victor. The hole in Garrett Masters' chest ends him and his starring role in the entire ugly scenario. Hell yes! Cam is rescued. Seeing a bullet in her captor's chest is a fucking beautiful sight.
And now for the fallout. Ledger is helping Cam through her shock, and I'm pacing around to give my energy something to do. I try not to grin like a jackass. Today represents my first chance to deliver justice since I left the Special Forces of the United States Army. No one here knows about that side of me, nor do they know how badly I wanted to drop that kidnapping fucker myself, just to experience justice up close and personal again. I missed this play out of strategy and execution of a mission more than I realized.
Detective Sofia 'Dig' DiGiacamo efficiently takes control of the scene while I wait patiently to give my formal statement, even though she knows every detail of my involvement already. She's made this process simple and seamless. Dig is a hell of an investigator.
"Mason Pratt," she says with cool professionalism. "Can you tell me more about what went on here?"
"Of course," I say matter-of-factly. "We arrived this afternoon in an attempt to find Camille Foster. Bethany Oaks gave us the code to enter the safe room. Garrett Masters, in an effort to keep Miss Foster hostage, reached for your gun. Ledger Emerson retrieved your partner's gun and shot Mr. Masters in defense of everyone here."
In spite of the well-hidden, happy glint in her eye, Dig is detached and capable as she questions me further. She executes her role as detective with precision, questioning poignantly and running the scene with practiced efficiency. She always looks the part, as well, wearing simple, classic black pants and tailored button-downs on every shift. Her dark hair is always pulled into a tight bun at the base of her head.
Today, however, is reserved for kicking ass. Calm statement aside, my blood is racing through my veins…for the first time in a long fucking time. This used to be my world. In fact, this rescue has been a temporary reunion between my bartender self and my Special Forces self. Until today, I'd been seeking out an average life to get away from the cluster-fuck that ended my military career. I had been doing well as a regular guy until Cam got kidnapped. Every instinct and skill I ever acquired kicked in full force. My comedian routine with my friends dropped away as I surveilled, entered enemy territory by stealth, and strategized with Dig. Fuck if I want any of this to feel so good. It shouldn't, because this version of me is gone.
I force myself to cool my blood and finish my statement to Dig in such a way as to not implicate either of us in the…unofficial…side of the investigation that lead to Cam's rescue. The entire time I offer our well-rehearsed story, all I can do is relive the thrill of the win. Doing everything in my power to take down that evil son of a bitch was even sweeter for having this badass cop as a temporary partner. I had forgotten what having a dedicated teammate was like.
Once the scene settles and my statement is completed, all I can do is return to my girlfriend's house and confirm in person that her life-long best friend is safe and back in Ledger's arms. I employ a meditation skill I learned a long time ago to calm my body and ignore the adrenaline. Mental focus and deep breathing bring me back to the person Shelby is accustomed to. I'm the laid-back, entertaining boyfriend. That's the guy I've been for months, and no matter how badly I want to ride out the adrenaline, Shelby has been through a lot and needs her Mason…the one she knows, the one I've worked very hard to create…the one I want to be. I pull out my phone:
Cam and Ledger are back together. Garrett-asshole-Masters is dead. Seriously, dead, as in not breathing anymore. WE WON and Cam is safe. I'm coming home, baby. We should celebrate.
I smile at my text and I can only imagine the joyful expression on Shelby's face when she reads it. We can finally return to our happy, fun time together, away from the stress of the investigation and the endless worry about Cam. I'm determined to hold on to that self, and Shelby is my inspiration for doing so. That woman is so much of what I need. Beautiful, sexy, intelligent…her silky-straight brown hair feels so good gripped in my fingers and her sexy legs were made to wrap around me. Our time out together is satisfying and fun. We're a good fit, and I can't wait to get to her house and celebrate. I hope she's as amped up as I am so I can let myself soar, if only a little.
I also hope my text is enough to relieve her stress, make her smile, and maybe get her ready to enjoy a little adrenaline of her own. I recognize how tacky that line of thinking is, but I can't help myself. There's no way to completely ignore how alive I am today…and maybe keep it going with a hot fuck with Shelby.
On the way to Shelby's house, I remind myself again of the Mason she knows. If I have any chance of making our relationship work, I need to be him. Today, however, I may be too fucking close to my old self to fake it.
"Honey! I'm home!" I call out with my typical humor, acting like the comedian she knows. I can't stop smiling after Cam's rescue, forced sense of humor or not. I want to jump up and holler like a goddamn warrior over a kill. Damn it, I have to get that out of my head. I'd probably scare the shit out of her if she knew half of what goes through my mind.
"She's really home?" she smiles as she jogs out of the kitchen, nearly running to my arms to confirm the end of the ordeal.
"She's really fucking home," I grin at her as I pick her up and twirl her around. I hitch her higher and she locks her legs around me. Apparently I'm not the only one who wants to revel in the victory.
"And she's really ok?" she asks, still smiling and holding herself tight against me.
"Baby, she's really ok," I grin back and squeeze her ass. I waggle my eyebrows at her. "Let's see if we can come up with a way to whoop it up."
She laughs a sexy giggle and squeals as I literally run her to her bedroom, ready to ride out the rush.