DEADLY CREED (Red Team #11)
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The dead just don’t seem to stay dead…
A recent grad with a degree in gifted ed, Wynn Ratcliff jumped at the chance to be a young linguistic savant’s private tutor. The job let her stay near her grandmother while she was recovering from her stroke. Unfortunately, the terrific opportunity came with some horrific negatives…namely catching the eye of her employer’s enemies. After her grandmother’s murder, Wynn fled back to the safety of the real world and her life as it was before she met Angel Cordova and his team of terrorist hunters.
She soon discovers the reality she thought she was returning to is gone…or perhaps it never existed.
Former spec ops soldier Angel Cordova has no choice but to retrieve Wynn when he learns she’s being stalked by the enemy his team is fighting. It’s not entirely against her will that he brings her back to the team’s headquarters, but it is under duress. Keeping her safe means steamrolling the life of her dreams. Setting her free means handing her over to their enemies, all wrapped up in a sparkly bow.
It’s a choice no man should ever have to make about the woman he loves…one he knows she will not quietly accept.
NOTE: I did change the title from Forsaken Duty to Deadly Creed. I wanted to save Forsaken Duty for Owen's book.
DEADLY CREED First Chapter Excerpt:
He let her go, just let her walk right out of his life, the only woman he’d ever met who could have been The One.
Angel Cordova closed his eyes and saw Wynn Ratcliff standing alone in the cold October wind next to the fresh dirt mounded over her grandmother’s grave earlier that day. It was for the best that she was gone. A woman like her didn’t belong in his world. She was too soft, too fragile. Too kind.
Angel shoved those memories from his mind, forcing himself to stay present. His team lead, Kit Bolanger, had given the group the afternoon off. None of them had their heads in the game after the funeral earlier that day. Wynn’s grandmother had made everyone fall in love with her, and they all were wounded by her death.
He wandered into the living room. Ace was sitting on the sofa with her laptop. “What are you working on?” he asked, hoping Val had told her the war room was the place for any of the team’s work.
“I’m putting together a photo album for Rocco and Mandy from the pics I took of their wedding.” She smiled at him. “I wanted to do it sooner, but things got crazy.”
Angel sat next to her, careful not to bump against her and jostle her broken arm. He wondered if she’d taken some pics of Wynn. Crazy how he craved the sight of her. She was gone. Long gone. He had to let her go.
But really, would it hurt anyone if he just looked at some pictures of her?
“I’ll start it over at the beginning.” Ace reset the photo album, then handed him her laptop.
The pictures were more than 2-D images; they were multidimensional vignettes of emotion and light. She had an eye for life. He watched the photos, trying to focus long enough to do each image justice, though he just wanted to see Wynn’s face. He paused the photo display. She’d been busy that day with Zavi and Casey. Doing her job. Letting Mandy have her day and giving Ivy the chance to do the things a friend does at her bestie’s wedding.
He flipped to the next digital page, and there was Wynn…in a collage that filled the page. Laughing with Zavi, pulling him up into a hug, doing some flower project with Casey as Zavi watched.
“She looks happy there. Look at her eyes.” Ace pointed to one of the pics in the collection she’d made.
Angel nodded. “She does.”
“Not like she did in these.” Ace clicked to a different grouping of Wynn’s pictures, the motion a little awkward since she was using her left hand, sparing her injured right arm. All of the pics that slowly slid across the screen were candid shots. “She looks scared in these. I’m not sure if I should include them in the album.” She looked up at him. “I want this collection to be a tribute to happiness, not fear.”
Angel clicked on each picture, bringing it to full size. He went through a whole bunch of them. How scared Wynn must have been just about the whole time she was here. He felt Ace’s eyes on him.
“You’re in love with her,” she said.
A wave of frustration come over him before he gave a harsh laugh. “Not that it matters now.”
Ace linked her good arm through his. She looked up at him. “It matters. Love always matters.” Her eyes held his. “Val showed me that.”
“He didn’t keep you here when you wanted to go. I can’t do that to her, either.”
“What matters most to you? Your heart or your life?”
Jesus. Ace was relentless. Both were lost without Wynn in his life. He eased himself away from her then got up and walked over to the patio doors. Tomorrow they’d be clearing the silos and those connector tunnels that Ace had discovered. At least the next few days would be busy and exhausting. Maybe by the time they finished that task, he will have purged his craving for Wynn.
Then again, maybe not.
“Send me the pics of her, when you get a chance. My email’s just like Val’s but ACordova.”
Copyright 2017 Elaine Levine