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Read FREE: Ranger's Sacrifice military romance

Note: this is book #2 in a Trilogy




Sergeant Chase Richards flattened himself against the wall on one side of the door. This Iraqi home was nothing special, but if all went according to plan (and the intel was accurate), they would drag the High-Value Target out in flex cuffs in just minutes—all while the neighbors slept the night away.

Just another day at work.

The familiar taste of adrenaline filled Chase’s mouth with grit and absinth, and he ran his tongue over his teeth.

His fellow Ranger, Sergeant First Class Cory Foster, positioned himself on the other side of the door. He flashed the signal, and Chase nodded. Yeah, baby. I’m locked and loaded.

Cory lifted a boot.


The door caved in with one well-placed kick. Chase swung around the frame, his M4 pointing right, left, up, and down as his eyes scanned for potential threats.

He plastered himself against the inner wall as Cory frog-hopped his position. He sensed Brett and Ricky stacked behind him.

Cory waved them on, and the men spread out.

The house was quiet. Too quiet. Sweat trickled down Chase’s face, tracing the edge of his Night-Vision Goggles as he moved further into the house.

He rounded the corner into what passed as a living room in Iraq, his rifle flitting in every direction.

And that’s when he saw them, ghostly-green through his NVGs. Two full-size, and two smaller.

Chase’s spit stuck in his throat, and his rifle jerked in his hand. His mind scrambled to grasp what he was looking at—and when it did, a wave of nausea rolled over him.

He turned his head toward Cory, who was crouched just short of the corner, waiting for Chase’s signal.

Chase held one fist up in the ‘hold’ signal. He swept the room with his M4, taking note of the exit on the other side. For the sake of his men, he was taking every precaution, but his gut was telling him that whoever had done this was long gone.

He edged back toward Cory. With their googles on, it was impossible to see Cory’s eyes, but they’d worked together for so long, he recognized Cory’s what-the-fuck look.

He placed one hand on Cory’s shoulder, pulling him slightly to the right so he had a line of sight into the living room. Chase touched his hand to his googles and tipped his head toward the ceiling.

Beside him, Cory stiffened. “Sonofabitch!” It was barely above a whisper, but Chase heard it loud and clear.

“Whatcha got?” It was their captain’s voice, coming over their headsets.

“Are we clear?” Cory whispered.

Chase nodded, his rifle still trained on the opening on the other side of the room.

“All clear on the upper floor,” Brett said.

“All clear at the rear,” another voice said.

Cory straightened. “Get Intel in here.”

“What the fuck, Foster?” That was the captain again.

Cory and Chase stared at each other. Finally, Cory spoke. “Four dead. Looks like a whole fucking family. Hung like Goddamn deer.”




Cory tossed his pack on the ground with more force than was necessary. He dropped his ass onto it and used the crumbling wall as back support.

Nothing. They’d found nothing where there was definitely supposed to be something. More specifically, someone. A High-Value Target, otherwise known as HVT. Where was this elusive traitor/double-agent they’d been sent to track down? And how many more people would have to die before they neutralized him?

He surveyed the members of Echo Platoon, First Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment. Some were stretched out, trying to catch a few zzz’s. Others were cleaning rifles or checking gear. His hand smoothed over his side where Rolando had knifed him. Had they missed anything? Had he made the right decisions?

“Yo.” Chase dropped his duffel next to Cory’s. “Transport will be here any minute.”

Cory grunted; one never knew what ‘any minute’ meant over here.

Chase flopped down on his duffel and pulled a small notebook from his side pocket. No doubt writing to Ella.

His sister Ella and his girlfriend Maddy Wright occupied more of Cory’s brain space than he preferred, considering the job they needed to do here. He’d hated leaving this time, and that had never happened before. Ella because of what she’d been through, and because he didn’t trust Rolando to stay away from her. And Maddy because…

Because she was Maddy. Smart, compassionate Maddy with her generous breasts, soft curves, and silky hair. She was the first woman he’d ever asked to be exclusive. The first woman he’d ever asked to wait for him.

Despite his best intentions, he found himself revisiting their last night together—again.

Chase’s voice cut into his daydream. “You think the girls are telling the truth, and there’s really been no contact from Rolando?”

He supposed he should be thankful to Chase for taking over communicating with Ella. Cory had never been good at keeping her ‘in the loop’ when he was gone. Hell, there were a lot of things he was no good at, and most of them had to do with women. It had never really mattered before; he was always too busy keeping his head in the game over here—especially as Platoon Leader.

But it was still odd to think of his best friend and his sister, together.

“I reckon so,” he said. “I don’t think Maddy could lie even if she wanted to.”

Chase grunted his agreement, then said, “It just doesn’t make sense.”

That had been bothering Cory, too. If Rolando considered Ella his ‘property,’ why would he let her go so easily? At least she’d found a new place for them both to live. Not that he expected Ella to spend many nights in their new apartment now that she and Chase were… involved. But she wouldn’t be far away, and he’d sleep better knowing she was with someone he trusted.

“Maybe we should still put Operation Vigilante Justice into play,” Chase mused.

“We could at least put the surveillance cameras in,” Cory said, warming to the idea.

Chase tipped his helmet lower on his head. “Something to keep busy with at home, anyway.”

Cory knew what he meant; they were trained to a fine edge, and sometimes being home was, well… boring.

“Yo Boss!” Brett called. “Helo’s comin’ in.”

Cory watched as the helicopter made its approach.

It was the first leg of the journey home.



Fort Stewart, GA

Doctor Maddy Wright stood on the airport tarmac at Fort Stewart. Mentally she catalogued the physical symptoms of her nervousness: elevated heart rate, sweaty palms and a mouth dry as toast.

Several soldiers had already stepped off the plane into greetings and welcome hugs.

But so far, no Chase or Cory.

Would seeing Cory be a good thing? Or would everything be different between them? Would he have changed his mind about her? After all, she’d hardly heard from him…

“There they are!” Her overly-enthusiastic companion—Cory’s younger sister Ella—grabbed Maddy’s hand and pulled her forward. “Come on!” Then she squealed and bounded forward, throwing herself into Chase’s arms.

But Maddy wasn’t looking at Ella or Chase. She blinked at the man coming toward her; was Cory this devastatingly handsome when he left? His dark hair curled slightly at the nape of his neck, and a shadow of a beard accentuated his strong jaw. His plain brown t-shirt stretched across his shoulders, the tattoo on his left arm peeking out from the sleeve.

She stopped several feet short of him; her mouth opened but nothing came out.

“Maddy.” He had stopped, too; he sounded so serious. Now that he was closer, she could see the slight shadows under his eyes.

“Cory.” She matched his demeanor, suddenly not sure if he really wanted her there.

A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, then made its way over his features. She saw the glint in his eye just before he reached out and pulled her to him.

As soon as their lips connected, the awkward feelings—heck, everything around them—evaporated. It was just the two of them, picking up as if they’d left off only days ago. As if they hadn’t been apart for the last three months.

Cory’s tongue pushed into her mouth and Maddy welcomed it against her own. Her hands wrapped around his neck, her thumb splayed against that strong jaw.

She shivered when he pulled away.

“Where do you want to go?” She was breathless; never in her life had she wanted to jump a man right where he stood. In public. With his friends/coworkers all around them.

His eyes were that dark-dark, smoldering green that left no question as to his thoughts and set the butterflies going in her stomach. Oh, yes, he wanted what she wanted…

He turned, nodded to Chase, then hefted his bag to his shoulder. “Your place.”


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