Reckless

Book Cover: Reckless
Part of the Viper Force series:

Trapped together on an uninhabited Caribbean island and hunted by a killer, can Haylee & Jax survive long enough to confess their feelings?
   
While on assignment for Viper Force, Haylee, a former Navy Seabee sharpshooter, barely lived through an "accident" in Mexico. When someone tries to finish her off while she's recovering in rehab, she begs her secret crush and fellow Seabee Chief, Jax, to get her out of the country.

Jax fell for Haylee months ago and while he knows she can't stand him, he'll do whatever it takes to keep her safe. A cat and mouse chase sends them fleeing on a cruise ship then in a small plane.

Their plane is sabotaged, and they crash-land in the sea. Washed ashore on an uninhabited island with the Maestro hot on their tail, they must play a Robinson Caruso game of survival. Each booby trap adds risk but brings them closer to revealing the Maestro's identity.

With Haylee injured, it'll take their combined military experience to survive, all while fighting an attraction for each other they're helpless to resist.

And with the final battle looming, only the victors will escape the island.

Book Three in the Crescent Cove Romantic Suspense, Viper Force Series. These books are standalone and have no cliffhangers or cheating. They offer plenty twisty action, steamy, on-the-page heat, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

 

Excerpt:

RECKLESS
A Viper Force Novel
© 2020 Marlie May


CHAPTER ONE

Jax

 

Some dude I’d never seen before, a guy who was not Haylee’s nurse, stood beside her bed, injecting something into her I.V.

A week ago, they turned off Haylee’s sedation, saying they wanted to see how she responded. Short of a wince when they rubbed her chest—hard—we had nothin’.

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Five days ago, they pulled the tube from her lungs, saying she could breathe on her own. 

They moved her out of ICU and then to rehab, saying it was time for her to progress after the “accident”. 

They’d increased her physical therapy. Even played her favorite music and TV shows ’round the clock. 

But she hadn’t moved. Hadn’t opened her eyes. 

Not even when Clyde, the guard someone high up in the government had sent, turned on the TV and watched some stupid game show, blaring the volume throughout the room.

Or when her dad, her only surviving parent, squeezed her hand and pleaded for her to come back. If nothing else, that should’ve done it.

And now someone was trying to kill her.

Again.

I hadn’t been there for her when someone forced her car into that ravine. Or when her dad arranged for her to be shipped by helo from Cancun to Miami.

But I sure as hell was here for her now.

Rushing across the room, I flung my scalding-hot coffee into the startled face of a guy fifteen or so years older than me. Black hair with graying temples. Brown eyes. Slight build. A meaty fist that connected with my jaw. He’d been aiming for my throat, hoping to crush my larynx.

Dude. I’d learned how to deflect worse blows than that by the time I turned sixteen. Living on the streets will do that for a kid.

I growled, and my punch didn’t miss.

Gagging and clutching his throat, the man stumbled backward before he pivoted and bailed across Haylee’s bed. He crashed against her side table then onto the tile floor on the other side of the bed.

Haylee winced and groaned. Her eyes opened, and her gaze met mine.

“Jax?” Though scratchy and weak and lacking her hallmark spunk, just hearing her say my name was enough to make me tremble. But the asshole who’d tried to end her life permanently had sprung to his feet and was raging for the door.

“Be right back.” Breaking eye contact with Haylee, I gave chase, hitting the solid panel with my fist as it swung back in my face. With a grunt, I blasted the door open. It ricocheted off the cinder block wall with a bang as I bolted from the room and into the hallway. I only paused long enough to seek someone fleeing. A hunter, I’d catch the perp then show him a few moves I’d learned on the streets.

Down the hall, the elevator dinged and the doors whooshed open. The guy leaped inside as I charged that way. As the panels pinched closed, I shoved my fingers in the narrowing slot and pried the doors open.

Not getting away. Not until I’d pummeled him.

With his legs spread in a shooter’s stance, the guy stood inside the empty elevator with two hands supporting a 9 mil at chest height. Safety off. The barrel drilled my way.

While my lungs heaved, I lifted my hands, palms exposed, and stepped toward him.

He nudged the gun in the air. “Don’t even try me, man.”

“Who sent you?”

His dry laugh burst out. “Maybe instead of asking me questions, you should look in on your girlfriend.”

She wasn’t my girlfriend. She’d never be.

The doors started closing, and a smirk rose on his face. “Just injected her with a boatload of potassium.”

At the nurse’s station, a heart monitor alarmed shrilly.

Fuck. Haylee.

Wrenching backward, I spun and bolted for her room, my pulse aflame. My breathing raged as I hit the door at a dead run and slammed inside.

Blood.

On the bed. The floor. Spattered on the walls.

My horrified gaze followed the splotchy trail to where Haylee slouched in the very corner I’d held up for too many sleepless nights. She stood on her good leg with the injured one bent, dressed only in her flimsy cotton hospital gown. Shivers wracked her frame, and tears of pain and fury streamed from her blazing eyes. Blood dripped down her arm from where she’d yanked out her I.V. She’d hefted a hunk of her dismantled I.V. pole overhead, ready to smack whoever came inside the room.

“Jax,” she whispered. The pole dropped. It clanged on the tile floor as she slumped forward.

I caught her. I’d always catch her.

Until she sent me away.

“Got you,” I growled.

“Jax.”

“Here, sweetheart.”

“Sweetheart?” Her eyelids fluttered and an unexpected half-smile rose on her face, but she lifted and shook her finger near my face. “Sounds like flirting.”

As I shifted her in my arms, aiming for a comfortable position, she groaned.

“Sorry,” I hissed out.

“Hurts.”

Her leg or her ribs? Or, hell, the entire right side of her chest that had taken a direct hit in the car crash? For all I knew, she was talking about her concussed head.

I turned, holding her as gently as possible, but she gasped—a shallow puff from her lungs the only movement her tortured ribcage would allow.

“You killed him,” she spit out.

“Nope.” I carried her around to the side of the bed. The side rails were still up. She must’ve dragged herself off the end. “I wish I had.”

“Too bad.”

Damn right.

“Guess I’ll have to do it for you,” she whispered.

My chuckle rushed out of me as I carefully lowered her onto the bed. Easing her feet to the side, I tugged up the sheet and blanket to cover her goosebump-riddled body.

“Take my clothes off,” she said.

My hands stalled. They shook so badly I nearly dropped the blanket.

Get control of yourself, Chief. 

She was joking.

“On a first date?” I croaked. Not sure where my daring came from. Usually around Haylee, my words stalled on my tongue, unable to slide free. But there was something vulnerable, sweet, and approachable about a wounded Haylee. I wasn’t freezing or stuttering like I always did whenever she was around.

“I didn’t mean anything like that,” she said.

Nope. She never would.

I lifted the blanket up to her shoulders and tucked it down snug.

“I know you hate me,” she said, tears leaking from her tightly closed eyes. Creases of pain lined her beautiful face.

“Not too much.” Not at all. How could I? I’d liked this woman from the moment I met her, when I joined Flint’s newly formed business, Viper Force. The business was made up of a group of ex-Navy Seabees brought together to test new weapons and handle “special” projects for the military.

“Can you do something for me?” she bit through her clenched jaw.

“Anything, sweetheart.” This endearment, I forced out. Joking between us was one thing, but I more than half meant it.

One hundred percent meant it.

Reaching up, her hand clamped around my wrist. “Get me the hell out of here,” she said with terror lifting her voice. “Before they kill me.”

COLLAPSE

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