Wild Card

Elite Ops Book 1

It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong–and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.

Bella’s mourned her husband’s death for three long years. But she has no idea he’s still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is–even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan’s arms once more?

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“Look really.” Her voice softened and he was enchanted. Right there, to the sound of a sweet Southern Belle, Nathan Malone lost his heart. “I really just need a little bit of help here. I swear. My job interview isn’t going to wait for me. I promise, I won’t take long.”

She smiled, and he felt his world tilt on its axis. A sweet curve of her lips, a hint of nervousness, frustration and worry lingered in the soft curve. But she smiled at him. Hell, he felt like a teenager again.

He moved around the desk and held out his hand to the door. “Show me the car. We’ll get you back on the road.”

“Boss, we’re packed,” Sammy protested.

Nathan ignored him as the young woman turned and preceded him to the door. He was watching her ass as she walked and it was the damnedest view. His hands itched to touch her. Itched to cup those curves and feel them flex beneath his hands.

“I’m Sabella.” She flashed him a smile over her shoulder. “I really appreciate this.”

That Georgia accent was going to make him come in his jeans. No way he was going to hold it back if she kept talking to him.

This one was his.

“It’s going to cost you,” he drawled as he popped open the hood to her little sporty sedan.

“It always does,” she sighed. “How much do you think?”

She looked worried. She was definitely a woman with a goal and intent on getting there. Pretty polished nails, just enough makeup to highlight her features, and pretty soft lips.

“Dinner.” He grinned back at her, catching the surprise in her eyes.

“Dinner?” Wariness filled her voice.

“Just dinner,” he promised. For now. “Tonight.”

She stared back at him for long seconds, those gray eyes seeming to sink inside him, to search, to warm places inside him he didn’t know existed. Let alone knew they were cold.

Finally, her lips tipped into a charming, flirtatious grin.

“The bad boy of Alpine is asking me out to dinner?” she said asked mischievously. “I believe I just might swoon.”

“That’s not me. That’s Sammy.” He pointed to the mechanic. “I’m just a poor mechanic and Navy SEAL.” The girls loved SEALs. Anything to impress her.

“Nathan Malone, the SEAL with the wild blue eyes and the heart breaking grin,” she stated. “I know who you are.”

“But I don’t know who you are,” he stated somberly. “I’d love to find out.”

That look again. Intense, probing. “Dinner,” she finally agreed softly. “I’ll meet you.”

Whatever he could get. “Piedmont’s,” he named the most expensive restaurant in town, which wasn’t saying much. “Seven.”

“Seven it is. But I’ll never make it if you don’t fix my car.”