Special Forces: The Recruit


“Walk with me,” Beau murmured.

He sounded tense as heck. What on earth was going on with him? He’d actually been reasonably pleasant during the meal. Admittedly, neither of them had talked much as they devoured their steaks.

Perplexed, she followed him out to the porch. He strolled around back to face a narrow canal that stretched away into the blackness. They were alone out here. Citronella tiki torches provided the only light, their flames flickering weakly against the dark. A cacophony of sound wrapped around the pungent odor of the swamp rising from below. Beau propped his elbows on the waist-high rail and stared into the bayou beyond.

Just being alone with him out here in the dark like this was a turn-on. She’d never, ever been alone with a guy so hot, nor so deadly…which made him even hotter.

“You’re right about one thing,” he said low enough that she had to lean down in a similar, elbow-propped pose to hear him. “The military is never going to publicly stand for women in the Special Forces.”

She huffed in exasperation. “That horse is dead. You don’t have to kick it for fun.”

“But you’re right about something else, too. There is a place for women in special warfare. More to the point, Torsten agrees with you that we need women in the field.”

“No freaking way. He hates women.”

Beau snorted. “He hates everyone. But he loves the Special Forces. Wants us to be the best we can be. Male or female, he doesn’t care.”

“Why are you telling me this? He already booted me out.”

Beau didn’t answer her directly. Rather, he changed subject abruptly, asking, “Did you notice how publicly women are being tossed out of the various Special Forces courses?”

She snorted. “It’s hard to miss. Every time a woman fails it practically makes national news.”

“That publicity is intentional. We need the general public, hell, the world, to believe there are no American women operators and there will never be American women operators.”

“Well, yeah. That’s because there are none.”

“That wasn’t true once. There used to be an all-female Spec Ops team called the Medusas. Highly classified bunch. Operated for years and were wicked effective.”

“What happened to them?”

“The original team worked together for about ten years and gradually retired from active duty. The second generation team was lost.”

“As in they died?”

His voice no more than a sigh, he answered heavily, “Yeah.”

“How?” she asked quietly.

“Not my story to tell, and too classified to discuss here.”

Yikes. “And now? What’s next?”

“Next, we’ll try to build a new team.” He glanced at her and then back out at the bayou. “Starting with you.”

She stared at him. “Come again?”

“Torsten thinks you’ve got what it takes. He wants to train you to be a full-blown special operator. Not just a support type. A completely qualified combat specialist. That’s the purpose of Operation Phoenix. To raise the Medusa Project from the dead.”

She laughed in disbelief. “Right.” She added sarcastically, “And that’s why he threw me out of training and sent me across the country to a swamp.”

“I’m serious. Do you want to be a Medusa or not?”

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