Night tells himself Summer is his mother’s physical therapist and nothing more. Until she’s kidnapped on his watch and he realises how much he truly cares.
Night, leader of the Wind Warriors, has little time for romance and no patience for his matchmaking mother’s selections, too busy focusing on special missions. His orderly life falls apart when Summer, his mother’s physical therapist and his budding romantic interest, is kidnapped at gunpoint.
Summer never expects to meet a man like Night, intelligent and downright sexy. She bristles under his dictatorial tone, stands up to him, while beginning to see the man underneath. A man she could spend a lifetime with.
The past comes back to haunt Night, dragging Summer into the midst of danger. Can he gather the team and rush to her rescue before it’s too late and he loses the woman he’s come to love?
Reader Advisory: This book contains reference to rape and sexual abuse.
Publisher's Note: This book was previously released by another publisher. It has been revised and re-edited for release with Totally Bound Publishing.
General Release Date: 31st October 2014
Night scrubbed a hand across his face in an attempt to banish the exhaustion and instill some alertness and energy. Without glancing in a mirror, he knew dark circles resided under his eyes and deep lines furrowed his face, all the result of forty-eight hours with no sleep.
Night’s team had located a top drug kingpin just as he had returned to his remote lair, a heavily fortified cement structure guarded by a dozen hired mercenaries, paid to ensure his protection and survival. Due to the Wind Warriors’ stealth, courage and ability to strategize quickly, they’d slid into the shadows of predawn, leaving an imploded building in their wake. Another job done, another bad guy taken out.
Loco drove their late model black SUV toward their home base. None of them had slept, despite being on the road for three hours, their drawn faces spoke of fatigue and a need for downtime. Yet, Night knew, if the occasion called for it, each one would go to battle immediately, pushing their physical limits to the brink. That’s just what Wind Warriors did.
Night had formed the group a few years back, seeking out the highest trained former Special Forces members he could find, offering them independence, high wages, and the luxury of declining any mission they felt uneasy about. In exchange, they kept their adrenaline rush skills fresh, wiped scum from the earth, and made his business a success with more mission offers than he could possibly accept. The government officially denied his team existed. Only a select few in senior levels knew about their specialized services and only two possessed the power to recruit his assistance in making a nearly untouchable snake disappear.
He nudged Loco, a tall, sandy-haired former Marine, and gestured toward a billboard advertising restaurants and a hotel just off the next off ramp. “Sleep or food first?” He turned to glance at each of his men, raking his gaze over their faces, determining their levels of weariness and ability to continue if the need arose.
“Sleep.” Cale’s voice carried from the backseat. His blue eyes appeared dull against his nearly black hair, shoulders slumped as if he was simply too tired to sit up straight. The former Navy SEAL could usually outlast them all, but not today.
“Sleep.” Loco echoed.
“Agreed.” Spoon, the fourth member of the team, a former Green Beret, solidified the vote while rubbing at his brown eyes.
“Sleep it is.”
They took the exit, quickly pulling into the parking lot of a chain hotel. Smaller motels worked but sometimes the front desk help became antsy when four large-framed men dressed in camouflage wandered in from the street. Larger inns booked more guests but didn’t ask nearly as many questions, and usually treated them with frank respect, automatically believing they were attached to present, active-duty with the military. None of the team corrected their mistake.
No sooner had they registered and entered their room, did they drop their duffle bags, lock the door, and divvy up who would take which bed. They could easily afford a room apiece, but safety lay in numbers. Besides, it wasn’t the first time they’d shared sleeping quarters and most likely wouldn’t be the last. For a stay as brief as theirs, it didn’t make sense to spend a fortune on luxuries none of them needed or expected. Most of the time, they simply asked for an extra cot or two, then flipped a coin for who stretched out where. In a pinch, they’d share beds—not quite comfortable on the floor, even though all of them had slept in much worse situations.
Night smirked as, almost in unison, the guys pulled out their cell phones, punching in familiar numbers. Home could wait a few more hours, even if phone calls to loved ones couldn’t.
He followed suit, tapping in his home number, smiling when his mother answered.
“How are you feeling? Did you start your therapy today?”
Felina Kensington had undergone total knee replacement on her right leg a few short days ago. Just as the doctors released her, an emergency mission had yanked him halfway across the country, throwing a large monkey wrench into his plans for making sure his mother received the best of care. The inability to be in two places at once tore at him—responsibility and the need to be there for his mother. His mother had insisted that he go, take care of his men, that she would be more than fine.
In the end, he’d taken her advice, still annoyed with the poor timing of this mission. Instead of meeting and ferreting out a proper physical therapist, he was forced to allow an agency to choose one for her. He couldn’t attend her first exercise session, much to his frustration and chagrin. That would change today as he would make it home that evening, come hell or high water.
“I’m doing well.” His mother’s soft and cheery voice carried across the phone. “Are you okay? You must be on your way home.” Perceptive and wise, she easily understood all the no communication rules in place to protect the Wind Warriors, as well as any loved ones. The stakes they played for remained high and revenge from targets who escaped justice waited in the wings. He and the others could never be too careful, not if they wanted to live long.
“I am. I’m sorry I couldn’t have been there yesterday to meet your physical therapist.”
“Oh, Summer is just a dear.”
“Summer?” He frowned. “What kind of name is that?” His tone dropped in disapproval as he pictured a teenage girl chewing bubble gum, fumbling through exercises with his mother, lacking the experience necessary in order to care for patients properly.
“Colton Regent Night Shadow Kensington! Shame on you. Putting a sweet woman down for her name. Of all people, you shouldn’t throw stones at her glass house.”
He sighed into the phone. His mother could out-stubborn a mule. If she liked this girl, nothing he could say would change her opinion. He only hoped this Summer didn’t end up messing up the new knee. “I take it you like her?”
“Why, yes. She came over yesterday, spent nearly two hours with me. Even brought me delicious cookies.” She continued, lavishing praise on the girl.
“I don’t care if she’s a gourmet chef. How did your therapy go?” he grumbled, his gaze flicking over the room as one by one, the men closed their phones, plopped onto the beds then settled into sleep mode. After unlacing one boot, he pulled it off before starting on the other.
“Fine. Really. She showed me some exercises, gave me some handouts for ones to do when I’m alone. We walked around the house with the walker and she guided me through some range of motion exercises. Don’t worry. She really knows what she’s doing. Reminds me a bit of you, watching me like a hawk.”
Score one for the therapist.
Ever since he could remember, it had been him and his mother against the world. She’d raised him alone, sometimes working two jobs to keep a roof over their heads. Her lack of education minimized her job options to low paying and backbreaking manual labor. She took the jobs head on, never complaining, and had managed to keep him fed, clothed, and out of trouble, while stressing the importance of education until it sank in and stuck like superglue. All of those menial jobs had worn her knees out, which was why she needed a replacement now.
Growing up in the Midwest, I began reading romance novels in high school, immediately falling in love with the genre, to the point where I decided to write professionally for a career. However, that dream splattered against a brick wall, resulting in a quick death in my first writing class in college when my professor told me bluntly that I wasn't any good at it. I shifted gears quickly, and left my writing dreams behind, eventually settling on becoming a nurse.
A few years back, I stumbled across a fan-fiction writing site on a favorite author's webpage. I began to read stories others wrote, not only making some wonderful close friends from the experience, but also, really learning to write for the very first time. Here I was able to share short stories, practice my writing skills, and truly develop into a writer. More than that, the experience allowed me to revitalize my dream, as I rediscovered joy in writing. Now, I spend my days off with my alpha male characters, quick witted heroines, and see how much trouble everyone can get into.
When I'm not working or writing, I enjoy working in the garden, canning, and seeing my backyard as a living canvas for my whimsical landscaping, and, of course, reading romance novels.