Rescuing Her SEALBy: Kat Cantrell
Theodore Fitzhugh maintained a simple decision-making policy—listen to his gut. And right now it was telling him that this impromptu side trip to the Caribbean had been a good move.
Warm breezes, hot women, and beer could not be beat as a leave combo, and Fitz deserved all three after a particularly nasty skirmish with some ISIS zealots who’d had the bright idea of seizing control of the Karbala airport. After forty-eight hours and a surprise reckoning with the SEAL team Fitz pledged allegiance to, the zealots now had their thinking properly realigned. Mostly because they were all hamburger meat, but there’d been a point when it could have gone the other way.
And that was messing him up.
As the chief source of recon on the mission, he should have sensed the coming ambush that had nearly turned deadly for the wrong side. His gut hadn’t been tuned in when it counted, and that was a problem he had one week to solve.
Fitz followed the crowd of passengers off the plane and onto the tarmac with a fair amount of patience. He’d elected not to wear his fatigues, which meant no auto upgrade to first class, but incognito worked for him on this trip. For the next week, he didn’t want to be a SEAL. He wanted to be a guy with nothing better to do than hang out with a buddy in a place with lots of half-dressed women, and sand that he didn’t have to face-plant into with a scope.
Speaking of buddies… Jack Hyland’s face popped up above the crowd, lazy grin in full force as he held up a sign printed with the words Ready Teddy.
Geez. A guy jumps over the line before the lieutenant commander yells start one time—nearly ten years ago, no less. Was he never going to live that down?
Fitz hefted his duffel bag higher onto his shoulder as he skirted a middle-aged couple consulting a map and gave his former teammate the side-eye. “Appreciate the public service announcement. Chicks dig a guy who’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.”
“Well, seeing’s how you need all the help you can get, you’re welcome,” Jack drawled, still as southern as a cotton ball dipped in whiskey even after a decade in the teams and a year in the Caribbean.
Good to know some things never changed.
“You’re so hilarious, dude.” Fitz bumped knuckles with the guy who had gotten him out of more jams than any one sailor had a right to expect. “Thanks for the invite. And the pickup. I could’ve figured out how to get to Duchess Island on my own.”
Several members of Fitz’s former SEAL team had landed in the Bahamas after leaving the navy and started a parasailing and snorkeling-excursion company for tourists at one of the many resorts flung across the gorgeous waters. Nice work if you could get it.
“Nah. I’m the one who dragged you down here. Least I could do is offer my navigation services.” Jack led the way through the throngs of tourists at the Freeport airport and jerked his head toward a small knot of hot women in short shorts and halter tops. “It’s not like the view sucks.”
“Then why are you walking so fast, jerkweed?” Fitz muttered and saluted the women as they waved with wide smiles. “I’m definitely in the mood for a leggy blonde, preferably one for each arm. I don’t plan on doing anything more strenuous for the next week than picking who gets to be on top.”
That was his recipe for getting back in tune with his gut—relax with a wet and willing woman who had a creative streak in bed. Once his body got good and primed, the instinct that had served him so well for so long in tricky counterterrorism maneuvers would return.
“About that.” Jack shuttled Fitz along without allowing even a second for him to catch the name of the hotel the hot girls were staying at. “I have a favor to ask.”
“No,” Fitz shot back instantly. “Especially not if it’s like the last favor you asked me to do.”
He and Jack were both southern boys from almost the same neck of the woods—Jack was from New Orleans, and Fitz hailed from Gulfport—and they’d instantly bonded during Hell Week back in Coronado when they went through SEAL training together. That bond had gotten him into more trouble than he cared to remember. But bleeding with a guy made you family, even if Jack had abandoned the team for greener pastures.