Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts)

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9781494565657: Midnight Revenge (Killer Instincts)

Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek "D" Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D's been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons. When D lands in Mexico, he's ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor who D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she's unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission. Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child . . .Contains mature themes.

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About the Author:

Elle Kennedy is the author of many romantic fiction titles, including the Out of Uniform series, the Welcome to Paradise series, and the Hunted books. Her work has also appeared in several anthologies. A RITA Award nominee, Elle grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BA in English from York University.

Allyson Ryan's diverse talents have led to a career in voice-over, theater, TV, and films. She has narrated many audiobooks, among them On the Divinity of Second Chances by Kaya McLaren, for which Allyson received an AudioFile Earphones Award. She can be also be heard in commercials, animated shows, and video games.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

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Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Epilogue

Excerpt from CLAIMED

Chapter 1

Two months ago

Oaxaca, Mexico

“You need to pull him out.”

Just as Derek “D” Pratt had anticipated, his blunt command caused silence to fall over the line. But making this call had been unavoidable. He’d held his tongue for months—fuck, almost four months now—and it was time to make sure the boss knew that one of their men had become a liability.

Still, it felt like he was ratting out Macgregor, and although D was many things, a rat was not one of them. He knew when to keep his mouth shut. Most days he preferred it. But if the choice came down to snitching on a teammate or staying quiet and watching that teammate get himself killed, then he’d sing like a fucking canary.

And people accused him of having no honor.

“Is it that bad?” Jim Morgan’s gruff voice slid into D’s ear, and he could picture the other man back at their compound in Costa Rica, sucking on a cigarette and pacing the stone terrace as he worked over the implications of this latest hiccup.

D took a drag of his own smoke, then blew a gray cloud into the night and watched it dissipate slowly. No breeze tonight. Not much humidity either. In fact, the temperature had taken a dramatic dip from afternoon to evening. Earlier it’d been so hot that he’d stripped off his shirt while waiting for the doc to treat Macgregor, and now he was in a threadbare hooded sweatshirt, wishing he hadn’t forgotten his jacket in the chopper.

The small brick building that housed the clinic was three hours from Oaxaca and nestled at the base of the mountain, its isolated location making it the ideal place for an in-and-out patch job. D and the other men on Morgan’s team of operatives had paid many visits to this clinic over the years. Sofia Amaro, the sole physician in charge, didn’t bat an eye anymore when one of the mercenaries showed up bloody and broken and requiring a quick fix.

“It’s bad,” D confirmed. “He almost got both of us killed this morning, not to mention Ruiz, the fucking person we were supposed to be protecting.”

“You told me Delgado’s men engaged.”

“They did. With the ceiling. One of them fired a warning shot after Ruiz said something that pissed off Delgado. The motherfuckers were trying to make a point.” Aggravation bubbled in his throat as the morning’s clusterfuck buzzed through his mind. “Macgregor shot and killed that guard, Jim. He lost his cool and snapped.”

Christ, they’d been lucky to get out of there alive, which probably wouldn’t have been the case if the meeting had taken place in cartel territory rather than at the neutral site chosen by the DEA. Morgan’s team had been tasked with protecting Agent Joseph Ruiz while he negotiated with Delgado, a major cog in the cartel machine who’d been willing to cooperate with the DEA in exchange for . . . for who the fuck knew what, because they hadn’t even reached the demands portion of the meeting. Because of Liam fucking Macgregor.

Thanks to pure, blind luck and their armory of skill, D and Liam had managed to keep Ruiz alive during the gunfight and shove him into the armored truck outside, and then D had floored it all the way back to Guadalajara.

Now the DEA was foaming at the mouth because of the botched meeting, and Liam was sedated in a hospital room because he’d taken a bullet to the shoulder and refused to swallow his pain meds. It was like dealing with a goddamn child.

“He’s done,” D told his boss, taking another deep pull on his cigarette. “This Sullivan thing has screwed with his head, and if you don’t bench him—indefinitely—then he’s going to get himself killed. He’ll get us all killed.”

Morgan sighed. “I was hoping sending him out on jobs might distract him.”

“Bad call. Now he’s just distracted in the field. Pull him out, or I’ll drag him back to the compound myself and lock him in the tunnels.”

A tired chuckle sounded in his ear. “And you wonder why everyone’s terrified of you. You need to learn some diplomacy instead of forcing people to bend to your will.”

“I don’t force shit. I do what needs to be done.”

There was a beat. “How’s he doing? Did Sofia get the bullet out?”

“She did, and he’s fine—physically anyway. Mentally, he’s fucked. He’s one bad decision away from hopping a plane to Dublin and shooting answers out of people.”

“Shit. All right. The moment Sofia clears him for travel, bring him home. I’ll call Ruiz and placate him, but the DEA is pretty fucking pissed. Might be the last time they contract us out.”

“Who cares? Government jobs are a bitch anyway.”

“Yeah, but government allies are an asset,” Morgan countered. “We could’ve used Ruiz if the Sullivan thing ends up being connected to the cartels.”

The Sullivan thing. Even though he was guilty of using the phrase himself, he hated that they were referring to their teammate’s disappearance like that. Like it was no big deal. But it was a big deal, so big that Liam Macgregor was lying on a gurney right now with a bullet wound in his arm.

“Is that what you think?” D asked in a low voice. “That Sully might’ve gotten mixed up with a cartel? Because now you’re reaching.”

“I know I’m fucking reaching, but what the hell else am I supposed to do? It’s been four months. Sully’s gone off the grid before, but he’s never stayed away this long without making contact.” Morgan sounded as frustrated and confused as he’d been when D had called him from Dublin in October to tell him that Sullivan Port had gone AWOL.

“We’ll find him, Jim.”

After a split-second pause, Morgan said, “I know.”

That nanosecond of silence, unnoticeable unless you knew Jim Morgan as well as D did, was enough to stiffen every muscle in his body.

Son of a bitch. The boss had given up.

After months of tapping every contact available to the team, months of following every lead and leaving no stone unturned, Morgan had given up on Sullivan. He didn’t expect to find him. Or, rather, he didn’t expect to find him alive.

The knowledge triggered a burst of anger in D’s gut, along with a sickening rush of guilt that caught him completely off guard. He didn’t experience that emotion often.

His past choices, the mistakes he’d made . . . He didn’t dwell on them, because regret was a waste of time. When he made a decision, he was fully prepared for the consequences. If he took a life, he made peace with the action before he even pulled the trigger. And once the deed was done, it was fucking done. No looking back. No moaning and griping and feeling bad about it. Guilt and regrets were for weak men who couldn’t stomach the choices they’d made in their lives.

But that was the problem with “this Sullivan thing.” Because it wasn’t the result of a choice D had made or an action he had taken.

And yet it was entirely his fault that Sullivan was missing.

Sucking hard on his smoke, he filled his lungs with nicotine, hoping to ease the sudden tightening of his chest. “I’ll call you once we head out,” he muttered.

He disconnected the call before Morgan could respond, and the ensuing silence was a relief. Although being part of a team meant he had no choice but to engage in conversations, undergo briefings, and sit through strategy sessions, he really hated it sometimes. Hated talking, hated the sound of his own voice.

He took one last drag, then stomped the cigarette out beneath his boot and stalked inside.

The fluorescent lighting in the clinic intensified the throbbing of his temples. He hadn’t eaten all day, but that wasn’t the reason for the headache. He’d spent three years in Delta, followed by three more with the Smith Group, the hush-hush black-ops agency he’d sold his soul to. Both gigs had ensured he could go for days without sleep or sustenance. What he couldn’t handle were loose ends. They gnawed at him like hungry scavengers, evoked a powerless sensation that made him want to pull out his HK and unload a clip into the wall.

Sullivan was a loose end, damn it.

“He’s asleep.” The stern voice drifted toward him as he rounded the corner toward Macgregor’s room.

Sofia Amaro stood outside the door, arms crossed over perky tits that were barely contained by her tight white tank. He instantly tensed—something about this woman always elicited that response.

Her I’m-ready-to-go-to-battle pose was one he’d seen dozens of times before. Sofia was a pit bull when it came to her patients, snarling at anyone who tried to ignore her orders. D had always held grudging respect for her headstrong nature, but it also triggered an unwelcome rush of lust each time he encountered her.

He put on an indifferent look as their eyes met, pretending that her perfect tits and insolent scowl didn’t get his blood going. “Is he cleared for travel?”

D peered past her slender shoulders into Liam’s room, studying the prone man on the bed. Good. Liam’s face had some color again—it had been dangerously pale during the chopper ride from Guadalajara.

“No,” Sofia said firmly.

He’d worked black ops long enough to know when someone was lying to him. Arching an eyebrow, he met her green eyes.

“Yes,” she amended, a flush coloring her olive-toned cheeks. “But he needs rest. He was damn near exhausted when you brought him in.”

D was already pulling his cell phone from his back pocket, ready to call their pilot.

“For fuck’s sake, Derek,” Sofia burst out. “Can’t you give him a few hours? The bullet was a through-and-through. It’ll heal. But he needs some fucking rest.”

D’s other brow joined its twin up near his hairline. Sofia was bossy as hell, but she rarely ever cursed, which told him she was genuinely upset about Liam’s condition. His finger hesitated over the TALK button as he studied her worried gaze. After a beat, he tucked the phone in his pocket.

“Three hours,” he said gruffly. “That’s all I can spare.”

“Can, or are willing to?” A note of challenge entered her voice.

“Can. Morgan needs him back at the compound.”

“Morgan can wait. The health of his men should come before his need to work them ragged.”

D’s lips twitched. “Is that any way to talk about your benefactor?”

Sofia froze. Then, tucking a strand of dark hair behind her ear, she slowly met his eyes. “What are you talking about?”

The chuckle slipped out. “Don’t play games, Sofia. You’re better than that.”

Irritation flickered in her expression.

“I know my boss funds this place,” he said with a shrug. “So the way I see it, you work for him just like the rest of us.”

“I work for myself,” she snapped. “And for the patients who come here. Morgan’s money might keep this clinic open, but I’m not at his beck and call. He knows that.”

D released another laugh, low and harsh. “Is that so?” He gestured around the deserted corridor. “Look around, baby. Listen. No staff. No voices. I called you from Guadalajara and told you I was bringing Macgregor, and you sprinted over here like the good soldier you are and opened up the clinic for us.” D smirked. “You work for Morgan. Deal with it.”

Those green eyes flashed, and something about her defiant expression stirred his cock.

Fuck.

Now was not the time to think about sex. And Sofia Amaro was not the woman to think about having sex with. She was on Morgan’s payroll, and her services were invaluable to the team. No way would D risk losing their private physician for a chance to get off.

“You win, Derek. I’m another one of Jim Morgan’s minions. Just like you.” Then she spun on the heels of her hiking boots and disappeared into Macgregor’s room.

D followed her, propping his shoulder against the doorframe as he watched her check the IV drip at Liam’s side.

“You went to a lot of trouble for a bullet wound that’ll heal,” he said suspiciously.

Sofia spared him a dark look. “I told you—the bullet wasn’t the issue. He’s suffering from exhaustion and dehydration.” She scoffed under her breath. “What, you couldn’t be bothered to toss a canteen his way every couple hours? Not everyone is a robot like you are.”

A robot? He thought it over, and decided that probably was the best way to describe him. He was a cold bastard. Ruthless. Violent. He’d been that way since he was eight years old, and if he’d ever had the ability to feel compassion or tenderness, then it had been beaten out of him a long time ago.

But he’d never made apologies for who he was, and he wasn’t about to start now.

As Sofia tucked the thin blanket tighter around Liam’s waist, D caught a glimpse of leather and metal around the man’s wrists. “Did you restrain him?” he demanded.

Her eyes didn’t convey even an ounce of remorse. “Damn right I did. He struggled like crazy when I tried giving him the sedative. Kept insisting he didn’t need it and that he had to go find Sully.”

D’s stomach clenched.

Sofia sighed. “I take it you guys aren’t any closer to finding him?”

“You fucking think? He disappeared without a goddamn trace, Sofia.” D gritted his teeth. Even though his frustration was directed at himself rather than her, he didn’t apologize for snapping at her.

Fortunately, she was unfazed by his sharp tone. “Do you think someone took him?”

“Yes.”

Her brow furrowed. “Why?”

Because of me.

He swallowed the confession, same way he’d been doing for months. Because what was the point in telling people about his suspicion? There was no concrete evidence to support it. Nothing except the offhand remark of an Irish bartender.

But D knew, deep in his bones, that he was responsible. That Sullivan had been abducted because of him.

Something must have gone down at the end of that Dublin job, but even four months later, D was no closer to finding out what. When Sean Reilly had gotten tangled up with some very dangerous Irish gangsters, the team had flown to Dublin to help him out. The job had gone smoother than most and Reilly had come out on top, but somewhere between the end of the mission and the morning the team was scheduled to leave, Sullivan had fallen off the face of the fucking earth.

Security footage showed Sully in the hotel bar at two in the morning, talking to a dark-haired man whose face had been shielded from the camera. A few minutes later, he left the bar, and that was the last anyone had seen or heard from him.

Foul play was definitely involved. The security footage in the lobby and outside the hotel had been wiped clean, which meant someone had gone to great lengths to cover up whatever had happe...

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2016. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan s black ops organization, Derek D Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons. When D lands in Mexico, he s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor who D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission. Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he s ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child . . .Contains mature themes. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781494565657

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Book Description Tantor Media, Inc, United States, 2016. CD-Audio. Book Condition: New. Unabridged edition. Language: English . Brand New. Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan s black ops organization, Derek D Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons. When D lands in Mexico, he s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor who D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission. Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he s ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child . . .Contains mature themes. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781494565657

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