Red-Hot Santa

Free Red-Hot Santa by Tori Carrington

Book: Red-Hot Santa by Tori Carrington Read Free Book Online
Authors: Tori Carrington
Tags: Uniformly Hot
been much better manned than they’d been led to believe. Militia emerged from every shadow and appeared prepared for their arrival.
    For a brief, paralyzing moment, all Jackson could think of was Max… He battled his way to cover, knowing there was nothing he could do for her if he was no longer there to do it.
    Now, five agonizingly long minutes later, he hunched down behind a crude circle of stones that served as a water well, his M-16 reloaded and ready. He immediately spotted where Max was, standing across from him flat against the wall of an outdoor shower.
    He knew such a flood of relief he took an unprecedented moment to close his eyes and send up a prayer of thanks. She was okay…
    When he looked at her again, he found her face communicated the same sense of relief at finding him alive.
    He didn’t know what he’d do if he lost her now that he felt he’d just finally found her…
    The thought alone was nearly paralyzing, not merely because of the physical threat the distraction posed but the emotional one.
    Focus, Savage…
    He scanned the area around him, taking in the situation. He couldn’t be sure where his other team members were, or how many had survived the initial counterattack.
    Shit. What an unqualified mess.
    He couldn’t help thinking they’d been sent in there like sacrificial lambs. Nothing was as it had been outlined. Intelligence was bad. And he was afraid the reason why the compound was so heavily fortified was because the warlord, the number one guy, was in residence, not one of his commanders, as they’d been told.
    He’d learned early on in his career there were two things you needed in order to succeed in any mission: capable soldiers and accurate intelligence.
    And they had neither. Yes, it was a clusterfuck. Pure and simple.
    The question was, how were he and Max going to survive it?
    He steeled himself and looked over the well wall, gauging the situation, then quickly ducked back down without incident. Five guards to the left, three to the right. He looked to see Max doing the same. Their gazes met. Then they both nodded.
    They swung around at the same time, aiming and firing before taking cover again.
    Two to the left, none to the right…
    Max motioned that she was coming to him. He stood and delivered cover fire, taking out the remaining two.
    Unfortunately, there were at least ten others somewhere on the compound…and those were only the ones he knew about. He could only hope none of them were behind them.
    “This is messed up,” Max said, crouching next to him.
    “Agreed.” He checked his radio: silent. Attempts to contact Storehouse were unsuccessful. “You see any of the others?”
    “Taylor’s hit. She’s tying off a leg wound in the NW corner. She’s a sitting duck unless we can get her out of there.”
    “We lost Davidson,” he said, nodding to his right.
    She looked, taking in, as he had, the unnatural angle the man’s body had fallen, twisted and broken and devoid of life. He watched her blanch. “I say we fall back.”
    He stared into her beautiful face, smeared with camo paint. “Yeah. You’re right.”
    He had no intention of falling back. He did, however, want her to get the hell out of there.
    “Liar,” she said.
    He couldn’t help his smile.
    “So what’s the plan…?”
    MAX’S BLOOD RUSHED past her ears, her adrenaline running at levels she hadn’t experienced in years, not since leaving Afghanistan, where she’d been stationed after Iraq, two years ago.
    Three of their original team members found their way to them and radio contact with Lenny was finally established. Jackson filled him in on the situation. Max listened intently for his response, which, for all intents, should be to order them to fall back.
    “Push on, Savage,” was the order, instead.
    Max’s trigger finger itched with the desire to shoot someone other than hostiles.
    What was she talking about? Lenny was a hostile.
    They’d already pow-wowed with the four

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