Holy mother. Give him back the darkness. Light brought pain unequal to any he’d experienced. He’d had the life almost beaten from him twice—his smart mouth. He’d been shot—a little more than a flesh wound. He’d been burned—military training exercise gone awry. He’d been stabbed—mouth again. None of that came close to the all-encompassing, bone-deep ache that radiated from his left foot. Light also brought awareness, which Hunter clung to with both hands. It was the only thing keeping him from begging for death or, at the very least, unconsciousness. He remembered what he’d searched for in the dark.
His friend’s safety eclipsed everything, even his own well-being. Oliver and Tyler were the brothers, hell, the only family he ever had, though neither DNA nor blood linked them. He didn’t have to worry about Tyler. He was safe, but Oliver… He’d been searching for Oliver. The kid had gotten himself into some deep dirt, and Hunter had been dogged about saving him and the woman he loved from the clutches of Tor Royan.
“Oliver?” Hunter’s voice sounded like rocks being pulverized. It felt that way too. With each syllable, the flesh in his throat caught and the sides stuck together like taffy. He swallowed nothing and pressed on, holding firm to awareness. “Oliver? Marina?”
He peeled his eyelids open to search for his friends. Cobwebs created a blurred world. Several blinks pulled back the webbing and revealed a vibrant blue sky. No, not a sky. The sky had never been so bright and clear. At least, not in Hunter’s neighborhood growing up or in the countries he’d visited as an adult. He allowed his vision to adjust to the brilliant blue. Dark pupils formed in the center of the sky, transforming them into striking eyes.
Awareness was a hand he crushed inside his own, despite the mind-numbing pain. His brain had taken all the vacation it would get. As the seconds passed, Hunter’s vision smoothed. Blurred webs became smooth lines. Those lines became a pert nose, sharp cheekbones, a strong jaw, and gnawed red lips. She was gorgeous. The sight of her dulled the pain shooting up his leg and into his groin.
This nurse was a hell of a lot prettier than his last nurse. She’d had helmet hair and a brown, crooked tooth. There was something to be said for personality. A great one could transcend almost any perceived physical flaw. Old helmet hair had made him laugh so hard he’d busted his stitches. Sweat beaded across Hunter’s forehead. Chills crawled up his arms and across his stomach. He could sure use some laughs right about now. He didn’t know what was wrong with him, but his gut said he wouldn’t like it.
The nurse lifted something to his lips. “Drink,” she demanded.
Hunter fumbled with the straw. Her fingers grazed his dry, cracked lips. She steadied the plastic, and he gulped down cool water. His throat felt as though it hadn’t worked in months. He choked and hacked. Water slipped across his cheek and down his chin. Still, what little water made it down soothed his parched throat. Before embarrassment could bubble up, his nurse wiped away the mess with the back of her hand.
“Try again.” She readjusted the straw. This time, she didn’t touch him.
Her crystal blue eyes narrowed to slits, and her teeth pinned the corner of her bottom lip. With her attention to detail, she did not touch him this time. Too bad. Her skin was smooth and soft against his cracked mouth. She didn’t work like a trained nurse. The stethoscope was missing from around her neck. The scissors and bandage tape were absent from her pocket. In fact, she didn’t dress like a nurse at all. Tousled curls hung wild about the tops of her breasts, the mounds of which crested the top of a pale pink cotton shirt with white lace trim. She looked as though she’d been yanked from a down and dirty dream.
Were his foot not threatening revolt against his body, Hunter could have easily placed himself in that fantasy and brought it to life for her. As his luck would have it, though, crap never went to script.
“Who are you?” Their simultaneous questions collided in the static laced air between them. Her sexy, sleepy laugh rolled over him, stealing the edge off the blinding pain.
“I’m Kat.” There was gusto behind that dreamy voice. This woman had a backbone and a nice rack.
“Short for Katherine, Kathleen, or Katie?”
Her head tilted and one sharp brow rose. Maybe it was her command of the room or it could have been his pain and vulnerability, but her intensity revved the already frantic pace of his heart. Hunter shifted under her scrutiny.
Lightning bolts shot up his calf, through his thigh, into his groin, and ricocheted back down, ending in an explosion at his knee. Hunter doubled over in pain. His right hand shot out toward his leg to stem the ache. Katherine, Kathleen, or Katie’s hand railroaded his. Their palms met, and her sleek, long fingers wrapped around the back of his hand.
“Hold on to me,” she demanded.
Hunter tried to pull away. Her strong grip held him in place. “I don’t want to hurt you.”
“I’m not a waif like all the Katherines, Kathleens, and Katies you’ve known.” Grit braided the strain in her voice, and her hold didn’t waver.
He couldn’t argue. His teeth melted together. Sweat dripped from his nose and down his chest.
“It will pass. Give it a minute.”
Her promise seemed hollow in his ears, but he didn’t have much choice. The eternal minute passed. The pain remained, though more bearable than before.
“It’s that obvious,” he wheezed, “that I’ve known my share of Katherines, Kathleens, and Katies, huh?”
“You fellas all have the same tell.”
“It’s the look.” Her red lips rubbed together, as though determining exactly how much information to reveal. “It’s like y’all are staring at your next meal, and you haven’t eaten in a while.”
“How long has it been since I’ve eate—?” Another wave of agony crashed against him, stealing the last syllables from his mouth. He tried to be strong and unflappable, but he’d never experienced pain like this. It knotted his insides and assaulted his brain.
“You’ve been here nearly seven weeks.”
The words stunned him almost as much as the shearing of his flesh from the bone. At least, it felt like that. As if he was being skinned alive, he crushed her hand in his. He couldn’t stop himself. If she let go, he might fly off the bed to get away from the torture. “What the hell is wrong with me?”
“Your body is going through the process.”
“Of what? Am I turning into a werewolf?”
A small smile curved her mouth, creating the slightest of dimples in the hollows of her cheeks. “Not a werewolf, I’m afraid.”
“Superpowers?” He joked because he knew this was bad.
“From where I’m standing, you already have them. Your body is healing from some pretty serious injuries.” She pulled a cloth from somewhere and blotted it across his forehead and down his neck.
“Well, you sit here and let me stand there. From this vantage point, death would’ve been easier.”
Her sweet, stern face drew close enough to kiss, but the stance almost threatened. Surprised at the sudden move, he reared back. A dark halo appeared around the room.
“You’re not a guy who likes easy, are you?”
“Easy’s relative.” He huffed and struggled to focus on her words. On her mouth, too. “It’s all been pretty easy until now.”
“I’m not easy. This won’t be either, but you’ll make it through. A little at a time.”The room went blurry. He liked it. The pain receded. Her hand stayed.
Base Branch Novel 13
Hunter Masters, Base Branch Agent and sniper extraordinaire, is MIA.
After a hellish explosion, Hunter wakes to an angel’s touch. Her blue eyes and caring manner nurse him to lethal health. Her name terrifies him. Not only is she related to the man who tortured his friends and shattered his future, but she is also the madman’s only daughter.
Katrin Royan, successful surgeon and independent woman, fears losing herself.
Her father slams the door, locking her inside a make-shift hospital room with the stranger he offered no details about, save one – danger. Despite her father’s warning, days and hours spent talking with her handsome patient reveal more than a desire to live more fully.
Death and destruction threaten to rip them apart. Kat’s caring, Hunter’s determination, and the torturous heat they create forge them into a solid unit they pray can withstand the next attack.
Captor Mine is the final installment in the Base Branch Series, a force of covert ops novels with more than sizzle in their suspense. If you like adrenaline-laden fresh stories with sensual intensity, you’ll love Megan Mitcham’s Base Branch Series.
Buy Captor Mine to see if Hunter and Kat’s bond is stronger than her blood!
ISBN ebook: 978-1-941899-30-4
ISBN print: 978-1-941899-31-1
Release: September 26, 2017
Length: 275 pages