Title: Secret Maneuvers
Series: Ex Ops – Book #1
Author: Jessie Lane
Expected Publication Date: June 15th 2013
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Buy Links: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / All Romance Ebooks / Smashwords
Some mistakes from the past haunt us forever… unless fate steps in with a second chance.
One ‘dear John’ letter haunts Bobby Baker’s every living moment. It’s the letter he stupidly wrote to his high school sweetheart, Belle, right after he left to join the Army. The letter that he told her that he wasn’t so sure if they were ready for forever yet. But before he can let her know that the letter, and his second thoughts, are nothing but a mistake, she up and disappears from the small Georgia town they were both raised in.
Fifteen years later, Belle unknowingly walks back into Bobby’s life when her job as an ATF Agent forces her to work with a group of men secretly headed by the CIA to help her track down whoever is involved in funneling black market weapons to a drug cartel in Mexico.
Bobby will use this mission to try and soothe Belle’s hurt feelings while proving to her that their love is still meant for forever. He’ll use every dirty trick he’s learned since he joined the Army to maneuver her back into his life for the long haul. But Belle’s not making it easy as she keeps him at arm’s length in the hopes that mistakes of her own never come to light.
Men don’t wax poetic on how they feel about other men. It was in the unwritten man rules somewhere that we were allowed to burp, fart and scratch our balls around each other, but there would be no wordy displays of affection. Anyone who violated that rule would have to turn our man card in. Even if the other guy was my best friend and had covered my ass on more missions than I could count. At this moment in time, though, I was willing to make a serious exception to the man rules since Declan had talked Belle into staying for a game of poker and beer.
Now I was on the verge of telling Riley that Belle and I would name our first child after him because he was loading her up with booze. It was a low-down dirty play, but she wasn’t giving me another in. If I could get her drunk, then get her talking, it could be the breakthrough I’d been looking for. In essence, maneuvering her into a drunken corner in order to keep her in one spot long enough for me to talk to her because, God knew, that woman wouldn’t give me the time of day otherwise.
The game continued, and it was easy to see that Belle was quickly slipping into a drunken stupor since she’d been squinting at her cards for the last four hands, trying to figure out in her head what she was holding. As if that wasn’t cute enough, now she had the tip of her tongue peeking out of the side of her mouth like the crap hand of cards she was holding was a three thousand year old treasure map, and she was trying to figure it out to get the treasure. When I looked over to see the amused grins on Declan and Riley’s faces aimed at Belle because she was once again holding up the game, it caused me to shake my head in feigned disgust. It was easy to see that, after all these years, my girl still had no idea that she was a natural at being cute.
Looking back to her, I muttered, “Baby, you going to play that hand or keep staring at it?”
Her head flew up and, for a moment, I braced myself for what was probably going to be a seriously pissed off woman’s rant about how I had no right to call her baby anymore. Instead, she threw her hands up in the air in disgust, and then plopped them down on the table with not a care in the world that she was flashing her cards to everyone. Huffing in annoyance, she exclaimed, “Gimme a second here, Ace! I’m tryin’ to concentrate on what I’m doin’!”
My breath caught in my chest. You could never pay me enough to admit this aloud, hell, I’d never let anyone torture this fact out of me, but hearing her say the name ‘Ace’ for the first time in fifteen years was the most beautiful thing I’d ever heard. Hearing that one, little name again made my chest constrict painfully for a few seconds before slowly turning everything inside me into something warm and good. It was the closest thing I’d felt to being whole in a long damn time.
Not that Belle gave me any time to enjoy that nice warm feeling. Upon realization of what she’d said, all the color drained out of her face, and she was halfway out of the Sullivan’s room before I could blink. Not that I was letting her get away from me this time. Throwing my cards on the table, I hauled ass after her, leaving the smirking Sullivan brothers in my dust. Luckily, the alcohol had slowed her down, so she hadn’t made it very far down the breezeway when I caught sight of her again. By the time I was in arm’s reach of her, she was unknowingly just four steps short of my hotel room’s door. Opportunity wasn’t knocking, he was telling me to haul my girl, kicking and screaming, into my room and kick the damn door down to get there, if I had to.