Title: Maximum Risk
Series: Wolff Securities
Book Number: 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: August 12, 2014
It should have been a simple rescue mission…
Retired Pararescueman, Quinn Wolff, wrote the book on how to stay alive during a mission when he founded Wolff Securities, an elite private sector security firm. When he fast-ropes down to save missing humanitarian aid worker, Avery Marks, in the remote mountains of Azbakastan he isn’t prepared for the brave, stubborn woman who challenges the rules he wrote in order to protect her.
But when it comes to matters of the heart nothing is simple…
Avery Marks learned a long time ago to take care of herself, but when her convoy is attacked, her friends and coworkers murdered, she has to rely on the aid of intensely capable and handsome, Quinn Wolff to get her safely out of the country. His skills keep her alive, but his kisses put her in danger. In danger of losing her heart. That’s a risk she can’t take ever again.
Copyright ©2014 by Jennifer Lowery
#1) Gut-wrenching sobs choked her as she brought the truck to a skidding stop in front of Quinn’s house. She fumbled with the door handle and nearly fell on her face when it opened. Leaving the door wide open, she ran into the house and straight to her bedroom where she slammed the door. Quinn’s borrowed bloody shirt lay on the floor, tainted with Ryan’s blood. Her own blood.
Memories of what they’d done to her flooded in. The pain. Her screams. The times she couldn’t scream. The missile hitting the Land Cruiser. Scott taking a bullet.
Unable to process, Avery pummeled the fabric with her fists. Over and over she swung until the pain in her arms overshadowed the pain in her heart.
A pair of arms wrapped around her from behind, picked her up off the ground and swung her away from the bed. Still aching inside, she kicked and fought to be free. The arms held tight, body taut.
“Let me go.” Her heel landed a blow and sent a jolt of pain up her leg, which only frustrated her more.
Quinn’s gruff command penetrated the emotions pounding inside her. Avery deflated like a balloon and slumped in his arms, chest heaving. Quinn’s chin touched the top of her head, his chest rising and falling in sequence with hers. He still hadn’t put her down; her feet dangled off the ground. The way he held her, tucked against him, made her heart ache even more. Almost as if he couldn’t let her go.
For just a moment she allowed herself to lean on him, letting him hold her close until it felt like they were fused. She didn’t analyze why she did it, or why he let her. Simply let it happen.
Quinn tucked his head into her neck, voice gravelly, his breath hot on her skin. “Goddammit, Avery.”
Mouth dry, she nodded her head in understanding. She didn’t need the words. What was done was done. She couldn’t take it back.
Gently he set her feet on the floor and she winced. They stung like she stood on a bed of glass. Before she could guess his intention, Quinn swung her into his arms and carried her out of the room. She wrapped her arms around his neck, too worn out to fight. Her gaze followed his tanned neck to the strong line of his jaw. His profile was rigid, lines of fatigue bracketing his eyes. So much strength and so much pain. He wore his emotions inside like a warrior. She admired that after the spectacle she made of herself.
#2) The air in the cave shifted. She went still, tried to slow her breathing. Seconds later Quinn whispered her name.
A sob built in her throat but she pushed it down, unwilling to let him see how his return affected her.
“Avery?” Concerned. Alert.
She tried to answer, but the words stuck in her throat. Seconds later his hand was on her shoulder.
“Are you all right?”
No. Avery pushed the sleeping bag down and sat up. Her hands found his chest, bulky with vest and equipment, but warm and alive. Needing to feel his heartbeat, she found the hem of his t-shirt and slipped her hands underneath. Hot, taut skin slid beneath her hands as they traveled over rippled abs and upward.
His breath caught when she opened her palm over his chest where his heart beat strong and steady.
She lifted up and pressed her lips to his, cutting him off. This was what she needed. Not talking. Not questions. To know she was alive, that he was alive, and she wasn’t alone. Reassurance that she was free of her captors.
His lips were warm, strong against hers. He hesitated, then he took over and the kiss no longer belonged to her. His lips moved over hers and stole her breath away. All her fears dissipated until there was only Quinn and the incredible way he was kissing her. Her hands dug into hard muscle, urging him closer. In response, he tightened his arms around her.
He pulled away first. His chest heaved in synchrony with hers. In the darkness, she couldn’t see his face to read his expression, but his erratic breathing told her he was as affected by the kiss as she was.
“I’m sorry.” She pulled her hand out from beneath his shirt. “I shouldn’t have—I just needed to know—”
Quinn’s fingers pressed to her mouth. “Don’t. I get it.”
#3) White-hot pain pulsed through his arm. Quinn clamped a hand over the wound, cursing a blue streak. “Kell? Where the hell are you?”
Kell was a damn ghost—one minute he was there, the next he was gone and bodies were dropping. They’d managed to lure the army in the opposite direction and now the bastards were chasing their own tails.
“Right behind you, bro.”
Not in the mood for Kell’s warped sense of humor, he swung around and started trekking in the direction of the chopper. Warm blood leaked through his fingers.
“You should wrap that.” Kell melted out of the trees and fell into step beside him.
“Just a scratch.”
Kell shrugged. “You’re the medic.”
Quinn cast him a look and said into his lip mic, “Savat, ETA twenty minutes. Immediate take-off, so be ready.”
“Copy that…Fuck! Hold on.”
Something popped in Quinn’s ear and he drew back. “Savat, what the hell’s going on?”
“We’re taking fire!”
#4) Quinn sat back on his haunches and scrubbed a hand down his face. Avery slept soundly. He wanted to tend her other injuries, but sleep would heal her body faster than anything he could do.
Escape and evasion would be slow going with her injured feet. Without boots to protect them, it would be agony for Avery. Even with boots, walking would be difficult. Running, out of the question. He would carry her.
Quietly, he packed up the supplies and sat down a few feet away from where Avery slept. He snapped off the penlight, his NVGs next to him in case he needed them before his eyes adjusted to the dark.
Avery whimpered. Seconds later, a stifled scream.
Quinn repositioned to where she lay and put a hand on her shoulder.
She flinched and tried to scoot away. “Please. No more,” she moaned.
A nightmare. Instead of waking her, he stretched out on the ground and pulled her into his arms. The last thing he wanted was to wake her and make her remember. Bad enough she couldn’t escape her torment even in sleep.
He wrapped one arm around her waist, using his other arm as a pillow. She lashed out, her nostrils flaring as she drew in deep, gasping breaths.
“Avery, it’s Quinn.”
“PJ,” she murmured and instantly settled down. Her body relaxed and little by little her breathing slowed.
Quinn rested his chin on top of her head. More protective urges surged through him and he shifted a little closer.
“What did they do to you, Avery Marks?” he murmured.
New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author Jennifer Lowery writes heartfelt military romantic suspense. Her work has been a nominated for the Golden Heart. She debuted her first book in 2012 which made her dreams of being a writer come true, followed with her SEAL Team Alpha series and she loves her job as much today as she did then. She is delighted to bring you stories from the heart and hopes you enjoy reading them as much as she did writing them.
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