Hunted:A Stepbrother Romance Novel

By: Olivia Long

The men were laughing and drinking from low glasses of amber-colored liquor. As always, Keenan was chain-smoking the harsh, bitter tobacco which had given him his distinct and chilling, grovel-grinding voice. He wore a stained and torn black t-shirt which bulged around the obvious girth of a bullet-proof vest, fatigues, and boots. Marco, on the other hand, wore loose, luxuriant linens and designer sandals made of supple leather. Now he looked like he could have been an antiques dealer, manicured from his eyebrows to the tips of his toes. They were an almost laughably mismatched odd couple, if laughing in this situation wasn’t guaranteed to get you shot.

“When did you set this up?” Keenan asked, gazing out across the opulent empire he had amassed: fountains, gazebos, stone paths, and on top of it all, a damn majestic white stallion just relaxing in the yard. The place looked like it hosted weddings.

“Late last night,” Marco replied.

“No, you idiot,” Keenan snarled. “I mean WHEN.”

But Marco laughed good-naturedly, and Keenan cracked a smile as he shook his head ruefully. “Right, right,” Marco amended, “this afternoon. I’m so sorry I didn’t mention, but you were ... indisposed.”

“La Casa de Miel will do that to you,” Keenan muttered, taking a deep drag and expelling it into the hot air.

I was personally familiar with La Casa de Miel, or The House of Honey. It was an anything-goes, top-of-the-line bordello themed around fantasy fulfillment. They could do anything you wanted ... but, when I’d asked if they had any skinny, uppity white girls, the mistress’ full mouth had turned down. “Lo ciento,” she had said to me. “We don’t have white. Now, skinny and, what was that, uppity—we can do.” She’d grinned, exposing a single gold tooth in the front of her mouth, and then dissolved with dream-like surrealism.

“So,” Keenan said overhead. I was back in the jungle again, far from the comforts of La Casa de Miel. “What do they need?”

“I allowed the loan of your Spanish cabinet,” Marco confessed. “But it will return on its circuit to you within six months. They just want to stock it with the bricks and take it across the border without arousing suspicion.”

“That cabinet has served us well,” Keenan agreed to the transaction. “I’ve sold it a dozen times, yet, like the monkey’s paw, it keeps finding its way back to my doorstep.”

One of my men must have given away his position nearer to the gates—I suddenly heard a smattering of gunfire and winced. Even if the fire was from our own weapons, the illusion of stealth was ruined now, and so, for that matter, was my military career. Shit. Shit! It was happening again! And, with that same twisted, sick helplessness of a nightmare, I was moving too slowly, everything was wrong. I couldn’t do anything. I heard the groans of death and the increased gunfire of a battle breaking out across the property. So many men lost, and I knew I couldn’t save them from here.

“What do we do, Corporal Davenport?” Seth pled.

“Did you say tonight?” Keenan asked Marco.

Marco’s brow was furrowed. “Yes!” he hissed. “Tonight!”

“Then who is that?”

The spatters of discharge reached a fevered pitch, and I knew that the conflict was going to burn itself out and leave nothing but scorched earth in exchange. There would be no one left standing.

“Prepare to retreat, Private Beakman,” I’d finally answered Seth’s question.

The two men filtered down onto the property, weapons drawn, and I knew that this was the time. It was either them—or us. Smoke rose up in the distance where a fire had broken out at the entrance to the property, where one of my men had likely been spotted. Shit ... we were in so much trouble. If these two didn’t kill us, our own sergeant certainly would.

I watched in stilted slow motion as their eyes moved over the property; it wouldn’t be long before they found us, fatigues or no, hunkered down into the grasses at the periphery of the fence. This was so stupid. We shouldn’t have come here. We’d been told not to, and at the same time, begged to, and we had listened to the Guatemalan police instead of our own commanders ... who must have known that it was not our job to lose our lives in stemming the drug traffic of this region. They had been clear on this: the mission was to provide support, and not to spearhead a revolution. We were supposed to be the eyes—not the hands.

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