Blackhawk Security Elite Protection Services—
Their business is your safety
But not hers. Former SEAL Sullivan Bishop refuses to work for Jane Reise. The JAG Corps prosecutor is hard core—and he never stopped blaming her for his brother’s death. But Blackhawk is Jane’s only hope in fending off a frightening stalker, and she’ll blackmail Sullivan to get it. Forced into her service, he soon realizes he was wrong about Jane. As bullets fly, Sullivan knows he’ll risk his life—and heart—to save her.
But it doesn’t end there…
Note: If you haven’t read Rules in Blackmail yet, STOP! This bonus epilogue contains spoilers, so read on at your own risk.
“Well, this is just embarrassing for you.” Jane Reise rushed past the freezing steel door leading deeper into the warehouse, the cold tunneling through her thick jacket. Sea-blue eyes locked on her, that brilliant smile of his in full force as she studied him from head to toe. Captured, yet still smiling. That was her SEAL. She kept her expression relaxed despite the fire simmering in her veins. What the hell had he gotten himself into now? “Once again the army is coming to save the navy.”
“You’re enjoying that joke way too much.” A groan rumbled through his chest as Sullivan Bishop rolled upward to look at the chains around his ankles, but it was apparent he’d already lost too much of that strength she admired. His hands had been tied at the small of his back, and there was no way he’d be able to get out of this mess himself. At least, not without dislocating one of his shoulders, and that wasn’t something she wanted to witness today. Cinderblock walls, bars on the windows, cracked cement flooring. Her SEAL didn’t belong here. He’d founded Blackhawk Security to protect his clients, to save lives. None of that included getting taken hostage in the middle of an Anchorage warehouse. “What are you doing here?”
“Saving your ass. Thought I made that clear.” She rounded behind him, her fingers feathering over his forearms before she pulled at the chains keeping him from slamming into the ground. The butt of her Glock rubbed against the edge of her rib cage as she worked to free him. Her ear piece buzzed softly in her ear. She’d slipped in the back entrance of the property, leaving Sullivan’s weapons expert to inspect the perimeter, but he hadn’t reported in yet. The faster she got Sullivan out of here, the better. No telling how many hostiles were out there, or if they’d come armed. Keeping her voice low, she listened for movement outside in the corridor. “So what was the case this time? Hostage retrieval? Recon?”
“The second one. Client suspected one of his employees was selling patented information. I followed the guy here. Bastard came at me from behind and got the upper hand.” That deep, gravelly voice tunneled through the fear and worry she’d given into over the last four hours since he hadn’t reported in. Sullivan was every bit the capable soldier he used to be for the navy, if not more so after having to confront his own brother last year to save her life, but even the most trained operatives on his team brought in backup. “How did you know I was here?”
“After you disappeared for three days without a word on your last case, I sewed a tracker into your boot.” Because nobody would take him from her again. Jane exhaled hard, her breath crystalizing in front of her mouth. The chains around his wrists weren’t budging. She’d have to find something to cut him out—anything—she could use before whoever’d taken him hostage came back. “Don’t worry, I only track people I like. Are you okay?”
“Never better.” The chains shifted as he pulled at his wrists, and suddenly he dropped a few inches toward the cement. Metal on metal rang loud in her ears from the exposed steel “I” bar above, and panic spiked through her.
“There goes the element of surprise.” Damn it. They were running out of time, and she still hadn’t heard from her back up. Where the hell was Anthony when she needed him? “After we get out of here, you’re going to tell me what the hell is going on.” All she needed was a name. She’d take care of the rest. Jane caught sight of a long piece of pipe in the corner of the makeshift prison and wrapped her fingers around the cold steel. “Brace yourself. This might hurt.”
She wedged the edge of the pipe between his ankles and used every ounce of strength she owned to snap the links apart. Sullivan hit the cement shoulder first, the chains coiling beside him. She lunged to help him to his feet, the pipe still in her hand. She’d never give up a weapon if she didn’t have to. He’d taught her that. Unholstering her back up weapon from her ankle, she handed him the gun. “Shake it off, Lieutenant. We’ve got to get out of here.”
“Your concern is heartwarming.” Sullivan dusted layers of dirt off his shirt and took the small revolver. Framing her chin, he tugged her into him and crushed his mouth to hers. His tongue worked past the seam of her lips, eliciting a small moan from the back of her throat. His clean, masculine scent worked deep into her lungs, and for a split second the world around them disappeared. But then he pulled away—too soon—and intertwined his hand with hers. “Damn, I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Jane blinked to clear her head. Her heart pounded violently in her chest, as though trying to reach out for him, but hesitation gripped her hard. It wasn’t like Sullivan to lose his concentration in the middle of a mission. She locked her back teeth. The second she got him checked out at the hospital, she’d contact his client to find out exactly what happened here today. “Now, do you have anything else to add to that or can we try not to die in the middle of a dark warehouse?”
“On your six.” He nodded toward the open steel door, gun in hand, and took position behind her. Clearing room after room, they jogged to the rear of the property, and to the door she’d used to break into the building.
Fifty feet until they hit safety. Forty.
Shouts exploded from behind.
She reached back, pushed Sullivan into a room branching off the hallway, and pulled the trigger. One shot. Two. Bullets ricocheted off the metal stairs leading up to a second level, sparks flying.
“Go! I’m right behind you.” Sullivan shoved her into motion, but there was no way in hell she’d leave him behind. Not with a possible head injury. Besides, they hadn’t survived a mercenary ring and a crazed stalker together for nothing. If she’d had her choice, they’d stay partners forever. “I’m right behind you.”
“You’re coming with me.” Gripping her hand in his T-shirt, Jane tugged him out the door. Sunlight blinded her for a split second before she noted the semi-circle of armed hostiles waiting for them to emerge from the warehouse. Adrenaline pounded through her, and Jane automatically reached for her weapon.
“Jane, it’s us! Don’t shoot!” a familiar voice called. “I really don’t think my body can handle another bullet.”
“Elliot? What are you…” Her vision adjusted to the brightness after having spent the last thirty minutes in shadow. It was Elliot with Liz on his right side and Vincent on the left. Anthony emerged from the warehouse behind them and stood off to the side beside Glennon, weapons holstered. No sign of the team’s profiler Kate Monroe though. What was happening? “Someone better start talking before I pull this trigger again.”
“You wanted to know what the hell is going on. This is it, Counselor.” Sullivan tugged out of her grip, rounding in front of her, but not even the use of her nickname on his lips settled her fired-up nerves. In her next breath, he dropped to one knee, driving his hand into one of his cargo pant pockets, and removed something that caught the sun’s rays. “Jane, you’ve been on my mind since the moment you broke into my office over a year ago, every minute of every day. You’ve blackmailed me, threatened to expose my secrets, and gotten me arrested, but, weirdly, I don’t think any other woman could’ve gotten away with it. You’re my calm in the middle of a storm, unapologetic, strong, and the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.”
“What are you doing?” Confusion bled to ease as she fit the puzzle pieces together. The case he’d been working, the shouts in the corridor, the rescue mission. It’d all been a setup. “You staged your capture, which means you knew about the tracker I sewed into your boots.”
“I can’t take all the credit. They helped.” Sullivan nodded toward the team at her back, the weight of their attention centered at the top of her spine. Shoving to his feet, he closed the distance between them. “And you know I do a sweep of the cabin every chance I get, so I feel like you should’ve known I’d find it, but none of that is important right now.” Sea-blue eyes locked on her, and her breath caught in her throat. Was he…? “Captain Jane Reise, we make a hell of a team in the field and in life. You’ve always had my back, and I vow to always have yours. No matter the mission. Would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”
He presented her with the most beautiful diamond band she’d ever laid eyes on, three thin rows crisscrossing over and under one another set in platinum, and her lips parted with a small gasp. It was perfect. Practical. Just like him. Dozens of clear stones glittered in the sunlight but were nothing compared to the brightness in her SEAL’s gaze. “We fell in love while the bullets were flying, Counselor. Makes sense we start the rest of our lives the same way.”
“I can’t think of a better way. So, yes, Lieutenant Bishop, I’ll marry you.” Her eyes burned. Jane couldn’t contain the smile tugging at her mouth as he slid the ring over her finger. Closing the distance between them, she melded her lips to his in a rush of heated need and desire. She spun toward the team, smile wide, showing off the ring as shouts and applause filled her ears, then turned to Sullivan’s weapons expert. “Oh, and sorry about trying to kill you, Anthony, but now you know.” Jane framed Sullivan’s jawline with one hand and rested her forehead against his. “Never come between a woman and her SEAL.”