Home > Code Name : Ranger (K19 Shadow Operations Book 1)

Code Name : Ranger (K19 Shadow Operations Book 1)
Author: Heather Slade

 

Book One

 

 

PROLOGUE

 

 

RANGER

 

 

The moment the person briefing us on our next assignment said a serial killer was targeting daughters of wealthy families in the area, I thought of Maisie. She fit the victim’s profile better than anyone.

It defied logic, but my gut was telling me to get next door, where I’d left her less than thirty minutes ago, and see with my own eyes that she was safe.

She had to be. My brother was with her. And my teammate Onyx’s girlfriend. Or was she his fiancée? Either way, Maisie, Jimmy, and Blanca were fine. Once I confirmed it, I’d come back and we could resume our meeting.

I went to the kitchen and looked out the window. “No!” I shouted when I saw the door to the camp swinging open. Why was the fucking door open? It was the middle of winter.

I drew my gun as I raced to have my worst fears confirmed. Both Jimmy and Blanca were gagged, blindfolded, and tied to chairs.

“Where the hell is Maisie?” I shouted at Jimmy as another guy in our unit untied him while Onyx did the same with Blanca.

“They took her,” Blanca cried as soon as the gag was out of her mouth.

“Who?”

“Two men. Dressed all in black. Ski masks,” Jimmy said between gasps of air. “Used tasers.”

“He’s been hit.” Wasp, the man who’d untied him, pointed to the blood seeping into the fabric of my brother’s shirt. I took a step to the side when my boss, Doc Butler, a physician’s assistant, rushed over.

“Is there anything else you remember?” I could hear Onyx’s words, but they were muffled by the roar of blood surging through my body. Every inch of my skin felt as though it was being pricked by a thousand pins as my brain triggered a fight-or-flight response.

I’d felt it before, more times than I could count, but this was different. This wasn’t fear for me. Someone had taken Maisie, and it was up to me to find her. Save her. Before it was too late.

 

 

RANGER

 

 

FOUR WEEKS PRIOR

 

 

The sun was just coming up when I took a cup of coffee out to the screened-in porch of the lakefront camp—as everyone called the houses and cabins in this part of the world. This place had been in my family for generations and was as good as mine now. My parents rarely came up here once they made Florida their permanent residence. My older brother, Jimmy, had recently separated from his wife and was living here too, but I expected they’d soon reconcile. Since they had kids, I’d thought they would by Christmas for sure, but it hadn’t worked out that way.

Looking out at the frozen lake, a chill coursed through my body. It wasn’t the frigid temperatures that caused it, though. Instead, it was due to the ever-present feeling of dread that had settled in the pit of my stomach three weeks ago when I learned the team of agents and operatives I worked with at K19 Security Solutions was the target of a mass-murder plot—myself included.

While the firm’s founding partners worked to neutralize the threat, the rest of us had been ordered to shelter in the small town until further notice.

It had been years since I went this long without an assignment, and I was antsy. Particularly given I’d recently been tapped as second-in-command of K19’s newest unit, Shadow Ops.

A light went on in the camp next door, where Montano “Onyx” Yáñez, the new team’s leader, was staying. The place was owned by Blanca Descanso, a woman he was involved with but who had been taken into protective custody elsewhere, given the threat on our lives.

To help pass the time, Onyx and my brother were renovating the place for her, making it fit to live in during the Adirondack’s long winters.

Onyx and I weren’t the only two people from Shadow Ops living on Canada Lake’s shores. Caleb “Diesel” Jacks, Garrison “Cowboy” Cassidy, and Keaton “Buster” Ford were in a rented place two doors down. Wasp and Swan, both pilots, were staying in a camp next door to them.

Wasp, whose given name was Jasper Theron, was former Air Force and had been recruited to work for the CIA around the same time I was. Aubrey “Swan” Lee had been with the UK’s Royal Air Force and MI6 before she resigned from Her Majesty’s Secret Intelligence Service and came to work for K19.

The seven of us each had a unique area of expertise. After graduating from Syracuse University’s Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, most of my early assignments for the agency were asset extraction.

Diesel, who’d been assigned as my partner for our first mission for the CIA and every one after that, had graduated from Cornell and was a language savant. Last I knew, he spoke twelve fluently.

“What’s happening today?” asked Jimmy, flopping down on one of the porch chairs.

“Shouldn’t you be asking Onyx that question?”

“Thought I’d try something different this morning.”

I chuckled. “Yeah? Well, my day looks pretty much like yesterday, which looked exactly like the day before.” The last time I’d done anything remotely interesting was New Year’s Eve, when the owner of the defunct amusement park in town had opened the dance hall above the bathhouse for a private party.

I’d had no idea what to expect and went alone, not even bothering to invite Diesel. Consequently, with only one exception, everyone there was at least thirty years older than me.

I’d tried all night to get a minute alone with my sole contemporary, but given it was her family hosting the event, I was unsuccessful.

Maisie Ann Jones was her name, and I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her since that night. I’d first met her when we were teenagers, but didn’t remember her being knockout gorgeous like she was now. I had a vague recollection of attending her eighteenth birthday party and a hot and heavy make-out session.

What I’d give to get my mouth on her pouty, bee-stung lips now. I’d weave my fingers into her tousle-curled, platinum-blonde hair, kiss my way down her tight-but-curvy body, and feast on her bigger-than-a-handful tits. The thought of it made my cock strain against the zipper of my jeans.

My fantasy came to an abrupt end when I heard the front door close and watched Jimmy go next door.

I could go over and help, but every time I did, I ended up doing more damage than good. “Construction really isn’t your thing, is it, bro?” Onyx had said, smiling and patting me on the back when Jimmy was ready to throttle me. It was hard to muster up enthusiasm for something I sucked at.

However, other than figuring out a way to while away the hours naked and in bed with Maisie, I couldn’t muster up enthusiasm for much else.

“You’re up early,” said Diesel when I pulled out my phone to answer his call.

“Same as I always am.”

“Wanna take the sleds for a ride later?”

Same shit, different day. At least driving snowmobiles around the frozen lake got me out of the camp for a few hours. I could probably count on a few beers and a bite to eat somewhere in town too. “Sure.”

 

When I returned several hours later, my brother and Onyx were in the kitchen, staring at a broken music box.

“Al Jones,” I heard my brother say.

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