Don’t Walk Away

The Mammoth Book of Specials Ops Romance

This book presents stirring romance, featuring the heroes of the Navy SEALs, Delta Force, Air Force Pararescue, the Green Berets, the Army Rangers and other special forces… Men and women who live and fight in extreme danger to preserve our freedoms, defenders and protectors of all we hold dear…these fighting men and women have a gentler, protective side; hard-edged weapons when on active duty, they can be caring lovers, of special forces teammates or the civilians they protect. Features stories by Shiloh Walker, Laura Griffin, Marliss Melton,  Shannon K. Butcher, Stephanie Tyler and Larissa Ione (writing as Sydney Croft)

The woman he loved held a knife at his throat.

He was on his knees, on a fucking filthy street and she stood behind him. Close. So close he could smell her skin. So close he could reach out and touch her…finally.

Except there was the small matter of the knife in her hand. And he suspected she probably hated his guts. Somehow, he doubted the knife was her way of telling him how much she missed him.

He wanted to see her. But he held still. Her hand was shaking. He could feel it, feel the sharp edge of the blade pressing into his skin. If he moved too quick, she just might lay his neck wide open.

“Fucking bastard.” It was the first thing she’d said since she’d come up behind him. It was dim in the narrow alley tucked between two low, squat buildings, Ethan Raintree had no trouble recognizing her voice.

“Hello, Celeste.”

“Bastard.”

“You already said that. Are we going to stay like this all night or are you going to use that knife?” he asked. Part of him wondered if she could. Could she use it on him?

“Don’t tempt me,” she whispered. There was an underlying thread of steel in her voice.

His heart broke a little at the sound. She’d been so soft once, so untouched. No more. The ugliness of his world had bled over into hers.

Yes. She could use the knife. But she lowered it instead and backed away.

Slowly, Ethan came to his feet and turned to face her. The sight of her now did the same thing to him as it had the first time he’d seen her.

Nearly eleven years had passed since then. It had been ten years since he had walked away from her. It had been the hardest thing he’d ever done, but he hadn’t had much choice.

After he’d destroyed her life, leaving her alone was the least he could do. Eleven years…she’d changed. He had as well, in some ways. But he still loved her.

If he didn’t love her, he wouldn’t be here, on this day, in this sad, run-down excuse for a town. Belle, Texas—

loosely connected to Always Yours

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