A Hot SEALed/SEALed For You Crossover Novella
Trever Alexander didn’t even work for GAPS—Guardian Angels Protection Services—not yet anyway—yet there he stood in the sweltering Texas heat on assignment. He was supposed to be considering their job offer, not getting firsthand experience on just what the job would entail. Instead, Jon, the founder of GAPS, and Trever’s best friend, Brier Larsen, came to him with a situation that needed someone with his unique skill set.
“Over and over in the field you somehow managed to get out of impossible situations. She needs that now. If there’s anyone that can get her out of Texas, it’s you. Your brother’s plane…it’s her only chance.”
Brier had pushed and said the right things to make him uneasy, and in the end, even though it felt like a setup, Trever now stood in Texas. Maybe it wasn’t a setup but a test instead. There was something that made him edgy about the way they brought him into this assignment. There were more than enough members of GAPS. They didn’t need him, especially before he had committed to their team. So why pick him for this task?
He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and leaned against the side of his rental truck. It was time to find out more about this woman he was supposed to rescue. Information had been scarce when he left, and that hadn’t sat well with him. Why send him across the country if they didn’t know who she was? He hit Brier’s name and brought the phone to his ear.
“You there, Trever?” Brier’s voice came through the phone’s speaker.
“I’m standing outside in the parking lot across from where you told me to be.” He scanned the motel looking for anything that might give him a clue as to who he was looking for. The migraine he was trying to fight off was only being made worse by the horrible heat and the blazing sun overhead. “You going to tell me what the fuck I’m doing in Hell?”
“Hell…” Brier chuckled. “Texas heat is nothing like the sandbox.”
A flash of memories from his days in the sandbox flickered behind his eyelids until he ran his fingers over his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. “What the hell am I doing here?” His voice was deep as he fought to remain focused instead of being dragged into the past.
“During the last contact we had with her, she mentioned she was staying at that motel, room twenty-three. Find her and get her out of Texas.”
“Who is she?” He was quickly growing tired of having to pull information from Brier, and if this was how GAPS worked, he wasn’t sure he wanted to be involved. He didn’t like going into a situation without all of the facts.
“Check your phone. Her information and picture are waiting for you.” With that, the line went dead.
“What the hell, Brier!” There was something going on. This mission was too secretive. What was Brier hiding? He pulled his phone away from his ear and pulled up his email. A few clicks later and he was staring at the reason Brier had only dribbled out a little information at a time.
A picture of Allyson Mason filled his phone screen and his chest tightened. Her beautiful green eyes stared up at him, but the sparkle they once held was gone, leaving behind a hollowness. The smile stretched across her face appeared to be forced, and her shoulders were squared as if she was expecting something to happen. He knew she had once been determined to be an elementary school teacher and now she was on the run. What had happened?
He forced himself to scroll down past the picture to the text: She’s tangled up with a local gangster after a drug deal went bad. The authorities are closing in on him, but until they get their case tied up, she needs to leave Texas. I’d do this but she needs you more than her cousin.
“Fuck!” He locked the screen and shoved the phone back into his pocket.
Brier had known all along who the woman in danger was, but he hadn’t told him. Would he have come to Texas if he had known Allyson was in danger? He wanted to say no, that the road leading to her was closed, but damn it if he wouldn’t have dashed off to rescue her even if she hated him for it. A drug deal? Had she gotten into drugs?
Needing answers, he hopped back into the truck and drove across the street. If there was someone looking for her he needed the getaway vehicle close. In case they needed to get out of there quickly, he reversed and backed in next to the steps that would lead up to room twenty-three. He wasn’t sure if she had been mindful enough not to stay on the first floor or if it was just a stroke of luck. Either way, he was grateful that she had that extra protection while she waited for him. Being on the second floor would allow her to scan the parking lot from an advantage point and might give her a few minutes to get away if anyone showed up looking for her.
Before he climbed out of the truck he considered for a moment throwing on his jacket to conceal the gun strapped to his hip, but in the end he decided that a jacket in this weather would draw more attention than the gun itself. He was in Texas and half of the residents carried, so he’d blend in fine. Plus, there wasn’t a chance he was leaving his gun behind in the truck. He stepped out and with a quick look, he headed for the stairs. If she was waiting in her room, they could be out of there and back to his plane before anyone was the wiser.
He doubted this was going to be that easy though.
When no one answered the door, he picked the lock and stepped into the hotel room. The room was dark except for a faint light peeking around the bathroom door. The only sound was the shower running. He shook his head at the thought of her alone and scared, yet she was taking a shower with only the standard lock on the door. She hadn’t even bothered to throw the latch. It wouldn’t have stopped anyone but the sound of the bolts being tugged from the door would have been enough noise to be heard over the shower.
The water shut off, leaving behind only her faint humming. Not wanting to scare her, Trever stepped into the shadows next to the bathroom door and waited. A moment later she stepped out of the bathroom, a thin towel wrapped around her body. Needing to make sure she didn’t scream like a banshee at the sight of someone in her room, he stepped up behind her and clapped his hand over her mouth.
* * *
Fear raced through Allyson, turning her stomach and icing her blood. She couldn’t move, couldn’t fight back.
This is the end; I’m going to die.
Tears burned behind her eyelids. She knew Trever would be disappointed if he could see her now. Though he had taught her self-defense tactics, in the moment she needed them she couldn’t remember an ounce of what he taught her.
Again, I failed you Trever.
“Allie, don’t scream.”
Allie? No one calls me that but…no it can’t be…
Hearing her nickname rocked her world, but not more than what she saw when her captor tipped her head to the side so that she could see him.
He kept his hand pressed to her mouth, holding it together and keeping her quiet. She had to be seeing things. She so wanted him to be there to help her get out of the mess in which she found herself that she was hallucinating.
“Stay quiet. I’m going to remove my hand.”
His hand slid away from her mouth, but he kept his hand on her shoulder, keeping her close. Even after his hand was gone, she couldn’t speak. The words died on her tongue. It took her a moment to pull herself together and form not only words but complete sentences.
“What are you doing here?” Her gaze stayed glued to him. “Putting your hand over my mouth…scaring the shit out of me?”
“I didn’t want you to scream.” He shrugged, as if it was obvious why he did it.
“How the hell did you get in here?”
“I knocked and no one answered. So I picked the lock.”
“You picked the lock.” She stumbled back and sank down onto the hard motel bed, the weight of the whole situation weighing heavily on her shoulders. “What are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be in Iraq or somewhere, defending our country?” The minute the harsh words were out of her mouth she wanted to take back the roughness of her tone. She wanted to rush into his arms and have him hold her and tell her that this was going to be okay.
The sudden shift as he turned away from her was as clear as if he had thrown a wall up between them. He didn’t want to talk about it and it only made her eye him more closely. The bathroom light was the only light in the room, casting a yellowish tint over everything. She could see the jagged scar across his cheekbone, and more marring his toned arms. Had something happened? Had he been injured?
“Trever?” she prompted.
“The only thing that matters is I’m here and I’m going to get you out of Texas. Now get dressed, we should be leaving.” He moved to the other side of the room, his back to her, so that she could change in privacy.
Allyson glanced down and was shocked for a moment to realize she was only wearing a towel. How had she forgotten that she was practically naked? She unzipped her duffle bag and grabbed a tank top and jeans from within. She got dressed quickly and ran her fingers through her dry hair. She had skipped washing it because she wasn’t sure how long she’d be there and last thing she wanted was her wet, curly hair getting her clothes soaked.
She turned around to face Trever. “I can’t leave Texas.”
“The fuck you can’t.” He now stood near the window, his back still to her. “You’re in danger here.”
“Don’t you think I realize that?” Her voice rose, which was better than giving in to the tears she wanted to shed. How had everything worked out like this? It was supposed to be a simple run to the store, then Anthony threw everything away and dragged her down with him.
“No, I don’t.” Trever turned back to look at her, his hand gesturing toward the door. “Otherwise you’d have been more careful. What the hell were you thinking, not even bothering to put the latch on the door? Are you hoping they catch you?”
“I…I…didn’t think…” she stammered, knowing she had messed up. If Trever had gotten in without her hearing a sound, anyone could have. Someone else could have been waiting for her when she exited the shower completely unaware.
“You’re right, you didn’t think, and you could have gotten yourself killed.”
He stood there unmoving as if she went through this type of shit all the time. She was out of her element and she knew it. It was why she’d called Brier.
“You’re the fucking SEAL, not me,” she spat. “It’s not like I run for my life every other day. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing!” She sank down onto the bed again and stared at the floor. “Maybe I shouldn’t have run. If I’d stayed I—”
“You’d be dead,” He finished for her. He came around the bed to stand in front of her. “A drug deal? Damn it, Allie, are you hooked on that shit?”
“What?” She looked at him, blinking as she tried to adjust to the sudden swing in the conversation.
“If you’re messed up on that shit I need to know. I can’t have you strung out. In order to get you out of here I need you with a clear head.”
“I thought you knew me better than that, Trever. I don’t do drugs.” Tired of her emotions pulling her in two different directions she forced herself to look away from him and let her gaze fall onto the duffel bag that held everything she now owned, which wasn’t much. “Just get out. I don’t need your help.”
“I think you do.”
“You left me…” The words were out before she could stop them. That simple statement was the root of the newest turmoil inside her and was the one reason she was rejecting his help, though she hadn’t meant to verbalize it. She didn’t want him to know that she still missed him.
“That’s not what this is about.”
“Everything changed when you left.” She pulled her bag close and zippered it. “Please just go. I can’t do this. I can’t stand by and see you walk out of my life again.”
“Let me get you out of here, and if you still want nothing to do with me, fine. But until someone else can protect you, you’re stuck with me.” He squatted down in front of her. “Allie, I’m not going to leave you here unprotected, so you might as well stop. No matter what you think, you’re important to me.”
“I called Brier…” She’d have a few choice words for her cousin if she saw him again. He knew what had happened between her and Trever and still he sent him. It was like her cousin had no respect for her emotions.
“I know, and he asked me to come find you. I’m going to take you back to Virginia. You can stay with him until—”
“Until what? Until they find me and kill me? Until I off myself because I can’t live with this constant fear? Let’s be realistic here for a moment, Trever. They’re not going to stop until I’m dead. There’s no convincing them I had nothing to do with any of it. That I just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Trust me, I’ve already tried.”
“What?” He leaned back, nearly knocking himself off balance and falling on his ass before he adjusted to remain on the balls of his feet. “What do you mean you’ve tried? Are you crazy? You shouldn’t have been anywhere near them. They are dangerous.”
“Really?” She stared at him with wide eyes, sarcasm dripping from her statement. “I’d have never guessed. How do you suppose I got these?” She held up her wrists to him, showing him the raw rope burned skin.
“What happened to you? Brier said you were fine.” He took her hand into his and looked down at the wounds. “Are you hurt anywhere else?”
“I’m fine.” She tried to pull her hand out of his but he held on tight enough that she couldn’t without fighting him. “What was I supposed to tell Brier?”
“The truth. That’s always a good place to start.”
“Kind of like us? Forget I said that, this isn’t about us or the past.” Her chest ached from being torn between her wants and fears. “He was across the country and no matter how injured I was he couldn’t have gotten here any faster. Not that he came anyway.”
“He sent me.” He brushed his thumb over her knuckles. “How’d you get away?”
He shot up, dropping her hand and reaching for his gun. “Get in the bathroom. In the tub, stay there, nice and low until I call you.” His voice left no room for questions. “Go.”
Trusting him completely she did what he asked. She stepped into the bathroom and shut the door just as the main door came crashing in. Her heart beat frantically against her chest as she climbed into the tub. Bangs and gunshots echoed within the room and she crouched lower.
Please let him be okay…