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In the Ruins (Metahuman Files #2)
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Truth and lies.
Captain Jamie Callahan knows the Metahuman Defense Force frowns on fraternization. For once in his life, he’s breaking all the rules. Having Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan on his team and in his bed is worth the risk of being found out. When a mission comes down requiring Alpha Team to go undercover in order to infiltrate a criminal alliance, Jamie knows it won’t be easy. Putting his family’s name on the line is nothing compared to the role the MDF wants him to play—that of a billionaire’s son, discharged from the military, with a lover on his arm, looking to make his own shady business deals.
Dirty little secret.
Kyle knows the only way to be with Jamie is to hide their relationship from their superiors. Waking up to Jamie at home is more important than being together in public, or so Kyle thought, until he comes face to face with what he’s been missing. Pretending to be a couple on paper for the sake of the mission thrusts Kyle into a world of incredible wealth and a social status he’s not sure he belongs in, but he’ll do anything to stay by Jamie’s side.
Play the game to win.
Surrounded by the enemy, Jamie and Kyle need to trust each other now more than ever. Their covers—and the life they’re trying to build together—depend on it.
In the Ruins is a 105k word steamy gay sci-fi military romance with a HFN ending that skirts HEA. There is military violence within the story that may not be suitable for everyone, as well as explicit intimate scenes not suitable for readers under the age of 18. This is a sequel to In the Wreckage and reading the first book in the series would be helpful in enjoying this one.
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Rage Against the Dying
“Make them stop!”
The words came out broken, in a voice worn raw from endless screaming. He almost didn’t hear his sergeant’s plea through the throbbing in his head and the grinding agony ripping through his own body. But he could see her face where she lay within reach—lips peeled back in a painful snarl, tongue bitten through, blood a crimson scatter over her teeth, the shape of the words she mouthed in a forgotten prayer.
He slid his hand through the dry, dry dirt of a city long since abandoned by people and reclaimed by the earth with the help of scorching desert wind and an implacable heat. He didn’t know how long it had been since they lost the battle, but the sky overhead was no longer black, while the horizon burned with false dawn.
He found his sergeant’s outstretched hand with shaking fingers and gripped it with a strength he shouldn’t have.
When she screamed, he heard it in his mind, the sound like waves crashing against the shore in the far distance, breaking against the bones of his body.
Make the voices stop!
He heard nothing but the wind and her gasping sobs and the quiet click in his ear he only vaguely grasped the meaning of. The world spun around them, but he didn’t close his eyes. It took everything he had to remember how to communicate beyond wordless, agonized screams. When he finally spoke, he didn’t recognize his own voice.
Her fingers—broken now, and he didn’t know how that had happened—moved weakly in his grip, grounding him. Her bloodshot eyes kept looking at him with less and less sanity in their blue depths, and he swore he would not lose his sergeant like this.
Not like this.
“We’re still alive.”
You Can Hear the Bullet
Staff Sergeant Kyle Brannigan stared through the scope of his Barrett M293A sniper rifle with one sharp green eye. His position in an empty office skyscraper located in the outskirts of the Los Angeles megacity’s business district was definitely more comfortable than some of the places he’d had to shoot from.
He’d carved out a small hole in the plas-glass that the muzzle of his rifle with its suppressor could easily fit through. The windows on the floor he’d chosen and the levels directly above and below had been darkened against the midday sun, helping to hide his activities from any prying eyes. The desk he leaned against was sturdy enough to hold his weight and the weight of his sniper rifle resting on its low tripod.
What passed for a mid-January winter storm had swept through the area last night, warm rain driving what smog the pollution filtration towers hadn’t sucked up yet all the way to the ground. It left the skies partly cloudy but the air clear, allowing for clear LOS, and Kyle would take that over the height of muggy, smoggy summer any day of the week. As far as missions went, this was one of the easier ones. Filling in for Delta Team on a last-minute basis wasn’t difficult. Wetwork in general was messy, but sometimes it was easy.
A street two kilometers away passed through the crosshairs and mil dots in his scope as Kyle scanned the area around a cluster of warehouses that was their target’s probable destination. He saw no movement aside from a few joggers. On a Sunday afternoon in the business district, there wasn’t much activity to begin with, which was probably why their target had chosen the location. It made Kyle’s job simpler in the sense that he wouldn’t have to factor in too many civilians getting in the way, though it’d been a bitch to find an angle that wouldn’t require him to shoot through Los Angeles’s notorious ground and aerial traffic.
“Are we sure the target is supposed to show?” Kyle asked over the encrypted comms Alpha Team used in the field. The nanotech embedded beneath the skin around his ears amplified everyone’s voices a little as they came through the line.
“Analysts are 90 percent certain the buy will occur today, Reaper,” Sergeant Ekaterina Ovechkina replied using Kyle’s code name. When off the clock, she went by Katie, but in the middle of an op, she was their second-in-command and went by Viper.
The Metahuman Defense Force’s headquarters was located across the country in the Washington, D.C. megacity, which was where Katie was coordinating today’s op. Alpha Team consisted of eight metahumans, all with various skill sets. It wasn’t unheard of for members of the team to break off into smaller squads. It reminded Kyle a lot of how his old Strike Force team had functioned, which had made the transition from being a Special Forces operative into a fully-fledged member of Alpha Team a lot easier, despite the initial mess that was his introduction.
“Not see likely suspects,” Staff Sergeant Alexei Dvorkin said, his Russian accent a hard scrape over the words as he peered through his high-powered binoculars at the city below them. “Only see tourists. Is not tourist area. Why they go there?”