Elite Ops # 3
By: Kay Thomas
Releasing June 9, 2015
AEGIS: an elite team of ex-military men who will do anything for their country…and their women.
Fighting to clear her brother of murder, freelance reporter Sassy Smith is suddenly kidnapped and thrown into a truck with other women who are about to be sold…or worse. When she sees an opportunity for escape Sassy takes it, but she may have just jumped from the frying pan into the fire.
Former Marine Bryan Fisher (aka Hollywood) is no stranger to dangerous situations, or to his best friend’s little sister. When he rescues Sassy, Bryan is determined to keep her safe…if he can keep his hands off of her. Because Sassy is all grown up and not at all like the girl he used to know. But he’s got bigger problems. And with enemies coming at them from every corner, Bryan and Sassy will need to work together if they’re going to survive.
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As the truck rolled to a grinding halt, Sassy Smith braced herself at the back door. This would be her one chance, and she wasn’t going to blow it. They’d only been moving for a few minutes, so it wasn’t a “rest” stop, at least she hoped not. She’d seen that horror unfold more than once since she was kidnapped off the streets in Niamey two days ago.
She wasn’t absolutely clear on the time of day. She was guessing early morning, but it could have been midafternoon. Her internal clock was pretty screwed up. They were close to a town, if the warehouse they’d just been in was any indication.
If they unlocked the back, the doors had to swing out like a big gate, and that momentarily blocked the guards’ vision. She’d have a three- to five-second head start to run once they opened. Given the terrain, that might be all she needed. Sassy was small, but she was lightning fast.
She slipped off her wedge heels as she stood by the doors and knotted the kimar scarf around her waist. It had long ago slipped from her head, but she didn’t dare leave the truck without it. She had no idea where they were, and a woman with her head uncovered in some areas of this country might as well be wearing a neon sign and shouting into a bullhorn.
The women around her were already tuning up, moaning and wailing. Sassy took a deep breath and reached for that inner calm she could always find when everything around her was going to hell. Being raised by a crazy alcoholic had made that a necessity. Her brother, Trey, claimed that she had ice water in her veins.
Sassy shook her head. She couldn’t think about Trey right now, or the Mexican prison where he was incarcerated for a murder he hadn’t committed. She would shut down completely and be incapable of doing what had to be done here. She needed to focus. What had seemed not so bad initially had turned ugly and frightening in the past forty-eight hours. If she dwelled on her circumstances for very long, she’d lose her nerve.
Four women on the truck had been sexually assaulted on the journey across the Hoggar Mountains since Sassy had joined them, and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Sassy’d sat beside one and held her as she’d wept afterward. She had the terrible feeling she might be next if the way these new guards were treating her was any indication.
She dragged her thoughts away from that stomach-turning possibility and instead narrowed her concentration to the back door of the truck. This was just like when she’d been a runner back in high school. You waited for the signal gun to fire, and you never looked back until you crossed the finish line.
She wasn’t weeping like the others in the truck; she was gearing up to blast out of here. If she was lucky, only one guard would be opening the door, and he wouldn’t be expecting Sassy. She held a shoe in each hand, ready to brandish them like small clubs if necessary. She heard the padlock rattle in the lock and slipped into “the zone” as if she was in the starting block on the high school track years ago.
The door swung open, revealing a sliver of light, and Sassy immediately dropped through the gap to the ground, rolling under the truck and scootching out the other side, away from the traffic, before she’d fully taken in her surroundings.
The women were wailing; no one would “tattle” on her. She hesitated a moment, hiding herself beside the two large back wheels. They were on a busy road with a long stream of cars coming from both directions, but beyond that, she couldn’t tell anything about her location. There was nothing but a long wall directly behind her. Why were they stopping here and opening the back door?
Kay Thomas didn't grow up burning to be a writer. She wasn't even much of a reader until fourth grade. That's when her sister read The Black Stallion aloud to her. For hours Kay was enthralled—shipwrecked and riding an untamed horse across desert sand. Then tragedy struck. Her sister lost her voice. But Kay couldn't wait to hear what happened in the story—so she picked up that book, finished reading it herself, and went in search of more adventures at the local library.
Today Kay lives in Dallas with her husband, two children, and a shockingly spoiled Boston terrier. Her award-winning novels have been published internationally.
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