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Two years ago Gunner Ortez saved Sydney Sloan’s life. Now, working together in the jungles of Peru, the heat between Elite Ops agents Sydney and Gunner is hotter than ever – and so are the threats to their lives.But Gunner also poses the greatest risk to the secret Sydney carries in her heart… and in her belly.

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“When I close my eyes, I see your face.”

His words, so gravel-rough, had her heart racing.

“You’re driving me crazy. Taking over every moment of my life.”

She couldn’t breathe. Because what he was saying—that was the way she felt. As if he’d taken over her life.

“I tried to walk away. I tried to be strong.” He lowered his head.


“There are some lines that if you cross them, you can’t ever go back.”

“I don’t want to go back.” There was nothing in her past to go back to.

“I won’t be able to let you go.”

She wouldn’t let him go. Before Gunner could say anything else, Sydney wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled his head down toward her.

About the Author

USA TODAY bestselling author CYNTHIA EDEN writes tales of romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Her books have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and she has received a RITA Award nomination for best romantic suspense novel. Cynthia lives in the deep South, loves horror movies and has an addiction to chocolate. More information about Cynthia may be found on her website,, or you can follow her on Twitter (


Cynthia Eden

I wanted to offer a huge thank-you to all the wonderful

folks at Mills & Boon Intrigue. It is always a pleasure! And for my friend Joan, a woman who loves her strong heroes, I hope you enjoy this story.


The thunder of gunfire erupted around her as Sydney Sloan ran through the remains of the enemy’s camp. Voices were calling out, screaming, but she didn’t stop. She couldn’t.

Her focus was on the man before her. The man lying so still in the middle of that nightmare scene.

“Slade!” Her own scream joined the others as she fell to her knees beside him. She grabbed for his shoulder and rolled him toward her.

His chest was a bloody mess. His eyes—those dark eyes that she’d stared into so many times—were closed. “Slade?” she whispered hoarsely. No, this couldn’t happen. They were supposed to get out of there together. They were going to start their life together back in the States. They were going to get married.

“I’ll get you out of here.” He would be fine. She’d get him to the helicopter. Fly him out of there. He’d get patched up, and everything would be just as they’d planned.

More gunfire erupted. Her breath choked out when a bullet drove into her shoulder. The pain burned her, terrified her. If she was hurt too badly, how would she get Slade to safety?

She grabbed his arms. Started to drag him.

More gunfire. This time, the bullet hit her in the side. She stumbled but refused to fall. Slade needed her. She wasn’t going to let him down.

“Sydney!” The roar of her name had her jerking up her head. She saw Gunner Ortez then, running toward her and his brother.

Gunner and Slade. They were so different. Slade was always laughing, so easygoing. Gunner was intense, almost…frightening to her.

But she knew Gunner would do anything for his brother. “Help him!” Sydney called as her knees buckled. She hit the ground, still holding tight to Slade.

Why weren’t her knees working? Why did she feel so cold? It was so hot in the jungle.

Then Gunner was there. He was curling his body around hers, shielding her from the hail of gunfire that just wouldn’t stop.

A trap. They’d walked right into this hell because they’d been going after Slade. A rescue mission. They’d had to take the risk of infiltrating the area, against orders.

Gunner’s fingers—long, tan, strong—went to Slade’s throat. She felt the thick tension in the big body behind hers as Gunner checked for his brother’s pulse. Then Gunner swore.

No. No.

His hand pulled back. She grabbed his fingers. Held tight. “You have to help me,” she whispered. “Gunner, please, we have to get him out of here!”

More gunfire. Gunner curled his body even tighter to hers. She heard the thud of the impact and knew he’d just taken a bullet.

For her.

“He’s not here anymore,” Gunner rasped. His eyes—as dark as Slade’s but lined with gold flecks, stared into her own. “He’s not here.”

She shook her head.

The rat-a-tat of gunfire came again. Gunner yanked out a handgun with his left hand. He began to fire back, even as the fingers of his right hand twisted and locked with hers. “We have to get out of here! We’re damn sitting ducks!”

“Not without…Slade…” Her side hurt. A deep, agonizing burn, and she wondered just how bad the hit was. But she’d make it, she’d hold on, until they got Slade out of there. They’d come to rescue him, and they’d never failed on a mission before. “Help me.”

The gold in his eyes seemed to blaze. “How many times have you been hit?”

Two? Three? What did it matter? “Slade…”

Then she heard the roar of engines. Coming toward them. The enemy closing in. There wasn’t any more time. “Just…take him.” Because she wasn’t sure that she’d be able to get out on her own steam. She couldn’t make her legs work, and as she pulled her fingers from Gunner’s, she realized that she was shaking. She’d run out of ammo, and the blood was pumping down her side. “Take him…please.” Her voice broke and her body began to sway. She was already on her knees, but Sydney was pretty sure she’d soon slump forward and crash face-first into the dirt.

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