Soldier's Last Stand by Cindy Dees - Romance>Contemporary
Navy Commander Brady Hathaway is done with women. Since H.O.T. Watch is pretty much a 24/7 job, that leaves no time for female entanglements. Then he's appointed Eve Dupont's handler. Tan, leggy and blonde, the lethal-looking civilian chosen to take down a terrorist cell scares the hell out of him. Can he keep Eve safe and resist her charms?
This may be Eve's only shot to clear her name from any involvement in a terrorist cell and bring in a wanted assassin. But can the ultimate party girl do it? And can she convince the sexy Mr. I'm All Business Hathaway that there are times to move fast--and times to go very slowly....
The moment the alarms went off in the cavernous twilight of the H.O.T. Watch Ops Center, a map of the Western Hemisphere flashed up on one of the three jumbo screens mounted high on the wall of the massive room. A red, electronic sunburst blinked ominously over Kingston, Jamaica, indicating that surveillance satellites had picked up an explosion.
"Say size and location of detonation," Navy Commander Brady Hathaway barked across the loud speakers into the tense silence.
One of the intelligence analysts on the floor replied tersely, "Knutsford Boulevard, Kingston. Looks like the Dred-Naught Dance Club. Initial estimate is upward of twenty sticks worth of TNT."
Brady sucked in his breath. That was a freaking big explosion. "Capacity of that club?" he asked.
Another tech replied in his headset, "Coming up now, sir."
A pause. "Fire code says six hundred. But knowing Jamaica, more like a thousand would be in there on a Saturday night at the height of the tourist season."
"Get me visual," he ordered, although no doubt the highly trained satellite technicians on the floor were already on that obvious next step.
"Visual from S-105 in thirty-four seconds," someone announced over the loudspeakers.
"Visual from S-22 in ninety-six seconds," another tech announced.
Not bad. Two satellites engaged in under two minutes. And S-105 carried the latest in high-tech digital cameras. If the bomber had stuck around to watch his work, H.O.T. Watch might just grab a facial image of the guy on their telemetry.
Although Kingston had its share of political turbulence, it wasn't one of the outright violent corners of the Caribbean. Likely there'd been a bunch of Americans in the club, though. And that meant U.S. government officials galore were about to breathe fire down his neck to produce an ID on the bomber.
It was going to be a long night.
Some hours later--it was hard to feel time passing in the underground facility--someone called his name. Brady looked up from his workstation on the edge of the floor and spied his civilian counterpart, Jennifer Blackfoot, gesturing to him to join her. The tall, slender Native American's dark eyes looked worried. He jogged up the metal stairs to join her on the observation deck looking out over the rows of technicians and analysts.
"What's up?" he asked without preamble. They'd worked together for nearly seven years and didn't need many words to communicate effectively.
"We got a facial hit," she replied.
"Good work." Wow. That was fast. There had been hundreds of faces outside the nightclub when the bomb blew, and thousands milling around the area within moments afterward.
She jerked her head to indicate they should step into the soundproof briefing room behind them. He followed her inside and the door sealed, making his ears pop lightly.
"Who did you spot?" he asked.
"A woman. Annika Cantori."
He frowned. "That name rings a bell."
Jennifer prompted, "Cruise ship hijacking five years ago. You sent in the Medusas to liberate the ship."
The memory clicked. A team of terrorists had taken over the cruise ship Grand Adventure and offloaded all the male crew and passengers, leaving behind only women and children. The Medusas--an all-female Special Forces team-- had infiltrated the ship and ultimately killed the terrorists and freed the vessel. However, the Medusas had always been convinced they'd missed a female terrorist who'd been planted among the passengers to pass information to her...