Her Fierce Warrior (X-Ops #4)(7)

By: Paige Tyler

Landon still couldn’t understand how a man who had stepped down from his senate seat three years ago to take a hand in running his defense contractor company was still on the Committee. But according to John, once a person was selected for the Committee, it was a lifetime position.

Landon was about to ask how much detail he and Ivy should get into with the ex-senator when his cell rang. He pulled his phone out of his pocket and frowned when he recognized the number of the satellite phone Angelo and his team carried. There was no way in hell they’d call unless it was important.

He thumbed the button. “Angelo?”

“No, Captain. It’s Derek. We’re in Tajikistan and have a situation. We need your help.”

Landon glanced at Ivy to see her looking at him in concern. With her feline shifter hearing, she had easily picked up the words.

“What’s wrong?” he asked Derek. “Is everyone okay?”

“We’re fine, Captain. But Angelo captured one of those unique individuals like we met in Costa Rica.”

Derek couldn’t say the word hybrid over the satellite phone because everything was recorded. But there was no doubt that’s what the Special Forces medic was talking about. Landon was about to ask how the hell they’d stumbled across such a unique individual in the middle of Tajikistan, but Derek continued.

“Captain, Angelo thinks this is one you’re going to want to see. She’s kind of…special.”

Landon saw Ivy’s dark eyes widen. They’d never encountered a live female hybrid before. “What do you mean…special?”

There was an uncomfortable pause. They could only say so much over the satellite phone. “Well, Captain, there’s no other way to say it…she kind of reminds me of Ivy. The way she moves and behaves…it’s a little eerie,” Derek said. “Angelo thinks you need to come and get her.”

Beside Landon, Ivy went pale. He almost reached out to take her hand but caught himself just in time. While John might have been honest with them, they hadn’t come clean with him about a lot of things—like the fact that they were married.

Landon glanced at John, wishing for about the hundredth time that they’d been able to tell him about Stutmeir capturing Ivy and stealing her DNA. It would have made what he was about to ask a whole lot easier.

“Hang on, Derek.” Landon lowered the cell phone. “John, Angelo and his Special Forces team have captured a hybrid in Tajikistan. They need help getting her out of the country and back here to the DCO.”

Landon’s gut clenched at the look of horror in his wife’s eyes. He knew she was terrified of the female hybrid being brought back to the DCO, and he couldn’t blame her. They needed to hide that her DNA had been taken, and he knew she felt responsible for it having been used in this way. But if Angelo had taken the thing alive, it was because he thought the creature had a chance to conquer the hybrid serum running through her veins, like Tanner had done. Ivy might be too scared to see that at the moment though, so he hoped she would just trust Angelo’s judgment, like he did.

Across from him, John was already on his cell. Landon heard him saying something about a priority airlift out of Bagram Air Base.

“Derek,” Landon said into the phone. “We’re setting up an extraction now. Can I get in-country transport to where you are now, or do you need to move to a secure location first?”

Landon glanced at Ivy again as he wrote down the grid square location Derek gave him. She was pale as a ghost and her hands were shaking. He tried to comfort her with a look, but she wasn’t paying attention. He had no doubt that, in her head, she was right back there in that lab in Washington State as Stutmeir’s doctors tortured her and took her DNA. All these months and it was still like it had just happened yesterday.

He prayed that finding this hybrid wasn’t going to destroy everything they’d worked so hard to keep hidden. But right then, he didn’t know if God was going to answer that particular prayer.

Chapter 2

Angelo looked out the window of the Black Hawk at the rapidly approaching asphalt and concrete maze that was Bagram Air Base. Fortunately, they didn’t seem to be heading for any of the main terminals. That was good. Angelo had no desire to parade this woman around a couple hundred curious people. He’d already figured out that she didn’t like crowds much.

He twisted his wrist around to see his watch—something that was rather complicated since the woman was sleeping in his arms at the moment—and saw that it had been barely more than six hours since the hybrid had latched on to him and refused to let go. He had to admit, he was impressed. He knew the DCO had some serious pull, but getting a priority clearance helicopter flight all the way from southern Tajikistan to the huge airfield in northern Afghanistan complete with an in-flight refueling in that amount of time? The SOCOM commander himself didn’t get that kind of service.

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