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Toxic Game (GhostWalkers #15)
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On a rescue mission in the heart of the Indonesian jungle, Dr. Draden Freeman and his GhostWalker team need to extract the wounded as quickly as possible—or risk spreading a deadly virus unleashed by a terrorist cell. When Draden gets infected, he forces his team to leave him behind. He won’t risk exposing anyone else. He intends to find the ones responsible and go out in a blaze of glory….
Shylah Cosmos’s mission is to track the virus and remain unseen. Her enhanced senses tell her that the gorgeous man eradicating the terrorists one by one is a GhostWalker—and his lethal precision takes her breath away. When he’s hit by a lucky shot, she can’t stop herself from stepping in, not knowing that by saving his life she’s exposed herself to the virus.
There’s no telling how much time Draden and Shylah have left. Racing to find a cure, they quickly realize that they’ve found their perfect partner just in time to lose everything. But even as the virus threatens to consume their bodies, they’ve never felt more alive.
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THE GHOSTWALKER CREED
We are the GhostWalkers, we live in the shadows
The sea, the earth, and the air are our domain
No fallen comrade will be left behind
We are loyalty and honor bound
We are invisible to our enemies
and we destroy them where we find them
We believe in justice and we protect our country
and those unable to protect themselves
What goes unseen, unheard, and unknown are GhostWalkers
There is honor in the shadows and it is us
We move in complete silence whether in jungle or desert
We walk among our enemy unseen and unheard
Striking without sound and scatter to the winds
before they have knowledge of our existence
We gather information and wait with endless patience
for that perfect moment to deliver swift justice
We are both merciful and merciless
We are relentless and implacable in our resolve
We are the GhostWalkers and the night is ours
“Hot as hell!” Barry Font yelled, wiping the sweat from his face. He looked around him at the crew he was transporting straight into the hot zone. He hadn’t meant the strip of land they were setting the helicopters down in. They all knew it was bad. The last rescue attempt had been ambushed. Three dead, two wounded, and the helicopter had barely made it out.
The temperature was at least ninety degrees with 99 percent humidity and gusting winds that took that heat and shoved it right down your throat—and this was at night. His skin felt wet and sticky all the time. He wanted to strip himself bare and lie under the helicopter’s rotor blades just to get some relief.
They dropped down out of the mountains, the helicopters running low enough to make his gut tighten as they skimmed along the lowlands heading toward the forest. They were sitting ducks making that run, and this area was infamous for frequent ground-to-air fire. With the Milisi Separatis Sumatra terrorist cell active and firing at anything, every man in the choppers was at risk. Gunners grimly watched out their doors on either side, but that didn’t make him feel any less like he had a target painted on his back. Strangely, it wasn’t the run that was scaring the crap out of him. He felt like he was trapped in a cage surrounded by predators.
The Air Force pararescue team didn’t seem affected by anything as mundane as the heat or terrorists. The crazy thing was, they were mostly officers. Doctors. What the hell? As a rule, Barry thought most officers were a joke. These men had seen combat and looked as tough as nails. He’d never flown them anywhere before and hadn’t known what to expect.
His crew had taken men into all sorts of combat situations, but he’d never seen a team like the one he was bringing in. He didn’t even know how to explain their difference. It wasn’t like he could name one single thing about them that made them stand out in his mind. They just gave off a dangerous vibe. Being with them really did feel as if he were inside a tiger’s cage, surrounded by the big cats. They were that still, that menacing, and yet they hadn’t said or done anything to warrant his nerves or the shiver of dread creeping down his spine at the sight of them.
They sat stoically while the helicopter swayed and jerked, bumping like it was in the rockiest terrain. They moved with the craft as if seasoned veterans of helicopter travel. Sweat trickled down faces—well, all but one. He looked at the man sitting at the very end of the jump seat. Dr. Draden Freeman, a gifted surgeon, was a fucking model, not a tough-as-nails soldier about to be dropped into the hottest zone in Indonesia.
Freeman had dark brown hair that was thick and wavy. At six-two he was all muscle, without an ounce of fat. His eyes were a dark blue and held an intensity; when he flicked Barry a careless glance at his remark, Barry’s gut reacted as if punched. The man had rugged good looks that had catapulted him into stardom in the modeling world. Ordinarily, Barry and the crew would have been making fun of him behind his back, but no one did—especially after one of those smoldering, scary glances. Not one single bead of sweat marred his good looks.
“Five minutes out.” The call came from the front via his radio.
Barry held up five fingers and the five men in the helicopter barely reacted. The helicopter was coming in with guns ready, knowing they wouldn’t have much time to retrieve the wounded U.S. Rangers, Kopassus or civilians. The gunners were in position and tension mounted.
Members of the WHO, the World Health Organization, had come at the request of the government to examine the remains of the dead at a small village, Lupa Suku, in a remote part of Sumatra. Every man, woman and child had died of what appeared to be a very fast-acting and deadly virus, possibly a dreaded hemorrhagic one. Before they could set up their equipment, the WHO members had been attacked by a small terrorist cell known to the government.