Casey Faraday was a soldier before he was a spy, but family always came first, no matter what.
When a member of the Faraday clan is snatched off the streets and dragged halfway across the world, it’s Casey who follows the kidnappers’ trail to South America. Thrust into the heart of the cartel he barely escaped during an undercover assignment four years earlier, he’s unprepared for the shock awaiting him on Colombian soil.
Ilda Almeida—the only woman to ever tempt Casey into madness, the beautiful wife he’d mourned for years—is very much alive. And keeping a secret that will forever change life as he knows it.
Casey can’t control his hands—or his heart—around Ilda, but neither can he abandon his rescue mission. When cartel violence turns the jungle into a bloodbath, he can only protect one family: his.
Casey sensed the moment Ilda lost her footing, the momentum from his push driving her forward into the treacherous ravine. Tightening his hold on her tank top, he yanked her backward, sliding the barn door closed as quietly as possible at the same time. As soon as that was done, he looped his arm around her waist and hauled her body against his, leaving her feet dangling off the ground.
There was no time to lose, on the chance he hadn’t been as stealthy as he thought and the guards decided to investigate the door and what lay beyond. Steeling his grip on her, he grabbed the metal stake to his left and, planting one boot on the teensy path, swung them around the massive blue plastic rainwater tank affixed to the stable exterior. The metal stake, along with some questionable-looking bungee cords, kept the tank upright under the weight of the water it collected.
Pivoting on the ball of his foot, he brought them to a sudden stop on the other side of the tank, their bodies hidden from view should the door open. Feet steady on the path, he shifted Ilda in his arms until he brought her shoulders to the exterior wall.
Uncontrollable shaking had taken hold of her, adrenaline and fear coursing through her body. Concern gripped him by the throat, and he soothed her the only way he knew how. Crowding her up against the wall, he gently hooked her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck, and let her cling. He pressed as much of his weight as he dared into her, knowing she needed to feel secure, knowing his hulking body had always made her feel so in the past.
His strength was good for many things, but none so vital in this moment as easing Ilda’s fear.
Nuzzling her ear, he feathered kisses over her cheek, jaw, throat. “Can’t believe you already forgot what I said.” he whispered as he ran his hands comfortingly over her ribs, her hips and thighs. Up and down, back and forth. “I’ve got you, Ilda. I’ve always got you. Shh, now, shh.” She trembled so violently, her face tucked tight to the side of his neck, and he started to worry she wouldn’t calm, despite the fact that she clung to his torso like a monkey.
Never. He’d never let her fall. “Nah, baby. Look at us standing here, safe and sound.” He adjusted his hold so one arm looped beneath her bottom, his other hand continuing to stroke a firm, reassuring pattern along her side, cotton to skin to cotton again. “You didn’t fall.”
Her voice trembled below a whisper, but she was so close he needn’t strain to hear her. “Because you caught me.”
“I never let go of you in the first place.”
2016 © Crazed by Edie Harris