HER SEAL PROTECTOR
Subject: Navy SEAL Clay "HoundDog" Bellamy
Mission: Rescue the lush, curvy civilian. And definitely don't give in to temptation!
Even in her worst nightmare, Gabby Diaz never imagined a banking conference in Paraguay would end with her being kidnapped and ransomed—before being rescued by a hard-muscled Navy SEAL. Now, despite lingering worries, she's home and safe again…isn't she?
Someone has Gabby in their deadly sights, and she needs her hotter-than-hot SEAL's help. But despite Clay Bellamy's guarded Navy demeanor, his hunger for Gabby is hard to control. He tells himself it's just the "hero" thing, that they're worlds apart—until a sizzling kiss flips both their worlds upside down. Now Clay's mission has been compromised in the wickedest way imaginable…
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Available: August 2016
“I won a copy of Jillian Burns Her Seal Protector and all I can say is "Wow Jillian Burns navy seal Clay Bellamy can protect me any time, day or night (preferably at night)."
" Jillian Burns sizzles with Her Seal Protector"
I took this book camping with hubby and friends and ended starting to read it before bed (bad idea when camping when you forget to pack your lantern or a flashlight) I ended up having to use my iphone battery all up reading by the light from that because it got dark and I wasn't done reading and refused to put the book down! ( I know it was my own stupidity but hey when something was as good as this book you can't blame me!)
From the action and terror packed beginning from virginal Gabby (I loved how innocent yet courageous Gabby was) to the discovery of Clay's past abuse at the hands of his stepfather to the end where Gabby is rescued and everything in between Jillian Burns scorches your fingers and inflames your soul.
So if you’re looking for a book to read that will keep you enthralled from beginning to end I'd recommend Her Seal Protector just remember though, if you are gonna take it camping bring a flashlight!
“Excuse me.” Mr. Van Horton tapped Gabby on the shoulder as she finished her Tweet. “Could you—” He pointed at the bags of luggage sitting beside him. “—find a porter, por favor?”
Gabby sighed inwardly. This was the third time in as many days that someone from her own office had mistaken her for a hotel employee. It was understandable, she supposed. Especially now that, with the conference over, everyone was scrambling to check out and get home. And her plain black suit jacket and skirt looked similar to the hotel employees’ uniforms. Mr. Van Horton had probably seen her speaking in Spanish to the hotel manager a moment ago, thanking the woman for the excellent accommodations on behalf of all the New York Bank and Trust people during their stay in Paraguay.
But most likely her Hispanic heritage caused him to mistake her for a local.
Still, she’d worked at NYB&T for almost two years. Seeing the executives in the break room, passing them in the hallways. She’d even sat in on a meeting with Mr. Van Horton once.
She should say something. She was going to say something this time. She drew in a deep breath. Squared her shoulders.
But… Mr. Van Horton was the executive vice president. Did it really matter if he didn’t know who she was? Maybe she—
“Do you speak English?” Mr. Van Horton spoke slower and louder. “Find a porter?” He gestured at his luggage again and glanced at the registration desk, then back at her.
The deep breath of determination deflated. “Yes, sir.” Gabby turned toward the concierge’s desk.
“Sir,” James Pender blocked her path. He nodded at the Executive VP and gestured toward Gabby. “You know Gabriella Diaz, our newest credit risk analyst?” James winked at her as Mr. Van Horton’s eyes widened and his mouth opened and shut like the white bass she’d once caught on the Guadalupe River.
“Oh, of course, I’m sorry, Ms. Diaz.” Mr. V recovered with a strained smile. “I didn’t recognize you.”
“We’ve never been introduced.” Gabby could feel her cheeks heat. “I’ll get a porter for you, sir.” Wishing she could disappear, she stepped to the concierge’s desk and arranged to have Mr. V’s luggage taken out to a waiting cab.
Despite being colleagues in the same department, until this moment Gabby hadn’t thought James Pender even knew she existed.
After thanking the hotel manager once again, she rolled her own suitcase out to the hotel drive just as Mr. Van Horton was getting into a cab.
She dabbed at her temples with the back of her hand. February was summertime in South America, but even so, the weather was sweltering. Still, it beat the freezing temps back in New York. She shivered thinking of the dirty snow and slush she’d most likely return to. If only she’d had more time to explore the beautiful city of Asunción.
“Ms. Diaz!” Mr. Van Horton waved her over. “You and James share my cab.”
Gabby glanced over to see James wheeling his suitcase to a stop beside hers. He mugged a “why not?” face and proceeded to load his bag into the cab’s trunk.
“Come on, Ms. Diaz.” Mr. Van Horton waved at her again with a winking smile. “I should get to know my newest credit risk analyst.”
Gabby drew a deep breath. Get to know her? Anxiety set in at being the center of attention. He was probably just feeling guilty about his mistake. But if she declined, he might think she was holding it against him. There was no hope for it. Resigned, she rolled her bag to the trunk. James had taken the front seat, so she slid into the backseat beside Mr. V.
As the cab pulled away from the hotel, Gabby glanced back at the unforgettable mountain vista behind the hotel. Definitely the best perk of her job. Just in the last eighteen months she’d traveled to Los Angeles, Miami and now Paraguay. Of course, that probably had more to do with her bilingual skills than her risk analysis savvy, but it all helped her career. The raise last month had gone straight to Jorge’s college fund. And once her brother graduated next year, she could start helping Patricia.
“So, how do you feel the conference went, Ms. Diaz?”
Gabby turned her attention inside the cab and found Mr. Van Horton studying her intently. She swallowed and glanced at James, who had half turned from the front seat to face them, smiling encouragingly. She cleared her throat. “The workshop on financial globalization in a nonrisk asset world was very interesting.”
Mr. Van Horton’s eyes narrowed. “I highly doubt that.” Then he grinned. “Tell me you at least saw some of the sights while you were here. Have you ever been out of the country before?”
“Now, none of that sirring me. Call me Bob.”
Oh, she couldn’t picture herself calling him Bob. Gabby gave a shy smile.
“How about you?” Mr. Van Horton addressed James, who proceeded to chatter on about the amenities of the hotel, the nightclub he’d been to the night before and a quick rundown of the lectures he’d attended.
The cab screeched to a stop, throwing Gabby against the back of the driver’s seat. An explosion of gunfire roared around her. Shattered glass sprayed over her, and she screeched and covered her head. Before she could comprehend what was happening a man wrenched her door open and shouted in Spanish for her to get out.
Gabby couldn’t move. Couldn’t think. The bandit reached in, yanked her out of the cab and dragged her toward an old Jeep. Mr. V was pulled out of the other side and shoved beside her. The cabdriver was cowering on the ground next to the car.
The lower halves of the attacker’s faces were covered with bandanas and they all carried big automatic rifles.
James scrambled out on his own and stuck his hands in the air as one of the gunmen poked his rifle in James’s stomach. “Throw out your phones!” the gunman yelled in heavily accented English.
James and Mr. V both fished in their coat pockets and tossed their phones away.
A second gunman found her purse on the cab’s floor, dumped it and smashed her phone with the butt of his rifle.
The bandit closest to Mr. V yelled at them in Spanish to get in the Jeep.
“What are they saying, Ms. Diaz?” Mr. Van Horton whispered to her.
“No hablar!” The gunman jabbed the butt of his rifle into Mr. Van Horton’s stomach and he doubled over.
Gabby bit off a scream.
“In!” The gunmen shouted again, waved the rifle toward the Jeep and this time he shot at the ground in front of them.
Gabby screamed and James, his face twisted in terror, jumped into the back. Gabby was shaking so hard she had to try twice to get a good enough grip to pull herself into the Jeep. But Mr. Van Horton didn’t follow.
“Speak English?” He addressed one of the gunmen. “I have money. No need to take us. I can—”
With an expression of pure hatred, the thug bashed Mr. Van Horton in the head this time and he collapsed to the ground. The men picked him up and threw him into the back of the Jeep, got in the front and sped off.
Blood gushed from Mr. V’s head. So much blood. She shrugged out of her suit coat and tore it into a makeshift compress. “James, hold this while I take off his tie.”
“What?” He was shaking uncontrollably.
“We’ve got to stop the bleeding. Keep pressure on the wound.”
James just stared at her.
With a tsk of exasperation, she reached over and placed his hand on the bandage. “Press hard.” Then she loosened Mr. V’s tie and used it to hold the compress.
She kept a close eye on Mr. V as they bumped along in the rusty Jeep. It seemed like hours as they climbed into the mountains. Even if she’d wanted to jump out, the kidnappers kept a gun trained on them. And she couldn’t leave Mr. V, who still hadn’t woken up.
The heat was relentless until they entered the shade of the jungle, and even then, the humidity pressed in on them. By the time they came to a stop, Gabby was soaked in sweat, she was dying of thirst and she really had to relieve herself. But all of that ceased to matter as they dragged her, James and Mr. V into a hut in the middle of nowhere and tied them up.
Somewhere along the way James had become catatonic. Mr. V still hadn’t regained consciousness. And she wasn’t sure any of them were going to get out of this alive.
“You ready?” L.T., Clay’s lieutenant, asked in a low voice.
Petty Officer Clay Bellamy gave L.T. the thumbs-up, and then waited for the signal to go.
L.T. radioed to Main that they were going in, asking for confirmation on the extract location.
Clay’s SEAL team had parachuted into the mountains of Paraguay last night, landed in a clearing, then traveled for miles on foot through a dense jungle to set up position half a click from the target. Their mission: personnel recovery. Three United States civilians held by unknown assailants.
Intel was sketchy but they didn’t think this was the work of the local cartel. The Americans were bankers, and the international bank they worked for had received a ransom demand via Twitter two days ago. Which, hopefully, meant the civvies were still alive. But hostages were rarely left alive after a ransom was paid. And just because this might not be a cartel didn’t mean that the kidnappers weren’t armed to the teeth.
Clay’s lieutenant squeezed his shoulder and Clay rose from his squat and sprinted toward the back of the dilapidated hut, staying low.
L.T. maintained his position hidden in the foliage to communicate with Main, while Bull—positioned at nine o’clock—kept his silenced M40 trained on the two guards by the door of the hut.
Clay gave the signal that his team was in position. Through his scope, Bull shot both guards. Doughboy and Chipper sped around the corner and caught them as they fell to prevent the thump of dropping bodies from alerting anyone inside. Clay grabbed the guards’ phones and guns, and then gave the signal for a hard entry.
They burst through the door and Chipper shot the guy sitting at a table just as he aimed his gun.
Spreading out, they checked the other two rooms, calling out “clear” as each was found empty. Damn. The hostages weren’t here. And where were the rest of the kidnappers? They weren’t hiding outside. His team had been watching the area for hours before dawn and would’ve spotted them.
If he’d had any, the hair on Clay’s neck would’ve stood up. “Cover me,” he ordered Doughboy and Chipper, then, staying low, ran outside to what he’d assumed was a well. Basically, a two-foot-high wall of adobe surrounding a man-made hole in the ground. But now he realized what seemed off about it.
As a kid, one of his summer jobs had been cutting grass for all the neighbors and church folks. One old man—a buddy of his stepfather’s—had a well on his property with a similar structure aboveground except it had been made of stones. But it had been built next to a tree and had a long rope tied around the trunk with a pail attached to the other end.
This well had no rope. No pail.
As he drew closer, Clay leaned over the adobe structure and called down into the well. “US Navy. Anybody down there?”
He cursed under his breath and turned to head back to the hut.
Then, a faint call from below. “We’re here.”
It was a female voice, hoarse from dehydration no doubt, but…alive. Yes! He spun back. “How many?” He grabbed his flashlight and shone it down into the hole.
Clay could barely make out a pair of arms moving as they covered a face.
“Two,” the female called.
“Can you tell me your names?” The rule was to first verify all captives.
“Gabriella Diaz and James Pender.”
Identities confirmed, Clay called it in to L.T. then shouted into the well again. “Anyone need medical attention?”
The woman called up, “We’re okay. But Mr. Van Horton isn’t here. He was hurt. Do you have him?”
The woman sounded pretty calm considering what she must’ve gone through. Van Horton. Wounded and missing. Not good. “We’ll get you out. Hold on.”
“Don’t leave us! You’ve got to get us out of here!” a man cried. Clay shifted the beam of light onto the other, paler hostage.
“I’m going to throw down a rope. Tie it under your arms and I’ll pull you up one at a time.”
Clay signaled the team. “One still missing. Search the area.” Doughboy, Chipper and the rest fanned out, headed into the surrounding foliage. Clay leaned his M-4 against the adobe wall, took off his pack and pulled out his length of nylon rope. With nothing else nearby to secure it to, he tied it around his waist and then tossed it down, hoping it would be long enough.
“Me first. I have to go first!” Clay heard the man in the well whine.
“There’s a body partially buried out here,” Chipper’s voice sounded in Clay’s earbud. “Caucasian. I think it’s one of the hostages.”
The rope jerked and Clay braced his feet against the adobe, leaned back and pulled the rope hand over hand until a tall, thin, mud-caked man appeared above the edge. His face was streaked with tear tracks as he scrabbled out and clung to Clay, sobbing.
Clay finally had to force him to let go and relinquish the rope. What kind of coward didn’t let a woman go first?
Disgusted, Clay tossed the rope back down into the well. “Now you, ma’am.”
Within a minute the rope tugged and Clay easily lifted the rope until a heart-shaped face appeared above the rim. Her long dark curls were a mass of tangles and her large, dark-brown eyes seemed to gaze at him in disbelief. Her wide mouth trembled, though he could see she was trying to keep her lips clamped tightly together. As he pulled her up and over the edge, she landed on her feet, but her knees buckled beneath her. He caught her around the waist and she clung to his shoulders. “Sorry. I…”
“No worries. We’ll have you home safe in no time.”
“What about Mr. Van Hort—”
Shots fired to Clay’s right and he dropped to the dirt, taking the woman with him and covering her. The man screamed and sobbed louder, cowering next to him.
“Stay here, stay down.” A spray of bullets fired as Clay grabbed his M-4 and peeked over the well wall.
In his ear, L.T. was barking orders. “Q.R. coming in at one click to the south. Secure the targets and get out.”
Damn. Quick response. The kidnappers weren’t going to make this easy.
“Chipper’s down!” Doughboy yelled into his earbud.
Shorty came hightailing it into the clearing, shooting behind him. His left arm was bleeding. Clay covered him, firing multiple rounds in the direction of the flying bullets.
As Shorty slid behind the well wall, the male hostage clutched at him. “You gotta get me out of here!”
The woman crawled over and put her arm around the guy, murmuring soothing words into his ear. Clay had to admit he wasn’t sure he could’ve stayed that calm in her place.
L.T. barked more orders as all hell broke loose. “Our position’s compromised. Go to secondary extract!”
Clay signaled to Shorty that he would lay cover while Shorty got the two hostages out. Clay was going back for Doughboy and Chipper.
Rising from his crouch, he laid down fire while Shorty grabbed the two hostages and ran for L.T.’s position. But the woman stumbled—or the male hostage shoved her as he clung to Shorty, and the fire was too heavy for Shorty to go back for her. Calling out every curse word he knew, Clay raced over and covered her with his body while firing into the foliage.
“I’ve got Chipper. Headed for secondary extract,” Doughboy called through Clay’s earbud.
One less thing to worry about. Clay scooped up the female around the waist and ran toward the exit route, but the kidnappers’ truck came barreling through the brush straight for them. Taking a sharp left, Clay darted into dense undergrowth, heading for the fallback exit he’d scoped out last night. He pulled a flash-bang from his belt and pitched it behind them. Hopefully that would slow their pursuers down.
Heedless of near impenetrable vines and shrubs, he fought through the jungle growth to put as much distance between them and the abductors as he could manage.
Gunshots popped in the distance, the sound of the trucks’ engine grew fainter. The woman was keeping up on her own, so he dropped his arm and grabbed her hand instead, slowing a bit. “Follow me and stay close.” From the corner of his eye he saw her nod.
Hoping the pace wasn’t too much for her, he trudged farther and farther into thickening vegetation, using his M-4 to hack plants out of the way. By the time he determined gunshots had stopped and no one was following them, he was puffing out deep breaths and his camo was soaked with sweat.
He came to a halt and crouched down, and the woman crouched with him. Wiping his face on his sleeve, he tried to assess the situation. They were cut off from the rest of the team. No way they would make it to the secondary extract. Not in time. Before his team got too far out of range, he radioed L.T., confirmed their position and instructed him to send a helo to the emergency extract.
The petite woman was staring at him expectantly, but not questioning him. Her faith in his ability to get her out seemed solid. He just hoped he could prove her right.
Because they were going to have to spend the night in this jungle.