Deception - Central Florida Stories Book 1
When Joe learns Hunter’s name, his inner Dom’s lust turns to black rage—he’s convinced it’s her fault a teammate committed combat suicide. He embarks on a plan to seduce her, but by the time her sweetness ensnares him, the truth threatens what could be the love of a lifetime.
“Bitch!” Joe punched his desk as he spit out the curse to himself.
Heartless harpy, she’d closed the letter with a single “Hunter.” Without a good-bye, a polite farewell, a “take care,” or “be careful,” not even “go jump in the lake.” He flipped the envelope around. The return address had been written in the same script: Hunter Giordano, c/o Pete’s Place…
No personal address, the epitome of finality. She’d cut all personal ties.
Burning fury and a crazy sense of impotence roiled in him. Good thing Hunter wasn’t within his reach, ’cause if she were… His fingers trembled with the desire to hold her by the throat and squeeze the life out of her.
He jumped to his feet, shoved his fists into his pockets, and walked around the desk, trying to calm down. Violence wouldn’t solve anything or bring Billy back. He paced back and forth, ordering his thoughts. He stopped as the answer appeared. He folded the written sheet, carefully reinserted it in the envelope to avoid tearing the brittle paper, and closed the flap.
Minutes passed. The small notion—the light of a flickering flame illuminated his mind. Slowly, it took shape and grew into an outline, a plan to set things right. Ms. Hunter Giordano had clearly stated she didn’t know love and didn’t care to learn. However, that had been a lot of bullshit on her part. The sort of crap one used to break up with a lover. He’d seen her tonight in action. She didn’t walk around in a disinterested world, detached from everyone, as she liked to pretend.
Hunter cared. About what, Joe had no clue, nor did he give a rat’s ass. She’d been damned cruel and cavalier with Billy’s emotions. She’d endangered the men who fought with Billy, and Joe had lost his eye. Worse, Cooper and Billy had died because of her. Two lives. No matter how you shook it, intentionally or not, she’d incurred a karmic debt. In Joe’s view, a fix was required—retribution, a penance, an act that would restore balance to the universe.
What better way than to pay Ms. Giordano with the same currency? It was high time she knew love, with all its happy and painful consequences. Apparently, the job to show her had fallen on him.
Did he want to deal with this shit?
But could he walk away from the task, drop this despicable letter into a rarely opened drawer, and pretend Afghanistan hadn’t happened? Could he forget the night of Cooper’s and Billy’s destruction? Could he forget his own loss and wounds?
“No,” he murmured. “I can’t.”
He’d undertake the assignment. Heartbreak was coming to Ms. Giordano. He shrugged. The universe demanded it.