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The Navy SEAL Affair

Written by Carol Ericson

Chapter Two

An icy calm descended over Shane as he tracked the scooter through his scope. He didn't need orders. He didn't need confirmation. Hell, he had a brainiac CIA analyst standing right beside him squawking about snake heads.

"Take the phone out of my right pocket. Call the only contact listed. Tell him the man on the scooter has the second bomb in his backpack."

He felt the tug on his pocket and soon Woods was relaying the information in a low, calm voice. He could trust Woods. Despite her stubborn streak, she was good kid.

The pulse in his throat ticked off the seconds for him. When the man on the scooter ignored an officer's commands to stop and turn back, a switch clicked on in Shane's head.

Without hesitation, he pulled the trigger. The force of the high-speed bullet knocked the man from the scooter. His bike continued without him and crashed into the back of the dump truck.

Two of the officers from the bomb unit approached the downed man. From the way they handled the backpack, Shane knew his kill had been righteous.

He lowered his rifle and stuck out his fist for a knuckle bump with Woods.

Her soft doe-eyes got wider.

Had she never given a fist bump before? He extended his arm further. "You done good, Woods."

She tapped her fist against his and then shoved her hand into her jacket pocket.

"How'd you know to look out for a second terrorist?" Shane began breaking down his sniper rifle.

"The communications we monitored mentioned the second head of a snake. I'd heard that terminology before in reference to taking out the first responders as they converged on the scene of an initial terrorist attack. It's a common ploy and not only maximizes casualties but inflicts a psychological wound."

He dipped his chin to his chest just to get her to stop talking. "Still not sure you belong in the field. Is this your first assignment?"

"This is my first assignment overseas, but I've been with the agency for two years in DC." She tilted her chin as if inviting him to challenge her.

He wouldn't dare. "The director must have a lot of faith in your smarts to invite you onto this task force. As you know, we're expecting a rash of attacks in Berlin. Maybe the fact that we spoiled this one will cause them to cool their jets on the rest…but I doubt it."

"That's what we're here for." She tucked her binoculars into her backpack and slung it over her shoulder, looking every inch the schoolteacher on holiday with her messy ponytail, sturdy walking boots and boxy jeans.

She gripped the strap of her backpack, her knuckles turning white. "I—I guess I'll see you at tomorrow's task force meeting."

Since Woods didn't seem to like fist bumps, Shane flashed his teeth to give her some encouragement. "Where we'll have a lot to celebrate. You're gonna be the woman of the hour…and I can keep a secret."

"Secret?"

Securing his rifle in its case, he glanced up and winked. "You know. You here on the rooftop where you weren't supposed to be."

Woods pursed her lips, looking just like his second-grade teacher. "If someone had bothered to tell me that the task force had decided to use the information I provided about a possible location for a terrorist attack, I wouldn't have mistakenly shown up here."

"Yes, you would've."

A smile claimed his lips at the way she sputtered in response. Woods may be as green as a grass shoot in spring, but she had spunk.

"Of course, I would have expected to be invited to watch how this all played out but if I hadn't been, I would've followed orders."

"Sure you would've." Shane hoisted his rifle case and zipped his jacket over the handgun in his shoulder holster.

Air whistled out of her flaring nostrils as she crossed her arms over her rain jacket.

"All I'm saying is that I'm good at keeping secrets, and I'll keep yours even though that means I'm taking credit for spotting that second bomb." Shane pointed to the rooftop access door. "Typically, I'd say ladies first, but I have a ride waiting for me on the side of this building, and I don't think you want the driver seeing you traipse out that side door, Woods."

She flung out one arm, her cheeks stained a pretty pink. "By all means."

With a tap to the forehead, he saluted her and trudged toward the door under his heavy equipment.

"It's Lauren."

He cranked his head over his shoulder without turning, without breaking stride. "Huh?"

"My first name. It's Lauren…umm, Lori."

"Is it Lauren or Lori?"

"Lori. Everyone calls me Lori."

He shifted the gear on his back and grabbed the door handle. "Got it…Woods."

***

Shane straightened the cuffs of his dress shirt as he made his way through the dark cocktail lounge. He claimed a small table in the corner with a view of the front door and the mahogany bar that curved along one wall.

Leaning back to survey the scene, he tapped the toe of his cowboy boot against the leg of the table. His idea of cocktail attire included clean jeans, a shirt with buttons up the front and his best pair of boots. The Germans almost expected cowboy boots from an American Texan…and the Fräuleins, especially, seemed to dig the look.

"Hallo." The waitress in her spotless white blouse and short black skirt dipped beside his table and dropped a cocktail napkin on its glossy surface. "Welcome to Bruno's. What can I get you?"

"No German necessary?"

She batted her lashes. "Not in this bar…cowboy."

You couldn't go wrong with a beer in Germany, so he ordered one he hadn't tasted before and settled back in his seat.

The fact that he'd been able to find an empty table at this hour in this bar was the only indication that the Polizei had foiled a terrorist attack hours ago in another part of the city. The conversation hummed as smoothly as ever while these high-end Berliners and the rich tourists who rubbed elbows with them clinked their glasses and carried on.

The waitress returned with a sturdy pint sporting a thick head, and Shane closed his eyes as he took his first sip. The strong brew sent a stream of liquid relaxation through his veins and warmed his belly.

Second head of the snake. They'd had a close call today. It sucked having to be right one hundred percent of the time. Good thing the CIA had agents like Woods. With a few more years under her belt, she'd be top-notch.

When he opened his eyes, he adjusted his vision to the darkness just in time to see two women floating across the floor to the bar. He squinted. He knew the one on the left, an agent with the BND, German Intelligence, a pretty blonde who'd used her feminine wiles to trap more than a few unsuspecting thugs.

Shane's gaze shifted to the brunette next to her with the mile-high legs and the lithe body of a dancer. As the brunette perched on the edge of a bar stool, wiggled her ass into place and crossed one stem over the other, Shane responded like any red-blooded American male would. He got hard.

Over the rim of his beer stein, his gaze tracked up to the woman's face and he choked, the beer foaming out of his nose. Woods.

What the hell was she doing here? They couldn't be seen together, couldn't acknowledge each other. Had she seen him?

He scooted his chair up to the table, taking a slight turn away from the bar, his erection still throbbing. To complicate matters, his date took that precise moment to come sailing through the door.

Famke spotted him and waved, and he jumped up from his chair to welcome her.

She threw her arms around his neck and laid a kiss on his mouth.

Still hard from his surprise encounter with Woods, Shane angled his body away from Famke's as he returned her kiss. This wasn't that kind of date.

"Long time no see." He pulled a chair out for Famke and gestured to his beer. "I'm sorry I couldn't wait. Rough day at the office."

She flipped back her blond hair and took the seat he offered. "It's okay, Shane. I know I'm late, as usual."

"Was your flight delayed?"

"Of course not. The German airline is always on time, don't you know that?" She winked one baby blue at him. "One of my roommates was in when I got to the apartment, and I haven't seen her in a while so we had a good chat."

"How many of you flight attendants are crammed into that apartment now?" He turned and gestured to the waitress, which gave him an excuse to spy on Woods and Astrid at the bar.

Their heads, one light and one dark, huddled together seemingly oblivious to his presence.

He let out a breath as the waitress approached and blocked his view of the hot brunette.

Famke smiled at the waitress. "White wine, bitte, a Riesling."

"I'm glad you were in town." Shane squeezed her hand. "It's good to see you again."

"And I'm happy you looked me up. Are you here on business or pleasure or can't say?"

"I'm on a short leave."

She narrowed her eyes. "Terrible time for a visit. The city's on high alert after that explosion this afternoon."

"I hope you're being careful…vigilant, especially at the airport."

"Oh, God, don't remind me." She massaged her temple with two fingers. "I have another flight day after tomorrow, and I'm sure it's going to take us forever to get into and out of the airport."

The waitress set Famke's glass of wine in front of her, and Shane tapped his mug to her glass. "Strange times."

She swirled the golden liquid in her glass and took a sip. Her gaze shifted over his shoulder in the direction of loud voices coming from the bar. "I'll say."

Shane shot up in his seat, almost afraid to turn around. "What's going on?"

"A man's accosting two women seated at the bar, and it's not pretty."

Shane twisted in his seat, his blood thumping in his ears, his fists clenched, ready to protect Woods.

Even if it blew both their covers.

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About the author

I blame it all on my sister. When she finished reading a paperback cop...

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Carol Ericson

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