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Sunny paced along the creek bank as the whispered positions of the team tickled her ear through the com. Maybe being away from the fight wasn’t the best idea. She didn’t want to see it, but she also vibrated with anxiety.

“Ready?” Davis’s voice asked.

Sunny clenched her collar, pulling the choking fabric from her tight throat. Clicking in her ear, the signal that all were ready, turned her blood to ice. Please. She couldn’t pray any more than that as she strained to hear gunfire.

“Contact.” A sharp whisper through the com jerked her muscles.

She squeezed her eyes shut to her useless tears. “Oh, please, please, please.”

Not that she didn’t think the men could handle the attack. If anyone could, it was this team of ex-Special Force members. It was just that so much had gone wrong since she stumbled into a murder, any hope in life being balanced between good and bad felt teetered to the side of evil.

The sharp pop-pop of gunfire ripped through the air. She wanted to run toward the sound, make sure those she loved were safe, but the Alaskan wilderness was never safe, especially not when it swarmed with snakes not native to its soil. Plus, she’d given her word.

Shouting filled her ear through the com as bullets exploded in rapid succession in the distance. She couldn’t make sense of the military commands. Her only comfort was the confidence each voice exuded.

Movement through the dense black spruce limbs caught her eye. She slowly backed further behind the willows, keeping the shadow in her line of vision. Was it an animal startled by the gunfight?

A snap of a branch.

The sharp curse of a man.

Not an animal.

At least, not one of the wild.

Zhang stumbled into a break in the woods. His face twisted in a snarl as his gaze darted behind him. He disappeared back behind the dense branches.

She pressed the mic and whispered, “Davis?”

“Sunny, what’s wrong?” Davis’s breathless voice answered the instant she let go of the mic button.

“Zhang. He’s escaping,” she whispered even softer, hoping her words caught the device, but not wanting to alert the man stumbling loudly toward her.

“Stay hidden. I’m coming.” The alarm in Davis’s voice caught in her throat.

She wouldn’t argue. If Zhang’s own men were afraid of him, she didn’t want to give away her location

Plus, she’d never shot a person.

Just the thought turned sharp in her stomach.

She wasn’t even sure she could bluff through holding the vile man at gunpoint, not with her father’s constant reminder that one never pointed a gun at something they weren’t willing to shoot. Besides, the evil man left a trail a kindergartner could follow. Just in case, though, she unclipped her bear spray, pulled it from its holster, and clicked off the safety.

Zhang fell onto the game trail that followed the creek. The flash of metal on the gun he held in his hand twisted nerves in her gut. Kicking at the root that tripped him, he cussed even louder. When he stood, he yanked something out of his pocket with the hand that didn’t hold a gun.

“They think they’ve won?” He sneered, his face contorting in anger as he looked through the woods toward the gunfire still pinging. “I just need a little more distance, and then they’ll see who won.”

His laugh pushed vomit up her throat. No. Was he going to blow up the facility?

She had to stop him. She lifted the can of bear spray and waited for him to clear the willows. With her heart’s rapid pounding drowning out all other sounds, she prepared to fire.

Tags: Sara Blackard Alaskan Rebels Romance