Blood, sweat and hard work has given me everything I want, except that is, the dangerous mercenary I'm in love and lust with. Until, one night, when my secrets are exposed, I discover, in the sweetest possible way that he's sinfully talented at handling more than just his armed weapon.
Hurriedly, I tighten the strapping around my petite breasts, shrug into a black thermal top, and pull on an armoured vest. Moving swiftly but methodically, I stuff a homemade wad of padding into my boxers, yank up black combat pants, and wriggle my toes into multiterrain boots.
There's a sudden, sharp rap at my door accompanied by Tom's deep, grating voice. "Are you fucking ready, Carl?"
As always my heart does a flip, and for the millionth time I curse its erratic beats. Why does Tom have this effect on me? No one else has ever produced such a pathetic, simpering response in my cardiac muscle, and in all honesty, I could do without it. My infatuation with my colleague could ruin a year of subterfuge and deception, waste gallons of sweat from intense physical training, and make what has felt like a lifetime of suppressing female needs and desires utterly pointless.
At eighteen I joined the British army, worked until I was sweating blood, and concentrated solely on rising through the ranks, but by twenty-three I was lured out by the smell of money, lots of money. I'd been told it was impossible to become a mercenary. Women simply can't handle it. But me being me meant I was unable to take no for an answer, and I made it my mission to join an elite group known as Cobra. And now, standing here as twenty-four-year-old Carl, not Carol, I'm by far the finest sniper in the group, a fourth Dan in Seidokan karate, and I have a photographic memory for maps which means I rival even a local's knowledge.
I snatch open the door and see Tom's colossal bulk looming in the narrow hallway, hands placed on hips and his muddied forehead creased into three neat lines. "Bloody hell, you haven't done your camo yet," he grunts the second his gaze settles on me.
"Shit, hang on." I scoot back into my room.
He follows me with two ground-eating paces. "Here," he says. He reaches past my waist and grabs the tube of mud brown. "We gotta get going." He spins off the cap, oozes a blob onto his finger, and stoops towards my face.
He's too damn close for comfort.
Raw male pheromones fill my senses, and a potent, testosterone fuelled heat radiates into my pores. I try to pull my gaze from his rugged, camo-darkened face, terrified that he'll look into my soul and see blazing sexual turmoil. But I can't shift my eyes; my concentration is stuck, glued onto his coal-black pupils as I feel myself falling into them.
Falling into him.
His frown deepens, and he licks his lips, covering them with a sheen of saliva. A shard of longing shoots to my pussy, and my nipples spike against their tight containment. I want to kiss the moisture off. I want to taste him, lick him. I want to know what it feels like to press my mouth to his for real and not just in a fantasy or a dream.
He swallows. His Adam's apple travels way down low then all the way back up. He opens his mouth, as if to speak, but then stops himself and clamps his lips into a tight, hard line.
My mind spins, my heart flutters. What has the dangerous, highly trained killer I'm in love with seen? Has he guessed my feelings? Felt my barely harnessed female desires? What was he about to say?