Out of Control by Cindy Dees

 

Chapter One

SPENCER NEWMANlooked around at the hundred or so SEAL operators of Team Ten currently stateside, along with their headquarters staff, trainers, intel analysts, supply guys, even the team’s doctor—everyone it took to keep the team up and running. God, he loved these guys, pains in the ass though they might be. Everyone was cleaned up and spit-polished for tonight’s retirement dinner and on their best behavior—a rare event for this motley crew.

This was a dining out, so the wives were here tonight also. Truth be told, they were as necessary to a mission as any logistics personnel or drone pilot.

Sometimes he got a little jealous of the other operators looking at dirty pictures of their significant others, taking Skype calls from home, and receiving the care packages that occasionally caught up with them in the field. A wife wasn’t in the cards for him, and a husband sure as hell wasn’t.

The rubber chicken had just been served when his cell phone—his work cell phone—vibrated in the inside breast pocket of his mess dress. Frowning, he reached for it. The caller ID said Work Wife. That was what he’d named the operations headquarters that sent him and his men out on short-notice missions. Except Team Ten was currently in a training rotation and not on call to be deployed.

He stood up and weaved between tables toward the exit as he pulled the phone out and muttered, “Go ahead.”

“Lieutenant Newman, we need you to come in to Ops ASAP for a mission brief.”

“You do know I’m training my guys right now, yes?”

“This is a special assignment. Just you.”

“Umm, okay. I’ll be there in five if you don’t mind my mess dress. Otherwise it’ll take me a half hour to run home and jump into field gear.”

“Be here in five. This is an urgent tasking.”

“Roger that.”

DRAGO THORPE’Scell phone vibrated, and he backed away from the window he was using to surveil the Berlin brothel across the street. He set down the binoculars and dug his cell phone out of his pocket. Only a handful of people had this number, and none of them would contact him for anything other than a dire emergency.

The text was anonymous, but it had been sent to a drop box he’d set up a decade ago. A drop box that had never once been used. Until now.

You were right. They pulled him.

A stream of curses erupted in his head. Only the operational necessity of being on a surveillance job kept him from shouting his fury and frustration to the heavens.

He typed back: Is he coming?

The answer made his teeth clench. They didn’t give him a choice.

Great. He was going to be pissed off when he got here, then. He typed quickly, Open the envelope I left with you. Follow the instructions, and get the pictures inside it to him. He’ll know what to do.

The response came back: Will do. Be safe.

Right. As if safe had any place in his world. It hadn’t ten years ago, and it sure as hell didn’t now. And all of it had just gotten a whole lot more complicated.