Gabriela Marquez came to her parents’ homeland of Venezuela to help its people. Working undercover for the CIA as Sister María, a Franciscan nun, she spends long days at the mission, giving food to the poor, helping the sick—and keeping a close watch on local drug trafficking. When a violent raid makes her a hostage together with two American journalists, she finds herself the prisoner of the very cartel she’s been spying on. Fortunately for the journalists—but not so luckily for her captors—Sister María is not what she seems to be. Hiding behind her nun’s habit, Gabriela puts her training to use to ensure the hostages’ survival.
Dylan Cruz spent the better part of a decade with Seal Team Six, ridding the world of scum. Now an operative with Cobra International Security, he’s sent to Venezuela with a small team to gather intel for a hostage rescue. Against all expectations, he gets valuable information from one of the hostages—a beautiful young nun. Sister María of the Gorgeous Brown Eyes puts R-rated thoughts in his mind, thoughts he has no business thinking. Then again, he always figured he’d end up in hell.
When the rescue fails, Dylan finds himself trapped in hostile territory with lovely Sister María. Together, they go underground to reach the Colombian border, but Sister María is full of secrets—and enticing surprises. Beneath that shapeless, gray habit is a woman whose abilities—and passions—are a match for Dylan’s. As the desire between them ignites, what should have been a straightforward mission of evade-and-escape turns into a fight for survival against a murderous cartel boss who wants them both dead.
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"Pull the trigger."
That's not what Dylan had expected Sister María to say, but he didn't need her encouragement. He exhaled—and fired.
The bastard who'd been holding a gun to her head was dead before he hit the ground.
Dylan reached for his hand mic. "Cobra Actual, this is Cruz. The last tango is down. I've retrieved the hostage and am heading toward extract."
He jogged over to Sister María, still speaking Spanish. "Are you okay, Hermana?"
"Sí." She wiped blood spatter off her cheek, her lip split and swollen. "Let's get out of here."
That sounded good to him. He didn't like being separated from the others. "Can you run? We need to get up to the roof."
"Yes. Where are the other hostages?"
He was touched by her concern. A lot of people in this situation would be concerned only with saving their own asses. But, of course, she was a nun. "They're already on the roof, waiting for a helicopter. Come. We must hurry."
They had run just a few feet when Dylan heard the roar of the truck engines.
Tower's voice came over his earpiece. "Cruz, this is Cobra Actual. Take cover! You've got enemy QRF pushing your position, coming in from the north."
What the fuck?
He made a split-second decision. "This way, Hermana. There are more bad guys coming to join the party."
They ducked inside the open doorway of an apartment building across from the warehouse. Dylan shut the door, watching through a window as three big troop transports rounded the corner and stopped in middle of the street. "Get down!"
Dozens of armed men jumped to the ground and rushed into the warehouse.
Son of bitch!
For an operation that couldn't go wrong, this was now an official clusterfuck.
"Cobra Actual this is Cruz. We're pinned down across from the warehouse. There's no way for us to make extract. Twenty or so hostiles are inside the warehouse and headed your way."
The rest of the bastards spread out, surrounding the place. He didn't recognize their uniforms. They weren't regular Venezuelan military.
"So, now we're stuck here?" Sister María sounded more irritated than afraid.
"For the moment." Dylan could just see the roof of the warehouse through a window in the door, the Sikorsky appearing out of the night and coming in to land. "If they don't lift off quickly, they're going to come under fire."
Then he saw something that made his blood run cold.
Two of the men unloaded a crate from the back of the truck and opened it to reveal an RPG—a rocket—propelled grenade. The thing wasn't assembled yet, but when it was, it was capable of shooting the helo out of the sky.
"Cobra Actual, this is Cruz. Hostiles on the ground have an RPG. I say again, they have an RPG. You need to get airborne—now."
"¡Mierda!" Sister María whispered. Shit.
Dylan couldn't blame her for the lapse. If that helicopter didn't lift off fast, they would watch while the others were blown to bits. If he'd been by himself, he'd have opened fire and done his best to take out the men in the street.
Tower seemed to read his mind. "Cruz this is Cobra Actual. Do not engage! We'll get you out some other way."
Sister María looked up at him, her face hidden in the shadows. "Is the helicopter going to make it?"
"I don't know."
The Sikorsky lifted off and nosed into the wind, the team now returning fire.
Ratatat! Ratatat! Ratatat!
In the street not twenty feet away from his position, idiots who'd clearly never used an RPG before almost had it figured out.
Seconds felt like hours as the helicopter passed overhead, picked up speed, and disappeared from sight.
Dylan let out a relieved breath.
A baby's cry. Worried voices.
"That's gunfire. Someone was shooting."
"Stay down, mi amor!"
The noise had awakened the neighbors, and it was only a matter of time before someone opened their apartment door and discovered Dylan and Sister María here.
Weapon raised, Dylan followed her down a narrow hallway to a set of stairs that led down to a door with the word Mantenimiento — Maintenance — painted on it in large, black letters. The door was padlocked.
"Stand back." He broke the lock with the butt of his rifle and nudged the door open, then flicked on the light.
Electrical panels. Pipes. Emergency water shut-off. Janitorial supplies.
Dylan drew Sister María inside and closed the door behind them.
In his earpiece, Tower announced they were safely away.
"Cobra Actual, this is Cruz. Copy that. We've taken shelter in a basement. Will stay in touch via cell phone."
The team would soon be out of range of his radio.
"They made it?"
"Yes." Dylan saw relief on Sister María's face.
"Thank God." She glanced around. "Now what?"
"Now we survive."