Mia was good in hand-to-hand combat against one. Against two, she could hold her own. Against three? Well, she wasn’t going down without doing some damage of her own.
Right before one of the men reached her, a knife embedded in the back of his throat. He fell at her feet, gurgling blood. She looked around, trying to figure out where the blade had been thrown from, but she couldn’t see anyone.
Then she didn’t have time to keep looking as she was fighting Camilo and his last man. She gritted her teeth as her upper right arm was sliced.
She took a step back and eyed Camilo and his man, each holding a long blade. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw movement. She caught a glimpse of a man in all black right before Camilo raised his weapon and came at her.
Mia held her stance as he charged. She saw her advantage and took it. Using the big guy’s dead body as a vault, she launched herself, feet first, at Camilo in a double leg grapple.
Wrapping her legs around his neck, she used her momentum and swung to the side, bringing him to the ground. She felt his neck break as she twisted.
Rotating midair, she landed on one knee with her left hand on the ground. With her combat knife still in hand, she turned her to the last of Camilo’s men – only to find him lying on the ground with a knife in his chest.
A man in all black walked from the trees and retrieved his blades. Without a word, he made his way to her. As he closed the distance between them, she let her eyes run over this unknown man.
Tall, muscular, and . . . hard. He walked with purpose, as if assured that he would get whatever he was after. He had the appearance of a military man with his dark hair cropped close on the sides and short on top.
The hint of whiskers graced a strong jaw and chin. His wide, thin lips tilted in a half-smile that made her stomach feel as if she’d just been on a roller coaster—and wished for another ride.
Thick brows slashed over hazel eyes that watched her with interest. He stopped a few feet from her and let her look over him. She slowly stood, taking in the black fatigues and black tee shirt.
“We’ve got company,” he said and jerked his chin as he looked over her shoulder.
She turned her head and saw the six men rushing toward them. A second later, bullets began flying around them.
“Go!” the man said as he grabbed her arm and tugged her toward the plane.
She didn’t need to be told twice. In moments, she was inside the plane and starting the engines. With every bullet that pierced the Valkyrie, she winced.
The sound of the engines roaring to life made her smile. She started forward, glancing back at the open door. Whoever the stranger was who’d helped her had little time to reach her before she left.
She closed her eyes briefly, because she knew she wouldn’t leave him. It wasn’t in her nature. Impatience filled her as the plane began to roll forward away from the gunfire.
There was a grunt. When she looked back, the stranger was in her plane, pulling the door closed. Without a word, she throttled the aircraft, speeding down the runway.
The flashing lights of police cars halted the chase of Camilo’s men, but for how long? They didn’t know where she lived. With Camilo dead, they might leave her alone. But it was a big “might.”
When the stranger came to sit in the seat next to her, she glanced his way. He buck led the seat belt and leaned his head back, closing his eyes.
“Who are you?” she demanded.
“Not even a thank you?” he asked with a grin, his eyes still shut.
She held back a sigh. “Thank you. Now. Who are you?”
“I thought you’d know.” His head turned, and his eyes opened to stare at her again.
There was something about him that looked familiar. It took her a moment, but she pieced it together. “Which Loughman brother are you?”
“Cullen,” he said with a smile.
Cullen. She stared at him with a bit of surprise. She knew from talks with Orrin, as well as from reports she’d read, that the Loughman boys were some of the best around – military or private sector.
She also knew the middle brother, Owen, was the peacekeeper, who was quiet as he listened to everyone and everything before reacting. The eldest, Wyatt, was the intense one with barely leashed violence beneath the surface.
But it was the youngest, Cullen, who set her back on her heels. Each time she thought of him, chills raced over her skin—and that was before she knew he was heart-stoppingly good-looking.
He made her . . . ache . . . in a way she hadn’t experienced in a very long time.
Why did it have to be him that came to her? Why couldn’t it have been Wyatt? She could’ve handled the eldest Loughman with ease.
Cullen held a combination of both his brothers. There was a heavy dose of lethal brutality just waiting to be released on those who stood against his country—or his family.
But he was also patient. To some, he might seem indifferent, but she’d seen the look he currently wore on Orrin’s face before. There was no indifference. Only planning and preparation down to the very last detail.
She briefly closed her eyes. The attraction couldn’t be denied. But it wasn’t just that. She’d felt desire before. This was something . . . more. It was deeper, fuller.
It left her with a yearning that rocked her, a hunger that consumed her. She might’ve heard stories about Cullen, but she didn’t know him.
Her gaze locked on him as if magnetized. His hazel eyes watched her like a predator, but she wasn’t afraid. No, it was more exhilarating than anything.
Forcing her attention back to flying, she set a course for Dover. Back to the place that hadn’t just altered her life, but the Loughman boys’, as well.
“I’ve been expecting one of you,” she finally said.
He looked out the windshield. “There are answers to questions about my father’s kidnapping at Dover. And with you.”
“Nothing is going to stop me from finding him. Orrin is one of the best men I know.”
“Then start at the beginning. We’ve got a little time before we reach the base.”
The beginning. No. Not so far back as that. There were things Cullen didn’t need to know, things that were better left in the past.
She may be in an unsavory situation, and he might have just saved her, but that didn’t give him the right to her secrets.