Navy SEAL Declan Moynihan has orders to clandestinely shut down a notorious slave brothel in a Middle East war zone. Laila Catami, his accidental captive, is the mysterious woman being brought in to run the brothel. Or so she says.
Laila knows she'll use anyone and any means to save her sister, even if that means using sex to destroy the honorable career of the Navy SEAL who accidentally rescues her.
A Navy SEAL follows the rules. A desperate woman, trapped in a Muslim world, must break them. Will he risk a court-martial, or even his life, to save her?
"Lie down," Dec said gruffly. "I'll cover you up."
His words, with a semi-tender implication, surprised Laila. But she did as he said, lying down carefully to minimize messing up the blanket laid out on the field. Declan knelt beside her, his face expressionless. But there was something in his eyes as he picked up the edge of her blanket, drew it over her and tucked it in along the open side. His hands were impersonal, but gentle. His eyes—they carried a hint of pain which surprised her. What was he remembering? And why did his calm competence make her feel this protectiveness toward him? He could obviously take care of himself, and others as well. What could he need from her?
"Give her some room," Declan suddenly barked at Zack, who was stretched out no more than a dozen feet away from her. "I don't want you guys waking her when you switch out for guard duty."
Zack mumbled something that didn't sound flattering under his breath, but he stood up and moved his gear another dozen feet and downhill a bit.
Laila smiled at Declan. "Thanks," she whispered. "This will be my first good night's sleep in a long time."
He raised his brows. "You only get four hours."
"But I feel safe with you." The words were out before she'd known she'd say them. Of course, they were true. She hadn't felt safe since she'd landed in Turkey weeks ago. Tonight, she did. But her eyes flickered to Declan's face. He wouldn't want to hear anything so mushy. She knew that.
He surprised her with a slight smile. "I'll do my best."
The smile shot right into her heart. Wow. She hadn't expected that. It was especially attractive in the midst of that rough beard.
In the next instant, she discovered her optimism about his gentleness had been misplaced. Dec pulled out a pair of handcuffs from one of his many pockets. Not the plastic ties he'd used on her earlier. These were metal cuffs, gleaming in the moonlight.
"Give me your hand," he said.
"Are you kidding?"
"Not even a little bit." He waited.
"You have a guard standing over there." She pointed at Harp. "How could I escape?"
"Look," he said with exaggerated patience. "I don't have a damn clue what you're doing out here. I doubt if there's a single word of truth in that bullshit you fed us. So I'm not feeling trusting, okay?"
"That's interesting," she snapped. "I'm supposed to believe you all are a bunch of hikers even though you only sleep for four hours at a time, and mount a guard."
"Believe what you want." He hovered over her. "This area has a lot more military activity than we'd been led to believe. Our only goal now is to get the hell out. Hence the speed and the caution."
"I'll be happy to get out of here myself," she snapped.
"This is not a debate." He reached over, slid his hand under the blanket and had one cuff fastened around her wrist before she knew what was happening.
"How am I supposed to sleep like this?" She waved her arm.
"The same way I will." He snapped the other cuff around his own wrist. "Uncomfortably."
"It's pretty pathetic when you need to handcuff a woman to get her to stay near you," she said lamely.
His eyes glinted suddenly. "Sometimes it's fun."