It was supposed to be simple. All Navy SEAL Nathan Malone had to do was rescue three young girls from a Colombia drug cartel, then allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out a government spy. That was before his mission went disastrously wrong...and before his wife, Bella, was told that Nathan was never coming home.
Bella's mourned her husband's death for three long years. But she has no idea he's still alive. Forced to assume a new identity, the man Nathan was is now dead. If he can get back to his wife, can he keep the secret of who he really is...even as desire threatens to consume them? And as danger threatens to tear Bella from Nathan's arms once more?
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St. Martin's Paperbacks
August 24, 2008
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Excerpt from Wild Card by Lora Leigh
Chapter OneNine months laterNathan Malone stood in the clinical white office he had been brought to. He was six months past the most horrific nightmare he could have imagined enduring. Six months. He knew how many days, how many hours, how many minutes and seconds had passed since he had "died."Since the day he walked out his front door and headed into hell. The mission was supposed to be simple. Rescue three young girls from a cartel drug lord in Colombia and allow himself to be captured just long enough to draw out the government spy working with the cartel lord, Diego Fuentes.There had been an electronic tracker in his heel that he could activate the moment he saw the spy. Unfortunately, the spy had known that. His heel had been sliced open before the spy ever appeared. Before Nathan could realize the danger he was in, he had been strapped to a hardwood table and the first of a series of synthetic drugs pumped into him.Whore’s dust. A powerful, blinding aphrodisiac. Hell. Because there had been no relief. Because Nathan, enraged, crazed, animalistic, had been unable to break the vows he had made to his wife. No matter the amount of drugs. No matter the provocation.He stared back now at the small group of men who had rescued him from Diego Fuentes’s hell. Three doctors, an admiral, some scowling bastard in a suit, supposedly a JAG representative, and his uncle Jordan Malone.Jordan wasn’t in uniform. That was telling enough. His resignation from the SEALs three months before had surprised Nathan when he’d heard about it. Of course, there wasn’t much left to do but listen to rumor in the highly secured, specialized private clinic he had been recovering in.Surgery after surgery to repair his body and his face. They’d fixed what had been damaged. They’d rebuilt what couldn’t be reset. But his mind still felt broken. The man he had once been was no more than a dream.He was still a SEAL. He hadn’t resigned. But he had a feeling he wouldn’t be one for long."Lieutenant Malone." The admiral nodded back at him, his lined, weathered face drawn in worry and concern. "You’re doing well."Like hell he was.He stood to attention, but this was fucking shit. He felt like he was being stretched on a rack of fire.The three doctors watched silently. The psychologist assigned to him made a few notes. Damned bastard was always making notes."Thank you, sir," he finally managed to say. Hell, he just wanted to get back to the exercises he’d been doing. The ones that pushed his body to exhaustion, that made the hellacious arousal that still cursed him lessen.The admiral frowned back at him. "Are you in pain, son?" he asked him.Nathan forced patience. Forced patience didn’t sit well right now."Yes, sir, I am." He wasn’t going to lie about it either. The admiral nodded. "That explains your borderline disrespect. Maybe."Nathan gritted his teeth. "Sorry, sir, protocol isn’t my strong suit these days."He expected a snap in the admiral’s reply; he didn’t expect the old man’s face to smooth out or the understanding that lit his gaze.Admiral Holloran had once been not just his superior officer, but a man he respected."Sit down, Nathan." The admiral nodded to the chair behind him before taking his own seat.Nathan glanced at Jordan. His uncle was sitting, all protocol pretty much abolished where he was concerned. But it wasn’t disrespect, it was an arrogance, a confidence that had only been thinly veiled until now.Nathan sat down gingerly. He was still having trouble with one leg, but it was strengthening. As were the muscles in his back that he had worked to rebuild.The admiral finally sighed as si