Home > Hard Pursuit (Cobra Elite #6)

Hard Pursuit (Cobra Elite #6)
Author: Pamela Clare

Prologue

 

 

Amundsen-Scott Station

South Pole

 

 

Kristi Chang picked at her breakfast of reconstituted scrambled eggs, toast, and bacon, a lump in her throat. She’d been dreading this day for a couple of weeks now. Today, Malik was leaving. He and the rest of the Cobra team were flying back to Denver, while she would remain here for the next six months working as the station RN.

Would she ever see him again?

The question made her throat go tight because she already knew the answer.

On the first night she and Malik had slept together—the night they’d inadvertently kept the entire A1 Berthing Area awake—they had agreed to sex with no strings. It had made sense at the time. They’d known each other for less than a week, and the only thing that had mattered to Kristi in that moment was getting him into bed.

They had both just joined the 300 Club by streaking to the South Pole marker through temperatures below minus one-hundred Fahrenheit, so she’d gotten a good look at his naked body with its muscles and scars. A former Army Ranger, he was a walking anatomy lesson wrapped in smooth, dark skin. Pecs. Abs. Biceps. Quadriceps. Glutes. He even had obliques, for God’s sake—to say nothing of his big, beautiful cock. She hadn’t thought beyond how it would feel to get her hands on him. But then, neither of them could have predicted the chain of events that had kept him here for more than a month.

Treason. Murder. Attempted murder. Spies on station.

Kristi had never imagined she’d treat gunshot wounds here.

In the midst of the danger, Malik had ruined her for other men. He was sweet, caring, funny—and he knew how to use that body in bed. Not that they’d limited themselves to having sex in bed. To avoid keeping people awake, they’d found other places on station to have sex—the hydroponic greenhouse, the sauna, the weight room.

Now, the danger was past, and the Cobra team was going home.

She heard Malik’s voice and felt the energy in the galley shift as he, Thor Isaksen, and Lev Segal walked in, women and men alike turning to look at the three Cobra operatives who had saved their lives.

“That bolt-action relic might be good against polar bears, but it’s not so great against an enemy shooting back.” Malik moved through the food line, his gaze gliding over the room, his lips curving in a smile when he found Kristi.

Her pulse skipped.

Thor, who’d served with Danish special forces, seemed confident. “When we get home, I’ll take you on—my bolt-action rifle against the modern military rifle of your choice.”

Kristi was gratified to see Thor doing so well. Two weeks ago, he’d been shot trying to save Samantha’s life and almost died of blood loss and hypothermia. Kristi had fought hard with Dr. Decker to keep him alive.

Lev, a former Israeli operative, laughed. “There’s no way you can put as much lead downrange with your bolt-action as Jones can with a semi-auto.”

Thor grinned. “Firepower is about hits on target, not just spraying bullets.”

Samantha Park, who was now Kristi’s closest friend on station, walked in and got into the food line behind the men, her gaze meeting Kristi’s for a moment. Kristi could tell that Samantha was fighting despair, too. She and Thor had hooked up at some point in the past few weeks. Everyone could tell they were crazy about each other, even if they didn’t know it.

Did Malik feel anything for Kristi?

Thor and Samantha went to sit at a table, just the two of them. Malik made his way to Kristi, while Lev sat with Ryan McClain, firefighter and acting station manager.

Malik’s gaze searched her face, his brow furrowed as if there was something he wanted to say. He seemed to change his mind. “Hey, beautiful. How are you doing?”

“It won’t be the same here without you Cobra guys.” She’d meant to say that life wouldn’t be the same for her without him here, but she’d stopped herself.

She had agreed to no strings. She couldn’t ruin the fun they’d had by getting clingy and making demands now. Besides, what good would it do?

Their futures didn’t overlap. He flew around the world doing security work, while she had nursing commitments stretching out over the next eighteen months. When she finished her contract here, she would visit her parents and brother in San Francisco and then fly to Nigeria to work for an international aid organization for a year. It was part of her crazy goal to work as a nurse on all seven continents and see the world while her parents, both doctors, were still in good health and didn’t need her help.

He grinned, his dark eyes looking straight into hers. “You’ll get a lot more sleep.”

No man had eyes as penetrating or as intense as Malik’s.

“You say that like it’s a good thing.” She willed herself to smile. “Are you excited to see sunlight again?”

If she kept the conversation light, maybe she wouldn’t cry.

 

 

“Make sure you’ve got all your shit,” Isaksen called from the hallway. “Anything that’s left behind stays behind. We won’t be coming this way again.”

“Copy that.” Malik shouldered his duffel, glanced around the tiny room that had been his home for the past month.

When he’d arrived at the South Pole, he’d wanted to finish their mission and get home as quickly as possible, away from twenty-four-hour darkness and the bone-chilling cold. Now, he found himself wishing for another week, a few days, even an hour.

Kristi.

The thought of saying goodbye to her put a hitch in his chest. Yeah, he was going to miss her. He wouldn’t lie. She was beautiful, smart, funny, sexy as hell—and fucking incredible in bed. He’d gotten laid more in the past month than in the previous six months combined, and still he burned for her.

Get a grip, man.

They had agreed from the start that this was sex with no strings. She’d wanted that arrangement as much as he had. He couldn’t go back on his word now. Besides, there was no way for them to be together.

He had his life, and she had hers. She would spend the next six months here, take a short vacation, and then head to Nigeria—not a good idea, in his professional opinion—while he flew back and forth from Denver to the company’s next job site.

Still, he wished he and Kristi had spent a little less time screwing and a little more time talking. There was still so much he didn’t know about her, so much he’d love to discover. Would she miss him, too?

He’d thought they might get time to talk this morning, but he’d gotten word during breakfast that the plane was arriving ahead of schedule. That had cut short what little time he’d had left with her. He and the guys had to be ready to board when the C-130 Hercules Globemaster landed. Any delay might result in the fuel or propellers freezing, and that would have fatal consequences.

Malik stepped into the hallway, closed the door to his room.

Segal did the same. “I can’t wait to feel the sun on my face again.”

Isaksen chuckled. “So, cold is your kryptonite, huh, Segal? I didn’t think you had any weaknesses.”

“I don’t.”

“Keep telling yourself that.”

The three of them left the berthing area and walked toward Destination Alpha—the station’s main entrance. Kristi stood near the door, wearing blue scrubs, Samantha beside her, the two of them waiting to say goodbye, neither of them looking happy.

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