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Authors: Carly Fall

Tags: #Honor Guard Series

Chica Bella

 

 

 

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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Chica Bella

Copyright © 2013 by Carly Fall

ISBN: 978-1-61333-515-4

Cover art by Mina Carter

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC

Look for us online at:

www.decadentpublishing.com

 

 

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Chica Bella

 

Honor Guard Series

 

By

Carly Fall

 

 

~DEDICATION~

 

 

This book is dedicated to former Navy SEAL, Stew Smith. This book wouldn’t have been possible without his help and patience.  I thank him for his service, and if you want to get in shape, this is the go-to guy: http://www.stewsmith.com

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Landon “Blackhawk” Walker moved through the small airport of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in step with the wave of honeymooners and families making their way to the doors leading outside.


Señor
, you need a cab?”

Landon gazed down at the man and gave him a small smile. “No thanks, man.”

He scanned over the heads of the people in front of him, confirming he was going the right way.

That’s how he had gotten the nickname “Blackhawk” from his fellow Navy SEALs. At six foot four, his solid two-hundred-and-thirty-pound frame hovered over everyone like a helicopter, hence the name Blackhawk.

Just ahead of him the doors slid open, and he got a brief blast of ocean breeze. Inhaling deeply, he couldn’t help but compare the air in Cabo to where he had come from in Afghanistan.

In Cabo, it smelled pure and fresh. In Afghanistan, not so much.

He’d completed his fifth tour of duty. With the government relying more and more on clandestine operations to win the war, men and women with his skills and training were in high demand. Another year—eight months and eleven days, to be exact—of his life spent in a place where he never got clean because of all the dirt, a place that reeked of garbage and death most of the time, a place where a soldier had to be on high alert every minute of every day, awake or not.

To say it was draining would be an understatement, and this particular tour had been especially difficult, so much so that he wanted out of the SEALs, as well as the Navy. He was done with military life.

Eventually he arrived at the sliding glass doors that lead to his definition of freedom.

Looking around at the drivers holding signs with names on them, he finally found a sign that said Walker. The man holding it was short and thin with a headful of black hair, his white shirt with his company emblem standing out against his brown skin.

“I’m Walker,” he said to the man.

“Mr. Walker, I’m José. I’ll be taking you to your hotel.”

“Lead the way, José.”

Landon followed the man to the van. He climbed in when José opened the door, throwing his duffel bag onto the seat in back and stretching his long legs out the length of the bench he sat on. Leaning his head back against the window, he fought the urge to close his eyes. Although he had been stationed in San Diego for a month after his tour in Afghanistan, he couldn’t shake the exhaustion.

The homecoming had been typical for him. He didn’t have any family as he was an only child, and his parents had been killed in a plane crash seven years ago. His fellow SEALs received hugs and kisses from loved ones while he collected pats on the back from strangers and embraces by sweet old ladies with tears in their eyes.

The past month, he had tried to relax. He’d hit the beach, gotten drunk, sobered up, worked out until he was physically able to do no more, but there was still the nagging feeling he couldn’t shake: his time in the SEALs was over.

That hadn’t gone over well with his commanding officer.

Landon recalled the conversation from four days ago. He had walked into his C.O.’s office without an appointment, but because he and Landon were friends beyond their rankings, Marty had seen him right away.

“It’s time for me to go, Marty,” Landon had said after a few minutes of small talk. “I’ve given seventeen years, and I’m done.”

Marty rubbed his lean face, his blond hair cut in a high and tight. “Dammit, Landon. You’re one of the best snipers I’ve got. I need you with us.”

Landon shook his head.

“You know as your C.O. I can’t say no to you leaving, but as a friend, I’m asking you to stay.”

“I really feel like my time is done.”

Marty exhaled and stared out the window for a moment. “Look, we’re supposed to ship out in two weeks. I’ll see what I can do about getting you replaced, but you know how fast they’re rotating us in and out. If I can’t find someone willing to go, will you?”

“Fuck, Marty.”

Landon sighed and watched a group of wanna-be SEALs running a training drill outside.

Of course he would go. Not just because he felt the duty to his country, but because his friend had asked him. He would give his right arm for anyone in his unit.

“You think you still have it in you, Landon?” Marty asked.

Did he? Doing a quick gut check, he knew the answer was yes. If the answer had been no, he would be a danger to himself and to his fellow SEALs in the line of duty, and he wouldn’t do that to any of them. He had one more turn in him; he just didn’t want to take it.

“Yeah, I’m solid, Marty.”

They stared at each other for a moment.

“But you listen to me,” Landon said, “I love you like a brother from a different mother, but you work your ass off to find that replacement.”

Landon stood and went for the door. “I’m heading out to Cabo,”—he turned to look at his friend, and pointed his finger at him—“and when you call me in a week or so, make it the news I want to hear, okay?”

Marty nodded and smiled. “I’ll do my best, Landon, but I can’t make promises. And don’t point at your superiors.”

“I know you can’t promise me anything, just try,” Landon grumbled, flipping him the bird over his shoulder as he left the room.

He rubbed his hand over his tanned face and skull-trimmed brown hair, as if doing so would somehow scrub away his fatigue. Reaching over the seat to his duffel bag, he found his sunglasses and slipped them over his blue eyes.

The drive from the airport would be uneventful. Well, uneventful for him. There may be a near miss with another car or a quick lane change, but nothing like what he had been through. There would be no dangers of roadside bombs or ambushes, or some asshole with a missile launcher standing on the side of the road. He could relax. This was always the hardest part for him when he returned from a tour—learning to unwind again. He hoped that being in Cabo he’d become a quick study.

As José sped down the road, Landon gazed out the window at the passing landscape. Horrific poverty reared its head every now and then against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. In some ways it wasn’t much different than Afghanistan, except that the backdrop of Afghanistan was nothing but brown dirt. Between the white sand dunes of the beaches in Mexico, Landon saw the waves breaking, and he was excited to actually hear them. The rhythmic sound of the water smashing itself against the sand, backing up and regrouping to do it all again was incredibly soothing.

The tension in his shoulders faded a bit, and he sank lower into the seat. He thought of all the things he wanted to do while in Cabo. First, he needed to rest and get back into civilian mode. That entailed finding a lounge chair at the hotel by the pool, where he planned on camping out from sunrise to sunset, catching up on sleep, reading, and sipping afternoon margaritas. He was looking forward to enjoying real Mexican food and not food rations from the armed services.

He wanted to take a glass-bottom boat out to the magnificent El Arco rock formations and see the beautiful fish that made the area their home. He always found it fascinating the area was where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean merged to become one, and he had faith he would be able to convince the boat captain to take him a little farther out to see some whales if they were still around. Being the end of March, it was definitely a hit and miss.

Finally, he hoped to see a special woman. He sighed. He had picked up the phone countless times over the past month to call her, but had chickened out every time. Shaking his head, he couldn’t believe the stupidity of it all. He was a SEAL, for God’s sake. He had killed terrorists, faced bullets, done hand-to-hand combat with people who wanted nothing more than to see him dead, and he had trouble picking up the phone to make a phone call to the woman he loved because he was afraid she would tell him to go to hell.

Pathetic.

So, yeah, seeing her was a hit and miss as well.

 

 

Chapter Two

 

 

“Mr. Walker?”

Landon jolted awake, habitually searching for his gun, adrenaline surging through him. So much for his plan to stave off sleep for another hour or so, as well as his plan to relax.

José stood at the open door of the van and reached in to grab Landon’s duffel bag while Landon found his wallet. Landon got out ten bucks and handed it to him as he stepped out.

“Have a nice stay, Mr. Walker.”

Landon nodded and lumbered up to the front desk. Although he had stayed here many times, the expanse of the lobby never failed to impress him.

The white floors gleamed as though another soul had never walked across them. There wasn’t a window in the place—just white gauze curtains flowing in the ocean wind. Water from fountains gushed high into the air and danced down into black-tiled pools. People milled about, sipping the free beers and margaritas the hotel generously offered to those checking in.

He waited in line with the families and what he guessed were honeymooners, and a few college kids who were talking about their big plans at the hotel for spring break. While waiting his turn to check in, he grabbed a beer from a passing employee with a tray and slammed it down in one long drink.

Ten minutes later, the girl at the counter smiled and waved him over.

“Check-in,” he said. “Walker. Landon Walker.” The small hands of the pretty Mexican girl with dark brown hair up in a bun and big brown eyes flew over the keyboard.

“Welcome back, Mr. Walker. I see you’ve stayed with us before.” Her accent was thick.

He nodded. He’d come here in between deployments for the past three years.

“Per your request, I have you in a suite overlooking the ocean.”

He nodded again. He had been requesting the same room since he first stayed there. His philosophy was that if you found something you liked, then don’t screw around with it and hope for something better.

After the credit card was swiped, she pulled out a map and started to make circles and lines on it.

“It’s okay,” he said. “I know where I’m going.”

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