DANGEROUS by Lindsay McKenna EXCERPT #1

Sometimes it is more dangerous to try and love someone who walked away from you than facing a firefight….

DANGEROUS by Lindsay McKenna
Book 10, Delos Series
Release: 5.14.18
Pre-order now!!!!

EXCERPT 1, Chapter 1

What the hell! Dan Malloy groaned in his sleep, his body covered in perspiration, the bedsheets twisted and caught between his lower legs. His breath came hard and fast. It felt as if his heart was going to rip out of his chest, the pounding so loud that it sounded like kettle drums pulsing in his ears. He heard the blades of the MH-47 Night Stalker he was flying. Heard the calm voice of his copilot, Lieutenant Andy Gantry, talking to the Special Forces A team hidden nearby in the inky darkness on a rocky slope in the Hindu Kush mountains. They had been out for nearly three weeks hunting HVTs, high-value targets.

The winds were erratic, trying to toss the bird around. His Nomex gloves were soaked as he gripped the cyclic and collective, his booted feet playing lightly on the rudders, trying to bring the helo in and not crash it.

His teeth ached, he was clenching them so tightly, his entire focus oriented to the green dials in front of him, trying to land safely to pick up the twelve-member team. The weather was stormy and quixotic, trying to throw Dan off course. Below, through his NVGs, he saw the chem lights tossed out by the A team to show him where to land. Sweat trickled down his temples. His nostrils flared as he smelled the kerosene used to power the MH-47. His only focus was landing this damned thing. Lightning flashed, blinding him momentarily.

Shit! Blinking, Dan halted his descent, trying to give his eyes time to adjust.

He knew that Taliban often camped for the night in nearby wadis that ran vertically up and down the rugged slopes of these mountains—and there was one within a thousand feet from where he needed to land. Dan wished for an Apache escort and an overhead drone right about now, but none had been available. A drone had infrared capability and would have been able to pick up the heat signature of anyone hiding nearby. The MH-47 had that same capability, but that instrument went belly up halfway to their assigned LZ, landing zone. Now, they were blind, and it bothered the hell out of him.

Dan mentally cursed, knowing that the inclement weather conditions would have torn the drone apart with the sixty-mile-an-hour wind gusts pummeling his helo, throwing it off course from landing, again and again. The storm was racing directly down at them—and it was a violent son-of-a-bitch. But Night Stalker pilots, the cream of Army aviation, were expected to fly through all weather conditions to pick up a black-ops group. These were brave men and women who got the job done, despite the challenges and potential life-and-death of their assigned mission.

His eyesight came back, and he began to breathe again, nudging his helo forward toward the landing zone once more. In the back of his mind, he knew if Taliban were camped in that nearby wadi that they could throw an RPG and AK-47 bullets at his bird. They would aim for the rotor assembly to stop the blades from turning. The MH-47 had two rotors, and one sat up near the pilot’s cabin, the other was near the rear of the helicopter. If either were hit by a bullet, they’d crash–and they’d all die.

Son-of-a-bitch. He’d been on hellacious missions before, but this one took the cake in his many years of experience. Thunderstorms would pop up at the most unexpected times simply because these dragon-toothed mountains made their own weather. Right now, he was at nine-thousand feet on a steep scree slope. The A team had found the levelest spot for them to land, but it was not level at all. They’d done the best they could, being hotly pursued by Taliban. Landing on a slope was perilous. It was possible, but with a thunderstorm looming over them, and the possibility of tangos in that nearby wadi, Dan knew they were trapped between a rock and a hard place. His chief gunner had the ramp down and was sitting behind the fifty-caliber machine gun, looking for the enemy.

Andy’s calm voice continued to give him directions and elevation. There was so much that could go wrong. His body was so tense Dan thought he might snap in half. His fingers ached, the perspiration making them slippery.

Come on…come on…

He focused again on the chem lights, tiny green dots on the black skin of the mountain slope. The wind gusts were powerful, and the bird shuddered violently. The engines changed and deepened, Andy played with the throttles between their seats, trying to give Dan the power he needed to neutralize the gusts.

Everything slowed down to movie frames for Dan as he eased his reluctant helo forward. Closer and closer, he inched the thumping, vibrating beast toward the LZ. Just let me get to it. Let me land without incident. His ears were keyed to the sound of the engines. The adrenaline raced through his bloodstream, heightening his clarity, making him aware of all sounds, smells, and sensations until his whole world became his senses. It gave him an edge. It allowed his hands to make the subtle moves on the instruments to get the bird on hard ground.

“Over LZ,” Andy reported calmly. “Ten feet…nine feet…eight feet…”

He couldn’t just swiftly plop the helicopter down. No, it had to go carefully, or he’d get into hover-out-of-ground effect, which meant the invisible cushion of air that the helo rode on, was suddenly gone. If that happened, the MH-47 would drop like a rock out of the sky.

“…seven feet…”

God, let me get this bird down. Let me get it down safely.

His hands ached, feeling like a raptor’s claws frozen around the instruments as he prayed to keep that cushion of air between them and the uneven, rugged ground. Sweat stung his eyes, and he blinked furiously, trying to clear his vision.

“…six feet…”

“…five feet…”

“…three feet…”

Dan felt the tires touch the slope.

At the same moment the bird touched down, a seventy-mile-an-hour gust slammed into the helicopter. Instantly, Dan felt the cant to his right, getting knocked over. His feet and hands acted in a blurred dance as he lifted the bird into the air, leaping skyward, trying to stop the blades from churning into the slope, shattering them into hundreds of razor-like pieces. He had no choice but to turn the helo, so the cockpit faced that wadi as he tried to grab ascending air coming up the slope to give him a lift instead of crashing.

Suddenly, the Plexiglas across the cockpit exploded inward. Thousands of small fragments rained down around Dan. He heard Andy give a squawk of surprise.

They were being attacked!

More bullets poured into the cockpit, singing past his helmet. He heard Andy scream. Heard sudden orders being roared to him by the A team on the ground.

And then, the fifty-caliber machine gun blasted through the darkened interior of the bird, hammering like pulses against Dan.

He took a huge risk, dropping the bird six feet. The helo slammed into the ground.

Dan groaned, the harness biting deeply into his shoulders as it hit the rocks. He saw the A team hidden nearby, firing their rifles in the direction of the wadi where the Taliban were attacking. He wanted to curse. There was no time!

The bird bounced up into the air. Dan used every skill he had to control the helicopter’s wobbling hop off the slope. Somehow—God only knew how—he got it back down on the earth, but it wasn’t where he was supposed to land.

More bullets snapped furiously through the cockpit.

Dan felt his right arm, the one holding the cyclic between his legs, go numb. When he tried to move it, there was no response. He felt warm blood pouring down his arm. Tried to force his limb to work. The helo was being brutally hammered with AK-47 fire.

Dan yelled at his two crewmen to egress. He swiftly shut down the engines, seeing Andy slumped to his left, his helmeted head resting on his chest, the harness still holding him in the seat. He needed to escape with Andy.

Suddenly, the whole night lit up with an RPG being fired. It missed the MH-47 by six feet, but the wall of fire raced toward the opened cockpit. Rocks sailed like missiles through the broken Plexiglas, striking Dan.

One moment, he was conscious. The next, his helmet was struck hard, snapping back his head against the seat, the force of it stunning him into semi-consciousness.

Stay tuned for the next excerpt!

BACK COVER COPY:
Sloan Kennedy and Dan Malloy met at Bagram and shared a passionate month-long affair. Their relationship was supposed to be no strings, but Sloan fell hard for the Night Stalker pilot. Things changed after the two were involved in a rescue mission that ended in the death of Dan’s co-pilot. Riddled with guilt over the accident and the loss of his friend, Dan walked away from Sloan and his military career.

Four years later, Dan is a pilot for Delos, flying team members to their various charities in Sudan. When chatter starts up that terrorists are targeting one of them, Dan is assigned a security escort from Artemis on his next mission. He is shocked when his bodyguard turns out to be the woman who has haunted his dreams for years — Sloan Kennedy.

Thrown together again, old feelings bubble to the surface, but danger is lurking nearby. Sloan and Dan will be lucky to walk away from this mission with their lives-and hearts-intact.


Sloan Kennedy was a badass and made no apologies for it.

LINKS:

Apple/iBooks
https://linkmaker.itunes.apple.com/en-us/details/1360421515?country=us&mediaType=books&term=Dangerous+by+Lindsay+McKenna&type=ebook

KOBO.com
https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/dangerous-66

BN.com
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dangerous-lindsay-mckenna/1128209201?ean=2940159028648

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