Show No Mercy

By: Cindy Gerard




ACKNOWLEDGMENTS



Many thanks to the usual suspects who graciously share expertise, support, and

enthusiasm so generously. Maria, Donna, Joe, Glenna, Susan, Leanne, you know how

much I appreciate you. Special thanks to my buddy, Carol Bryant, for her brilliant

suggestion that led me to the link I needed to pull theboys together.



To Maggie Crawford, editor extraordinaire, thank you for your brilliant edit, for loving this book, and for inviting me into the Pocket Books family.



SHOW NO MERCY





PROLOGUE




Outskirts of Freetown,

Sierra Leone, West Africa

1999



Tracer rounds zipped across the murky darkness, lighting up the night sky in brilliant slashes of red, yellow and green. It made Gabe Jones think of Fourth of July fireworks.

Or of bad special effects in a B-grade horror movie.



He hunkered down as a high-arcing mortar added flash and smoke and snap

cracklingboom booms to the surrealistic tableau that had become all too real, and

happened all too often lately. Behind him, trees trembled from shrapnel and AK hits. Gun oil, sweat, and the scent of blood and death melded with the pungent decay of jungle rot.

And the swelter factor inched up another couple of degrees when he thought about the

fallout if a 60mm mortar landed in his lap.Now there was a surefire way to cap off a

perfectly shitty day.



Fourth of July, horror movies, and jungle rot. A screwed-up combo,Gabe thought as he

scanned the dripping, dirt-streaked faces of the men hunkered down around him in

shallow, hastily dug Ranger graves. But then, it was a screwed-up war. Correction: It was a screwed-up “conflict.” Must keep the P.C. vernacular squared away. Wouldn’t want

any nation, sovereign or otherwise, to get the idea that the U.S. of A. was over here

waging war—even though the rat bastard Foday Sankoh, leader of the Revolutionary

United Front, and his murdering RUF militia needed to be ousted out of power.



So, no. No U.S.-sanctioned acts of war here.Uncle Sam intervening for the greater good?

Hell, no. If anyone asked, Task Force Mercy didn’t even exist, which, theoretically, made the small mixed unit of Spec Ops forces taking fire from the RUF little more than ghosts.



Fitting, Gabe thought, because before this night was over, it might also be true. Any one of them could die in this hell-hot armpit of the world where the value of a life didn’t measure up to a polished chunk of carbon that ended up on the ring finger of some

society maven’s hand. Where mercy was as foreign a concept to the locals as peace and a full belly.



He wiped away the sweat dripping down his face with his forearm as another round of

mortars set off a series of strobe-like flashes. The blasts illuminated the familiar faces of the rest of the men where they were pinned down after running across an unexpected

RUF patrol.



The team wassupposed to be on the assault. There weren’tsupposed to be any militia

within a mile of their current position, yet they were getting pummeled by a squad of

RUF with a shitload of firepower. Which meant that someone had royally fucked up.

Someone sitting on his ass back in command central, well out of harm’s way, making

calls based on infrared satellite imagery, passing along bogus intelligence.



Someone who was not Spec Ops but who the big brass insisted needed to run the show.
Someone who did not grasp the concept that the personnel of Task Force Mercy needed

to operate with the surgical precision of a scalpel, not the ball-busting slam of a

sledgehammer.



Someone,Gabe thought, covering his head as dirt and debris from a close hit rained

down on him, who obviously knew jack shit or the unit would never have been caught

with their pants down in the first place.



The unmistakable clatter of an M-60 belt-fed machine gun joined the fray as he scanned the faces around him. Even though they were covered with cammo face paint and grime

he could ID them to a man.



Not two meters to Gabe’s right, Master Sergeant Sam Lang, Delta, lay on his belly with his M-24 sniper rifle at the ready. His face revealed exactly nothing, but Gabe still knew what Lang was thinking. Same thing Gabe was:Let’s get this sideshow on the road.



Lang was the quiet man. Lived by the Teddy Roosevelt school of soldiering: He walked

softly and carried a big-ass stick. Under fire, he was stone cold and mechanical. A

machine. And like every man in the unit, Gabe would trust Lang on a journey to hell and back. Which was exactly where they were going before this night was over.



Bellied down next to Lang, practically connected to his hip, was Lang’s spotter, Johnny Duane Reed. A flash and swagger Force Recon marine, the cowboy had come to the unit

PO’d about being pulled from his Recon team. But like the good marine he was, he’d

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