Heart's Desire (Angel Fire Rock #2)

By: Ellie Masters

Dedication





This book is dedicated to my one and only—my amazing and wonderful husband.

Without your care and support, my writing would not have made it this far. You make me whole every day. I love you “that much.” For the rest of you, that means from the beginning to the end and every point in between. Thank you, my dearest love, my heart and soul, for putting up with me, for believing in me, and for loving me.

My husband deserves a special gold star for listening to me obsess over this book and for never once complaining while I brought these characters from my mind to the page.

You pushed me when I needed to be pushed. You supported me when I felt discouraged. You believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself. If it weren’t for you, this book never would have come to life.




Acknowledgments





This book wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless support of my friends. I would like to thank my Alpha readers, Cindy and Melissa, who saw this first and provided me with tremendous guidance. You helped me make HEART’S DESIRE: an Angel Fire Rock Romance something I can be proud to introduce to the world. To the ELLZ BELLZ for simply being awesome, listening to me talk all about books and other crazy things. The BELLZ are my chosen family.

To those who serve, and have served, in the Armed Forces, my fellow Brothers and Sisters in arms, thank you for your service and sacrifice. I, too, am a proud Veteran of our Armed Services. You keep us free and for that YOU ROCK!

I’d like to thank my editor, Jovana Shirley. She took my words and polished the rough edges, filled the holes, and helped me to dress up my baby for its first tentative steps into the world. There aren’t enough words. Thank you!

To Elias Raven who graciously gifted me photos of his guitars to use with the back cover of the printed book, thank you. They were an amazing gift.





To My Readers





This book is a work of fiction. It does not exist in the real world and should not be construed as reality. As in most romantic fiction, I’ve taken liberties. I’ve compressed the romance into a sliver of time. I’ve allowed these characters to develop strong bonds of trust over a matter of days. This does not happen in real life where you, my amazing readers, live. Take more time in your romance and learn who you’re giving a piece of your heart to. I urge you to move with caution. Always protect yourself.





Part One



Tia





Chapter One



Hell





Hell would be paradise compared to this wasteland. Every breath seared Major Tia Meyers’s lungs. The air was too damn thin, sucked away precious moisture, and crisped the soft, spongy tissues of her lungs. The fault lay in the rugged, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. Her lips cracked. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. Sweat didn’t linger long enough to dampen her fatigues. And her head? It pounded with each step.

She sipped water from the tube attached to the CamelBak tucked into her ruck. She hadn’t peed in hours. Frankly, that wasn’t such a bad side effect of dehydration. As the only female member of a six-man team, not having to squat in the middle of the desolate landscape came as a welcome relief. She would pee when she was dead.

“Doing okay, T?” Lieutenant Colonel Mike Collins called to her over his left shoulder.

The determination of his stride pushed the entire team forward at a relentless pace. He didn’t ask how any of the others were doing. He didn’t need to because the rest of the team was male. Assumptions were a bitch, but she learned to fight the battles that truly mattered and ignored all other slights against her gender.

Collins led their team. He was their trauma surgeon and the shortest man. Only a few inches taller than her, he barely broke six feet. All the others on the team were ripped and stacked, alpha males with plenty of muscles and endurance and egos too big for their heads. Tall and wired with ropes for muscles, Collins was lean, whipcord strong, and demanded nothing but the best from his team. A person might discount him, but his endurance put the rest of the team to shame. The man ran ultra-marathons for fun.

“I’m fine, Colonel,” she said, stepping up her pace. Damn, when had she fallen so far behind?

Technical Sergeant Ryker Lyons glanced at her, his eyes narrowing with concern. As their team’s respiratory technician, she worked closest with him and dealt with his overbearing protectiveness far too much.

If he were an ugly bastard, she’d be able to deal with his looks and assumptions with far more grace, but Lyons had been breaking hearts from the day he was born. A stunning man, he had a smile that made it impossible to hate him. A prominent jaw framed his face. Twining cords of muscles shaped and defined his entire body. Everything about him was strong, powerful, and male. From his thick arms to his broad shoulders, his physique continued down to a ripped abdomen angling to muscular thighs. No one feature made Lyons handsome, but those eyes of his turned women stupid, needy, and horny as fuck, and his smile, at once genuine and mischievous, was a heart-thudding, sexy-as-fuck, irresistible force. The pull was real, irresistible even. When he lifted his cheeks and broke out that grin, his entire being illuminated with charisma and sexual charm. She fought the force of it every day.

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