Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a
Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions
no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly
skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested
again and again . . .
Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future
neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high
school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas
gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed
man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers
a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a
threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick
in, and he knows he must go to her.
Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and
she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But
it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now,
determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his
ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct
the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that
leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves . . .
The Saloon was the sort of bar that catered to the locals in
the quiet Houston neighborhood.
It was small, with lots of wood and polished brass.
Overhead there was an open beam ceiling, with muted lights
that provided a cozy atmosphere, and on the weekends they
invited a jazz band to play quietly on the narrow stage.
Lucas spent most Friday evenings at the table tucked in a
back corner. It was unofficially reserved for the five men
who ran ARES Security.
The men liked the peaceful ambiance, the communal agreement
that everyone should mind their own business, and the fact
that the table was situated so no one could sneak up from
Trained soldiers didn’t want surprises.
At the moment, the bar was nearly empty. Not only was it a
gray, wet Wednesday evening, but it was the first week of
December. That meant Christmas madness was in full swing.
Perfectly normal people were now in crazy-mode as they
scurried from store to store, battling one another for the
latest, have-to-have gift. It was like Thunderdome without
Currently Lucas and Teagan shared the bar with a young
couple seated near the bay window at the front of the bar.
Those two were oblivious to everything but each other. And
closer to the empty stage was a table of college girls.
Already at the giggly stage of drunk, they were all
blatantly checking him out. At least when they weren’t
gawking at Teagan.
Both men were accustomed to female attention.
Teagan was a large, heavily muscled man with dark caramel
skin, and golden eyes that he’d inherited from his
Polynesian mother. He kept his hair shaved close to his
skull, and as usual was dressed in a pair of camo pants and
shit-kickers. He had an aggressive vibe that was only
emphasized by the tight T-shirt that left his arms bare to
reveal the numerous tattoos.
Lucas St. Clair, on the other hand, was wearing a
thousand-dollar suit that was tailored to perfectly fit his
lean body. His glossy black hair was smoothed away from his
chiseled face that he’d been told could easily grace the
covers of fashion magazines. As if he gave a shit.
His eyes were so dark they looked black. It wasn’t until he
was in the sunlight that it became obvious they were a deep,
Most assumed he was the less dangerous of the two men.
They’d be wrong.
But while the girls became increasingly more obvious in
their attempts to attract their attention, neither man
glanced in their direction.
Teagan because he already had a flock of women who included
supermodels and two famous actresses.
And Lucas because… He grimaced.
To be honest, he wasn’t sure why. He only knew that his
interest in women hadn’t been the same since he’d crawled
out of that hellhole in Afghanistan. Not unless he counted
the hours he spent brooding on one woman in particular.
The one who got away.
Lucas gave a sharp shake of his head, reaching for his shot
of tequila. It slid down his throat like liquid fire,
burning away the past.
Nothing like a twelve-year-old vintage to ease the pain.
Lucas glanced toward his companion’s empty glass.
“Another round?” he asked.
“Sure.” Teagan waited for Lucas to nod toward the
bartender, who was washing glasses, at the same time keeping
a sharp eye on his few customers. “I assume you’re picking
up the tab?”
Lucas cocked a brow. “Why do I always have to pick up the tab?”
“You’re the one with the trust fund, amigo, not me,” Teagan
said with a shrug. “The only thing my father ever gave me
was a concussion and an intimate knowledge of the Texas
Lucas snorted. It was common knowledge that Lucas would beg
in the streets before he would touch a penny of the St.
Clair fortune. Just as they all knew that Teagan had risen
above his abusive background, and temporary housing in the
penitentiary, to become a successful businessman. The
younger man not only joined ARES, but he owned a mechanic
shop that catered to a high-end clientele who had more money
than sense when it came to their precious sports cars.
“I might break out the violins if I didn’t know you’re
making a fortune,” Lucas told his friend as the bartender
arrived to replace their drinks with a silent efficiency.
“Hardly a fortune.” Teagan downed a shot of tequila before
he reached for his beer, heaving a faux sigh. “I have
overhead out the ass, not to mention paying my cousins twice
what they’re worth. A word of warning, amigo. Never go
into business with your family.”
“Too late,” Lucas murmured.
As far as he was concerned, the men who crawled out of that
Taliban cave with him were his brothers. And the only
family that mattered.
“True that.” Teagan gave a slow nod, holding up his frosty
glass. “To ARES.”
Lucas clinked his glass against Teagan’s in appreciation of
the bond they’d formed.
Drinking the tequila in one swallow, Lucas set aside his
empty glass. There was a brief silence before Teagan at
last spoke the words that’d no doubt been on the tip of his
tongue since they walked through the door of the bar.
“Are you ever going to get to the point of why you asked to
meet me here?” his friend bluntly demanded.
Lucas leaned back in his chair, arching his brows.
“Couldn’t it just be because I enjoy your sparkling
Teagan snorted. “If I’d known this was a date I would have
worn my lucky shirt.”
“You need a shirt to get lucky?”
“Not usually.” Teagan flashed his friend a mocking smile.
“But I’ve heard you like to play hard to get.”
Lucas grimaced at the direct hit. Yeah. Hard to get was
one way to put it.
“I want to discuss Hauk,” he admitted, not at all eager to
think about his lack of a sex life.
Start Reading KILL WITHOUT SHAME Now
Our Past Week of Fresh Picks