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Captain's Call of Duty

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Captain's Call of Duty
Cindy Dees

From tomboy to bombshell?Captain Jim Kelley is thunderstruck. Suddenly Alexandra Mendez has gone from one of the guys, kid sister and tomboy to all woman. Alex is under his command on a dangerous undercover mission, but Jim has to keep reminding himself they’re only pretending to be lovers.Alex has loved Jim all her life, but they’d always been just friends. Now working together to thwart an assassination plot, their cover requires her to unearth her femininity. Jim’s sudden attention is unexpected…and thrilling. But is Jim just infatuated by her looks, or is it her he wants?

“Sleep. We’re going to need our rest.”

She glanced over at the narrow double bed—it was going to be a tight fit.

She crawled under the covers and he stretched out beside her.

“Come here,” he murmured.

“Excuse me?”

He held out an arm to her. “This is only going to work if we spoon.”

Spoon? With him? He’d rolled on his side and waited for her expectantly. “Scoot back against me,” he ordered.

In a second, she was snuggled up against Jim Kelley and he was holding her close to his hot, hard body, his breath warm in her hair. And she was supposed to sleep like this?

“Nice,” he murmured. “I never knew what great shape you’re in. Do you do anything besides kickbox and run?”

The words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. “I hear vigorous sex is a great aerobic workout.”

Dear Reader,

It’s always a ton of fun to work on series like the Kelleys of Maple Cove with a group of my fellow authors. But I have to say, this bunch has been a particular joy to work with. Through all our laughter and sorrows—sometimes eerily similar to those we write about—the bonds of sisterhood proved to be especially strong.

Often the creative process is a lonely one, but the other five spectacular authors in this series—Marie Ferrarella, Beth Cornelison, Gail Barrett, Carla Cassidy and Elle Kennedy— have reached across the miles separating our desks to touch my heart with their stories and support. Hopefully, the six of us have done the same for you, too, dear reader.

And with that, it’s my great pleasure to present to you the final installment in the chapter of the Kelley clan’s ongoing chronicles. Here’s hoping you have as much fun reading it as all of us did writing it!


Cindy Dees

About the Author

CINDY DEES started flying airplanes while sitting in her dad’s lap at the age of three and got a pilot’s license before she got a driver’s license. At age fifteen, she dropped out of high school and left the horse farm in Michigan where she grew up to attend the University of Michigan. After earning a degree in Russian and East European Studies, she joined the US Air Force and became the youngest female pilot in its history. She flew supersonic jets, VIP airlift and the C-5 Galaxy, the world’s largest airplane. During her military career, she traveled to forty countries on five continents, was detained by the KGB and East German secret police, got shot at, flew in the first Gulf War and amassed a lifetime’s worth of war stories.

Her hobbies include medieval re-enacting, professional Middle Eastern dancing and Japanese gardening.


Award-winning author’s first book was published in 2002 and since then she has published more than twenty-five bestselling and award-winning novels. She loves to hear from readers and can be contacted at www.cindydees.com.

Captain’s Call of Duty

Cindy Dees

www.millsandboon.co.uk (http://www.millsandboon.co.uk)

This book is for my wonderful collaborators—

Marie, Beth, Gail, Carla, and Elle.

May the Muse continue to grace you all.

Chapter 1

“Next one of you boys who makes a comment about any of my girl parts,” Alexandra Mendez declared, “I’m gonna have to hurt you. Bad.” Sheesh. Wear one lousy skirt to the office—and not even a sexy one at that—and the guys went crazy. Pervs.

One of the several dozen soldiers clustered in the ready room passed behind her and flipped her brunette ponytail. “Hell, Mendez. I didn’t even know you had girl parts.”

The old hurt speared into her, sharp and bright. He didn’t know. None of them knew how much she hated being “one of the guys.” Desperate choices … made young … to save her father …

She scowled at no one in particular. “Anyone see Captain Kelley? I need to talk to him.”

A predictable chorus of cat calls and rude remarks erupted. She was so not sleeping with Jim Kelley. But it didn’t help the rumor mill that he hovered over her as though she was some kind of freaking moron every time anyone in the unit gave her a job to do. Which wasn’t to say she wouldn’t seriously consider sleeping with Jim if he offered. She’d had a massive crush on him for pretty much her whole life.

She rolled her eyes and announced to the room at large, “I swear, you’ll never see it coming. A knife between the ribs, nice and quiet.”

Laughter broke out. “You and what army?” someone called.

She shook her head and didn’t rise to the bait. These Special Forces types thought they were such hot stuff. Nothing and nobody could touch them. Problem was, they were right about that most of the time. Just once, she’d like to give them a taste of their own medicine.

“Captain’s in the colonel’s office,” someone finally relented and volunteered. “Secure fax came in a few minutes ago.”

Ahh. A mission was coming down to the unit. No wonder everyone was hanging around trying to look busy. They were all here to wrangle a spot on whatever team was about to get sent out.

She clenched her jaw. She’d give her right arm and her firstborn child to be sent out in the field just once. Other tech-support types went out to back up the teams all the time. But not her. Never her. Maybe this time—

The colonel’s office door opened and the atmosphere in the room went from jovial to supercharged in about a nanosecond. Captain Jim Kelley stepped out. “Delta Company,” he announced, “you’re up.”

Cheers—from Delta’s guys—and groans from everyone else rose loudly. Over the din, Jim yelled, “Intel briefing in the conference room. Ten minutes.”

Alex pushed through the mass of big, muscular bodies toward Jim. Ten minutes? Crud. She didn’t have much time to make her case. “Captain Kelley!” she called. He made eye contact with her over the shoulders of the non-Delta company commanders as they groused at him and tried to get a piece of the action.

“Mendez, you got a report for me?” Jim barked.

“Yes, sir.”

“My office. Now.”

He was clearly using her as an excuse to escape the sleevetuggers, but she was okay with that. He’d be her captive audience until the ready room cleared out.

He paused in his doorway and gestured for her to precede him inside. As always, her heart stuttered when she had any excuse to get this close to Jim Kelley and his rugged good looks. He was a man’s man … heck, he was a woman’s kind of man, too. Those blue-on-blue eyes of his, the thick, dark hair cropped short, the strong features, direct stare—

Without warning, her shoe heel caught on the doorjamb and her right ankle rolled out from under her. She pitched forward and slammed face first into her boss’s rock-solid chest.
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