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Talon (Uncompromising #1)

By´╝ÜSybil Bartel

Uncompromising Series Book One


I surf.

I fuck.

I pretend to smile.

Two years ago my life was perfect, until it wasn’t. I scattered my wife’s ashes then walked away from the Marines. I didn’t think I had anything left to lose.

I was wrong.

The blonde showed up on my doorstep beaten and stabbed. I did what I was trained to do—I stitched her up. I didn’t have a clue who she was and I told myself I didn’t care. Until they came looking for her.

I swore I’d take my last breath before I let anyone else hurt her, except I didn’t know she was keeping a deadly secret. Now I had two choices, her life or mine.

Marriage and combat taught me the same thing—I was no one’s hero. And I was about to prove it.

For all the men and women in our Armed Forces, thank you so much for your service.

I SWIRLED THE ICE IN my glass. The moonlight glimmered on the bride’s dark hair and the past two years disappeared. I was no longer watching my best friend dance with his new wife. I was remembering the feeling of my wife’s hair as it slipped through my fingers and drowning in her deep brown gaze as she said two simple words.


I blinked and the image of my dead wife was gone. I looked up at the waitress. “Sorry, darlin’. Come again?”

Blonde, cute, she glanced at the bride and groom then looked back at me and smiled. “They make a beautiful couple.”

“No denyin’ that.” I tossed back the last of my whiskey.

“Would you like another drink?” she asked sweetly.

I dragged my eyes the length of her and smiled a smile that usually got me what I wanted. “That depends.”

Heat flushed her cheeks but she didn’t drop my gaze. “On what?”

I stared at her tits then her lips. “You.”

A small giggle escaped and she fluttered her eyelashes like she thought it’d make a difference. “You’re forward.”

“I’m single,” I stated, already irritated with the conversation. “What time you get off?”

“Half hour,” she said coyly.

I stood and placed my glass on her tray, then I leaned down to her ear. “Grab me another whiskey while I wait for you, darlin’.” This shit was getting too easy.

She shivered but she didn’t move.

“Now,” I commanded.

“Yes, sir.” She giggled, hightailing it back to the bar.

I watched her ass as André walked up beside me.

Glancing over his shoulder at her, he chuckled. “Fifty bucks says you don’t know her name.”

I didn’t need to. I nicknamed them all anyway. “Hundred bucks says she’ll know mine in an hour.”

“I’m not stupid enough to take that bet.” He inclined his head toward Blaze and Layna on the dance floor. “Blaze asked me for a security detail while they’re on their honeymoon. Know what that’s about?”

I scanned the perimeter out of habit. “I thought we took care of it.” Blaze and I had neutralized the killer who’d been stalking Layna months ago.

“Me too.” André casually glanced across the lanai then looked up and down the beach.

I knew what he was thinking. Beyond the small lights strung up around the tables, it was dark as shit. Lots of places someone could hide. “What’d Blaze say?”

“He didn’t. Just that he wanted two of my men and he doesn’t want Layna to know about it.”

A memory of my wife on our honeymoon played in my mind like a cruel joke. No amount of security could’ve saved her life in the end. But if I’d paid better attention… I shook the thought away. “Can’t blame a man for bein’ cautious.”

The waitress came back. “Here you go.” Her smile was no longer shy.

I took the glass, my fingers purposely grazing hers. “Thanks, butterfly.”

André grinned. “Yes, thank you, butterfly.”

She looked between us with a confused expression.

“Ignore him, darlin’. Hurry and finish up. Won’t take me a half hour to drink this.” I winked.

André laughed after she walked off. “Easiest fifty bucks I ever earned.”

“Fuck you.” I took a sip of the drink, feeling the burn.

He sobered. “Won’t help, you know.”

“What the hell are you talkin’ ’bout?”

He shrugged casually. “Tonight couldn’t have been easy, seeing them get married.”

The muscles in my shoulders went rigid and I swallowed a mouthful of whiskey. “You got somethin’ to say, say it.”

“Drinking, screwing random waitresses, it won’t make you forget her. Leigh didn’t want this for you. She wanted you to move on.”