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RIMSHOT’S HARD TARGET


Navy SEAL sniper Kevin “Rimshot” Stanton has had one thing on his mind for months: Find his sister. When a retired teammate suggests calling a private investigator specializing in missing persons, he takes a chance on the woman he’s lusted after since a friend’s wedding. He hopes she won’t mind mixing business with pleasure, because he wants more than just her professional expertise.


Jaime Hensen isn’t the kind of woman to settle down. She likes the wham-whir-thank-you-sir lifestyle. But the night she spends with Rimshot makes her want more. Too bad he’s a glacier outside the bedroom. She throws all her concentration into the job to ignore the hurt.


When Jaime’s investigation gets too close to a mysterious company hiring only women, she’s kidnapped and Rimshot suspects they’ve taken his sister as well. He’ll need every skill in his arsenal to save them.


Rimshot has one shot to get love right, and he’s not about to miss.



Table of Contents

Blurb

Copyright

Dedication

Acknowledgments

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Author’s Note

Excerpt

About Siobhan Muir

Bibliography



RIMSHOT’S HARD TARGET

Book 2 of Bad Boys of Beta Squad series


Copyright © 2018 Siobhan Muir

ISBN: 9780463596739

Published by Three Lakes Books at Smashwords.com


Cover Photo: VlavetalDepositphotos.com

Cover Design: Kristian Norris


eBooks are not transferable. They cannot be sold, shared, or given away as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.


All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author except for brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews. This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to your Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.


This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to any other book, or actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.


Second Electronic Print, September 2018


DEDICATION


Dedicated to the missing and the families and friends who never gave up hope they’d be found.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Writing a book is never really a one-person job, and writing a series is especially difficult alone. Keeping track of details is so much easier when you have help. Not only does it take a great deal of hard work, editing, and research on the part of the author to get things correct, but without my compatriots, there’d be a lot more mistakes. Huge thanks to Cat Johnson for offering me this opportunity to join my SEALs with hers. I fangirled over her back in 2012 at Authors After Dark and I’m still doing so now that she’s invited me to play in the big girls’ pool. Great thanks go to Silver James who made sure the typo bugs weren’t too big and the story made sense from start to finish. Thanks to Emily Drew who gave me superb copy-edits. Those typos and missing words are everywhere! Thanks to Kris Norris for redesigning the cover to fit the second printing.

Chapter One



“To Bronco and Lindsey.”

Chief Kevin “Rimshot” Stanton raised his pint with the other members of SEAL Team 9, Bravo Squad, affectionately known as Beta Squad. He tried to smile, but he worried it came out more as a grimace.

He swigged his beer to wash down the bitter taste in his mouth. John “Bronco” Andrews had retired from active duty. Effective today. Kevin had lost a damn good teammate as well as a friend. Bronco had been his spotter for more ops than he could count, and while he’d heard they’d get a new teammate, no one could replace Bronco.

Bronco’s retirement, on top of Ghost’s debilitating injury and his sister’s disappearance over fifteen months earlier, put the cap on a particularly craptastic year. None of Kevin’s searching had done a damn bit of good to find Bethany, even the one time he’d gone home to Kentucky. She’d disappeared off the face of the Earth, and no one could find her.

Kevin forced his hand to relax around his pint glass before he shattered it in frustration. His venerable father sent in a special ops group from the army with the acronym SNAIFU, and even they had no luck. Probably because of their name. They’d come up empty and fifteen months had passed. No movement of any kind had happened and Kevin was ready to go AWOL and hunt for her himself.

“Damn, Rimshot. You look like you got a gut full of buckshot.” Chief Todd “Magic” Hunter shook his head as he clinked glasses with Kevin. “What’s got your tail in a twist?”

Something about a Texas drawl could drag a smile out of Kevin. He’d known his share of good ole boys in Kentucky, but Texans had it down to a science. Magic only hammed it up when he meant to calm his teammates down.

“Nothing. Just sucks that Bronco’s retiring. He’s been in this squad longer than any of us.” Kevin didn’t say the word survived. Attrition in the SEAL ranks happened no matter how well trained they were. No one could outrun death when it came calling.

“Yeah, well, you heard his reasons. He’s been here a long time and he wants time with Lindsey.” Magic sounded a little wistful now that he had his own wife. “No one can doubt his service to his country, though, and he’s getting out before the chance is gone. Can’t say as I blame him.”

Kevin didn’t blame Bronco, either. But he did wonder what the hell the old man would do now. What would I do if I retired from the SEALs? The answer came back with blinding clarity. Find my sister.

Lt. Jim “Retro” Waters sidled up to them and scanned Kevin’s face. “All right, who needs killing and where do we find them?”

Kevin snorted. “No one needs killin’. As far as I know right now.” He raised an eyebrow. “We get new orders, LT?”

“Not that I’ve heard, but you look like someone shot your dog, so I figured I’d ask.” Retro narrowed his eyes and tilted his head. “What’s going on, Rimshot?”

Kevin shifted his gaze to Bronco and Lindsey, laughing with some other guests. He slipped into his Samurai Mask, the face he wore when killing and when he needed to secure his emotions.

“Bethany’s still missin’. No word.”

“Fuck.” Retro’s jaw clenched and his gaze swung toward Lt. Chris Hunter as if seeking an anchor in turbulent seas. He’d learned what it was like to lose someone he’d cared for when she’d been kidnapped.

“Aw, hell, Rimshot. I’m sorry.” Magic lost his humor. “Who’d they send after her?”

“The Army.”

“What?” Retro looked like he’s swallowed his tongue. “You serious? The Army?”

“Yeah, some special forces group called SNAIFU.”

Magic snorted. “There’s a group called snafu out there?” He shook his head. “What’s it really stand for?”

Kevin took a swig of beer. “Don’t know, don’t care.” Truth was he didn’t want to tell them. It was too farfetched. “The upshot is they didn’t find my sister.”

“Why didn’t your dad send in the SEALs?” Retro growled.

“She disappeared on American soil. SEALs don’t operate domestically.”

“Where?”

Kevin bit back a curse and set down his glass. “On the old man’s estate.”

“Are you fuckin’ kiddin’ me?” Magic gaped. “He lost her at home?”

“Yeah.”

“Doesn’t he have security? Cameras and dogs and shit?” Retro crossed his arms over his chest.

“Yeah.” Kevin had spent many a day skirting and deceiving the cameras to escape his father’s political life. “But in that part of the estate, it’s too overgrown and there’s somethin’ fuckin’ with the cameras. No one saw her come or go. All they found was her horse.”

“Have you been home since?” Magic asked.

Kevin shook his head. “It was an election year, and he lost. The old man is still on a rampage and he might not consider us family, but he’s thorough when it comes to looking for his possessions.”

Chris limped over to them, pushing between Retro and Magic. “Did I hear you right? Does your father consider your sister one of his possessions?”

Old anger churned in Kevin’s gut as he nodded. “Yeah. To him, that’s all women are good for. They’re meant to look elegant on your arm and be brood mares. Hell, he values his quarter horses more than he did my mother or sister.”

Chris’s expression hardened. “Sounds like a real charmer.”

“Yeah, well, he was a senator and a career politician. Charm is woven into his suits.” A grin washed quickly across his lips. “But he never convinced my maternal grandfather. I think Granddaddy saw right through his sweet talkin’. That’s why he left the bulk of his money to me and my sister. Senator Stanton can’t touch a cent of it.”

The ingenuity of his grandfather still made Kevin laugh. The old man had watched his daughter’s marriage with suspicion that only grew over the years. He made it very clear he wanted all the money meant for his daughter to go to her children. He’d always had time for Kevin and Bethany. Besides his sister, Granddaddy had been the only other family member cheering Kevin’s choice to join the SEALs.

“Are they still looking for your sister?” Chris had always kept up with the personal lives of her men, even after she came off active duty.

“Yeah, I think so. It’s been fifteen months so the rush has died down.” There were other reasons for that, but he didn’t need to share them here. “I gotta do something, but when I went home on leave, I didn’t find shit. And the powers-that-be ain’t sharin’ intel.”

“Sounds like you need someone who specializes in missing people.” Chris glanced at her husband and Retro before fixing Kevin with her direct stare. “My friend Jaime Hensen, the Maid of Honor at my wedding, is a private detective who finds those thought to be lost forever. She’s a cold case expert and never gives up. Plus she has police contacts all over the U.S. and some abroad, too.”

Immediately, the image of a sassy auburn-haired woman with a star map of freckles across her nose filled Kevin’s mind. She’d been dressed to the nines at Chris and Todd’s wedding, and nothing could curb his hard-on that whole night. He hadn’t slept with her. More’s the pity. But he’d spent most of the evening listening to her talk, enjoying her scent and her honey-colored eyes.

“Yeah?” He hid the rising anticipation with a look of disbelief. “What can she do that the U.S. Army can’t?”

“You want a list?” Chris smirked and Kevin snorted with rueful agreement. “Just give her a call.” Chris jotted a phone number down on a scrap of paper. “She really is remarkable at finding people, alive or dead, and she never gives up. She definitely has the heart of a SEAL.”

Kevin blinked and stared at Chris, scanning her face. How does Chris know anything about my heart?

It took him a few seconds to realize she referred to Jaime’s determination, not his own pining for her best friend. And I’m not pining for her. No, not at all. In fact, it had been a whole week since he’d thought of her.

Most of which we were in training.

“Thanks, Ghost. I’ll take a look.” He pocketed the card as he nodded.

“Hey all, thanks for coming again. We have one more announcement.”

Kevin and his four teammates refocused on Bronco, banging against his glass for their attention.

“Oh, God, it’s not a new security company you’re heading up, is it?” Petty Officer Third Class Eugene “Deli” Rubenovich rolled his eyes. “You guys heard about GAPS, right?”

Bronco snorted. “You looking for a fall-back position when you retire from the Navy, Deli?”

Everyone laughed.

“No, I got an even more important job lined up.” Bronco shared a satisfied grin with his wife. “I’m gonna be a dad.”

“What?”

“Hooyah! Way to go, Bronco.”

“Congratulations, Lindsey.” Chris crossed to Bronco’s wife and hugged her.

Other cheers and congratulations echoed around the room, but Rimshot’s gut sank. Damn, he’s really out of action now.

“Damn, Bronco. You sure you’re up for that?” Chief Petty Officer Greg Killian smirked, his eyes glittering with barely suppressed rage. “Scarier than a marriage.”

Bronco laughed off the unpleasant undercurrent from Killian. “Don’t see as I got a choice now, but yeah, Bam-Bam, I’m kinda looking forward to being a daddy.”

Killian’s smirk turned sour, but he raised his beer and toasted them while the rest of the crowd went on to congratulate the expectant parents. Deli shot Rimshot a grimace and shook his head. Bam-Bam’s been a fuckin’ mental case since his wife cuckolded him. Oh, Killian had gotten the job done, but he’d been surly as hell. The squad rarely saw him outside of training or ops anymore.

The party wound down after that and Kevin said his goodnights before he got too maudlin to drive his ass home. He wished Bronco and Lindsey well, but he couldn’t understand their happiness. If I’ve ever found it, it was in the Teams. The Navy accepted him and didn’t care where he’d come from or how much money he’d had. When he’d turned his back on his father’s political aspirations for him, his father had threatened to cut him off from his inheritance, an inheritance the senator had no control over.

Kevin snorted as he slid behind the wheel of his blue Toyota Tacoma. You can’t live on a Navy wage. The distain in his father’s voice still rang in his head after all these years. Suck my dick, sir. Senator Stanton couldn’t understand what it was like to live on something he’d earned rather than been given. Kevin preferred his way of life.

He threw the truck into gear and headed toward his apartment, shoving his father’s issues to the back of his mind where they could be forgotten again. He didn’t have time to wallow, he still had to figure out a way to find Bethany.

Fifteen fuckin’ months and no sign. If he believed in conspiracies, he’d think one had taken his sister. But there’d definitely been a cover-up of some kind. He’d checked with a few of his Army buddies from the Rangers, and they said something had gone wrong with the special forces sent in. No one was talking, but scuttlebutt had it the commanding officers disappeared along with his sister.

Kevin pulled into his parking spot and threw himself out of his truck. The night air was too warm for January, even in Coronado, but it would give him a chance to run off his frustration. He jogged up the steps to his apartment and unlocked the door, barely restraining himself from throwing a punch at the wall. He tossed his keys onto the kitchen table and the card Chris had given him fluttered to the floor.

He crouched and picked it up, reading the name and number again. Jaime Hensen, the sexiest woman at Chris’s wedding, and private investigator. He shot a look at the clock on the microwave. Too damn late to call her tonight, but he could call her first thing in the morning. His cock liked the idea, but he quelled its antics as he focused his mind on an emotion-clearing run around base. He needed her to do a job, not a ‘blowjob’. Maybe he’d throw himself into the Pacific to work out some of his frustration and cool the sexual interest still plaguing him since the wedding.

That would be a helluva cold shower. Kevin headed for his bedroom to change. Cold night run it is. Traditional for being a SEAL, and running off aching blue balls. Works for me.


Chapter Two



Jaime stepped back into her home, sweat streaming down her back under her hoodie. She didn’t particularly like running, but she found the constant exercise emptied her mind of all her stresses and cleared the way for solutions to any problems she faced. Like the problem of the missing boy from the Navy family just down the way from her. Mom was deployed on an aircraft carrier and dad had his hands full with a set of two-year-old twins. He’d turned his back on his six-year-old son for just a moment or two and the boy had disappeared.

It had taken Jaime almost a week to track down leads to mom’s sister, a woman who had a beef against the Navy and had lost a young child. She’d been in town, but hadn’t told her sister or brother-in-law, and when she saw the opportunity have a child in her life again, she took it. Jaime rolled her head on her shoulders, trying to loosen up the stress-tightened muscles. At least the boy was back with his father and auntie was in a psych ward.

Jaime scrubbed her face as she headed for the shower. I’m never having kids. Too many whack-jobs out there to worry about children. And she’d seen most of them in her job. The idea of them getting their hands on anyone she cared for made her sick to her stomach. Probably the same sort of bastard who took Mia.

The reminder of her missing sister made her throw off her hoodie and strip down to wash away the sweat and memories. She hated remembering why she became a private detective, but took solace in having saved so many parents the heartache she still carried. I will find you, Mia. I promise. Dead or alive, I won’t give up on you.

She turned on the shower and stepped under the spray before the tears could make their usual appearance. Mia had been missing for over twenty-two years, but Jaime hadn’t given up. Fool. But she couldn’t do that to her older sister. She continued to search in her spare time, hoping to discover one clue, one piece of evidence to crack the case. If I ever find it, I’ll probably hit the ceiling…just before I lose my voice from screaming. Yeah, it wouldn’t be pretty, but it would bring her some relief and satisfaction.

Jaime finished her shower and toweled off, grateful the bathroom mirror was fogged over. She might have hidden her tears in the spray, but her face would give her away. She wiped the last of the moisture off just as her phone jingled from the bedroom. She picked it up and frowned at the blocked number. What potential clients would be calling this early on a Saturday morning?

“Hello?”

“Jaime Hensen?” The deep male voice with a Kentucky drawl sounded cautious.

“Speaking.”

“Hi, this is Chief Petty Officer Stanton. I met you at Chris and Ma—Todd Hunter’s wedding a while back.”

Jaime searched through her memories. There’d been a lot of Navy guys at Chris’s wedding, but she remembered that drawl like a favorite song. The hot, intense, and quiet member of Chris’s SEAL team. And the one I didn’t go home with, dammit.

“Oh, yes, Chief. I remember you. What can I do for you?”

“I understand you’re a private investigator specializing in missing persons, is that correct?”


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