Blind Fury (Men of Steele Book 1)(4)

By: Gwen Hernandez

A pipe dream. Wishful thinking. “You sound like Rob. He even offered to front me the money when he gets back.” No matter how much the private security company he worked for paid him, she didn’t want to take him up on the offer. She couldn’t risk losing the money. Not when he’d literally dodged bullets to earn it.

“Do it,” Tara said, her voice filling with excitement. “You’re hard-working, conscientious, and super smart. You’ll make a killing.”

Jenna’s chest squeezed. Easy for her friend to say. “I appreciate the pep talk, but you’re forgetting the part where I’d have to be my own salesperson.” Her nose wrinkled at the thought. Nightmare. “Besides, if I lost all of Rob’s money, I’d never be able to forgive myself.”

“Sometimes you need to take a risk,” Tara said.

“I think a job interview is enough risk for one day.”

“All right, I’ll back off. I have to run to a meeting, but good luck today. Call me when you’re done.”

“Thanks, I will.”

Jenna hung up, and walked over to the gilt-edged mirror in the foyer, smoothing the collar on her blue button-down shirt as she looked at her reflection. In the silk top and crisp slacks she exuded power and confidence. Still, she’d rather be wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. If she ever got up the nerve to work for herself, she’d be able to spend the day in her drawstring cotton pants and the fuzzy purple slippers that Rob had bought her for Christmas.

Maybe one day. For now, she’d settle for a new job. If she nailed this interview, today could rank up there with getting her driver’s license, college graduation, and her first kiss.

At ten o’clock, she went through her red leather tote bag—a splurge in her campaign to break out of her too-sensible tan and black rut—one last time. Resumé. Cell phone. Wallet. Everything was in place, ready to go. Just as it had been last night. And an hour ago. And ten minutes ago.

She didn’t need to leave for another fifteen minutes, but she’d rather arrive early and sit in the parking lot than be stressed out over traffic. She picked up a book and tucked it into her bag. Keys in hand, she checked her reflection in the mirror one more time, smoothing the blonde waves that had come loose from her hair clip.

Sliding the tote over her shoulder, she reached for the front door just as her cell phone rang. Shoot. It was the number of the phone Rob used to call her from Afghanistan. Reluctant to miss the call, she shut the door and answered.

Mick’s smooth voice greeted her from the other side of the world, and her stomach dipped.

“Hey, I’d love to talk,” she said, “but I’m leaving for my interview. Will you be around in a few hours?”

“Jenna, this can’t wait.”

His use of her given name stopped her dead. He’d been calling her Jay for as long as she could remember. “What’s wrong?” She and Mick never discussed anything important. The only thing they had in common was—

A sick feeling settled in her chest and she took a step back, as if she could put distance between herself and what he was going to say. “No.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, his voice rough and scratchy on the long distance line. “Rob’s…” Mick cleared his throat. “He’s gone.”

Her body went cold. “Gone?”

“We got into a firefight while on a convoy this morning, and Rob was hit.” He hesitated. “He died at the scene.”

Her throat tightened and she let out a strangled sound of grief.

Mick blew out a long, shaky breath. “I’m so sorry, honey. I wish I could be there right now, but it’s going to take me a couple of days to get back. Someone from Claymore will be coming to see you, but I didn’t want you to hear the news from a stranger.”

“Thank you,” she managed, her voice barely a whisper.

Mick urged her to call Tara for support and signed off. Jenna stared at the phone in her hand without really seeing it.

He died at the scene. The words swirled through her brain and brought her whole world crashing down. “No, no, no.” Little black spots danced in front of her eyes, and her stomach threatened to return her breakfast.

Rob was done with private security. No more Afghanistan. He was coming home in two weeks. He couldn’t be dead.

Her legs must have given out because suddenly she was on her hands and knees, staring at the wood floor. “Not Rob, too,” she said on a sob, pressing her forehead into the hard, cold surface. It wasn’t fair. She’d lost too much already. And now her brother, her protector, her only remaining family, was gone.