SEAL Under Covers (SEAL Brotherhood Series Book 3)

By: Sharon Hamilton

Chapter 1



Gina had rolled her ankle twice as she hobbled along the wet sidewalk in her red patent leather four-inch heels. She was already flustered since she was running a good twenty minutes behind schedule, but she wouldn’t run. The last thing she needed was to fall and end up walking in there with skinned knees or a bloody nose. She really needed to settle her nerves—now—in order to survive the night.

She was determined her first undercover assignment would be a success. She’d made the connection with the girl, Mia, and her gangland friends. The two of them had hung out together a few times, but Gina was about to raise the bar. She was going to get up close and personal with Carlos, the infamous Scorpions of San Diego leader who had taken over for Caesar during his incarceration.

The distinctive, unhealthy bar smells assaulted Gina’s senses before she saw the dim lights and the flickering neon sign advertising “Babes.” She’d not been to this particular part of town before, and wasn’t used to meeting the men who frequented the bar—men who paid to watch topless dancers gyrating on poles way too close to the customers.

At least that’s what the guys in the Department had told her. She could tell they had gotten off on it. Straight as an arrow Gina. By the book Gina. Going under cover on her rookie mission in her red heels. Well, she’d prove them all wrong. She had assets they didn’t possess, and she was convinced she was made for such a caper.

It still scared the daylights out of her, though.

Gina hoped Mia was there tonight; otherwise, it would be a quick cab ride home after a text to the team. No sense hanging around a place like this unless there was a reason for it. She was glad she’d left her car at home.

On any other Friday night she’d be in sweats and T-shirt, in her LL Bean slippers or lavender moisture socks, wrapped in the lap blanket her grandmother had crocheted for her in college, reading one of her favorite romance novels. She’d be sipping hot tea, not downing pink umbrella drinks like she was planning to do tonight. She hoped she had it in her to keep her wits tight.

She smoothed her palms down the form-fitting, low-cut, red mohair dress, then put a wad of gum in her mouth and shook her head, which released a few of the curls piled high in a clip. Idea was to give her the “just fucked” look her handler had said she would need.

The irony wasn’t lost on Gina. She hadn’t been with a man for six months, not since her detective hunk she’d been down and dirty with told her about the wife he’d left back in New York. He wanted to continue as coworkers with benefits—and his version of benefits was pretty intense, since he was into all kinds of experimentation.

“We’re separated,” he’d said, as if that made it better, as if it didn’t count that they’d spent the week prior to this reveal together, naked more than not. The memory of it sent a dull ache to her abdomen.

And before Sam? Well, there was her high school sweetheart, the soccer player who went off to war and never came back. It took some time before she could even think about dating. Then it became just dating for sex, uncomplicated sex. It helped take away the pain.

Her college days were unmemorable, romance-wise, since she’d thrown herself into her studies and made the Dean’s list every semester.

Tossing her head back and licking her lips, now tasting of cherry bubble gum, she felt the little glass heart earrings she’d purchased this morning tap against her neck. The feeling was somehow comforting. As if the part she was about to play wouldn’t consume her. Those hearts reminded her that she did have a soul, and it was good, unlike the slutty sexual siren persona she was about to play. She was nothing more than bait on a hook. She knew her place in the department. This was her chance to move up.

Her cab disappeared into the night air. She was left without a lifeline as she stepped through the opened doorway of the dark little dive.

A gasp came from several corners of the bar, making her panties bunch and sending shudders down her spine.

Showtime.

Mia was at the bar, just like she’d said she would be. Nestor, the greasy-haired Scorpions enforcer, had his arm around Mia’s shoulder as she was arching her back and raising her shoulders, trying without success to shake him off

“Hey there, Mia,” Gina said as she plucked the black sweatshirt-covered arm off her shoulder.

“Why don’t you fuckin’ mind your own biz, sweet cheeks?” Nestor stood up, huge muscles making him look like a stubby version of an already stubby Michelin Man.

“Thanks for the compliment,” Gina said in her most direct way. She liked that she had a Smith & Wesson 642 Airweight .38 special strapped to her inner thigh, even though it would be a mistake to use it right now. “I’m her date for this evening, if you get my drift.”