A snippet this week from Liam and Caden’s story. Enjoy!
“Gunnery Sergeant Quinn?”
He looked over his shoulder at her. “Ma’am?”
“Why is everyone so quiet?”
“This isn’t a day at the park, ma’am.” He faced forward again.
“Are you married?” she hollered up to him.
Rolling his eyes, he looked back again. “No ma’am, I’m not.”
The image of Caden Bradshaw came to mind and he almost smiled. He didn’t, for he had no wish to lead this woman on. She was an attractive woman, but Rachel Hoss wasn’t the one for him.
“You don’t like me much do you, Quinn?” she asked.
He pulled his sunglasses down and stared into her baby blues. “Don’t know you well enough to make that judgment, ma’am.” With one finger he pushed them back up to settle where they belonged and turned back to face the front. The remainder of the ride was done in silence.
When they arrived at the village, he turned around again and said, “You’ll wait here until we’ve secured the area.”
Liam climbed out and issued the orders over the radio to the other vehicles. Soon they had spread out and secured the area. Standing by the back door, he opened it, his M-16 against his right shoulder. “Here you go.”
She moved past him with a sweet smell of perfume as she adjusted her helmet. “Let’s get this show on the road,” she quipped and headed toward a group of women who’d stopped to watch them.
“I can hardly wait,” he mumbled. He followed her and wished he was anywhere other than where he was.
Liam paid little attention to her interview, choosing instead to do his job and keep the area secure. When she needed to use the facilities, he secured it before and stood outside while she
was in there. He wasn’t sure what alerted him, but suddenly it was there; the feeling of impending doom, snaking up his spine. His mother told him he got that from his father’s side. It was near impossible to sneak up on a Powhatan and he never ignored the feeling. A whistle filled the air.
“Incoming!” he yelled and ran for the reporter. Liam tackled her with a grunt and bore her to the ground as the earth shook with the explosion. One of their vehicles was incinerated. His body took the impact of the flying debris. With a single move he got to his feet and hauled her shaking body up after him.
“Move!” he thundered as he shoved her toward some form of shelter. “Keep your head down.”
Through the smoke and settling dust he saw her cameraman still filming. Another whistle reached him and he ducked as another RPG took out their last mode of transportation.
“Get us some wheels, Sweets,” he hollered to the man on his left. “Go with him, Doc.”
“You got it, Gunny,” the men said and began a careful search.
Liam didn’t think they’d find anything; this was a pretty remote village. How the hell did they get such an exact location on the vehicles? “Let’s go,” he said and slowly began inching to where the cameraman huddled with another marine.
“Keep filming,” Rachel ordered as they arrived near them.
Glancing at the corporal beside him, Liam touched his shoulder. “Keep sharp, Marine.”
“No ride, Gunny,” Sweets told him when they came back into sight.
“Call for one. Get us the hell out of here.” Liam frowned; a form from behind a loose shutter grabbed his attention. “Take cover!” he shouted as the man raised a weapon and began firing upon them.
He lifted his M-16 and returned fire. Insurgents seemed to materialize out of nowhere. The air was filled with the sounds of automatic gunfire and the screams of dying people. Traps like this were disastrous in any circumstances, but to have two civilians with them under their protection made it worse.
Corporal Jenkins was leading them and he was covering their rear.
“Run for that building there. It has the thickest walls and we can hole up there until we get out of here.”
“What about you, Gunny?”
“I’ll be right behind you, Jenkins. Keep our guests safe.” He glared at the scared faces of the news crew. “You do what he says when he says. Keep your heads down.” When they both nodded, he checked his ammo and glanced to Jenkins. “Go.”
They stood at the same time, Liam not moving, but firing to give them a chance to get to cover. Out of the corner of his eye he could see more of his men, working together as they eliminated the threat.
Liam was pissed by the time he made it into the building. “Watch the door,” he ordered as he stomped over to the two people who made it so they were in this situation. “Who made a call?”
Rachel blanched. Liam held out his hand. She scooted back a bit from him.
“You have five seconds to give me the damn thing or I’ll find it on you.”
“Hey!” her cameraman said. “I will not let you threaten her—”
Liam pulled his sidearm and pointed it at him. “Sit.” Turning his gaze back to the blonde reporter he held out his other hand. “The phone. You’re the reason we’re in this. You made a call and they’ve locked onto our position. Give me the damn phone!”
Her hand shook as she reached inside her pocket and pulled it out. Liam took it, dropped it, and smashed it under the heel of his combat boot. Then he holstered his sidearm. “I’ve had enough time to form an opinion, now, Ms. Hoss. I don’t like you.”
“I didn’t…I…” she stuttered.
“You didn’t think, Ms. Hoss. Your kind never does. We shouldn’t even be here, but because you got down on your knees for some Washington bureaucrat my men and I have to put our lives on the line for your whims.”