Saturday, February 22, 2014

ICE by Julia Talbot

ICE by Julia Talbot

Elemental Ops

Ice won't let his team at Elemental Ops go with him on what's supposed to be a suicide mission to uncover a new biological weapon. Imagine his surprise when the biggest danger he finds himself in is being bonded to a baby dragon, and falling in love with said dragon's Guardian, Keon. Keon isn't worried about things like guns and governments. He has a whole host of problems in all shapes and colors. When Ice accidentally bonds with one of his baby dragons, Keon is more worried about getting the man to come in from the cold and find a place in their bizarre little family. Can these two find common ground, and keep the dragons safe?


Ice (Elemental Ops)
Julia Talbot
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 Julia Talbot

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Ice stared down the barrel of his rifle, a muscle jumping in his cheek. He had a bad feeling about this mission. Like a really bad one. So bad that he'd left the team behind to a man. Jacques and Gig had protested, but he'd snarled at them just like he'd been snarling since Spider had officially left the group, sniffing after a couple of shifters who seemed to draw him like a moth to the flame.

Although, Spider had been their fire elemental, and it was tough for him to be ice without fire.

The target on this mission was a son of a bitch who was hoarding weaponry of the unusual kind and was classified as Armed and Talented. It had taken Ice a month just to find his hideout. It was a fortress, really, a huge thing built into the side of a mountain. The terrain made recon difficult, all shale and other craggy rock deposits, and the whole place smelled like brimstone, the occasional glow of a fiery light tempting Ice to come in out of the cold. His feet were like blocks of frozen snow, even with toe warmers in his boots.

Ice wasn't sure if the guy had demons in there or maybe just a hole into Hell.

That would be interesting...

Whatever it was, the directive had been serious enough about the danger that he'd gone Oscar Mike in the middle of the night, leaving his team behind while they slept. They could go on without him, but he needed them to be safe.

A truck rumbled up toward the place, shocks rattling and shaking over the rough road. Whoever was driving had to be losing his fucking mind. Ice would have left the damned truck and hoofed it in. Lord.

A guy got out when the truck parked -- someone who looked oddly familiar, although he couldn't place the face -- carrying a... pet crate? What the fuck?

This was so not a dog rescue or anything. This was a weapons stockpile. Right?

He stared, relaxing his eyes so the scope didn't flatten out his vision.

A lean, mostly naked man with the wildest mass of jet-black hair he'd ever seen came out of the building, peered into the crate. The two men began talking -- maybe negotiating? Hell, this was the most action he'd experienced since he'd been on point. He focused on the truck driver for now, trying to place the man.

The truck driver pulled a piece, drew a bead on the guy, who snorted and stared at the man like he was an idiot, not an ounce of fear on the hawk-like face.

Okay, that was interesting. Ice focused on the other guy for a moment. That fearless bastard stirred something like admiration in him. That mostly naked body stirred something a little farther south.

The pistol was grabbed, tossed away, then the pet carrier was snatched up and the man headed inside. The driver took a step forward and stopped suddenly, eyes going wide before he scrambled for the truck. The truck bounced twice as hard going out, the driver damned near wiping out at the turn that took him out of range of the rifle's sight. The niggling idea that he knew who the driver was made him wish he had Gig, his tech guy, to run facial rec.

The huge door began to swing shut, slowly, proving how heavy it was. He couldn't get a look at what lay inside, either, which meant more damned recon. He'd have to get up close and personal, which started with freezing up those cameras he could see.

Something was in there, something big, and he was going to have to figure out how to get in. This was not just a search and destroy, it was information gathering on the weapons that had everyone running so fucking scared, including the guy who had just made a drop of some kind of animal.

Whatever the fuck they were. They were obviously biologicals. That was always a goddamn disaster. Living things were uncontrollable as fuck. Look at dudes who made movies with dogs, and that was no comparison to what biologicals could do in wartime. He'd seen this werewolf once who ripped the throat out of two soldiers before turning on his supposed handler, the guy's silver-tipped Taser doing no damned good in the bloodlust.

Mr. Lean and Hairy appeared again, looking up at the sky, muttering to himself, giving Ice a look at a tiny, fine ass. Sweet. At least the scenery would be good.

Something shot across the sky, something akin to a comet. Weird. He would have to check his comms to see if anything was expected in the way of meteor showers. He hadn't seen anything on the recon reports, but intel wasn't always one hundred percent.

The man waved to the sky, grinning up like an idiot, then turned back and hurried inside.

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