The Santinis Book 6
She was the last woman standing.
Madison Baker was born and bred to be a Marine. When a roadside bomb ends her first deployment—not to mention her career—she is left to pick up the pieces of what is left of her life. She’s returned to Oceanside to regroup and move on. It doesn’t mean she’s ready for a relationship, even if a particular Santini has different plans.
Love happens when you least expect it.
When he first met Madison back at the Academy, Dante Santini is sure the woman was put on the earth to irritate him. She’s prickly and mouthy. She always thinks she’s right. Worse—she almost always is. She hasn’t really changed over the years. One disagreement ends up with them lip locked and very nearly falling into bed, Dante discovers he might need to rethink his first impression.
When Madison is convinced she witnesses a murder, the only person who believes her is Dante. Together, they sift through the meager evidence, trying to unearth the secrets someone is trying to hide. Neither one of them expecting it would draw them closer—or that a killer is hell bent on making sure those secrets stay buried.
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Madison Baker didn’t know what day it was or where she was, but she knew one thing. She fucking hurt.
Pain radiated through her entire body. It was if someone had beaten every centimeter of her flesh. She tried to open her eyes—nothing. Hell, she wasn’t sure she was even breathing.
Am I dead?
That thought had her struggling, pushing her hand through something heavy. Dirt? She was buried? Panic surged as she tried to gulp in air and found nothing. Weight settled on her chest. It was getting so dark, so cold…she felt a bit of her drift away.
Gonna give up, Madison?
Her father’s voice echoed mind. How many times did she hear him say that in her lifetime? Thousands.
If you weren’t being a coward right now, I wouldn’t have to scream at you.
No. Fucking. Way.
She used what was left of her energy to move her hand. It might have been only inches, but it felt like miles. A renewed sense of survival had her pushing harder, up through the debris. Up, up, then she felt it. Cool air washed over her fingers.
In the next few seconds—even if it felt like hours—she pushed harder and got her hand up through.
“Over here! I found one over here!”
As feet pounded toward her, she kept pushing until she felt a hand grab hers. It tugged and she held on with all her strength. The voice kept talking to her, telling her they would get her out of there. Then, she was free, air rushing over her face and she tried to open her eyes. Bright light burned her corneas and she shut them.
“That’s okay, Lt Baker, we have you,” her savior said. The whop, whop, whop of the approaching copters almost drowned him out.
“Who…” she broke off not sure if he could even hear her. Her voice sounded and felt like gravel.
She felt him lean closer as people started to dig around her. “What?”
She licked her lips and tasted blood and dirt. “Who are you?”
“I’m Sergeant Gee Santini of the US Air Force, and we’re here to take you home, Ma’am.”
“Thank you,” was all she could say. Then, her world faded to black again.