Hostile Territory by Marie James

Acknowledgments




Readers! Thank you for jumping on this ride! It means the world to me that you’re joining me on this new journey with the men of Blackbridge Security!

Shoutout to Christine Estevez and Wildfire Marketing for having my back on these releases! Couldn’t do it without them!

Thanks Natasha Carrere and Read.Review.Repeat for the help with this release!



Shoutout to my BETA’s (Laura, Brittney, Brenda, MaRanda, Michelle, Jamie, and Shannon for keeping a close eye on this and making sure I start off this world on the best foot possible!

Mary with Ms.K Edits, you lady are absolutely amazing! Keep that shit up!

Bloggers! Thank you a million times over! I couldn’t do this without you!

~Marie James





Synopsis:


Can you call someone an enemy if you haven’t seen them for the better part of a decade?



Deacon Black is perfectly content with the status quo—work, sleep, repeat.

Who cares if he’s rigid, structured, and set in his ways?

It’s a job requirement that keeps his men safe and his company’s doors open.

One phone call is all it takes to upend his life and land him right back into a past he has tried to forget.

Revisiting old ghosts is the last thing he needs.

Especially when the forced trip down memory lane includes the only woman he never wanted to see again.



Annalise Grimaldi hit the jackpot with her life—from her trust fund to her best friend, she has it all.

But her world comes crashing to a halt when her best friend vanishes—leaving behind an apartment in tatters and more questions than answers.

There’s only one person she can think of that can help in a situation like this.

She hates to make the call, but there isn’t a thing she wouldn’t do to make sure her friend is found.

Even setting aside her hatred for Deacon Black.





Prologue


Deacon

So this is what broken promises look like. A room filled with people I don’t know and won’t ever see again. Nameless faces who have no clue about the turmoil swirling in my gut. People surrounding me for a variety of reasons, none the wiser that my world is imploding, or would be caving down around me if Dani was ever on time.

I know she’s late just to spite me, but even with her chronic pettiness, I can’t help but feel saddened by my tasks today.

I promised to love Daniella Altieri for the rest of my life.

I made those vows before God and our families.

She was it for me.

I hate that she still is.

I hate that I’ve been gone, serving a country that rewards my loyalty with paltry pay and gripping nightmares, instead of at home loving her and holding her in my arms.

Can’t she understand that I’m doing exactly what we talked about?

We wiled away the nights for years, setting up our goals and dreaming about what our future would look like.

She was never happy about my need to join the Army, but she accepted it. Or at least I thought she did.

Can’t she see how lonely I’ve been without her? How it kills me to leave her at home alone when I’m gone for work?

If only she’d been lonely, too.

My bed was empty.

Hers hasn’t been.

I could’ve forgiven her, eventually.

She wasn’t interested. She was quick to cut ties, and that cut me like a knife, wounding me more than the other scars covering my body from war.

The low chatter of the packed courtroom only serves to irritate me, but the sight of Dani finally walking in with a ridiculous entourage has my jaw clenching enough to ache.

I understand Annalise being here. Those two are connected at the hip and have been since I met my wife freshman year of high school. There’s no need, however, for her parents and a couple other friends to bear witness to my annihilation.

Six years of marriage and Dani can’t even look in my direction as she sits down on the other side of the room surrounded by her support group.

As we wait our turn before the flustered judge, I take a good, long look at my wife. Her hair is longer, but her once always smiling face is twisted up in a mask of indifference that’s become all too familiar recently. Her eyes are no longer bright and shining, gazing around looking for some sort of trouble to get into. There’s a hardness to her features right now that makes me hopeful. Is she regretting being here? Is she having second thoughts about throwing our love in a fire and watching it turn to ash?