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ONE DARK WISH
Deadly Force Book 2
BY SHARON WRAY
Her life must be forfeit for his to be redeemed
Historian Sarah Munro is not used to being shot at, but that’s just what happens while she’s poking around cemeteries on Georgia’s Isle of Grace, searching for the key to a centuries-old cipher. Her quest has unwittingly drawn the attention of two deadly enemies intent on destroying each other—and anyone who gets in their way.
Ex–Green Beret Major Nate Walker is on a mission of his own: to restore the honor of his men. To do that, he is required to stop Sarah—or one of his own men will die. Caught in the middle of a deadly rivalry, Nate can’t afford to trust the woman standing in his way. But his heart says he can’t afford not to…
First, I want to thank Karen for having us on the blog today! Second, I’d like to introduce myself and my very special interview guest. My name is Sharon Wray and I write the Deadly Force romantic suspense series for Sourcebooks’ Casablanca imprint.
Today I’m interviewing Nate Walker, the hero from my second book ONE DARK WISH released last week. JNate is an ex-Green Beret from North Carolina who now lives in Savannah, GA with his buddies, all formerly with the 7th Special Forces Group.
Suddenly Rafe Montfort, the hero from my first book EVERY DEEP DESIRE and a former member of Nate’s unit, appears. Because God forbid I interview one hero from the series and not another.
Even though it’s late September, we’re sitting outside at the Firefly Cafe in Savannah, drinking sweet tea while the men are trying to act like they fit in. But their combat pants, black T’s, massive biceps, and Rafe’s arm tattoos have just scared away our waitress. Oh, well. We didn’t really need that second brownie.
“Rafe,” I say sharply, “This is Nate’s interview. Your book has been out for a while, but Nate’s came out last week. Today is all about him.”
Rafe kicks back in his chair, hands clasped behind his shorn head. Despite having been released from prison over a year ago, he still keeps his hair short. “Nate has never done an interview before. I’m just here for moral support.”
“Nate?” I glare at him. “Watch your language.”
Nate winks at me. “Yes, ma’am.”
I clear my throat. I’m sure Nate is figuring if he’s nice to me, he’ll get more on-the-page horizontal time with his heroine Sarah. That’s my Nate. Always the dreamer. “Nate, I’d like to hear in your own words what you think the appeal of your story is.”
Rafe smiles. “How about a sexy hero protecting a stubborn, beautiful, and intelligent heroine whom I adore, bad-ass arms dealers, a three-hundred-year old pirate conspiracy, a sultry Georgia sea island, and romance. Too be honest, I’d prefer more sexy time and less talking. But that’s just me.
I kick Rafe beneath the table. “I wasn’t asking you.”
Nate laughs at Rafe. “You? A sexy hero? You’re a pain-in-the-ass ex-Green Beret who disobeyed my direct order and ended up in prison. And didn’t your wife Juliet slap you? Twice?
Rafe shrugs. “My wife forgave me. Besides, I know Sarah put you through hell. Especially when she blackmailed you into stealing a 17th century diary and made you lie to your men. Then she took all your weapons. And your clothes. Didn’t she slap you, too?”
“I don’t remember that part.” Nate points at the notebook I’m writing in. “My story has an even sexier hero under orders to avoid a beautiful, intelligent heroine. Sarah is a Smithsonian archivist specializing in Colonial American history who’s tormented by an arms dealer named Remiel Marigny. Remiel needs her to translate an unsolved 17thcentury pirate’s cipher last used during the Revolutionary War.”
Rafe snorts. “She was being followed. And you ignored her.”
Nate speaks directly to me. “I was ordered to and, at the time, didn’t know about the cipher. I mean, it sounds ridiculous. A pirate’s cipher used by General Washington during the Revolution? A cipher that unlocked a series of hidden tunnels holding high-tech weapons and drugs in old cemeteries along the South Carolina coast? That’s nuts.”
“Yeah,” Rafe says. “Especially to someone who’s spent his life fighting bad guys with the most advanced technology available, then finds himself disgraced and living with his men in a rundown gym without electricity that smells like feet.”
“Hey!” Nate says so loudly the waitress who’s pouring more tea for us leaves quickly. “Iron Rack’s Gym has electricity.”
Rafe rolls his eyes. “Remind us about the time Sarah showed up at the gym unexpectedly and you were completely unprepared. I thought your boss’s head was going to explode. I liked that part.”
Nate shifts his chair so he’s only looking at me. “How many heroines trespass on old, remote cemeteries, can translate 17th century Latin ciphers, and are able to outsmart my boss—a tough ex-Special Forces commander? I’ve got to say, though, the Latin-thing is hot. Speaking of which, we could’ve had more sexy times and less talking, too. Is there still time to revise?
“No.” I sigh, determined to take back control of this conversation. “Nate, do you have a nickname?”
“Rafe?” I send him a death stare. “Enough.”
Nate laughs. “No. Everyone calls me Nate.”
I figured that was the case, but I make a note of it anyway. “Do you have a best friend?”
“I have a few, actually.” Nate deliberately ignores Rafe’s raised eyebrow. “Pete White Horse and Zack Tremaine, both men in my unit who I’ve known since Ranger School. And Detective Jorge Garza as well as Calum Prioleau. Garza knows that my unit has set up here in Savannah and sometimes helps us out with things. Calum just happens to be the richest man in the city and, for some reason, as adopted my men.”
“Calum likes you because you helped me.” Rafe pauses as if waiting for Nate to say something else.
“Fine.” Nate exhales loudly. “Throw Rafe onto the list.”
I hide my smile. “How do you balance your status as ex-Green Berets struggling to reclaim your honor and redeem your lives while dealing with love, family, and managing Iron Rack’s Gym?”
Rafe interrupts. “Considering I ditched my wife, left my A-team, and went to work as an assassin for an arms dealer before ending up in jail for five years, I’d say not well.”
“You’re an idiot, Montfort,” Nate says, “Sharon meant how do I balance these things now.”
“Rafe,” I say trying to hold back my irritation, “I didn’t ask you.”
Rafe ignores me, as usual. “Since I won my wife back after a hell of a lot of work and even more groveling, I have a plan. No more mercenary work. No more lying to the people I love. And I’m committed to making my wife feel safe and loved forever.”
Nate smirks. “When did you become a romantic?”
“About the same time you did,” Rafe says. “So let’s hear how you balance everything, Mr. Perfect-who-follows-every-rule-even-if-they-bite-me-in-the-ass.”
“Rules are there for a reason,” Nate responds. “Maybe if you’d followed my orders—“
“Enough!” I’m tired of losing control of this interview. “Answer or I’m moving on. With Rafe.”
Nate smiles at me again. “I married the only woman who will put up with me and my men—who are a hell of a lot of work. As long as I don’t piss her off, I’m good.”
I nod. “Nate, as an ex-Green-Beret, trust is essential between you and the members of your team. Can you talk about how it felt when Sarah proved that one of your trusted team members may have betrayed you?”
“That’s a hell of a question,” Nate says in a dark voice. “After years of living and working with each other in A Teams, we form a bond that’s deeper than friendship, more important than blood. It becomes a part of you, until the mission and the safety of your buddies is your only priority. So when someone we trusted set us up in Afghanistan on war crime charges, then watched as my men and I were hauled off to a POW camp, then eventually freed and dishonorably discharged, it felt like a knife through my ba–I mean, gut. Unfortunately, half of our men are still imprisoned. We’re outside the intel community. We have no money, fewer weapons, and are alone in our mission to figure out what happened and why.
“Jeez, Nate,” Rafe said. “You talk a lot.”
“Rafe?” Nate scoffs. “Shut the hell up.”
“Let’s get back to my questions. Nate, do you have any scars?”
“Yes.” Nate sits back and crosses his arms, still obviously annoyed by Rafe. “That’s all I’m going to say about them.”
“Nate has a scar on his cheek from breaking up a fight between two buddies in a Moroccan brothel,” Rafe says. “Nate also suffers from migraines, seizures, and memory loss. From torture in that POW camp.”
Nate’s lips whiten and his hands form fists. “That’s enough from the man who betrayed his men to work for the Fianna as an assassin.”
Rafe scowls. “Everything I’ve ever done–and will ever do–has been to protect my wife.”
“Let’s move on to an easier topic.” I smile at Nate, trying to get him to relax. “A penguin walks up to you, right now, wearing a sombrero. What does he say to you and why is he here?”
Rafe starts laughing and Nate looks at me like I’m crazy.
Finally, Nate answers with a smile. “The penguin asks if the hat makes him look fat. Apparently there are no mirrors in the South Pole. Luckily I’m smart enough to recognize a trick question when hear one.”
Now it’s my turn to laugh, especially since I ask my husband that question all the time. “What’s your favorite food?”
“Easy. North Carolina barbecue.”
I figured and make a note of that. “What makes you laugh out loud?”
“Cain, one of my buddies who lives with us at Iron Rack’s Gym, does a spot-on impression of our boss Kells. Kells was our former commanding officer and now I guess you can say he runs the gym. Of course., Cain only does his impressions when Kells is out of the office.”
“It is funny,” Rafe adds.
“Okay.” I move on to the next question. “What is the one thing you’re afraid of losing?”
For the first time since I’ve sat, both men go quiet. I tap my pen against my notebook and drink my iced tea. I can outwait them.
Finally, Nate says, “I may never find out who set up my men in Afghanistan. I may never be able to prove we’re not war criminals. I may never be able to get the rest of my men out of prison. I may never be able to redeem our honor. One day I may lose Sarah forever.”
Rafe just drinks his iced tea.
“Thank you for that,” I say softly. “Last question. What’s the thing you love most about your heroine Sarah?”
Now Nate smiles wide. “I love how, despite my brokenness and my dark past, she loves me unconditionally.”
“As do we all, Nate,” I lift my iced tea glass in his direction. “Thank you for your honesty. I appreciate it.”
And thank you all for being a part of our interview today. I hope you had as much fun as I did!
Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about ex-Green Berets and their smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that grace always defeats reckoning. She lives in Virginia with her husband, twins, and one-eyed dog.
She also loves to interact with readers. While you can find her on all social media sites, she especially loves spending time on Instagram as @sbwray and on her website at sharonwray.com.
Links to Sharon’s website, blog, books, etc.
Instagram as @sbwray
Website at sharonwray.com
Thanks, Sharon, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!