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“Brockmann deftly delivers another testosterone-drenched, adrenaline-fuelled tale of danger and desire that brilliantly combines superbly crafted, realistically complex characters with white-knuckle plotting.”
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“Sizzling with military intrigue and sexual tension, with characters so vivid they leap right off the page, Gone Too Far is a bold, brassy read with a momentum that just doesn’t quit.”
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Tall, Dark and Daring
The Admiral’s Bride
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For Nancy Peeler.
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SERGEANT MATTHEW LANGE had been left to die.
His leg was badly broken and he had shrapnel embedded in his entire right side. It hadn’t hit anything vital. He knew, because he’d been hit hours ago and he wasn’t dead yet. And that was almost a shame.
His morphine wasn’t working. He not only hurt like hell but he was still alert enough to know what was coming.
The soldier next to him knew, too. He lay there, crying softly. Jim was his name. Jimmy D’Angelo. He was just a kid, really—barely eighteen—and he wasn’t going to get any older.
None of them were.
There were a dozen of them there, United States Marines, hiding and bleeding in the jungle of a country too small to have been mentioned in fifth-grade geography class. They were too badly injured to walk out, but most of ‘em were still conscious, still alive enough to know that sometime within the next few hours, they were going to die.
Charlie was coming.
Probably right before dawn.
The Vietcong had launched a major offensive yesterday morning, and Matt’s platoon had been one of several trapped by the attack. They were now God knows how many clicks behind enemy lines, with no chance of rescue.
Hours ago, Captain Tyler had radioed for help, but help wasn’t coming. There were no chopper pilots insane enough to fly into this hot spot. They were on their own.
But then the bomb dropped—close to literally. Well, at least it would be dropping literally, come morning. The captain had been ordered out of the area. He was told that in an attempt to halt the Vietcong, the Americans would be napalming this very mountain in less than twelve hours.
There had been twenty injured men. They’d outnumbered the uninjured by more than two to one.
Captain Tyler had played God, choosing the eight least wounded to drag out of there. He’d looked at Matt, looked at his leg, and he’d shaken his head. No. He’d had tears in his eyes, not that that helped much now.
Father O’Brien had been the only one to stay behind.
Matt could hear his quiet voice, murmuring words of comfort to the dying men.
If Charlie found them, he’d use bayonets to kill them. He wouldn’t want to waste bullets on men who couldn’t fight back. And Matt couldn’t fight back. His right arm was useless, his left too weak to shoulder his weapon. Most of the other guys were worse than he was. And he couldn’t picture Father O’Brien picking up someone’s machine gun and giving Charlie a mouthful of lead.
No, bayonets or burning. That’s what their future had come down to.
Matt felt like weeping along with Jimmy.
“Yeah, Jim. I’m still here.” Like Matt might’ve walked away.
“You have a family, don’t you?”
Matt closed his eyes, picturing Lisa’s sweet face. “Yeah,” he said. “I do. Back in New Haven. Connecticut.” He might as well have said Mars, it seemed as far away. “I got two boys. Matt, Jr., and Mikey.” Lisa had wanted a little girl. A daughter. He’d always thought there’d be plenty of time for that later.
He’d been wrong.
“You’re lucky.” Jimmy’s voice shook. “I don’t have anyone besides my ma who’s gonna remember me. My poor ma.” He started to cry again. “Oh, God, I want my ma….”
Father O’Brien came over, but his calm voice didn’t cover Jimmy’s sobbing. The poor bastard wanted his ma.
Matt wanted Lisa. It was the stupidest thing. When he’d been there, back in that stifling little crummy two-bedroom apartment in one of the worst neighborhoods in New Haven, he’d thought he’d go absolutely mad. He hated working as a mechanic, hated the way his money was already spent on groceries and rent before he even brought home his paycheck. So he’d re-upped. He’d told Lisa he’d reenlisted for the money, but the real truth was he’d wanted to get the hell out of there before he suffocated. And he’d left, even though she’d cried.
He’d married too young—not that he’d had a real choice about it. And he’d liked it, at first. Lisa, in his bed every night. No need to worry about getting her pregnant, since he’d already done that. He’d loved the way she’d grown heavy with child, with his child. It made him feel like a man,