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His Hellcat (Alpha Defense Book 3)

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Summary

Angeleah was born and raised to be an expert sniper for the all-female Boudicca organization in Russia. She’s been sent to the states to capture and bring home one of their “elites.” For months, she follows her target and causes havoc along the way. Dean Winters is the expert sniper for Alpha Defense, a highly trained American agency who helps law enforcement apprehend criminals in the most dangerous situations. One of these missions finds him scope to scope with his adversary Alpha Defense has been trying to find for months. Both have top-notch sniper skills. Both are intrigued with the other as this game of cat and mouse continues. Once Angeleah is finally captured, Dean’s intrigue grows. He’s a no-nonsense former SEAL. He says it like it is. Angeleah only knows the black and white of killing as a sniper. When no one else within Alpha Defense can get through during interrogations, Dean blasts through her defenses. For adversaries, they respect each other. When Boudicca attempts to assassinate Angeleah for failing in her mission to bring their elite home, Dean finds himself doing the one thing he told his superiors he’d never do: go undercover. And he’s doing it with a woman he shouldn’t trust. As they infiltrate Boudicca, will Angeleah keep helping her warrior? Or do her loyalties continue to remain with where she was literally bred to be the assassin she is?

Genre:
Romance / Adventure
Author:
Ryleigh Renee
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
33
Rating:
5.0
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

Dean Winters, sniper extraordinaire with the elite Alpha Defense Agency was perched in his sniper nest. His fellow agents, known as Defenders, were in pursuit of their latest target. A human trafficker who’d eluded numerous law enforcement for the past year.

Dean’s job was to oversee the area and keep his fellow Defenders safe. It was a job he took very seriously. He was a damn good sniper. As a young boy, he excelled at target practice in the fields behind his childhood home. His father had been an abusive SOB. Young Dean took his aggression out on the targets; targets he imagined were his father.

The day after he turned eighteen, he enlisted in the Navy. He’d told his recruiter he’d only join if he could be part of the SEAL program. The training he went through with the SEALs was nothing compared to how he’d grown up. He dedicated himself to be the best SEAL. His sniper skills went unmatched. He’d honed those skills. Was the protector of his team.

All until that one mission. His team had been after a terror cell on the other side of the world. All Intel led them to that fateful day. A day Dean had sat with his scope to his eye and watched as his entire team went to their death. The small village armed with explosives. His team had been led to their own slaughter. Nothing he could have done to prevent any of it.

When he questioned his superiors, he was close to a dishonorable discharge. Damn close to a court martial for even thinking his superiors had been a part of the massacre. When a man, former military himself, approached him on joining his endeavor, Alpha Defense, he said good-bye to a military career he thought he’d stay in until retirement.

Mike Swanson and his partner, Keith Johnson, had also been disillusioned with their military experiences. They still believed in protecting. They just knew they couldn’t do so with the bureaucracy and politics. Dean told them he’d give them a year. He’d give them his all. If at any time he didn’t believe in their agency or mission, he was out. That was over eight years ago.

Though he and his fellow Defenders were never recognized publicly, he believed in what they did. Most of his fellow Defenders were former military and law enforcement themselves. All had been disillusioned along the way. When local law enforcement needed a hand in apprehension, he and his team were called upon. If hunting down criminals by going undercover was needed, many of his fellow agents stepped up to the task. Dean’s role was to be there when they took down the criminals.

“Winters,” Swanson’s voice came through his earpiece, “report.”

“North side clear,” Dean reported then looked through his scope at the other areas. “West has three trying to hide behind trees. South has four spreading out. East has four trying to make their way back to the building.”

“Defenders, get to those on the East. We don’t know how many more are inside that building,” Johnson gave the order. “Those north, head west and south and apprehend.”

All acknowledged their orders.

Dean knew his role now was to inform on any movement and take down anyone who threatened his team. No kill shots. Damn how he sometimes hated that order. Some they apprehended were beneath scum. Human trafficking was, in his opinion, among that group.

“Bishop,” he quietly called to a teammate, “you’ve got one on your six.”

“Roger that,” came the reply.

Dean kept watch. He saw Bishop take cover. Movement caught his attention behind Bishop. The man couldn’t take down both.

“There’s a second approaching from Bishop’s rear. Permission to assist,” he asked.

“Negative,” Swanson’s voice came through. “We don’t want them to know we’re here.”

“A little late for that Chief,” Dean replied. “This guy is gonna be all over Bishop’s ass in sixty seconds.”

“I can cover Bishop,” came another voice. “Just give me time to get to him.”

“Wells, by the time you get there, your partner is dead.” He kept vigil. The man was within ten feet of Bishop. “Taking the shot,” was the only warning he gave.

Bishop turned and saw the man go down. Dean’s silencer helped. The man yelling out in pain did not. Bishop reached for and dragged the man to sit against a tree. There was no way the other guy hadn’t heard the shout of pain.

“I can take this guy,” Dean said for all to hear.

“Negative,” Swanson replied back. Dean knew the tone meant he wasn’t happy with the last shot he’d taken. “Adams, how close are you?”

“Adams can make it to the guy in twenty,” Dean reported.

“You know what to do Adams,” came Johnson’s reply.

Dean kept vigil as Adams came at the guy from behind, tackled him to the ground and had him zip-tied in record time.

“Neutralized,” Adams reported back.

It took an hour for all those in the abandoned warehouse to be apprehended. The young women who were being held in a locked room were on their way to local hospitals to be evaluated.

The Defenders gathered together waiting for orders to return to base. Swanson and Johnson stepped up to the group.

“I thought I told you not to take the shot,” Swanson directed at Dean.

“Chief, there was no way Bishop could take them both on. They were coming at him from opposite directions.”

Johnson stepped up. “We can discuss this more at debrief.”

“Hey, thanks Man,” Bishop said to Dean as he clapped him on the shoulder.

“Just doin’ my job.”

Dean rarely hung out with his teammates. He was a loner. He did his job and went on his way.

“Bishop, you okay?” Jaime Shaw, another Defender asked him as she stepped closer.

“Yeah,” he answered as she watched Dean walk away.

“Something’s up with him,” Eric Bishop said as he indicated Dean with a jut of his chin.

“You know Winters. He keeps everything close to the vest,” Kate Hemsworth, another Defender spoke.

“C’mon, we need to head back. I have a nice, warm bed calling my name,” Adams said as the group made their way to their SUVs.

***

Angeleah watched this group of Americans from her perch. She’d been following them for a few months now. They seemed to work well together. Unless she took a shot at someone, they never knew she was there. And she had taken shots over these months. The first had been shooting one of the operatives during a takedown in Florida. Still this agent was able to board a helicopter and take out those inside. She’d heard he lived. She’d witnessed the interaction of this agent with her target. All indications were she was fond of this operative. Shooting him didn’t get the desired result she’d hoped.

Next, she followed this team to Mexico. She’d heard something about an illegal organization kidnapping young blonde girls to use for making babies to be sold to the highest bidder. She didn’t care about any of that. She’d hoped the operative getting shot would have signaled something to her true target: Megan Wells. At least, that was the American name she was going by these days. Since leaving her homeland in Russia. This time she shot the criminal they were trying to apprehend. Again she thought Megan Wells would realize she had someone after her. She had gone soft. That was the only explanation.

They’d both been born in Russia and were raised in a special group. When they were quite young, they’d been separated within this organization and went through different training for the assassins they had become. Megan Wells escaping their group, Boudicca, eight years ago was a black mark for them. She was considered one of their elite. One of their better assassins. And yet she simply was able to walk away. Now Angeleah had the mission of capturing her former teammate and bring her back to Boudicca.

Angeleah easily could have killed her at any time. She was given orders. Those orders were to bring her in alive. Too bad. It would feel good to kill her and show all of them that she too should be an elite.

Months of following this team and killing criminals for them. She’d heard Megan’s superiors thought it had been her going rogue. It was pleasing to see the anguish this traitor was going through. Until one of them had figured out there was an outsider doing all these shootings. She basked in knowing they were, as Americans say, chasing their tails trying to find her. Yet, they couldn’t. She was the ghost she was trained to be.

***

Angeleah now climbed a tree surrounding this team’s latest apprehension. She loved climbing. Sometimes to get away from her trainers in Boudicca, she would climb the tall trees and watch as they scrambled to find her. Yes, her punishment when found was severe, but she liked proving she could hide from them.

These band of agents were finishing up their latest assignment. The criminals had been taken to wherever criminals go. She watched through her sniper scope as her target and another agent, one who was regularly with her, approached the small cottage. Just as Megan stood after picking the lock, she announced her presence. Turning on her laser, her fellow agent noticed and pulled her out of the way. This man grabbed her target and they both jumped for cover from the small porch.

This was a fun game of cat and mouse. No one knew where to even look for her. It was unfortunate that her former comrade had gone soft when joining forces with these Americans.

***

Dean was still lying on his stomach watching his fellow Defenders checking the various buildings. Normally after the last criminal was apprehended, he packed up his sniper gear. His gut was seriously giving him issues. Something didn’t feel right.

To confirm those feelings, the shouts came through his earpiece.

“Shots fired! Shots fired!”

“Bishop, report!” came the authoritative voice of their superior, Mike Swanson.

His teammates were pinned down on the side of a small bungalow.

“Winters! You still in your nest?”

“Still nesting Chief,” Dean replied back calmly.

The shouts in his earpiece signaled no one knew what was going on.

“Winters! Find that sniper!”

“Already on it Chief,” he responded.

Bishop’s shout came first, then his partner’s call.

“Bishop’s been hit! Shots coming from east-northeast!”

Dean positioned himself to look in that direction. He knew this was the sniper they’d been dealing with for months now. And he was tired of this guy.

Gotcha. He silently thought.

A barely noticeable glint off the rifle.

Not bad, he thought as he saw his adversary nesting in a tree.

“Our shooter has found himself a nice spot in the tall spruce at the edge of the property,” he reported to his team.

He knew Defenders were now making their way to the shooter. He also knew this shooter was going to see anyone heading his way.

“I’m going to spook the shooter,” he announced.

He watched through his scope. His adversary was intently watching Bishop and Wells, still behind the side of the house.

Dean took the shot, hitting exactly where he wanted. Just above the shooter’s head.

“Hey Buddy,” he whispered.

As he watched the shooter desperately look for him, he pressed another button on his rifle. Their IT tech head had equipped his rifle with a camera. He continued taking photos. They needed facial recognition or something on this guy if his team didn’t get there in time.

The shooter pushed back the black knit cap off his head and shock ran through Dean.

Holy shit!

He watched in amusement when the shooter found him. Laying back in position to take a shot at him.

“Go ahead,” he whispered, “take the shot.”

“Winters! Report!”

“Just a game of chicken Chief. Nothing to be worried about.”

Just as he saw the shooter’s finger twitch, Dean took another shot hitting close to the shooter again.

The sniper was surprised by this and lost balance, falling from the tree.

“Sniper bugging out,” he told his team. “Will be on the ground in ten, nine …”

As the Defenders got closer, they saw the sniper dressed all in black sprinting away. Before they could apprehend, they heard the engine of a motorcycle roar and race away.

The teams had gathered. Bishop was having his arm looked at from being shot. He was grumpy about it.

“Y’know, I could have ended all of this,” he said as he stood with his superiors. “I had a clean shot. A couple of them.”

“Winters, we need to find out why this sniper has us in his sights for the past few months. He’s now taken shots at us a number of times. We won’t find out anything if you kill him.”

Dean shrugged and walked away to store his gear and head back in.

***

Overtired Defenders sat or stood around the large conference table at ADA headquarters. Mike Swanson was addressing the team and starting the debrief when Bishop stepped in.

“You good?” he asked Bishop.

“Flesh wound,” Bishop reported.

“Alright Defenders,” Keith Johnson, the other head of the agency, got back to business with the debrief. “What do we know about this sniper?”

“The dude’s fast,” one agent spoke up. “He knew the area. Had his motorcycle and was out of there before we could even get in shooting range.”

“This isn’t what I want to hear people!” Swanson said as he paced. “We need to know who he is. Why he’s after Alpha Defense or someone on our team.”

The conference room door opened and HP, the agency’s computer wizard entered with Dean right behind. Dean took his usual stance of leaning against the back wall as HP hooked up his tablet.

“What do we have?” Johnson asked HP.

HP was always nervous around the agents. Give the guy a computer and he could run circles around you. Well, any of them except Spencer Adams.

“Agent Winters was able to retrieve the sniper’s rifle that was left behind. I ran ballistics and it’s the same rifle used in the numerous suspicious incidents these past months,” he began his report. “What fingerprints there were, I can’t find anywhere.”

All turned to Dean. “Shooter bugged out and left the rifle behind. I climbed the tree and retrieved it,” he answered the unspoken question.

“This is definitely the sniper who’s shot at three of the Defenders,” HP told the group as he slid his glasses back up his nose.

The room filled with chatter as they asked who the three agents were that had been shot at. They knew of Bishop and Wells because of just a few hours ago and also a few weeks ago at Wells’ home. When Spencer Adams spoke up that he’d been the first agent shot months ago in Florida, Megan Wells angrily stood and yelled at her superiors.

“You blamed me for that!” she yelled.

“And Adams was the one to discover the ballistics from his shooting to a few others,” Swanson answered calmly. “This is a discussion for another time.

Wells was livid. She’d been put on desk duty because everyone thought she’d been the one taking the suspicious shots. All because of her former life as an assassin.

“Do we have something to go on?” a Defender asked.

“Um, yeah. So, also thanks to Agent Winters and the camera device I installed on his sniper rifle, we now have a face to go with our sniper.”

All eyes turned to Dean who continued standing stoically. Dean was a very black and white operative. His former Navy SEALs days caused him to leave no areas of gray. Right. Wrong. Black. White. He also didn’t show emotion. He showed up to work and got the job done.

Attention returned to the video as HP began showing the pictures Dean had taken. At first, the sniper was positioned looking through the rifle scope. Obviously aiming for Bishop and Wells still trapped at the side of the house. Then the head lifted, and a collective gasp went through the room.

“Yeah, it’s a girl,” HP said. He continued scrolling through the photos as the sniper removed her black skull cap and showed her golden blonde hair. The black and white photos showed pale eyes, presumably blue. The photos continued as she went back to look through the scope and found Dean. They could see her finger at the trigger as she looked and aimed right at Dean. Photos appeared when Dean took the shot right next to her, causing her to abort and bug out, as Dean had called it.

“You mean some chick is responsible for all we’ve gone through?” the question came from the back of the room.

“Does it matter?” Dean asked. “A sniper is a sniper. She’s good. Now that we know who we’re dealing with, I will take her down.”

“You can’t,” Wells spoke up.

Dean pushed off the wall and looked at her.

“Why? Because she’s a woman? Sorry, she’s just as ruthless as any man,” Dean found Megan’s reaction to his statement strange. “I get the chance, she’s going down.”

A Defender from Texas spoke up. “So, you’re saying this little filly is the same caliber as our Dean here?”

“Never assume a sniper is on my level,” Dean responded.

“Alright,” Johnson stepped up. “Let’s not get our feathers ruffled. Winters is well aware we want this sniper alive. We can’t get answers from a dead woman.”

Dean noticed Wells was acting nervous. A trait he’d never seen in her before.

Women.

“Alright, we need to be extra vigilant when we go out there. Make sure you are aware of your surroundings on personal time as well. For whatever reason, this woman or whoever she works for, has an issue with ADA. Let’s not give her a clear shot.”

***

Angeleah was resting in a tree across from the compound these Americans gathered. They had security surrounding them. There were too many for her to take on her own. She sat and kept vigil. A few hours passed when she finally saw her target exit the building with the man she’d wounded earlier.

Watching through her scope, she read what they were saying. She smiled when the man told her she was a pain in the ass.

So American, she thought.

Next, she watched her climb behind the wheel of a black automobile. One of the cars referred to as having muscle.

She climbed down from her perch. These people didn’t seem very conscious of their surroundings. They felt quite confident in their compound.

She climbed onto her motorcycle and followed Megan Wells to a townhouse and watched as she entered one. Megan was smart. Her curtains made sure no one could see inside nor her outline.

Angeleah wondered if Megan now realized she was a target. Surely the sniper explained what he’d seen. No matter. Her mission was to bring her back home.

While monitoring the neighborhood, her mind kept wandering to the other sniper. His skills intrigued her. Almost felt like this was some sort of game as he’d found her and gave her not one but two warning shots. Why hadn’t he killed her? As she’d looked at him through her scope, she hesitated. Enough for him to take his second shot and put her off balance.

She was angry at losing her sniper rifle. It had been a companion to her for many years. And she knew it was now in the hands of him. In what she could see through her scope, she saw an intensity. She hadn’t even known he was there until that first shot. He was confident. He was skilled. Her mind wondered where he’d received his training.

Shaking her head, she went back to watching over the area. Getting her target had to be done when there was the least amount of activity. Megan Wells felt safe. She’d let her think that a little while longer.

***

The next morning, Megan stepped up to Dean at his desk. They were similar. Both were dressed in all black most of the time. Both had jet-black hair. Megan’s look was described as goth.

He looked up at his fellow Defender silently asking her what she wanted.

“Take me on the course,” Megan said to him.

He sat back in his chair, tip of the pen at his mouth.

“For…?”

She leaned down; palms flat on his desk to look him intently in the eye.

“I want to be out there as a sniper. I can get this woman.”

He leaned forward; his face close to hers.

“So can I.”

She stood. His intensity was off the charts.

“Look, don’t you think you could use some help out there?” she asked. “I get that you evaluate and train new Defenders, but I’ve already trained.”

He shrugged as he stood and silently walked toward the back of the building expecting her to follow.

Once on the training course, he had her look for his nests. He knew she wouldn’t find them. After a while, he had her set up her own. While she did that, he stealthily disappeared. Speaking through their com links he told her to find him. Try as she might, she couldn’t. He kept moving.

Like he had done with their elusive sniper, he took a warning shot.

“Winters! What the hell?” she shouted.

The man could not be located. A short time later he announced he was heading in. He’d given up having coffee for this and had had enough. Every time he shot a warning, it had come from a different location.

He never said a word when she returned. He could have been smug but acted as though nothing had happened. He knew he’d bested her. Her self-anger was punishment enough.

As they sat at their desks, Johnson entered the bullpen and announced they were to gear up.

“We have an active shooter in a warehouse people!”

Dean had hoped this was his opportunity to catch their foe. That didn’t turn out to be the case. A young kid who was brought there to be a distraction.

The kid had a message for Megan. A note actually.

I want my gun back.

***

As they debriefed in the conference room, discussion began.

“Hey Winters, looks like you took her toy and she’s not happy about it,” their Texan team member laughed.

Dean simply shrugged.

“Well, she isn’t getting her toy back,” Keith Johnson informed the group.

“Then how will we know when she’s on site and shooting?” another agent asked.

“She won’t be shooting,” Dean announced.

They knew about each other now. He was going to be on the lookout for her, and she surely was going to be looking for him.

“She’s going to have a new weapon,” Swanson began speaking. “If she fires, we’ll have new ballistics. However, I am confident Winters is going to be on the top of his game.”

***

Angeleah watched their latest raid from a distance. She took longer to find her sniper friend than she anticipated. Like her target, he dressed all in black and faded into his surroundings. His concentration was keeping his teammates safe.

When the young man she paid to take shots was apprehended, she watched as his note was handed to one of their superiors. The sniper man stood by. He gave no reaction at all. A very stoic man. Once he read her note and handed it back to his superior, he simply walked away.

This man intrigued her more and more with each encounter. If he hadn’t discovered what she looked like, she would have taken a chance to get up close. To meet him somehow. Would his voice be as intense as everything else about him? In the light of day, she could see his eyes more clearly. His eyes, a very bright blue that should have softened his appearance. On him, they were just as intense as everything else about him.

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