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Zander clenched his jaw, frustration and futile impotence burning through him. He had to make a call. One that was going to put Nazari in danger either way. Retreating to the boulder would give her the best chance. But the risk in getting here was huge. Not to mention her injured ankle would slow her. But sitting behind the piss-poor cover of the tree would guarantee her getting caught.
He thumbed his comm, and she murmured a response into hers.
“Nazari, I’m ordering you to make a run on our position. Next time the light cuts toward the outer side of the boulder, go for it as fast as you can.”
“Yes, sir.” She ducked her head, and even from here he could see her shoulders tighten.
He lowered his comm, heart straining in his chest like his ribs were contracting around the organ, restricting the blood flow. Nazari shifted positions, ready to launch into a
run at a moment’s notice, still favoring her injured leg.
Christ. He couldn’t just sit here and watch her, knowing how immense the danger was.
“I’m going out to get her.”
He started to slide Petros off him, but she clamped her hands onto his biceps and locked her knees on either side of his hips, keeping him in place.
“You can’t. I won’t let you.”
He tore his gaze from Nazari to look up at Petros.
“You won’t let me?” His fingers contracted where they’d inadvertently landed on her hips when he’d rolled them earlier. “I’m your commanding officer, Lieutenant Marshal. So unless you want an official reprimand for indecorous action endangering another soldier’s life, get the hell off me right now.”
Instead of obeying the command, she planted herself more firmly, fingers digging into his upper arms with surprising strength as she leaned down toward him.
“And what exactly would you call an admiral’s assistant allowing her commanding officer to run into certain danger? I’m sorry, sir. I understand you want to help the sergeant, but you can’t without putting yourself in danger, and you know IPC protocol, probably better than I do. As a captain admiral, you cannot put yourself at risk.”
Damn it to hell. She was right. It was one thing he’d never gotten used to since becoming a captain admiral—that there were those who held his life to be more valuable than the people in the chain of command beneath him. He clenched his jaw, fighting down the instinctive urge to remove Petros against her will and go out for Nazari.
“I can’t leave her out there alone.”
Petros nodded, lessening her hold on him a little. “Then I’ll go. If I don’t make it, when you get out of this godforsaken wilderness, contact Rian Sherron and tell him what happened.”
What the—? Rian Sherron? She started to climb off him, but he surged up to grab her shoulders. “Wait—”
The ripping sound of gunfire had both of them ducking against the rock face.
Jess Anastasi Bio: Jess has been making up stories ever since she can remember. Though her messy handwriting made it hard for anyone else to read them, she wasn’t deterred and now she gets to make up stories for a living. She loves loud music, a good book on a rainy day, and probably spends too much time watching too many TV shows. Jess lives in regional Victoria, Australia, with her very supportive husband, three daughters, two hyper-active border collie dogs, and one cat who thinks he’s one of the kids. Connect with Jess Author Website: www.jessanastasi.com Author Blog: www.jessanastasi.blogspot.com Author Twitter: @JessAnastasi Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Jess-Anastasi-Author-Page-129441077081452/