2-Stroke (SEAL Team Alpha #14) by Zoe Dawson

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Sarajevo, Bosnia, The Balkans

Zach “Saint” Bartholomew moved through the crush of loud, laughing fans in the basement of Topography. It was a nightclub up above and a mixed martial arts cage match down below. He and Milo “Professor” Prescott navigated the press of bodies and pulled the ball caps on their heads down a little more. Saint had a good growth of beard to hide his features. Beneath their coats, they were armed, just as a precaution.

They walked up to the ringleader of the fighters and Saint gestured to Professor. “My friend can make you a lot of money. What does it take to get into the fight?”

“Tits,” he said and laughed. Lights came on, flooding the square green mesh enclosure with blinding light, illuminating the black mat floor.

Professor nudged him. “Dried blood.”

Saint went to look down, but that’s as far as he got. A woman entered the ring dressed in a black fishnet catsuit from her neckline down to her toes. Beneath the mesh, her breasts were confined in a black lace bra with matching boy shorts clinging to so many tantalizing curves and angles, a man could get eye strain trying to look everywhere at once. The woman was built from her well-muscled arms to her compact middle, to her firm thighs. Her black hair was twisted into knots all over her scalp, tight and pinned to her head. He suspected she didn’t want anything loose enough for her opponent to grab and use against her. Incongruent to that body was her sweet, angelic face with high cheekbones, heavy dark lashes fringing her unsettlingly deep large hazel eyes, reminding him of the changing seasons, harboring a little bit of everything—gold, green, shades of brown.

She was muscle power and eye-catching femininity in a beautiful, heart-stopping, badass gladiator body. As soon as they saw her, the crowd started screaming and clapping.

She didn’t look like bait, Saint thought as a plan began to form. But she did give him a hard-on. He was thankful for the long coat he was wearing.

Professor sighed. “Our easy in isn’t so easy,” he said. “Looks like Darko only likes to watch female cage fighters. He’s no dummy. That is one tough-looking babe with charisma to spare.” He turned to Saint. “Is he here?”

“No, neither is Zasha.” Saint scanned the room again. The tip they’d received about Darko watching these matches in person hadn’t panned out. Dammit! “LT. We’ve got a problem,” Saint said into his mic. “I got something I can play, though. Stand by.”

“Keep me posted,” was his reply.

“Copy that,” Saint said, barely registering the words. He was losing his focus, and that was a bad thing in this deceptively tourist-friendly country. Somewhere in Bosnia, their teammate Neo “2-Stroke” Teller and CIA liaison Chrysanthe Steele were being held captive by Darko Stjepanić, a powerful Balkans crime lord, and Zasha Vasiliev, their former CIA liaison and treasonous bitch who had been under the alias Kelly Sparks. The team was here to find them, and they wouldn’t rest until they were rescued and brought home. Professor had come over from the East Coast to assist as a face that Zasha had never seen.

They needed every edge they could muster.

The gladiator met his gaze, and there was nothing but cool and calm there even when the blonde amazon walked in across from her.

“Inside the cage we have Quell and her opponent Jam. Place your bets. You have thirty seconds,” the fight boss said next to them, his voice loud. People immediately started screaming and waving. Saint had no idea how he could keep any of it straight.

After seconds of that, he then shouted, “Fight!”

Quell did a graceful but powerhouse jump into the air and came down with a punch to Jam’s face that rocked the tall blonde back. Then without hesitating, Quell whipped a one-eighty with a roundhouse kick to the body and a backhand to the face that sent Jam against the waffled mesh wall.

She shook her head and came at Quell, who was ready for her with a flurry of punches and several knees to the blonde’s body. She staggered back, her nose bloody, a gash on her eyebrow. At this point she hadn’t laid a glove on Quell. He got harder—a worthy opponent whipping a SEAL up like a fine piece of gear. Thinking he’d like to test her mettle, among other things, was an understatement. But he wasn’t here for that. Mission first…always.

The woman was as fast and devastating as lightning. In fifty-four seconds, from the time the fight boss yelled for them to begin, Quell had gotten Jam down to the mat and was holding her there. Finally, the blonde tapped out, and the place went crazy when Quell raised her hands.