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Excerpt: Rogue

Excerpt: Rogue

Book 1: Phoenix Rising

I stand at the edge of the rocky ledge, ready to step off and probably plunge to my own death in the crystal blue water seventy-five feet below. But I’m here to do a job, and dammit, I’m going to do it, even if my heart is pounding and I’m pretty sure I’m about to pee my pants, vomit, or maybe both. Who in their right mind jumps off perfectly solid ground into a waterfall? Especially one this high?

My brother, that’s who. He’d gotten every ounce of thrill-seeking DNA in the Prescott family, leaving none for me. He’d started his bucket list when we were kids, and over the years, he’d added to it and then systematically began ticking off each item on the list, starting with becoming a Navy SEAL. That had enabled him to check off quite a few other things as well—meeting the president, learning to sail, skydiving, parachuting, learning another language, riding in a helicopter, flying a Cessna, and kissing a girl on every continent, not counting Antarctica. And not just kissing, he’d added with that slow and easy grin of his as I’d covered my ears and hummed. No little sister wants to hear the sordid details of her big brother’s sexual escapades, particularly when they’re as legendary as my brother’s apparently were.

He’d finished some of the things on the list with his band of brothers, the men who served on his SEAL team with him, and who were just as crazy and just as addicted to adrenaline as he was. My brother had done more living in twenty-eight years than most people do in a lifetime.

But then he died, killed in Pakistan during a covert mission that according to U.S. officials never even happened. I swipe the back of my hand angrily across my eyes. I am NOT going to cry. Not today. Not here in Costa Rica with Jorge, the adventure tour guide I hired through the hotel where I’m staying, watching me with concern in his dark chocolate eyes. I somehow managed to pull myself out of the whirlpool of grief long enough to get here, and I’m determined to not let it pull me under again.

I take a deep breath, trying to beat back the panic. This is for Liam. Liam, who will never tug my hair again or flash that mischievous smile of his at me, which when we were kids, usually meant I was going to end up in trouble, or on one particularly memorable occasion, in the back of a police car. This is for Liam, who will never finish his bucket list.

Jorge’s soft-spoken voice interrupts my thoughts. “You okay, senorita? You want to do this, yes?” He looks about as skeptical as I feel, probably because I have a death grip on his arm. And to be honest, I don’t look like the kind of girl who’d jump off a seventy-five-foot waterfall. I look like the kind of girl who’s more comfortable at a Tupperware party than in the jungle.

I loosen my grip and nod. I can do this. For Liam. I close my eyes and step off the ledge.