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A SEAL's Vigilant Heart (Midnight Delta #8)

By:Caitlyn O'Leary

ich was perfect since the entrance to the public square was on the main floor of the building. He hit his mic.

"Clint."

"Here, boss."

"Anyone who's close, converge on me, ASAP. We have a good shot at an ambush."

"Hall-a-fucking-lujah."

The yelling continued, and then Mason heard a high pitched scream from the second floor. It took everything he had not to rush upstairs. He knew one of the reporters was being tortured. A sliver of light shone as Drake pushed open the side door. He moved like a ghost to plant himself beside Mason.

Another shrill scream sounded.

Another sliver of light as Jack entered the building. It was enough. Mason lifted his fist and pointed up the stairs. He went first. They were careful, and did everything by the book, not knowing what was waiting for them.




Two screams. Two different voices. Yelling in Arabic and laughter, then Mason could hear the clear sound of electricity. Fuckers were probably using cattle prods. They got to the top of the stairs and walked into a horror house of torture. One man was hanging from a meat hook, naked. He was unconscious. The two others were tied to chairs with hoods over their heads, and seven men with long cattle prods circled around them randomly zapping them.

In a moment, Mason saw their rifles were either on the floor or against the walls, and their side arms were holstered.

He knew his men realized the same thing. All three knew they weren't to take any shots, just make sure these seven men were dead as quick as possible and then get the reporters the fuck out of this hell hole.

The fight was over in less than a minute. Mason barely felt the knife wound from the man behind him. He'd have to assess it after they got out of the building, right now it wasn't something to slow him down.

"You're cut." Mason wasn't surprised to see Finn coming up the stairs with his arms full of additional robes. Jack was cutting down the reporter, and Drake had finished untying one of the reporters who was sobbing.

"Sir, I'm Chief Petty Officer Drake Avery, one of the Navy SEALs, who's been sent to rescue you. I need you to calm down." Drake's soothing tone seemed to be getting through to the man. He gripped Drake's arms.

"I'm Dick Lloyd, do you think you can really get us out of here alive?"

"Absolutely."

And they would. It's what they did.

"Mason." He turned to Finn. "I have some men who are going to help us. They are some of the villagers who were forced to attend the beheading. They have the downstairs covered."

God Bless Finn Crandall and his scavenging and language abilities. Mason knew you could send Finn into a Men's dormitory, and he'd manage to find a beauty queen, clown, and a proctologist.

"Finn, how many men do we have downstairs to help us?"

"Three. Five counting the ones driving the trucks."

"What trucks?"

"The trucks I hotwired. Since these assholes were in here with the reporters, and the rest of them were out front guarding their citizens, I hotwired two trucks so we could make our escape. I figured we could use some drivers, so I found some help." Mason grinned and patted Finn on the shoulder then he hissed in pain.

"Mase let me take a look at that, you're dripping blood." Finn moved the robe off of Mason's shoulder.

"Later, let's get them loaded up." He looked around, his team had already gotten the reporters into the robes. He pressed his communication device. "Did you get all of that Clint?"

"Got it. Aiden's coming down to where I am. We don't have robes. Will you be able to come and pick us up?"

"Affirmative," Mason responded. "Sit tight."

Drake, Finn, and Jack worked with Dick Johnson to hustle the other two reporters downstairs and into the two waiting trucks.

Finn talked to the villagers, in each truck one of them would sit up front while Finn and Drake rode shotgun. They circled the crowd and soon had picked up Clint and Aiden.

"Transport is waiting for us. With our sweet rides, it should take us less than an hour," Clint reported.

"Let me see your wound," Clint demanded in the back of the truck. Mason had already forgotten about it in the heat of the mission, but now Clint had mentioned it, the knife wound began to throb.

"God dammit, I don't want to be injured right before my fucking wedding," Mason bitched.

"Too late. So let's, at least, minimize the damage. Hold still and let me bandage it." Clint pulled out makeshift supplies. Mason winced as his friend worked on his wound and the truck bounced.

"This isn't fucking fair. Darius had to be AWOL for this mission because he needed additional fucking medical training. I get injured, and I'm stuck with you?" Clint laughed and so did Aiden.

"If it had been life threatening, I would have worked on you, Lieutenant," Aiden assured him.

"I see the size of your hands, you probably would have killed me with your deft touch," Mason groused. Again the men laughed at him, but all the talking helped keep his mind off the pain.

"All done. You're going to need some stitches – "

"A lot of stitches," Aiden interrupted.

"But it didn't hit any tendons or ligaments just meat," Clint continued.

"You did a good job," the Senior Chief said to Clint. "Lieutenant, your entire team is top notch. This operation went slick as snot. After the shitty intel, we received I didn't think it was possible."

Mason looked at the man who was ten years his senior. He might outrank him, but everyone knew a Senior Chief Petty Officer was go-to guy after the Lieutenant and was often more respected. This was the second mission Aiden had assisted Midnight Delta with, and Mason was strongly considering asking him to stay on in a permanent capacity.

"Thanks for the kind words, Aiden."

"Just telling the truth as I see it. You have a strong team, and you do a great job leading them."

"Damn right he does. Wait until you see him at headquarters

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