Jack (Eidolon Black Ops #8) - Maddie Wade
Rolling over, Jack planted his bare feet on the floor of the unfamiliar bedroom and fought to stop his stomach from rolling. Dropping his head into his hands, he tried to wipe away his tiredness and the fog in his brain from the booze he’d consumed. His head was pounding like a drummer had set up practise there.
Glancing back, he saw the red hair spilt out over the pillow, the shapely curve of feminine flesh, and almost groaned. He had no memory of how he’d gotten there, but it obviously hadn’t stopped him from taking this woman to bed if his naked state were anything to go by.
Grabbing his trousers from the floor, he pulled them on and swiftly donned his shirt and boots. With a last regretful glance at the bed, he moved across the room and took a second to use the bathroom. As he did, he checked the bin, relieved to find that not all his senses had left him, and at least he’d used a condom with this nameless woman.
If he were a gentleman, he’d stay and have coffee, but this hook up wasn’t about that. It was a way of forgetting the shit storm his life had become. With the light of day came the knowledge that no matter how memorable it had or hadn’t been, getting laid wouldn’t change anything.
With fumes of alcohol hitting the cold air on every exhale, Jack got his bearings and began the walk to his own home. Passing several kids on their way to school as he did the still half-drunk walk of shame was sobering, and if the smirks were anything to go by, he looked as bad as he smelled and felt.
As the cool air woke his brain, the reason for his bender last night floated back like an evil ghost he couldn’t get rid of. His life, the one he’d worked his ass off to achieve, was in shreds and all because of his baby brother. Will was the one person Jack trusted above everyone else, and he’d fucked him over so bad it had cost Jack everything he cared about.
The SAS, or Special Air Service, had been his goal since he’d joined the army. He wanted to follow his father’s footsteps in the forces, but more than that, he wanted to excel, to push the boundaries and become better so his father would finally be proud of him. All Jack’s life, Frederick Granger had pushed him, never giving him praise until the day he’d shown an interest in the army, and it was as if he’d finally seen him.
Guilt weighed on him because he knew Will had never had that from Frederick. The only thing Will got was criticism, and yet, he was by far the smartest of the two of them and the one with the most potential. The thought of his younger brother locked up in juvenile detention made his gut burn with pain and regret. At seventeen, Will was still a kid. A dumb kid for getting caught, but a kid, nevertheless.
It had cost Jack the job he loved, and he’d never understand why. They’d hauled him before his Commanding Officer and told him he’d been compromised and that his position was untenable, and in essence, he was fired. He’d tried to argue as his career circled the drain and was told he’d be dishonourably discharged if he didn’t stop, but if he accepted their decision, he’d get a full, honourable discharge. With little choice, he’d taken the second option with the hope he could figure a way out.
Pushing through his front door, he felt the air still around him and knew he wasn’t alone. Reaching behind him for the weapon he usually carried, he found nothing but air and cursed inwardly.
He’d have to deal with this the old-fashioned way. Moving slowly, he came to a stop when he stepped into his living room and found a man dressed in an impeccable three-piece suit seated on his sofa.
Glancing around, he saw nobody else but didn’t discount the idea that they were out of sight. For them to have got into his home told him how highly trained the people he was dealing with were. Bracing against the wall, he made sure he had eyes on all the exits as the man stood and buttoned his jacket before facing him. “Who the fuck are you and why the hell are you in my house?”
“My name is James Fitzgerald, and I’m Her Majesty’s private secretary.”