Operation Endurance - By Christi Snow Page 0,1

at her skeptically, but she could tell that she was beginning to convince her. “Come on Rachel. I know you don’t want to be grounded for the rest of your life.”

She whispered, “What about Bradley? He was hurt after I hit him with the bat.”

“Good.” Was it wrong to think that? That she wanted him hurt just as much as he’d hurt her?

Rachel’s responding giggle was a little hysterical. “What if he tells someone?”

Julie sighed. Sometimes it was debatable which one of them was the older even though Rachel was three years older than her. “Rach, he’s not going to tell anyone. If he did, he’d have to admit what he did here.”

A shudder of revulsion spread down her spine. She couldn’t think about it right now. She started making a mental list of how to cover all their bases: convince Rachel to lie, find clothes to cover her bruises, find a baseball so their lie was believable, find a trash bag for the shredded bikini…

Rachel interrupted her mental lists. “Okay, I’ll agree to this, but you have to agree to help me convince mom that we need self-defense classes.” She gestured toward Julie’s chest. “Looking the way you do, this isn’t the last time you’re gonna have a guy trying to push you to do something you don’t want to do. You need to know how to protect yourself.”

Chapter 1

18 years later

The man grabbed her in a chokehold from behind and Julie fought off the panic as her breathing became compromised. She reached up and grasped at the hand wrapped around her neck and yanked, twisting her torso and head as she moved. Never letting go of the arm, she immediately turned and kicked at his vulnerable groin with explosive aim. As he crouched in pain, she attacked again at his throat and eyes, focusing on his weak spots.

When she finished, Officer Pete Larson lay moaning in fake pain on the mats. She turned to grin at the class. “Any questions?”

“I think I need another instructor.” Of course it was Toni who piped up first. The attractive brunette was full of sass and she wasn’t afraid to show it. This was the girl’s second week in the self-defense class and they’d already learned she held nothing back. Her turquoise eyes sparkled.

Oh, this should be good. “And exactly why would that be, Toni?”

“I need some big ugly dude to beat up.” She gestured to Pete slowly levering himself up off the floor. “If he’s going to be the one attacking me,” she gave him a full-body perusal, “then damn, I’m going to let him.” The entire class giggled, obviously in agreement. Toni definitely kept the class entertained.

Pete flushed red and Julie worked to hide her smile as she glanced back over at him. The guy was a sweetheart and with that hot body and those dimples, he definitely kept their Krav Maga self-defense classes swooning.

“Yes, he’s pretty, but keep in mind that seventy-three percent of rapes are perpetrated by men the victims already knew. Pretty or not, they are physically stronger than you and you need to know how to even the odds against them. That’s why you’re here. So now it’s time to beat him up for a while, and luckily for us, he brought a few of his fellow friends from the police force. And, yes, they’re pretty too.”

She gestured to the back of the room where two more of Lubbock’s Police Department’s finest were leaning up against the wall, waiting to become targets.

Pete mumbled under his breath, “I really hate this part of the class.”

An hour and a half later and Julie walked out of the training room with Pete, Lyle, and Stephen. “Thanks, guys. We couldn’t do this without you.”

Lyle asked, “So does that mean we can talk you into going out for a beer with us?”

“Thanks, but not this week. I need to get home.”

Pete looked at her with concern in his eyes before he pulled her to a stop. “Guys, go on. I’ll catch up with you in a moment.”

She glanced at him curiously as the guys walked on. “What’s up?”

“I hoped to get here early tonight to talk to you. You still aren’t sleeping, are you?”

Her stomach sank as she shook her head in denial. She didn’t want to have this conversation. “I’m fine, Pete.”

“No, you aren’t. Anyone who knows you can see that. You look awful.”

“Aw, thanks. You know just how to make a girl feel all mushy inside.”

He rolled his eyes