Razed Glory, The Red Team Series, Book 7

By: Elaine Levine

Dedication





For Barry—for bringing me the thousand cups of tea and hundreds of cups of coffee that every book requires; for knowing when I need a stack of chocolate bars; and for always having the tissues ready when my characters break my heart.

You’re my best friend ever!





Acknowledgments





This book would have been many more months in the works without the Ace and Val survival packs from my good friend, Rihaneh. The pictures, notes, coffees, props, scents, and the double flame candle always put me in the perfect mind-space to write the romance between Val Parker and the love of his life, Ace Myers.





And thank you to all of my readers.

You’ve become good friends who are always ready to cheer me on no matter whose story I’m working on. Much love to all of you!





A Note from the Author:

We begin Razed Glory at the point where Rocco and Mandy: A Red Team Wedding Novella left off. To maximize your enjoyment of this serialized story, I highly recommend reading the series in order, starting with The Edge of Courage and including the Red Team wedding novellas, before beginning this book!





And make sure you never miss a book from me by signing up for my new release announcements at http://geni.us/GAlUjx.





—Elaine





When we last visited the Red Team…

Here’s a refresher for those of you who have read the previous Red Team books (skip this and go read them if you haven’t yet!).





* * * * * SPOILERS! * * * * *





It’s the middle of October, and the team is in their fourth month of investigation.

Mandy and Ivy are both pregnant.

Kelan and Fiona have shared their claiming ceremony.

The Friendship Community is still under quarantine for the smallpox outbreak there.

Rocco and Mandy have gotten married.

Rocco has made big strides toward his recovery from the devastating effects of PTSD.

Ace was a photographer at Rocco and Mandy’s wedding, where she dropped a bombshell on the team regarding Owen’s past love.





And now, we continue with Razed Glory…





Prologue





Ace Myers kept herself in as small and tight a ball as she could. For warmth. For cover. It was a pose she’d held for hours through the night in the shrubs outside Val’s home, just outside the reach of its cameras. Her leather jacket provided little warmth. The dry stalks of rough grass poked her legs. She faced the wind to keep the smell of blood from searing her nostrils, even though it was dried now on her clothes, in her fingernails, in her hair.





“There will come a time when you’ll have to kill,” Santo had warned her almost a decade ago.

“I don’t want to kill,” she’d told him.

“What you want and what you’ll do will rarely be the same. Not in your life. You’re a warrior.”

“How will I handle the killing? How will I recover?”

Santo shut his eyes. His skin was thin and wrinkled, like stretchy crepe paper. But his body’s wrapper didn’t define him; she never doubted that inside him lay coiled the honed reflexes of a man who’d spent his entire life walking through the valley of the shadow of death.

“You won’t judge yourself. Others will do that for you. God will do that. You’ll do what you have to, and move on.”





Santo, her teacher, had drilled that lesson into her over the long years she’d trained with him. No remorse…no regrets, no fear, no confusion, no doubt. No fucking emotion whatsoever.

Tears slipped down her cheeks in warm, wet tracks that quickly turned cold. She didn’t want to be this thing she’d become anymore. She craved the transformation that the butterfly tattooed on her back promised. Her kills were becoming increasingly violent. The guy last night had needed a body bag to keep all of his friend together when he’d carried him out of her apartment. Still, the message wasn’t getting through to King. He kept sending men after her. And she kept sending them back in body bags.

Everyone was expendable to him. Every one of his associates, the people in his army, his social circle, his family…their deaths were simply their tribute to him.

When she found Adelaide’s son, when she could consider her purpose in this fucked-up world completed, she’d make her own tribute to King.

She set her head on her knees and closed her eyes. Breathing through her mouth, she shut her senses to the taste of blood that still lingered.

Sleep came instantly.





Chapter One





Valentino Parker stared at the blood spatter on the walls of Ace’s living room. Hard to believe that just yesterday, Ace had been at the team headquarters, photographing Rocco and Mandy’s wedding, looking hot in her dark green silk dress.

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