Semper Mine (Chapter Three: Sawyer, page 1 of 4)

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It takes me a moment to recover. I've never wanted to put hands on a woman before and talk some sense in her or worse, take her out onto the battlefield and show her what real war is like. I can't recall the last time someone got under my skin like that. It doesn't help that it's impossible to take my eyes off her. Katya Khavalov is stunning, more so when she's angry, and I hesitated long enough for her to set up the battlefield to her advantage. I gave her enough time to mount a pre-emptive attack and do what no insurgents can: piss me off.

I gotta get better at dealing with civilians. Or maybe just this civilian, if I'm going to spend the week with Petr. No more giving her a chance to lure me into a minefield.

Refocusing mentally, I step into Petr's room.

Petr bounces to his feet. "Hey, sir." He's grinning and moving around like the new leg is a part of him already. It's nearly impossible to keep a spec-ops guy down for long. I know this and am proud of him.

And relieved.

"We've got about sixty seconds before she comes back," he says and grabs his wallet off the stand. He picks up a pack half the size of his sister and slings it over one shoulder with ease.

"So you're not hurting," I guess, a smile spreading across my face.

"I'll throw myself on a grenade for you, but I will not get in her line of fire," Petr replies. With a quick, efficient walk, he leads me out of the room and down another hallway quickly, using techniques we employ in a war zone to evade detection in order to avoid his sister.

Not that I blame him. They weren't exaggerating about her temper.

"Freedom!" Petr breathes when we step outside the hospital. It's a private clinic I read about online with specialists that only families like Petr's can afford. When I asked him why, he said it was because he could afford treatment that most other injured soldiers couldn't, so to save the government resources for them.

They did him up right, I have to admit. He's happy, healthy, strong and fully recovered.

"You drove, Iceman?" Petr asks with a glance over his shoulder.

"Black F-350." I point to the largest truck in the parking lot.

"She'll find us, but it helps to have a head start."

I laugh. "Three tours in Iraq, and you're running from your sister."

"You heard that tongue. Before, it was divided between Mik and me. Now there's just me. I've had no peace since waking up from the coma."

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