Survive the Night
24 Hours - Final Countdown Series Book 1
Life—and love—hang in the balance...
Pacifist Bailey Chambers fell for SWAT door-kicker Conall O’Rourke against her better judgment. A glimpse into his violent job helped her regain her senses, and she dumped the roguishly handsome cop.
Conall O’Rourke doesn’t believe in surrender. He’s determined to woo, win, and wed the woman he loves, despite her trepidation about his job.
But when they wind up trapped in a mall with a gang of ruthless bank robbers who’ve taken hostages, they must work as a team to save everyone, before time runs out.
As the deadline clock counts down, Bailey and Con each offer the ultimate sacrifice, desperate to ensure the other will survive the night.
If they both make it…will their love survive as well?
Just 24 Hours can change your life.
“Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow is wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly.” ~ Ancient Proverb
New Year’s Eve, 8:00 p.m.
SWAT team door kicker Conall O’Rourke studied the blood under his fingernails. He’d scrubbed his hands, but blood under the nails was always a bitch to clean.
How the hell had he ended up ass-deep in bullets and blood?
His day had started with a promotion, and he’d planned to cap it with a marriage proposal. Today was supposed to be one of the happiest of his life. Instead, he was exhausted, blood-spattered, and beat all to crap.
Trapped … a rat in a maze.
Chest tightening, he stared down at Bailey, dozing beside him in the dreary chill of their murky canvas tent. His lady trusted him to keep her safe—enough to sleep in the middle of combat.
He wouldn’t fail her.
Her long, coppery eyelashes rested against creamy cheeks, and delicate blue veins traced beneath her eyelids. A slow pulse fluttered beneath the smooth skin just below her ear—one of her favorite spots to be kissed. Sure, his Bailey was beautiful, but he’d never dated women for their looks.
He was intrigued by what went on inside them. What made them tick.
Baby-fine, red-gold tendrils curling over Bailey’s temples made her appear as delicate as the china dolls his mom kept in a locked cabinet, safely out of reach of four hell-on-wheels sons. But his lady was no china doll. Meeting her had changed his life. Her tender, honest emotions warmed his empty heart, a bright fire in the dark wilderness. And her sharp brain was as agile as her body.
She only looked fragile. Only thought she was weak. Bailey possessed steely fortitude and remarkable resilience. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have triumphed over childhood tragedy with guts and spirit. Wouldn’t have won freedom from a cold, oppressive mother. Wouldn’t be the caring woman he loved.
Without her quick intelligence, he’d likely be dead right now.
He stroked her silky hair, and she breathed out a sigh. If he bought it tonight, and Bailey had to live without him, he hoped he’d given her enough to keep her going.
And if she died?
His heart stopped. Then it resumed beating, steady and determined. He’d do anything to make sure that didn’t happen. Give everything.
Give his own life.
Grateful she’d finally succumbed to fatigue, he slumped. Now he didn’t have to fake bravado. Damned tough to project strength when he was scared shitless. Tough to stay upbeat when the odds sucked major ass. Even he, an incurable optimist, wouldn’t bet on himself in the coming battle.
He could no longer pretend confidence, when every instinct screamed they were all gonna die.
If it were only his life at stake, he’d launch a tactical assault, and screw the risk. But, Jesus, how was he supposed to keep the woman he loved—and three hostages—alive against six Uzi-packing bank robbers? With no escape, no backup. Armed only with a baseball bat.
Make that five bank robbers. He’d neutralized one earlier in hand-to-hand.
A Louisville Slugger versus five Uzis still wasn’t hot odds.
Eerie silence prickled the hair on his nape. His glance shot up, ears straining to hear the slightest noise. Being hunted honed every sense to a razor’s edge.
Careful not to disturb Bailey, he tore open a pack of cinnamon gum. Chewing gum focused him on the way to an incident site and in the midst of long sieges. During an assault, the spicy taste overrode the smell of gunpowder and gore. Right now he needed the concentration boost. All his focus. Four other lives depended on him.
He needed every scrap of wits if they were to survive until dawn.