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Read on for a short excerpt from SEAL TEAM BLACKOUT Book 8, Apollo's story 💕

Apollo’s gut lurched. Just being this damn close to his former lover made him want it all back.

Everything he’d lost in his rash decision that in the end got the bad guy but lost him Indika.

If she squashed herself against that cabinet any more, she’d be sitting on top of it.

He took a step backward to give her some breathing room. However, he wasn’t prepared for the way her shoulders slumped with relief.

God, it hurt to think that she wanted to get away from him when at one point, they’d been so emotionally intertwined that he couldn’t fathom a life without her in it.

“I’d like to make a report of what I know.” His voice came out gruff, and it had everything to do with how goddamn stunning she was.

In a fitted suit of a lightweight gray fabric, she shouldn’t look so damn sexy. Yet the trousers skimmed her curves—hugged the full globes of that fantastic ass—and the jacket nipped in at her tiny waist.

He longed to latch on to it and yank her up against his hard cock. Hard might be an understatement. He hadn’t been this far gone since he walked into Blackout headquarters and saw her for the first time in three years.

Swallowing hard, he tried a new tactic, one that didn’t have her climbing a wall to escape him.

He backed away, giving her room to breathe, and if she was experiencing the same thing he was, to think.

“I only want to give the report and see if you can assist the team.” He watched her closely, gauging her mood and reaction to him.

After a second’s thought, she nodded. She moved to her desk and took a seat. He dragged the guest chair over and sank to it. As with most seating, his bulky muscles spilled over the arms and his thighs barely fit on the seat.

Indika threw him a glance. The tip of her tongue darted across her sweet lips and retreated so fast he might believe his imagination was at work if not for how his fly tightened over his bulging cock.

She drew her keyboard toward her and put her fingers on the keys. “All right. Go ahead and tell me what you know.”

His stare lingered on her mouth as vivid memories of how she parted her lips around his cock flooded his mind.

She cleared her throat, but he only dropped his gaze to the enticing column of her throat. Her pulse flickered at the base, drawing his attention lower to the tawny V of flesh above the white top she wore.

“Apollo.” Her hard tone jerked his attention back to what he’d come here for.

Well, part of the reason.

“I have notifications set whenever someone uses a certain channel of communication. One popped up on my phone.”

“What did it say?”

“Well, it’s in Nigerian, but loosely translated, there are stirrings in Abubakar’s cell.”

Her fingers paused on the keys, her eyes fixed on his face.

A growl rumbled deep in his chest. Animalistic. Full of need. What he wouldn’t give to yank her out of that chair and lay her down on the desk. To suck on her pert nipples through that thin white top until her skin glowed under it and she was arching into him.

“Abubakar’s dead,” she said in a flat voice.

Her lack of emotion sliced through his chest, leaving him even more wounded by her reaction to him coming back. Christ, he hadn’t meant to hurt her so damn bad. He just hadn’t thought…

“Can you read the messages to me? Or let me see for myself? You know I speak the language.”

He did. It was one of the things that made Indika so valuable to Blackout and one of the many that she had in common with Apollo. They both had a knack for picking up languages.

At one time, they shared the joke that if they procreated, their children would pop out multilingual.

God, that hurt to think about. He twisted his mind from the past. Just give the report.

He started speaking in a low voice, providing names and cities for her to launch her investigation.

As she typed, he noticed a photo frame on her desk and picked it up.

She stopped typing. “Put that down, thank you very much.”

He couldn’t. He had to see if the photo was her with that douchebag she had lunch with. His mind flew straight to the worst-case scenario—that it was a photo of them on some sunny vacation together, locked in an embrace.

Apollo never shied away from conflict, even if he didn’t want to look this one in the eyes. He turned the frame in his hands and almost sagged in relief.

Indika with her parents in front of the Washington Monument, snapped when they’d visited her years ago, right around the time when he and Indika had begun their story together.

A story that ended too briefly and with a hell of a lot of unhappiness.

She reached out and grabbed the frame from him, setting it down a little too hard on the desk.

“I think I’ve got everything I need here. You can go now, Apollo.”

Her use of his last name made him settle his ass even more firmly in the seat. “So, that guy you were eating with…”

“Oh god. Please don’t. I refuse to discuss this with you.”

His stare ticked up to hers and trapped those beautiful brown eyes in his hold. “A kiss on the cheek, Indika? Is the guy a relative? Because that’s how I kiss my mother.”

She planted both hands on the edge of the desk. Her knuckles whitened. “It’s none of your business what I do anymore!”

“Are you seeing that guy? He looks like he stepped out of the Yacht Club.”

A dark flush crept up her neck and created spots in her cheeks.

“Oh damn. Seriously? I hit the nail on the head, didn’t I? Does he have a boat? Only douchebags own boats.”

“You’re one to talk. You started in the Navy!”

“That’s different. It was a ship. A big, manly ship. What’s he got? A dinghy to match his tiny dick?”

“Get out!”

“I don’t think I will. Now I’m invested in this story. Are you dating him?”

“Why shouldn’t I date? You were gone three years. I thought you were dead.” She adopted a sharp tone, and his guess was she was using it as a shield so he didn’t see her real feelings.

With a small shake of his head, he fought for something to say that would smooth this all over between them—and bring her back to him.

“It wasn’t by choice, Indika. I told you before, I saw a way to infiltrate Abubakar’s cell and get to him faster. If I hadn’t, we wouldn’t have got him when we did. He would have killed thousands more.”

“And I told you that you could have at least sent me some message or sign that you were alive, rather than…than…”

Oh god, she was going to break down in tears, and it was all his fault. As if his guilt wasn’t already crushing for what he did to her.

He made a move to get out of his chair, and she sliced a hand through the air to stop him.

“When you love someone…you find a way to reach out,” she forced out in a voice that was so low and soft, it ripped his heart out of his chest.

“You don’t understand…”

“No.” She firmed her jaw and thrust steel into her eyes, replacing the glitter of tears. “Nothing would keep me from contacting you. Nothing.” She shoved her chair back and crossed her arms over her chest in a protective stance. “Now go.”

Seeing her so clearly upset left him feeling even worse than he had this morning when he woke from a nightmare and knew she wouldn’t be there to wrap her arms around him like she used to.

He got to his feet and stood there for a heartbeat, staring at the woman he knew he would never work out of his system.

“I’ll reach out later, see what you’ve found,” he said.

“I don’t want you to.”

Slam. There went that door.

She pointed to the exit. “Someone will be in touch.”

With his heart cracking in two, he swung to the door and walked away, feeling more alone than when he was out in the world on his own, hunting down Abubakar because the only way he could make the world safer for Indika and everyone else was to end his reign.

But he’d made the wrong decision. In the name of duty, he’d lost her forever.

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