Home > Peace Under Fire

Peace Under Fire
Author: Trish McCallan




I want to give a HUGE shout out to Michele Gwynn and David Steele, my awesome editing team. They went above and beyond with this book, working alongside me to make sure I’d have the edits back by my deadline. I would never have made the deadline without them.


Another HUGE shout out and thank you! To Susan Stoker, for letting me borrow Brick, Alaska, Pipe, and Melba from her Refuge series. I love that series and it was so much fun to set Peace Under Fire within that world.


Any mistakes within this book are mine and mine alone.






With his fingertips massaging his right temple, Jacob Moore—Squish to his fellow SEALs—stalked across the living room carpet to the bay window overlooking Sweetgum Lake. Sunlight bounced off the water in a beam of light as bright as a lightning strike. It pierced the glass and then his eyes, cranking the throbbing in his head straight into messed up. He flinched and yanked down the double blinds, then went back to rubbing away the jackhammer in his head. Or trying to, anyway.

Excedrin Migraine wasn’t working. Neither was sleeping off the pain. Much more of this shit and he’d have to reach for the prescription stuff the doc had sent home with him.

Christ, these headaches were turning him into a vampire—allergic to the sun. With a tight expulsion of breath, he headed back across the living room on his way to the kitchen counter, where he stopped to scowl down at his cell phone. The pickaxe in his skull picked up tempo.

Blocking the sun hadn’t dulled the pain. Neither had sleep. Maybe he should go back in for another MRI like the doc kept recommending. But he’d had two already. If there was actual damage, they would have found it by now.

“Fuck.” In consideration of his throbbing head, Squish whispered the expletive beneath his breath.

He grabbed two cans of Coke from the fridge, drank them quickly, then tossed back another dose of Excedrin. Sometimes the combination of caffeine and painkillers shut the motherfuckers down. With that out of the way, he went back to glaring at his phone, hoping for a call he knew would never come.

It had been three weeks now since he’d returned her call. If she was going to reach out to him, she would have done it days ago.

Yeah, it was time to take the initiative. But that meant divulging things he didn’t want to share—like the fact he might have gone schizoid. His chest grew tight as he scowled harder at the phone.

He’d tabled this damn conversation as long as he could, tried to find her on his own. And fuck knew he had skills when it came to tracking people down—even those who didn’t want to be found. But Christ, the woman had disappeared completely. She’d ghosted him, which was ironic, considering she’d spent the last year trying to wriggle her way into his life, and his bed. But now, when he needed her help, she was nowhere to be found.

Dylan King—codename Lucky—Squish’s best friend and teammate, was also missing. He’d been missing four weeks now. If he were able to walk out of that jungle on his own, he would have already done so. Ergo—for whatever reason—Lucky couldn’t do the walking himself. He needed to be found.

They needed to bring him home.

And they’d tried to do that over the past couple of weeks. Squad after squad had gone back in to look for him. Even Wolf and his old unit had broken their retirement to comb through the Amazon. And if those boys couldn’t find him, well, Lucky was screwed.

So, it was time to pivot, try a different tactic. Which meant he needed Mandy’s help...if that was even her real name.

The fact the woman had ghosted him was a clear indication she didn’t want to help. Under the circumstances, he couldn’t exactly blame her. The whole damn thing was beyond ironic. To find Lucky, he needed to find Mandy first—the woman he’d told to get lost the last time he’d seen her. But hell, he hadn’t thought she’d take the suggestion quite so literally, or that he’d need her help so desperately.

He grimaced. He’d said even uglier things that day. Lies meant to drive her away, to ease the constant strain on his self-control. And it had worked. She’d left. Life should have been smooth sailing, would have, if it hadn’t been for that last op where he’d been injured, and Lucky had gone missing, possibly been killed.

Squish flinched at the thought. He’d lost friends before—it was a given in his profession. But this was different. This was Lucky, and his buddy hadn’t been lost, he’d been abandoned.

They’d fucking left him behind.

Squish’s throat ached. Yeah, sure. He got that Lucky’s tracker had malfunctioned. He knew that numerous squads had gone back to look for him. He knew all that. But it didn’t negate the fact that they’d left him behind. You never left a brother behind. Never. Whether it was across a shoulder or wrapped in plastic, special operators always brought their boys back home.


If he hadn’t been off his rocker thanks to that concrete slab landing on his head, he would have made sure Lucky was on that second bird when it bugged out.

No way would he have left his buddy behind. No fucking way was he leaving Lucky back there now. No matter what he had to do, no matter who he had to track down, no matter what kind of favors he had to call in, he was bringing Lucky home.

But the only way he could do that was by making this phone call. He hadn’t found Mandy on his own, so it was time to bring in the big gun.

The John Keegan—aka Tex—gun.

Tex was a genius at hacking into databases and harvesting information. Tex would be able to recover that goddamn deleted voicemail…if it existed. If Squish hadn’t hallucinated the damn thing. But if it was real, if he’d heard what he remembered hearing, then Tex would find Mandy. And through her, they’d find Lucky.

Of course, Tex would want to know why Squish needed that voicemail found. And, fuck, that question stopped him cold every time he’d reached for the phone.

Why? Because the answer was going to sound crazy. And considering the doc had warned him that traumatic brain injuries came with crazy-ass consequences—like delusions and hallucinations and…yeah.

He scrubbed tense fingers down his face. It was hell not trusting your own mind. He wasn’t certain whether that voicemail had been real or whether he’d imagined it. It had been so bizarre, so strange, and if he wasn’t certain it was real, how could he expect anyone else to believe him?

But if the message had been genuine, if he hadn’t hallucinated it, then they needed to find Mandy. She might be the only person who could bring Lucky home.

Tex could recover that message. The dude was a genius with hacking and computer stuff. As a bonus, Tex worked outside of official channels. If that message didn’t exist, at least Tex wouldn’t slap an unreliable label in his file, making it a thousand times harder to rejoin his team once his brain healed and the headaches moved on.

He'd tried and failed to recover that message on his own. Time to bring Tex’s magic fingers and kickass computer programs on board.

Of course, the shit of this plan was that Tex knew bull crap when he heard it. Squish would have to explain everything.

Which meant it was fifty-fifty odds whether Tex would call the base psychologist and have him pull Squish in for reevaluation.

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