Home > Worth the Fight

Worth the Fight
Author: Kristin Lynn




Evan Hall is a protector. Growing up in a home filled with violence, he was just a child when he learned to defend and care for those he loved. As an adult, Evan continues to protect, first as a Special Forces soldier, and now as an FBI agent on the Human Trafficking Task Force. He’s known as the caretaker on his team. He’s the fun, charming one, but when it comes to keeping others safe, he’s deadly serious.

Kassidy O’Neill is a risk-taker. The Finnish diplomat is on a dangerous path of redemption, trying to atone for the sins of her father, a man who trafficked people like they were commodities. She also needs to forgive herself for only discovering his depravity when it was too late.

When Kassidy needs help taking down a group of traffickers, Evan and his team come to the rescue. It’s not the first time Kassidy and Evan have met, though. Years ago, they spent two perilous days together in the middle of a war zone. Even in that short period, knowing they’d probably never see each other again, they couldn’t fight the bond that formed between them.

Evan and Kassidy have a second chance, but it won’t come easy. Evan is determined to protect her, but Kassidy is putting her mission first. She’ll take any risk necessary, and overcome any obstacle in her path, to take down the traffickers. Even if that obstacle is Evan.









Five years ago…

“The Americans are here,” my boss, the Finnish Ambassador to Afghanistan, said as he passed me at the copier, and I was once again grateful for the informality with which he ran the embassy.

As one of the youngest diplomats in the office, I was also one of the most eager, and my boss was more than happy to appease me with extra responsibilities and opportunities. This was one of those times. For the next two days, several American Special Forces soldiers were meeting with the Ambassador, Finnish military leadership, and several other diplomats, to pass on their knowledge of and contacts within the Afghan military so that Finland could also form an alliance with them. And even though the meeting came nowhere near my assigned job as a consular officer—with duties including helping Finnish people in Afghanistan in emergency situations, replacing passports, providing referrals for attorneys and businesses, and approving Visas to Finland—the Ambassador was letting me sit in.

I followed my boss to the large, nondescript conference room, where the Finnish Minister of Defence, a few men dressed in military uniforms, and several of my coworkers were already seated. The Ambassador sat down at the table, but since I was just an observer, I took a seat against the wall, trying to blend into the background. It was only moments later when the conference room door opened again, and five men strode in. I’d been told that they were Green Berets, and I’d researched them ahead of time. Green Berets are the Army’s Special Forces, and have a lot of different duties including direct combat, conducting surveillance behind enemy lines, training other nations’ militaries, working with allied military forces to prevent terrorism, and participating in Unconventional Warfare—helping people in other countries overthrow their governments by training, arming, and advising guerilla forces.

They introduced themselves, but none of their names stuck. I was too busy watching them, analyzing each one based on their appearance and the way they moved. The men wore camouflage, similar to the uniforms of Finnish soldiers. Unlike other soldiers I’d met, though, even the Finnish ones in the room, these men exuded a confidence and a deadliness that I’d never before experienced in person. It was exhilarating, and their presence made me feel safe. But one man stole most of my focus. He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on, the very embodiment of tall, dark, and handsome, with incredibly perceptive hazel eyes. I could tell that he was just as dangerous as the others, if not more so, but that danger existed a little further from the surface, softened by a wide smile and a mischievous sparkle in his eyes. He loved his job, I could tell, and I felt a strange kinship with him. His zeal for life spoke to mine, even from across the room.

I tried my best to focus on their information, making sure to take copious notes for later. I could tell that what they were saying was invaluable—they knew information about the Afghan culture it would take us years to learn—but for once, my attention was split. The brown-haired man was like a magnet at the front of the room, drawing me in. When our eyes occasionally met, I could feel myself blushing, only making him smile wider.

It wasn’t until late afternoon, when the men were about to wrap up for the day, that the bombs detonated. I’d heard explosions before, even seen a few—we were in a war zone, after all— but they’d never been so close that the building shuddered, glass shattered, and cement rained down from the ceiling. I heard shouting in other parts of the embassy, and in the next moment, the room went dark.

“Everybody get down!” one of the American soldiers shouted. There was still a tiny bit of light streaming in from small, now-broken windows near the high ceiling, and I could make out the men’s silhouettes in the darkened room as they quickly transitioned from friendly teachers to dangerous operators.

“Get underneath something if you can!” someone shouted.

“Make room under the table! Move, move, move!”

I did as they said, dropping to my hands and knees and crawling towards the table. The embassy’s employees had been briefed on this type of situation before, had repeatedly practiced what to do, but in real life, it wasn’t the same, and many of my coworkers had frozen. As I crawled, I encouraged others to join me, directing them, and helping them squeeze in under the large table. Once everyone else was underneath it, I found a narrow spot to wedge myself into, then covered my head with my arms, other bodies pressing in around me.

I heard voices at the door, and then the Americans were gone. Finnish guards had replaced them, several leading many of the people in the room—including the Ambassador, the Minister of Defence, and the Finnish military members—presumably to a safe room, while the others checked on the ones who were left, most of us women with no combat experience.

Time ticked by slowly as I stayed crouched under the table, and in the mostly dark room, my other senses heightened. The sounds of sniffling and sobbing around me had intensified, and my knees and legs, folded underneath me against the cold floor, were starting to ache. From the windows high above us, I could hear voices drifting in from outside, along with the staccato of gunfire. To my horror, my sense of smell seemed to be working best, the scents of blood and burning flesh swirling around me, and making my eyes water and my stomach roil with nausea. I took deep breaths through my mouth, trying to stay calm.

Eventually, when everything had been quiet for a long time, and my legs had long ago gone numb, I decided to crawl back out from under the table. I knew that the American soldiers were outside protecting us, and I was inspired by their bravery, their willingness to protect strangers. That feeling of safety made me comfortable enough to protect and care for everyone else. For that reason, I left the conference room, found a flashlight, and made my way to the lobby area. Many of my coworkers who had also been underneath the table followed, and we quickly established a makeshift triage area in the lobby, checking people’s injuries and handing out food and water.

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