ROGUE JUSTICE: A MILITARY ROMANCE (SAS ROGUE UNIT BOOK 2)
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Reluctant Tour Guide, Anna Swanepoel finds herself stuck in the African bush when her tour bus breaks down and her driver disappears. When her African guide turns up dead, Anna realizes she is now solely responsible for getting these tourists to safety, not an easy feat when you are surrounded by wild animals, sparring tribes and illegal poachers.
Cole Armstrong is out of the British Special Forces for all of 23 days. On his first holiday ever, he decides to explore Africa, and now he finds himself stuck in the middle of a local war zone with people turning up dead and a bunch of hapless tourists led by a totally incompetent tour guide who barely seems to be keeping it together. After vowing never to pick up a weapon again, Cole knows he is the only person who can save them.
A sexy, standalone military romance by Amazon bestselling author, Louise Rose-Innes.
As she watched the eighty-pound male baboon rummage through her lunch box on the roof of their German, ex-army, overland truck, Anna Swanepoel wondered how on earth she had managed to get herself into this situation.
As tour leader for the up-market Explore tour company, it, unfortunately, fell on her shoulders to chase away the baboon. She glanced at her watch. They were on a tight schedule. The sun would set in a couple of hours and she still had to get the group to Boulder’s Beach to view the endangered African Penguin Colony, after which they were returning to their hotel via Hout Bay, an attractive fishing port where seals frolicked and grunted in the harbor. At this rate, it would be dark before they got back.
She supposed being a tour guide wasn’t all that bad – if you knew what you were doing. The problem was she didn’t. Somehow, because of her gypsy lifestyle and local South African knowledge, she’d managed to secure the position of tour leader for Explore’s “Into Southern Africa” adventure. And it was the quickest way to make enough money for a deposit on an apartment in Cape Town so she could start to put down some roots. Her brother’s voice echoed in her ears:
It’s time to stop gallivanting all over the planet, Anna, and settle down. You’re not getting any younger.
He’d even offered her a job at his “Entrepreneur of the Year” gaming software company as an admin assistant.
You have to start somewhere. You can work your way up. We have plenty of development programmes for people like you.
People like her. Without any skills, he’d meant. Obviously being a mystery shopper, a call-center operator, or a celebrity dog-walker didn’t count. She was unemployable. She couldn’t do the books, didn’t know any sophisticated programming languages, and couldn’t sell insurance – particularly car insurance, hence the reason why she’d been ‘let go’ from her call-center job. What she was good at was reading people, making connections, and communicating. But how many friends you had on social media didn’t count for anything unless it translated into cold hard cash, something she was sorely lacking.
If anyone on her tour actually realized how little knowledge she had of the African bush, they’d demand their money back. True, she’d been born in South Africa, but that didn’t mean she’d been anywhere else in Africa. She may have flown over Madagascar once on her way to Mauritius on holiday, but that was about it. Now, here she was about to lead a group of hapless tourists on a grueling camping trip through South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. She must be out of her mind.
The group was scattered all over Cape Point Nature Reserve. Although they’d arranged to meet back at the truck in an hour, she’d still have to chase them up. Some people had absolutely no concept of time.
The German couple, Klaus and Kirsten, had taken a leisurely stroll along the dusty pathway to the beach, while the American couple, the Burke’s, were cooling down in the Two Oceans Restaurant perched high above the crashing waves. She’d taken the four remaining members of her group up the funicular to the viewing site where the cold Benguela and the warm Mozambique currents met. She remembered coming here with her parents as a girl and being awestruck by the tumultuous waves smashing against the dagger-sharp rocks far below the lookout point. It was these members of her group who had gathered behind her, commenting on the baboon who was now helping himself to a ham sandwich. Monica, the legal secretary from Texas, tapped her on the shoulder. “Anna, is that orangutang dangerous?”
Forcing a smile Anna faced the group. “It’s actually a baboon, and they are only dangerous if they feel threatened,” she told them. At least she knew that much. Having grown up in Cape Town, she was somewhat familiar with the local wildlife.
“Oh, thank goodness,” Monica breathed.
“It doesn’t look harmless,” whimpered Kelly, another American who was on the tour with her husband Bruce. She was a slim, fragile-looking woman with mousy brown hair and eyes that seemed to pop out of her head at everything she saw.
Anna sighed. If this was Kelly’s reaction to a baboon, she could just imagine the drama that would unfold on the early morning game drives where they’d be observing elephants, hippos, and rhinos, as well as the occasional lion or leopard.
Then, there was Cole Armstrong.
Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted the elusive Brit who had joined their tour in Cape Town. Her pulse rate increased. He was a late addition, along with the Yorkshireman, Phillip Peters, but she’d managed to squeeze them both in as there was still space. Being late August, the dry season in Africa was almost over, and as a result, the tours were coming to an end. This was, in fact, the last one, as far as she was aware. All the other travelers had reserved their places months in advance.
At first, she was excited at the prospect of having such a good looking guy on her tour, but his distant behavior yesterday made it quite obvious he didn’t want to have anything to do with her or anyone else in the group. He kept to himself, didn’t socialize with his fellow travelers and kept wandering off, despite repeated warnings. Much to her distress, he’d actually gone missing for nearly an hour on top of Table Mountain yesterday and only rejoined the group before they descended via the cable car. When she’d spoken to him about it, he’d simply shrugged and said he could take care of himself. She flicked a fly away from her face in annoyance.
Cole was watching the baboon eat Anna’s lunch with undisguised amusement. She shot him an irritated glance. Why didn’t he offer to chase it away? It struck her that Cole Armstrong was perfectly suited to this type of tour. In fact, he should probably be leading it, not her.
Dressed casually in khaki combat pants and a white T-shirt that did nothing to hide his muscular build and deepening tan, he appeared totally at ease under the harsh African sun. He’d just climbed a good half mile up uneven, stone stairs to the lookout point at Cape Point Reserve (while the rest of them had taken the funicular) and he wasn’t even breaking a sweat.
Anna knew absolutely nothing about Cole. He’d been noticeably vague during the group introductions, revealing only that he “needed a break from work and had always wanted to come to Africa.” Not an easy man to read, it didn’t help that he refused to socialize with anybody. Her attempts at flirting had been blatantly ignored. Anna was mystified. She didn’t usually have problems in that department. Being almost six foot tall with long dark hair and her father’s olive complexion coupled with a fast metabolism definitely had some advantages.
Slightly miffed by his disinterest, Anna had made a few deductions of her own. The dark tan meant he didn’t sit in front of a computer all day. He definitely worked out, given his muscular arms and broad shoulders, and impressive level of fitness if the climb to the look-out post was anything to go by. He didn’t seem to mind the heat, or the flies, or the walking so it was likely he was used to being outdoors. His hair was cut short and he hadn’t shaved for a day or two, given his dark stubble. Most importantly, from the booking arrangements, she knew he wasn’t sharing a room. Although much of the tour was camping, one or two nights were spent in hotels and he’d requested his own room. He didn’t have any strange eating requirements, and his form pronounced him fit and healthy and not on any medication. On paper, he was her ideal man.
The way he was studying her now made her decidedly uneasy. Curiosity mixed with amusement. His cobalt blue eyes flickered over her face. He was waiting to see what she’d do. How was she going to handle this situation? Although it was true, baboons were not normally dangerous, Anna didn’t have any burning desire to confront one. She took a deep breath and focused her attention on the guzzling primate in front of her.
You can do this.
Bending, she picked up two sticks like she’d seen the baboon handlers use. Make enough noise and the baboon will fun away.
Damn Cole Armstrong for making her so nervous. It was almost as if he was waiting for her to screw up. Sending a silent prayer upwards, Anna smacked the sticks together as hard as she could and raced towards the baboon.