I’m thrilled to celebrate the launch of my debut Wounded Warrior series, a collection of hot, smart romances about strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, kickass, military heroes who challenge their limits to protect the women they love. In The Asset, the series’ first novel, we meet Ash Hunter, a Navy SEAL wounded in Afghanistan who’s struggling to overcome his injuries when he finds himself staring down the barrel of Lia Stuart’s shotgun.
Lia is a fugitive desperately trying to escape her terrifying past. She may not be a SEAL and she’s definitively keeping secrets, but Ash recognizes her for who she really is: a fighter and a survivor, the kind, caring, passionate woman he could love, if only she wasn’t so afraid to let him. When she risks her cover to help him, Ash commits to a new mission: He will lay down his life to save hers.
The Asset is all romance and suspense. I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but here are the top six things you didn’t know about Ash and Lia as The Asset begins:
1. Ash might be wounded, but he’s by no means out of the game. He’s got the skills, training and experience that allow him to discover Lia’s secrets. This wounded warrior is about to kick some ass.
2. Lia didn’t fight in Afghanistan like Ash did, but she too suffers from PTSD. She’s a wounded warrior herself and yet she’s also a survivor. She’s fighting for her life and freedom and she’s managed to keep herself alive in the face of some piss poor odds. She doesn’t need anybody’s help, thank you very much.
3. There’s a lot more to Ash than meets the eye. He has access to resources Lia could only dream of and he won’t hesitate to use them. Now, if he could only win Lia’s trust, he’d clear the path to her heart.
4. Lia has suffered a lot of losses in her life. Everyone she’s loved has been taken from her. She’s afraid to love Ash. She worries that if she allows herself to fall for Ash, he too will die. And his death is not something she can survive.
5. Lia’s enemy is cunning, powerful and ruthless, but Ash is devious too and he has a plan, a plan that only a highly trained SEAL like him can execute to perfection, if only he can get around Lia’s objections.
6. Lia would rather die than see Ash hurt. And she will do so if it means Ash’s life. From him, she’s learned courage and hope. For a chance to love Ash, she will stop running, face her worst fears and fight.
Wounded Warrior Series
Anna del Mar
Genre: Romantic suspense,
Military romance, SEAL romance.
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of Publication: February 22, 2016
Number of pages: 336 pages
Word Count: Approx. 95,000
Anna del Mar’s explosive, sexy debut novel in the Wounded Warrior series, perfect for fans of Lisa Marie Rice and Lora Leigh—the story of a woman desperate to escape her dangerous past and the navy SEAL who would lay down his life to save her.
Ash Hunter knows what it is to run. A SEAL gravely injured in Afghanistan, he’s gone AWOL from the military hospital. Physically and mentally scarred, he returns home to his grandmother’s isolated cottage—and finds a beautiful, haunted stranger inside.
Like recognizes like.
Lia Stewart’s in hiding from the cartel she barely escaped alive, holed up in this small Rocky Mountain town. Surviving, but only just. Helping the wounded warrior on her doorstep is the right thing to do…it’s loving him that might get them both killed.
Soon, Ash realizes he’s not the only one tormented by the past. Pushing the limits of his broken body, testing the boundaries of her shattered soul, he’ll protect Lia until his last breath.
Excerpt from Chapter One
My finger twitched on the trigger as I stared down the barrel of my shotgun. A stranger stood on my stoop. The mere sight of him shoved my heart into my throat and sent my brain into default. I widened my stance, tightened my grip on the gun and aimed at the stranger’s chest. No way. He wasn’t going to take me alive.
A sharp bark startled me. The largest, darkest, most handsome German shepherd I’d ever seen stood next to the stranger, head tilted, ears forward, nose quivering in the air. It uttered a quiet whimper and padded over to me without a trace of aggression, circling me once before it leaned against my legs.
I kept my shotgun leveled, but I spared another glance at the stunning dog. The plea in his eyes tempered the adrenaline jolting through my body, reined in my runaway heart and gave me pause to consider the stranger before me.
Framed by the Rocky Mountains and the lake, the man at the threshold blocked the morning’s gray light and cast a huge shadow over my little porch. Raindrops tapped on his leather jacket, dripped from the rim of his cap and ran like tears down the sides of his face. Despite the exhaustion etched on his features, his glacial blue eyes narrowed on my gun.
“That’s a pretty old Remington,” he rumbled. “With the damn safety off, no less. Who the hell are you expecting, Jack the Ripper?”
“Stay back.” I forced the words out. “I’ll shoot if you come any closer.”
“Damn it, girl,” he said. “If you want us to leave, just say so.”
The scowl on his face contributed to his dangerous appearance. So did the scruffy beard and the shaggy hair sticking out from under his baseball cap. If he hadn’t come all the way out here to get to me—and that was still a big “if”—what on earth was he doing here?
I couldn’t see any weapons on him. Was he a drifter? He didn’t look dirty, but a metallic scent wafted from him, an odd, ripe trace I couldn’t place.
He must have seen my nose wrinkle. His whole body stiffened. He drew taller than six feet by several inches, but it was the outrage I spotted in his eyes that reinforced my fears.
“Aren’t you a spitfire?” He pulled out a rumpled piece of paper from his pocket, balled it and dropped it at my feet. “Secluded, cheap and quiet, that’s what the ad said. But I don’t think you want to rent out a room, at least not to me. Come on, Neil,” he said to the dog. “Let’s leave this little hellcat to count her bullets.” He touched the rim of his baseball cap. “And a good day to you, ma’am.”
He braced on a pair of sturdy crutches and hopped down from the stoop. Crutches? I should’ve noticed those before. The sable shepherd looked up at me, then nuzzled my hip and trotted off after his owner. The rubber bottoms of the man’s crutches stabbed the ground as he shuffled to the black truck parked in my driveway, a supercharged Ram 3500 that matched its owner’s brawn.
I exhaled the breath I’d been holding. Bad guys didn’t knock at your door. They didn’t back down, attack while on crutches or hobble away after they came for you. They didn’t call you ma’am, either. I picked up the crumpled paper and flattened it against the stair’s wobbly baluster. It was indeed the one flyer I’d dared to post at Kailyn’s convenience store, printed on pink paper, complete with the ten tear-off rectangles that listed my cell phone number.
The ad. My brain came on line. He was here about the ad?
Crap. Terror had a sure way of wiping reason from my mind. The ad talked about a stone cottage but didn’t include the address. True, mine was the only stone cottage around. Still, my stomach churned.
I stared at the paper in my hands. He’d taken down the ad. Now I had exactly zero chance to rent out the room, which also meant that, since I’d have no money to make the rent, I was going to lose my little stone cottage. I was going to be homeless and I’d have to move on. Again.
But I liked it here. The place suited me well. People in this secluded valley were nice and I’d managed to build a semblance of a life hidden out here. And what about my little friends out back? Who’d take care of them if I wasn’t around?
The pound, that’s who.
I took a deep breath and looked down on my flannel pajama pants and my extra-large sweater. With my hair up in a messy tail, I was pretty sure I looked like a gun-toting, gray-eyed witch, brimming with hostility. I’d just scared away my first and only customer.
A top-notch German shepherd like that couldn’t belong to a crook. It was obvious that the owner took excellent care of his dog. If that wasn’t enough, the man got around on crutches. He couldn’t hurt me and, if he tried, I wouldn’t need a shotgun to defend myself. I’d just have to trip him.
God, the things I thought about. Was I going to live in fear forever?
Yes, I would, but living in fear was better than not living at all.
About the Author:
Anna del Mar writes hot, smart romances that soothe the soul, challenge the mind, and satisfy the heart. Her stories focus on strong heroines struggling to find their place in the world and the brave, sexy, kickass, military heroes who defy the limits of their broken bodies to protect the women they love. She is the author of The Asset (Carina Press), the first novel of her Wounded Warrior series and three other novels scheduled for release during 2016.
A Georgetown University graduate, Anna enjoys traveling, hiking, skiing, and the sea. Writing is her addiction, her drug of choice, and what she wants to do all the time. The extraordinary men and women she met during her years as a Navy wife inspire the fabulous heroes and heroines at the center of her stories. When she stays put—which doesn’t happen very often—she lives in Florida with her indulgent husband and two very opinionated cats.