Excerpt from The Troll Bridge
Troll stood at attention with his Special Operations team in the colonel's office and waited for the man to finish giving orders to his aide. This was Troll's third tour of duty on Jarved Nine in the past seven years, but he couldn't quell the spurt of anxiety that he felt whenever he had to face the Big Chill. Colonel Sullivan was a badass from the word go and no one wanted to be on his shit list.
The door closed with a snick that had Troll stiffening. "At ease," the colonel said as he took a seat behind his desk.
For a long moment the room was absolutely silent. "We've suspected for a few weeks that the coalition has an agent on J Nine," Sullivan said finally, voice low. "Last night the MPs found her atop the pyramid in the center of the Old City."
That surprised Troll, but he remained expressionless. The coalition had been trying for years to acquire lamordite to facilitate their space travel beyond Earth's solar system, but he hadn't realized they'd succeeded.
"Captain Montgomery, you and your team will search outside the city for the spaceship and for any other coalition agents who might be present."
"Yes, sir," Marsh Montgomery said.
"I'm pulling Sergeant Maglaya for another mission–that means you'll be shorthanded, but you have permission to tap any MPs you want to join your search."
Troll went rigid, and since he stood shoulder to shoulder with Marsh and the team's executive officer, Flare Cantore, he felt them both tense as well. Why was the Big Chill singling him out?
Sullivan kept talking. "Major Brody is waiting in the briefing room–he'll fill you in. Dismissed. Sergeant Maglaya, you'll stay here."
The colonel waited until the other men had left the room and the door was shut behind them before he continued, "Sergeant, I have a special task for you. As I said, we found a woman who doesn't belong here and she's not telling us anything–at least nothing that makes sense."
Sullivan frowned fiercely and Troll watched him take a few deep breaths before he said, "Your job is to guard her."
"Sir, why not lock her up?"
"Because we don't know what the coalition is after and we need that information. If she's loose, chances are she'll try to complete her mission. That's where you come in. You're going to be glued to her side–I don't want her using the bathroom without you standing guard at the door. Understood?"
"Yes, sir." Troll hesitated, then decided to risk it. "Permission to speak freely, Colonel?"
"Why me, sir? Why not assign this job to one of the MPs and let me work with my team?"
Sullivan sighed. "Your reputation with women is well known, Sergeant, and it's been decided that you should put that skill to use. If necessary, you're to romance her to get the information we need about why she's here and what the coalition wants."
It was Troll's turn to scowl and he didn't give a rip what the colonel thought about the display. He wasn't the randy kid who'd used his appearance to bag and bed every willing woman he could find–not anymore–and he resented like hell that Sullivan was asking him to whore himself.
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This excerpt is from The Troll Bridge
by Patti O'Shea