Sons of the Survivalist 2 | Cherise Sinclair
Cover art for Lethal Balance

Lethal Balance​​

SONS OF THE SURVIVALIST, BOOK 2

His name means hunter. 

Once the best assassin in black ops, Cazador is now the best at saving lives.  His path has changed from seeking bloody vengeance to running a health clinic in Rescue, Alaska.

He will never again risk loving someone he can’t protect.

His mother and sister were murdered in front of him, his fiancée slaughtered in a war zone.  Despite his popularity with women, he’s determined to remain unattached. His heart can bear no more loss.

Unfortunately, the universe isn’t listening. 

First, his brother hires JJ, a fiery-haired, tough cop who lives on the edge of danger and has the biggest heart of anyone he knows.  And then, his disreputable past returns in the shape of an adorable, foul-mouthed nine-year-old daughter.  Now he has two loved ones to protect. An impossible task, because…

Life is dangerous. Especially in Alaska.

PRAISE FOR THIS SERIES

Cherise Sinclair swept me away on a tidal wave of heat, feels, intensity and a stunning environment that left me once again, breathless! 
~ Marie’s Tempting Reads

An emotional, heartwarming and sensual read that kept me glued to the pages from beginning to finish. I'm already itching for the next installment!
~ Dirty Girl Romance

Ms. Sinclair is a comfort read for me. She knows how to give me heroes who can take charge but in that protective, not possessive way that I love and heroines who may suffer but have that inner strength that makes them survivors.  
~ After Dark Booklovers

Excerpt

JJ blinked, realizing something warm was running down her face. She swiped at it. Was it raining? Her hand came back covered in blood. Her blood. The side of her head pounded as if she’d gotten hit with a hefty piece of wood.

Oh, right. She had. She’d jumped right into a street brawl to back up her potential new boss—the Chief of Police in Rescue, Alaska. 

“Whoa, Chief. Need help there?” a man called.

“Dante. A hand would be helpful.” The chief rolled one downed assailant over, handcuffed him, and did the same with the other. “Can you babysit the assholes while I take the officer in to the clinic?”

“You got it, Gabe.” The man had a twangy drawl that brightened as he said, “Officer, huh? You finally got us another cop?”

Chief MacNair squatted down beside JJ. “You’re bleeding, Officer. Let’s get that looked at.”

Everything was going in and out of focus. When he lifted her to her feet, her balance tilted as if she was standing in a canoe rather than on hard ground, and he slung an arm around her waist.

“Sorry, sorry.” She concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other. The world went dark…and she almost panicked until she realized they were inside the building. The lobby.

“Oh, hell, Gabe. That’s not the way to conduct an interview.” The scolding voice was familiar. The receptionist.

The Chief chuckled. “My bad. Is the Doc in?”

“Yep. Go on in.”

MacNair steered her to the right and through a door.

“Doc, got a patient for you.” The chief’s loud voice echoed in the room. Somewhere a child was crying. A couple of people were talking. “She got thumped by a 2 by 4 and is pretty woozy.”

“I’m fine.” She tried to draw herself up.

“Nope, you’re not.” The chief sounded more amused than upset.

“Put her in room two, ’mano.” The Spanish-accented voice was smooth, warmly masculine, and all too familiar.

No. This couldn’t be happening.

Her knees buckled, and the chief’s grip tightened. “Room two. Only a few more steps, Officer.”

A murmur of voices came from another room. “Bring Niko back in ten days, and I’ll take the stitches out. Remember what I told you about watching for infection.”

“Will do. Thanks, Doc.”

“Here, Officer.” The chief took her into a small exam room and helped her up onto the table.

The man she’d met the previous night entered the room. Saw her. Stopped.

JJ put her hand up to her aching head and felt the warmth of blood. Her gaze went double, back to single.

Cazador. It really was him. He wore black jeans, black sneakers, and a white lab coat over a black T-shirt. Maybe she was concussed, but he was still the most intimidatingly handsome man she’d ever seen.

Ay, pobrecita,” he murmured. Warm fingers under her chin, he tilted her head up. “Officer, hmm?”

“Um…” Whatever she’d planned to say faded from her thoughts under the impact of his dark, dark eyes.

“Let’s get that bleeding stopped.” After gloving up, the doc used gauze to put enough pressure on the wound that she squeaked.

“Sorry.” He held her head firmly, not easing up. As she inhaled, she could smell his aftershave—the green of vetiver and lime. Like last night. A good memory of companionship. Along with a touch of embarrassment.

She tried to shake her head, but he didn’t let her move.

“Stay still—”

“Her name’s Jayden. Jayden Jenner,” the chief said. “Officer Jenner, this is Caz or Cazador or Doc.”

“Officer Jenner,” Cazador murmured politely.

“If you’re stitching me up, I’d just as soon you call me JJ.”

Laughter lit Cazador’s eyes. “JJ.” He took the gauze off and eyed her wound. “Bleeding is stopped.” He glanced at the chief. “What was she doing intercepting a 2 by 4?”

“Street fight. Five of the Patriot Zealots were picking on a tourist.” The chief huffed a laugh. “Oddest end to an interview I’ve experienced.”

“She’s here to interview, and you pulled her into a fight?” The doctor opened a sterile dressing pack on the rolling stand before shooting the chief a disapproving stare. “In medical interviews, we ask questions, look at resumes. We don’t slap a scalpel into their hands before they’re hired and say have at it. What the hell, Gabe?”

“She stepped in on her own to back me up—and she took out two and a half of them on her own. She’s almost as fast as you are.” The chief’s voice warmed. “Nice job, Officer.”

“Except for getting caught out by the 2 by 4,” she grumbled.

“Live and learn. You’ll guard your six more carefully next time,” the chief said.

Next time? Did he—

“Look up at me, JJ.” The nasty penlight flashed in her eyes as the doctor asked the standard questions to see if she was concussed. If she had any allergies. Any other pain.

It was a bit comforting that she’d met him last night. And it was rather awkward, too.

“Let’s get you lying flat. I don’t want you swaying while I attack you with a needle.” Hand behind her shoulders, Cazador laid her back on the exam table.

“Doctor.” As her head spun, she pushed his hand away and tried to sit back up. “No needles.”

“Yes, needles. Foreheads have too much tension for gluing.” His hand closed on her shoulder and held her still. “And it’s Caz or Cazador, please. I’m a nurse practitioner, not a doctor.”

“People call you Doc.”

When he leaned over her with a tiny needle and she tried to turn away, she got a tsking sound and a firm, “Lie still, Officer Jenner.” When she gave up, he continued, “A number of people have felt the need to call me doc, including the pendejo here.”

Pendejo. Had he just called the chief an asshole?

MacNair chuckled. “You stuck me with the chief title. I get to call you Doc.”

Cazador snorted, then warned her, “Tiny stick.”

She closed her eyes and tensed. But he was good at his craft. There was only a small sting, then another and another.

“Done with numbing. You did very well.” His deep, velvety soft voice compelled trust.

As shouting and cursing drifted in from the street, the chief grunted. “I need to deal with those idiots. Can you keep her here until she’s back on her feet, Caz?”

The doc’s dark eyes looked into hers. “It would be my pleasure.”

JJ would have rolled her eyes if her head hadn’t ached so badly. “Yeah, you just love having to babysit woozy officers, I’m sure.”

The doc smiled at her. “We can argue about the impact of anti-super-heroes on the next generation while you’re here.”

The lure was more compelling than being offered a candy bar.

“Officer Jenner.” The chief pulled her attention away. “That was a nice job of backup.”

A compliment. How awesome was that?

“The position’s yours, if you want it.”

She stared. Closed her mouth. She could work here in this small town, a place that obviously needed her. One that might welcome her. The man on the street, Dante, had sounded happy that the chief might hire her. She could fit in here. Have a community to serve and a place to belong. Longing swelled within her.

Remembering the chief’s compliment, she was sold. She could work with this man, Chief MacNair, and learn from him, too. “I’ll take it.”

“Excellent. Take some time and recover while I stuff those idiots into our token jail cell.” The Chief smiled. “Come back to the station when Caz lets you go, and we’ll start on the paperwork.”

He wasn’t treating her like a fragile bunny that needed to be sent home and pampered. Yes, this would work out. “Will do, Chief.”

“Make it Gabe.”

As he left the room, the doc made a disapproving sound under his breath. His brows were drawn together.

“What?” she asked.

“You haven’t even started, and you’re already bleeding.”

She scowled. “Would you say that to a man?”

“Men aren’t…” He said something under his breath, an exasperated sound. “Forgive me, you’re right. I was out of line.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll hose the blood off before I visit your clinic. Next time.” Next time—because she had a job. Despite her aching head, her lips curved.

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