Dixie Under Siege (A Warrior's Passion #2) - Natasza Waters


Josh Hunter stood at the window overlooking Glorietta Bay from his office at the Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado. Training vessels departed the dock as part of the SEALs’ Phase Three work-up prior to deployment. Like his legendary predecessor, Thane “Ghost” Austen, Josh intended to deploy in August with his men.

At least that had been the plan until an hour ago.

A stalker had the woman he’d loved and nearly married, under siege.

Earlier in the year, Josh had been floored when he’d walked into the new coffeehouse called Erotic Bean for a cup of java, to find Dixie Hammond owned the place. Their reunion went as expected. She’d told him to get the hell out. Although angry with him, he couldn’t ignore that his pulse rose to a running pace when he set eyes on Dix.

He’d kept his distance from his ex, but returned to the shop many times. Since Josh didn’t especially love coffee, he questioned why he kept going back.

When he finally convinced her to share, Josh learned since graduating college, Dix had moved from state to state, trying to shake an unwanted admirer. San Diego was a new start for her until she received another note. The predator hunting Dixie had found her again.

Today, Josh had infiltrated her life whether she wanted his help or not. Begrudgingly, she’d allowed him to read some of the notes.

Think you could run away?

I’m watching you. Even when you sleep.

I love watching you take your clothes off.

The last note Dixie revealed made his blood boil.

I’m going to bind your hands and ankles and fuck you hard.

Her file cabinet held folders bloated with notes. Lt. Elijah Bach, Josh’s best friend, and Rayne Levy were in Dixie’s office when she’d admitted how long she’d been living under this guy’s reign of terror.

“I’ll deal with it like I always have,” Dixie had said.

A stab of guilt had gutted Josh. All those years ago, he hadn’t left Dixie because he didn’t love her. He left because he was a hot-headed fool.

“And how did you deal with it?” he’d asked.

She dropped her gaze. “Moved. Many times.”

Josh had gathered both her hands in his. A familiar but forgotten warmth ricocheted through his blood. “Running from this guy feeds his fire. That’s how he controls you.”

She’d shrugged. “Running from what? He’s never shown himself. I don’t know who he is.”

Lt. Bach had said, “You do know him. Maybe not intimately, but you’ve crossed paths. Enough for him to lock you in his sights. Over the years, he’s been forming a relationship with you. A cat and mouse chase that gave him a false sense of superiority. Your reaction to run is understandable, but this won’t end until you stop.”

“I’m not scared of him,” she’d proclaimed.

Josh couldn’t help but smile. “I know you’re not. You’re pissed because you can’t face off with him. You feel like you’re the puppet and he has control of the strings. Something you’ve always hated.”

Rayne and Lt. Bach didn’t know the details of his and Dix’s relationship, only that they had history.

Dixie had quickly given Eli and Rayne a summarized version. “Our families expected us to marry. I was eighteen-years-old and wanted to go to college. But this big oaf and our traditional families wanted me barefoot and pregnant.” She flicked her thumb at Josh. “He signed up with the Navy and scattered in the wind.”

Dix’s flushed cheeks had proved she was still angry at him but her assumptions were way off base.

“I never said I wanted you barefoot and in the kitchen. Like usual, you didn’t give me a chance. You lost your temper and cancelled the wedding. What the hell was I supposed to do? Hang around, waiting for you to change your mind, which you never do once it’s made up. When your knickers are in a knot, you’re like a shrew on steroids.”

Dixie had vaulted to her feet. “You call me a shrew!” She pointed a stiff finger at him. “You’re a pigheaded, short-tempered ass!”

Before Bach and Rayne ran for cover, Elijah suggested the team guys help identify her stalker.

Josh had mulled over the lieutenant’s idea. Her predator was likely someone she knew.

He’d asked, “Did you have…men you…did you have…” The words had caught in his throat because the thought of Dixie in another man’s arms unexpectedly bothered the hell out of him.

“Did I have lovers?”

He had squashed the jealousy in his gut and continued. “Exactly. Did you have a boyfriend? Someone who…who…”

“Who I slept with?”

Of course a woman as beautiful as

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