Tracking trisha, p.1
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       Tracking Trisha, p.1

           S. E. Smith
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Tracking Trisha


  Tracking Trisha

  Tracking Trisha

  By S. E. Smith

  With thanks to:

  My husband, Steve, for believing in me and being proud enough of me to give me the courage to follow my dream. A special thanks to my sister and best friend, Linda, who not only encouraged me to write but read it as well.

  -S. E. Smith

  IMPRINT: Science Fiction Romance

  TRACKING TRISHA

  Copyright © 2011 by Susan E. Smith

  First E-Book Publication June 2012

  Cover Design by S. E. Smith

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED: This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

  All characters, places, and events in this book are fictitious or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is strictly coincidental.

  Synopsis

  Trisha Grove enjoyed her job as a pilot for Boswell International but realizes something is still missing from her life – her family. She is ready to call it quits and head back home to Wyoming where her father lives. She never expected her last flight for Boswell would end with an unplanned trip out of this world. Trisha isn’t sure at first what is real and what isn’t; all she knows is she is determined to get back to her dad no matter what it takes.

  Kelan Reykill is the fourth son in the royal line of Valdier. Commander of the V’ager, one of the largest Valdier warships, he prides himself on his strict self-discipline, his ability to remain in command in any situation, and his skill at handling any challenge. That is, until he meets a stubborn human female from the primitive planet his older brother sought refuge on. Now, all he can think about is how to get the female into his bed and under his control while staying in one piece.

  When she is taken from him, Kelan will track Trisha to the ends of the universe and further because he knows one thing – she is his true mate and he will do anything; kill anyone, who tries to harm her.

  By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age. If you are under the age of 18, please get a refund for this book. It is designed for the entertainment of mature readers only.

  Prologue

  The large buck moved cautiously through the dense forest. It paused looking around. A shiver passed over its tan coat and its ears twitched back and forth trying to detect the slightest sound that was not natural to its habitat. Its large, dark brown eyes searched the nearby brush looking for the danger it could sense by not see. Taking a tentative step forward, it suddenly swirled and jumped quickly over a log, disappearing into the surrounding forest. A muttered curse exploded from the lips of the figure lying silently on the ground. The man slowly rose out of his hiding place, a large hunting knife in his hand. He hadn’t eaten in three days. As he stood up brushing the leaves and branches off his shoulders and legs a sharp impact to the center of his back threw him forward where he laid still, knowing he had just been killed.

  “Last target down.” Trisha said softly into her mic.

  She calmly tucked the bow back into the harness clipped to her side and began working her way down the large tree she was in. Even as she moved, it was almost impossible to see her small form as she stayed to the shadows and covering of the branches. She jumped down the last couple of feet and moved to the man who lay prone on the damp, forest floor. Walking over to him with her pistol held tightly against her, she looked at the red stain spreading over his back. A clean kill, she thought, severed spine, arrow straight through the heart, no sound.

  “Good job, baby girl.” A deep voice replied with pride. “That makes ten for ten. Tag target and come on in.”

  Trisha grinned as she bent down and touched the target. “Tag, you’re it.” She said.

  The man groaned as he turned over and looked up into the shining dark, brown eyes of the girl standing over him. His only consolation was he had been the last one tagged. The bad thing was it was by a twelve year old little girl. He was never going to live down the ribbing from the other guys in his squadron.

  “Daddy says we can come in now.” Trisha said as she reached out a hand to help the soldier who was going through an intensive wilderness survival training program with Trisha’s dad.

  “What gave me away?” The man grumbled as he slowly got to his feet again.

  “Your stomach.” Trisha replied with a grin. “You should have eaten those bugs two days ago or some of the fish left over from the grizzly yesterday. They weren’t too bad.”

  The man just grunted as he rotated his shoulders trying to ease the pain where Trisha shot him with the arrow. The tips were designed with an ink pack on them so when they hit the target, it was noticeable to the instructors. The problem was it still hurt like hell. He would be sporting a softball size bruise for at least a week.

  “How did you know about the bugs and the fish?” The man asked as he tried to look over his shoulder to see what kind of shape he would have been in if she shot him with a real arrow.

  “Oh, about an hour after you left I found your trail. You left some really good tracks and it wasn’t too hard to follow you. Anyway, I watched you as tried to decide if you were going to eat them.” Trisha replied as she stepped over a log. “By the way, I severed your spinal column and the arrow would have gone into your heart killing you instantly.”

  The man shook his head in wonder. What kind of father would teach his little girl how to track, hunt, and kill for fun? He heard of the father/daughter team from some of the other Navy Seals who had gone through the training. None of them ever made it through the first time without getting killed. Very few, if any, ever made it through the second or third time. Once they made it through, the father would send them in again, only this time he would send his daughter in after them. None ever survived.

  “Why didn’t you kill me earlier?” The man asked. He followed the small figure in front of him without questioning her whether she knew where they were at, much less where they were going.

  “Oh, I like studying my prey to see how it thinks. Daddy says you can learn a lot about a person by studying the way they react to things that are going on around them. You did a good job once you realized I was tracking you. I liked how you used the river to try to cover your tracks.” Trisha said turning towards a narrow animal trail.

  “Thanks.” The man grumbled again.

  Dante Rodriguez listened as Trisha explained all the things she noticed him doing right and pointed out some things he did wrong. He shook his head thinking it was hard to believe he was listening to a twelve year old. She seemed much older. She moved with an easy grace and confidence which told of her knowledge, experience, and comfort at being in her present environment. He remembered laughing with the other nine guys in his squadron when his commanding officer told them they were going to participate in a wilderness survival camp held by Grove Wilderness Guides, a private company that worked out of Wyoming. The guys all joked that if they could survive basic training and Camp Coronado, they could survive anything. Obviously, the U. S. Navy Seals never expected they would be up against the skills of a very talented twelve year old girl.

  “Daddy!” Trisha squealed suddenly and took off at a run. Dante watched as her slim shape was engulfed in a hug by a huge, bear of a man.

  Later that night, Trisha lay on the roof outside her bedroom window. Her dad was saying goodbye to the last of their clients and she was waiting for him in their favorite spot. Her eyes lit up as the big, muscular frame of her father crawled through the narrow opening without a sound. A moment later, he reclined his huge frame down next to her and they both stared
silently up at the night sky.

  “You did real good, baby girl.” Her dad said in a gruff voice. “Your mom and I are real proud of you.”

  Trisha smiled as she stared up at the twinkling stars. “Which one is she on tonight?” Trisha asked softly.

  Her dad pointed to a bright spot. “That one.” He replied just as quietly. “Your mom’s on that star tonight looking down on you. Can you hear her? She’s telling me what a beautiful, young lady you are turning out to be and how proud she is of you.”

  Trisha smiled up at the star her dad pointed out. “I’m glad. One day I’m going to fly up there and find her.” Trisha said before she turned her head to look at her dad. “And, when I do, I’m going to take you with me.”

  Trisha’s dad, Paul, kept his eyes focused on the star he had chosen tonight. He didn’t say anything, he couldn’t. His throat was tight from holding in the tears at the innocence in his only daughter’s promise. Since his wife died from a brain aneurism when Trisha was a year old, it was just him and her. Every night they would lay out under the stars and pick a different one. He reached over and gently cupped Trisha’s small hand in his larger one.

  “You do that, baby girl. You do that and I’ll be happy to go with you.” He finally said.

  Chapter 1

  Trisha Grove grimaced at the faint scars marring her flat stomach. One large one and a half-dozen smaller ones fanned out in different directions. She pulled the black top of her uniform down to cover them and turned away from the mirror. She pictured a nice, sturdy metal filing cabinet in her mind. Once she had a clear vision of it, she mentally put all her bad memories in it and locked it securely, throwing away the key. The damn thing always found a way to open itself up but it was taking longer and longer for it to do so, she thought in satisfaction.

  Trisha pulled out her black, canvas duffle bag with the Boswell International logo on it and packed two changes of clothes, one for work and one for play. Not that she did much playing any more. Oops, she thought to herself with a self-reproving smile, forgot that one. After packing her bag, she walked back over to the mirror and pulled her light brown hair up and braided it into a serviceable ponytail. Her hair was extremely curly from the top all the way to the tips. She tried cutting it short once and found out that was a huge mistake! She ended up with an afro that would have made the comedian Carrot Top proud if her hair had been red. After that disastrous style decision, she let it grow out thinking the weight of it would at least allow her to braid it or put it up into her current favorite style of the ponytail. She studied her face for a moment with a sigh. She had to admit that at twenty-eight, she wasn’t half bad – at least with her clothes on. At five foot six, her slender frame was well-portioned. She was a little big on top but not so much as it became much of a problem with strapping into a cockpit. Her almost waist length hair framed her long, narrow face. She had a straight nose and lips that were not too full but not too thin. Her biggest asset was her dark, chocolate brown eyes. They were so dark it was hard to see her pupils most of the time. Her dad still told her they weren’t brown for nothing whenever she would give him a hard time, she thought with a grin. Her eyes darkened as she realized she was long overdue for a visit with her dad. She should have gone last month but she was running out of excuses to give him about why she still wasn't dating anyone.

  Sorry daddy, I can’t give you those grandkids you’ve been wanting, the doctors say it is too dangerous. No, I’m not seeing anyone. I’ve been too busy with work. No, I haven’t heard from Peter since the divorce – and your little private conversation with him. Yes, I know there are other men out there that…Trisha slammed her mind closed. Enough! She told herself fiercely. It’s been three friggin’ years. Get over it! Trisha pictured a deep, black hole and threw all those bad memories into it, sealing it up with a huge, metal lid. As an afterthought, she opened it up just enough to toss Peter into it as well before resealing it. That's much better, Trisha chuckled.

  Picking up her bag, she looked around to see if there was anything she might have missed. As she headed out to her SUV, she glanced up at the dark skies. Yeah, it seemed to fit the mood she was in. She pulled out of the parking garage under her apartment building and grinned. At least she was flying today. The weather forecast was scheduled to clear later this afternoon. She and her best friends, Ariel Hamm and Cara Truman, were scheduled to take an artist back across the country in an experimental business jet that was just about ready for full-scale production. She and Ariel had been test flying it all over the world. It was a beauty, with state of the art navigation and instrumentations. The sleek design was built for speed, and so far, it handled a diversity of environmental conditions beautifully.

  Trisha’s cellphone rang as she was pulling onto the freeway heading towards the private airfield owned by Boswell. Trisha frowned and muttered under her breath when a car nearly clipped her left bumper. Bad weather seemed to bring out the worse drivers.

  Trisha pressed a button on the steering wheel connecting the call. “Hello, Ariel.”

  “Hey, Trish.” Ariel said. Trisha grinned as she heard the breathlessness in Ariel’s voice. She bashed another alarm clock from the sound of it.

  “Miss your wake-up call?” Trisha asked with a grin. They both slept in due to their late night in the training simulator at Boswell’s research facility last night and Trisha wouldn't have been surprised if Ariel had gone straight from the research lab to the no-kill kennel where she volunteered. Ariel really should have been a vet, Trisha thought as she changed lanes.

  “My damn clocks are always breaking. I don’t know why I even bother buying a new one. They don’t last more than a week before they stop working.” Ariel grumbled under her breath. “Anyway, I was looking at the weather forecast and it looks like a go for early to mid afternoon. I know Abby was anxious to get back home. I haven’t heard from Cara but she should be in. I know she was in either Detroit or Philadelphia, I can’t remember which one. Anyway, you know how she is on a flight. We’ll be lucky she doesn’t try to dismantle the damn thing at thirty thousand feet for the hell of it. Oh, and Carmen is coming too.” Ariel added quickly at the end.

  Trisha bit back a chuckle. She knew Ariel would not appreciate her humor right now. Carmen was a sore point with Ariel. If the truth was known, Trisha could relate to how Carmen was feeling. Carmen lost her husband three years ago in a traumatic way. Trisha thought Carmen was doing pretty good considering what she went through. She refocused when she heard the pause on the other end of the line and knew Ariel was waiting for her to reply.

  “That’s great! I haven’t seen Carmen in a couple of months. Do you think Cara has forgiven us yet for the blind date we set her up with last week?” Trisha asked. She grinned when she heard the relief in Ariel’s voice as she changed the subject to something less stressful.

  “I hope so or we may be flapping our arms all the way to California.” Ariel said with a laugh. They had learned a valuable lesson – never set up a blind date for someone who is not only ADHD but smarter than Einstein, especially when you were drunk. The poor guy ended up having an asthma attack in the middle of the restaurant. Neither Ariel nor Trisha, who were two sheets to the wind, realized it until he finally got enough breath to ask the maître d' for an ambulance.

  “Anyway, I’m on my way and should be there in about twenty or thirty minutes.” Ariel said.

  “Sounds good, I’d like to check over the controls again. I know we’ve been in the simulator a lot this week making sure we are comfortable, but I want to recheck a few things.” Trisha said.

  They talked for a few more minutes before hanging up. Trisha knew she needed to make one more phone call before she flew out. She wanted to set up a time to meet with her dad so she could finally explain what she was planning to do. Pressing the pre-programmed number, she waited for his deep voice.

  “Hello, baby girl.” Paul Grove said softly. “How are you doing?”

  Trisha felt the smile curving her lips. S
he loved her dad so much. “I’m doing good, daddy, I’m missing you.”

  Paul Grove laughed. “Okay, when are you coming so we can head up into the mountains for a few days?”

  “How do you know me so well?” Trisha said with a sigh.

  “We’re two of kind, baby girl. Give us the outdoors with room to roam and the peace and quiet of the world around us and we can solve all the world’s problems.” Paul Grove responded with a chuckle. “So, with those words of wisdom said, when are you coming out?”

  “I’m doing a test flight to California for Boswell International. I should be back sometime tomorrow. I put in for my vacation starting on Monday. I’ll be there sometime late Monday afternoon.” Trisha said. Trisha used the word ‘vacation’ instead of ‘resignation’ because she didn’t want her dad to worry and didn’t have time to explain her decision. Some things were better said in person.

  “Sounds good, I don’t have any clients right now lined up until the end of the month. I’ll keep my schedule clear. How long are you planning on staying?” Paul asked gruffly. He didn’t want to admit to how much he missed Trisha. He knew she had her own life now but it didn’t mean he didn’t miss her.

 
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