Knight:A Club Alias Novel(6)

By: K.D. Robichaux


“Don’t look so worried, Bri. You always complete your missions flawlessly. Either you’re very good at not getting distracted by her company, or she’s actually a really good quiet sidekick. Either way, your ability to keep her completely secret from us is surprising.”

I run my hand through my hair, pushing it back out of my face where it had fallen over my forehead. I wanted to get it cut, but Clarice mentioned she loves the way it looks long. And whatever my girl wants…

“But we’ll touch on that on another day. It’s time for my next appointment,” Doc says, and I nod, standing up from the couch as he does the same.

“Same time tomorrow?”

“Yep, but I’ll see you tonight at the club,” he tells me, and my eyebrows lift in surprise.

“Are you actually going to leave your captive at home alone?” I tease.

“Actually, no. Astrid wants to go see a movie with Twyla and Vi. And she’s not my captive. She just hasn’t found a place to move out on her own that I approve of,” he defends, and I smirk, giving him a knowing look.

I reach out and pat his shoulder. “You’ll wear her down eventually. What woman could possibly resist a hot doctor with a beard who has locked her away in his mansion to keep her safe? And if not you, she definitely wouldn’t want to leave ole Scout dog. One look into those mismatched eyes and no woman would dare leave such a lovable, noble steed.”

“Are you sure you’re not gay?” he grumbles, and I chuckle, feeling a lot more jovial than I usually am outside of Clarice’s presence.

“Fuck you, bro. See you tonight.”





Brian


Eleven Years Ago


Khost, Afghanistan





“NO WANDERING OFF by yourself, camera girl. Stay with me, and you’ll be fine,” I hear the General say behind me as we exit our Humvee on the outskirts of the village. All that’s stretched out before us is rundown buildings, everything a depressing beige. There isn’t a stitch of color, neither in the setting nor on the people milling about. Even their clothes are a dingy off-white. Some of the walls and roofs look like they might’ve been blue at one point, but years of sunlight have bleached them into a morose gray.

“You really worried about my safety, or you just trying to make sure all my shots feature your handsome mug?” Clarice responds, clearly buttering him up to get away with her sassiness.

The bastard wouldn’t even be out here if it weren’t for her camera, wanting to appear like he includes himself on missions instead of just sending out everyone who’s a lower rank than him. But the second he heard she’s here to do a spread for her magazine was the moment he suddenly got his hooah back. He wants to act the part of the king who rides into battle along with his warriors, when really he stays safely back in his fortress, sending everyone else out to do the real work.

“All right, boys. Show me this school. I’m excited to see it,” Clarice says to our group, and we immediately fall into position. She’s made every single one of us putty in her hands with her beauty and charm. Over the past few weeks, I can only imagine the images she’s captured, because she can get even the most bullheaded and gruff soldiers to do what she asks for a shot with only her perfect smile and a glint in those mischievous eyes.

Weapons resting with a three-point sling, my rifle lays against my front for easy draw. Unlike in the movies, we don’t walk around with our guns at the ready for extended periods—too tiring on one’s arms. Plus, we don’t want to scare the civilian population. But we’ve been trained for countless grueling hours to be able to draw our weapons faster than any gunslinger in the Wild West.

Making our way swiftly but carefully through the alleys between buildings, we make our way toward the school under construction. The American government is building it for the town’s children as a show of support for the Afghani people. And of course, the general wants Clarice to capture images of it to put in her magazine. Look! See how nice we are?

When we arrive, Clarice and the general wait outside while the rest of the team secures the building. When we give the all clear, I watch her expression as she takes in all the boxes that must’ve just arrived. They weren’t here a few days ago when another group of us came to do our security check. And when she reads on the cardboard that the boxes contain children’s school desks and chairs, her face goes soft before she takes a step back and aims her camera at them. The shutter goes off just as we’re ordered to secure the perimeter while they wander the inside, letting her take as many photos as she sees fit.