Rough Justice (Out of the Wild Book 1)

By: Jen Talty

Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World

Out of the Wild Series, book one


To all the men and woman who serve in our Armed Force, thank you.

And to Elle James. Thank you for inviting me into your world! It is an honor.

Chapter 1

AMBER WINCHESTER tapped her pencil eraser on the notebook resting on the table at the diner in Belvoir, Virginia, not far from the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) Headquarters. She stared out the window, waiting to ambush Bud Harrington, the Chief of Operations for the Director of International Affairs. Her knee bounced up and down in time with the drumming of her fingers. Her source claimed Bud knew everything that went on at the MDA office. Her source also mentioned that Bud had been acting squirrely the last two months and was either part of the sale of top secret designs or knew about it.

Pushing her cold cup of coffee to the side, she flipped open her notebook and began scanning over her notes. Having left what little documentation her source had provided on a flash drive tucked in her purse, with a back-up at her home outside of D.C., she had no choice. Before she prodded too far into the alleged espionage, she needed to find out who her source was since all the communication came through an email from a [email protected], and there was no Joan Smith that worked for the MDA that Amber could find. For all she knew, she was being sent on some wild goose chase.

But why?

Currently, she was assigned to investigate and report on the political climate for Let’s Talk Foreign Affairs, a syndicated program that ran midday on CNS Broadcasting. Occasionally, she was called up to the national news desk, but not often enough. This could be her big break.

The bell dinged over the door as Bud strolled in. Amber checked her watch, exactly 6:15 in the evening, just like her source had said.

The hostess led him to the booth across from hers, which couldn’t have been more convenient.

Bud looked older than his picture. The wrinkles on his face were more pronounced, and his graying hair had started to recede. His olive eyes stood out as if everything else around him were black and white. He wore a crisp suit, though not designer, his tie loose around his neck. Chucking his sport coat on the bench, he slid behind the table, facing her direction.

She made eye contact briefly, giving a nod and a slight smile as she lifted her coffee mug to her lips, nearly choking on the bitter, cold drink that tasted like tar with a dash of sugar.

Once the waitress took his order, she filled her lungs with a deep breath, hoping that would give her the courage she needed. “Excuse me,” she said, waving her pencil, scooting from her booth.

“My name is—”

“Amanda Winchester,” he said behind tight lips.

She opened her mouth, snapping it shut quickly, shocked he knew her name. She’d only made it on the national newscast a few times, though her coverage of voter tampering did get her a little attention. She cleared her throat. “You know who I am?”

He lowered his chin, his thick eyelashes lifting to his brow as his emerald eyes cut like a fine diamond through her skin. “You tried to get an appointment with me, so I looked you up.”

So, he hadn’t known who she was, which took a small bit out of her ego. “You refused to see me.” She stood at the end of the table, gesturing to the empty seat.

“A pushy reporter, how refreshing.”

“I just want ten minutes of your time regarding the current stand-off between Russia—”

He held up his hand. “No comment on or off the record.”

“I have a credible source with documentation that someone from your office has been leaking—”

“Sit down,” he said with a stern, but low tone. He glanced over his shoulder and out the window before leaning forward. “You reporters are always poking around in places you shouldn’t, and this is one of those times where if you keep at it, you’re going to put our country and its citizens at risk.” He glared at her, both hands pressed flatly on the table.

“Our citizens have the right to know if one of their own is giving our defense plans to known terr—”

“Choose you words carefully.” He smiled, waving to the waitress, who scurried over to him as quick as a rabbit. “Two apple pies, clear her table, and put her check on my tab.”