Officer Finn Hallan has never run from a fight. With Niall’s life at stake, he’s not about to start now…
Finn Hallan is a member of the elite Norwegian Emergency Response Unit, code name Delta. When the team is sent to respond to a hostage situation on a Oil Platform in the Norwegian Sea, he has to face demons he thought he had buried a long time ago.
Scottish engineer Niall Faulkner’s skills in oil platform decommissioning takes him to the Forsetti platform at the worst possible time. When he’s captured by terrorists, his only thought is that he will never get to tell his lover how he really feels.
Can Finn keep Niall alive? Or will they both die at the hands of hijackers in the frigid waters of the Norwegian sea?
Multitaskingmommas Book Reviews – 4/4 – “….This was a really fast read and finished this in just one sitting. Yes, it was that fast and the story was super fast paced. Fortunately, this is written by RJ Scott so all the elements are present and accounted for: romance, erotica, men, gorgeous men, glasses, alpha men, and smaller men. Oh yes, there is the drama of the terrorist attack on an oil rig. Yes, this is trully a fantabulous story, but heck, it is one enjoyable read I just lost myself for an hour and came out grinning….”
Hearts on Fire – 4/5 – “….There’s a lot going on in the second half of the book, with the crazy around. I did like very much when Niall is frozen in place on the boat deck. That seemed a very real reaction – Niall isn’t a Delta, he’s an engineer. But his thoughts of “What would Finn do?” help him through. And I thought the ending was so them….”
Rainbow Book Reviews – “….An elite team of anti-terrorist specialists with a code name that demands respect? Check. Action-packed adventure with a side serving of love developing between men who would not normally consider each other as anything more than a one-night partner? Oh yes. And one of the most unusual settings I have ever found in gay romance—an oil platform about to be decommissioned? Put on your seat belts and get ready for one wild ride!….”
Gay List Book Reviews – “….This is a short story so everything happens quickly. I enjoyed the romance and the way both wanted more but were afraid to ask for it, nothing like a life and death situation to put things in perspective. These guys were so hot for each other every time they were together, barring the life in peril portions, they were tearing up the sheets.
Fun, sweet, sexy, cute and entertaining. I enjoyed this brief interlude of excitement, danger and love….”
The call came in just past fourteen hundred hours, Erik beating him to ops by about two seconds, both men pulling on vests and arranging holsters.Finn had been reading, spending the quiet down time before dinner trying to get his head around some of the shit that had gone down today. Time at the Urskar training facility was hard work but it wasn’t hard physical work that was bugging Finn. He knew exactly what it was.
They’d talked this morning; he was working on the Forseti platform in the Heidrun oilfield for the next few weeks. They wouldn’t be seeing each other for a while, and that was fine. Finn was good with that. Of course, he didn’t like the fact Finn was flying in this weather. The storm passing through near the Forseti platform was a big one. And yes, he had to admit to himself he’d checked. And that was the problem. He’d checked the storm, he’d worried about the flight, and he was already missing the feisty, nerdy, sexy engineer enough to have it consuming his thoughts. All the what-ifs and the whens, and mostly the whys. He didn’t usually do serious, but Niall could make him change his mind. One guy with a soft voice and a wicked mouth comes along and suddenly Finn was losing control of histouch but don’t keeppolicy.
Then, this morning he’d fucked up. Big time.
He hadn’t been paying attention and he’d seriously blown things in training. He’d let his guard down and got a helmet full of pink dye with a spot-on head shot from a crowing Erik. It wasn’t so much the kill shot, it was why Finn had been distracted. He’d been thinking about Niall, and not in theI want to fuck that sidewayskind of way, but in anI hope he’s okay and I’ll miss himkind of way.
Then Erik had to go and manage to kill him. It was the first time Erik had ever gotten the drop on Finn in training. It had taken three hair washes and vigorous scrubbing to get the pink out of his hair and off his left temple.
When they reached the briefing room Erik grinned at him, that shit-eating grin that told Finn he wouldn’t be living it down that Erik’s team had taken first blood in the mini war game they were taking part in. The grin didn’t last long, subsiding as soon as Cap walked in. After all, it didn’t matter what had happened this morning; now they were all about whatever had caused them to be alerted.
“About thirty minutes ago four bodies were found at the Grane oil terminal, identified as security assigned to the NorsDev Forseti Platform.”
Cap stared straight at Finn and for a brief moment Finn wasn’t really understanding the words. Then one thing hit him square in the chest. Forseti. That was where Niall was.
Rising to his feet he didn’t know what to say as fear gripped him. “Four?”
“We have reason to believe these four men were replaced so that a team of hijackers could get onto Forseti.”
“That’s being decom’d.” Erik sounded puzzled. “What kind of collateral does an empty oil platform have?”
“Only four?” Finn interjected. “What about the engineers? Niall Faulkner and his brother Ewan?”
Erik looked up at him and Finn could see the moment the information made sense in his head.
“Fuck. Niall is on Forseti?”
“Both of them… Niall and Ewan. Did they go? Does someone know if he…?” The rest of the team all stared at him, Cap included, and Finn realized he was coming off as a mad man. He subsided. No one could get information out if Finn was raving like a fucking lovesick moron.
“The pilots are back, they took one engineer and four security replacements. So, souls on the platform are one engineer, six skeleton crew, and the four security replacements. Eleven souls in all.”
The bottom fell out of Finn and dread stole his breath. Was it Niall or Ewan on Forseti? With who? Terrorists?
“Intel is showing no communications, or demands, but chatter has it that this is an isolated cell connected to the Hofstad Network out of Denmark.” Cap slid his finger on the laptop and the screen changed behind him to show four faces. Three fair-haired, one dark, all in fatigues with long addendums at the bottom of the photo. Ex-Marine, one former SAS. The names a blur. Except for one.
“He’s dead,” Erik said in disbelief, echoing Finn’s thoughts exactly. Roberg had a long history of fighting the good fight for whichever side paid him most. Ex-Special Forces, he had finally been taken down by the ERU two years before, just after Finn joined the team. In fact, it had been Finn who faced him down after tracking him to a small holding in Alta. They’d chased him to the Alta Dam, where the murdering fucker had died.
The bastard had tried extortion in the name of environmental concern and had killed three oil workers in an explosion at one of the dry land containment depots. Finn would never forget Svein’s face. He didn’t even fight when Erik and Finn had him cornered, simply dropped his weapon and raised his hands.
In the best traditions of all grandstanding bad guys he laughed then said, “I live to fight another day,” repeating this over and over as he fell to his knees. There had been madness in his words, and cunning in his silver eyes. Only when Finn had stepped forward did the madness manifest in a blur of motion, the two men grappling for the weapon and a bullet leaving Finn’s gun and carving into Svein’s neck, blood spurting. Time had slowed and Finn had watched in horror and a curious fascination as the terrorist leaped in a grotesque twist of muscles over the dam wall and down into the churning water below.
“They never found his body,” Finn said softly. But Finn hadn’t cared then. The fucker had a bullet in his neck and had fallen over six hundred feet. He had to have been dead.
“Until four weeks ago his file was silent, but chatter indicated there was movement and he was implicated right in the center of it all.”
“And no one thought to brief us?” Finn demanded hotly. “Why the fuck not?”
Several others in the team, Erik included, added their alarm.
Cap held up a hand and quieted the room. “Wheels up in ten,” he said.
And that was it. They knew nothing. They didn’t know why Forseti was the platform involved or why Svein Roberg had shown up. But, whatever information they received, they would be ready for action when they knew what the hell to do.
Erik grabbed his arm as Finn made to leave. “Finn?” he asked. The question was loaded. It was, are you sure you’re okay, do you know the man you’ve been seeing is on Forseti, and can you handle this, all wrapped up in one word.
Finn nodded. Didn’t matter how he felt or what he actually said to voice any of it, he was going with the team and he wasn’t putting doubt in Erik’s head.
“Let’s get this done.”
* * * * *
The helicopter took them to Grane terminal from Urskar, and Finn stayed quiet the whole time. Intel was trickling in, definite that Svein had survived being shot and was on Forseti, with camera footage from Oslo and at a gas station near Urskar. It hadn’t escaped Finn’s attention that Svein made no effort to hide his face. He was buying at the counter in the convenience store and looking directly at the camera.
Was he sending a message to Delta? That yes, he was back, and that they should come find him?
Still, why Forseti? Eco-terrorists chose live targets, not empty monoliths in the middle of the ocean. What kind of statement could Svein make with no pipeline to threaten? Maybe they wanted some kind of impact of the attack in the press. NorsDev had managed to avoid being caught up in any kind of hijacking so far, the bigger names were the victims, companies like Lundin Petroleum and BP. But, somehow Finn knew. People were the only collateral that Svein had on Forseti.
And people meant Niall or Ewan.
As soon as they landed the team jumped down and gathered around Cap, Finn catching sight of someone walking toward them in the gathering rain. For a moment he thought it was Niall, then realized this person was taller. Ewan.
Ewan hurried straight to them. “My brother is on that platform,” he said with panic in his voice. Then he saw Finn and stumbled. “Niall is on there with them.”
Finn grabbed at Ewan and held him. The man looked white with fear and Finn had to be the responsible one who kept control of everything and didn’t let what he was feeling inside be obvious on the outside.
“We’ll get him back,” he reassured Ewan.
“What do they want?” Ewan asked.
Cap made his way to Ewan and stood between him and Finn. “We don’t know anything as of yet.”
“But we know it’s hijackers,” Ewan snapped. “What are their demands?”
Cap raised a hand and Ewan fell silent. “We need to take this inside.”
The men went inside, a situation board already in place, Ewan there with a couple others who all looked as worried as Finn felt.
“This was just posted,” a man to one side said then turned the screen so Delta could see as well as everyone else. He pressed Play and a familiar voice echoed through the tinny speakers.
Svein Roberg’s face was impassive as he stared out from behind a steady camera. Finn swallowed his anger and frustration that this man was even still alive.
“I have taken the NorsDev Forseti platform. Listen carefully. At midday tomorrow I will destroy the platform and take it to the bottom of the sea where it deserves to rot. Let the sea swallow it whole.” He stopped and smiled. “Come stop me,” he added. Then the video stopped.
The threat was there, implied. He hadn’t mentioned hostages. Just that he was destroying the platform. There was no oil to leak, no fires to start, the only collateral were people.
“Why would someone be so hell bent on sending over sixty thousand tons of steel and concrete to the bottom of the sea, uncontrolled?” Ewan asked a little desperately. “And how the hell do we get my brother off of there.”
“We need to get on the platform,” Finn said immediately. The noise level rose as everyone put in their point of view, varying from “we’re fucked” to “let’s do this” depending which team was talking, be it the ground crew, or the Delta team.
Delta huddled around maps. Every single one of them knew Forseti; it had been another training post only last summer. One of the most isolated platforms, it was a relic to the 70s standing over a tapped well in the Heidrun oil field.
“He’s daring us—”
“No point in going in by Puma—”
“Sea it is—”
Every member had something to say, every man on the Delta team was a specialist in their own right.
“Can we get in touch with crew? Are there comms to anyone on the platform?” Ewan asked a little desperately, loud to be heard over the noise of discussion. Finn bit his lower lip. Svein hadn’t made a call for money or demanded news coverage. Finn didn’t have to think too hard to know that Svein was only on there to destroy everything, to what end Finn didn’t know. There was no mention of a hostage trade-off. Which meant every civilian could be dead on the platform already.
Cap answered for everyone. “No comms as yet, from the crew or from the engineer. Apart from the video we’ve got nothing.”
“He wants us,” Finn said. He didn’t have to say it out loud but everyone in Delta knew it. This was wrong, this wasn’t delicate negotiation nor did it have a strong hope of resolution. This had to be nothing more than a trap for Delta.
Svein’s twisted revenge on a team that took him down.
“He never got over the fact we killed him,” Erik deadpanned. Graveside humor, blacker than black, was how the team worked but something in the pit of Finn hated it.
Niall was on there.
“So we’re walking into a trap,” Cap summarized. “We know that. He knows that. We may as well land a freaking Puma on the helipad and just walk out, weapons drawn.”
“Which is what he is expecting because he’ll know we know.” Finn did his own summarizing and it made sense in his head. “So we split, half in the Puma, half by sea.” He pointed at the main boat deck where they could safely dock a boat. Then he traced the side around and up and under the lower production deck. “Here, we land it here. He’ll be expecting it but there’s only one way on and off this platform by sea.”
“We need a distraction.”
Erik huffed. “Landing a Puma is a pretty big distraction.”
Cap glanced at each one of his Delta team, his eyes narrowed, and Finn could see the decisions being made second by second. “Erik, Finn, you’re by sea, keeping the team small,” Cap announced. “The rest of us will do the frontal assault, land the Puma, draw their fire. We go in, we take Svein and whoever he has on assist out of the picture, try and get the crew out alive.”
There was deadly calm in Cap’s voice and Finn nodded his agreement like everyone else did. There was one word Finn was refusing to accept. There was no trying to get the crew out, and by default Niall. He would rescue everyone or die trying.
That is what Delta did.