First Chapter: Tyson's Treasure by Dale Mayer
Today we have Dale Mayer sharing the first chapter from her romantic suspense book!
Tyson's Treasure - Heroes for Hire Book 10
Welcome to Tyson’s Treasure, book 10 in Heroes for Hire, reconnecting readers with the unforgettable men from SEALs of Honor in a new series of action-packed, page turning romantic suspense that fans have come to expect from USA TODAY Bestselling author Dale Mayer. Please not that technically Michael's Mercy is book 10 but as it can't be listed in 2 series at once... so Tyson's Treasure is currently listed as book 10
Tyson lost his wife and child several years ago, and he knows it’s time to move on… So when his wife’s best friend barrels into his new life and he finds out she’s in trouble – as in serious stalker trouble – he steps up because he owes it to his late wife. Only he quickly finds out he wants to be at Kai’s side – any way he can.
Kai has wanted Tyson for so damn long, but from the first moment her best friend saw him first, the two were like a lock and key. When Kai sets her eyes on him for the first time in years while doing a demonstration for a new training program her company developed, she realizes her feelings haven’t changed.
But her life has changed, and she has a huge issue she doesn’t want anyone to know about. After all, she’s got a badass skill set… She can handle a stalker on her own… right?
Or maybe not. As the two delve deeper into the Kai’s troubles, they find out things are much more complicated than they seem – and much more deadly.
FIRST CHAPTER EXCERPT
Tyson reached for a towel and wiped his face. He had to appreciate the huge weight room and open floor space Levi had built here. The new room to the side he didn’t understand yet but heard rumors that was part of Kai’s visit. Speaking of her, he’d been tossed, thrown and stomped by some half-pint demon female.
Kai hadn’t been kidding when she’d said she was ready to kick someone’s butt.
Only now she was up against Ice, and that wasn’t turning out the way Kai had planned. Tyson was handicapped with his moral code about hitting a woman. He knew it was also about skills, but he’d been unable to hit back as hard or as mean as he would have if he’d been up against one of the guys.
That had just pissed her off more.
He was who he was though, and Kai had been his wife’s best friend. No way would he hurt Kai.
Particularly not a woman he knew he could hurt. Now if she had been a terrorist holding a semiautomatic rifle on them, maybe. Well, no maybe about it. But he could no more hurt Kai or any of the women in this place. And he knew that, for all Kai’s skills, he was still physically stronger than she was.
The women might get mad and feisty and rib him over it. But the men understood. Tyson had yet to see any of them battle with Kai and come out winning the match. But Ice … Now she didn’t have the same issues. And she was giving Kai as good as Kai was giving her. Matter of fact, it was a hell of a fight. He admired the skill the two women had so equally worked for so they could unleash it on the ugliness in the world. As he thought about that, his heart filled with sadness. He’d spent his lifetime trying to heal and help, but every time he turned around, another war was going on somewhere else.
Much like his history, he liked to remember little else. Tracy was an entirely different story. Memories of her were painful, but still he smiled at the thought of her. Kai’s presence had stirred up the more difficult memories.
Kai had been very special to Tracy. And he’d always honored that. For the longest time he hadn’t thought Kai even liked him. Her abrasiveness showed whenever he was around her. He never really understood it but just accepted it. Tracy, on the other hand, used to laugh and say he had Kai all wrong. And she’d get over it. Whatever it was.
“And she did … eventually,” he muttered under his breath.
One of the guys beside him turned to look at Tyson. He shrugged and wiped his face. He had no idea what Kai was doing here. But, so far, she’d had a round with everybody. He was all up for any kind of martial arts training, but that couldn’t be exactly what she was here for. She was a weapons instructor so, unless she brought some new toys, he didn’t get it. How come she’d left the military? He’d sworn she was a lifer. Then life changed for all of them, him included. As he looked around the room at all the people here who left the military, he realized how normal that was. Now Kai worked for a private contractor. Why had she changed careers? And what was she doing here?
He grabbed a bottle of water off the counter and took several gulps. A round of cheers and clapping behind him had him turning to see Ice and Kai shaking hands—both tired, sweaty and glowing with triumph.
“A draw?” he muttered, not that it mattered both women were bad ass.
Kai grabbed a towel, wiped her face, tossed it around her neck and said, “Now that we got all that out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the new toys.”
Behind her she pointed at a rolled-up mat. “Rhodes and Merk, you want to roll that out for me?”
They grabbed it and, with a startled grunt, managed to drag it to where she stood.
She laughed at the surprised look on their faces. “Yeah, it’s heavy as it has a special resistance to it. Lay it down for me, will you?”
They stretched it out.
“Now walk across it to me.”
They walked across, shrugged their massive shoulders, turned and walked again. “Feels like a normal mat.”
She nodded. And then held up a remote in her hand. “Not quite.” She clicked the button and said, “Now walk across it.”
The two men exchanged glances but stepped onto the mat. They had to forcibly lift their legs off it to take another step. They stared at the mat, then back at her. Rhodes asked, “What the hell is that?”
“A new kind of platform so you can adjust the amount of resistance during a workout.” She handed him a thick leather belt. “Put this around your waist.”
She waited until he had it buckled in place, then pointed at the mat. “Drop and give me ten.”
Rhodes hit the floor and bounced up. By the second push-up he was swearing. By the third push-up the swearing had turned a whole lot nastier.
Kai chuckled. “I’ll lower the resistance. Now try again.”
Instantly he could do push-ups.
“Now watch,” Kai said as she turned up the dial and Rhodes strained harder. “Now this.” She turned the dial right to the end. Even with everybody cheering him on, Rhodes couldn’t get his chest off the ground.
“What the hell magic is this?” Merk roared.
“No magic about it. It’s a torture instrument,” Rhodes snapped. “You want to turn that all the way back down again please?”
With a chuckle Kai turned the knob down. “New special magnets on the inside affect your energy. It creates a stronger gravity pull. Think about how much weight you have to use when you’re powerlifting or doing machine work. This is resistance training at a whole new level. These mats, plus adding one or more of these”—she lifted smaller ankle and wrist bands—“will help you get more out of your workouts.” She turned to look at the fascinated faces and grinned. “It’ll make a huge change to the way you work out.”
Back upright, Rhodes took off the belt and handed it to Levi.
Levi shook his head. “I already know what these things can do.”
Rhodes handed it off to Michael as he strapped it on, this time with Merk holding the remote for practice. He sat up. “I wouldn’t have believed it. These things are deadly.”
“Sure, but it’ll also build and tone muscle faster, stronger, better than ever before.”
Michael grinned. “But at what cost? Our egos are not so easily replaced.”
Kai chuckled. “Maybe, but I do have a new virtual-reality set for you to try out.”
Murmurs hummed through the room.
Tyson wondered. He hadn’t seen anything like that yet, but he hadn’t been here more than forty-eight hours. He glanced at his buddy, looking back at him. Together the two men shook their heads, raised their eyebrows and focused again on Kai.
“This one is for target practice. We have specific VR programs which Levi is working on in the training room. What you have at the moment is the option of three training programs, which we will hook you up to. I can show you one of the programs right now. This one is nice and simple. I would like a volunteer.” She glanced around and said, “Tyson, you’re up.”
He stepped forward obediently, wondering why she was picking on him. She fitted him with the headset and gave him a belt plus what looked like a futuristic pair of gloves yet a realistic-looking weapon—only it was plastic with some weight behind it. And, instead of ammunition, it had a control panel on the side. He stared at her and said, “I don’t even play video games, so this will be totally new for me.”
“And while you’re playing,” she said, “we have a monitor for the others to see what you’re seeing. But you’re in the middle of it. So let’s just do this as a test run.” She turned to Levi. “Did you get the installation completed?”
Levi nodded. “Yes.” He motioned everybody to the back of the room where a clear wall separated Tyson from the rest of the crew. He turned and glared at what appeared to be a ten-by-twelve space. What the hell that meant he didn’t know.
Kai’s voice came through some kind of a speaker system in his head. “Okay, Tyson, not to worry. This will just be practice. Hit the button on the left-hand side of your belt.”
He hit the button and was on a slum street in a North American city. He turned slowly, stunned at the details showing up around him. There even appeared to be total interaction as a newspaper floated aimlessly in the wind in front of him.
“Tyson, you understand this program is just a simple training program to help you work on target practice, response times, cognitive discernment and a host of other things. So get ready.”
Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, he saw a motorcycle rip around the side of a building, the driver with a gun in his hand who shot off a round. It wasn’t that Tyson took a hit physically. But it was almost like he had. In fact, the scene around him went static instead of dynamic.
“That hit was a kill shot. You’d be dead in reality. You have two options. You can switch the settings. The entire scene disappears, and you’re back to the empty room, or the scene freezes. Why these options? One allows you to walk away, ending the game, maybe answer a phone call—whatever the situation. The other allows you to consider the scenario and assess performance. Now if you’ll stand back up …” Kai stared at him.
Tyson shook his head and realized he was down on the ground. His body had reacted as if he had taken a shot. He glanced at the odd gloves to see sensors flashing on his system.
“Now we’ll run that again. This time it’s up to you to decide if you take the hit or if you can shoot somebody.”
Within seconds a motorcycle came toward him. He raised his gun and fired. The motorcycle spun out of control, flashed past him with the driver rolling to the side. Tyson didn’t know if it was a direct hit, but, considering the guy still held his weapon, Tyson realized he would be a target if the man survived. Tyson raced to the alley and watched. The motorcycle driver didn’t make a move. Just as Tyson thought it might be safe to step back out again, another motorcycle came from the opposite direction. The driver screamed, “Asshole, that was my brother you just killed.”
And bullets hailed in his direction. For the next ten minutes he executed evasive maneuvers, firing shots to keep the gang from taking his life. By the time the program ended, Tyson was shaking, his adrenaline running through him, his body covered in sweat.
The glass wall slid to the side. Kai walked in, reached up and unbuckled the headset. She studied him. “How are you feeling?”
With his chest heaving and his breath coming out in rasps, he nodded. “I’m fine, but that’s quite a rush.”
She grinned. “It is.”
“Did you have anything to do with that invention?” he asked.
As she unbuckled his gloves and the belt and took the weapon away from him, she answered, “I didn’t do any of the technical work. But I was in on the testing from the beginning.”
He walked to the other side of the room, a big grin on his face, and for the rest of the morning watched as everybody had a chance to try out the new system. He turned to Levi and said, “That is a hell of a training program.”
Levi nodded. “What we can’t ever do is get soft. We can’t ever lose that edge that keeps us who we are in the field. So, yes, it’s a big financial investment, but then I’m investing in our lives. And that’s what counts the most.” Levi slapped Tyson on the shoulder. “You did a good job in there. Welcome to the team. It’s good to have you.” And he turned back to the others.
Tyson wasn’t exactly sure how to take that because, as much as he really enjoyed what he’d done this morning, it still wasn’t the same as understanding what life here as part of the compound would be.
Michael walked over. “That’s a hell of a deal Levi’s got going.”
“I can’t argue with that. Perhaps this is where we belong.”
“Yep, you’ve made a home for yourself. I still feel like an odd man out.”
“And you will for a while. No doubt about it. But these are good people. Don’t forget that there are all kinds of people. Just be glad to know that others like us are out there.”
“Are they like us? Have they had the losses, the tribulations, the trials, the agony?”
The smile fell away from Michael’s face. “Yes, they have. Every last one of them.”
Tyson studied his buddy’s expression for a long moment and then nodded, something settling deep inside. “Good. Then maybe there’s a place for me here too.”
Dale Mayer is a prolific multi-published writer. She's best known for her Psychic Visions series. Besides her romantic suspense/thrillers, Dale also writes paranormal romance and crossover young adult books in several different genres. To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series . All her books are available in print format as well.