it’s no different.’ Jaz was seeing a different guy to the image he portrayed. Behind those blue eyes were strength and a desire for justice. ‘What was it like growing up with your dad?’ she asked. Something passed across his eyes and Jaz knew she’d trodden on dangerous ground. Anna shot her a cautious look but no one said anything. They just waited. ‘Some days it was great, other days he would test me. Mental stuff like going without water or sleep, and testing my resolve like pushing me to continue on when we would go hiking. If I stopped for a rest, I risked being left behind and getting lost. I’m sure it all shaped me into a strong person, but I think what I needed most then was a compassionate father. There is a reason he makes a good trainer. He wants all his men to survive so he makes sure they are tested on every level.’ ‘Man, I never would have known,’ said Tay. ‘You do the surfie look well.’ Cody smiled. ‘Appearances and perception are a part of the game.’ Just then, Jaz’s phone rang. It was Marcus. She spoke to him quickly before hanging up. All eyes on her. ‘So you going to catch up with him now?’ asked Anna. ‘Yep. He’s booked us a table at Baciare. I have to get dressed up.’ ‘Nice one. Pulling out the wallet, hey. Fancy place that. He’s serious,’ said Anna, with a forlorn expression. Jaz knew just what she was thinking. How serious was it going to get before Jaz could break up with him. She knew how she felt and Jaz hoped it wasn’t for much longer. She had no way of knowing what would happen after her mission. As they finished their coffees, they made a move to the door. ‘Cheers for that,’ said Cody. ‘Can we do paintball again? Next time me and Anna against you two.’ Anna was nodding emphatically. ‘Or we could go guys against girls?’ ‘The last one,’ said Tay. ‘I’m all for it.’ ‘Me too. Next Saturday? Same time?’ said Jaz. They all agreed. Cody left in his rusty jeep while her friends piled into her Jeep Wrangler. ‘He seems nice,’ said Anna. ‘Jury’s still out,’ said Tay, as he shut his door and stared out the window. It was a quiet trip home for all of them. Maybe they were thinking about Cody’s childhood, their future missions, or maybe her date with Marcus. All three had been circling around Jaz’s mind like hunting lions. No wonder she felt mentally tired. But when the time came, she’d paste on her dutiful girlfriend smile and pretend life was rosy.
Chapter 9 Jaz was feeling nervous. Maybe it was the fitted blue dress with the exposed back teamed up with her black high heels, or maybe it was being with Marcus and wondering how this night would turn out? Who knew? She’d picked this dress for not only did it cover her thighs, more importantly it covered the bullet wound. The high heels made her wound hurt but they totally made the dress pop so she was willing to handle the pain. In a way she put it down to training, pushing through pain and learning to handle it. As she pulled up into Marcus’s driveway, she checked she had her fake ID and cards in her small matching black clutch. His mother let her in. ‘Welcome Jaz. Don’t you look gorgeous?’ ‘Thanks Diane.’ Jaz automatically checked her hair. The elegant twist high on her hair was still in place. ‘Wow.’ Marcus stood staring for a moment before moving to her side and dropping a sweet kiss on her cheek. He was wearing black dress pants and a button-up dark blue shirt. His hair was pulled back into a knot at the nape of his neck. The whole ensemble made him look years older. She wondered if they were his black leather shoes or his father’s. ‘Ready to go?’ ‘Sure am. Bye Diane, hope you have a good night,’ said Jaz as she glanced around the house, wondering if Carl was home. ‘A TV dinner and wine while watching a movie for me. It will be bliss,’ Diane said with a tired smile. ‘You kids enjoy your night.’ Marcus drove