"Do you want to share something?"
"Sure." Jack handed his empty plate to the waiter and crossed his arms on the table.
As the waiter turned, he almost collided with a man bearing down on their table, a big smile claiming half his face.
"Jack! Jack Coburn!"
A muscle twitched in Jack's jaw and he narrowed his eyes, assessing the tall, powerfully built man closing in on the table. He slipped his left hand into the pocket of the jacket crumpled next to him in the booth and gripped the handle of his gun. The man seemed positive of his identity, no point in denial.
But Jack didn't have to give him anything else.
Jack nodded once. "Yes?"
Lola sucked in a breath and Jack flicked a quick glance her way. Above her flushed cheeks, her wide eyes glimmered with fear, or maybe just excitement.
The man thrust out his hand, just missing Jack's water glass. "Lars Olafson. Or maybe you remember me better as Swede."
Jack gripped the man's hand, every inch of his body on high alert.
Lars stepped back as if to dodge the air of menace Jack exuded. He cocked his head. "You don't remember me, do you?"
Jack tensed his muscles, his fingers stiff on his weapon.
Running a hand over his shiny baldness, Lars laughed. "I know it's been a few years. I was the communications sergeant in the Third SFG, and you were in the Seventh." He turned toward Lola and winked. "Green Berets--finest fighting unit in the world."
Jack didn't plan on putting his fate in this man's hands by revealing his vulnerable condition, but he wouldn't deny the inevitable. He released the gun and smacked his forehead. "Yeah, yeah, I remember you. Your company commander was..." He snapped his fingers.
"Curran, that's right." Jack twisted his lips into a smile, but his muscles remained coiled. It could be a trap.
The waiter excused himself and dropped two dessert menus on the table.
"Try the key lime pie." Lars tapped the menus. "I can understand how you might not remember. You weren't with us that long before you got snapped up for that other team. You and those other guys. It was all pretty hush-hush, but I know they picked up a SEAL, a Mountain Ranger and a flyboy for that team."
"I'm sorry." Jack gestured toward Lola. "This is Lola Famosa. Lola, Lars Olafson."
Lola smiled and shook his hand. "Do you live in Miami?"
"Naw, the wife--" he jerked a thumb over his shoulder "--and I are taking a little vacation away from the kids. How about you, Jack? Any kids?"
"Not that I know of."
Lars guffawed and slapped Jack's shoulder. "We didn't hear much of you once you joined that special team. I mean, we had our share of operations in Afghanistan, but you guys...I guess you can't talk about it, huh?"
"No more than you can, Lars." Jack sipped his water and folded his hands around the sweating glass. Maybe he could get some intel out of the guy.
"Did you ever talk to the colonel who did the recruiting for the team?" Jack held his breath. Could Lars give him the name of the colonel who had trained Jack in the art of resisting interrogation?
"We didn't know anything about the recruiting. We figured they already had their guys picked out, and we weren't surprised they snapped you up, Coburn--your knowledge of languages, your level of fitness, Stanford grad."
"Stanford!" Lola smacked the table and the ice in the glasses tinkled. "You never told me you went to Stanford, Jack."
As Lola kicked him under the table, Jack slid a glance to her animated face. Uh-oh. The woman was up to something.
"If you haven't known Jack long, you'll find out he's a modest guy. Graduated from Stanford with honors while working a few jobs, too--scholarship boy, right Jack? Or maybe I should keep my mouth shut."
Lola reached across the table and pressed three fingers against Jack's lips. "He doesn't mind at all. Tell me everything you know about Jack Coburn."
Lars's brows rose to his nonexistent hairline as he glanced at Jack.
Jack shrugged and rolled his eyes.
"Sorry, Lola. I don't know much about Jack--private guy, liked to quote Shakespeare. Intense, fierce, dedicated warrior. We figured he'd be the least likely of any of us to settle down and get married." His ears reddened when he realized what he'd said. "N-not that he'd never get married."