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The landscape grew greener and denser the closer to the water they got, popping with color against the blue sky that stretched in all directions for a million miles. A rock formation the color of sand jutted out of the ground, and without hesitation, she clambered up onto the smallest one, then the next until she’d almost scaled it. No fear in that one. Not to be outdone, he followed her easily, drawing up next to her where she had perched on the tallest rock.

A large, clear pool had formed where the river had cut away limestone, creating a perfect, well-hidden swimming hole. The water was a gorgeous color, almost the blue of the Caribbean or Thailand, and with sunlight glinting off the surface, it wasn’t hard to imagine you’d been transported to someplace else. As if you’d been cut off from the real world and sent to a… a fairy realm. Or something that sounded less dumb.

The light breeze caught a lock of Havana’s bright red hair and flung it over his arm, binding them together as they surveyed the outcropping from their high vantage point.

Something grabbed him by the throat, and it got hard to swallow.

Beyond the pool, the landscape sloped away to become slightly hilly but also stark in a way that made you think about your place in the world. Some areas in the Middle East were like that too, but Caleb had always felt like an outsider there. Here the land welcomed him, embracing him in a way he couldn’t quite put into words.

There was something… extra. Something he couldn’t deny.

That mystical element he hadn’t wanted to believe existed—this was it. He could feel it seeping from the stone through his soles and up into his bones. From the moment the teams had decided they were done with a few extraneous SEALs who’d become a liability, he’d needed a place to land where he could believe again. Havana had unwittingly given that to him.

“Welcome to Superstition Springs,” she said and spread her hands wide to encompass the entire pool.