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Pleasing Her SEAL

By:Anne Marsh

Pleasing Her SEAL
Anne Marsh

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Ladies, it's Saturday and I'm surrounded by honeymooners. This  is  one step up from my usual weekend wedding gig, where my people options  are  usually the geriatric crowd, the toddler dancing crowd (always  good for a  much-needed cardio burst and the cutest, stickiest  kisses), or the drunken  groomsman crowd (good for equally  enthusiastic but much damper kisses-eww). I  counted not one, not  two, but three couples wrapped  around each other by the pool. I  have dubbed them the Octopi because they seem  to have eight hands  each and at least seven of them are engaged in activities  best left  to the bedroom or a soft porn channel. Go, Octopi! Speaking of that,   watching the Octopi procreate underscores my own single state.  You've found The  One and you're hearing wedding bells, or you  wouldn't be visiting this blog. Any  tips for where to look for a  good guy? Because this wedding blogger is feeling  lonely in  paradise.

-MADDIE, Kiss and Tulle

"HOOYAH, HOOYAH, HOOYAH, HEY."  US Navy SEAL Mason Black  fist-bumped his knuckles with Levi Brandon's. He didn't  have far to  reach since both men were currently sharing the same palm tree   backrest and catching their breaths after completing their mission.

"Today's gonna be another easy day." Levi automatically  finished  the chant. The words took Mason back to BUD/S training when making the   SEALs team had still been seven weeks of hell away. Operating on  four hours of  sleep or less a night, he'd worked with his teammates  to carry their Zodiac over  their heads through the pounding surf,  crawled through mud flats and made best  friends with a  three-hundred-pound log that was their instructors' idea of   exercise equipment. Good times.

Levi grinned as if he hadn't just been embroiled in a  firefight. "I'm hoping there's a beer in my future."

The current op wasn't so bad and beat the hell out of  completing  the O course at BUD/S. Not only had the rain finally stopped, which   went in the plus column, but one hell of a tropical sunrise lit up the  horizon.  Since he was waiting for the Zodiacs from the US Navy  cruiser anchored just  offshore, Mason had every reason to stare at  the horizon. His team was minutes  away from successfully finishing  their undercover op on Fantasy Island.

One more checkmark in the "mission complete" column.

If he'd been a paperwork-and-spreadsheet kind of guy. Which he  wasn't.

Nope, he mused to himself as he went to work with a SIG Sauer  and a  sniper rifle. Rather than riding the commuter train, he'd be extracted   from the island by Black Hawk and flown to the nearest US military  base to  debrief. And instead of writing quarterly reports or coding  software, he'd  helped lead the hostile extraction of a South  American drug lord who'd made the  mistake of booking a luxury  vacation for himself and his new girlfriend on  Fantasy Island.

Mason's SEAL team had moved in early, posing as resort staff,  and  intercepted the guy as soon as he'd stepped foot on the island.  Pretending  to be a gourmet chef had actually been fun. Poolside  ceviche lessons were a nice  change of pace from dodging bullets,  and he genuinely liked cooking. The female  students weren't bad  looking, either.

SEAL Team Sigma had established an undercover camp on Fantasy   Island's undeveloped side. Unlike the resort digs, their camp was basic.  A few  hammocks, a couple of tents and enough hardware and weaponry  to take over a  small country. They could be packed and wheels up  in two hours, and that  portability alone made the place more  perfect than a country club. Better yet,  the rugged terrain all but  guaranteed that no resort guest would stumble across  the SEALs.

The faint sound of Zodiacs cutting across the lagoon announced   that it was showtime. Diego Marcos, the captured drug lord, started  cursing up a  storm behind his duct-tape gag and pulling at his  zip-tied wrists. The scumbag  wasn't going to quit until he was in  US custody aboard the Navy vessel cruising  offshore, and maybe not  even then. Not Mason's problem. The girlfriend, however,  looked  peaked and more than a little teary, so Mason helped her to a seat on  the  sand with a hand under her elbow.

She might or might not know squat about her beau's drug-running   activities, but she'd come here with him and now she was tarred with the  same  brush. Marcos shot her a look, not quite managing to mask his  concern. Mason got  that. Separating your personal life from your  professional life was hard.                       
       
           


       

Mason didn't like the worry in her eyes, either, so when she   stared up at him, he broke out his Spanish for Dummies. "No   te  preocupes que vas a estar bien."

The way her eyes welled up at his words wasn't a good sign. Or   maybe she'd just had enough. Someone, somewhere was going to miss her.  That  unknown someone would want to yell at her for her bad choice  in men and then  maybe add an "I told you so." He could imagine all  too easily how he'd feel if  she was one of his sisters or his  cousins, seven females he loved more than life  itself and who'd  managed, collectively, to date every badass bad guy out there.  Some  of them more than once.

He tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear and fell back.  He  couldn't let her go, and he couldn't give her a do-over. So the best  thing  was to get out of her personal space.

"Softie," Levi mouthed.

Yeah, but he was also the softie in charge at the moment. Their   team leader, Gray Jackson, was supervising the medevac of an injured  team  member, so Mason had command.

Something flashed at his nine o'clock. Light on glass, like a   camera lens. Typical. Right when the mission wrapped and they were all  free to  ride off into the sunset, everything went FUBAR. Lifting  his binoculars, he  zoomed in and, damn, it was the hot chick who'd  attended the cooking lessons.  She'd liked his ceviche. He'd  liked...her.

She was gorgeous, with a smile that lit her up from the inside   out, radiant red hair bouncing around her shoulders. During the class,  she'd  worn a polka-dot sundress with tiny straps crisscrossing her  shoulders, and his  new mission had become finding a way to nudge  those thin ribbons down her  shoulders and get to know her.  Biblically.

He nudged Levi with the toe of his boot. "We've got  company."

"Tell me it's the Budweiser truck."

"We're on an island, dumbass."

"Don't be so literal." Levi saluted him with his middle finger.  "And let a man dream. Where's our hot spot?"

"Up on the hill. Nine o'clock. We've got a resort guest out and  about."

Levi snatched the glasses away from him and examined the  hillside. "You're not wrong," he said. "Jogger?"

"No such luck. That's Madeline Holmes. She's a wedding blogger  and right now she's snapping pictures of the lagoon."

She was also his personal eye candy, her happy-go-lucky smile   drawing his attention every time he was near her. And if he'd taken  advantage of  this island op to put himself in her vicinity as often  as possible, that was  need-to-know information.

"And in another ten, our pickup crew." Levi cursed.  "Options?"

Their mission was already FUBAR in some respects: Remy taking a   bullet to the abdomen and being airlifted to a hospital, Gray bleeding   emotionally because he'd taken a header for the visiting doctor  who'd flown out  with the injured SEAL. Pick one. Hell, pick both.  This was why an insertion into  civilian space spelled danger.  Everything was easier in the jungle. Something  moved, you shot it.  Not, of course, that he wanted to shoot the woman.

"What are the odds she's taking selfies?" Levi asked.

Zero to none. A familiar calm descended. His pretty redhead was  a  threat to his team, so he'd neutralize her. No matter how alive she made  him  feel, the mission and the team came first. "I'll take care of  it. You hand off  our guests here to the Navy boys."

"Got it." Levi turned toward the approaching Zodiac. "Try to   remember that we're on a no-kill mission, okay? Plus, she's friends with  Ashley,  and you don't want to piss off Ashley."

Jesus. Did he look that cranky? Or like the kind of guy who  would  take out an innocent civilian? He agreed with the warning on Ashley  Dixon,  though. She was a DEA loaner and honorary member of the SEAL  team-and she could  be mean as hell if you riled her up. Moving  rapidly, he stripped off his more  obvious weapons and dropped them  on the sand. Since he was supposed to be  undercover, working on the  down low, he couldn't show up toting forty pounds of  lethal  hardware.                       

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