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Ruined by the Seal

By:Zoe York

(ASSIGNMENT_ Caribbean Nights Book 2)



Beach, beer, sleep.

After months of rehab and fighting his discharge from the Navy SEAL  teams, he needed all three badly. And at his first deep inhale of the  salty Caribbean air, he'd been surprised to discover that deep down,  this crazy plan his SEAL buddy Will Parry had sent him on felt right.

He could smell the sunscreen and feel the ice-cold beer in his hand already.

Hello, Sugar Island. He'd bought the beer at the airport, from two  smiling men selling them from a cooler next to the customs hut. A hut.  At an international airport.

But any place that handed out beer to new arrivals sounded about right  to the tired and grumpy toddler trapped inside Mick's grown-man body.

Sugar Island wasn't the Caribbean nation's real name, of course.  Miralinda just had that nickname because of the historical sugar  plantations that had been so valuable to the French colonists that  settled here in the early seventeenth century.

One of those plantations-and the titanium rod in Mick's leg-had forced a  change of plans. He couldn't play beach bum forever, but he had enough  savings to spend the rest of the winter under the Caribbean sun, and  thanks to Will's grandmother, maybe by the time the summer arrived, he'd  have a new career.

Villa Sucre-Will's inheritance-was going to get a new lease on life.  They were going to turn the tired, no-longer-functional plantation into  an executive training facility. Give wealthy business owners a  legitimate, tax-write off reason to visit the island, and maybe teach  them a few survival and team-building skills while they were at it.

Mick had the easy job. Show up, secure some construction permits, and  lie on the beach until Brayden Lucas, the third Musketeer in their crazy  plan, arrived on the island. A fellow SEAL, Lucas had two more months  of active duty, and then he'd join Mick to begin construction.

They'd have three months to get the place operational, and then Will  would join them and hit the ground running with the first flight of  training groups.

It was a crazy plan.

It was a good plan.

And best of all, it allowed Mick to chill the fuck out for a while, first-if he could remember how.

His taxi stopped smack in the middle of the circular drive, right in  front of the entrance to the faded white colonial two-story mansion.  Three chickens lazily pecking their way across the drive added a certain  ambience Mick wasn't expecting as well.

As soon as Mick stepped out of the cab, he could hear the music.

Pulsing R&B, the good kind that would make him want to dance if he  wasn't like an oversized elephant in a club. Someone had decent taste in  music. He paid the driver and added a generous tip, refusing his offer  to stick around. "I'm not heading out again today, no matter what. Thank  you very much for the ride."

The driver handed over a business card. "I live in Petite Ciotat, so if  you need anything-a ride somewhere, or an emergency rescue-just call."

All he needed at the moment was a nap.

"I'll be fine." He grinned as they shook hands, then he stepped out of  the way and stretched, easing the ache in his leg and his back.

Inside he found dust.


The wide plank floor was covered in it, and as he walked down the  central corridor in the direction of the thumping bass-beat, he left a  trail of footprints.

Not a problem. He wasn't the trespasser, although he had the sinking  suspicion that the owner of the music wouldn't see it that way.

He glanced into each room as he passed. A living room up front, although  it probably had a fancier name than that. A dining room. On the other  side, a massive room that had probably been a ballroom.

Every room had drop sheets covering the scant amount of remaining  furniture. Neatly typed pieces of paper hung next to each entrance way,  detailing what work needed to be done. At the bottom of each note was a  dire warning. All work must be approved by Cara Levasseur.

Oh, honey, you've got such a rude awakening coming your way in ten, nine, eight …

He found her in the kitchen, high on a step stool, cleaning the inside  of a cupboard. He noticed her legs, first. Long. Curvy. The warmest  shade of brown he'd ever seen. Bare. She was wearing shorts, and they  were, in fact, short.

Her legs were spectacular.

Above that she had some lacy shirt thing, but it was mostly obscured by  long, wavy ringlets falling down her back. The wild mix of blonde and  brown curls did a strange thing to his insides. Or maybe it was that her  hair and her perfect legs both pointed right at her jiggling bottom.

Someone liked to dance.

His countdown to a rude awakening died inside his chest. This wasn't  going to be fun. He looked for the source of her music-a cell phone  plugged into portable speakers-and pulled the plug out of the wall. The  music dropped to a tinny whisper.         



The jiggling stopped. She whipped her head around, giving him a totally  no big deal that you caught me dancing look. Her face was just as  spectacular as her legs. Heart-shaped, with high cheekbones and large,  bright eyes surrounded by flawless mocha skin. "Can I help you?"

"Good afternoon. Sorry to interrupt."

"Not a problem." She hopped down, her hair flying off in all directions  as she strode across the room and pressed a button on her phone, turning  off the now-quiet music. Then she held out her hand. "Cara Levasseur. I  wasn't expecting any tradespeople this afternoon."

Her accent was slight. He found himself straining to catch more of it.

He shook her hand, surprised by how firm her grip was. "Mick Frasier. And I'm not a contractor."

He'd never been one to avoid conflict. He had the high ground of  surprise here, and he should use it to his advantage. There was a letter  in his bag that he should whip out now so he could blithely watch as  she scurried out the door.

Seriously? Second thoughts because she's pretty?

She wasn't just pretty, though. He wanted to think there was a look in her eye, an innocence …

But that was ridiculous.

So even though it took him a few beats longer than usual, he squared his  shoulders. He was a cold-hearted bastard. Requirement of the last job,  and apparently, useful in the new one, too. Besides, he was fucking  tired and needed to lie down before he fell over. "I'm afraid I have  some bad news, Ms. Levasseur. You're renovating a house that doesn't  belong to you."

Her green eyes darkened, like the bottom of the sea churning up as a storm approached. Appropriate. "Excuse me?"

"This estate. I've been sent here by the owner."

"What are you playing at? The owner has passed away. I represent the Miralinda Historical Society."

"Mrs. Gwendolyn Parry?"

She gave him a wary look. "Yes."

"I represent her grandson."

The wary look turned ice-cold. "I think you'd best explain what you  mean. Does he mean to establish a claim against Villa Sucre?"

She pronounced it veeja sucre, the blend of spanish and french snapping  through his fatigue and sparking something inside him. Something that  hungered to hear her say more. Anything, really. Maybe while he closed  his eyes and the ocean crashed nearby. He'd blink up at her every so  often to appreciate her mouth, wide and lush. It was gorgeous even as  she pinched her dusky pink lips together in disapproval. He wondered  what else she said that sounded like sex on the wind.

He'd never find out. Shoving aside his sleep-deprivation-induced  island-girl fantasy, he unzipped the outside pocket on his bag and  pulled out the letter Will's lawyer had drawn up and handed it over.

She eyed him, and the paper, reluctantly, then snapped it away. She  cocked her hip to one side and her head to the other as she slowly read,  then glanced up at him, eyes narrowed. Her entire being doubted his  veracity.

"This can't be true. Why are you here and not this … Will Parry?"

"I'm acting as his agent in this regard."

"A Parry unable to make time for Villa Sucre. No surprise there. And you expect me to believe this is authentic?"

No matter how seductive a woman's voice, she didn't get to suggest his  best friend was anything but honorable. "I have no doubt it is."

"Well, I'm sorry to disappoint you and the absentee Will Parry, but his  grandmother bequeathed this estate to the Miralinda Historic Society. We  received a similar letter from the same law office, months before the  date on this letter. We did our due diligence and as you can see, we've  begun restoration."

He frowned. None of this made sense. "There's gotta be a mistake."

"I'm afraid if there has been, it is in your visit to this island."

"Hey!" He was fuming like a bull now, his nostrils flaring and steam  practically coming out his ears, but she was just so damn sure of  herself. "What if the error lies in your understanding of the  situation?"

"That seems unlikely, given that we've known for the better part of a  decade that the late Mrs. Parry would donate the estate to avoid a  substantial death tax on the property."