Take a Chance Box Set
by Caridad Pineiro
Three sexy novellas about risking it all for a chance at love and passion . . .
JUST ONE NIGHT
Jason Hart has just one night to prove to his best friend's older sister that anything is possible . . .
Nicole de Salvo has been in love – and lust – for her little brother’s best friend for years. For years she’s watched from afar and done nothing about her attraction for Jason Hart only now their time together is almost at an end. On their last night together will she find the courage to do something about her feelings, or will she live with regret for the rest of her life?
Nicole de Salvo stared out the train window as every passing mile brought her closer to home . . . and to him.
It had been a hectic day with a dash down to the Philadelphia area for her brother's and Jase's graduation and then a rushed trip back to New York City for an interview for a position she wanted for her summer break from medical school. An interview that couldn't be rescheduled no matter what.
The nearly two hour train ride down to her family's home on the Jersey Shore was long, but at least it would give her a moment to catch her breath and prepare for seeing him again.
For seeing Jase, possibly for the last time.
He had looked amazing that morning in his dress uniform, sword at his side and his second lieutenant's bars gleaming in the morning sun. The deep blue of the uniform had made his green eyes seem aqua, like the ocean bathed with brilliant light. Tall and imposing, he had looked every inch an officer and a warrior until he had fixed his gaze on her and offered up the wicked little boy grin that did all kinds of things to her insides.
She pressed a hand to her stomach to quiet the nervous flutters as she thought about seeing him again once she arrived at home, where her younger brother Tommy's graduation party would be in full swing. It had been tough enough seeing Jase that morning, knowing that with every minute that passed their time together was fading away.
This night at the party and knowing it would be the last one they'd share was going to be one of the hardest things she ever did.
Driving that thought from her mind, she glanced out the train windows and caught glimpses of the shoreline and ocean visible from the North Jersey Coast line.
They'd all spent so much time in those waters, her, Tommy, and his best friend Jason. Jase to his friends.
She was a friend, kind of. After all, they'd grown up together and had spent many a lazy summer along the shore. But as they'd gotten older, something had changed.
The typical teasing between kids, between her and Jase, had become more flirty. Definitely full of subtle sexiness. Or at least, it had gotten that way on his part.
She hadn't known how to handle it when an eighteen year old Jase had settled that green-eyed gaze on her, flashed her a not-so-innocent dimpled grin, and heat had ignited inside her. Four years later, she still didn't know how to handle him.
He was like a little brother to her, although the annoying voice in her head shouted a big, “Hell to the no” and reminded her that they were only two years apart in age.
Reluctantly she admitted to herself that Jase was definitely not like a little brother. Not since she'd come to understand that the weird little tingle she got whenever she saw him or talked to him meant that there was way more to her feelings for him.
More that she had yet to explore, only time was running out for them.
As the train chugged along on her way home, she dragged up the memory of what he'd looked like as he'd sauntered up to her this morning after graduation, looking every inch the hero. His swimmer’s shoulders looking even broader in his uniform. His green eyes bright and warming as they settled on her. His smile had been inviting as he'd leaned in and kissed her. Chastely, but she'd wanted to linger and have it be more. She had wanted to savor those amazing lips before she had reined herself in. She reminded herself that she never would give in to that desire because she was too sensible and responsible and downright boring.
She closed her eyes to hold in the memories. Allowed herself to imagine what it might be like to be with Jase. To let go and explore the temptation.
In her mind's eye, she pulled his white dress hat off his head and tossed it to the side. Skimmed her fingers through the buzz cut sandy-colored hair at the sides of his head and the longer strands up top before cradling his head and drawing him near for a not so simple kiss.
She covered his mouth with hers and pulled at his bottom lip with her teeth, urging him to open for her. When he did, she dipped her tongue in and tasted him. Trailed her tongue all around and nipped at the fullness of his lips with her teeth.
His strong hands were at her waist, holding her close. Possessively hard and yet gentle as he dragged her closer, but she shifted away because she wanted more than just his kiss.
She trailed her hands down to his shoulders and then lower to his lean waist and the shiny brass buckle with the Marine insignia. As she undid the buckle and loosened his white belt, he snared his sword as the belt started to drop, and gently laid them both on the ground.
“Are you sure about this?” her dream Jase asked as he rose to stand before her again.
“Oh, yeah, I'm sure,” her imaginary self answered because her real self lacked the courage to take a chance with Jase.
He helped her open the brass buttons down the front of his dress blues, and in her fantasy, his chest was bare beneath the wool fabric.
His skin was a luscious honey gold thanks to his end-of-summer tan. He got that smooth golden color from being a lifeguard on the beach to earn money for college and other necessities.
How many times had she snuck a peek at him up in the stand as she'd sat under her umbrella, reading her latest romance novel?
Not that you needed a sexy fictional alpha hero when you had your own just feet away if only you'd do something about it, the little voice in her head had screamed more than once during those long lazy summers.
She forced away the annoying voice and resumed her fantasy, running her hands down across the chiseled muscles of that tanned chest. His skin was sun-kissed warm and slightly damp. She needed a taste and leaned forward, licked from the center of his chest to the hard masculine nipple that she sucked, earning a soft moan from him. He tasted salty like the ocean.
She smiled and moved her hands down toward his waistband, and he helped her by undoing his pants and letting them drop.
He had gone commando (this was her fantasy after all) and his cock was rock hard. Long, thick, and smooth beneath her hand as she encircled him.
He groaned and his eyes fluttered close as he said, “I like that, Nickie.”
“I like, too, Jase,” she said and kept on stroking the length of him. Loving the heat of him beneath her hand and how his cock swelled at her caress of the sensitive head.
When he opened his eyes again, they were dark, almost emerald-colored with his desire. He leaned forward and kissed her and as the kiss grew more intense, she opened her mouth and accepted the slide of his tongue. Imagined him easing his dick inside of her the way he was making love to her with his mouth and tongue.
She sucked in a shaky breath and circled her index finger around the head of his cock where the first hint of his release wet the tip. She spread it all over, earning a rough growl from him that vibrated through her body. Her clit throbbed and swelled and between her legs, she grew wet for him.
“I want to be in you, Nickie. Now,” he whispered against her lips.
“Now,” she repeated and urgently tore her clothes away as he sank down to the blanket spread out on the sand and lay there, waiting for her. Gloriously naked with his beautiful cock standing at attention for her.
He held his hand out in invitation, a hesitant look on his face, not that he needed to worry. In this daydream, she wouldn't refuse his request.
She took hold of his hand and lowered herself until she was straddling his thighs. She poised above him and his hands gripped her hips hard and slowly urged her down onto him.
Friction built as each thick inch of him filled her. She relished the heat and pressure as she pushed down until he was completely buried inside her. She stilled and gazed at him. Felt immense power and sexiness as his eyes drifted closed again and his head dropped back in pleasure.
“You feel amazing, Nickie. So hot and wet. Tight, fuck me, you're so tight.”
Leaning down, she splayed her hands on his chest and stroked her thumbs across his hard masculine nipples, dragging his eyes open.
“You're amazing, Jase. The way you fill me. The way you make me feel. Touch me, Jase. I want your hands on me,” she said, not hesitant in her dreams about what she needed from him. About what she had fantasized about for so long during those lazy summer days and even longer nights as she’d laid in bed, achy and hot for him.
He grinned, displaying the dimple that made him look so much younger. She skimmed her finger across that cute indent and he speedily turned his head and nipped her index finger with his perfect white teeth.
“I'd rather taste you,” he said and before she could protest, he surged up and put his mouth on her breasts, sucking and biting at the sensitive tips.
His mouth was heaven and she cradled his head to her and offered up soft cries of enjoyment, but soon she couldn't just stay there with him buried inside her. She had to move. Had to satisfy the need created by the magic of his mouth on her breasts.
She lifted her hips, the friction of the motion intense. Even more so as she drove back down quickly and ground her hips against him.
His rough groans spurred her to move again and again until her actions were wild and the sound of their bodies slapping together filled the air together with their guttural moans of pleasure.
Inside her the tension built, ever higher until her release shot through her and she arched her back and pushed down on him hard, her clit and pussy throbbing and vibrating with the pleasure of her release.
“Jase,” she said softly beneath her breath.
“Miss? Miss! We're at Long Branch. Time to change over to the Bayhead train,” the conductor said, a hint of irritation in his voice.
Startled, she sucked in a rough inhalation as reality rudely intruded and warmth flooded across her cheeks as if she had just been discovered butt naked on the train, but she hid her embarrassment.
She offered up an apologetic smile, rose, and hopped off onto the platform. For a moment she considered that it would be far safer to get on the next train back to New York City. But she forced herself to cross the platform to the diesel train waiting there for the next leg of her trip. Forced herself to get on board the train.
It was finally time to face both her past and her future.
It was long past time to face Jase.
© Caridad Pineiro
ONE SPECIAL NIGHT
It's been nearly six months since Tommy de Salvo’s fiancée cheated and left him in the midst of wedding preparations because up-and-coming businessman Tommy was all work and no play. The last thing Tommy wants or needs is to be attracted to another woman who won’t be around for too long. A woman just like Navy Corpsman Jasmine Reyes. She’s rough, tough, and determined to go it alone, but Tommy knows that if he passes up this opportunity, he may regret it more than the loss of his fiancée ...
Jasmine “Doc” Reyes is both emotionally and physically scarred after her tour of duty. Wounded in battle, all she can think about is rebuilding her life and continuing with the career that she’s dreamed about since she was a young child. She has no time for rich sexy men who’ve never had a care in the world and wouldn’t understand her determination. But Tommy’s charm is seductive and she knows that she has to explore the attraction, even if it’s only for this one special night.
© Caridad Pineiro
It occurred to Tommaso de Salvo as he eyeballed the guests milling about on the beach in front of his family’s home that this could have been his wedding day. Except that six months earlier, while knee-deep in their wedding preparations, he’d caught his fiancée cheating on him with her personal trainer. Apparently she'd thought he was spending too much time learning how to run the family business and not enough time with her.
He’d been shocked, disappointed, and relieved all at once. Valerie and he had been dating throughout college and during the year after when he’d been working to complete an MBA. Some would have said the signs had been there all along. If he had to be honest with himself, he’d occasionally sensed that something was off in their relationship. That Valerie had only been interested in the de Salvo money, but he hadn’t wanted to believe that.
Maybe he should have listened to what his gut had been telling him.
“Don’t think about it, bro,” said Jase Hart, his best friend and soon-to-be-brother-in-law. He sidled up to Tommy as he stood by the makeshift altar that had been set up for his sister Nickie's wedding instead of his own.
“Was it that obvious?” he asked and faced his friend.
Jase was wearing his dress blue uniform and two weeks of Jersey Shore sun had helped eliminate some of the hospital pallor. He’d been seriously wounded three months earlier, along with several members of his unit.
“She was never the right woman for you,” Jase said and reached up to smooth the tuxedo over Tommy’s shoulders.
“You say that now – ”
“Because if I’d said it before you'd have gotten pissed off at me. You know how stubborn you can be.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right,” he admitted. He was stubborn, determined, and loyal which only made Valerie’s betrayal all that much harder to handle.
“When you meet the right woman, you’ll know it,” Jase said with certainty. His injuries hadn't dimmed his friend's resolve. If anything, he'd become more determined. As soon as Jase had gotten out of the Intensive Care Unit, he'd immediately asked Tommy and Nickie's über Old School Italian father for permission to marry his daughter. Without missing a beat, he had then proposed to Tommy's older sister. In the two short months since Nickie had accepted, the de Salvo and Hart families had planned the mother of all military weddings to occur during Jase's convalescent leave.
He glanced at his friend and there was nothing but determination on his features. “So when did you know you were in love with Nickie?”
Jase laughed and shook his head. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, bro.”
“Seriously, Jase. I want to know.” I need to know, he thought, not that he could ever trust another woman again.
“When she turned sixteen and sprouted boobs,” Jase said with a quick chuckle and a boyish grin.
He could only smile at his best friend since his humor was so infectious. “If you weren’t injured, I’d beat the crap out of you. I thought you appreciated more than just my sister’s boobs.”
Jase playfully nudged him. “Of course, I do, Tommy. She’s got brains, beauty and lots more, but it was her boobs that got my attention. Shit, you know how we were at fourteen. All raging hormones.”
“Good thing you’re finally doing the right thing,” he said, although he was still a little uneasy about the speed at which things were happening. It had only been a year earlier that Nickie and Jase had finally gotten around to admitting their true feelings.
Jase had deployed shortly thereafter and now here they were, ready to commit to each other. Ready to become man and wife for life.
“Are you sure about this?” he asked again, worried that his friend’s recent near death experience was somehow clouding his judgment. Jase might be his best friend, but Nickie was his sister and he had to make sure she wouldn't be hurt.
His friend's entire attitude became dead serious. “Do you remember what you told me on graduation day when I was still hesitating about Nickie? You said ‘Go big or go home.' I went big and Nickie is home, Tommy. I have no doubt about that.”
He’d had few doubts about Valerie as well and look how that had ended. The last thing he wanted for two of the most important people in his life was for things to go south only . . .
The chamber music quartet’s silence sent a signal to all gathered there and in seconds, the guests quickly hurried to take seats for the start of the ceremony.
He couldn’t linger any longer. “I’ll be back,” he said and rushed off to take his spot in the wedding procession.
* * *
Jasmine Reyes was late.
First the train from New York City had been delayed by switch problems. Then there had been no taxis when she had reached the station. After pacing back and forth in front of the tracks for fifteen minutes, a cab had lazily rolled to a stop in front of her. Now, after another twenty minutes of stop and go beach traffic, she was finally at Second Lieutenant Jason Hart’s wedding.
She’d barely had time to admire the gorgeous home when a member of the wait staff hurried her across a lawn where tables were set for the reception and down a short boardwalk to the beach.
Neat rows of chairs ran across the sand on either side of a bright white runner strewn with multi-colored flower petals. Off to one side of the chairs, a chamber music quartet was just beginning to play some kind of march. The guests were all seated and craning their necks in her direction as she stood at the base of the boardwalk.
Shit, she thought as she realized she was in the way of the bridal procession getting ready to exit the home and head toward the altar set up at the far end of the beach. Not to mention that with all attention turned toward her, any hope of making an inconspicuous entry was gone.
As she hurried toward the chairs, Jase noticed her arrival, dipped his head in greeting, and smiled. He looked so much better than he had a month earlier when they both had finally been shipped stateside for their final weeks of recovery and convalescent leave.
She smiled back hesitantly and took a seat at the edge of the crowd, not sure if she should have come. The spot on the end of the row would let her make a quick exit just in case things got a little too hard to handle.
She wasn’t quite ready to be out and about like Jase. It had taken every fiber of courage in her body to put on this dress and leave her family’s small two floor walk-up in Spanish Harlem. But she had formed a special bond with the lieutenant and his men during their recent assignment and a night from hell they all wanted to forget.
Unfortunately, she had the scars on her body and in her head to remind her each and every day of that night.
The murmur that swept over the crowd dragged her attention from Jase and those memories to the first couple in the bridal procession.
She sucked in a breath at the sight of the man, tall, dark, and handsome in a designer tuxedo, who helped the maid of honor down the boardwalk stairs.
The bride’s brother and Jase’s best friend, she thought. She recognized him from the assorted pictures the lieutenant had always kept in plain sight in his quarters. There had been many moments during quieter times that the lieutenant had told her stories about growing up with Tommy and Nickie. So many stories that she almost felt like she knew Tommy, not that they'd ever met.
She’d always thought he was attractive, but the pictures hadn’t done justice to how good-looking he really was or how he carried himself with a cocksure air that just screamed sexy. Jase had recounted more than one tale of Tommy confidently leading them into one adventure or another. Know she understood how that was possible.
As he and the maid of honor reached the altar where the groom waited, he smiled at the woman. In her mind, she pictured that assured smile directed toward her and a curl of desire ignited within Jasmine.
It surprised her, that abrupt awakening of need. She hadn’t thought it possible any more since she’d felt so dead inside during the many months she’d spent in the hospital. But there it was, warming her center.
As he took a spot beside the groom and looked out toward the guests, his gaze settled on her. Dark eyes glittered with life and his lips curved up in that sexy smile again, this time for her.
Damn, but he was handsome, and as she imagined being up close and personal with him, her nipples tightened and that unexpected zing of need became a steady pulse of desire between her legs. She shifted uncomfortably, battling that awakening since it was the worst possible time for her long lost sexuality to come alive.
She wasn’t ready for anything and wasn’t sure if she ever would be. Plus, that very sexy man was like a brother to the lieutenant. The last thing she wanted was to cause a problem for the man who had become a confidant and supporter during the many long months they’d worked together and healed together.
A moment later, the next couple in the procession emerged from the house and slowly paraded down the lawn and boardwalk to the altar. The groomsman was Jase’s second-in-command, Trevor Mason, looking healthy and handsome in his dress uniform.
As she glanced back toward the house, she realized there were another five military men as part of the bridal party. She didn't recognize a number of them and assumed they were the lieutenant's friends from his days in the ROTC program. Besides Trevor, however, there was one other man from their unit. He'd been injured also and like Jase and Trevor, was on leave so he could heal.
Only some wounds never healed, she thought as she gingerly rubbed her shoulder. Sitting on the train so long had started an ache where shrapnel had torn into her shoulder. She kept her massage light since the area was still tender to the touch from the second degree burns she'd also suffered during the dogfight.
She should never have come, she thought, dreading the moment when the men from her unit would come over and ask her how she was. Ask her when she was coming back.
Only she wasn’t returning to Afghanistan. She was done with it all.
It was time to put this part of her life behind her by finishing out her last few months on shore duty at a local base. Once she was done, she could tackle the assorted tests that would let her work as a nurse at one of the area hospitals.
Even though she'd done her time and paid a heavy price for her service, she still felt guilty at leaving her men just when she'd earned their respect and become “Doc” to them. It wasn't a title easily earned and she understood the faith they'd put in her to take care of them. But she had risked her life for them and now it was time to get on with her own life.
Deciding that it was best to avoid the men from her unit, she stood and was about to leave when the bride came out of the back of her house, her hand tucked around her father’s arm.
Like the best man, she was more beautiful in real life than in the photos she had seen, but it was the sheer joy on the bride's features that froze Jasmine in place. She'd never seen such limitless love on anyone's face. As she turned to glance back in the groom's direction, it was obvious he felt the same way. That he wanted everyone there to witness their love and celebrate it.
Because of that she held her ground and stayed for the ceremony. It seemed to fly by, driven by the impatient happiness of the couple as they answered the priest's inquiries, and exchanged rings and vows.
Finally the priest's voice boomed over the couple and the guests. “By the power vested in me by the State of New Jersey, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride.”
As the newlyweds came together and sealed their promises with a kiss, a softly voiced command had the military ushers taking up spots on either side of the aisle. Jase's second-in-command issued the order, “Center face.” The groomsmen pivoted to face each other.
“Officers, draw swords,” Trevor said and their sabers sliced through the air to form the arch for the newlyweds.
Hand-in-hand with beaming smiles, the bride and groom paused to kiss before they ducked down and walked beneath the swords. As they reached the end, the last two men blocked their way and another of the officers swatted Nickie on the butt.
“Welcome to the Marines,” he said and the rest of the men shouted a healthy, “Oohrah!”
The guests gathered burst into applause and cheers as the soldiers moved aside and the newlyweds hurried away toward the boardwalk stairs. At another soft cue from the lieutenant's second-in-command, the military men lowered their swords and resumed their bridal duties, joining up with the bridesmaids to form a receiving line by the foot of the stairs.
Nickie's brother and the maid of honor went last and after them, the guests emptied from their rows to greet the newlyweds, their families, and the bridal party.
As the people in her row filed out, she held her place, torn between offering her congratulations and running. But she had come a long way to get here and it wasn't just about the nearly three hour trip on the subway and train.
She'd been through bad and badder with Jase and his men. The least she could do was share in some of the good for a change.
Drawing in a deep breath, she took a step toward the newlyweds and toward the start of her new life.
ONE LAST NIGHT
It's been over a year since Marine Lieutenant Trevor Mason and his father have spoken. After nearly losing his life during a Taliban attack in Afghanistan, Trevor wants to end the rift between them so he can return to active duty with some peace of mind. But a visit to his father’s office only serves to show Trevor that his father isn’t as eager to reunite. If not for the intervention of Samuel Mason’s spunky and very sexy intern, Trevor would probably be returning to Afghanistan with his one wish unfulfilled.
Trevor Mason had used to do all kinds of things to Maggie Sullivan’s insides when she worked at the country club his family used to attend. Five years later, there is little left of the teen she knew in the stoic Marine who only wants some time with his father. When Trevor’s father backs out of his son’s dinner invitation at the last minute, Maggie does the only thing she can: she goes to Trevor’s apartment to deliver the news, but she can’t leave him alone on his one last night before returning to duty.
Thrown together, Trevor and Maggie can’t ignore the sexual heat between them. As they satisfy one set of needs, another slowly develops as passion breathes life into other emotions. Will Trevor and Maggie’s one last night together possibly lead to many other nights in the future?
Nothing could have prepared Maggie Sullivan for the sight of Trevor Mason standing there in his Marine uniform. Nothing.
He waited patiently by the floor-to-ceiling windows in the anteroom to his father’s office. Incredibly broad shoulders filled out the khaki fabric and tapered down into a lean waist and hips. His legs were thick with muscle and braced slightly apart while he waited, his hat tucked under his arm.
His face was in profile and the morning sun cast bright light on his features and the short strands of his sandy-colored hair. He had a strong resolute jaw. Full lips and a straight slash of a nose that all came together on a face which would tempt most women.
By her guesstimate, Trevor had been there for at least fifteen minutes while his father finished up a conference call. In reality, his father could have ended the call as soon as his son had arrived, but for some reason he’d kept on chatting as she’d sat in the room, watching Trevor through the office’s glass wall.
He’d changed a great deal physically since the last time she’d seen him nearly five years ago at his high school graduation party. She’d been sixteen at the time and working as a waitress at the country club to save money for college expenses.
Trevor had been part of the pack of rich kids who spent the summers hanging out at the club, but unlike some of the others, he’d always had the time to say hello and offer up a smile. Maybe it was because he was nouveau riche and not as spoiled as the teens from old money.
She remembered that smile, full of life and so warm, like summer sunshine. It had always caused a funny skitter in her heart and lower. She wondered if it still would.
His father finally hung up the phone and turned his attention to her. “Please prepare a memo of the discussions we just had for the file.”
“Yes, sir,” she said and shot a look out the glass wall to where Trevor still waited. “I’ll let your son know you’re free.”
“No,” Samuel Mason blurted and reached out for her as she rose from the chair where she had been taking notes. Mr. Mason’s regular administrative assistant was on vacation and she was filling in for the woman.
At her confused look, he dropped his hand to the desktop and said, “Please let him in, but if you don’t mind, I’d rather you stayed while we chat. I think the two of you knew each other back in high school.”
If serving Trevor lunch or handing him towels counted as knowing each other, she supposed that they did. “I met him at the country club while I was working there.”
“Fine, then,” he said and leaned back in his chair to wait, obviously forcing himself to remain calm. Like his son, he had a strong jaw, but that was where the similarities ended. Samuel Mason was thin, elegant, and dark-haired. Almost effeminate compared to his very masculine and robust son.
Maggie closed the portfolio with the pages of notes she had taken and walked out to the anteroom. As she entered, Trevor faced her.
She waited for that warm smile that did such delicious things inside her. Instead, his full lips were in a grim slash across that handsome face and she realized that Trevor had changed in more ways than one.
There was little left of the high school kid she remembered. From the sheer physical size of him to the hard chiseled lines of his face, Trevor was all man and not a happy one at that.
She held out her hand and introduced herself. “Maggie Sullivan. I’m sorry you’ve had to wait.”
He eyeballed her hand, but finally shook it as he said, “Trevor Mason.” He paused and looked her up and down, narrowing his gaze as he considered her. “Have we met before?”
She was pleasantly surprised that he seemed to remember her. “I’m Maggie. I used to work – ”
“At the country club,” he finished for her and once again eyed her intently. “You’ve grown up, Maggie,” he said, the tones of his voice deep and exciting. The sound of her name on his lips sent a tingle of sexual awareness through her.
“So have you, Mr. Mason,” she said, earning a chuckle from him and the first hint of that enticing smile on his lips.
“Yeah, I guess I have and it’s Lieutenant Mason. Mr. Mason is my father.” He shot a look through the glass to where his father sat in his office, waiting for them, and for a moment, before he schooled his emotions, loneliness skipped across his features.
“Please come in,” she said with a smile and motioned in the direction of the office door.
* * *
Trevor took a deep breath to combat the mix of emotions roiling around in his gut.
It had been over a year since he’d either seen or talked to his father. The last words they’d shared had been filled with anger and hurt. That anger and hurt had been constantly simmering, especially in the last few months when he’d been healing from the wounds suffered during a Taliban attack on the medical facility he and his fellow Marines had been protecting.
He had hoped his father would call or write after the Marines notified him that he’d been wounded.
He’d been wrong to hope. Not a letter or a call or even an impersonal e-mail to say “Get well soon.”
He wasn’t even really sure why he was here and for shit sure he didn’t know what to expect from his father.
Following Maggie into his father’s office, he wondered how the kind of cute, but awkward teen he’d known had transformed into the beautiful woman sauntering ahead of him.
Did she have any idea what that sexy roll of her hips did to a man? he thought, but forced down his body’s reaction. It was better not to notice how the black fabric of her skirt molded itself to that amazing ass or wonder how her full breasts might look without the sedate white blouse she wore.
She was off limits in multiple ways, chief amongst them that she was working for his father.
As she stepped aside to clear the way to his father’s desk, he waited for some kind of reaction from his dad. Something. Anything for fuck’s sake, but his father just sat there, his classically fine features as smooth as stone. His deep blue eyes as flat and lifeless as a shark’s.
“Father,” he said with a dip of his head.
His father laced his fingers together, leaned back in his chair, and laid his hands across a midsection that was just starting to show a hint of paunch. “Trevor. To what do I owe this pleasure?” he said, although there was nothing about his tone, posture, or anything else that actually said that he was pleased to see his one and only child.
Rage boiled over inside of him and he wanted to shout out with the pain he’d kept bottled up for far too long, but it wasn’t in him to make a scene. Especially not with an almost total stranger present, which was maybe why Maggie was standing there, looking more and more uncomfortable by the second.
“Maybe I should go,” she said and took a step toward the door.
“No,” his father nearly shouted, freezing her in place.
Maggie shot him a quick glance and he forced a smile and said, “It’s okay, Maggie.”
Before his father could say anything else, he did what he had planned to do for the many months he’d been laid up in the hospital, alone except for his military buddies.
“I was hoping we could talk, Father. Spend some time together. It’s almost lunch hour.”
“I have a prior engagement that I can’t cancel,” he quickly replied. Too quickly.
Peeking at Maggie from the corner of his eye, he noted the way she looked down and away, clearly aware that his dad was lying.
“Then how about dinner at my apartment? I’m flexible. I’ll even cook,” he offered and looked toward Maggie. “I’m sure you can free up his schedule for tonight.”
“Actually, he has an important engagement tonight, but he’s totally free for tomorrow,” she said brightly, earning a glare from his father.
He met Maggie’s gaze and grinned, thankful for her intervention. “Wonderful. I’ll see you tomorrow night at six,” he said to his father and with a precise military pivot, he turned and left the office.
But as he walked out, he sort of regretted that he hadn’t had more time to spend with Maggie. In the very short time they’d just spent together, he realized she had spunk.
He liked that in a woman. Especially one as sexy and beautiful as Maggie.
© Caridad Pineiro
Available for purchase
About The Author
NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who just wants to write, travel, and spend more time with family and friends. Caridad is the author of nearly 50 novels/novellas and loves romance novels, super heroes, TV and cooking. Caridad writes dark and sexy romantic suspense and paranormal romances for those who live to love on the edge. Her sweet, but still naughty side, Charity Pineiro, writes contemporary romances packed with emotion and humor. For more information on Caridad/Charity, please visit www.caridad.com or www.rebornvampirenovels.com.
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