Erotic Military Romance
April 12, 2011
It's make or break time...
Betrayal seems to follow Lucy Creed wherever she goes. With visions of her military-issue boyfriend kissing another woman dancing in her head, she stomps into a local bar, ready, willing and-hell, yeah-able to hook up for New Year's Eve.
The first man who brings her inner wild thing to attention is one delicious hunk with "perfect one-night stand" stamped all over him. He also turns out to be the all-grown-up version of a young man she blew off in high school. And damn it, he's the one thing she's sworn off: military.
In Major Vic Moore's mind, Lucy is the one that got away. Now that she's popped up on his radar, the temptation to let their mutual desire burn is too intense to ignore. It also sends up red flags-he's fresh from a relationship that almost ruined his career.
Yet their scorching chemistry is too strong to ignore, and Vic finds himself going all out to change her well-entrenched ideas about military men. But as their secrets spill out, the weight of the past may be too much for their fragile trust to bear.
New Year's Eve. Three hours to midnight. Clarksville, Wyoming.
Lucy Creed walked into Dixie's Den with the full intention of finding a one-night stand.
In military terms, this would be a single engagement. A hot pursuit. She wouldn't be denied satisfaction.
She stood at the entrance just inside the double doors, bombarded by music from the old-fashioned jukebox. A country singer wailed a pitiful melody of love lost and love found. The steel guitar twanged. The man's voice throbbed low with sorrow and mimicked the pain in her chest. Her heart twinged along with him.
No. Don't go there. You're here to scratch an itch. To forget that scum bucket, low-down, dirty dog Mendoza.
Now that had all the makings of a song. Low-Down, Dirty Dog.
She'd move on to staid men in business suits, accountants or maybe men who worked in the high-tech industry. Just no more soldiers, sailors or marines.
God, that sounds so bad.
It made her sound and feel like a military hanger's on. A groupie that liked military men for the alpha male mystique. Like the women who wanted to get laid by a Navy SEAL because they figured the men were all studs. Sure, she respected the military for what they represented, and she'd run into a lot of people in the military who didn't fit the stereotype of alpha male. At the same time, she had to wonder at her rotten luck with military men. What was that all about anyway?
Lucy didn't care if her closest friends, Freddie, Marisa and Neena were married to military or ex-military. She wasn't doing the military again even if he looked like a god.
Chatter echoed all around her, the place packed and the room decorated with New Year's Eve decorations from one end to the next. The large bar area smelled like peppermint, alcohol and the piney nuance of the real eight-foot Christmas tree in the corner. Old-fashioned decorations gave a Victorian air to the tree.
Christmas. The tree reminded Lucy of Christmas Eve and that scum sucking dirty...
Damn it. Forget it, will you?
She sighed and shoved that unfortunate night right out of her mind. Or at least to the back burner.
Low lights gave the bar and restaurant intimacy, and yellow and silver streamers hanging from the ceiling twirled and bounced shiny sparkles around the room.
Laugher broke out occasionally, especially at one big round booth in the back. Six women that could have been sextuplets giggled like girls at a birthday party in grade school. They wore party hats over their cascades of long blonde hair and she instantly was reminded of Felicia DeAnza. Blond. Buxom. Gorgeous Felicia.
The woman she didn't want to hate, but had to.
"Good riddance, Mendoza. You and Felicia deserve each other," she said out loud. She glanced at the women again. "Honestly. Six blonde women at one table?"
Surely one of those gigglers was a bottle blonde.
She glanced around to see if anyone had heard her mumblings. No one cared. The crowd seemed to have grown by twenty people since she'd walked inside. It was early but the place rocked. Good. She hoped there were a lot of men here. Eligible. Hot. Yeah, hot as hell would be a real bonus.
Determination motivated each step as she sauntered through the crowd that spilled over from the bar into the restaurant. Dixie's Den had opened a month ago, a country-and-western theme predominate in the decorations that were sprinkled throughout the bar and restaurant areas. She'd been here once, with that D-bag of a boyfriend, and now she wanted to wash the memory right out of her hair by christening the place with a new man. Huh. Christening wasn't exactly the right word for what she needed.
Mindless, wonderful, screaming sin sex.
Anything less... well, she'd had less. She wanted more for a change.
A man who'd treat her like a princess and make love to her like he never wanted to let her go.
As she gazed around, she didn't expect to see what she did. A room full of cowboy hats, most of them on the heads of older men averaging age sixty and their going-grey wives. Okay, so maybe this wasn't the best place on a New Year's Eve to forget about a two-timing asshole. Then some of the cowboy-hat heads in the back turned, and several were young. Too young. Maybe barely legal. No. She didn't want or need that complication.
She spotted a man sitting on a stool at the bar, a long-necked beer bottle in his right hand. And oh, my, my, my. He would photograph well. She could have used him in this year's charity calendar arranged by her friend, Neena. A brunette with flowing long hair headed for him. She wore a tight white T-shirt, butt-skimming mini-skirt and teeter-totter screw-me shoes. She clasped his forearm and leaned close to whisper.
She saw his eyes go wide for a half second, then laughter burst over his face. A low, deep toe-curling laugh that sent sensual vibrations all through Lucy. Holy macoroni. The man shook his head and said something to the woman. The woman's body language held regret as she pouted and sauntered away, looking stinking drunk and ready to fall off her too-tall shoes.
Lucy's mouth went dry as she took a closer look at the guy. He seemed familiar somehow, but she didn't know from where. The room seemed twice as loud and her vision twice as clear. Though he sat at a slight angle away from her, she could see the breadth of his wide shoulders stretching an emerald green sweater that looked soft and touchable. The sweater managed to enhance his muscles without appearing too tight. He cupped his hands behind his neck. Muscles rippled. His biceps and forearms bunched with sculpted muscles, but he wasn't a body builder in an overdone way. No. He was perfectly symmetrical. Powerful. The man screamed of sex and that primitive, knee-buckling, unable-to-control attraction that hammered a female over the head and made everything inside her return to the cave. This was the kind of man a woman could get crazy with, loose inhibitions and forget her own name with.
Jeans curved over long legs consisting of hard thighs and calves and ending in sensible all-weather black boots. She'd bet on a stack of bibles he had a world-class butt. She'd love to photograph him with or without clothes.
Her active imagine went into overdrive. Without clothes. Oh, yeah. Would his chest have a hint of hair, or would it be smooth? She liked chests with hair and never understood the trend toward a man waxing his chest.
Instinct drew her forward one step. Two. Soon her boots moved across the room with confident strides. She sensed a couple of men at the bar checking her out, and she worked it, allowing their blatant appreciation to expand her confidence as she walked. She moved with major attitude. Tall, tough and with the slightest swagger.
The man she'd ogled swiveled the bar stool and looked straight at her. Her breath caught. Thick, dark lashes framed piercing brown eyes. Black hair cut short waved close against his head. His features were cut sharply, as if heaven had designed him with a rough hand. He had a long nose, broad but well-sculpted mouth and an almost cruel look that probably scared the hell out of the enemy. He was so-well, he was so not beautiful. Just all... man. Primal female response stood up and noticed. Her body flushed, heated with total awareness of him as a male. Her hormones screamed for attention.
His face lit up with recognition. The dark eyes softened with warmth, the mouth curved into a smile. "Lucy? Lucy Creed?"
His voice was deep, mellow, with an underlying edge of steel.
She blinked. "I'm sorry. I don't... "
He stood, and her five foot six inches had nothing on over six feet of hard muscle. The sweater stretched over his chest a little and his front looked as fantastic as his back had.
He sauntered toward her, beer bottle forgotten on the counter. When he stood near, his woodsy, leather scent caught her attention. A brown bomber jacket was slung over the back of the barstool. Mmmm. Leather.
"You don't remember me, do you?" That damned voice had mellow qualities, a deceiving softness with an underlying rumble of pure passion.
There was a familiar something about him she couldn't put her finger upon. "No. Should I?"
He grinned and her body responded with a flash of heat. "Last time you saw me I was at our senior party. At Jennifer Calvin's house over on Ridgeway."
"I still don't remember."
His grin widened. "I sat next to you in chemistry and we had English lit together."
She frowned, embarrassed that she couldn't remember him.
"I was short." He tilted his head to the side. "Skinny. Ugly as sin. I hear I'm still ugly, but at least I took care of the short and skinny."
Oh. Holy. God. Recognition slammed her at the same time as embarrassment. "You're not Victor Moore? No way."