Celebrate summer love and the last gasp of summer with September’s desktop wallpaper, for free download with or without the calendar page.
This 14 author steamy romance mega-promotion only runs through Thursday, September 1, 2016 so don’t delay!
Tease by Alexis Anne
The Wedding Week by Julia Kelly
Protecting His Heart by Dana Volney
Personal Geography by Tamsen Parker
Sass by Laramie Briscoe
Anywhere with You by Heatherly Bell
Tease by Tracy Reed
Dissident by Cecilia London
King Takes Queen by Monica Corwin
Stockholm Diaries, Caroline by Rebecca Hunter
Welcome to Cypress Corners by JoMarie DeGioia
Last Call by Jen Doyle
Wrecked (Studs in Spurs) by Cat Johnson
A Good Game by D. D. Shaw
Jon and Ali have been together since I started the Hot SEALs series in 2014. They met in Book 1 Night with a SEAL and, as readers and reviewers have so lovingly pointed out, Jon never proposed . . . until now! But you know the course of true love never did run smooth and that’s true here as well. Ali is making Jon work for it! Please enjoy the below excerpt from ROMANCED BY A SEAL, available now in eBook and paperback.
As a SEAL, Jon Rudnick dodged copper and lead without flinching, but just the thought of one tiny gold band around his ring finger has always sent him into a cold sweat. Love is one thing, but marriage is another. He’s not sure he’s ready for that just yet . . . until a near miss serves as a wake-up call he can’t ignore.
Now he’s ready, but his girlfriend Ali has gone from rushing him toward the altar, to running in the opposite direction at full speed. Hell if Jon can figure out why, but he knows one thing. All’s fair in love and war and he’s not going to rest until he makes Ali his again. This time for good.
Jon drove faster than he should have given the conditions and it wasn’t long before he stood at the door of his condo.
He drew in a big breath as the emotions he’d kept on lockdown while he’d been gone started to surface, unlocked the door and swung it open.
The first sight to greet him was Ali, curled up on the sofa, wrapped in a blanket.
At the sound of his entering, she spun around. Her eyes flew wide when she saw him in the doorway . . . before they narrowed beneath her frown.
“Nice to see you made it home alive. And nice to see that you finally shaved.” She’d obviously gotten over her shock of seeing him home and had moved right on to her anger over him being gone.
It didn’t take a genius to see she was good and pissed at him, but he didn’t care. He’d been to hell, danced with the devil and made it back to her and he’d be damned if he wasn’t going to at least kiss her now.
Determined, he strode across the room, pulled her off the sofa and drew her to him in an embrace that was as much for his benefit as hers.
She let him hold her, but she remained stiff in his arms. He decided to take what he could get and be grateful.
“I know you’re mad but it’s so good to hold you.” The words were muffled as he clasped her tight and buried his face against her hair. She smelled familiar and felt like home.
He’d missed her. He didn’t realize how much until now while she was in his arms. He pulled back and tipped her face up. There was no controlling the urge to take her mouth.
The danger of posing as an ISIS fighter hadn’t scared him as much as knowing that just days away from being safely home and with Ali he’d nearly died.
It only proved what he knew already. No one could predict what could happen or when. He could live to a hundred or he could die tomorrow. It was about time he started really living.
“God, I missed you.” The words were barely out before he crushed his mouth against hers.
Overwhelmed by the need to feel safe and alive, he kissed her hard and thoroughly. The long list of miracles that had brought him home mostly unscathed grew by one more when Ali didn’t push him away.
She sank into his kiss, clinging to him through the jacket he’d never taken the time to remove.
He wanted to get her to the bedroom. Wanted the clothes separating them—his damp ones and her warm ones—gone.
But he wanted something else more.
Breaking the kiss, he blurted out the words that would make her his for the rest of his life. “Marry me.”
She pulled back from him. “What?”
“Marry me.” Now that he’d said it once, the words spilled out even easier.
Her eyes narrowed. “Why are you asking me that now?”
“What?” He was too confused to comprehend her frown or the suspicion in her tone. Wasn’t this what she’d wanted?
“Did you come right here or stop somewhere first?”
Further confused by that question, he said, “I stopped at the office.”
Her nostrils flared. She was mad he went to the office?
He continued, trying to diffuse this bomb while blind. “I had to. My truck was parked in the lot. And my house keys were there too. Ali, I don’t know what’s happening here. All I know is I want to marry you.”
“You didn’t before you left.”
“I did. I just—”
“I can’t be here with you right now.” After cutting him off she moved toward the door.
What the fuck had just happened?
How could things have gone to shit so fast? All he’d done was try to give her what she wanted. What he now realized he wanted too.
He knew one thing, as the tears streamed down her face and she struggled to get her shoes on by the door, he wasn’t going to be able to reason with her now.
“Ali. You stay. I’ll go.” Confused at why she refused to be under the same roof as him, Jon still wasn’t going to make her go out in the rain just to get away from him.
He knew he could crash at Chris and Brody’s apartment for the night. The office was probably a better bet. He really didn’t want to deal with any questions. This was his mess and he’d deal with it on his own in private.
“No. You stay. This is your place. It was never mine. I can sleep at Darci’s. She already offered me Rick’s bedroom.”
Why the hell would Darci be offering her a place to sleep when Ali was living with him? What had happened while he’d been gone? Had Ali been confiding in Darci about wanting to leave him?
He had a feeling he wouldn’t like the answer.
Meanwhile, Ali continued to ramble as she reached for her jacket. “Sierra’s in LA filming a movie and Rick will be out there with her for the next few weeks. It’s been all over the television . . . but you wouldn’t know that since you haven’t been around.”
He didn’t argue that he probably wouldn’t have known about Sierra and her movie even if he had been around. If Rick wasn’t Darci’s brother, and Darci wasn’t Ali’s best friend, Sierra Cox wouldn’t even be on Jon’s radar.
He honestly couldn’t give a shit where Rick was at the moment. All he could focus on was that she was leaving for some reason he couldn’t even begin to guess. “Ali, I don’t want you to go. Can’t we talk about this?”
Dry-eyed now, she just shook her head. “I’m not sure you know what you want, Jon.”
There was no anger in the statement. Just resignation.
Jon would rather she yell at him. Rant. Throw things.
At least that would show some passion and make him feel as if she cared. Not like this new freakish calm that had settled over her as she grabbed her purse and walked out the door and out of his life.
As a SEAL, Jon Rudnick dodged copper and lead without flinching, but just the thought of one tiny gold band around his ring finger sends him into a cold sweat. Love is one thing, but marriage is another. He’s not sure he’s ready for that just yet. . . until a near miss serves as a wake-up call he can’t ignore.
Now he’s ready, but his girlfriend Ali has gone from rushing him toward the altar, to running in the opposite direction at full speed. Hell if Jon can figure out why, but he knows one thing. All’s fair in love and war and he’s not going to rest until he makes Ali his again. This time for good.
Too angry to eat the dinner she’d spent hours shopping for and preparing, Ali yanked hard on the kitchen drawer.
Just like everything else in Jon’s life, even the drawers in his condo were neatly organized. Rolls of plastic wrap lined up in precision formation amid aluminum foil and boxes of plastic bags in every size.
The sight only ramped up her anger.
Everything in Jon’s existence was in perfect order except for his relationship with her.
She was the messy junk drawer of his life.
That realization had her pausing, hand on the plastic wrap. No wonder he avoided spending time at home with her. Running out at every opportunity. Each excuse plausible but seeming more flimsy than the last.
It had been a mistake moving in together. Just because something made financial sense didn’t mean it was right.
Things between them had started to go downhill shortly after she’d moved in so it was pretty obvious to her that this decision, though practical, had been very, very wrong.
Hot angry tears pricked behind her eyes as she grabbed the wrap and yanked to tear off a piece.
The clingy plastic got tangled on the sharp serrated edge. She pawed at it but only ended up cutting her finger instead of the clear wrap.
“Shit.” Tossing the whole mess onto the counter, she shoved the stinging finger in her mouth and sucked at the thin stripe of red that appeared.
One handed as she nursed her wound, she grabbed her food-laden plate from the counter, intent on shoving it onto the fridge shelf uncovered.
Unwrapped food in the refrigerator—that would drive Jon crazy. Perfect. It would teach him for walking out—
again—this time after she’d gone to so much trouble to make a nice meal for him.
The spiteful thought had her feeling quite satisfied as she spun toward the fridge . . . and jumped as a scream tore from her throat.
That was followed directly by a huff of frustration. “Dammit, Jon. Will you please make some noise when you come in? You scared the hell out of me.”
“Sorry.” He tracked her with his eyes from where he stood in the kitchen doorway as she moved to the refrigerator.
Judging by the one brow he cocked up as he watched her, he definitely took notice of the unwrapped dish she shoved inside.
She closed the door and leveled a gaze on him, silently daring him to say a word. That he didn’t comment surprised her.
“What happened to your finger?” He lifted a chin toward the finger she held up in the air so she didn’t get blood on her clothes.
“I cut it on the plastic wrap box.”
He moved forward and took her hand in his, inspecting the wound. “You should clean it and put on a bandage.”
“It’s not that deep.” She hated that she couldn’t control how her heartbeat sped when he touched her.
“It could still get infected.” Standing close, he didn’t drop his hold on her hand.
She raised her gaze and found he was focused solely on her.
Those piercing blue eyes of his had gotten to her starting the first day she saw him on Rick and Darci’s front doorstep. When he looked at her like this, the depth of the feelings hidden within Jon’s eyes could still make her weak in the knees.
“Okay.” She felt breathless as she only vaguely remembered what she was agreeing to.
She reminded herself how often lately she’d seen those eyes go hard and cold as Jon slammed the wall down between them.
Drawing in a shaky breath she pulled her hand from his grasp.
He let her, but it was only to reach out and pull her body close. Holding her tight against him with the hands he clamped on her hips, Jon dropped his head and took possession of her mouth with a demanding kiss.
She wanted to stay angry.
Wanted to pull away and punish him, not give him what he wanted, but it seemed so long since he’d touched her. And it felt so good to know he still wanted her. She’d begun to doubt that as he became more distant and obsessed with work.
At least she’d hoped it was work and not something or someone else. She’d begun to doubt that too.
But right now there was no doubt what he wanted as he plunged his tongue against hers while backing her against the cabinets.
July’s desktop calendar wallpaper features July’s new Hot SEALs release, Romanced by a SEAL. Readers with a sharp eye will notice that Jon romances Ali with her favorite flower, also featured in this picture, peonies.
Romanced by a SEAL releases July 12th. That’s one reason that makes this the perfect time to reread the story of how Jon and Ali met in NIGHT WITH A SEAL if you already own it or to grab Night with a SEAL now if you haven’t read it yet, because the new release is the story readers have been asking for. Jon is finally proposing to Ali! Coincidentally, the 4th of July holiday is coming up and Jon and Ali meet at a barbecue on the fourth in Night with a SEAL! I love a theme. Enjoy the 4th of July excerpt below.
“So how far away are you?” Darci asked.
“I don’t know. Not too far. What’s the big hurry?” Ali was on her way to a Fourth of July barbecue, not trying to catch a flight at the airport.
“A bunch of Rick’s friends are here already.”
Ali glanced at the clock on the dashboard. “It’s barely even two yet. I thought that’s when you said to come over.”
“I know, but from what I’ve seen, SEALs are never late. Not even the retired ones.”
Ali still didn’t see the need to rush. It wasn’t like she was the one bringing the appetizers, or more importantly the beer. Then Darci might have reason to panic. Ali could imagine that Darci’s brother could easily freak out if he’d invited all his Navy buddies over and there wasn’t any beer when they arrived.
To appease her friend, Ali said, “I’ll be there in a couple of minutes.”
“Good. There’s someone I want you to meet.”
The reason for Darci’s persistence was suddenly very apparent to Ali. “Um, no.”
“Because I told you I don’t want to be fixed up with anybody.” Ali scowled at the mere thought.
“I think you’ll change your mind once you meet him. Dark hair. Cut muscles. Six-foot-two and eyes of blue.”
“So now we’re rhyming? Stop. It’s creepy. You’re like some weird cross between Dr. Seuss and the Millionaire Matchmaker.”
Darci let out a laugh. “Well, Rick and his friends certainly aren’t millionaires, but they are hot. I can promise you that. The US Navy churns out men with some of the hardest bodies you’ve ever seen. And I don’t mean like those pumped up steroid-filled monsters you find at the gym. These guys are in seriously good shape. They work them until they’re completely exhausted to simulate the stress of combat.”
“How do you know all this?” Ali frowned. “I thought all this SEAL stuff was top secret.”
“Pfft. Thanks to the media, there’s not much that stays secret for long nowadays. Besides, that Rick had to do hundreds of sit-ups and push-ups and stuff like that when he was active isn’t exactly classified information. I mean who cares if the enemy knows our guys are in tip-top condition? That should only make them think twice about trying anything. Right?”
“I guess.” What did Ali know about national security? Not much, that’s what. But she did know her friend was as single as she was, which raised a good question. “So if they’re so hot, why aren’t you dating one of them?”
“I can’t date one of Rick’s teammates. I know them too well. They’re like brothers to me. Before he got out, Rick was with these guys practically twenty-four-seven.”
That brought up another question—or more an objection disguised in the form of a question. Alison remembered just last year when Rick was still in the military and he disappeared. He not only hadn’t told Darci where he was or what he was doing, he also didn’t respond to any of her attempts to contact him. For weeks. Darci had absolutely flipped out, convinced he was dead and the Navy just hadn’t told her and their parents yet.
To this day Darci didn’t know where he’d been. Security was that tight. Ali wasn’t sure she was up for that kind of stress in a relationship. Dating a nice boring normal guy was hard enough without the challenges of operational security thrown in.
“This guy you’re so hot to set me up with, is he still in the military or is he out like your brother?”
Not having come from a military background, it was very odd for her to be talking about guys just a few years older than herself as having retired from their Navy career, even if Rick had been forced to get out because of his knee issues. But like Darci said, the life of a SEAL was rough, which she supposed made it a younger man’s game. No different than being a top professional athlete, she guessed.
“He’s still active duty,” Darci answered.
Ali let out a frustrated huff. “Forget about it. Now I’m really not interested. I’m not about to get seriously involved with a guy who’s away all the time on secret missions. I have a bad enough track record with men who actually stay put.”
“Fine, then don’t start anything long term. Have a fling instead.”
“I can’t do that.” Ali’s voice squeaked over Darci’s suggestion.
“Why not? I sure as hell won’t judge you.”
Darci better not judge. In the two years they’d worked together at the bank, Ali had acted as Darci’s wingman for more than a few of her friend’s hook-ups.
Alison didn’t mention that and moved right on to answering the question. “I’m not going to have a fling with him because I’m sure Navy SEALs have so many women who want to sleep with them, they have to beat them all off with a stick. I am not going to get in that line just so I can be another notch in one of their belts.”
Thanks to the military installations at Dam Neck and Little Creek, being anywhere in this part of Virginia meant that the bars were always full of women looking for SEALs and men, both Navy and civilian, taking advantage of that fact.
“Just please, Ali. Keep an open mind until you meet Jon. Okay?”
“Okay.” At least Ali knew his name now. She’d know to avoid this Jon during the barbecue before Darci embarrassed them both by blatantly throwing them together.
“So how close are you now?” Darci asked, still sounding a bit too enthusiastic for Ali’s arrival.
God, save her from well meaning friends. Ali sighed. “Relax. I’m on your street, and if you let me get off the phone so I can park the car, I’ll get there even faster.”
“Good. Hurry up.” Darci disconnected the call while Ali drew in a bracing breath and prepared for what would greet her at this party.
Sometimes being single was too much work, especially amid do-gooder friends trying to play matchmaker.
Ali pulled up to park behind a truck so large her fuel-efficient economy car almost fit beneath it. No doubt it belonged to one of these SEALs Darci was so hot for Ali to meet. While these guys were off saving the world, they should probably also consider the environment and the impact their gas-guzzlers had on it.
As Ali flipped down the visor she shook her head, mad first at Darci and then at herself for feeling the need to check her hair and make up before she went inside.
This barbecue had gone from low key to stressful in the span of one phone call. She even began to second-guess her outfit. The sundress showed enough skin to make her look like she was inviting male attention, when in reality she’d worn it because of the heat. The same reason she’d put her hair up instead of leaving it down for the day.
Too late to change anything now. She slid her sunglasses on—they’d be a good shield so she could unobtrusively observe the others and avoid eye contact—and opened the door. Time to face the music . . . or at least her interfering friend and some SEALs.
Ali walked around the car and was almost to the path before she remembered to grab the potato salad out of the trunk. Darci’s phone call had her all distracted, and for nothing too because there was no way she was going to fall for or have a fling with one of the guys here today.
That resolve firmly in place, she strode to the front doorstep, where she had to work to balance the plastic container filled with potato salad between her arm and hip so she could hit the doorbell.
“Need a hand?” The deep, masculine voice startled her.
Ali jumped and nearly fumbled the very container she’d been struggling not to drop. She hadn’t seen the guy come around the corner of the house. He’d stalked silently across the grass like a ninja or, she supposed, a SEAL.
Welcome to June and the start of summer in my hemisphere. You know what that means, right? Your new summer book boyfriend awaits. Who will yours be?
He’d been at the club for fun countless times, which made it particularly odd being there today for this self appointed close personal protection assignment.
Enlightening was an even better word than odd.
Rocky usually thought of himself as more observant than the average person. It came with the job. But it was becoming more than obvious that he sure as hell didn’t employ his skills of observation when he came to the club looking for mindless pleasure.
How many hours had he sat in this very room and never noticed the security cameras? And was the music always so god-awful and so loud?
His phone vibrated in the pocket of the jacket he wore to hide his shoulder holster. He pulled it out and saw Rick’s name on the readout.
He hit the button to answer and pressed it to his ear. “Hey.”
“Where are you?” Rick asked, though it was damn hard to hear him.
“I’m still at the club. Her shift’s got another two hours or so.”
“Any sign of Isabel’s Latin lover yet?”
Rocky hated that reference. It reminded him too much that a man who didn’t come close to deserving Isabel in any way had already had all of the pleasures with her that Rocky could only dream of experiencing.
“Nope. Just a handful of young sailors with their attention glued to the girls.”
And the three minutes that Isabel had been on stage in front of the leering boys had been pretty damn stressful . . . for both of them.
She’d kept her eyes on the audience, no doubt watching for Tito. Rocky had done the same, while keeping just as close an eye on the kids from the base to make sure none of them got out of line with her.
Then there was the other thing that he had to deal with—trying not to leer himself.
He couldn’t believe he’d never noticed Isabel before, because she was exactly his type. A dark-haired beauty rounded in all the right places.
Of course, he’d been away a lot and she had to be new here given the fact she’d had Lola only a few months ago.
“Tough job you assigned yourself there, bud.” Rick’s displeasure at the division of labor came through clearly in his tone and brought Rocky back to the conversation.
Even if he hadn’t heard the baby crying in the background above the sound of the music in the club, Rocky would have known Rick was unhappy.
“What’s up with Lola?” he asked.
“No clue. Darci and Ali changed her. Fed her. Danced around with her while singing songs. We’re running out of ideas here.”
“Not that I know what I’m doing any more than you do, but did you burp her?”
“I’ll pass that question on to the girls and see if they did.”
“I can grab Isabel and ask her if you really need—”
“Nah. Don’t bother her yet. She’s got enough to worry about. If we can’t get the baby settled down soon, I’ll give you a call back. Maybe I’ll call Thom.”
Rocky laughed at that. “I think you should. Why shouldn’t he get to share in the fun?”
“Right. Oh, and Jon just left. He said he’s going to keep an eye on the club parking lot. Make sure Tito’s not hoping to get to her there.”
Rick snorted. “My opinion? He just wanted to get away from the babysitting duty but yeah, it was a sound enough plan I couldn’t stop him from going. And there’s no way Darci will let me or Chris leave when she and Ali are stuck here with the kid.”
“Chris is there too?”
“Yup. One of the duties of dating my sister. He has to do what she says. But he’s as useless when it comes to babies as the rest of us.” Rick paused. “Oh thank God, she’s quiet.”
“What did you do?”
The sound of Rick walking was followed by a soft laugh. “It looks like Chris got the idea to put her on top of the dryer while it’s running.”
“Jesus. Is that safe?”
“She’s strapped in the car seat. We’ll have to watch and make sure the seat doesn’t vibrate off but hell, that’s worth it for some quiet.”
Rocky cringed at the image of Lola and the seat toppling off the machine. “Please don’t let her fall on her head.”
“Dude, I think four adults can handle one tiny baby.”
Rick hadn’t sounded so certain of that just a few minutes ago, but Rocky let it go. “I’ll call to check in later.”
“You just worry about Perez. We got it covered.”
“I’m calling anyway.”
“Fine. Talk to you later.” Rick disconnected and Rocky tried to not worry.
Rocky turned to the bartender and saw the unhappy expression on his face. He reached for his wallet and pulled out a bill. “You can make it a diet soda this time. I’m sorry. I’m not drinking today.”
The hulking older man reached for a glass as he eyed Rocky. “You’re not watching the girls all that much either, so what are you doing here?”
“Just helping out a friend.”
The man glanced around the bar. “Well, you were here before them.” He lifted a chin in the direction of the seamen, all clad in NAVY T-shirts. “And they don’t look like they need any help from you, so I’m figuring it must be one of my girls.”
He tipped his head. “Yup. I’m the owner of this club.”
“Oh.” He turned to face the man more fully and extended his right hand. “Rocky Mangiano.”
The man gripped his with his own beefy hand. “Pete O’Neill. You Navy?”
No use denying that. It was on the damn bumper sticker on his truck in the parking lot. He should probably peel that thing off but for now, he nodded. “Yeah.”
“You involved with one of my dancers?”
“No. Well, yes, but not in the way you’re insinuating.”
“Wasn’t insinuating anything. I’m outright asking.” The man’s gaze was steady as it held Rocky’s.
Rocky was usually a pretty good judge of character and this man struck him as trustworthy. “Isabel.”
The man’s brows rose. “Since you know the name I cut her checks to and not her stage name, I’m going to take that as a yes, you are involved.”
“It’s not as simple as that.” Rocky leaned in, keeping is voice as low as he could and still be heard over the pounding dance music. “You know she has a kid?”
“I think I’ve heard that, yeah.”
“Well, I’m here to make sure both Isabel and Lola stay safe.”
“Safe from whom?”
“Someone from her past who’s bad news.”
“The kid’s father?”
Surprised he’d guessed, Rocky said, “I didn’t say that.”
“You didn’t have to.” The bartender leaned closer. “I figured there was some reason she showed up here looking for a job. We get all kinds of girls working here, but not usually like her.”
“Meaning what? What’s she like?”
“Shy. Timid almost.” He shook his head. “Her audition was so bad, I honestly only gave her the job because I felt sorry for her.”
Rocky frowned. “She didn’t look so bad up there today.”
“That’s because the other girls took her under their wing. Taught her. She’s a quick learner and a hard worker. Now she’s got a couple of months here, you’d never know she was so completely wrong for this job when she started.”
Rocky wasn’t sure if Isabel being such an accomplished stripper now was a good thing, but he could agree completely she was bright and a hard worker. He could see that himself.
“You know, I pride myself on making sure my girls are safe.”
“I didn’t mean any offense that you’re not doing a good job, but we’re not talking an overzealous admirer here.”
“I guess not or she wouldn’t need hired muscle.”
Rocky snorted. “Since she’s not paying me, I’m not exactly hired muscle.”
“No. You’re just a friend.”
Rocky nodded. “Yup.”
The bartender pulled his mouth into a crooked smile. “Okay. Got it. And if she needs any time off to deal with this situation, she’s got it. The girls are good about taking extra shifts.”
“Thanks. That’s helpful. I’ll tell her. She was worried about taking time off.”
“No problem. Oh, and by the way, your friend is about to take the stage again.”
Rocky spun toward the raised, spotlighted wooden runway as the bartender chuckled behind him.
At the moment, he didn’t give a shit what the club’s owner thought. Besides, the man was right. Rocky wanted to be much more than Isabel’s friend . . . particularly now as she strutted her stuff across the stage.
He’d never felt so torn in all his life. Half of him wanted to wrap a blanket around her to hide the costume that showed much too much skin. He’d love to jump up on that stage, toss her over his shoulder and take her far away from all the gawking eyes on her now.
The other half of him had gone dry in the mouth as he watched her bend at the waist and stick her tempting ass high in the air. That half wanted to jump on stage too, but not to cover her up. Rather to strip her down and take what she so artfully offered.
It was just a show, he reminded himself. That offer wasn’t real at all and it wasn’t for him. It was for every man in the room willing to part with a dollar—or twenty—so she could pay her rent and support her daughter.
That thought brought him back around full circle and he wanted her off that stage and back safe at Rick’s place with Lola.
He noticed the icy glass of soda the bartender had set on the cocktail napkin by his elbow on the bar. Rocky drew in a long slow sip through the straw.
Maybe he should order a drink. Between the guilt, the desire, and the hard-on pressing against the zipper of his jeans he sure as hell felt like he needed one about now.
The guilt wasn’t enough to keep his eyes off the stage though, or his mind from slipping into lurid thoughts of Isabel.
He should probably just go sit with that group of drooling sailors who were now standing so they could better shove dollar bills into the very few items she still had on.
Rocky curled his hand into a fist and drew in an angry breath.
The bartender’s laugh had him glancing at the man, who grinned and shook his head. “It takes a lot of strength to be able to handle falling for a girl in this profession.”
He opened his mouth to say he hadn’t fallen for her, until he realized he didn’t believe his own bullshit, so there was no way the bartender was going to.
Instead, Rocky tipped his head. “Yeah. I’m starting to realize that.”