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.
Night with a SEAL in eBook, paperback & audio~
“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.