Alpha Mountain: Warrior
There was nothing better than the feel of the stick between my thighs. Okay, maybe there was a different kind of stick that felt pretty good in that location. And maybe only one specific stick I preferred at that.
I would never forget the glory of that one. Long and thick, I barely got my fingers around it. Steely hardness beneath heated velvet. And the guy it belonged to?
A mixture of sweet sin and ruthless danger to both my heart and body.
To the enemy? They never knew the cause of their last breath.
But Chase Berghart, call sign Kennedy because he’sthe ladies’ man, wasn’t here.
His talented dick wasn’t about to sink into my eager pussy.
No, I had a different kind of thrill I was taking for a ride today.
“Returning to base. Heading zero-six-two.” The comms unit built into my helmet transmitted my message to the guys who were closely following my position.
The helicopter tipped to the right as I pulled on the cyclic control stick.
“Copy that. Everything looking good.”
I glanced at the radar on the display and confirmed because the weather was holding and so was the visibility. For now. Storms blew in with record speed in Montana, and some were expected.
“Watch your six.” It was a different voice than usual. Taft’s casual but focused response was replaced by another. One I was all too familiar with. One who had spoken in my ear before with that deep, dark tone.
It made me wet then offered all kinds of carnal promises. They had definitely been fulfilled. That first time happened two years ago at the base in Qatar after a SEAL mission. Our adrenaline had been pumping and needed an outlet. We’d found it in each other. I’d known he was a man whore, but I hadn’t minded. We’d fucked. He’d fled. Sent on a mission I hadn’t been privy to.
We were working together again—this time not in the military—but with Alpha Mountain Security. There were no rules, no protocols or laws to stay within.
I glanced at my radar again. “I’m good.”
“Get back to base,” he practically growled.
I rolled my eyes. I’d flown helicopters my entire military career. There were very few women combat fighter jet pilots in the Navy. Starting out, my options had been limited in comparison to my brothers. I chose helicopters because they got me behind enemy lines. I helped my fellow soldiers, including the SEAL teams who needed to be extracted.
I was the best they had. Until I quit. Now I was Alpha Mountain’s best. And only in this small corner of the world. Which meant I was the person who was called on for anything involving a helicopter, including searches and rescues.
“Lay off, Kennedy,” I snapped. “I got this. The guys were dropped off and are on their way to the lost hikers. I’m a few miles off the targeted landing area. But no issues.”
“You’re not out of there yet.”
“I’m well aware of where I fucking am.” I wasn’t behind enemy lines. Or on an Alpha Mountain mission that, on paper, didn’t exist. That never happened.
“It’s not just you at risk this time,” he reminded.
Those words gave me pause and explained his crankiness. Yeah, it wasn’t just me that needed protection on this run. But I wouldn’t be grounded. Not yet and not by him.
And not for a simple Search and Rescue team shuttle.
“You need to–”
Alarms blared, and my dash blinked red.
I cut off my words and focused, not on Kennedy and his possessiveness, his anger at me being up in the air, even this close to base, and being coddled and protected like a child. I had bigger problems than a bossy ex-SEAL who gave me shit.
“Holy fuck. Incoming,” I said. I saw the flare of the missile in my periphery just as it appeared on radar. “Evasive maneuvers.”
“Christ. What the–”
“Two incoming.” Taft’s voice cut off Kennedy’s. Taft was thinking with his head and not his dick.
After a few recent bouts of angry, wild sex with Kennedy, he’d gone commando on my ass. Well, and one other reason.
I banked right. Hard. The ground, which was thickly forested rolling hills, got bigger.
“Who the hell is shooting at me and why?”
The first missile passed, and I banked again to avoid the second.
“What the fuck is going on?” Kennedy shouted.
“Some helo is firing at Quincy,” Taft countered.
I could hear chatter in the background, them bickering, and–
My thoughts ceased, and I focused solely on my training, on getting my ass out of this situation. I’d been shot at before, with soldiers who relied on me to get them home in one piece. No one was in the chopper now, but I still had precious cargo. Cargo I couldn’t allow to be harmed.
I heard Taft’s voice in my ear. Kennedy’s, too. I ignored them and just flew.
The second missile hit my left landing skid, the slight impact jarring the copter off course.
“I’ve been hit.” I checked the gauges, then pressed the button to shut off the alarm as I veered along the ridge of the hillside. I relayed the damage. Damage Ford wasn’t going to be happy about, not to his brand new helicopter. “Not sure about landing, but I’ve had worse.”
“Shut it, Kennedy,” I snapped. “Get your ass off the fucking comms.”
“You’re my woman, and–”
“I’m not your woman,” I countered. “Taft, shut him down. I’m returning to base. I don’t need–”
The alarms blared again.
“Incoming. Someone sure as shit doesn’t like your ass,” Taft said.
This time, it wasn’t missiles, but another chopper. Of course the missiles came from a chopper. Where else would they be coming from around here?
I whipped my head to the left where the radar indicated another bird.
I dipped over the ridgeline to be sheltered by the rugged hillside, but the chopper followed.
“It’s a Bell. Friendly.” The whiz of bullets–and the missiles–had me changing my mind and direction. “Shit, not friendly.”
I used every bit of my knowledge to evade the chopper, but I couldn’t outfly it. More bullets came at me in a long barrage.
“Quincy! Get the fuck out of there!” Kennedy shouted. He was still listening in. So probably were all the others back at the command center. This was me on a simple run, shuttling the Search and Rescue guys. Nothing more. Now it was like I was back in the Middle East.
I was fucked. I was a few miles from Alpha Mountain and my helipad. There was no way I could avoid this guy for that long, or long enough for him to run out of bullets.
“They want to shoot me down.” Duh.
“Get back to base!” Taft called.
“I’ll bring them right to you.”
“Oh shit,” Kennedy said, understanding what I was putting down.
I had weapons of my own thanks to Ford’s obsessive need for being prepared. The only way to save myself was to turn on the offensive. I banked left, hard, but that opened my side up to attack. I changed elevation, aiming for the clouds, then banked to the right, bringing the other chopper into my sights.
He knew what I was doing. He was an experienced pilot whose mission was to end me.
“Take this, you fucker,” I muttered. Sweat glistened my skin as I pressed the fire button. I watched as bullets shot from the fixed mounted minigun. Yeah, Ford had bought an armored, armed tank of a helicopter for Sparks, Montana, and it sure as shit was coming in handy right now.
He banked. Aimed. Fired.
This time, I had nowhere to go, no chance to evade. I only angled my chopper, so it protected me. But the bullets tore through the tail boom.
I lost control of the steering. Then everything else. “Fuck. Come on…. Come onnnnnnnn.”
“Get an extraction team on the horn,” Kennedy yelled.
“Extraction team? Quincy is that team.”
“Give me something,” Kennedy snapped back.
“Coordinates are–” Taft stated.
Kennedy and Taft were talking in my ear, but I was tugging on the stick, using the pedals to try and level, to try to keep from going into a tailspin. The ground rushed up fast. Too fast, even as I tilted the rotors forward to get as much lift as I could.
“Mayday. Mayday,” I called, but Taft already knew the deal. I might be close to home but not close enough.
“Stay alive, Quincy. Stay fucking alive.” Kennedy’s frantic voice was the last I heard before the crash.
Four weeks earlier
She was in the shower.
Naked. Just a few feet away from me.
But I wasn’t thinking about that. I wasn’t thinking about what she looked like unclothed. Dripping wet. That long hair unbound and streaming down her back.
Nope. Not at all. Living with Quincy was not a daily torture for me. Not in the slightest.
After the shit show with Indi, or Indigo Buchanan, Ford’s girlfriend, being stalked then kidnapped on top of a mountain by Tully, the psycho involved in her brother’s–and our SEAL team member’s–murder, we all agreed a helicopter would come in handy.
I’d been all for it. Taft and Hayes had been in as well. Even Mrs. L had been eager for the alternate mode of transpo although a helicopter was a big step up.
Except I hadn’t thought about who would fly the bird.
Until it was too late. After we built a landing pad. After we built a hangar.
Because not only did the brand new chopper arrive, but so did the pilot.
Melissa Mason, aka Quincy.
The best damned pilot I knew in the Navy. She should’ve been a TopGun, but the barriers to female pilots were still too significant.
She was also the best damned lay I ever had.
Which posed really big fucking problems. We weren’t in the Middle East any longer. We weren’t on gripping, hellish missions where a sweaty bout of sex released all the excess adrenaline.
She’d avoided me like the plague while I sniffed around her for months when I saw her around missions. Then she finally gave in to what we both knew was between us, and it was beyond spectacular. It had been the heat of post-mission that made her cave–that sexual affirmation of life that was so damned necessary after coming close to dying. It probably stemmed from some deep biological survival instinct–reproduce before it was too late that ensured the survival of the species.
Whatever the reason, after that night, I wanted to survive just to get between those sweet thighs again.
Our chemistry had been off the charts.
Still was. And that was the issue.
Now we were out of the Navy, living in close quarters in Sparks, Montana. Population… less than what filled a major league ball stadium. Hell, half that. We’d worked together before but only in passing, and that sure as shit hadn’t been long enough.
Her job had been to shuttle whomever and whatever. Wherever. That included SEAL teams in and out of tricky and dangerous situations. She’d done it with precision, focus and integrity. And full of threats.
Now the most dangerous situation the two of us faced was bumping into each other in the bunkhouse in the middle of the night. Me seeing her in skimpy sleep shorts and a tank top that did nothing to hide her perfect body, those lush tits that were topped with pert nipples I remembered licking and sucking on and went hard every time I was around.
I knew this because I couldn’t help but look.
Every fucking time.
Which was all the time. Because this new team we were on was small. So far, besides Ford, it was me, Hayes, Taft, and now Quincy.
Which meant it was nearly fucking impossible to keep from grabbing her from her bed and tossing her over my shoulder, carrying her back to my room and giving her round two. Or tossing her over my shoulder after she finished the obstacle course, her skin slick with sweat.
Yeah, I wanted to toss her over my shoulder 24/7.
Because she might be a badass in the pilot’s seat of a helicopter, but I wanted to be in charge when it came to her orgasms.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t happening. She’d set a clear boundary after the first time we had sex and reaffirmed it when she got here.
“Not. Happening,” were her exact words, each delivered with an index finger poke to my chest. “Find another hookup. I’m not your FWB.”
My forehead had scrunched up at that, and she had to explain, “Friend with benefits. Find someone else.”
I’d expected that stance to change once she realized how slim the pickings were around Sparks, but it hadn’t.
Yet. Besides, my dick seemed to only want one woman. The one who didn’t want anything to do with me. Quincy.
“Dude, you having a stroke?”
I stirred and blinked at Taft, who’d come into the industrial kitchen in the bunk house. I had been Ford’s first hire, and we’d designed this space together. Eight bedrooms, each with its own full bath. A common family room and kitchen combo with a dining area that seated twelve.
Mrs. L, Ford’s grandmother, always cooked in her kitchen in the house, enjoying feeding us all. But at five in the morning when I got up–not something I could break after years in the service–no one expected her to have a full breakfast spread. She got up early but not this early.
I’d made the coffee and had been pouring a mugfull when I heard Quincy’s shower kick on. Which meant she was naked and wet and soapy.
And I was staring at the steaming brew without doing shit.
I gave Taft my signature grin as he went to the mega-fridge and pulled out a carton of OJ. “Debating adding sugar or if I’m sweet enough.”
Who was I kidding? I liked sugar with everything.
He chugged directly from the carton, which had a sticky note on the side that had his name on it. Now that he’d just contaminated the whole thing, I didn’t need the reminder.
“It’s those lollipops.”
I didn’t reply because he was right. I had an oral fixation that was constant–and not only for Quincy’s pussy… fuck, I was mental–that I’d had since I was a teen.
I’d gotten into drinking and smoking in ninth grade. A rebellion against my parents’ stiff rules and proper etiquette required of a rich, social climbing DC family.
When I realized they weren’t going to change from the fake fucks they were, I had to. I’d stopped my self-destructive ways and enlisted. That got my ass in gear.
I heard the shower shut off, but Taft didn’t seem to notice. Or care.
Which was good because I didn’t want to punch his face in for even thinking about Quincy as anything but a teammate and pilot.
Not that I was supposed to, either.
He set the carton back in the fridge, the door slapping shut behind him. “You coming? We got PT to push through.”
I gave him a middle finger salute, then worked my way through my coffee. “I’ll be there in ten.” Before Quincy came, I was always the first out the door in the mornings, but now I found myself lingering, unwilling to leave any building in which Quincy was naked.
I doubted Hayes was in his room. He usually spent his nights at his girl’s place in town. Megan was one of the sheriff’s deputies and had a sweet little house near the station. I didn’t blame him for wanting to stay there. There was no question they were hitting it hot and heavy and didn’t want an audience.
I was thrilled with that. No reason to listen to others getting off when I wasn’t getting any.
Leaning against the counter, I worked through my brew.
A few minutes later, Quincy’s door opened. She came out in a pair of leggings which did nothing to hide her toned legs. Or tight ass.
She stopped short at the sight of me.
“Morning,” I said.
“I’m surprised you’re here,” she replied. She was braiding her hair into a long tail even though it was wet.
I arched a brow. “Oh?”
“Figured you’d be in the redhead’s bed.”
She was referring to the waitress who’d come onto me last night. We’d gone to dinner in town as a group for Indi’s birthday. While she was pretty and eager, I didn’t touch the woman, only flirted. Not that Quincy needed to know that. She didn’t want me, my sex life, or lack thereof, was none of her business. Besides, the last thing I wanted her to know was that I was pining for her like a teenaged boy with his first crush and first hard on. It was better for her to think I wasn’t affected. “I don’t linger, sweets.”
She rolled her eyes at the name, one I started calling her after I got a taste of her that long ago afternoon.
“Not your sweets. And I’m all too familiar with your fuck ‘em and leave ‘em routine.”
A routine? Yeah, well… I was known as a player. A man whore. Whatever.
The reputation meant I was safe from any woman wanting seconds.
That meant attachment, and I didn’t do strings. Except I wanted strings and seconds with her. But since she didn’t want it in return, I had my pride.
I only shrugged, which made her huff.
She turned and her long braid whipped over her shoulder.
“You’re the one who doesn’t want repeats,” I reminded.
She glared. “I don’t do sloppy seconds.”
“See you out there,” I called, gritting my teeth. She didn’t want me, that was fine. But I wasn’t going to have her think I was pining for her. Even though I fucking was.
She bent down, her ass in the air for a brief moment, as she grabbed her flip flops which were on the shoe rack by the door. We all agreed the bunkhouse was a no shoe zone.
“Nah. I’m headed with Mrs. L to yoga. We’re meeting the others for the class at six.”
The others were probably Indi and Megan. Maybe even Holly from the coffee shop. The ladies were tight, and I was glad for it.
The thought of Quincy doing yoga, bent over, ass in the air, made my cock stir. It also made me think about how flexible she was and how much fun that could be.
Yeah, I was obsessed with her, which made me cranky. I didn’t obsess about any woman. I couldn’t. Wouldn’t. Except I couldn’t stop with her.
“Good thing I already had my workout with the redhead,” I lied.
She stilled at that, glared daggers over her shoulder before she left, slamming the door behind her.
Yeah, I was a dick. While we never mentioned about our little fuck-fest overseas, the air was constantly thick with tension about it.
I’d go back for seconds. Thirds. Hell, I was afraid I’d never get enough of her. And that was why I was pissed. And cranky. And a downright asshole to her.
Because the more she hated me ensured that I wouldn’t get her beneath me again. She’d felt too good. Too perfect. And that meant trouble.
I walked out of yoga class feeling warm and loose. Not bad for a workout that didn’t involve me pushing limits and proving something to everyone around me.
Yoga wasn’t my thing, but it was a nice break from my usual training. I was a Navy pilot. I preferred running, lifting weights, or crossfit. But I’d moved to a small town, and my circle of friends was even smaller. So if I got invited to a 6 a.m. yoga class with the only three women I knew in Sparks, I had to go.
It was better than another work out with the guys.
Scratch that. It was better than working out with Kennedy. Because the man was Adonis in gym shorts, and every time I got physical near him it made me want to get physical with him.
Which couldn’t happen again.
I liked Kennedy. Far more than I cared to admit. But he was a player. He had a reputation that went far beyond the Navy SEALs. I swore every female in the Navy knew about Kennedy. Maybe in every port around the world. Ford’s entire team had been quite popular, from what I heard, but Kennedy was known as the charmer.
He had those dimples. That ridiculous habit of sucking on lollipops and winking when he talked to you. Even the redheaded waitress the night before hadn’t been immune.
“You guys coming for coffee?” Holly, the owner of the Feed ‘N Seed, which doubled as Sparks’ local cafe and hangout, asked us as we hit the sidewalk, our yoga mats tucked under our arms. It was summer, but the morning air was still cool coming off the mountain. It felt great after the workout. Besides myself, the morning yoga posse consisted of Holly, Indigo, and Megan.
“Definitely,” Megan said. “I’ve been craving your maple walnut scones since last week. So delicious.”
“I’m totally in,” I said. I could eat about five walnut scones right now.
My phone rang as we walked on the grass-choked sidewalk toward the Feed ‘N Seed. I checked the screen and winced, clearing my throat before I answered. “Hello, Admiral.”
“Melissa.” The speaker’s familiar voice was deep and stern.
I waited for him to say more.
“Your mother said you haven’t called in over two weeks.”
I rolled my eyes. I spoke to my mom more often than I spoke to my dad. I liked her. “Nothing to report, remember? I killed my career when I chose not to reenlist.” Or so he’d told me. Several times, in fact.
My dad let out an exasperated sigh. Yeah, I called my father by his rank. He was an admiral in the navy. My brothers, a rear admiral, a commander and a captain. Me? A Navy dropout, at least in their eyes. “Melissa, call your mother. She wants to hear from you. We both do.”
“I’ll call her after our briefing.”
“What is the op?”
I had to laugh. He thought because he was such a high rank in the military that he could nose his way into my life. Wasn’t happening.
“You know I can’t discuss that with you, Dad.” Call me silly, but I loved parroting back the same things I grew up hearing from him. “Our clients have a right to their privacy.”
My dad grumbled. “What kind of clients are these, Melissa? Drug cartels and supervillains?”
I snort laughed. “Did you just say supervillain?”
It showed how little he thought of my new job.
“Mercs take on dangerous work. I don’t want you wrapped up in anything illegal.”
“I’ll take that under advisement.”
“I’m serious,” he barked, using his admiral voice. “I looked into your boss, Ford Ledger. I found out he was dishonorably discharged.”
Like this was new. I was surprised it took him this long to bring it up. I’d been at Alpha Mountain Security for over a month now, and it was Ford’s company.
“Then you must’ve already heard about David Buchanan’s murder and name being cleared.”
Buck was Indi’s brother, and he’d been framed for an Afghan soldier’s death after he, himself, had been murdered. Yeah, big stuff.
“The circumstances around the entire incident are unclear.”
“Unclear?” I practically shouted. “Your intel is shit then.”
“It doesn’t change the fact that the intel I do have about your new boss isn’t shit.”
I frowned because he was right. Ford had been kicked out for trying to clear his friend’s name, but even with that taken care of, Ford hadn’t been exonerated.
Dad was high up, and I suspected he was partially angry because he knew nothing about what was going on. The story that was being shared in the Navy was full of holes and paper thin. He wanted legit intel. From me.
That was probably why he was calling more than him actually caring about me.
Now I was losing my temper.
“Whatever you’re seeing is wrong, Dad. Someone high up was running an illegal drug trade out of Afghanistan, and they tried to pin it on Ford and his friend. So yeah, things have been suppressed to protect the guilty. Since no one else is doing it, Alpha Mountain will expose the whole operation before too long.”
There was a pause as my dad digested that information. “I’ll put some feelers out, but I don’t want you involved in this, Melissa. If that’s true, you will all be in danger.”
I rolled my eyes. My entire career in the Navy had been dangerous. He hadn’t wanted me to enlist in the first place and had been very vocal about it from the start. My brothers, he was proud of. Me? I couldn’t do anything to satisfy the man. If I told him I was going to become a yoga instructor, he’d scoff at it. I’d never been able to make him proud. It probably started when I was born without a penis.
“I’m with an entire team of ex-Navy SEALs. No one will get past them.”
“Don’t get cocky,” my dad snapped. “You’re not a SEAL. You’re my daughter, and I won’t have you–”
“Hey Dad?” I interrupted. “I’m going into the coffee shop with my friends. Can I call you later?”
“Melissa.” He growled my name like a curse.
“Bye, Dad. Love you.” I ended the call and sighed.
“Do you call your dad Admiral?” Megan asked as we climbed the wooden steps to the Feed ‘N Seed. They’d been walking along beside me as I had that fun chat. “Sorry, I wasn’t eavesdropping, but I heard that much.”
“I only do it to be a smart ass and piss him off,” I told her.
Holly went behind the counter where a sleepy-eyed teenager was making espresso drinks for the town’s coffee connoisseurs and started making ours.
“Is he an admiral?” Holly asked, glancing over her shoulder.
I nodded. “Yep. Navy big shot. My three older brothers are all gunning for that rank, too.”
“Wow. Three older brothers. You followed in their footsteps?”
I frowned and couldn’t keep the grumble from my words. “I’m the baby and the only girl. I spent my entire life trying to catch up with those boneheads.”
“No wonder you’re such a badass.”
“Says the badass.” I bumped hips with Megan, who was not only a sheriff’s deputy, but it turned out, was also an accomplished cat burglar. She was exceptional at yoga.
“Go and sit down.” Holly foamed milk in the stainless steel pitcher, the steam making a high hissing sound. “I’ll bring it over in a sec.”
Megan, Indi and I sat down at a corner table, leaning our rolled mats against the wall. Other tables had customers, some familiar to Indi, who waved at two older men. The scent of baked goods and coffee made the place welcoming, and it was obvious why it was a hit in town.
“So I guess they hate that you left the Navy?” Indi probed.
“Well, that’s the irony. They never wanted me to join and held me back at every turn, but now that I left the Navy for merc work, they’re all going out of their minds with worry. I haven’t called him in two weeks, so I had to answer to the big gun this morning.” I crooked a grin.
“I guess he doesn’t think much of Ford?” Indi ducked her head. “Sorry, I might have overheard too much, too.”
“My dad dug into his background and learned all about his dishonorable discharge. I set him on the right trail.” I shrugged then glanced at Indi to make sure she wasn’t upset about the blackballing of her boyfriend. I knew she was, but we all lived with it until we could ferret out the truth and bring the bad guy, or guys, to justice. “My dad can be a bulldog when it comes to interfering with my life.” I flashed a knowing grin. “Who knows, with his misplaced worry, he might rattle the right cages and actually unearth something useful for the team.”
“Ah, I see how you think,” Indi said. She didn’t seem bothered but picked up on the fact that I was spinning my father’s anger into having him dig for results. If he hated me working for a supposed-bad guy like Ford, then he better help make Ford turn into a good guy. “I like it.” She glanced past me and lowered her voice. “Oh, don’t look now, but I think you have an admirer.”
I waited a beat before turning, but before I could, a friendly male voice sounded behind me. “Well, hello there, ladies.” A large hand dropped, not to my shoulder, but to the chairback behind me.
I spun to gaze up at literally the only hot and eligible bachelor in Sparks. Lee Landers, the local mechanic. I gave him a brilliant grin. “Heyyyy. Lee, right?”
He leaned over with a smile. “That’s right.” He extended a hand to shake mine, even though he hadn’t offered it to Indi or Megan. Although he’d known both of them his whole life since I’d heard he’d grown up here too. “You’re Quincy.”
He remembered. I beamed up at him as I shook his rough palm.
I’d met him a couple times in passing at the coffee shop and had hoped to extend our acquaintance to a date. Or drinks. Or a basic hookup. I could be as much of a sailor as the rest of the guys when it came to getting my sexual needs met without any strings. And I had a feeling this guy could do it.
With his rugged good looks and quick smile, I was surprised Holly wasn’t all over him. His dark hair was a little long, and it fell over his forehead. Wearing jeans, sturdy leather boots and a black t-shirt that didn’t hide one bit of his muscled torso, he practically oozed blue collar perfection I read about in romance books. Especially with the tattoo on his biceps.
I felt calluses on his fingers. A man who worked with his hands was probably very skilled with them.
“What are you ladies up to?” His gaze swept over my yoga clothes, taking in the rolled mats. “Morning workout?”
“Yep,” I replied. “Now we’re caffeinating before work. What are you up to?”
“Me, too. I’m headed to the shop.” He thumbed over his shoulder in the direction of his auto shop a few blocks down. Mrs. L told me he ran a brisk business, taking over the place from his father and building it up. His dark eyes didn’t leave mine.
“We’re going to K-Sparks later,” Megan announced, mentioning the name of the local microbrewery. “You should come around.”
Lee didn’t look toward Megan when he asked me, “You going to be there?”
I hadn’t had sex in a while. A long while. I was all for a fling, but I was selective. Especially now. Especially after that one time with Kennedy when my feelings had gotten involved. I hadn’t meant for that to happen, but they had. I didn’t long for the gorgeous SEAL and his magical dick since we pulled out and used it on women from coast to coast, but I was… something. Hung up. I had to be because being around him only riled me up. Sexually and emotionally. That made me angry because I didn’t want to be into a guy. Especially not a soldier. I had enough soldiers in my family.
That was why Lee might be what I needed.
Attractive. Nice. Employed. Didn’t live with his mother—that I knew of. Definitely wasn’t in the military or was ex-military. Or was Kennedy.
Yeah, he’d do.
“See you there.”
He winked then left.
Everyone was quiet because I had a feeling we were all staring at his butt.
“He’s a really nice guy, Quincy, but be careful.” Megan warned. “He recently got out of a relationship. He may be interested in only a rebound.”
A rebound could work because it meant he wasn’t interested in commitment but just a little fun.
“Well, actually, it’s probably been a year,” Megan corrected, blowing on her hot coffee. “It’s safe enough. I’d do him. But don’t tell Hayes.”
We laughed, knowing it was definitely better not to tell Hayes.
“I’m not blind,” she added. “He’s hot. And nice.”
“I’m not looking to marry the guy. Just for some entertainment in the form of broad shoulders and strong hands.” I flexed my own small hands for emphasis, and my friends hummed in approval. “Being a rebound is fine by me.”
Except the strong hands that popped to mind didn’t belong to Lee but Kennedy. Those long fingers knew exactly where to touch me. How to bring me to org–I shook my head to clear that thought. Inwardly, I groaned.
This was exactly why I wanted to get something going with Lee Landers.
I needed to work Kennedy out of my system once and for all. The guy had gotten under my skin in a way I hadn’t seen coming. We hadn’t just hooked up the night I decided to scratch an itch with him. We’d gotten down and dirty. He’d given it to me rough. Then gentle. Then kinky as hell.
And the worst part? He’d spent the night.
That was what left me undone. I hadn’t expected it from him. I’d never actually slept with a man before. I left for the military straight from my parents’ house at age eighteen and, of course, sleepovers were strictly prohibited in the Navy. It wasn’t like I had private quarters. It was only until I was deployed, when the ratio of men to women was so vast that I had a space of my own. Small and cramped but alone.
Then, I’d been raw and vulnerable after the mission we’d just completed. I’d bared myself to him–not just my body but my soul–and he’d stayed with me. While it had been a one time thing, we’d done it way more than one time. His stamina had been… impressive.
By morning, Kennedy had been more than a hot SEAL who gave me a joy ride and that was the part that ripped me apart. Because I’d known he wasn’t playing for keeps. Not even remotely.
“So, I guess we’re going out tonight?” Holly asked pulling up a chair. “Is that what I heard?”
“Yep, looks like it.” I sipped the foamy cappuccino she made me with appreciation.
“Do me a favor?” She lifted her brows suggestively, a sly smile turning her lips. “Bring the rest of your team when you come.”
I tried not to bristle. There was no reason to keep Holly from the eligible guys. Taft might like her.
But I’d rather not. I’d very much rather not. Living with Kennedy was hard enough, especially when I knew the way he rolled. I didn’t want to have to witness him doing the morning after routine with a friend of mine. Knowing they’d slept together…
“So it’s a couples thing?” Indi asked with mock innocence. “Or do you just mean the available ones?”
“Oh, your men can stay home.” Holly wagged a finger between Indi and Megan, because they were in solid, unbreakable relationships with Ford and Hayes. “But bring the other two. It’s no fair you keeping them all up on that hill to yourselves.”
Indi and Megan chuckled. “Me? Us?” Megan said, pointing at herself then Indi. “It’s Quincy who’s got them all to herself.”
I hid my scowl in my coffee because it wasn’t Holly’s fault her words poked a wound. I didn’t blame her. I was eager to jump the guy myself. Kennedy. Not Taft. She could have him.
But I’d be damned if I mentioned anything to the guys. If Indi and Megan wanted to make this a group event, they’d have to arrange it themselves.
Mistake #1: Sleeping with a friend
Hooking up with Quincy was a no-brainer.
The sexy, hot-shot Navy pilot wasn’t on my SEAL team.
I thought she’d be safe for a one-night stand.
Mistake #2: Letting her walk out the door
I realized too late she wasn’t a one-and-done for me.
But now she thinks I’m a player. Okay, she knows I’m a player.
Which is why she won’t go there with me again.
Mistake #3: Wanting to repeat Mistake #1.
Quincy’s on my team. We live in the same barracks.
We’re friends. I don’t want to screw that up.
Being near her is pure torture. I don’t know how much longer I can last.
Before I risk the biggest mistake of all–losing her.