Writing SEALs in Series
Thank you, Jo-Ann for having me on your blog today. I’m a native Northern Californian, and a second generation one at that. So is my husband. I live in the beautiful Sonoma County area – home to hundreds of wineries and breweries. I grew up in the Bay Area, and witnessed the explosion of Silicon Valley, starting from the hippie movement in San Francisco in the 1960’s.
If I were queen of the Universe (and I do have a book I’ve half written called Queen of the Underworld about the first-ever elected female Director of the Underworld) I would spend 100% of my time writing. I would delegate to my minions (oh just having minions sounds fun, doesn’t it?) all the other stuff of being a writer so all I would do is write, sleep, dream, sign books and travel to exotic places to write.
Okay, then there’d also be some things like eating chocolate without gaining weight, having Navy SEALs skimpily dressed serve me my food, wash my back in the shower, massage my beautiful size 0 body and shampoo my hair with their strong hands. I’d be able to drink port and wine and beer without getting drunk, or without waking up the next morning with a headache. I’d listen to music and I’d write while I watched my SEAL minions garden and bring me fresh vegetables and flowers.
I would ban negative thought, all forms of mental illness and diet would be stricken from the English language. I’d build a great hall for writers to read their work to avid readers, who would also be waited on hand and foot.
I once took a class from a very wise woman, Beth Barany, and she had all of us in this workshop write a blurb that sums up what we write. Here was mine:
Empowering women to experience the power and passion of true love.
True love heals in the gardens of the heart.
In all my books, the power of the love relationship transforms everything from the dark evil side to the good side (if they survive). I like writing love stories that are transformative. While not a spiritual journey, my stories are more than just sex. It is the journey to discover the other that will forever change the seeker.
Whether they are vampires, guardian angels, or my best-selling Navy SEAL Romantic Suspense books, the alpha males in my books always find their true love when they least expect it, and often when it is not very convenient.
SEAL Under Covers is Book 3 of my SEAL Brotherhood Series. Here is an excerpt:
That left Armando holding the door open to the old beater truck. Damn, but the guy was cool. The happenings in the strip joint hadn’t seemed to ruffle him one bit. He’d have been just as comfortable getting black, blue, and bloody. Gina wondered where he would draw the line.
Do I know where to draw the line? Well, his was personal. Hers was her job. But it was definitely fucked that her ex-boyfriend had to land himself in the middle of her professional world, too.
But that’s what kind of a choice you made, Gina. Always making the wrong choices when it came to men. In a way, very much like Mia.
She watched Armando standing there, waiting for her. The other car was waiting for her as well.
Never waste an opportunity to make another bad decision. Her roommate in college used to say that every day, while at the same time managing to bed most the football team and as many of the soccer players she could get. Gina always waited up for her, just in case she needed a ride, or got too drunk. Just like she was now trying to do for Mia. It was the reason she became a cop. Another bad decision? Well, it certainly was something that had been locked and loaded way down inside her soul after she got the call from the police that fateful night. That night when her roommate became someone’s victim and Gina had sat waiting for a call that would never come.
She wondered what would ruffle this man of steel, amazed that he could make choices so quickly as he had just now. Was he ever afraid in his job like she was in hers?
What threshold am I walking through tonight?
She leaned over to look around the SEAL, checking on Mia in the passenger seat of her own car. Of course she would be safe with the little warrior, a guy who would probably die trying to protect her, from what Mia had said. But this one standing in front of her, balancing on one hip, leaning against the door, his muscular arms worthy of any Popeye character, was dangerous.
To her heart.
“Do I have a choice?” she said to him, watching that smirky little smile and sexy eyes making fun of her while her heart did flip-flops. She’d been close to peeing on herself while she sat and watched her ex-boyfriend nearly call out the brother—the SEAL brother of the woman they were working. It had been wrong on so many levels, even the Pope couldn’t dish out enough forgiveness.
“Get in.” It was a command that made her tense, but the smile he flashed afterwards made her panties wet. Suddenly her ankles wobbled and she nearly fell, which would have been totally uncool. And damn, but if he didn’t reach out and put a strong, muscled arm around to steady her. He let her go after he gave her one hurried squeeze, just tight enough for her to learn he was aroused.
Another footnote to a perfectly fucked evening. Her mission was nearly blown. Why did she feel guilty for that? They were supposed to be hanging out with the gang by the stage. Well, she couldn’t help it if Sam and the rest of the crew had decided to pull a game change on her. As she slid onto the torn leather seat of the old truck, she smiled at the recollection. It had been damned satisfying, slapping Sam and tossing the drink into his face. She’d stared right back at him when he showed his anger. And she didn’t flinch or cower this time. She was filled with pride. She’d stood up to him, finally!
But now what? On any other evening, getting into a truck with a SEAL would be a no-brainer. Nothing wrong with a night of sex with a hot guy, if that was where he was headed. She wasn’t completely sure, but she wasn’t that rusty that she couldn’t recognize a good, clean come-on. The fact that he was the brother of their party of interest and it was totally forbidden only heightened her anticipation. But decisions like that were never good ones. She had to put a stop to this somehow.
Tell that to my body. She watched him walk around the front of the vehicle and, yes, she squeezed her eyes shut and imagined him naked.
Get a grip, Gina. As much as she hated to admit it, something about the man set her insides on fire. He was all the right kinds of dangerous for her. A hero. Breathtakingly good-looking in that Latin Lover way she loved in men. Shiny black hair worn a little too long. Tanned complexion with just a hint of stubble. Body well honed and disciplined. He knew what he wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it. And he loved his sister, which was the biggest heart-snag of all.
He got in the driver seat, slammed the rickety door closed and sighed.
Did all the air just get sucked out of the truck? It seemed like minutes as she watched him blankly stare through the windshield, his face illuminated by the red taillights of Mia’s vehicle, now pulling away in front of them. Those dark eyes with long lashes and succulent, full lips. She shouldn’t have stared so long, but she couldn’t help it.
He tilted his head and turned in her direction. The eyes didn’t lie. He had the fire inside that his sister had, but in all the right places, not the wrong ones, like Mia. She let him appreciate the red fuzzy dress with the scoop neckline. She didn’t care if her chest got blotchy with nerves or if her cheeks flushed. And, of course, her nipples perked right up
“So how is this going to work?” he said. The words slid out like satin sheets.
“I’m not quite sure I know what you mean,” she heard herself say in response. She made a point to beat the waver from her voice.
“I take you to your place, or to Mia’s?”
“Your car there?”
“No, I took a cab.”
“And so how would you get home?”
“You assume I want to go home. Maybe I’m going to stay over.”
“I don’t see a pajama bag.”
The crease at the side of his mouth dimpled and she watched the tip of his tongue running across his bottom lip. The words, “pajama bag” had never sounded so sexy.
She stuck her chin out, looking back at him with heavy-lidded eyes, and whispered, “I don’t wear pajamas.”
It was a dare. She watched him explore her face, roving from her eyes to her hair, her cheekbones, and her ears. His gaze paused on her lips as his parted and he moved closer, and then stopped.
Damn. It wasn’t wise, but she knew he wasn’t going to touch her unless she met him halfway. Her hesitation forced another smile from him as he waited, looking at her with the come-on-little-one-you-know-you-want-to look. And double damn, she was all in.
She bridged the gap and their lips touched. She expected him to be rough and urgent, but he took his time. She heard his little moan as he took another deep breath, then let it out and pressed into her harder. And yes, she wanted him, wanted him to find her with his tongue, wanted him to hold her face in his massive, callused palms like a delicate flower. His scent was laced with aftershave, but could not be masked.
The deep kiss came to an end. He’d not been wild with his hands, but he’d pulled her toward him. She’d put her arms up over his shoulders and laced her fingers through the hair at the back of his head. It was all feeling way too comfortable.
A loud bang on the driver’s side window made them both jump. Sam’s grimace was a thing of beauty. Like a multicolored piece of swirling blown glass, his face contained every emotion Gina could think of: rage, revulsion, envy and jealousy. The last one was best, she thought. Best thing about it, she’d hurt him, and she hadn’t even been trying.
Armando was quick to start the truck and move them down the street, leaving the foursome faux bikers in a cloud of grey dust.
“I take it you two have some history,” he said as he shifted into third.
“You could say that.”
“Is it history or present?”
“Most definitely history. Sam’s married, just didn’t bother to tell me until after he’d gotten what he wanted.”
“Ahh,” he said as he leaned back in the seat but continued driving. “One of those.”
“That’s usually the type I attract.” She couldn’t believe she’d just said that.
“I disagree. I’m not like that guy and I’m definitely attracted.” He kept his eyes on the road as the truck bounced along the dark road. If the engine hadn’t been so loud she was sure he’d have heard her heart pounding.
Then common sense began to flood into Gina’s head. She cautiously said, “Look, I’m not sure about all this.” Her body was having a temper tantrum, and using strong language, too. But she pushed herself to complete the idea. “Perhaps you have me wrong.” She halfway hoped he thought it was a joke. No doubt he knew exactly what kind of girl she was.
He turned and looked back at her, studying her eyes. “I don’t quite know why my sister hangs around with some of the people she does, but you’re the exception. You seem to have a lot more going for you. Ever thought about making different choices? It’s dangerous down here.”
Tell me about it. “You don’t know anything about me.”
“No, I don’t. But I sense you aren’t anybody’s fool, either.”
“Are you kidding me? You actually need an explanation as to why I want to spend time with her? She’s your little sister, for Chrissakes. You saying she’s too good for me or the other way around?”
“I’m going to make Mia turn her life around if it kills me.”
“Well, it might just.”
He paused, started tapping on the skinny black steering wheel. They’d come to a stop sign. “Which way? I know Mia lives to the right. Where are we going, Gina?”
The street dead-ended at the stoplight. Left would take them to Gina’s apartment. He was going to make her tell him again, as if perhaps she was having second thoughts.
Hell, yes, I’m having second thoughts. “I said Mia’s house. You heard me,” She tried to sound defiant but it sounded stubborn.
“You going to sleep naked with my sister?”
“I never said anything of the sort.” He was starting to irritate her.
“Well, how about I help you get those pajamas, then?” He turned and sent a smile she felt all the way to her toes.
“Why do you do that?” she asked.
“Make me say stupid things. Make me make the decision.”
“Honey,” he leaned over and gave her another soft kiss. “I’ve already decided. But I’m not into forcing the lady, if you know what I mean. Up to you, no hard feelings either way.” He fed her another gentle kiss.
No, there wouldn’t be any hard feelings. But she knew she’d regret not taking him up on what he was offering. Maybe just a little harmless sex wouldn’t be so bad. After all, Sam and the boys had messed with her tonight and hadn’t even been very nice about it. Just a little mind-blowing sex. Revenge sex. Sex without strings. There was something about this man she knew she could trust, if she would allow herself.
A car behind them honked at their lack of response to the light change. He didn’t move a muscle, waiting.
“Left,” she finally blurted out. His scent made her eyes flutter.
“Ah, she chooses wisely.”
“That’s rather egotistical, isn’t it?”
He chuckled and shifted into second when the truck backfired. She jumped in reaction. “It’s been suggested a time or two,” he said.
“I like a woman who knows what she wants.”
“Why is that?” She knew immediately it was the wrong thing to ask. Things were spinning out of control in a hurry. She halfway expected his answer.
“Because,” he grabbed her hand and pulled it to his mouth, kissing her knuckles, “she won’t be afraid to tell me what I need to do to please her, with or without the pajamas.”
Life is one fool thing after another.
Love is two fool things after each other.