Oh, no! Why the hell did Chief Wyatt Lockwood, a Navy SEAL, have to show up at the Bagram chow hall at the same time she did? Captain Talia Culver, her full mouth tight with displeasure, decided to stand outside in the cool June morning desert air rather than enter the building. Actually, she preferred anything to a face-to-face with the Navy SEAL chief who seemed determined to add her to his long list of conquests. She forced herself to get into the long chow line.
Dressed in her Marine Corps desert cammies, Tal pulled her dark green baseball cap a little lower over her face to make sure that Lockwood couldn’t spot her among the hundred-plus men and women waiting in line to get their breakfasts.
After going through the chow line, she sat down to eat with her brother Matt and her sister, Alexa. Reflexively she rubbed the back of her neck, a warning bell going off. This wasn’t something she ignored, so she twisted to look over her shoulder. Her mouth turned downward as she met the friendly gray gaze of Wyatt Lockwood. Damn it to hell!
Tal turned around, scowling darkly, her lips tight. Matt, aware of the immediate change in her attitude, looked beyond her to find out what had generated this response. Then he grinned.
“Hey, Gunslinger!” he called, rising from his seat, thrusting his hand across the table toward Wyatt. “Good to see you, bro.”
Wyatt stopped about two feet away from Tal, who stared down at the food on her tray, deliberately ignoring him. He gripped Matt’s outstretched hand. “Hey, Culver. I thought I’d come over and say hello since I was in the area. Who’s this pretty little redhead sitting beside you?”
Tal snorted derisively. Wyatt’s soft, easygoing Texas drawl always got to her. She wanted to tell him to leave, but she knew he and Matt had been like brothers for many years in the black ops trade. Alexa lifted her head and beamed up at the SEAL. Tal squirmed. Lockwood was too close to her! She could literally feel the male heat rolling off him.
“This is my twin sister, Captain Alexa Culver,” Matt said, gesturing toward her. “She just flew in with her A-10 and we met by accident here in the chow line. Alexa, this is Chief Wyatt Lockwood, a SEAL and a good friend of mine.”
Alexa stood and offered her hand. “Hey, nice to meet you, Chief Lockwood.”
Wyatt nodded and smiled. “Believe me, the pleasure is all mine.” He grinned back and then released her hand as she sat down.
Matt said, “Hey, why not join us? Sit down, bro. I need to catch up with you.”
Wyatt leaned over just enough to catch Tal’s disgruntled stare in his direction. “Ma’am? Do you mind?” He gestured toward the empty chair about a foot and a half away from her.
Tal gritted her teeth and glared at Matt, who gave her a confused look. “Sit down if you want,” she growled at Lockwood, cutting into her breakfast steak. Of all things! She knew Wyatt would somehow find her! He was a damned SEAL and they had that all-terrain radar.
She saw Alexa give her a questioning look because of her sour reaction to Wyatt. Her sister knew nothing about Lockwood’s three-year campaign to woo her into his bed, and she sure wasn’t about to tell her right now. Not with this Texas cowboy sitting down next to her.
“I’m a little worse for wear,” Wyatt drawled, gesturing to his dusty uniform.
“Aren’t we all?” Matt said with a grin, sitting down. “How are you, Wyatt? What’s going on over in SEALdom?”
Wyatt took a coffeepot and a clean cup from the center of the table and poured himself some. “Been up in the Hindu Kush, Af-Pak border area. Doing a little HVT huntin’.”
“Did you get the guy, Chief?” Alexa asked between bites of her scrambled eggs.
“Yes, ma’am, we did, although it took six days longer than we’d planned.” He shrugged. “We’d estimated six days for the DA, direct action mission, and it turned out to be twelve. Ran out of MREs at day six and bought a goat off a Shinwari farmer so we could run and gun on meat.”
“Wow,” Alexa murmured, giving him an impressed look. “You SEALs rock.”
“We think so,” Wyatt agreed smugly with a nod and grin in her direction. He heard Tal Culver choke and press her hand against her chest. When Wyatt gently patted her on the back like a mother might a child, she gave him a “get your hands off me” look that even a SEAL had to respect. He quickly lifted his hand away, wrapping it around his mug of coffee in front of him.
“Do I need to give you the Heimlich maneuver here?” he asked with a slight smile.
“Never happen,” Tal choked out. Damn it! Lockwood was sex on a stick, whether he was dirty, coming off a mission, or clean. And she’d seen him both ways often enough. Only now, he looked like Bigfoot, a tall, hairy ape, his beard making him look more animal than human.
continues to hone her writing skills to this day. She sold her first romance novel in 1981. The rest is history.
foreign languages in her career thus far. Her many experiences in the U.S. Navy are backdrop for her understanding of the military in general, and also her very successful Morgan’s Mercenaries, which is an ongoing series in Silhouette to this day! Forty-five books strong!
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