- File Size: 709 KB
- Print Length: 217 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0373798350
- Publisher: Harlequin Blaze; Original edition (February 1, 2015)
- Publication Date: February 1, 2015
- Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00O94D6PE
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #726,135 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A SEAL's Secret (Uniformly Hot! Book 831) Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
"My, oh, my, talk about temptation. A room filled with sexy sailors, an abundance of alcohol and deliciously fattening food."
Olivia Kane cast an appreciative look around Olive Oyl's, the posh yet funky bar that catered to the local naval base and locals alike. She loved the view of the various temptations, even though she knew she wouldn't be indulging in any.
Not that she didn't want to.
She'd love nothing more than to dive into a forty-ounce margarita and chow down on a plate of fully loaded nachos. But her career hinged on her body being in prime condition, so she'd long ago learned to resist empty calories.
And the sexy sailors?
One of those, she wouldn't mind indulging in. Livi barely kept from pouting. She was pretty sure a wild bout with a yummy military hunk would do amazing things for her body, too.
It wasn't willpower that kept her from indulging in that particular temptation, though. It was shyness, pure and simple.
But it was Halloweentime for make-believe. And tonight, she was going to pretend she was the kind of woman who had the nerve to hit on a sailor, to throw caution to the wind and do wildly sexy things without caring about tomorrow.
As if hearing her thoughts, Livi's companion nudged her arm.
"Look, it's like a roomful of kids trickor-treating," Tessa drawled. Livi glanced at her best friend as the brunette looked around the bar, humming warmly. The sound was at odds with her halo and fluffy white wings.
Livi laughed. "Sure, if you replace candy with tasty men, and swap kids with horny women out for fun, of course."
"Mmm, no. Not my flavor," Tessa said dismissively, despite her sexy wink at the guy staring at her. Tessa flirted like some women breathed, but she had no interest in military men. "I don't mind indulging your sweet tooth for a while. I'm sure I'll find something to my liking later."
Later, meaning after she'd humored Livi's foray into window-shopping through fantasyland. And Livi knew Tessa wouldn't pressure or berate her for dragging her to a sailor bar where Livi would only sit around mooning over hotties like a high school wallflower before going home alone. Or worse, feeling guilty enough to go with Tessa to her club of choice to watch her flick men off like flies until she found one that interested her.
The petite powerhouse always managed to boil everything down to her favorite common denominator sex. She did it with a wickedly confident smile and an air of assurance that was probably just as enticing as her curvy body and sultry looks.
Tessa was exactly the kind of woman Livi wished she could be. Oh, they were alike in some ways. Both were fit, smart and savvy. They had tons in commonlike Tessa, Livi spoke her mind. She didn't hesitate to talk about the sexy side of life with its myriad pleasures and delights. But unlike her friend, none of that came naturally to her. Hey, neither did one-armed planks, and she'd trained herself to do those.
Livi always thought she'd done a decent job training herself to ignore her shyness, too. She didn't let her discomfort keep her from doing her joband given the job she had, that was saying a lot.
Dubbed The Body Babe at twenty, she'd built her initial reputation as a fitness instructor and personal trainer. Certified by ACE, ACSM and AFAA, Livi had a degree in exercise science with a minor in nutrition and had started with dreams of training athletes. That she'd ended up as one of the biggest names in the world of personal training, the founder of Stripped Down Fitness and the star of the Fit To Be Naked videos and training programs wasn't because of her body, and had nothing to do with ambition. She owed all that to her ex-manager absconding with investor funds, leaving her financially screwed. That he was also her ex-husband had been the icing on the cake.
Instead of breaking, as she'd known he'd figured she would, Livi had pulled up her spandex, tightened the laces on her sneakers and rebuilt her career. She'd had a lot of helpyes, including that of strippers. She'd ended up with the Fit To Be Naked program and a reputation as the woman with an ass that bounced quarters and a wicked way with a stripper pole, and she'd made it work.
So it wasn't that she had an issue with sex. Livi loved sex. Once she got to know someone, she was totally comfortable with the subject. And if she hadn't been, the last year spent training, taping and touring with burlesque strippers would have cured that.
More than curing it, Livi had come to realize how much she wanted what they had. Exotic, erotic, pleasure-filled experiences. Relationships, one-nighters, hot times. She no longer had any illusions about love or happy-ever-after. But dammit, she wanted hot sex.
She wanted to find a gorgeous guy, haul him into a quiet corner and see just how hard the Navy made those bodies.
Which was why she was here, she reminded herself.
Since trying to pretend her shyness wasn't an issue hadn't been getting her anywhere, she'd decided to try a different tactic. To simply get the hell over it.
Because she wasn't going to have a great sex life until she did.
So she'd approached her shyness the same way she'd have handled the weight loss of a recalcitrant client. She researched her options, made a list, worked out a schedule and incrementally pushed herself a little more day by day.
Which brought her to tonight.
A fun evening of socializing and maybe a little flirting, with the built-in reward of meeting hot guys who could inspire her fantasies until she was ready for actual sex again. And nobody, but nobody, inspired fantasies like sailors did.
And where better to indulge than in the safety of her aunt's bar?
Anticipation zinging through her system, eyes eager for their treats, she scanned the bar, which was filled shoulder-to-shoulder with costumed partiers. After a few seconds and another scan, Livi frowned.
"Where are the Navy hunks?" she wondered, shifting to her tiptoes to see if they were on the other side of the room. At an inch under six feet, she usually didn't have to even stretch her neck to see over most people. But apparently vertical was the theme of this year's Halloween costumes. And while there were a few guys who were obviously sailors, they weren't the yummy kind.
"This bites," she said. "I was so excited for tonight, and now I feel like I got an apple in my trickor-treat bag."
"And you were looking for a banana?"
Livi laughed then nudged her friend. "C'mon. Maybe we'll find something better on the other side of the bar."
"After pushing through the mob to get this far? No way. Why don't you wave or something to get your aunt's attention. She'll know where the treats are. Maybe she can ring that ship's bell of hers and call them in."
The bell? But everyone would stare at them.
The very thought made her skin crawl. But that's why she was here, Livi reminded herself. Just another opportunity to overcome the debilitating chokehold shyness had on her.
She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and reminded herself she made her living by being stared at. This was no different. It only took her a couple of deep breaths to believe it.
Then with a few murmured apologies, Livi angled herself from her left side to her right through the crowd, pushing her way to the front of the bar. Not an easy task for a woman dressed like a Twinkie. But after a second she caught sight of her aunt's distinctive blue Mohawk.
The older woman jerked her thumb toward a drunk, obviously telling him to get the hell out. The guy was twice her size, but none of her bartenders provided backup. They didn't need to. Nobody messed with Roz. Livi wished that kind of thing were genetic. But search as she might, Livi couldn't find a grain of that sort of confidence in her DNA code.
It wasn't just Roz's looks, although her hair added a good six inches to the slender woman's already impressive height. Nor was it the array of tattoos snaking down her body. Nope, it was authority. Roz exuded it like Tessa exuded sex appeal.
Livi wondered what she exuded. Yawns, most likely.
She winced when everyone within earshotand given that Roz was pretty loud, that was a lot of peopleturned to stare. Livi pasted on her public smile, ignored the buzzing in her ears and offered her aunt a finger-wiggling wave.
She turned to ask Tessa what she wanted to drink before Roz got there, but her friend was plastered up against a guy wearing a toreador costume, listening as he whispered something in her ear. From the wicked grin on her face, the something was pretty naughty.
"Livi, I didn't think you'd make it," Roz said as she skirted around the bar to give her niece a hug. Not an easy feat given how wide Livi's costume was. Roz stepped back to give her a frowning once-over. "A body like yours, what the hell are you doing dressed like that?"
"Halloween is about the fantasy," Livi explained. "My fantasy is junk food. Since I can't eat it, I figured I'd dress like a Twinkie and be it."
And then there was the cream filling. Her hard, rocking body hadn't inspired any guys to push past her inhibitions and see what she had going on inside. But maybe tonight the subliminal message of her costume would.
"Hey, Roz," Tessa called over Livi's shoulder.
After a few minutes of small talk, her aunt said she had to get back to work. Livi looked around for a comfy barstool to perch on, but Roz had other ideas.
"Now, you girls head to the back room," Roz said, giving Livi a hug as she issued the order. "You can crash the private party theretell them I sent you. It's quieter, less crowded."
"But I came to see you," Livi protested through a mouth that had gone dry at the words crash and private party.
"You came to drool over the frogs," Roz said dismissively, referring to the Navy combat divers who frequented her bar. "And you will see me. Later. My relief bartender gets here in twenty minutes, we'll visit then."
Livi wrinkled her nose. Roz always had her pegged, which surprised them both, given that Livi had never metor even known ofher aunt until two years ago.
"In the meantime " Roz reached behind them. "I need your help with a party in the back room."
Oh, no. Helping with a party meant facing tons of people. Strange people. Ones she'd never met before.
"Here. Take this with you," she said, handing Livi a foil-covered tray, then giving a second one to Tessa. "You can pretend you're a waitress if it helps."
Livi reluctantly took the tray and the dismissal, even as her mind raced with excuses to get out of going.
"I could really use the help," Roz added. "I'm short-staffed and it's crazy in here."
"I'm not crashing a party. I'll just deliver the food then meet you back here." Knowing the only thing Tessa disliked more than military guys was serving food, Livi gestured toward the tray in her friend's hand. "I can take yours, too, if you want to stay here and enjoy the view."
"You'll change your mind once you see the party," Roz predicted.
"Yummy?" Tessa asked.
"Delicious," Roz confirmed.
"I'm there," Tessa purred, proving once again she didn't have to be interested in partaking to appreciate the view. "C'mon, Livi. Tastiness awaits."
This was why she was here, wasn't it? And playing waitress was the perfect out if it was overwhelming. With that little pep talk and a deep breath, Livi maneuvered her spongy goodness toward the back and prepared to be social.
"Stay close," Livi instructed as she wrapped her free hand around Tessa's so they didn't get separated as they pushed through the crowd.
They barely made it halfway across the room when she felt Tessa slow down. Livi glanced over to see her friend had gone into full-on flirt mode. Hair was being tossed. Her eyes were glittering and her smile had taken on a wicked glint.
"Target spotted," Tessa said, making as if to break away. "Oh, no, you don't," Livi said, laughing as she tugged Tessa along. She used her Twinkie bulk to push through the bodies, pulling her friend in her wake. "You're crashing this party with me, remember? I'm sure there are plenty of men in there for you to choose from."
"Yeah, okay. He had a small dick, anyway," Tessa said as they reached the hall leading to the private section of the bar.
Her hand on the doorknob, Livi threw a frown toward Tessa's rejected target. "How could you tell that?"
"The way he was sitting." Tessa tilted her head so her hair flowed in a dark wave over one bare shoulder before shimmying a little so the fabric fell across her breasts just so. Then she offered Livi a wink. "He had his legs crossed above the knee, did you notice? No guy with a dick big enough to satisfy me can cross higher than the ankle."
For a brief second, Livi could only goggle. Then she laughed so hard her nerves dissipated. And that, she realized, was probably why Tessa had said what she had.
Then again, Tessa knew a lot about dicks. So maybe she was being supportive and telling the truth.
"You know, if you were actually as oversexed as you pretend to be, you'd have dropped dead from exhaustion years ago," Livi said, still giggling as she pushed open the door.
They made it two steps inside before stopping.
"Oh, boy," Tessa murmured. "Now there's a treat I wouldn't mind showing a trick or two."
Livi mentally echoed that with a purr.
Oh, boy, indeed.
The room was filled with men, all so gorgeous they blurred into a yummy candy store in Livi's mind. It was a good night when a woman could choose between a gladiator, a kilted highlander and a bare-chested fireman.
But Livi only had eyes for the superhero.
Deep in conversation with another guy, he might have been sitting in the corner, but he still seemed to be in command of the entire room. He had a power vibe. And he was a super hottie.
His hair was as black as midnight, and it brought to mind all sorts of fun things to do at that hour. The supershort cut accentuated the shape of his face with its sharp cheekbones and strong jawline. His eyes were light, but she couldn't tell the color from where she was standing. Livi wet her suddenly dry lips and forced her gaze lower, wondering if the rest of him lived up to the promise of that gorgeous face.
Her heart did a slow thumpity-thump as her eyes meandered over his broad shoulders and down muscular arms encased in a tight blue shirt. She sighed her appreciation at the definition of his pecs beneath the bright letter S on his chest.
The man of steel. She wondered if he was hard all over.
Then he grinned at something his companion said.
And Livi got shaky. Her knees melted, her thighs trembled and nipples sprang to attention. That was an orgasm smile. She'd heard the girls at the club talk about those during training sessions, but she'd figured strippers exaggerated everything from their bumps to their grinds.
But now she knew. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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The stakes are high and even though Olivia-Livi to her friends-is attracted to Mitch, she's not sure if she's ready for the attraction that burns between them. She's just getting her career as a fitness expert back on track after the dual betrayal her now ex-husband put her through. She's still trying to pay off the investors he stole from and her confidence in herself and her ability to please a man is at an all-time low.
Can Mitch convince Livi that he's serious about their attraction in the following months? What happens when Livi suddenly realizes that 1+1=3? How will Mitch react when he gets the life changing news?
Irish and Livi hit it off and we get to watch their story unfold. I loved that Livi was a shy, sweet heroine, but stepped up and took charge when needed.
Irish, Lord, one hot, sexy Seal. I loved learning more about him and figuring out some of the reasoning behind his actions.
I loved this book and I recommend it to anyone who likes a sweet sexy read with a HEA.
I'm ready to read Romeo and Tessa's story soon!!
A SEAL's Secret was well-written, had great characters, and mature, natural dialogue. Mitch was an adult and acted like one. Livi was a strong, sure woman with adult vulnerabilities.They made a perfect pair.
I look forward to more great stories by Ms. Weber.