Navy Seal Seduction, my first Harlequin Romantic Suspense, is out July 2! Here’s an excerpt:
Navy Seal Seduction copyright 2016 by Bonnie Vanak
A tall, muscled pirate in a clean white shirt and black trousers stood before her in the courtyard of Le Soleil Hotel. Scowling to hide her emotions, she stared, her heart racing as if she’d run a mile up and down the nearby mountain. Black hair cropped short, he wore a pressed white shirt, the cuffs rolled up to display tanned, muscled forearms. Smooth cheeks, strong jaw and a nose that had been broken at least once. Rugged, tough and those eyes, green as the ocean water he navigated on a mission.
Those eyes had turned smoky and dark with passion as they’d made love, and cold as the Arctic the day she’d announced she’d hired a lawyer to initiate divorce proceedings. Whoa, he still had it. Hot, hot, hot, as the locals said. Bad boy to the extreme, who made her female parts say Why, hello there!
Her female parts needed to stay quiet. This time she’d listen to her broken heart and not her hormones, even though her heart jumped at the sight of him.
He had never been there for her before, and certainly wasn’t staying now.
Lacey managed to find her voice. “I hope this is a bad dream and I’ll wake up and find you gone.”
Her ex-husband pulled out a chair, turned it around and straddled it. “Well, darling, it seems your nightmare isn’t going away. Neither am I.”
She managed to conceal her trembling hands by wrapping her fingers tight around the beer bottle. Lacey took a deep drink, relishing the cool wash of liquid sliding down her throat. It reminded her of that time after they’d consumed several beers and then he’d kissed her and they had…
Not. Going. There.
“Go away, Jarrett. If you’re here on a mission, aren’t you supposed to be invisible in your invincibility?”
He did not smile. Flickering candlelight on the table revealed the sharp angles and planes of his lean face. Jarrett looked all business.
“You’re my mission. I’m taking you out of here. I booked us on tomorrow’s early-morning flight.” He glanced around. “Before the elections and before this place blows to hell.”
Jarrett, trying to be funny, except his expression was dead serious. Had he heard about the mysterious vandalism plaguing her compound? It had been a few minor incidents she’d written off as a nuisance caused by locals who didn’t like how she helped women, until last week’s truck fire.
That fire had not been a nuisance. It had destroyed her best working vehicle.
She glanced around at the two other occupied tables and lowered her voice.
“Are you insane? I’m not going anywhere with you.”
“St. Marc is teetering on a coup and I’m taking you back to the States.”
She knew St. Marc intimately, shied away from the hot spots and knew how to handle herself. “Elections are in two days. I know about the violence and know how to avoid it. As soon as elections are over, things will cool down. Stop wasting your time.”
“You’re at risk of getting shot, kidnapped or both.”
“The media exaggerates about a few protests downtown. It’s not violent here.”
Jarrett turned his head as six men carrying sinister-looking guns trotted out onto the courtyard, racing off toward the hotel disco. His mouth curved in a knowing smile.
“The president is here with his friends. He likes the disco,” she snapped.
“Do all his friends carry assault rifles?”
“It’s the latest fashion craze. Goes well with the Guayabera shirts. We do like to accessorize here on St. Marc.”
The smile dropped, replaced with a dark stare. The Look. How many times had he aimed it at her in the past? The man had a stubborn streak bigger than a US Navy destroyer. Jarrett leaned forward. “This country is eroding into civil unrest, Lace, elections or no elections. You need to get out. How many State Department warnings does it take before you’ll listen?”
Anger fisted in her stomach. “Those warnings are for the tourists who come here to do poverty tours or sun themselves on the beaches. Not for ex-pats like me or Paul. And who the hell are you to tell me what to do? We’re no longer married.”
She was twenty-nine, no longer that wide-eyed girl who’d fallen hard and fast for the handsome Navy sailor with a wicked smile, husky laugh and skilled hands. Marlee’s Mangoes was her dream now, not a life of domestic bliss with a SEAL who was gone more than he’d been home.
Gone, too, when she needed him the most. Lacey clenched her beer bottle again and pushed away thoughts of the baby they’d lost. That was the past, and St. Marc was her future.
Jarrett Adler belonged to those ghosts she’d exorcised out of her life.
“Paul.” Jarrett’s gaze narrowed. “That simpering metrosexual who’s with you?”
Blinking, she struggled to leash her temper. “Paul Lawrence is the vice president of the board for Marlee’s Mangoes and my business partner.”
The realization hit her. “Where is he? Did you do something to him, Jarrett? We’re supposed to be meeting a very important donor.”
“The very important donor driving a late-model white Montero SUV? He was unavoidably detained in the parking lot. Your vice president went to help him.”
More interference. But this time he messed with her livelihood. “Damn, Jarrett, this is my life. You’re not part of it anymore, so go home and get out of here.”
“Not without you. Darling, I’m sticking to your side until I deliver you home.”
She studied him with a keen eye. “Get used to disappointment. I’m not leaving.”
Jarrett reached out, touched her hand. “Don’t argue with me, Lacey. We haven’t seen each other in a long time, and I’d rather spend what little time we have together catching up. Or engaged in more pleasurable activities.”
A shiver of awareness raced down her spine as he slowly stroked his thumb over the back of her hand. His smug smile dropped, replaced with a burning intensity that could melt steel. When Jarrett aimed that look at her, she’d wanted to do whatever he wanted. Usually it had involved getting naked in very inventive places.
“Our days of getting horizontal are over,” she warned, drawing away her hand.
He considered, and scratched the bristles on his dimpled chin. “Vertical’s always fun, too. Or we could try those swinging chairs down by the pool.”
Impish grin, a promise of pleasure in those dark green eyes. Lacey’s mouth twitched as she struggled not to smile. Sex had always been great between them.
It was the other things that got in the way.
Her cell phone quietly chimed. Paul. She answered. “Where are you?”
“Lacey, I’m sorry,” her VP said in his singsong accent. “I went to the parking lot and Mr. Augustin was by his new SUV. Someone threw red paint all over his windshield as he pulled into the lot! He was infuriated and to calm him down, I took him home. We’re here, drinking a nice rum. His cook is making an excellent grilled salmon and once we are done with dinner, I’ll drive him back to the hotel and we all can have a drink there. Don’t worry, ma petite, we’ll be there in about an hour or so.”
Her spirits sank. Damn, she had counted on Augustin’s goodwill and money to pay for the houses she’d planned to build on her compound. He’d wanted to meet with her in person to arrange a tour of Marlee’s Mangoes. And “an hour or so” on St. Marc time usually meant no less than two hours. She was stuck here until then. “Do your best to rush through dinner.”
Jarrett quietly studied her as she thumbed off the phone and placed it into her backpack. “You don’t do anything by half measures, Adler. Red paint? That man was a prime donor poised to fund housing I need for the women I employ.” All her pent-up emotions tumbled out. “You don’t care about anything, do you? Just like before.”
Something flickered in his gaze. “You don’t want him as a donor. I do care. I care about hustling you out of here.”
She searched his face, the grim set of his jaw. Something was going on and he wasn’t about to tell her. Jarrett was a SEAL accustomed to secrecy. But her life was transparent now and she hated secrets.
“Joseph Augustin is a respected member of the upper class here in St. Marc. Why wouldn’t I want him as a donor?”
His gaze flicked around the courtyard. “Not here. We need to talk someplace where we won’t be overheard.”
Fine. “The hotel has a walkway around the gardens.”
As she reached down to grab her backpack, a staccato burst of gunfire exploded in the streets below the hotel. Jarrett leaped to his feet and pushed her down to the ground, covering her body with his own. His muscled weight pinned her down. She heard a handgun’s slide being racked, and looked up to see Jarrett, weapon in hand, crouching low. Screams and shouts erupted around her, and heavy footfalls pounded against the concrete courtyard.
Jarrett spoke into her ear, his deep voice rumbling. “I told you, this country isn’t safe. Now do you believe me?”
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