The Poseidon team are hard-bodied, fiercely competitive Navy SEALs. But when a sensitive mission goes disastrously wrong, three of the team's finest will have to trust their hearts and instincts to uncover the truth…
No strings. No questions. Just pleasure. For a few blissful days, Lieutenant Commander Nic Savino is enjoying a wild fling with the sexiest stranger he's ever laid eyes—or any other body part—on. It's almost enough to make the stalwart SEAL let down his guard for once. Until he learns that assistant US attorney Darby Raye—his Darby—is heading an investigation designed to destroy him…and Poseidon.
The gorgeous eyes that Darby spent her nights gazing into are now glaring at her across a courtroom. This case could build her career, but if Nic's not a traitor, then he's being framed by forces powerful enough to eliminate every obstacle in their way. And the tentative trust she and Nic are rebuilding—as well as their very lives—could become collateral damage…
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CALL TO REDEMPTION excerpt #1
The woman simply stared, those anime eyes assessing for a long moment before she smiled.
“So, Dominic? What do you recommend?”
He started to correct her. He was only Dominic to a few stubborn holdouts in his family. Everyone else had called him Nic since he was ten. But there was something about the way she said his name, the syllables rolling off her tongue, that stayed his words.
“Are you a fan of fluffy drinks?” he asked instead.
“Only inasmuch as I can now say I’ve had one,” she responded with a laugh.
“Then I recommend we get to know each other better over a real drink.”
Nic’s smile widened. He leaned back in the chair and prepared to enjoy himself. As he did, he noted that the band was setting up. Within twenty minutes of tuning up, the lanai would be crowded with bodies boogying to the island beat.
“Real, as in not decorated with flowers. If you’re hungry, the food down here is good. Simple, upscale from the usual bar choices.” He tapped the menu she’d yet to check out. “I can recommend the taco platter. The chef has a way with pork and pineapple.”
“Mmm.” She drew one long finger over the menu but didn’t pull it closer or try to open it. “Any other recommendations?”
A few came to mind, but it seemed a little early in the evening to suggest naked dancing. Yeah. His gaze swept over her curves. He’d bet she’d look damn good at it.
But he had no clue if she could dance.
He should find that out, first.
That, and her name.
“The band is solid and you’ve got a good seat for the show. But if you were more interested in a quiet dinner watching the sun set over the ocean, you might want to try the third-floor restaurant.” He indicated the spiral staircase she’d descended earlier. “The view is worth the climb.”
“Is that a fact?”
“Yes, ma’am, it is. Call it my public service announcement for the evening.”
That teased a hint of a smile out of her. One she quickly hid by sipping her drink.
“Do you do that often? Serve the public and help them avoid overly loud dinners?”
“You could say I’ve made a career of it.”
“Do tell.” Her body language was subtly flirtatious, but even with those huge eyes locked on his face, he couldn’t read her well enough to know if that was a green light or a cautious yellow.
Nic didn’t brag about what he did, but he didn’t hide it, either. Simply put, there was nothing relaxing about talking about his work. Not right now. Not when just thinking about it felt like a blow to the chest, leaving him breathless and empty.
So he sidestepped.
“Let’s just say I’m gifted at seeing my way around any variety of obstacles while engineering the successful outcome that serves people of all walks of life.”
Check him, he thought, grinning. He could have a future in politics. Or with the Navy brass, which was sometimes the same thing.
“Well, that’s intriguingly vague,” she said with a laugh.
“Intriguing enough to tempt you to have dinner with me?”
Narrowing those eyes in a cautious way that made him want to know all of her secrets, she gave him a considering look before offering the smallest of shrugs.
“I’d hate to let your public service announcement go to waste. And this will give you time to tell me all about how you serve people with engineered outcomes.”
Instead of answering, he held out his hand to help her to her feet. As soon as her slender fingers were tucked in his, he changed the subject. Walking up the stairs to the restaurant, he shared the family story of how his uncle and father had collected every single shell that was embedded in the airy spiral staircase.
He wasn’t going to talk about his career.
He was on leave, and for the first time in his life, he was focusing on his wants. His needs. And right now, he needed to simply be a man.
One evening wouldn’t hurt, he told himself, ignoring the stabbing sense of disloyalty.
Not if that one evening brought him even an iota of solace against the pain.
CALL TO REDEMPTION excerpt #2
This was romance.
Darby released a long, surreptitious breath as she stared across the table, crystal shimmering in the moonlight, silver gleaming in the glow of three fat candles flaming in their abalone bowls. The ocean hummed a gentle symphony in the background, the waves cresting white while rich purple blossoms scented the air with sweet seduction.
Even as she settled into the plush chair cushion, she could feel her muscle fibers twitching against the need to get up and run.
She shouldn’t be here.
She wasn’t cut out for romance.
Hell, she didn’t even believe in the concept.
But as Dominic slid into his chair, all those thoughts faded in a haze of lust.
God, the man was gorgeous.
Her muscles twitched again, this time with the need to slide her hands over the breadth of those shoulders. Just to see if they were as rock-solid as they looked.
But she was pretty sure once she had her hands on that body, she’d be hard-pressed to keep her exploration to just his shoulders.
Desire tingled over her skin. Tingled, for Christ’s sake. She, the woman who’d laugh if anyone else said that, was tingling.
“Before we order, there are two things I need to tell you,” he said, his tone as serious as his eyes were hypnotic.
She could lose herself in those dark depths, she thought before playing his words back.
Darby’s smile faded. Tell her things? Well, that was never good.
“First, I think you’re one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen. You remind me of a sexy pixie.”
“I knew I should have worn heels,” Darby murmured, trying not to be too charmed by the image his words invoked. But dammit, she’d taken a lot of hits about her stature over the years—this was the first that made her want to embrace it.
“It’s more about your look than your height. You’ve got that sharp, edgy, too-gorgeous-to-be-real thing going on.” His smile quirked, one brow arching in amusement. “Add in a hint of sass and a look that says you have a way with wicked, and there you go. Sexy pixie.”
“Mmm, I can do wicked,” Darby agreed, relaxing enough to reach across the table and slide her fingers over the back of his hand. “Or is that naughty? I have trouble telling the difference between the two.”
Ahh, there it was. Heat. Her pulse picked up a beat as she watched it flare in his eyes.
She might owe Grace a thank-you gift for putting sex in her head.
“You said two things,” she reminded him.
“Damn. Looking at you made me lose my train of thought.”
He shook his head as if trying to clear the fog. She liked that. Appreciated that he didn’t try to play cool or pretend he wasn’t affected. Who knew how sexy honesty could be?
“Okay, second thing.” He took a quick drink of his ice water before continuing. “I’m here for vacation. But when I’m not on, um, vacation, my career is intense. It demands all of my time, every ounce of my attention. I’m the kind of guy who makes workaholics look like slackers.”
“Your career is your life,” she murmured.
His arched brow said “exactly.”
Oh. Darby felt the tingle all the way down to her toes. See, she thought. Her mantra was sexy.
“You sound proud,” she said, appreciating every word. She’d heard plenty of people claim their career was priority. She’d come across quite a few workaholics, especially in her line of work.
But this was the first time she’d seen the same passion, the same at-the-cost-of-anything zeal in someone’s eyes that also drove her.
Oh, yeah. So sexy.
CALL TO REDEMPTION excerpt #3
“This particular officer has an almost mythic reputation,” Lieutenant Thomas said. “He’s regarded as untouchable by many in command, so the timing will be particularly important as we’ll have to move on this case quickly, bringing all charges at once.”
“Apparently, this Lieutenant Commander Savino has a lot of people in his corner. Thomas is concerned that those people might use undue influence in regards to the trajectory of the case if charges are brought piecemeal,” Carson explained.
Her head was buzzing so loud, Darby could barely hear. But she had to force herself to ask the question. “Nic Savino?”
“What do you know about Nic Savino?” Thomas snapped, straightening in his chair to give her a look dripping with suspicion.
“Do you know of, or do you have a relationship with the accused?” Carson asked.
Darby’s gut clenched in a vicious knot before taking a painful slide into her toes. Thankfully, years of courtroom training and a lifetime of general bitchiness assured her that none of that turmoil showed on her face when she glanced at her boss.
“I’ve met him,” she admitted carefully.
“Would knowing him be a conflict of interest in this case?” Carson asked, his eyes boring into her.
Would it? Darby’s mind raced. She was a professional. A woman who put her career ahead of everything and everyone. She and Nic had agreed that their relationship would only exist for the span of that week in Hawaii. They hadn’t shared a single piece of information about their personal lives or their careers. Still, given how she’d felt there toward the end, she was pretty sure she could make an argument either for or against conflict of interest.
So it all came down to what she wanted.
She wasn’t about to admit to a vacation affair, and the last person she wanted work with was Paul Thomas. But emotions aside, this case could—would—make her career. And if Nic was guilty of the charges—and she’d make damn well sure she thought he was before she brought them—then he wasn’t the man she’d thought he was.
And he deserved to pay for his crimes.