NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author
Geir Winthrop, a former SEAL, has recovered from the damage done when his squad’s truck drove over an antitank landmine more than two years ago. Six other team-mates were also badly injured, the seventh–Mouse–dead, in what their team leader realized later had to be a trap. Geir has been trying to uncover details about Mouse’s history. The more he discovers, the more he fears their newest member was nothing of the man they thought they knew and believed they could trust.
Morning Blossom runs a B&B in San Diego that her father co-owns. Unfortunately, he wants to sell despite that the business is the safety net she needs to pursue her passion for painting. While she longs to make a career of what’s only ever been a hobby, she isn’t sure she has the ability to be a success. Morning has avoided long-term relationships after one man who’d stayed at the B&B wanted to take up perpetual residence despite her objections. Geir, however, is someone she could grow used to having around permanently.
While Geir doesn’t understand her naïveté in letting strangers invade her world, Morning’s innocence and belief in the goodness of humanity attracts him. Geir’s innate protectiveness becomes much more than either of them anticipated when the nastiness of his world inevitably spills into hers…
While each of these books is a standalone, I recommend reading them in order to get the most out of them.
This book opens at Badger’s home as the guys go over the information on Mouse they’ve uncovered so far. Geir is ready to head to San Diego but first he reaches out to Jaeger, the one member of the team who has stayed dark. He is pleased and surprised when Jaeger responds he’ll meet him there.
Mason has made arrangements for the guys to stay at a B&B run by Morning Blossom (yes, that’s her name) and Geir is very surprised at the lack of security there. While she has cameras there is nothing else. Jaeger shows up and they start with their investigating.
Morning owns the B&B with her father, but he is living overseas and the real reason she keeps it running is her art. Art is her true passion but she doesn’t trust her instincts and now she may have a gallery showing but nothing she feels is worthy to show.
This is a favorite scene when Geir returns and finds her in her gallery.
“Hello? Anyone here?”
Morning jolted with a start. She froze as she stared at the canvas, her gaze narrow. “Sorry. I’m coming,” she yelled.
“No problem. Just wondered if you were here.” Dimly, in the back of her mind, she recognized the voice of one of her new guests. Just then Geir popped his face around the doorway. She stared at him in surprise. “Guests aren’t allowed in here.”
He nodded, but, instead of backing up, he stepped into the room. He looked at all the paintings she had set aside, potentially for the gallery, and he didn’t look quickly. Instead, he picked up each one, studied it, put it down, picked up another one.
She could feel herself not breathing, waiting for his comment, whether it was disparaging or complimentary. But he didn’t say a word. He studied them all, put them back, turned to look around, saw the futon, then came up behind her. She froze. She hated for anybody to see her paintings in progress. She knew it came from her well of self-doubt, worrying how each wasn’t a masterpiece. She could see what she wanted in her mind’s eye, but she hadn’t been able to get her fingers to match that same image on a canvas. Yet. She stepped back until she stood beside him and turned her gaze to the canvas on the easel. She frowned. What the hell? Had she done that? Just then her grandfather clock chimed downstairs, and she realized it was four o’clock. She gasped. “It can’t be that late already.”
Geir slid her a glance. “Well, it is.”
Horrified, she looked at him, glanced back at the painting but couldn’t comprehend what she saw. She walked to the sink, cleaned her brushes and washed her hands.
When her hands were paint-free, she pulled off her smock and returned to take another look at the painting. It wasn’t just good. It was stunning. She knew it wasn’t finished, but, for the first time, she knew what was supposed to go next. It was an early morning sunrise, peeking through the clouds, adding light and lightness to a cherry blossom tree opening its buds. It was mostly done. She had a few more highlights to add. Several more hours probably because she always slowed down at this stage. But it was everything she could have hoped it to be.
At the same time she wondered if she was just caught up in the euphoria of a new project and not seeing it clearly. Then she turned to look at her nice paintings and knew there was no comparison. This wasn’t so much nice as it was demanding. It sucked you in and held you there.
And still Geir hadn’t said anything. He stood silently at her side, staring at the painting.
She walked to the door. “I’d like you to come out of there now please.”
He glanced at her, his gaze piercing as he said, “If you can paint like this”—he motioned to the canvas on the easel—“why do you paint like that?” He pointed to the pictures on the floor.
She stopped and looked at him. “What do you mean?”
“The level, the intensity, it’s tenfold in this painting. This one draws you in. I want to be there on that cherry blossom branch, watching the sunrise. It’s full of possibilities. It’s full of hope. Those others are flatter, still pretty, but this …” He returned returned his gaze to the canvas in front of him. “It’s stunning.”
Inside she felt some of the walls she’d built over her art dissolve. Some of her own insecurities came crumbling down. “Thank you,” she said quietly. “I have to come up with some paintings to take to a gallery owner on Friday. And I was unhappy with what I’d already done. I was looking for something that defined me, who I am. And I honestly don’t remember very much about the last few hours. I got so caught up in the painting.”
He walked toward her. “So that painting is going in a gallery. It’ll be for sale?”
She nodded. “Hopefully. If he likes it.”
“If he doesn’t like it, I would like to buy it.”
She turned and looked at him. He nodded. “I’m serious. It’s really beautiful.” Her heart bursting with happiness, she practically danced her way downstairs into the kitchen.
Mayer, Dale. Geir (SEALs of Steel Series Book 6). Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (238-270). Kindle Edition.
As Geir and Jaeger work the leads they have, they find a scary link between ‘Poppy’ and a local school. With the help of Morning’s friend Nancy they get access to the school and start putting pieces together.
A break-in, a stuffed mouse, and a near miss ramp up the suspense as a romance develops between Geir and Morning.
Much happens in this book as they work toward solving the mystery that is Mouse and resolving the questions about the incident that caused their injuries.
5 Contented Purrs for Dale!
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Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions and Family Blood Ties series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion (Second Chances, SKIN), her thrillers will keep you guessing (By Death series), and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling (It’s a Dog’s Life and Charmin Marvin Romantic Comedy series).
She honors the stories that come to her – and some of them are crazy and break all the rules and cross multiple genres!
To go with her fiction, she also writes nonfiction in many different fields with books available on resume writing, companion gardening and the US mortgage system. She has recently published her Career Essentials Series. All her books are available in print and ebook format.