USA Today Bestselling Author
Everyone has something in their history they’d like to keep buried in the past…
Chase has more than most. And his secrets are about to blow wide open as one really bad part of his past has come looking for him.
Vanessa is all about moving forward in her life and not looking back. There are enough painful memories in her history for a lifetime.
But when she gets embroiled in Chase’s problems, they become her problems too.
Both need to deal with their pasts, because if they don’t, they might no longer have a future.
This book opens in the sandbox, the guys are deployed and they find a couple of the kids that ran errands for them, hurt in the desert. One of them gives information that helps them get rid of a major threat in the region. That earns the brothers and their mother a place in the US.
Vanessa has a job that is stressful and she also has secrets that result in her having nightmares. She is one of the people who help immigrants to acclimate to being in the US. Amrit, his brother, now called Peter and his mother are clients of Vanessa and they want to meet up with Chase again.
Chase has a past that is about to become an issue. He had been forced to become a gang member, but when he turned eighteen ran far and fast. Joining the Navy and never looking back. When he’s contacted to meet with Amrit he doesn’t hesitate, but he does inadvertently put Vanessa in the line of fire with his past.
This is a favorite scene when he meets up with them.
Dressed in a tight T-shirt, tattooed and muscle bound, he looked like he belonged with the men on the far side, but he stopped at the playground. He studied the boys long enough to make her uncomfortable. She was about to stand up and walk closer when he called out, “Amrit? Peter?”
The boys stopped what they were doing, saw him and raced toward him. He grabbed one in each arm, swung them up and spun around before dropping them back down to their feet.
“It’s great to see you two,” Chase cried, hugging them both. “Life is so much better over here. No sand,” he said with a big grin.
The boys were laughing and shouting and talking a mile a minute.
Vanessa smiled. Out loud she said, “So this is Chase.”
Young with blond hair, but he had that tough can-do attitude so many of the military men had. Chase was Navy, and she’d heard rumors he was a SEAL when she’d tried to track him down, but no one could confirm that. Of course they wouldn’t. Such was life in the military. Something she wasn’t a part of.
Still, she could believe the rumors. He looked to have what it took to be an over-the-top achiever like all the others. The stories were wild and too incredible to believe, but they served a purpose, and she had no reason to doubt they were at least half true.
With Sinja at her side, Vanessa got up and walked toward the three males. When Chase looked up at her, she almost gasped at the scar slashing across his face. Taking a deep breath she held out her hand and said, “Hi, I’m Vanessa.”
Chase shook it. Then he turned to Sinja and said with a gentle smile, “Hello. How nice to see you and the boys here.”
With the introductions over, they all moved back to the bench where the boys peppered Chase with question upon question. He showed great tolerance and patience as he answered them, then asked a few of his own in a teasing voice.
Finally, when all the chatter ceased, Chase had a chance to ask, “What’s this I hear about you not going to school very often?”
Amrit wrinkled his nose. “It feels funny. Like people are watching me.”
Silence fell upon the small group. Vanessa held her breath. Was that Amrit’s imagination or had some of his bad luck followed him here?
She glanced over at Chase, who was contemplating Amrit’s face. He pulled out a little notepad, wrote down a phone number and handed it to Amrit. “If you ever feel like you see somebody following you or that you are fearful of your life, call me. I can’t guarantee I will always be here because of my own job, but I’ll do the best I can.”
Amrit’s face burst into a big smile. He grabbed the piece of paper, pocketed it and raced back to the playground, Peter on his heels.
Amrit called back, “Thanks.”
Sinja shook Chase’s hand and left the two of them alone so she could stand closer to her sons.
“That went well,” Vanessa said with a smile.
“Maybe he just needed to know he’s not alone.” “Maybe,” Chase said in a noncommittal voice, his gaze on the boys. “Wouldn’t it be nice if all of life’s problems were so easily solved?”
“Yes, wouldn’t it.” Vanessa stood up and turned to face him. “Thank you so much for coming.”
“Of course.” He motioned at the boys. “They certainly won’t be missing anything now. Their life is so vastly different from what they had before.”
Her gaze on the boys as well, she asked quietly, “Can you share a little bit about their life before?”
Chase explained about their living conditions, the father being dragged out of the village and shot in front of them, how the mother and boys had been beaten. How they’d scraped for food and run errands at the camp for the men in order to make a little bit of money on the side. He shrugged. “The opportunities to help the kids are endless. I wasn’t there very long. I’m surprised he remembered me,” Chase admitted. “I only played soccer with him for a few days. I’m sure many of the other men doing a tour over there had a bigger impact on his life.”
“I think it’s because you rescued him. All the other men faded, and it’s your face he remembers.”
He tossed her a bright smile. “Once he starts to adjust the bad memories will fade too.” He turned to walk toward the pathway and leave the park when she said impulsively, “You’re very good with children.”
Chase laughed. “I don’t know why. I do a lot of volunteer work with kids, but I don’t have any of my own.” With a last glance at the boys and the playground, he turned and started to walk down the pathway.
Too bad, she murmured to herself. He’d be a hell of a father. Just as she was about to turn away and head back the way she’d entered the park she realized he’d stopped. He spun around and frowned, his gaze not on the playground but on the men on the far side. He glanced at her, at the kids then seemed to make a sudden decision.
There was a hard spit in the air. And something slammed into the bench beside her.
She was thrown to the ground, a hot heavy blanket covering her, and harsh words in her ear snapped, “Stay down and don’t move.”
The heavy weight lifted as Chase took off.
She twisted her head to see him race toward the playground. Peter and Amrit were standing on top of the wooden structure staring at the bench, fear on their faces. Then they’d also seen her thrown to the ground. And heard the same sound she had. She sat up and glanced around the playground, but she couldn’t see anything wrong.
Mayer, Dale. SEALs of Honor: Books 7-10 . Valley Publishing Ltd. Kindle Locations (6319-6361). Kindle Edition.
Chase’s past rapidly catches up with him as he knows he has to do the right thing.
Vanessa is in the middle and Chase likes her a lot. She doesn’t understand what’s going on but she does know she’d like to know him better.
I love these two together even if the circumstances that brought them together aren’t ideal. We see the rest of the team in this one as well and they offer up some relationship advice in their own way.
Fast-paced and action-packed, with just the right amount of heat, this is a book you won’t be able to put down.
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.