NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Navy SEAL Clay Pickett needs a wife, fast, or he’ll lose the model sustainable community he and his friends came home to Chance Creek to build. He’s got just the woman for the job in mind: sexy, sensitive Nora Ridgeway. Too bad she’s not interested in rushing to the altar.
When Nora leaves her job as a school teacher to open a Jane Austen Bed and Breakfast with her friends—and finally get a chance to write her novel—she’s relieved to escape the escalating threats of violence from an unknown student stalker, and more than a little interested in the Navy SEAL who’s after her heart. But when trouble starts stalking her at Chance Creek, Nora begins to wonder if she’s left her past behind after all.
Can Clay and Nora find a way to be together when everything is trying to tear them apart?
We first met Clay in ‘A SEAL’s Oath’ when Boone picks him up at the airport. Clay also meets Nora at that time and convinces her not to leave. This book opens a little before Riley and Boone’s wedding.
Something woke Clay to alertness, yet when he looked for the source of the noise there was nothing. Clay begins his day with a jog and is surprised by Walker who insists he draws a straw. Clay is definitely not happy he draws the short one, he wanted lots of time for Nora to get to know him.
At almost the same time in the mansion Nora wakes with the sensation she’s being watched, after investigating a bit she decides it was the house settling and begins to dress for the day. Needing some inspiration she plans to sit by the creek for a while, it’s peaceful and quiet there. At least it was until Clay scares the living daylights out of her.
Nora sat on her flat stone gazing at the creek, her thoughts too tangled to get any writing done, although her notebook sat in her lap, a pen clipped to its pages.
She kept thinking of Riley’s upcoming marriage to Boone, which inevitably led to thoughts of Clay. It was hard not to wish their circumstances were different. Living so close together, they should have had lots of chances to meet up, talk and get to know one another. Without a deadline, they could have discovered their areas of common interest. Maybe they would have gone for long walks. Maybe they’d have swum in the creek in the summer. Eventually they might have dated, kissed and…more. The thought of a long, slow courtship with the SEAL made her veins sizzle. She couldn’t pretend she hadn’t dreamed of how it would go—how Clay would seduce her over time.
But Clay needed a wife far too soon for them to experience anything like that. She’d explained that to him. He’d said he didn’t have a choice. Someday soon he’d marry.
And she’d still be alone.
As much as she tried to enjoy the beautiful setting and the soft morning air, that thought kept intruding, along with memories of Baltimore. The last few years hadn’t been easy. After her mother’s death following a long illness, Nora had been lonely and vulnerable, an easy mark for a teenager with a grudge.
It had been several weeks since she’d really thought about her stalker, and she wished he wasn’t on her mind now. She had an unsettled feeling, the same one she always got when the wind shifted around to herald an oncoming storm. As she watched the creek roll past, she allowed memories of her stalker’s messages to seep through her defenses. She shut her eyes when his voice—his awful, mechanically distorted, gritty voice—filled her mind instantly with echoes of his violently sexual messages. He was always harping on the relationship between them. That she’d been the teacher, but now she’d be his student.
I’ll teach you so many things you don’t know. You’ll like it when I touch you. You’ll get wet for me. You’ll beg for more.
She hated the way his words had twisted her insides around with shame and fear.
I’ll tease you until you’re shaking, until you open for me, hoping I fill you full. I know you like it rough and it’ll get rough—I promise you that, Nora.
She hated the way he’d used her name over and over again until she’d thought about changing it legally when she left Baltimore. How unfair that someone could take something so personal and make it so ugly—as if he owned more of her than she did.
None of that was what kept her up at night, though. It was the violence in his later messages. The detailed descriptions of how he’d kill her. The way he’d twisted it together with sexual images until her flesh crawled with the dread of his hands on her skin.
I’ll fuck you long and hard. Until your screams leave your throat hoarse. Until you can’t scream anymore. And that’s when the real fun—
“Nora! There you are!”
Nora shrieked when someone hurtled at her out of the woods, scooped her up and swung her around in a circle. Adrenaline sliced through her as she kicked out her feet and pummeled her fists against her attacker. She screamed again, fought to shake him off, but he had her in such a tight hold she couldn’t move.
She flailed and kicked and thrashed but she couldn’t get free. She couldn’t—
“Nora, it’s me! It’s Clay! Baby, you’re all right.” He set her back down on the stone and circled quickly around to crouch before her.
Nora couldn’t breathe. Hyperventilating, she scrambled to her knees to ward him off. “No…no!”
Clay backed away, his hands held out to appease her. “It’s just me. Calm down! I’m sorry I scared you.”
She sat down again on the rock with a thump, wrapped her arms around her stomach and bent over, trying to catch her breath. Her heart was racing, her pulse tripping and catching in her veins. Tears pricked her eyes but she refused to let them fall. Damn it, what had Clay been thinking, sneaking up on her like that?
“Are you okay?”
She straightened. “No… I’m not… okay.” She wasn’t, not even close. Her heart wouldn’t stop and she pressed a hand to her chest, willing it to slow down. It was hard to breathe, too. She tried to suck in air but somehow it wouldn’t reach her lungs. Clay’s expression changed from worry to outright concern.
“Nora, look at me.” She did so. “Count. One, two, three…” He led her up to ten, back down again and repeated the exercise. Nora did her best count with him. Was her heart slowing? Maybe.
They did it again. Bit by bit, the air reached her lungs.
Finally she was able to let her shoulders relax, and the world stopped spinning. She felt like she’d woken from a nightmare, shreds of the dream still flapping around her.
“I’m sorry.” Clay’s gaze searched hers. “I won’t do that again.”
Nora could only nod.
Clay sat down beside her. “So much for impressing you with my romantic fervor.”
Despite everything, she laughed, a funny little gulp that was almost a sob. “Yeah. So much for that.” She fought for composure. “I was thinking about Baltimore. About that kid…”
“The one who stalked you?” Clay raked a hand through his hair. “Shit, I didn’t even think…”
“It’s okay,” she assured him, embarrassed by her overreaction.
“Can we start over?”
“I guess so.” She couldn’t help but notice the way the sunlight brought out the color of his eyes. He was so close to her she could see faint traces of laugh lines radiating out from the corners of them. His concern was plain and she relaxed a little more. The SEAL was so damn handsome.
And such an ass for scaring her like that.
He took a deep breath. “Nora, there’s something I want to ask you. Something really important—” He cut off and frowned as if he’d changed his mind. “You know what? I’d probably better walk you back to camp. It’s getting late and we’ve got a lot to do to prepare for the wedding.”
She nodded, gathering herself together, but she wondered what he’d really wanted to say. Had he been about to ask her out?
No. She’d made it perfectly clear she wouldn’t date him.
He reached out to help her up, then snatched his hand back quickly, probably afraid she’d decline after his botched attempt to sweep her off her feet. What had he been thinking when he’d scooped her up like that? He’d said it was a romantic gesture, but they’d agreed he would leave her alone.
Had he changed his mind?
Seton, Cora. A SEAL’s Vow (SEALs of Chance Creek Book 2). One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (247-299). Kindle Edition.
This is just the beginning of some awkwardness as Clay’s father also shows up at Base Camp.
More little things happen to make Nora even more uneasy and her thoughts go to the stalker she thought she left in Baltimore. The people involved with the show don’t know about it and she wasn’t going to enlighten them either.
When it’s revealed Clay is to be the next to wed, Nora is certain she just can’t marry him. There’s not enough time to get to know him well enough for that.
Very unsure of the outcome of courting Nora, Clay approaches Boone and asks him for a month to convince Nora, but to find a backup bride just in case.
Things escalate very quickly in this book with many disturbing things happening.
I laughed, cried, and held my breath more than once as this story unfolds. I loved every interaction Clay has with Nora. These two are so right for each other.
I am already reading the next in this series. I can’t seem to stop.
5 Contented Purrs for Cora!
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USA Today and NYT Times bestselling author Cora Seton loves cowboys, country life, gardening, bike-riding, and lazing around with a good book. Mother of four, wife to a computer programmer/eco-farmer, she ditched her California lifestyle nine years ago and moved to a remote logging town in northwestern British Columbia.
Like the characters in her novels, Cora enjoys old-fashioned pursuits and modern technology, spending mornings transforming a one-acre lot into a paradise of orchards, berry bushes and market gardens, and afternoons writing the latest Chance Creek romance novel on her iPad mini.