NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Ten years ago, in the middle of a natural disaster, Navy SEAL Greg Devon lost his heart to a young documentary film director, and when he found out she’d been put in charge of Base Camp, a reality television show, he jumped at the chance to participate. Now he’s in big trouble. If he doesn’t marry in forty days, the sustainable community he’s helping to build will be bulldozed. And Renata Ludlow still barely knows he exists.
Renata was fresh out of film school, directing her first film in the Andes, when a mudslide destroyed her subjects’ village and she took on financial responsibility for a school full of girls. When billionaire Martin Fulsom made her an offer, she took it and exchanged her dream career for a steady paycheck. With two years to go before the last of her girls graduates, she’s got no choice but to keep Fulsom happy—even if it means joining the cast of Base Camp for forty days. She can’t marry Greg until she’s fulfilled her promise, though. Even if she’s beginning to realize he’s the man she’s always wanted.
With his deadline looming, Greg keeps gambling he can convince Renata to be his bride—and Renata keeps gambling on everything in sight, determined to pay what she owes.
Can Greg convince Renata to take a chance on him? Or will she push her luck too far and lose everything?
Renata and Greg have a history, one she doesn’t realize. She gets the feeling she knows him from somewhere but can’t place him.
Greg has been a little in love with Renata since he met her long ago in Peru, The efforts she made when the children she brought home for a surprise reunion instead found death and destruction of their homes was an inspiration to him. He found himself caring for her then, and she was the main reason he signed up for the show.
This book also opens with the birth of Jericho and Savannah’s baby. This is a favorite scene.
“Renata! Greg! The baby’s here!”
Avery’s voice cut through the silence, jolting Renata out of her shock. Still facing Greg—staring at him—Renata shook herself back into the present. Took a step back. She didn’t think Avery had seen what they were doing—thank goodness.
“Renata.” Greg’s low, rich baritone stopped her. “We should talk about this.”
“Come on!” Avery cried. “They’re letting us in a few at a time. You have to cover this, Renata. Don’t let Clem win.”
That snapped her out of her shock. She was never going to let Clem win.
“Renata,” Greg called after her as she strode toward the hospital.
“Later. I’ve got work to do.” She was tingling all over, though, and Renata wasn’t sure she’d ever get over the shock of that kiss. She supposed it made sense he’d make a pass at her—the way he’d been watching her—but it had still taken her by surprise. Somehow she’d supposed that her absolute unavailability would be as clear to the men of Base Camp as it was to her. She’d never given a single one of them so much as a flirtatious glance, least of all Greg, because he was the one to whom she was the most attracted.
Inside, she made her way down the corridor to where the members of Base Camp had clustered around Savannah’s room. She’d have to sort out Greg later. Right now she had a job to do—one that would keep paying for the girls of Colina Blanca.
“Out of my way,” she ordered, marching through the gathered people, grabbing Byron’s arm as she went. She’d need a cameraman.
“Three at a time,” Riley said apologetically.
“That doesn’t apply to me.”
“Or me,” Greg said, hurrying after her.
“Like hell it doesn’t,” Clem said. “If I have to wait, so do you!”
Renata barged past him into the hospital room, still dragging Byron along, followed by Greg, who shut the door behind him. Hope and Curtis Lloyd, spotting them, straightened from where they’d been bent over mother and child.
“We’ll see you again tomorrow when you’ve gotten some rest,” Hope told Savannah. “You have a beautiful baby.”
“I’ll go, too,” Nora Pickett said. “I’m so happy for you, Savannah.”
“You next,” Savannah told her.
Nora patted her slightly rounded belly. “Can’t wait.”
As they left, Renata edged closer to the bed upon which Savannah lay, supported by pillows, her baby in her arms. Jericho sat close by, beaming at wife and child as if he couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s a boy?” Renata asked, hardly daring to breathe. The baby was asleep, a tiny bundle with a sweet, puckered face. What she would give to have a baby like that. The thought should have surprised her, career woman as she was, but she felt the same longing every time she saw a little one. It was just part of being a woman, she supposed. Or maybe her history was to blame. She’d grown up around other lost, lonely children in the foster care system, all of them craving care and love. She’d done her best to give it to them—while she was there. It seemed to her the foster care system was simply a series of goodbyes.
“Yes. Jacob Boone Cook.”
“That must have made Boone happy.” Renata drew nearer, taken by the baby’s tiny hands among the nest of blankets Savannah held him in. This baby would never know the kind of sorrow and loneliness she’d felt and seen during her childhood years. He would grow up surrounded by love—as a baby should.
“I think he cried a little when we told him,” Savannah admitted.
“Boone was bawling like a newborn himself,” Jericho put in. “But he’s been a good friend for a long time.”
“Jacob is so sweet.” Renata bent even closer. “What a perfect baby.”
“Do you want to hold him?”
Renata nodded. Her arms were aching to hold him. How had Savannah known?
She sat down on the edge of the bed, and Savannah transferred the little mite, swathed in his blankets, into her arms.
The small weight felt wonderful, and Renata drew in a shaking breath. She couldn’t even place the feeling filling her heart. It went so far beyond longing—eclipsed even her commitment to the girls she was supporting in Peru, something she’d dedicated her whole life to these past ten years. When she allowed herself to think of the future, she focused on work—on the films she’d promised herself she’d one day produce. She wanted to provide an escape from reality to all the people who had suffered like she had.
Jacob shifted, his tiny fingers straightening, then curling into fists again.
A baby. She wanted a baby, too. A house. A real home. Somewhere she never had to leave again. Roots. A family. One that would last forever. Maybe a husband—
A noise escaped her, and shame washed through Renata at having exposed herself like that. It was a noise someone like Savannah would recognize. And maybe Greg might, too. Not to mention Clem if he were in the room.
Renata’s back stiffened even as Savannah reached out to pat her arm.
“It’s all right,” Savannah said. “Everyone loves new babies.”
Renata blinked back the tears that were threatening to slip down her cheeks.
“It’s that they’re so new,” Savannah said. “It reminds us we were new once, too. Innocent. Before the world got to us.”
In a flash, Renata was back in England—the small town outside London where she was born. She had a sense of a living room. A soft couch. A fireplace. Snow falling.
Her mother singing. Her father in the easy chair with a book.
Another sound escaped her, and she swayed forward to deposit Jacob back into his mother’s arms. She stood up and scraped a hand across her cheek. What was wrong with her?
Greg caught her when she stumbled over her own feet and put his arm around her waist to steady her, but when she moved toward the door, it swung open, and Clem stepped in her way. He looked her up and down scornfully. “What’s wrong with you, Ludlow? Are you crying?” He glanced at Savannah in the bed, baby Jacob in her arms, and sneered. “No wonder Fulsom gave me your job. You’re on the mommy track. Not a serious director at all. Just killing time until a husband comes along, huh?”
Renata didn’t know what she’d have done if the door hadn’t swung open a second time—and ushered in Fulsom.
She sucked in a breath, completely taken aback. Dashed her hand quickly over her cheeks again, grateful she hadn’t had time to put on makeup before rushing to the hospital. She didn’t think she could face her boss with mascara running everywhere.
“How’d you get here?” Greg asked him.
“The same way I always get here,” Fulsom said calmly. He brushed past them to pay homage at Savannah’s bedside. “Beautiful as ever, my dear,” he told Savannah. “I don’t know how you always manage to look like a painting by Raphael, but you do. And look at this little man. Jacob Boone, right? He’ll be the spitting image of his father. Good job, you two.” He turned to Clem. “You getting the footage you need?”
Fury filled Renata. What about her? She wasn’t getting any of the footage she needed. And she’d exposed Clem days ago for the criminal he was. This situation was intolerable. Two directors were one too many—
“I’m getting everything,” Clem assured him. “Unlike some people, I don’t have anything to distract me.”
“Good. As for you, Renata…”
Here it came. Renata swallowed in a dry throat, her pulse tripping along like a toddler on hot sand. Fulsom was going to fire her. She was going to let everyone down. Her students—
“I’m not sure you’re needed at Base Camp anymore,” he began, confirming her worst suspicions.
“Yes, she is!” Greg blurted behind her. “She damn well is!”
“Clem here is perfectly capable of directing—”
“She’s the one.” Greg cut off Fulsom again. “She’s the woman I’m going to marry. She has to stay because she’s going to be my wife!”
Clem’s laughter filled the room.
Seton, Cora. A SEAL’s Desire (SEALs of Chance Creek Book 8). One Acre Press. Kindle Locations (396-462). Kindle Edition.
After Greg announces she’s the one he’s going to marry, chaos ensues. She can’t marry him, she needs to finish paying for the last few girls education. She’d promised them and wouldn’t let them down.
There are several interesting twists in this book and I think my favorite is the way Renata gets to Clem challenging him and making some pretty crazy bets.
While Greg gets worried about what seems to be a compulsion with her, he and the others also enjoy her getting Clems goat.
I laughed a lot in this book and cried too. This series is winding to its finish and I really don’t think I want it to end.
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.