USA Today Bestselling Author
He’s a former Navy SEAL in financial straits.
She’s a bar owner in need of a bouncer.
When Jodi finds out her new bouncer is none other than Tucker, the man currently starring on a reality television show, she isn’t happy. She doesn’t want the publicity. Plus, she thinks he’s a fool. Who marries a stranger on television for money?Tucker isn’t happy either. He’s in over his head in a farce of a marriage, but he needs the money the network is paying him. It’s nobody’s business why he’s working a night job in a bar at the same time.
Too bad the heat between them is incendiary. Hooking up is a huge mistake for them both, but some risks are worth it..
At the end of the last book ‘Hot SEAL, Runaway Bride’ we meet Tucker who saves the day for Nick as far as the reality show goes. Tucker needs the money and even after marrying Katia, he agrees to an additional sum to stay married for 90 days. Now as he’s counting down the days, he gets a job as a bouncer to help find the person dealing drugs in the bar.
Jodi and her father own Bridgman’s Bar, and she’s not at all happy with her father’s new hire. She doesn’t want the publicity that will follow Tucker around.
Tucker wants this job to get away from Katia, they are a marriage in name only made more difficult by the constant streaming of video in their apartment. Between the scripted dialog, the arguments and the conditions of the contract, Tucker is going out of his mind.
This is a favorite scene.
In any case, he didn’t like the way she was dismissing him as if he were nothing more than dog shit on the bottom of her shoe. He half expected her to shake off her tennis shoe and shudder, backing up a pace. He wanted to tell her to mind her own business and fuck off, but he bit his tongue instead. He needed this job. If she blew it for him with her judgmental attitude, he was going to be seriously pissed.
He gritted his teeth, trying to decide how he wanted to handle this situation.
Before he could think how to explain his predicament to Bill, Jodi continued, her head still cocked toward her father. “Tucker here is on that ridiculous reality television show filmed at that beach house. You know the one, Dad. Cold Feet.”
Bill shook his head. “Never heard of it.” He glanced toward Tuck, one half of his mouth lifted in a grin. “Is that true? You one of those Hollywood stars trying to get your big break?”
Tuck shook his head. “No, Sir. Not even close. I—”
He didn’t get to finish that sentence because Jodi interrupted. “He married this crazy, whiny woman on the show, Dad. And now he’s raking in the money because social media is eating this up. They even extended the stupid show to continue following his train wreck of a marriage to the star of the show, Katia. I’m not sure which one of them is more deranged.” She shifted her gaze to Tuck, tipping her head down again and staring at him, challenging him to refute her explanation.
He couldn’t, of course. For one thing, he was under contract with the network. For another thing, nothing Jodi had stated was inaccurate. Oh, wait, except the part about him raking in money. If he were, he wouldn’t be standing here today trying to get a job he desperately needed doing something he was far overqualified to do.
Bill slapped his hand on his thigh and chuckled, apparently amused. “Well, I’ll be. We’ve got us a star working here.” He sobered slightly as his eyes drew closer. “Your show gonna affect your work here, son?”
“No, sir.” Tuck was bewildered by the man’s apparent lack of concern where it came to Cold Feet. “Contrary to your daughter’s belief, I’m not making a significant amount of money to appear on the show, and I need this job.” He shot her a glare this time, daring her to continue arguing.
Too bad she was so cute. Jodi Bridgman was the kind of woman who hid her beauty under baggy T-shirts and a sharp tongue. Even though she was probably breathtaking when she let her hair down and lost the chip on her shoulder, he doubted many people had ever seen that side of her.
There were a few seconds of silence, during which Tuck feared Bill might change his mind and send Tuck out the door, and then Bill’s phone buzzed in his pocket and the older man extracted it, fumbling for a moment to swipe the screen. “I need to take this,” he apologized. As he stepped away, heading toward the door Jodi had presumably come from, he looked at his daughter. “Please continue showing Tucker around the bar. He starts tonight.”
Great. Just great.
Jodi sighed, her shoulders falling. “So which is it then?” “Which is what?” Tuck braced himself for whatever she was going to say next, knowing it was going to be good.
“Either you’re certifiable for being on that show, or you’re making a shit ton of money doing it. It has to be one or the other. Neither explains what you’re doing here in my family’s bar looking for work. We’re barely holding our heads above water here, and you look expensive.” She grazed her eyes up and down his body. The only thing she did not do was cross her arms.
What the fuck did she mean when she said he looked expensive? Tuck met her gaze. “Honestly, Ms. Bridgman, it’s none of your business how much money I make or why I want this job. If you really intend to judge me from what you’ve seen on television or read on social media, I can’t stop you. Or… you could set aside your preconceived notions and look at the facts.”
She continued to stare at him. “And what would those facts be?”
“I’m a Navy SEAL who served two tours. I was based near here in Coronado. One of my specialties was infiltrating behind the enemy lines to ensure who my target was before taking him out. You,” he pointed at her in particular, “have a serious problem that could cause you to lose this bar. You need to find out who’s dealing under the table here. I’m the man for the job. But if you’re so worried about what I do off the clock, I’ll leave now.”
Several seconds ticked by before Jodi inhaled long and slow. “I don’t want to trade one problem for another. You can’t bring cameras in here. This is my family’s bar. I won’t have it become part of some ridiculous reality TV show.”
Tuck decided it was his turn to narrow his eyes at her. “For someone who thinks Cold Feet is the dumbest show ever to air on television, you sure do know a lot about it. Were you watching the latest episode in the back before I got here, or do you enjoy the livestream from my apartment?” He snapped his fingers. “Oh, shit. That’s right. The livestreaming isn’t very interesting right now since I’m currently here.”
Suddenly, Jodi’s entire demeanor changed. She grinned, and then she started laughing. When she finally managed to pull herself back together, she asked, “Are you at least going to explain to me why a chiseled, sexy hunk of man who recently left the SEALs with brains and wit is starring as the groom on a stupid reality show?”
He jerked back a few inches. Shocked. It took him a moment to respond. The hard-nosed woman who’d entered this room with her fists raised to fight him was now soft and teasing and cute. The dimples on her cheeks made her seem almost human. Her eyes were dancing with humor.
Another lock of curls fell across her cheek, and he watched as she tried futilely to tuck the hair behind her ear. Part of him was mesmerized by her transformation and wanted to reach out and brush those curls off her cheek himself. He wondered if her hair was as soft as it looked.
Becca Jameson. Hot SEAL, Cold Feet: SEALs in Paradise (Kindle Locations 85-132). Becca Jameson Publishing.
The arguments with Katia, the growing romance between Tucker and Jodi, and the involvement with the show make for lots of amusement and angst. The investigation into the drugs suspenseful, and intriguing. However it’s the conclusion of the show that surprised me the most.
I really can’t wait to read the next book in this multi-author series.
5 Contented Purrs for Becca!
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Becca Jameson currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband, two kids, and the various pets that wander through.
After editing for about five years she recently started writing. She is loving the journey, dabbling in various genres.
When not writing or editing she can usually be found taxiing kids to and from their activities, scrapbooking, and reading!
Late at night she can usually be found sequestered in her office creating fantasy with a glass of red wine and a bar of dark chocolate.