NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Sleeping with a man before getting to know him isn’t the greatest blueprint for building a relationship.
But after being celibate for so long, when lightning strikes, redhead, Moira McKee, embraces being impetuous for once in her life and decides to ride it. Even if Navy SEAL, Lieutenant Sam Harding never calls her again, he’s at least replaced the painful memories of her first (and last) intimate experience.
Sam Harding has a reputation for being a hard-ass at work and at play. He has two unbendable rules: No strings. Keep it casual. But when he meets Moira at a charity dinner, he’s torn between the desire to take her to bed and the need to protect her.
After a night of terrific sex, neither knows where things are going. But then Moira finds a dead body on the grounds of the hotel, and Sam can’t walk away without knowing she’s safe.
At least that’s what he tells himself. But as the threat he’s sensed becomes real, he’s powerless to protect her. It’s up to Moira to fight for her survival…and his.
Navy SEAL Sam Harding doesn’t do relationships. He’s seen too many bite the dust, especially while teams are deployed. The secrecy involved in a SEAL’s job and the sudden deployments can be devastating to a relationship.
Moira is an artist and a high school art teacher, she came up with an idea to raise money for a new NICU and it was embraced by the entire school. Every aspect of the fund raising was handled by the staff and the students to make for a very profitable endeavor. She attends a fund raising dinner where she would be accepting an award on behalf of the school for their large donation. She never expected to meet someone who breaks down her barriers where men are concerned.
Sam’s father has a law firm where both his brothers are employed. As a favor to his mother he attends this fundraiser to deliver a check and represent the firm. While Sam is a lawyer, he’s never practiced law. He followed his heart to the Navy and then the SEALs. Moira strikes a cord with him and he finds himself talking and doing things he wouldn’t have considered prior to meeting her.
This is just one of my favorite scenes.
Sam studied the slope from Moira’s shoulder to her breast. Shit, she was built— slender, compact, and all that glorious red hair… “What do you do in your spare time?”
“I’m an art teacher, but also an artist. I do work on commission. Plus, I swim every day at five before school, and I go up to the NICU unit at the hospital twice a week to cuddle the babies and feed them.”
Alarm bells went off in his head. He wasn’t ready for marriage or children. “How long have you been doing that?”
He paused in cutting his steak to lean forward and rest his forearm on the table. “Why do you do it?”
“Because cuddling benefits their development. Babies who are cuddled have better sleeping habits and are less fussy. And the parents who have to work, who can’t be there all day to cuddle or hold them, need the extra support.
“When my youngest brother was born, I was twelve. He was premature, had lung issues and feeding issues. The doctors didn’t expect him to make it, so they sent him home to die. But we held him constantly and fed him through a tube. He’s fourteen now, strong, fit and plays baseball.”
“So, you visit the unit and cuddle babies.”
“It takes my thoughts away from school issues and focuses them on what’s important, giving the babies the human contact they need to survive.”
“Plus, your school raised money for the NICU?”
“Yes. The kids really got on board and did several fundraisers to bring in the money. They’ve worked hard all year. I voted for a couple of students to come and accept the award on behalf of the school, but my principal wanted me to do it.”
He turned toward her and his leg brushed hers. “I bet you had a lot to do with organizing the fundraisers.”
“The students worked to make things happen.”
Yeah, but he’d lay odds her organizational skills kept things running. “Moira, you inspired an entire school to get behind a project. That’s no small feat.”
She seemed uncomfortable with the praise and shrugged one shoulder while she chewed an asparagus tip, then took a drink. “The student body learned from the experience, and the school system got good press.” And she’d also received several commissions because of the work. She turned toward him. “And what about you? Wouldn’t it have been easier to be a lawyer than go into the Navy?”
He didn’t really want to talk about himself, but there was something about her that elicited trust. “My father and I had a deal. If I finished college, I could do whatever I wanted afterward. So I went to college, finished in three years, enrolled in law school, and passed the bar. The next week I enlisted in the Navy.”
“Was that the plan all along?”
“Yeah. I got the law degree in case I needed a backup plan some time down the road. I joined the Navy because it’s what I always wanted.” Had he ever told a woman all this?
“Did your father realize you were still going into the Navy?”
“He thought I’d change my mind once I finished school.”
“When did you go into the SEALs?”
“Right after boot camp.”
Her blue-green eyes rested on his face, her glasses magnifying their expression. “Would you say, then, that you’re just a little bit of an overachiever?”
He laughed at her droll tone. “Maybe a little.”
“And now you’re a team leader.”
“A first lieutenant?”
“How do you know?”
“You have a law degree, so you came into the service as an officer. But you’re not old enough to have been in long enough to have the rank of captain. What’s your next goal?”
He captured one arrant red curl, finding its texture interestingly coarse, and guided it back into place down her back. Her dress had an intriguing V there that ended just between her shoulder blades, revealing velvety skin that was a temptation he couldn’t resist. She froze as he brushed the back of one finger against the stretch of pale soft skin. “To get you out—” He paused and her heart leaped and hammered against her ribs until he finished the sentence “on the dance floor right after they give out the awards.”
She looked away fearful he might read her reaction and reached for her water glass again. “You may find you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. My size seven feet might feel like boat paddles when they step on your toes.”
“I’m not worried. You’re an overachiever, too.”
She pushed her plate away, half the food still on it, and shook her head at the server when dessert was offered, then turned to Sam and raised one perfectly arched, red brow. Damn, but she was beautiful. “I’m not even in your league, Sam.”
Teresa J. Reasor. Building Strength (Kindle Locations 264-303). Teresa J. Reasor.
A walk on the beach after the ceremony, a kiss, a phone call and they end up spending the night together. Something that surprises Sam, he doesn’t spend the night, ever.
It’s the next morning when Moira makes a startling discovery on the ground below her balcony that Sam’s protectiveness kicks in.
With one of his team in the hospital following a training incident, Sam and his team are assigned to training the new batch of SEALs. BUDs training for the candidates isn’t fun or easy, for the team it’s a break and fun to oversee the process all of them have been through.
There are so many things happening behind the scenes in this book. All are vital to the story and each provide their own twist.
I loved the way this story develops, from the investigation of the accident and the murder to the developing bond between Sam and Moira, you won’t be able to put this book down.
I can’t wait to read the next book in this series.
5 Contented Purrs for Teresa!
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Teresa Reasor was born in Southeastern Kentucky, but grew up a Marine Corps brat. The love of reading instilled in her in Kindergarten at Parris Island, South Carolina made books her friends during the many transfers her father’s military career entailed. The transition from reader to writer came easily and she was a closet novelist for many years until 2007 when her first book was published.
After twenty-one years as an Art Teacher and ten years as a part time College Instructor, she’s now retired and living her dream as a full time Writer.
Her body of work includes both full-length novels and shorter pieces in many different genres, Military Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Children’s Books.