Securing Jane – 1001 Dark Nights/SEAL of Protection Legacy Book 6.5 by Susan Stoker

Securing Jane
1001 Dark Nights
SEAL of Protection Legacy Book 6.5
By
NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Susan Stoker

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Over the years, Storm North has witnessed two teams of Navy SEALs under his command find true love. He doesn’t expect the same for himself. He’s too old. Too jaded. Too set in his ways. Until a woman who’s been right in front of him for years manages to impress Storm in a way very few women—or men—ever have.

Jane Hamilton knows it’s ridiculous to have a crush on the charismatic and handsome admiral. She’s the divorced mother of a twenty-six-year-old daughter. Too old for crushes. Too old for a lot of things. There’s no chance she’ll ever catch the eye of a man like Storm North.

Until someone delivers a bomb to the base.

As the civilian contractor in charge of the mail room, Jane finds herself in the direct line of fire, enduring a series of events that leads to a budding relationship with the very man she’s been longing for. She couldn’t be happier, and Storm feels the same.

The only one unhappy, in fact, is the thwarted bomber. Unhappy enough to do something drastic. Now Storm and Jane have to work together to save innocent sailors—and themselves—from an explosive situation threatening their happily ever after.

NOTES:
**Securing Jane is the 7th and final book in the SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series and a part of the 1001 Dark Nights collection. Each book is a stand-alone, with no cliffhanger endings.

**Every 1001 Dark Nights novella is a standalone story. For new readers, it’s an introduction to an author’s world. And for fans, it’s a bonus book in the author’s series. We hope you’ll enjoy each one as much as we do.**

Admiral Storm North has always been heads down and on top of everything his SEAL teams are doing or going to be doing. The thing is he hasn’t really done anything for himself. Today however he’s about to wake up and notice someone he should have long ago.

Jane has been working in the mail room on base since her Navy husband left her and her child twenty years ago. She’s worked her way up to manager but still delivers mail in the building herself. She’s been crushing on Storm since his office moved into her building and delivering his mail is always a bright spot in her day. She doesn’t delude herself that he’ll ever notice her, but that doesn’t stop the fantasy.

This is a favorite scene.

In the near decade that she’d been living on her own, Jane had felt as if she’d been learning who she was as a woman.

At first she’d been Jake’s girlfriend. Then his Navy wife. Then she was the woman who’d been dumped and a single mother. She’d struggled for so long and so hard that she still felt as if she was finding herself. Which was somewhat silly after half a century, but there it was. And she wanted to find love again. Find a man who would support her as much as she supported him. Wanted someone to laugh with…and do all the naughty things she’d been fantasizing about for years and years.

But Storm North wasn’t that man.

Jane knew it, but that didn’t mean she could stop fantasizing about him.

Pushing the mail cart down the hallway, Jane felt her heart rate increase as she got closer to Storm’s office. It was silly. Ridiculous. But she felt as if she was in middle school again, about to see the boy she had a massive crush on.

But Storm was no boy, that was for sure.

She entered his administrative assistant’s office and smiled at the man sitting behind the desk.

“Good morning,” she said cheerily.

“Hi, Jane,” the young man replied with a smile.

“Go on in. He’s not in a meeting.”

“Thanks,” Jane told him, hoping she didn’t look as excited as she felt. She didn’t get to see Storm every day, since he was a very busy man, and whenever she did, it made her morning.

She picked up the small packet and three letters that had arrived for him and headed into his office. She knocked briefly and when she heard him call, “Come in,” pushed open the door.

Storm was sitting behind his desk in his digitized blue battle dress uniform. She could see a bit of gray at his temples, but otherwise she’d have no idea he was in his late forties. He looked as if he could take on the young Navy SEALs he commanded any day of the week…and win.

“Good morning,” Jane said softly.

Storm looked up. “Hi, Jane. How are you today?”

“I’m good. You?”

“Not so bad, now that the Admiral’s Mast for one of my best SEALs is over and done with.”

Jane knew what he was referring to. They might work on a huge naval base, but people talked, and word got around quickly. A SEAL named Phantom had disobeyed orders to go on leave and instead had gone to Timor-Leste to rescue a young woman. She wasn’t completely sure of all the details, but what she did know made her romantic heart go pitter-patter.

“I’m sure that was difficult,” she said diplomatically.

Storm smiled, and Jane’s knees went a little weak.

“That’s one word for it. So…are you doing okay? I didn’t see you yesterday.”

She wanted to read into that statement, feeling giddy that he’d even noticed that she wasn’t there but instead shrugged nonchalantly. “I’m fine. I woke up with a migraine and took a sick day. I’ve got a ton of time saved up and figured I might as well use it.”

“Good for you,” Storm said. “I mean, being a hard worker is one thing, but never taking leave, sick, or vacation isn’t healthy.”

“When’s the last time you took leave?” The question popped out before Jane could call it back.

“Touché,” Storm said with an even wider smile. “I swear anytime I think about taking some time off, the shit hits the fan around here… Oh, sorry. I sometimes forget how to talk in polite company.”

Jane chuckled. “Nothing you can say will surprise or offend me,” she told him. “I’ve worked around here long enough to hear just about every swear word invented. Not to mention hearing them from my daughter when she was a teenager.”

“You have a daughter?” Storm asked with a tilt of his head. “You don’t look old enough to be the mother of a teenager.”

Jane rolled her eyes. “Oh, please. I’m plenty old. She’s twenty-six, and she gave me every one of these wrinkles on my face.”

“Seriously…you look amazing. Your husband’s a lucky man.”

Was Storm flirting with her? Trying to figure out if she was married or not? Jane barely stopped herself from doing a stupid little girly dance right there in front of him. “He was lucky,” she told him. Then added, “But he decided twenty years ago to throw me away for some young flunky. His mistake.”

Storm’s hazel eyes were fixed on her face, and Jane suddenly felt flustered. She’d dreamed of having his undivided attention for years, but now that she had it, she wasn’t sure what to do.

“How long have you been working here?” he asked.

“Twenty years. I got the job right after he walked out.”

Storm nodded. “I, for one, am grateful. I appreciate what you do. I’ve never had to worry about my mail getting lost, and anytime I’ve had an issue, it’s been resolved quickly. You’ve trained your employees well.”

That was one of the best compliments Jane had ever gotten. She wished he’d complimented her on something more personal, but she’d settle for him noticing that she was a good employee. She took great pride in running a tight ship. A lot of people didn’t realize how intricate and complicated dealing with the mail could be. From packages with incomplete addresses that they had to figure out, misdelivered items, postage due…and then there was all the internal correspondence that went back and forth across the base. She and her employees were kept very busy. “Thanks,” she replied with a small smile.

“That all for me this morning?” he asked with a nod toward the mail in her hand.

“Oh! Yes, sorry,” Jane said, stepping forward and putting the envelopes and packet on his desk.

“No problem,” Storm said. “So your head’s feeling better today?” he asked.

For a second, Jane was so flustered she had no idea what he was talking about, then remembered. “Oh, yeah. Thanks. I don’t get migraines a lot, but when I do, they tend to knock me off my feet. But other than a slight twinge today, I feel fine.”

“Good. Then I’ll see you tomorrow, right?”

Beaming, Jane nodded. “Right. Have a good day, Sir, and try not to scare newbie sailors too badly.”

“It’s Storm…and I’m making no promises.”

Jane knew she probably looked like a big dork with the huge smile on her face, but she couldn’t help it.

She gave him a little finger wave and backed out of his office. When she’d cleared his door, she spun, said goodbye to his admin, and pushed her mail cart out into the hallway. She stopped outside the door and leaned against the wall, closing her eyes and sighing in contentment.

Every time she talked to Storm, she felt happy, but today was markedly different. He’d seemed more…engaged. He’d asked her about her personal life, asked for her to call him by his first name…and when he’d smiled at her, she’d gone weak in the knees.

Taking a deep breath, she continued down the hall to the next office, feeling happier than she’d felt in a very long time.
Stoker, Susan. Securing Jane: A SEAL of Protection: Legacy Series Novella (Kindle Locations 307-357). 1001 Dark Nights Press. Kindle Edition.

For the first time Jane and Storm had a conversation and he’s now decided to get to know her more everyday and then ask her out. Of course that’s when all hell breaks lose with a code black in the mail room.

Storm wasn’t about to leave the building without knowing if Jane was okay. Finding out she was locked in waiting decontamination, he wasn’t waiting. Pulling rank he entered the room determining the ‘bomb’ contained CS gas aka tear gas/pepper spray. This is where I fell in love with Storm.

While NCIS and Admiral Creasy work to determine who would send him the package, Storm and Jane’s relationship takes a leap forward. Through the suspense, intrigue, and danger, Storm and Jane manage to date and they start heating up the pages quickly. Although Jane isn’t going to be spared any of Susan’s antics when it comes to her heroines. I also love the fact they’re an older couple and it truly is a wonderful love story.

A perfect, page-turning end to the SEAL of Protection Legacy Series.

5 Contented Purrs for Susan!

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Susan Stoker - Photo Susan Stoker

New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Tennessee where she lives, but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, Indiana, and Tennessee. She’s married to a retired Army man who now gets to follow her around the country.


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