USA Today Bestselling Author
Can the love of your life happen twice?
Vice Admiral Cade Lister had continued to function for five years after losing his much-loved wife to cancer, but he hadn’t been living. His work hadn’t changed so it had become his life. He went from one command to another, wherever the Navy sent him.
His world was focused on the SEALs he commanded…until the day in his exuberance over a highly complicated operation, he hugged his administrative assistant.
Marta Merkel had been a force to be reckoned in the SEAL world. For over twenty-five years, since her SEAL husband had been killed on active duty, she could make or break a career.
Even though they were single adults past fifty, she worked directly outside his office, controlling his work life.
With years of baggage, could they make this work?
There is much that is happening in this book, I loved the way it opened with us in the ops room as Dylan’s team is involved in a final rescue mission in Afghanistan. Marta is there along with the commanders as she had just brought in food as things started to go down.
This is a favorite scene.
After passing along the vital information to other teams in the area, Dylan had gotten the woman and her five children on their way to safety. He and the remainder of his team had reconned the school and developed a strategy to rescue all the captured men but needed reinforcements to implement the plan.
Lieutenant Chaney is going places, not just because he’s the father of Evan’s grandson, but he’s a damn good officer.
The door to the conference room opened and Marta Merkel, administrative assistant extraordinaire, at least in Cade’s opinion, slid in with trays of food stacked three high.
The woman was his lifesaver. She certainly knew what she was doing as the civilian assistant to the commanding officer of Naval Special Warfare. Sure, she had worked in that office for over twenty-five years, the last decade at the desk directly outside his office, but the woman knew his job better than he did. He was her fourth NSWCO and regularly shared her experience making him look fucking good.
Marta set the trays on a credenza and had just turned back toward him when Dylan announced, “Blue one-seven alpha, two-niner alpha, and two-five charlie ready and in position. Do we have a go?”
Cade felt her gaze on him. That’s Dylan, she mouthed. May I… She pointed to her feet. He gave a slight nod knowing this wasn’t her first experience watching a team in live action. Her security clearance was equal to his. Besides, as best friend to Evan’s new wife, Genevieve, she personally knew Dylan and his four-month-old baby, Ian.
“Blue one-seven alpha, two-niner alpha, and two-five charlie, you have a go. I repeat, you have a go.”
Everyone’s attention went to a side screen where the eerie green of night vision technology made it difficult to discern images.
“On my count.” Dylan counted backwards followed by an explosion that rocked the building in front of them. Someone pointed to the drone footage that showed explosions at the four outer doors.
The barrage of bullets was so loud Cade felt as though he was in the building with his men.
Shouting in English and Pashto filled the air when not drowned out by the echo of gunfire. It took less than a minute to sort out that every local man was on their lists as HVTs.
What felt like a lifetime later, which in truth was less than six minutes, men moving in a line could be seen through the green haze on the screen. Once outside, Dylan reported, “Blue one-seven alpha, two-niner alpha, and two-five charlie, moving to extraction site. Eight targets down. No casualties.”
The conference room erupted. The four team commanders present leaped out of their seats shouting and pumping their fists in the air. His relatively new Executive Officer, Rear Admiral (lower half) Paul O’Connor, joined in the excitement.
Cade realized he was on his feet when he was embraced in a bear hug by his friend, Captain Evan Hubbard. When the big man turned to congratulate someone else, Cade watched Marta trying to hold in her jubilation, smiling ear to ear. Caught up in the excitement, he turned to his administrative assistant and wrapped his arms around her picking her up off the ground.
“He did it.” Marta threw her arms around his neck. “Dylan did it.”
“Damn straight he did.” Cade leaned back to look at the beautiful woman in his arms. He hadn’t held a woman in over five years. It felt so fucking good. Leaning forward, he placed an excited kiss on her lips.
Heat rushed through him, awakening body parts that had been dormant for years. His cock twitched as it started to fill.
What the fuck? He hadn’t had an erection since his wife had passed away. Not that it was anywhere close to its full size, it had still shocked him.
Setting Marta back on her feet, he made sure she was steady before he released his arms from around her.
Suddenly realizing what he’d done, Cade quickly glanced around to see if anyone had seen him kiss her.
Whew. Everyone else was caught up in their own excitement.
The stunned look on her face made him take a step backward. He couldn’t read her eyes because his gaze was darting everywhere reassuring himself that no one had seen his moment of indiscretion.
He was the fucking commander of all Navy SEALs, West Coast to East Coast and those stationed around the world. It was his job to set an example and kissing his administrative assistant was completely unsatisfactory. Hell, she could stride back to her desk and write up an EEO complaint against him, and rightfully so. He could be court-martialed for several things starting with conduct unbecoming an officer and ending in sexual assault.
One glance back at Marta told him everything he needed to know. She was in shock. She hadn’t moved since he’d let her feet touch the ground. Her fingertips were at her lips as though holding in a scream.
He stepped close enough to her so only she could hear. “Marta, Ms. Merkel, I don’t know what overcame me. I sincerely apologize. I am so very sorry.”
She blinked and it was as though she had regained all her senses. “Don’t worry, Admiral, I’m equally at fault. I was caught up in the moment.” She then smiled at him but it wasn’t her normal admin to boss show of white teeth. “And I’m not a damn bit sorry.” She winked at him before turning on her heel and striding up out of the room with a little bit more swing in her step than he’d ever noticed before.
KaLyn Cooper. Fall of the Trident (Special Forces: Operation Alpha): Seasoned SEALs, Book 3 (Kindle Locations 103-148). Aces Press, LLC
This is just the beginning of things for Cade Lister and Marta Merkel. There’s quite the attraction there and they both get a bit conflicted because of their jobs.
The main plot focus is on those human traffickers, they’ve taken down much of it but haven’t gotten the head honcho. That SEALs were involved and that there are hints of people high up in command have everyone on edge and wanting it all resolved.
Things start coming to a head when Cade travels with Marta to Little Creek to welcome the teams home.
I couldn’t put this book down, there is always something happening that either answers a question or creates a new one. The slow but steady development of the relationship between Marta and Cade is perfect and definitely sizzling.
I can’t wait to see what KaLyn has up her sleeve for her next offering in this world!
5 Contented Purrs for KaLyn!
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KaLyn Cooper’s romances blend fact and fiction with blazing heat and heart-pounding suspense.
Twenty-two years as a military wife has shown KaLyn the world, and thirty years in PR taught her that fact can be stranger than fiction. She leaves it up to the reader to separate truth from imagination.
She, her husband, and Little Bear (Alaskan Malamute) live in Tennessee on a micro-plantation filled with gardens, cattle, and quail. When she’s not writing, she’s at the shooting range or on the river.