Wet For Her Warriors (Book 5 of the WILD -- Warriors Intense in Love & Domination -- Boys of Special Forces) (5 page)

BOOK: Wet For Her Warriors (Book 5 of the WILD -- Warriors Intense in Love & Domination -- Boys of Special Forces)
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“It’s not far,”
she clarified. “But it’s nighttime and we’re both barefoot, so I’ll guide you
slowly.”

“Deal.” As he
tagged a grin to the agreement, deep dimples appeared against his jaw. Damn it.
Even if he wasn’t into chocolate and tools, she might be lost.

He followed her through
the kitchen and the den. When they hit the back lanai, she grabbed a flashlight
and handed him one, too. Once they stepped outside, she led him past the work
shed where Leo’s surfboard collection hung, where he gave the requisite male
reaction of bugged eyes, plummeted jaw, and invisible drool. She took advantage
of his distraction to open the gate on the other side, which led to the bottom
of the stone steps that went nearly vertical up the hillside beyond. There were
exactly a hundred and fifty-three of them, and Lani had been climbing them
since she could walk. With the confidence stemming from that knowledge, she
called, “Last one up mucks the barn tomorrow, soldier.”

“Huh? What
barn?”

She only
answered with a gloating cackle, hitting her stride at step fifteen before she
heard him land on number one. Another witchy-poo laugh trailed out. She
so
had
this.

Or so she
thought.

Things changed
once she neared the hundred-step point.

She still had
plenty of juice to get to the top, but as soon as they crossed the point where
the end of the climb was in sight, she fast learned that Rush had more stamina
left to burn.
A lot
more. After five more steps, his flashlight beam hit
her ankles. After another ten, he passed like she’d simply stopped. Lani poured
on her best effort, only to watch his gorgeous thighs and ass disappear into
the darkness. At the same time, he serenaded her with
Carry On
. Loudly.
And on key.

“Showoff,” she
muttered, vowing to keep the glower on her face as she reached the top, no
matter how rousing his song—which the adorable dork continued as she trudged
her final steps.

“If you’re lost
and alone, or you’re sinking like a stone, carry o-o-o-on—”

“Shut. Up.”

“May your past be
the sound, of your feet upon the ground, carry—”

She clapped a
hand over his mouth. “Come and ‘carry on’ this way, Sergeant.”

His snicker
warmed her hand before she pulled away and led him up another small knoll. He
stopped singing in favor of a soft exclamation. “Whoa.”

She took her
turn to wield a cocky smirk. His reaction wasn’t new. Most visitors said
something in that vein when they realized a hundred and fifty-three steps had
just transported them from a tropical paradise to a landscape that belonged in
the middle of a Celtic moor. The marketing gurus for the island liked to tell
people there was a “terrain for everyone” here, and it wasn’t an empty line. There
had been a lot of rain this year, as well, so the grass was a cool cushion as
she led him farther out on the cliff. She couldn’t wait to hear his reaction
once she got him to the perfect spot…

“Holy. Fuck.”

Right on cue
.

Lani remained
quiet as he took it in. The experience of seeing her island through a visitor’s
eyes never got old, but this occasion felt more special than the others. Maybe
because he wasn’t any usual visitor.

The man’s
profile, beautiful as an etching on a Roman coin, entranced her as he took in the
panorama. The mansion, slightly to their left, seemed tiny as a doll’s abode in
the moonlight. She was pleased with how she’d trained the hibiscus to grow up
the lanai supports; in another week, the pink and yellow blooms would be
spectacular. Past the small fountain beneath the hala and banana trees at the
rear of the house were the rose garden and orchard, which were separated from
the meadows by the barn and two small riding rings. At this time of night, a
few horses cantered across the grass, but most grazed leisurely beneath the
banyan trees, enjoying the cool air. The two long sides of the meadow were
bordered by forests. The trees on the far side extended all the way to the
Franzen’s property line. The bamboo and palms situated more closely were part
of the covering for the walkway she’d marched he and Bommer on at knifepoint.

A flush burned
across her face. Thank the gods for the darkness, so he couldn’t witness her
mortification at remembering how she’d treated the two of them like criminals. She
betrayed herself the next moment anyway, softly chuffing at herself.

Rush flung his
stare back at her. “Yeah, yeah; go ahead and laugh. Guess you showed up my
nervy ass.”

“No. That’s
not—” She interrupted herself with a sharper snort. “I just thought about my
unique ‘welcome’ to you and Sergeant Bommer. And was being just a little
mortified by it.”

He laughed and
swept a hand around them. “I’ll count this as a really great way of making up. Besides,
if I had someone trying to squeeze me out from all of this, I’d be a tad
territorial, as well.”

She peeked back
up at him, and couldn’t help but giggle once more. She knew what he wanted to
convey, but somewhere during his statement, his gaze drifted back to her—and
locked there. She wasn’t sure she wanted that to change, either. She’d never
been the center of a man’s attention quite like this. Unblinking. Intense. Heated.

And very,
very
“territorial.”

Her legs started
threats of turning to mush, so she turned and found a soft patch of grass to
sit on. As Rush lowered next to her, she expounded, “Gunter wants to transform
the house into the resort’s lobby, as well as offices for his entire company. The
garden and orchard would stay, though they’ll take out part of them for a
property spa. Where we’re sitting will be a cement slab, so they can install a
wedding garden.” She extended a hand to back up her explanation by pointing at
the various landmarks. “Surprisingly, Benstock wants to keep the zip line to
the beach. They think it’s a cool idea to have brides and grooms take a ‘ride
to the sand’ after they say their vows.”

He dipped his
head and smirked. “Appropriate symbolism.” After enduring her rib jab of
chastisement, he jerked his chin toward the barn and stables. “What about all
of that?”

“They’ll be
gutted and transformed into a five-star restaurant. A newer stable will be built
on the far side of the property, for tending the horses they do plan on
keeping.”

“The fifteen who
are strong enough to carry fat tourists.”

She almost poked
him in the ribs again, but opted for a smiling shoulder bump. “There’s my good
listener.”

He returned the
nudge. The move, while friendly, sent tingles down the entire left side of her
body. She was almost thankful for the distraction of his reply, which was tight
with tension. “I assume the dickwad is selling the other horses off to make all
that land available for building a swagalicious hotel?”

“Close. Swagalicious
time share condos. Except for the biggest unit, which he’s already claimed for
himself.”

A violent sound
rumbled from deep inside his chest. He still clutched his flashlight with his
far hand, now glowering like he wanted to bash in a skull with it. Lani endured
a little tremble. The comparison wasn’t an empty one when applied to a
six-foot-plus Special Forces warrior. The realization made her a little
scared…and a lot aroused. The man didn’t help things one bit by starting up his
stare, the entrancing and territorial version, once more.

“Amazing,” he
finally murmured into their long silence.

“What is?” she
queried back.

“I can see the
stars in your eyes.”

She let herself
give in to a full laugh. “Oh, you’re good. That’s nice. How many times has that
one worked for you, Sergeant?”

He dropped his
jaw and spread his arms. “I’m not kidding! Hold still. It’s so cool. I want to
see it again!”

She giggled and
squeezed her eyes shut. He tossed his flashlight to free up his hands in an
attempt to grab her shoulders. When she whacked on his in return, he relented
and pulled back, also laughing. Lani opened her eyes, only to have her
heartbeat seized again. The mirth had made him a different person. All the
darkness of his face gave way to dancing eyes, naughty eyebrow wiggles, and a devilish
smile that made her long for a serious taste of sin.

It was time to
change the subject. Fast.

“So…how long
have you been in Franz’s battalion?”

“Since the day I
made Special Forces, six years ago. He’d taken a bullet to his leg in
Afghanistan and led some team training during his rehab. I was one of the lucky
fuckers he got really attached to.” His tone was bone dry, but a thread of
fondness was woven into it, too. “There were days when I didn’t know whether to
be grateful or pissed about that, but serving under the man has the best
experience of my life.”

Lani nodded. Her
response was filled with equal affection. “Yes. He’s awesome. I really love
him.”

“Oh.” He
straightened, seeming genuinely surprised. “Uh, I hadn’t realized…”

Understanding
hit her. A new laugh followed. “Oh, gods! Not like
that
. Ew. He’s like
my brother!”

“Oh.” He drew
the word out a little. The smile in his voice tugged her gaze back over to his
face. The moonlight played over his noble features and thick hair in
mesmerizing ways. “Well, okay,” he murmured, seeming bashful beneath her
scrutiny. “Umm, that’s good. Brothers are good.”

Lani pulled up
her knees then rested her chin on them, keeping up the stare. She knew this was
ruthless, considering how she’d been throwing the man off balance since the
second they met, but she’d also witnessed him at the height of his game, a
slick combination of ninja badass and focused soldier. The fluctuation in his
composure was fascinating to witness. “How many do you have?” she finally
asked.

“How many what?”

He seemed
distracted. And once more, she loved that it seemed to be by…her. “Brothers,”
she clarified.

“Only Tait,” he
supplied.

“You’re
brothers? But your last names—”

“Are different.
And our parents. And our upbringings.” He returned her stare with steady
conviction. “Doesn’t matter. He’s my brother. We’ve shed enough blood and tears
together to make it true in the eyes of any god you throw in the mix.”

She absorbed
that statement in silence, choosing to convey her acceptance of it by mirroring
his quiet strength. A couple of minutes went by, filled with the velvety
crashes of the waves and the soft song of the wind, before she spoke again.
“Who’s Luna?” When he didn’t answer right away, she added, “Does she have
anything to do with why Franz let you two stay at his place?”

He funneled all
his focus on her before replying. “That’s not a typical thing for him, is it?
Letting people stay there, let alone a couple of guys from his team?”

“Not typical,”
she echoed. “Yeah, you could say that. As in never.”


Never
?”

“It’s not a
vacation rental for him, Sergeant. It’s where he grew up, his heritage. Like
all of this is for me.”

“So no wonder
you thought T and I had rolled in with Benson.” There was a smile in his voice.
It grew as he muttered, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to embarrass you.”

How had he seen
her new flush? The moon was nearly full tonight, but both their flashlights
were off.
He’s also the guy in charge of shooting things from hundreds of
yards away. He can probably spot a ladybug on the hibiscus from here
.

She tried to
laugh off her discomfort. “You didn’t exactly come calling in your Mess Dress,
bearing apple pie and a meatloaf.”

“Would’ve made
it much harder for you to get me naked.”

So much for the
laugh. She groaned and ducked her head. “Gods. I
am
sorry.”

“Don’t be. I
make shitty apple pie. My meat loaf, on the other hand, has been called ‘the
mighty beast cake of Odin’ by its fans.” All too quickly, he sobered, as well.
“Too bad I was busy trying to talk my friend out of turning his bloodstream
into the Grey Goose river.”

“And that
woman—Luna—has something to do with all of it?”

He didn’t reply
before taking a deep breath and releasing it with slow care. “Luna Lawrence was
a special agent on an FBI team that worked with us on a mission in Los Angeles
last year. She and T-Bomb went full throttle on the bonding-in-the-face-of-danger
ride.”

“So they were
involved?”

He tick-tocked
his head, once right, once left. “That’s the tactful way of putting it.”

“What’s the
not-so-tactful way?”

His lips
compressed. “Not everyone on the team approved of Luna working on the op.
Her…situation…was a little complicated. She’d had some trouble with the law and
was ‘on loan’ to us from the Washington state penal system.”

“Wow.”

“Wow is pretty
accurate. Wasn’t exactly orthodox, but sometimes you do what it takes and hire
who you must to get the job done. As you can guess, there was friction. But Tait’s
always had a thing about sticking up for the little guy. In this case, it was
the misunderstood little girl.”

BOOK: Wet For Her Warriors (Book 5 of the WILD -- Warriors Intense in Love & Domination -- Boys of Special Forces)
6.19Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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