Wyne and Dine (Citizen Soldier Series Book 1)

BOOK: Wyne and Dine (Citizen Soldier Series Book 1)
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“Thanks for helping me, Lea. I
appreciate you giving up your weekend for me.”

She shrugged, trying to play it off
as if it was no big deal. “Like I told you the other day, I had the time off,
so it’s all good.”

He nodded, and she tried not to take
offense at the relief washing through his features. “Good, because I don’t want
you to get the wrong idea. I just need you to pretend to be my girlfriend when
the others are around.”

“Especially Mrs. Dankirk.”

“Exactly. …” He paused, his gaze
transferring to something out the window behind her.

Was it bad to wish it was the
woman?

A second later, she wondered if the
colonel’s wife was outside because when Ben’s attention returned to her again,
his gaze was hot and interested and…consuming.

Her heart tried to burst from her
chest. Then he shifted closer, sexy smile on his face trapping the breath in
her lungs. She couldn’t blink. Forgot how to breathe. Just sat there watching
the sexiest man alive lift a hand to cup her face.

Breathe, idiot!
The last thing
she needed was to faint. Not when she was about to get the kiss she’d dreamt
about since puberty.

God
, she hoped she was about
to get the kiss she’d dreamt about since puberty…

What they’re saying…

 

About Her
Uniform Cowboy:

 


Ms. Michaels pens a tale
with pure heart and true grit! This story will hit so many readers close to
home there is not one part of the plot that will feel foreign. No super models
here, just true, down to earth servicemen and woman getting back to their place
in the world. The characters and plot have a wonderful arc and the laughter,
tears and emotional ride readers get to take on this journey will not
disappoint.

—InD’tale Magazine,
Crowned Heart of Excellence 4.5 Stars
--Voted BEST COWBOY in a Book/Reader’s Choice-LRC

 

About Her
Forever Cowboy:

 


Ms.
Michaels has done it again! Book four in this series is another great success.
The author knows how to lure her readers in by telling them a wonderful story
that’s wrapped around characters we get to know and love as if they’re real
people. This book was no exception. I highly recommend this book and this
author!

—Night Owl Reviews,
Reviewer Top Pick

 

About Her
Fated Cowboy:

 


As always, this author perfectly blended an amazing
storyline, which contained characters you just can’t help but fall in love with
and she worked her magic in creating a masterpiece of the heart. I even enjoyed
her sense of humor sprinkled throughout, which was placed in all the right
places. This is one story I highly recommend and one author I just can’t read
enough from. Since this is the first book in the Harland County series, I’m
eagerly looking forward to the next book.

—Night Owl Reviews,
Reviewer Top Pick

Dear Reader
,

 

Thank you for purchasing Wyne
and Dine. This is the first book in my new Citizen Soldier Series, a Harland
County Series spinoff.
Guarding the hearts of the Pocono Valley

 

This series showcases the
National Guard brothers of the heroine from the third Harland County book-Her
Uniform Cowboy. The Harland County clan will make an appearance for Brandi and
Kade’s wedding to be held up in the Poconos.

 

This first book is about
Brandi’s brother Ben, whom we met in her story. Ben is fulltime National Guard
and set in his ways with a sour outlook on love. All the women in his past have
left him to make it big in the Big Apple. It takes a woman who understands him,
knows him, loves him completely to supply the Bn. S4 with another option.

 

Lea Gablonski is that woman.
She’s Brandi’s best friend who has known Ben practically her whole life, and
has had a thing for him from way before he and her older sister started to
date. She has an MA in History, her sights set on a job in one of New York City’s
museums and Benjamin Wyne.

 

When he asks Lea to pretend
to be his girlfriend at a weekend retreat, they discover they have chemistry.
Of course, Ben fights it tooth and nail, until he realizes he’s about to lose
the woman who has always been there for him.

 

This hot, heartfelt, sexy
read, is the first in this series and will include several characters from
Harland County, as well as introduce you to a few future National Guard heroes.

 

Thanks for reading,

 

~Donna

www.donnamichaelsauthor.com

Also by Donna Michaels

~Novels~

Captive Hero
(Time-shift Heroes Series-Book One)

The Spy Who Fanged
Me

Her Fated Cowboy
(Harland County Series-Book One)

Her Unbridled Cowboy
(Harland County
Series-Book Two)

Her Uniform Cowboy
(Harland County Series-Book Three)
Her Forever Cowboy
(Harland
County Series-Book Four)

She Does Know Jack

~Novellas~

Cowboy-Sexy

Thanks for Giving

Ten Things I’d Do
for a Cowboy

Vampire Kristmas

~Short Stories~

The Hunted

Negative Image

The Truth About
Daydreams

Holiday Spirit

~Do-Over Series~

Valentine’s Day
Do-Over

Valentine’s Day
Do-Over Part II: The Siblings

 

UPCOMING
RELEASES:

Royally Unleashed
Cowboy Payback
(Cowboy-Sexy
Sequel)

~Time-shift Heroes
Series~

Future Hero—Book Two

~Harland County Series~

Harland County
Christmas
(Novella/Brock
and Jen)
Her Healing Cowboy
(Book
5/Jace)

~Citizen Soldier
Novels~

Wyne and Chocolate
(Book 2/Mason)

 

 

 

 

Wyne
and Dine

 

A
Citizen Soldier Novel

Book 1: Ben

 

 

By

Donna Michaels

WYNE
AND DINE

A Citizen Soldier Novel//Book 1:
Ben

 

Copyright © 2014 Donna Michaels

Cover Art by Donna
Michaels
© 2014
Excerpt from
Wyne and Chocolate
Copyright © 2014

Donna Michaels

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. No part of this book may be reproduced
or transmitted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the
author—except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review to be
printed in a magazine, newspaper, or on the web. For information, please
contact the author via email at
[email protected]

 

 
All characters in
this book have no existence outside the imagination of the author and have no
relation whatsoever to anyone bearing the same name or names. They are not even
distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to the author, and all
incidents are pure invention.

 

ISBN-13:  

ISBN-10: 

 

Print edition
September 2014

Book 1 in Citizen
Soldier Series

Dedication

 

To Donna Michaels’ Minions-my wonderful Street Team, thank
you for your continued support! To Harland County fans, I hope you enjoy this
spinoff series and the story of Brandi’s brother Ben, the set in his ways
military man with trust issues.

 

To my husband Michael and the PA National Guard for
inspiring me to write this series. I’m honored to create a series around all of
you.

 

To my family, my cp JT Schultz, and the HOODS. And finally,
to my editor, Stacy, and to Emily for their help in the final stages. ♥

Chapter One

 

“S
it on my brother Ben
and make the bugger call me,” Brandi Wyne, soon-to-be Brandi Dalton, ordered
from the other end of the phone.

Lea Gablonski choked on the bite of
cinnamon raisin toast she’d just sat down to eat with her morning coffee.  Her
bright idea to take advantage of the lull in the breakfast rush at her family’s
diner—The  Pocono Eatery—just hit the dimmer switch at her best friend’s
blurted request.

She blushed.

Dammit.

Still, it was a miracle she didn’t
self-combust given the amount of heat rushing through her body at the thought
of settling her backside on the lap of the virile, prime beef that was Sgt.
Benjamin Wyne. The sexiest man alive.

So sexy, so potent, he could set a
lake on fire.

And did.

The National Guardsman had actually
achieved the feat, along with her brother Ryder, back when she had been eleven,
and they were seniors in high school. Something to do with an inner tube and a
birthday celebration gone wrong. Lea couldn’t help but feel her sister had been
involved, too.

Her perfect, blonde-haired,
blue-eyed, older sister, Gwen.

The now famous New York model,
Gwen. 

She had always suspected Gwen, a
year younger than the boys, had caused the mishap, and Ben, being the
knight-in-shining-armor that he was, and dating her sister only a few weeks at
the time, had taken the blame.

“Even with today’s technology we’ve
been playing phone tag for the past two days,” Brandi continued, bringing Lea’s
mind back to the present. “I can’t even reach him on Skype.”

Living in Harland County, Texas and
planning a wedding in the Pocono Valley of Pennsylvania had to be hard.  Lea
was doing whatever she could to help.

Ever since befriending the new girl
in fifth grade, she and Brandi had become best friends. How could they not?
They were so much alike. Clumsy introverts with a love of classical as well as
country music…and Belgium chocolate. A bond that had strengthened when they
both lost their mothers in middle school. Where Brandi had turned to practicing
the violin, Lea had shoved her nose into books. Many, many books, and her love
for history was born.

As well as her appreciation of the
male physique, thanks to hanging out at the Wyne household, or as she silently
dubbed,
The Hot Spot
. Each of Brandi’s four step-brothers had set the
bar high for boyfriend standards. The combination of responsibility, compassion
and humor, coupled with their good looks and ripped bodies, made Lea’s search
for a viable mate near impossible. She’d started to doubt one existed beyond
the Wyne household, until last year when she had met Brandi’s fiancé.  Kade
Dalton was a little bit of all right. Okay, he was a
lot-a-bit
of all
right. He was flippin’ gorgeous and steadfast, and so respectful of Brandi that
Lea had hoped she might actually discover one for herself outside of
Wyneville
.

Her friend had assured her Harland
County had an overabundance of good-looking, charming, respectful cowboys and
had been badgering Lea to head to Texas. But since her siblings had thriving
careers, the job of keeping the restaurant afloat while her father recovered
from back surgery fell onto her shoulders. She wasn’t going to go anywhere but
crazy.

On a fast train.

With no brakes.

“I’m pretty sure he had drill down
the Gap this weekend and was probably too busy to get on the computer,” she
replied before taking another bite of her toast.

With the restaurant located right
across from the National Guard armory, there were soldiers in and out of the
Pocono Eatery all day long. The scuttlebutt of drill dates, activations and
deployments always found her ears. Besides, her brother had mentioned it. Even
though Ryder owned his own construction company, he was still a part-time
soldier in the National Guard.

“Oh. That explains it.” A sigh
filled her ear. “Cell phone reception is spotty down there.”

“True,” she agreed, nibbling more toast.

“But since it’s the Monday after
drill,” Brandi continued, confidence strengthening her tone, “and my brother is
nothing if not predictable, he’ll be into work early to get a jump on the
paperwork, and that means he’ll also be in to see you this morning.”

Lea’s heart dropped to her ribs
where it raced the sudden fluttering in her stomach. God, she
wished
Sgt. Hotty was coming in to see
her
. But, it wasn’t her he stopped by to
sample every morning. She should be so lucky. Just the thought of that firm jaw
scraping her skin as those full lips kissed a path to parts south had her
sighing in her coffee—the very thing that drew the man into her restaurant. Not
her sigh. Her coffee.

Sure, he was friendly. He’d always
been friendly to her. In fact, Ben treated her special, like one of the family.

Too bad so sad for her; she wanted
to be treated like a lover, not family. To know him intimately. But, family was
all she was ever going to be to the man, and she’d learned long ago not to wish
for more. Wishes didn’t come true. At least, not for Lea Gablonski.

If that was the case, she’d be
putting her Masters Degree in History to good use, working in one of New York
City’s many museums…and sleeping in Ben’s bed at night.

She glanced at the train-shaped
clock on the wall. The one she’d purchased from the local train and anthracite
museum where she worked one Sunday a month. The old, black locomotive wasn’t
going anywhere, and neither was she. Her responsibility rested with her family.
She loved them, and they loved her, and she’d do what was expected, helping her
dad out at home and at the restaurant since her siblings were busy with their
successful careers. Though she’d given up her position at a museum in
Philadelphia to come home until her father was well, she also made a promise to
herself. She vowed to reach for her dream by applying for a job in the Big
Apple. It was time she put herself first.

After she made sure her dad was
back on his feet, of course.

“Yeah, it’s nearly nine am,” she
said, bringing her mind back to the conversation. “Your brother should be here
soon. He usually comes in this late after drill weekend.”

Twisting around in the booth, she
strained her neck to see if the hotty had snuck in while her back had been
turned. Nope. Only Mary, her server, and a few locals dotted the restaurant. A
young couple held hands as they sat on the same side of a booth; a happy family
of four enjoyed breakfast before heading out on one last summer adventure; old
man Tierney argued about the Mets at the counter with old man Simpson who, in
turn, argued about the Yankees.

Yep, business as usual.

“Well, until he does, I want to
thank you for all your help, Lea.”

“Hey, that’s what maid-of-honors
are for, right?”

She was so happy her friend had
found someone who appreciated her friend, unlike
jerkman
, Brandi’s
former boyfriend who had been using the talented woman as a status symbol. Not
an issue now. A fact that had been more than evident when Lea had met Kade last
Thanksgiving. The gorgeous Texan was a man of few words, but his expression had
said all she wanted to know. He adored his fiancée.

“You go above and beyond,” Brandi
stated. “So, why don’t you tell me more about your date with Clark last night?”

Lea silently cursed her friend’s
sudden change of subject, no doubt due to the slipup she’d made at the
beginning of the call, telling her about running into an old schoolmate. She
should’ve known her astute confidant wasn’t going to let it go. She
straightened back around in her booth—the one she and Brandi had shared so
often over the years her dad had dubbed it the B/L booth—and she shrugged as if
her friend were seated across from her. “It wasn’t a date. We met by accident
at the Confection Connection and decided to share the Special of the Day since
it was so dang huge.”

“Huge? What the heck did Jill come
up with this time?” Brandi asked.

Jill Bailey, a New Yorker who knew
her way around all things chocolate and decadent, wasn’t afraid to combine
ingredients to create new desserts. Much to everyone’s delight—and their
waistline’s dismay.

“A double-decker banana split. It
was to die for.” Just thinking about it made her mouth water.

“And Clark didn’t mind sharing?”

“No” she replied, then lowered her
voice when she heard customers settle into the booth behind her. “He was very
generous.”

“Wow, Clark generous. That’s new.
He was always so bossy.”

She laughed. “True, but not last
night. He let me go first.”

“I’m shocked.”

“I know, right? He’s usually
demanding, but this time I got to eat my fill, and let me tell you, I did.”

She could always count on Jill to
take care of her chocolate fix. If only the woman had a recipe to satisfy her
unreasonable craving for the unattainable Benjamin Wyne.

 

F
ull-time National
Guardsman, Sgt. Benjamin Wyne slid into his usual booth across from his
brothers, Keiffer and Mason, ready to order his usual breakfast and recharge
his batteries from three days of training before he jumped back into the
after-drill workload. He hated when people didn’t do their jobs and was tasked
with picking up their slack, but sometimes it was as unavoidable as his
after-drill headache.

He’d kill for coffee.

One thing he’d learned from eating
at Gabe’s
,
the name he, his father and three brothers had come to call
the Pocono Eatery, was he could always count on the delicious, homemade food to
pull double duty in decimating his appetite and the pounding in his head.

Until today.

Until he heard his sister Brandi’s
sweet, good-natured best friend Lea Gablonski talking about giving a blow job.
What the hell was she doing talking about oral sex on the phone in her family’s
restaurant? She knew better. She was reliable, responsible and…

And, why the hell was it turning
him on?

That was sick. Lea was an honorary
sister in the Wyne household. For over a decade and a half, ever since his
father had married Brandi’s mother, and Ben had gained a step-sister. Brandi
and Lea had been fast friends, and the little girl had practically become a
fixture in their house. She’d been great for Brandi. Still was, just not so
little anymore.

Or innocent, apparently.

He blinked, glancing past his
smirking brothers and no longer seeing the little girl with long brown
pigtails. The one who used to follow him and Ryder around, the sweet girl with
big blue eyes. The one he used to help with homework, bait hooks and taught how
to ride a horse.

No, the girl with her back to them,
unaware of their presence, sighing seductively into her phone was definitely no
longer a girl.

When the hell had Lea grown up? And
how could he find a way to go back to thinking of her as a child? 

“I explained to Clark that I don’t
normally like them that big,” she continued, voice dropping an octave. “And
believe me, this thing was huge. The girth was unbelievable. I never knew you
could grow them that size, but darnit, it wasn’t just drizzled in chocolate. It
was covered. And you know how I can’t resist chocolate.”

The image her words created
should’ve induced bile; instead, the vision of her enchanting mouth working a
certain kind of magic was testing not only his integrity, but the integrity of
the zipper in his ACUs—his Army Combat Uniform.

“I kind of went a little crazy.
Licked it clean. So clean it sparkled.”

She let out a throaty sigh that
wiped the smiles off his brothers’ faces and sent heat skittering down his
spine.

“I latched onto that sucker and
didn’t come up for air until every last, delectable inch was gone.”

She had all three of them
squirming. He wanted to alert the woman of their presence, clear his throat,
cough, anything to give her a clue, but that would require control of his
faculties…of which he had none. Somewhere between
delectable
and
inch
he’d lost the ability to breath. Now, his head was no longer the only part of
his anatomy pounding in tandem.

“Man, you should’ve seen the look
on Clark’s face when I lifted my head. It was priceless. And his eyes about
bugged out when I licked my lips and told him I wanted seconds.”

God bless Keiffer.

And youth.

Or whatever the hell it was that
gave his youngest brother the ability to snicker, because the woman stiffened
and stopped talking.

Alleluia.

Her mouth finally shut, and there
were two things he no longer had to face. His honorary sister talking about
lollipopping
some dude, and the fact he wished it were him.

Both should be disturbing. They
weren’t.

Now
that
was disturbing.

Lea twisted around, dark hair
swinging from the motion, phone poised by her ear, blue eyes round and
unblinking, while her mouth parted to form a perfect O.

X-rated thoughts of licking
scenarios rushed through his head. Ah, hell. The heat in his veins scorched. 

She smiled and stood. “Hey, Ben.
Just the man I wanted to see.”

His mind blanked, and because he
never suffered a blank mind before, he blinked. “F-f-for?” Damn. His voice
cracked like a pubescent teen. He cleared his throat, refusing to glance at his
snickering brothers. “For what?”

She nodded. “Yeah, Brandi, he’s
here, along with Keiffer and Mason. Buggers all snuck up on me,” she said,
holding their gazes, not in the least bit embarrassed at having been caught
talking blow jobs with his sister.

His sister.

Bile finally made an appearance in
his throat. He cleared it again.

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