denied her attraction for her bachelor neighbor because she’s seen his
revolving door of women and doesn’t want to become another notch on his
belt. But the man who rescues her from a sudden storm
isn’t the one she thinks she knows—he’s Master Chief Declan Swifton of
SEAL Team Five, and he literally sweeps Maura off her feet.
their way into Maura’s heart, Declan and his team are called in for a
dangerous op in the Middle East. The man who returns is facing the
toughest fight of his life, and he needs Maura by
his side more than ever…
is an award-winning romance author and comic creator. With a BS in
business and MS in communications from Boston University, she is a
regular presenter at conventions as well
as a member of The Author’s Guild and Romance Writers of America. Anne
lives with her husband, a retired Navy SEAL, in the mountains above San
Swifton of SEAL Team Five rolled over the side of the Rigid-hulled
Inflatable Boat and slid soundlessly into the Pacific Ocean. The RIB
took off without even a comment from the operator, leaving
Declan to sink farther into the drink.
as he swam away from the surface. Fish skirted the edges of his thighs,
small shimmers of movement against his skin. He scissor-kicked his way
forward. The ocean currents caught him, dragging
him in the direction they wanted to go, toward shore. He lay with his
arms at his sides, frog-kicking only. Above him, he could see the
afternoon sunlight glistening and frothy foam chasing away the glassy
surface. Down here things were different…calmer. Peaceful,
in a way few souls would understand, and yet he knew that even he would
have to surface soon.
to ache and burn, his gut would begin to feel as if it would cave in,
and that would force him to either head topside or drink in the salt
water. But there was still time. This was the water
in front of Imperial Beach and the apartment he lived in. He knew it
.many rocky sandbars out here. He’d have to pull up before then, or the force of the current would smack him against
complain, he used both arms and legs to draw himself upward. Breaking
the surface, he opened his mouth and drew in air like a thirsty man
would gulp water.
like a buoy. The tide was coming in and the wind was picking up
momentum. Looking at the sky to the east, he could see that there would
most likely be a storm today. Over his should, to the
west, he spied a wave coming his way large enough to take him to shore.
It would reach him in about thirty seconds.
breath and appreciated the sun dropping into the horizon. The colors
were extraordinary; orange and gold dappled the horizon as the blazing
ball of light attempted to sink before the moon lifted
higher in the sky.
cupping the water. It had been a hot day, and the sun’s rays had heated
the top of the ocean, making the surface feel like a warm bath,
loosening his muscles. Three months ago, he’d been in waters
so frigid, with actual ice caps—the memory still made him cold. But
here, the Pacific Ocean off California’s Imperial Beach, was a slice of
east were some nasty-looking cumulonimbus clouds. Seeing the lightning
arc way off toward the distant desert, he decided it was time to go in,
and right on cue, here came a perfect wave.
Declan pushed his way through another changing current, one that sought
to drag him into faster-moving waters. He went over a higher sandbar,
having no intention of going to Mexico today,
and increased the reach of his stroke. With single-mindedness he worked
his way into the more placid surf as he homed in on a large stretch of
sea lions swimming around him, and one nosed him in the gut and another
in his back a few times, assessing whether or not he’d play.
Not this time, my friends. He continued swimming without engaging. If he stopped to play, he’d be out there for hours.
breaststroke, his arms protested. His platoon had switched their
training this month to desert-warfare techniques, and he’d been sweating
his balls off in the heat. He managed to learn a thing or
two, even now, after all of his years in the Teams. But it felt good to
be back in the ocean, his element. He’d live in the deep blue like a
Jules Verne character if he could.