Navy Seal Second Chance Romance is #LIVE !
She keeps secrets to deliver revenge.
But I don’t care. None of that’s real anyway.
And I had to see Lincoln again.
After all, I owe him my time. Even more so, I owe him the past seven years of his life.
Beads of perspiration line my forehead as I watch the front of the coffee shop without blinking, willing the boy I once loved with all my heart to step through the door. My heart skips to an erratic beat when I check my smart phone for the seventh time to confirm what I already know: he’s late. What if he’s changed his mind about wanting to meet?
It was dumb luck that I came across his recent email. I stopped using that account after high school, knowing “littleballerinagirl” was ridiculous. Yet I can’t help thinking maybe it wasn’t so much dumb luck as it was fate. My mom sent a text that same day, letting me know that she had emailed pictures to the old email address of a kitchen table she purchased at the flea market.
It shouldn’t have been a surprise that she would think I was still using that account since she was strung out on prescription drugs for a handful of years after my dad’s death. He’s the one who had bestowed the “Little Ballerina” nickname on me when I was four because I was always twirling around the house instead of walking. On my tenth birthday I was allowed to open the account for the purpose of emailing my dad while he was working late nights, which was almost daily. I swear sometimes my mom thinks I’m still that same little girl even though, for longer than I care to dwell on, I’m the one who kept us from living out on the streets or starving to death.
Movement at The Grind’s entrance catches my eye. I suck in a sharp breath, slowly letting it out as a couple around my age enters. The guy’s arm is slung around his girlfriend’s shoulders and she clings to his wrist, leaning into him. They’re both grinning like their life is pure gold, and nothing could bring them down. With a stabbing pang of sadness, I realize I haven’t felt that blissfully happy since high school.
Rubbing at the pale strip of skin on my ring finger, I feel a slight indentation where my three carat diamond belongs. Pamela noticed I wasn’t wearing it before I left the office, so I told her I was getting it cleaned. I couldn’t tell her the truth. If by some miracle Lincoln hasn’t already heard, he won’t understand. Hell, no one would understand if they knew the whole truth. But Lincoln was always quick to form an opinion based on his emotions, so I have to plan this out carefully. As difficult as it will be to break the news to him, I have to be considerate in the event he doesn’t know, and let him down easy. He deserves that.
I stare at The Grind’s logo on the cup of cooling coffee sitting in front of me with “Quinn” scribbled over it in black marker. I don’t know what possessed me to use that name, the one usually reserved for Lincoln, except it’s been useless to shake him from my thoughts since his email first appeared on my laptop’s screen.
Haven’t stopped thinking about you all this time. I realize you’ve probably moved on and started a different life, maybe even found a man that deserves you, but I have to see you again.
The words scratched at the back of my brain, keeping me awake for a string of endless nights. He’s the one who pushed me away. Why the sudden change of heart? As I considered meeting him like he asked, I played out the different ways the reunion might go, imagined the varying ways he’d look at me, and what he could possibly have to say.
After high school, he completely abandoned social media. It was like he completely disappeared off the face of the earth. I don’t exactly know what he will look like now, although I have a pretty good idea. I saw a picture of him taken the day he had graduated boot camp, and he wouldn’t look much different than his brother aside from having more muscle. I almost wished I hadn't come across the picture, because it was hard not to feel a swell of pride seeing him in the navy uniform and white hat, posing in front of the US flag. I had to quickly remind myself that he’s no longer mine.
I nearly choke with the sound of my old nickname. My heart slams to a standstill against my ribcage as I drag my gaze upward and come into contact with soft, soulful brown eyes surrounded by dark lashes. They’re the same eyes that once possessed my heart, only now they’re shadowed with wisdom and reverence—maybe even a suggestion of hurt.
With the way he’s looking at me, I feel my world ending. The universe as I know it screeches to a halt. All at once I’m eighteen again, looking at the boy I knew would have my heart until the end of time.
His name falls out as a whisper against my lips, filled with far more sentiment than I should’ve allowed. But the moderately shy boy I once loved has become a strong, confident man, broad and tall. Agony wrenches my chest when I absorb every last detail, realizing how much time has passed. Though he’s not in uniform, everything about him screams military. There’s no hiding his bulging muscles beneath a plain gray t-shirt and cargo shorts as he stands with a large khaki bag slung over one wide shoulder. A well-groomed beard frames his thick jaw, its dark color perfectly matching the closely cropped hair on his square head. Both arms are covered in detailed tattoos.
A great shudder trickles down my spine as my belly warms. He’s so…severe looking.
Some people keep secrets because the truth is too painful.
He keeps secrets to avoid losing her.
She keeps secrets to deliver revenge.
Seven years have passed since Cameron Quinn and Lincoln Farrington were high school sweethearts.
Seven years since she last saw him as the cops were taking him away.
Seven years since he left her to become a Navy SEAL.
When he suddenly comes back into her life, she’s forced to choose between following her heart, or sticking to a plan that would almost certainly destroy him.
His secrets brought them together.
Her secrets will tear them apart.
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