Home > Hot SEAL, Heartbreaker(3)

Hot SEAL, Heartbreaker(3)
Author: Cat Johnson

“Shit. The EP is calling me. I gotta go. But we’ll continue this discussion about your sudden aversion to dating later.”

Great. With a sigh, Alicia said, “Okay. Talk soon. Bye.”

She disconnected the call and set down her cell.

Her love life was the last thing she wanted to discuss. Hopefully Shelly would have forgotten by the next time they got together.

At least that discussion wouldn’t be tonight. Her girl’s night out had turned to a party of one.

She glanced around, hoping to catch the server so she could ask her to box her order to go. She spotted her just as a man cut across the waitress’s path, almost knocking into her in a beeline that led directly toward Alicia . . .

 

 

TWO

 

 

Brian Anderson reached for the beer that Ray, McP’s old-as-the-hills bartender, planted in front of him.

He glanced down the bar where the rest of his team perched on barstools and raised the heavy mug. “To being back on US soil.”

“To not being in Nigeria,” Liam “Lucky” Jameson added.

“Or in Ethiopia,” Ted “Bear” Black continued.

“And don’t forget our little side trip to the country-that-shall-not-be-named.” Cole “Joker” Landry snorted.

“That too.” Brian let out a short laugh.

It was easy to laugh now that they were safely home from that one country they weren’t supposed to be in, but had been anyway. While they’d been in-country it had definitely not been a laughing matter.

“Here’s to sleeping in a real bed.” Gage “Gator” Fontenot, a Cajun from New Orleans, raised his mug, wisely changing the topic away from the taboo subject of that one mission.

“And to cold beer,” added Eli Miller, aka Wolf, short for Wolfgang because of his love of cooking.

“To our favorite bartender Ray.” Jack “Mars” Marsten glanced at the old Navy vet manning the bar.

Ray treated him to a rare tilt of his lips in an almost smile before turning to bark at the cocktail waitress standing at the end of the bar.

“Let’s not forget, here’s to Lucky getting out and becoming a civilian again,” Chris “Zig” Bykowski said, bringing the levity of the group down quite a few notches at the mention of Liam leaving the team.

Somber, Brian raised his mug a little higher in a toast.

“And most of all, here’s to Ozzie,” Zig continued, raising his glass in honor of the man they’d lost but would never forget.

“To Ozzie,” the team all echoed in near perfect unison.

If there was one thing SEALs did exceptionally well, it was work as a team. Especially when it came to honoring a fallen teammate.

Drinking was another thing his teammates did particularly well. It was one pastime they hadn’t had the luxury of a whole lot recently. Deployment had been an action-packed few months. Even more than usual.

But they were back in Coronado and hopefully wouldn’t be spun up again too soon. They all thrived on action, but Brian wouldn’t mind a couple of weeks stateside after months in Djibouti.

“Hey, Heartbreaker. Who are you gonna call first from your long list of willing ladies now that we’re back?” Cole asked.

Heartbreaker. Brian scowled at the nickname. His reaction only made his buddy Liam, who knew his hatred of the name, chuckle.

It didn’t help that his unit on SEAL Team Seven was referred to as Romeo. Of all the letters in the military alphabet, why did they have to be Romeo?

Alpha, Bravo, Charlie—all good letters. And good names. But Romeo left the field wide open for more jokes about him being a heartbreaker.

“That’s Chief Petty Officer Heartbreaker to you, Joker,” Liam added, obviously determined to run out his remaining time before leaving the Navy by torturing Brian.

Cole and Liam both chuckled as Brian’s mood darkened.

“It seems to me you should all be making some phone calls. The big V is coming up and it looks like we might actually be stateside for it this year,” Benjamin “Pops” Popovich said.

Brian frowned. “What the hell is the big V?”

Vagina? Venereal disease?

The first he’d be happy to spend some time up close and personal with after too long of a hiatus. As for the other? He’d had no experience with that to date and he’d like to keep it that way.

What else started with V? He racked his brain and came up empty.

Bear, his team leader, laughed at his frown. “Valentine’s Day. It’s almost here.”

“Shit. Is it really?” Brian asked.

Christ, he hated Valentine’s Day. But how could it be here already? He picked up his phone from where it rested on the bar and glanced at the date on the cell’s display.

February eleventh. Bear was correct. That most dreaded of all holidays was just days away.

Brian mumbled a cuss and flipped his cell face down on the bar again, as if hiding the cold hard truth delivered by the display would change things.

How the hell had it gotten to be February? Wasn’t it just Christmas?

The team had spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and Day—pretty much all the big holidays—in Africa.

That had been real fun. Not.

Just before Christmas, Boko Haram had kidnapped three hundred schoolboys, most likely with the intent of making them armed pawns for the militant group. Two units from SEAL Team Seven, Romeo being one of them, had put a kink in their plans and those boys were all home safely now.

That rescue had been after the massacre of a hundred-and-ten rice farmers in Borno had kicked off their holiday season.

Of course, the team had been sent there too. No one could bring those people back to life, but they could sure as hell teach the organizers of that horrific attack a lesson.

The team had gotten in and out so fast, no one had even known they’d been there. Well, no one except for the targets, that was. But they weren’t talking.

That op had gone by in a blink of an eye. But when the deployment had come to an end, cooling their heels waiting for the transport home after months at the camp on the Horn of Africa had seemed to take forever.

Days. Months. Years. All increments of measurement took on a surreal feel as time in the teams somehow managed to both drag and fly by simultaneously.

Take this conversation about his love life, for example. They were nearing the eternity mark on this topic alone as Gage drawled out, “What’s this? Heartbreaker’s not a fan of Valentine’s Day? How can that be?”

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