Authors: Sara Jane Stone
Tags: #Contemporary, #Literature & Fiction, #Contemporary Fiction, #Navy SEAL, #rock star, #country music, #Sin City SEALs, #bodyguard, #Brazen, #Romance, #Erotic, #Entangled, #Military, #sexy, #protector, #Sara Jane Stone, #contemporary romance, #erotic Romance
One touch is never enough…
U.S. Navy SEAL Dante Raske is all about guarding his heart and serving his country, but now that he’s busted his knee on a mission, he needs something to keep his mind busy. Playing bodyguard for a sexy little country starlet until he’s cleared for duty? Just what the doctor ordered.
Chrissie Tate refuses to be a one-hit wonder. If she’s going to take care of her family, she can’t let herself get distracted—especially not by the hot as hell Navy SEAL hired to be her bodyguard. But when a crazed fan attacks, she changes her tune. She’ll keep Dante around…
he agrees to teach her self-defense.
Except their close-contact lessons quickly become steamy bedroom sessions. And it’s up to this Navy SEAL to save Chrissie’s career—and his heart—before their explosive passion consumes them both…
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2016 by Sara Jane Stone. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.
Entangled Publishing, LLC
2614 South Timberline Road
Fort Collins, CO 80525
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Brazen is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit
Edited by Stephen Morgan
Cover design by Heather Howland
Cover art from iStock
Manufactured in the United States of America
First Edition May 2016
What was your first? How did you know?
I’ve heard those questions dozens of times since I started writing romance. What was the first romance novel to capture my attention, win my heart, and keep me up all night? Did I know then that I wanted to write?
Yes and yes.
I picked up a copy of Suzanne Brockmann’s HOT TARGET the night before I was scheduled to meet her. I was on a work trip and still I stayed up all night reading in my hotel room. I fell in love with the Navy SEAL hero. Thankfully, Ms. Brockmann cancelled the event and prevented me from becoming a sleep-deprived fan-girl in front of my coworkers. I flew back to New York wondering if maybe, one day, I could write my own steamy SEAL stories.
Fast-forward a few years, and I’ve written ten contemporary romances. Two of them feature SEALs. Now I just need to find the perfect heroine for Dante. Hoping and praying my editor would like the idea, I crafted a story about two of my favorite things—country music and Vegas.
From Luke Bryan to Reba, I’m a die-hard country fan. And Vegas is one of my favorite places to visit. But the story wouldn’t be complete without a sinfully sexy Navy SEAL ready and willing to teach the starlet a few lessons . . .
Sara Jane Stone
For my husband. There is a little bit of our love in every book (no, not those scenes!) because without you, those three little magic words—I love you—would be just words.
I saved the hostage.
Dante Raske clung to that thought as he pushed past the lingering pain in his knee. Three months since he’d rushed in and, working alongside one of the best SEAL teams in the U.S. Navy, brought a kidnapped aid worker home in one piece. They’d been outnumbered, but he’d made damn sure they weren’t overpowered. And tore his ACL in the process.
But one surgery, and a few months on the sidelines, was a small price to pay for a woman’s life.
“Is your knee bothering you or are you just taking in the scenery?” Ronan asked as he jogged back to Dante’s side.
Kiss my ass.
But he had enough sense not to say those words to the Navy SEAL officer who outranked Dante’s enlisted butt. Ronan wouldn’t pull rank in this desert. Still, Dante stuck to his new mantra: “It’s fine.”
Ronan, the redheaded SEAL who’d maintained his Scottish accent despite being born and raised in the USA, slowed his eight-minute mile jogging pace and matched Dante’s brisk walk.
“You’re still grounded for how long?” Ronan said, his tone so damn understanding Dante wanted to put his fist through something. “Two weeks until the docs will even consider clearing you for active duty?”
“Yeah.” He grunted, pushing through the pain.
“It was a bad tear, man. If you need more time to rest—”
“One more day at home, sitting on my ass watching my knee heal, and boredom will bury me six feet under,” Dante muttered as he pulled a bandana from his cargo shorts and wiped his brow.
Ronan stopped and turned to him, his hands on his hips. “Look, I know babysitting a country singer doesn’t come close to a real mission. Even if you’re only at fifty percent I’d rather work with you than most of the clowns her manager could scare up. But this gig…”
“It’s important,” Dante said. “I get it.”
He knew Ronan needed the extra cash. And Dante wasn’t going to turn up his nose at the money the singer’s manager was offering for one weekend of work protecting a twenty-something starlet with a few too many adoring fans.
“It’s not just about the money,” Ronan said. After busting their asses together all over the freaking globe, Dante’s teammate could read his mind. “I served with the star’s brother before I joined the teams. It’s important we do this right.”
“I thought you barely knew the guy,” Dante said. His knee hurt, but that didn’t prevent him from giving Ronan a hard time.
“We went our separate ways. But you know how it is after you spend a long deployment with someone.”
“Yeah,” Dante said. “But I think this has more to do with your girl, Casey, being the lead singer for the opening act.”
Ronan smiled. “I don’t mind making a little extra money while working alongside my girlfriend. That doesn’t happen often.”
Dante shook his head. Their teammate Jack had thrust Casey, a down-on-her-luck singer, into Ronan’s lap one night at Bottom’s Up, the bar near their base in Coronado. Jack had been too busy trying to win over the bartender to have eyes for anyone else. And Ronan? Well hell, his teammate always gave 100 percent to his relationships. No one-night stands. He opened his heart to the woman in his bed from day one. The crazy son-of-a-bitch. Didn’t he realize that their line of work was like a ticking time bomb for relationships?
“Just because I want to be here, doesn’t mean you need to stay,” Ronan added. “I don’t want you to reinjure that knee. We need you out there, man. I can keep an eye on Chrissie, in her brother’s memory and all, while you rest up in sunny California.”
“I’m fine,” Dante repeated. And compared to Chrissie’s brother, the sailor who’d lost his life while serving overseas, Dante didn’t have one goddamn reason to complain.
Sure, his family worried about his knee. His mother had flown out for the surgery. And she’d stayed for three long weeks, cooking up a storm in his cramped one-bedroom apartment. Finally, after she’d packed his freezer full of lasagna, he’d sent her back to Brooklyn.
But fussing over him while he recovered was a helluva lot different than mourning him.
“You sure? You don’t look fine,” Ronan said.
Dante grunted. “I can stand around and be the hired muscle, no problem.”
Ronan nodded. “Good. I’m going to pick up the pace.” He turned and jogged backward for a few steps. “I’m not going to break a sweat walking through this canyon. Meet you back at the truck?”
“Fuck off,” Dante said, shoving the bandana he’d used to wipe his brow back into his pocket.
“Watch your language, man.” Ronan turned and headed down the trail. “According to my girl, Chrissie is as sweet and innocent as they come.”
“Of course she is,” Dante murmured, attempting a slow and steady jog as Ronan disappeared around a bend in the trail. “Of all the country starlets, I get saddled with the Disney princess.”
Dante made it to a section of the trail not far from the parking area before he slowed to a walk. His leg ached from hitting the hotel gym before the sun rose this morning. He glanced down at the red scar on his right knee. The surgeon had promised it would fade with time. But Dante didn’t give a damn about the scar that disappeared when he put on his cargo shorts. He needed his knee working at 110 percent. Perfect wouldn’t cut it. Not for his line of work. SEALs had to be the best.
And until I can prove that I’m mission-ready, I’m stuck here.
He paused on the trail and took a drink from his water bottle. Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a couple near the wall of red rock that rose up like a mountain in the desert. His hand holding the water bottle froze in mid-air.
The woman wore a black wig that looked like it had been stolen from the Addams family set. But despite her Morticia hairdo, she possessed a body that up until a few months ago, he would have risked damn near anything to explore. Her sports bra hugged breasts that would easily fill his hands. And her abs…another time and another place, he’d push aside his determination to steer clear of Vegas flings for a chance to run his tongue over her taut stomach—and back up to her chest.
His mouth. That body. He could have a field day. But…
I didn’t come to Vegas for the breasts.
Dante lowered the water bottle, his gaze still fixed on the couple who hadn’t glanced in his direction. The man stood just out of arm’s reach, and for a second Dante swore the guy was trying to execute some sort of dance move.
Maybe all the exotic dancers in Sin City bring their one-night stands here…
Dante closed his eyes. A few months earlier, he’d visited Vegas for his teammate’s wedding. He’d been ready to leave the memory of his cheating ex-wife behind him. And he’d fallen into bed with an erotic dancer who faked an orgasm onstage in her underwear eight times a week. The show was sexy as hell, and so was Summer when she’d driven him out to the canyon and pushed him up against those rocks…
Shit, Summer had been a lesson in how
to rebound from a broken marriage. Sure, he wanted to get laid. But he also wanted to take a page from Ronan’s playbook and hand over his heart to the woman in his bed. He wished to give the woman in his life 100 percent loyalty and love, the same way he gave his country his all when he was out there working alongside his team. And yeah, maybe that made him a bigger pansy-ass than his busted knee.
Dante opened his eyes and glanced down at his scar again. Right now, healing was the only thing he needed to focus on. And not dying of boredom in the process.
He shook his head and lifted his gaze to the desert path.
“Ahh!” came a scream. A woman’s scream. From the direction of that couple.
He froze for a second and then zeroed in on the rock wall. Months ago, he’d heard Summer cry out with pleasure while pressed against those rocks, and it sure as shit didn’t sound like that.
He broke into a run. His gaze remained on the woman in the black wig. He picked up the pace as the shirtless asshole crushed his hips against the woman he’d tossed up against the rock. The bastard had pinned her arms overhead, rendering her close to helpless.
Pain rushed through Dante’s leg, but he ignored it. As he drew closer, he scanned the woman, only this time he wasn’t checking out her body. He was trying to determine the best way to pull the man in the cowboy hat off her without causing further injury.
Five more steps.
His knee begged for mercy.
Later. I can’t stop. I saved the hostage. And now I’m going to rescue the girl in the Morticia Addams wig.