Here’s a little excerpt:
Jay Michener got on his Ducati 1100s motorcycle and drove to the Hotel Del Coronado. He didn’t make a lot of money as a sniper in the U.S. Marine Corps but Jay didn’t spend a lot of money either. He didn’t have an apartment or house of his own, preferring to stay in hotels when he was on leave. Since he had always planned to be a career military man, he used base housing and stored his Ducati when he was deployed. But something had changed in him on this last deployment. He had no idea if it was the fact that he’d turned thirty or the fact that he was at a crossroads. He could get out of the Corps now, find a civilian job and maybe have a shot at normality. Though he wasn’t convinced he was cut out for normal.
￼Tricking Alysse wasn’t the answer, but the last time he’d had a shot at a real life had been with her. His commanding officer would say he was being a, well…a coward for lack of a better one and Jay knew the CO would be right. But he wanted Alysse back.
His plan—and he always had a plan—was to spend his leave here with Alysse Dresden and figure out if he was meant for this life or if he should stay being a warrior. Still, he needed to make up for how he’d left her. He hoped the romantic setting and surprise of the grand gesture would be enough of an olive branch to persuade her to give him a second chance.
He pulled his bike to a stop in front of the villa he was renting and went inside and showered and changed. He’d spent a lot of time thinking up this strategy. He knew better than just to call and ask Alysse out. He’d hurt her and he knew it. The fact that he’d thought of nothing but her for the last four years had sent a strong message to him that he needed some kind of closure with her.
He took his time setting up the area, just as he would to get ready for a target. Planning and execution were the keys to success and he never forgot that. The staff had laid out a bamboo rug and then set the table up on that. Twinkle lights hung from the ceiling of the cabana. There were curtains which had been drawn back to let the breeze flow through the structure.
Jay was a little wary of having so much open space around him, but he was on leave and he tried not to let it bother him. He hated how on edge he always was when he came in from the field. And tonight he was doubly edgy because of Alysse.
He scanned the beach and the area where he was standing looking for the best strategic advantage. He sat￼ at the table but felt stupid just sitting there, so he got up. He checked the wine chilling in the freestanding ice bucket and then walked to the edge of the cabana to lean against a palm tree.
Just as he decided he looked like someone in an all-inclusive resort commercial, Alysse appeared. He realized all at once he wasn’t as prepared as he’d hoped to be, because he’d forgotten how beautiful she was. She arrived just as the sun was starting to set. She wore a casual skirt, and a blousy shirt. But it wasn’t the clothes—more the body underneath it. She was tall—almost five-foot-seven—and had an athletic build. She moved with grace and confidence and he couldn’t tear his eyes from her.
He had his sunglasses on. Her long ginger hair blew in the wind, a tendril brushing over her cheek and her lips. She moved with fluid grace and ease. She stopped on the path and glanced at the cabana. Was she wary of coming out here on her own?
“Hello? Marine?” Alysse called out.
Jay stayed where he was, watching her, feeling a little like a voyeur, but this was probably the only chance he’d have to observe her before she recognized him. He could turn around and walk away from this beach and this woman, just walk back to his Ducati and get the hell out of here.
There was a catch in her voice and he knew he couldn’t just leave. He didn’t want to. There was a reason he was here and the reason had everything to do with this woman.
“Hello, Alysse,” he said stepping from the shadows.
￼She shook her head and then pushed her sunglasses up, revealing her narrowed eyes. She took two angry steps toward him.
“Jay?” she asked. “Is that really you?”
He took a step closer to her. He was so close he could smell the homey scent of vanilla and see the freckles that dotted her cheekbones.
She threw the cake box on the table and clenched her hands. “You ass.”
“I guess I deserve that,” he said.
She shook her head. “You deserve a lot more than that.”
“I never thought I’d see you again,” she said more to herself. She took a step back from him and then pivoted and he realized she was leaving.
“Why should I?” she asked.
He took two steps toward her and reached out to touch her but she flinched away.
“I…I’m sorry for the way I left,” he said.
She nodded, but he couldn’t tell what she was thinking. “I had to get back to base. The way we met and married I never had a chance to tell you I only had a week of leave.”
“You couldn’t wake me up to tell me or maybe leave me a note?” she asked.
Of course he could have, but Alysse had made him think about something other than getting laid and no￼ woman had done that before. “I didn’t mean to marry you.”
“I know that. It was Vegas that made us both act the way we did,” she said. “Here’s your dessert. I guess your technique with women hasn’t improved if you needed something special to win her back.”
“It’s for you,” he said.
“It’s going to take a hell of a lot more than a cupcake to win me back.”
“I know. Stay for dinner tonight.”
She shook her head. “Give me one good reason. Why should I stay with the man who abandoned me?”
“We have unfinished business, Aly, you know it and I know it. That’s why I left the way I did.”
“I’ve moved on.”
He knew she meant it to hurt him and it did. But he’d already recognized that this was going to be one of the toughest missions he’d ever been on and he didn’t mind working to get Alysse back.
~ So what about you? Have you ever wooed someone back into your life? Or once you move on that’s it?