HOT SEAL Lover (HOT SEAL Team - Book 2)

HOT SEAL Team - Book 2
HOT SEAL Team - Book 2
Lynn Raye Harris

ity of Baq


Middle East

ot a situation

The SEALs were gathered around the computer screen in the building they occupied near the edge of the city. The sounds of battle being waged in the desert filtered into the capital. Small arms fire, RPGs, and various other explosions sounded with alarming regularity. Not long now and Baq could fall to the rebels.

Remy “Cage” Marchand shifted his weight as he watched the man speaking on the screen. Colonel Mendez was the badass full-bird Army colonel who ran the Hostile Operations Team with an iron fist and an arsenal of high-tech weaponry. He had the approval of Congress, the budget of a military dictator, and the balls of an elephant.

In short, Mendez was just about the scariest motherfucker Remy had ever come across—and that was saying something considering how utterly nightmarish BUD/S had been. The instructors at Coronado weren’t known for being pussies, that’s for sure. Remy had never considered ringing out—okay, he
considered it. Everyone considered it at one point or another. Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL Training wasn’t your typical military boot camp. It routinely took down the kind of men you’d never think would quit.

But Remy hadn’t actually pulled the cord on the bell that would have ended the torture. He had a feeling that Mendez, if he’d been in the Navy, wouldn’t even have considered it.

“Need you boys to go get some American citizens from the Abu Bashar Hotel and put them on a plane before Baq falls.”

Remy glanced at his platoon leader. Dane “Viking” Erikson didn’t look too pleased, but then Baq was on a travel advisory list and had been for months. On the other hand, the State Department had only issued an evacuation warning for nonessential personnel a few hours ago. Private citizens couldn’t be forced to leave, though they usually wanted to during crisis situations.

Typically, the State Department handled noncombatant evacuations. The fact that HOT SEALs were being sent to collect these people was interesting. Which meant there had to be more to the story.

“I’m sending over the names,” Mendez said, “but you should know that one of them has a connection to HOT.”

And there it was.

Remy’s heart skipped a beat. He told himself it could be anyone—but the truth was it could only be one person. Christina Girard-Scott, Matt Girard’s beautiful, damaged sister. Remy still wanted to kill the motherfucker who’d broken her heart and ruined her ability to trust in men.

Because of her asshole of an ex-husband, Remy’d had to watch her run away from him when he’d been convinced she was something special, that there could be something between them if only she’d give it a chance.

Mendez continued. “Christina Girard works for Girard Oil. She’s there to close a deal with Sheikh Fahd ibn Aziz. She’s also the Alpha Squad commander’s sister. I don’t have to explain to you what a disaster it would be if the rebels take the city and she’s captured.”

Holy fuck, this was a nightmare.

Christina might not know who her brother worked for, but she did know he was an Army officer in an elite unit. That made her a high-value target for the rebels—and for the Freedom Force, the terrorist organization that was widely considered to be the engine behind the rebellion—if they learned that information.

Remy glanced up, met Viking’s eyes. The other man was looking at him with real concern in his gaze, which was surprising considering Remy had never told anyone about Christina and him. It’d happened so fast and been over so quick there’d been nothing to tell.

“We’ll get them out, sir,” Viking said, looking at the screen again. “We won’t let anyone take Christina Girard.”

No, they damn sure wouldn’t. Because Remy would die before he let that happen…


ix months earlier


Christina couldn’t help the word that popped out when she looked up and saw the man striding with purpose across the grass. He was tall and muscular, like all these Special Ops types her brother worked with, but there was something more about this one that caught her eye. Maybe it was the tattoos on his arms and back. He’d removed his shirt and dropped it on the grass before picking up the volleyball someone tossed over, and Christina had to make sure her tongue wasn’t hanging out as all that muscle rippled in the sunlight.

“What?” her sister-in-law asked, swiveling her head to look at the group of seriously fine military men playing volleyball in her backyard.

Christina took a sip of the sweet raspberry smoothie Evie had made and shook her head. “Nothing. Just a little overwhelmed by all the man chest on display.”

She shifted in her seat, a little surprised and even, yes, a little uncomfortable with the zinging sensations happening in the region of her lady parts as Mr. Muscles lifted the volleyball high in the air and then lobbed it toward the other side of the net. Seriously, her body had to pick now to perk up?

Evie laughed. “They are rather fun to look at, aren’t they?”

She leaned back and patted her belly. It was soft and round with the babies growing inside. Christina felt a pang of envy. Not over the babies in particular, since she wasn’t quite sure how she felt about bringing a child into the world, but over the general contentedness that Evie had with Matt. Not that it hadn’t been rough going for a while. Evie had been in love with Matt since forever, and Matt had been stupid enough to nearly ruin the whole thing when they were teenagers.

Thankfully they’d figured it out. It had taken ten years, but Evie didn’t look like she’d trade her happiness now for anything.

“Oh honey, I’m sorry,” Evie said softly, and Christina knew her sadness must have shown on her face.

She sipped her drink and tried to look nonchalant. “I’m fine. Really. It’s been three months since it happened.”

Evie reached over and squeezed her hand. At least she didn’t
or make any of those noises that other women tended to make when they realized who Christina was.

Christina Girard-Scott, wife of Benjamin Scott. Ben Scott, up-and-coming attorney who’d been running for public office on family values and a squeaky-clean life.

Squeaky-clean until Ben decided that kinky sex in a restroom at a fundraiser was just the thing to do. Not that there was anything wrong with kinky sex if it was your thing, but the kinky sex hadn’t been with

If it had been, maybe everything would still be okay—aside from the mortification factor of being caught, of course.

Instead, Ben had been caught with a woman named Chardonnay—seriously, Chardo-freaking-nnay for heaven’s sake. Except that Chardonnay wasn’t precisely a woman. She was an absolutely stunning drag queen who possessed the secret to creating beautiful knockers when in fact she didn’t really have any at all.

Christina glanced down at her pitiful excuse for a chest and sighed. Dammit, outdone by someone who hadn’t even been born with boobs.

Which, it turned out, Ben knew. He knew perfectly well that the person he was banging was a dude, as the audio recording had made evident when he demanded that Chardonnay fuck him in the ass with his big dick.

Christina shuddered. Dear God, what a mess.

She didn’t have a single thing against being gay, but by God she drew the line at pretending to be something you weren’t, especially when what you really were was a liar, a cheat, and a fraud. She’d actually argued with Ben about his stance on gay rights—and holy crap, he’d been such a hypocrite the entire time. He’d married her to pull off a political career, no other reason, and then he’d cheated on her with someone whose interests he’d actively campaigned against. It sickened her and angered her more than she could ever say.

And then there was the money. Oh yes, Ben had pretty much drained her trust fund in his quest for office. Apparently, getting elected took a
of cash. As if having gay sex and stealing her money wasn’t enough, Ben’s actions had also made them the butt of late-night talk show jokes, tabloid fodder, and ensured that her coworkers were probably snickering behind their poker faces whenever she was in a meeting.

It hurt to think that all she’d worked so hard for took a secondary role to her position as the candidate’s disgraced wife. It had been hard to leave the house in the aftermath of the scandal, but she’d forced herself to do so. Thankfully, it was getting easier all the time. The press had moved on from daily updates, and the only mentions in the tabloids now were when Chardonnay managed to gain some new publicity over the whole thing.

One thing was for sure, the drag queen’s career was certainly on the upswing after the scandal.

“Hey, girls,” Matt said, coming over and plopping down beside Evie. He was sweaty from volleyball, but he looked so damned happy that it made Christina’s heart swell. He deserved to be happy. He’d protected her from more than she’d ever realized when they’d been kids.

He took a sip of Evie’s drink, his gaze slipping over his wife’s face. It knocked Christina in the gut to see how much her brother loved his wife. She wanted that kind of love in her life too.

She’d thought she’d had it, but she’d been wrong. Dreadfully, embarrassingly wrong.

“Glad you could make it today, Chris,” he said, putting his arm behind Evie. “We haven’t seen enough of you lately.”

She shrugged as if everything in her life was perfectly normal. So long as she didn’t fall apart in front of anyone, they couldn’t worry, right? “Daddy’s keeping me busy at work.”

“Is he?”

Matt’s voice was mild, but she saw the hardness in his eyes and her heart skipped. Of course she hadn’t forgotten how Matt felt about their father, but she always hoped that one day the two of them would figure out their relationship. Not that their father had done very well at having a relationship with either one of them when it had counted the most. But he was clean and sober now, and things were different.

He’d never been violent, though he had been verbally abusive. Except she suspected that he’d sometimes taken his anger out on Matt in a physical way. It was the only thing she could think of that explained the animosity.

Yet she couldn’t ask. She would never ask.

“There’s a lot to be done in DC, and he doesn’t like leaving Louisiana much these days. By the way, Misty Lee’s planning their anniversary party at Reynier’s Retreat—she wants him to announce his retirement.”

Misty Lee was their father’s fifth wife, also one of the ones he’d found in a strip club—except that Misty Lee was a gem and their father was head over heels in love with her. And she with him, which was somewhat of a surprise. But it worked for them, and that made Christina happy. Losing his wife—their mother—when Matt and Christina had been children hadn’t been easy for any of them.

Matt’s eyes widened. “Seriously?”

Christina nodded, happy to be talking about something other than Ben. “Yes, but I don’t know that he’s ready to give up the reins yet. Though maybe she’ll get him to start considering it anyway. I expect, even if he announces he’s going to retire, it’ll be a couple of years down the road.”

Like everything else in his life, their father hadn’t always done a good job at Girard Oil—but that too had changed. He worked long hours, and he’d done a lot to keep the company in the black. That wasn’t easy with the price of oil being so low these days.

Or with the trouble in the Middle East. Some companies were having trouble getting their supplies out, but so far Girard Oil hadn’t been affected. The scandal with Ben had only made them more visible in the public eye—but not in a negative way, oddly enough. People sympathized. Girard Oil was a family institution, and one of the family had been hurt. They were angry
her, not at her.

“Are you ready to take over when that happens?” Matt asked softly, and her belly clenched.

“Why wouldn’t I be?” She knew she sounded defensive, but no way was she letting anyone think she wasn’t strong enough to weather her current difficulties. Besides, she wasn’t sure her father planned to put her in charge anytime soon. Even if he retired tomorrow, there were others in the company more qualified to run it.

And maybe that would be better anyway.

No, stop saying that.

She worked hard at her job, and she’d worked hard to learn the business over the years. She might not have decades of experience, but she wasn’t stupid. And she
a Girard.

Matt’s gaze held hers for long moments, and she knew he sensed her turmoil. “You tell me, Chrissy.”

Like everyone else, he attributed her mood to her personal situation.

“I’m fine. Ben and I were already finished, Matt. His public meltdown wasn’t as much of a surprise as you might think.”


It had been a huge surprise, though it was true they hadn’t actually had sex in about six months. She’d chalked it up to busy lives, etc., but really, who in the hell was she fooling?

Herself, that’s who.

She’d been the only one who’d thought everything was perfectly fine. She’d thought they had goals, and while she’d missed the intimate contact, she’d thought as soon as everything calmed down and they spent more than a few hours in each other’s company, everything would be normal again.

Matt frowned. “You hadn’t even been married for two years yet.”

“I know.” She slid her finger through the condensation on her glass. What more could she say?

“Honey, if you want me to take some of the boys and go kick his ass for hurting you, we’d be happy to do it.”

Christina hadn’t expected that. It took her a second of wide-eyed surprise before she laughed. “I would love for you to go kick his ass, but I’m afraid you’d be the ones who got in trouble, not him.”

Matt looked fierce. “He’s not giving you any trouble in the divorce proceedings, is he?”

“No.” Because her father was helping to make the divorce happen fast, which meant paying Ben to keep it uncontested. Not to mention that he’d already stolen all her money, so what was there to contest anyway? She’d liquidated her shares of Girard Oil by selling them to her father when she’d been raising funds for Ben’s campaign. She had nothing left for her cheating ex to take, and he knew it.

Matt didn’t know about the shares. She didn’t want him to know either. If he did, she didn’t know what he’d do to Ben. Since Matt was one scary badass these days, she didn’t think it would be good. Or legal.

“Dude, you ditching us or what?”

Christina jerked her gaze toward the sound. It was the sexy tattooed guy who’d spoken. He stood mere feet away, tossing that volleyball back and forth in his hands, his muscles glistening with sweat.

But that wasn’t what had her attention right now. No, it was his accent. It was unmistakably Cajun to her ears. Not thick, but with that certain cadence that someone from the bayou had. Matt had it. She had it to a degree, though she’d worked hard to lose it.

“Naw, man, I ain’t ditching you,” Matt drawled. “Crazy Cajun motherfucker.”

The man snorted. “Takes one to know one,
mon ami

“Hey, you met my sister yet? Christina, this is Lieutenant Junior Grade Remy Marchand. Remy, this is my baby sister.”

Christina offered her hand. He didn’t take it.

“No, ma’am, don’t want to get you sweaty. Pleased to meet you though.”

“Where are you from, Lieutenant?” she asked in her best debutante voice.

“Near Lafayette, ma’am.”

“Please. Call me Christina.”

He grinned at her and her heart did a flip. “You play volleyball, Christina?”

She didn’t bother to point out that she wasn’t dressed for volleyball in a dress and heels. “I’m afraid not.”

He tossed the ball up and caught it. “Too bad. You coming, Girard, or what?” he said to Matt.

Matt kissed Evie on the cheek, kissed her belly, and stood. “I’m gonna wipe the floor with you, Marchand.”

“You can try.”

“Remy’s easy on the eyes, isn’t he?” Evie asked after the two men were gone.

Christina started guiltily. “Definitely so. But even if I wanted to—and I don’t—I couldn’t do anything about it.”

“I understand.”

Christina shifted in her seat. Damn tingly parts. “The divorce isn’t even final yet. Not to mention, I’m a little wary of men and their motives right now.”

Evie took a sip of her drink. “Well, whatever Ben’s issues, I’m pretty sure Remy Marchand isn’t into chicks with dicks.”

Christina almost snorted her drink. “Oh God, I shouldn’t laugh. I really shouldn’t.”

Evie grinned at her. “Honey, you have to laugh. It’s that or cry—and that asshole doesn’t deserve a single tear more.”

Christina still ached—she would ache for a long time, she suspected—but yeah, her sister-in-law was right. Ben didn’t deserve any more tears. He’d gotten enough.

“I wish I was the kind of woman who could take home a gorgeous guy like that and screw him silly,” she said, watching Remy dart back and spike the ball. “Then I’d kick him to the curb and get on with life.”

“There’s always a first time for everything.”

Christina shook her head. “No, I’m really not that brave.”

Evie lifted an eyebrow. “You’re Matt’s sister. I don’t buy it for a second, knowing that man the way I do. Tell a Girard he can’t do something, and he’ll be compelled to prove you wrong.”

Christina laughed. “That’s Matt, all right. Not sure it’s me though.”

Evie smiled. “Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find a whole boatload of gorgeous military guys, any one of whom would be happy to rock your world for a night.”

Christina swallowed the knot in her throat. “I’ll remember that.”

She’d remember it. But she wouldn’t do anything about it.

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