Series: Cowboy SEALs Series #1
Genre: Contemporary Western Romance
Release Date: May 21, 2021
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After tragedy strikes, Flint Carswell cuts short his career as a Navy SEAL and returns home to his family’s South Texas cattle ranch. Grieving and angry with the world, he encounters witty and sexy-as-sin Morgan Flemming, the woman he spent a wild week with the year before and then promptly forgot.
Carrying demons from her past, Morgan is horrified to see Flint pull up behind her in the bank drive-up where her car is refusing to start. Since learning from her best friend, Flint’s sister, that the strong, mouth-watering SEAL has come home for good, she’s been dreading an accidental encounter with him. Her adventurous, uninhibited behavior with Flint while she was grieving the loss of her mother is something she’ll never forget. And, at all costs, she must keep secret what happened after he returned to his platoon.
Fate has different plans, throwing the two together at every turn, and Flint finds solace from his grief with Morgan. He wants to be the man Morgan turns to when she’s in trouble. But when he figures out what she’s been keeping from him, he wants to become a permanent part of her life.
Having suffered a traumatic childhood, Morgan fears trusting a man in her life, let alone her child’s life. Will Flint prove to Morgan he has put aside his anger and grief to be the man of her dreams? Can Morgan learn to trust—and love? Find out now in this spicy SEAL-turned-cowboy love story you don’t want to miss!
Flint Carswell pulled up in front of the Blackbrush, Texas post office, the roar of the Ford F350’s powerful engine rumbling in his ears. As he killed the ignition, the silence of an early spring morning surrounded him. He picked up a stack of envelopes from the pristine leather passenger seat, noting the clipboard with his half-finished business plan lying there. It was something he needed to finish so he could make an appointment at the bank.
He glanced up just as a beautiful woman stepped out of the post office’s glass door. Morgan Flemming? They’d had a week-long fling on his leave last year when he was still a Navy SEAL. Damn. He’d forgotten how sexy she was. In fact, he’d forgotten all about her. He always forgot the women he caroused with during the few times a year that he escaped Afghanistan or whatever war-torn, ass-end of the world the US Navy sent him to. The last thing he’d been interested in during that booze-hazed week was making any kind of connection with Morgan past drinking, screwing, and sleeping.
The act of killing, so alien to the nature he was born with, took everything from him, leaving a man cold and hard, a man who kept emotions that might cause weakness buried so deep that they might never exist at all.
But exist they did, and his nightmares were proof of them. Easy sleep was something he’d given up on long ago. Now that he didn’t have combat to fill his days, throwing himself into ranch work kept flashbacks of battle at bay. But, come evening time, he was prey to the memories of war, death, and losses too terrible to remember.
He clenched the steering wheel and focused on Morgan. She turned and headed in the opposite direction, and he sighed, enjoying the view of her extremely fine ass, one he remembered grasping in his palms on more than one occasion.
He stomped the parking brake and opened the door, angry with the turn of his thoughts. He couldn’t have a woman in his life. Not now, not ever. He’d proven he wasn’t up to the task of taking responsibility for others. Hell, he’d proved it in spades. After his final mission as platoon chief in Afghanistan, he’d cashed it all in. Having spent twelve years in the service, most of them as a Navy SEAL, he hadn’t reenlisted.
He glanced down the sidewalk once more, but Morgan had disappeared. Just as well. She wasn’t for him. Yanking the post office door wide, he strode inside. Before he faced the clerk, he pushed war far from his thoughts—his way of coping with the pain that had been with him since that terrible day in a brutal country that he wished he’d never seen, that he wished didn’t exist, that he prayed to God every night to drive from his mind forever.
A few moments later, with his stamp purchase made and the envelopes mailed, he returned to the truck. His glance landed on the clipboard. After starting the engine and as cool air flooded the cab, he began to read the notes he’d made over the last few days outlining what needed to be done to implement his plan to modernize the Carswell ranch.
Modernization was critical if the ranch was to remain viable. The ranch’s profit margin had been going down for years until it was nearly at the break-even point. It couldn’t go on doing business the old-fashioned way anymore.
His father, Griff Carswell, had begun the first step in the new modernization program before Flint had ever left Afghanistan by pulling the bulls from several of their herds. Flint intended to turn the ranch’s traditional cow-calf operation to one where cows were artificially inseminated, making the pregnancy rate close to one hundred percent and driving up profits. This was an expensive process, and a keystone to this plan would be applying for a small-business loan at their bank. To do this, preparing a detailed business plan was critical.
As he shifted the truck into reverse, his thoughts bounced back to Morgan. They’d done very little talking in their time together last year. About the only thing he remembered about her was that she was an ER nurse at the hospital. He’d gotten the impression that she was desperately trying to forget something, though. That had been fine with him because it was what he did on his leave time, too. He’d spent every hour away from his service in country forgetting death and destruction. Morgan had been fantastic at helping him do that.
He thrust her from his mind again. He couldn’t have a woman in his life—not permanently. He would not bear responsibility for another person again. And he had to figure out a way to avoid Morgan at all costs. Crushing the accelerator, he gunned the truck out of the parking spot and headed back to the ranch.
* * *
Morgan yanked her car door open and slunk down in the seat, breathing fast and wishing she’d never had the brilliant idea to pick up her Amazon package this morning instead of waiting until after work.
Every stride she’d taken since leaving the post office had been an agony of embarrassment after she’d recognized Flint Carswell pulling up in his huge black truck. She knew what he must think of her after last year’s week of debauchery with him. That was the most accurate word she knew to describe the drinking and partying and mindless screwing they’d done for six long days and nights during one of the worst periods she’d ever gone through in her life.
How many times had she regretted meeting Flint at the Barbwire Bar the week she’d taken her annual leave? The place had been where she’d spent most of her free time anyway in those terrible weeks following her mother’s unexpected death. She never told him why she was there drinking the night they met. Talking about her loss would have been unbearable. She was there to forget. To blast her loss from her mind and her heart with every ounce of the energy she possessed. She’d realized after one look at the desperation in his beautiful brown eyes that she’d met a kindred soul.
Floundering after losing the one person who had always shielded her from her father’s brutal attacks, she hadn’t cared to get to know the taciturn, overbearing, and devastatingly handsome Navy SEAL. He’d given her everything she’d needed—alcohol to dull her mind, great sex to make her forget her pain, and the occasional meal to fuel her body.
Her memory of the time was pretty hazy, yet some things stood out—how outstandingly sexy he looked naked, how gentle he could be when he seduced her, and his deep, irresistible laugh. But mostly she remembered him taking charge, moving her through those days as she operated in a daze. They’d both drunk far too much, lived in the hotel where driving was non-essential, and had stayed in bed until hunger drove them out.
When Flint’s leave was up, she dimly recalled his laissez-faire goodbye. With a quick kiss as he squeezed her ass, he’d held the hotel room door open for her. She’d had the distinct impression that he couldn’t get rid of her fast enough.
Somehow, that experience had put a period to the worst of her depression. She’d visited her doctor, and he’d put her on an antidepressant. He’d also recommended the women’s clinic in town where she’d qualified for free counseling—which she’d started right away.
In the months that followed, she’d begun to deal with the death of her mother from stomach cancer a mere three weeks after her diagnosis. But, even more important, she’d also begun healing from a childhood filled with a deep-seated fear of her abusive father, as well as from the rage that had crippled her heart. She’d told no one, not even her best friend Bailey, of her terrible lapse in judgement.
She raised her head above the window ledge and peered down the line of cars. Flint’s truck was long gone. Heaving a sigh of relief, she sat up and started her old Ford Escort, thankful when it turned over after only ten or twelve whirs of the starter.
It had been a nice sedan when it had rolled off the assembly line in 1990, but now it was an old beater—the only type of car she could afford. She’d acquired it when she’d fled home after graduating high school. She’d made payments while she went to nursing school to the woman who’d been only too glad to get rid of it.
Flint’s face flashed before her again. Hell. She’d hoped to avoid him when her best friend, Bailey, who just happened to be Flint’s little sister, had told her that he was back in town for good. It appeared that Flint hadn’t told his family who he’d been seeing last year when he’d come home on leave. From now on, Morgan would be on the lookout for him. The last thing she wanted was to come face-to-face with the SEAL-turned-cowboy.
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