Former Navy SEAL Josh Marx thinks he has it all figured out. He’s living the bachelor lifestyle in southern California, running risk assessment for the Renegades, but most importantly, he’s finally gotten over the unrequited love he’s harbored for his former teammate’s ex wife. Then his buddy calls from overseas, worried because he hasn’t heard from his ex, and asks Josh to check in on her. Josh doesn’t want to get involved, but the same code that urged him to walk away in the first place is suddenly pushing him to change his Christmas plans.
Grace Ashby doesn’t appreciate the sexy SEAL trying to step in and take over. He thinks she’s hit rock bottom by working at a strip club, but she knows differently. She could set him straight, but he’s already rejected her once, and she doesn’t need one more man judging her.
She tells him to butt out of her business and her life. But Josh’s conscience won’t let him walk away this time.
From this angle, Grace could only see one wall of the storeroom; it’s bare studs now covered with gypsum board. Trepidation crawled through her chest. She was going to be so pissed if Dean had gone for the cheapest labor he could find to—
“Whoa! Oh, my God!” The familiar male voice carried from inside the large room, one that made Grace’s feet stop mid step. Made her heart flip and squeeze. “What’s this? There’s two of you?”
The twins giggled.
“Good Lord, what a handful,” Josh said. “Your poor mother. No, little dude, don’t touch that. Here, I’ll show you how this works.”
An electric buzz filled the air, followed by more giggles from the boys.
Grace didn’t know how to respond to his voice. She was first shocked, then angry, then confused, then angry again.
I’m going to find a way to help—both you and Carolyn.
Josh’s last words filled Grace’s head. No, dammit, she was so done with this freaking rollercoaster. He wasn’t going to come in here and start controlling her life.
Teeth gritted, she pushed her feet forward and gripped the doorframe as she turned into the room. Angry words filled her mouth, ready to spill, but the sight on the floor in front of her froze her tongue.
Josh knelt on the floor between the twins. He was shirtless, wearing only jeans, lightweight suede work boots, and a leather tool belt. And Grace instantly understood Jasmine’s Trojan Ultra Ribbed metaphor. This wasn’t the first time she’d seen his body. Over the years she’d seen him in swim trunks dozens of times.
But, God…this was like seeing him again for the first time, all bronze and beefy, the thick muscles of his shoulders and biceps curved and cut. The scars on his right shoulder had healed well, but left thick, discolored welts on his skin. Somehow, it only made him more authentic, more masculine more…delicious.
“Dillon, Dalton.” A strong male voice called from the back door. “Let’s go.”
The boys ignored their father, enamored with Josh’s drill.
“Sounds like Dad’s here.” Josh put the drill down.
“Noooo,” Dalton whined, the twin with hair a shade lighter than the other.
“Again,” Dillon chirped, leaning into Josh, half in his lap, hanging on one broad shoulder. “Do it again.”
“Little man,” Josh said, “I am not gonna get my hiney whooped by your daddy today.”
He wrapped an arm around each boy’s waist and whipped them up and over his shoulders, one on each side. The boys squealed and giggled, and Josh’s smile could have powered the club for a week. But what Grace saw was a wide, chest, six-pack abs and jeans pulled so low by the heavy tool belt that the hollows at his hip bones pointed to what Grace’s body craved most.
Jasmine appeared at Grace’s side, laughing. “Oh, God, they’re going to want to come here after school every day.”
“Excuse me ladies.” Josh carried the wiggling bundles of happiness through the doorway, his muscles flexing, then passed through the short hallway toward the rear door where Rocco waited.
Both Grace and Jasmine turned to watch him go. The muscle in his back played in the shadow of the hallway, rippling beneath his tattoo—the skeleton of a frog overlaying a waving American flag, with the word Frogman curved into the design. His ass and thighs filling out his jeans deliciously. Two little boys gigging on his shoulders.
Grace’s mind was in the clouds, the only clear thought: I want that. All that.
“If your panties haven’t melted by now,” Jasmine murmured, drawing Grace’s mind from the haze, “I might start thinking you’re sexual preferences have changed.”
The comment directed Grace’s attention between her legs where she was hot, tingling, full, aching, and…wet.
About Skye Jordan
Skye Jordan is a pseudonym for New York Times bestselling romantic suspense author Joan Swan. Skye’s novels are about enjoying that little wild streak we don’t let out often enough. About those fantasies we rarely get the opportunity to indulge. About stretching limits, checking out the dark side, and maybe even acting a little naughty. They’re about escape and fun and pleasure and romance.
And, yes, even love, because while wicked-great sex is good, happily ever after with wicked-great sex is even better. Skye (aka Joan) lives on the central coast of California in the heart of wine country with her husband and two daughters. As often as possible, she retreats to a hotel with critique partners for a power-writing week where much drinking, laughing, and yes, even working, ensues. When she’s not writing, Skye goes to breakfast with her hubby, attends her daughters’ barrel races, and spends a lot of time with her own horse, Riddle…while her two dogs, Paxton and Indie, tag along. She also loves to read, knit, craft, row, ride, and dabble in photography.
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