Sweet For A SEALBy: Anne Marsh
I’m the asshole. The player. The guy who gives you a screaming orgasm but not his number or his heart.
Never the heart.
Hearts are strictly off-limits in my world. I don’t do forevers because my relationships come with shelf lives, and none of them last longer than a day or two. My last date claimed her orgasm lasted longer than our relationship. She wasn’t wrong.
None of this explains why I’m standing outside the zany yellow-and-white bakery Valentina Fuentes owns in Angel Cay, wondering what she’ll throw at me today. What names she’ll call me. Whether she’ll yell or cry or just slam the fucking door in my face and remind me that I screwed it all up. That from her point of view, she’s the payoff for a bet that should never have been made.
Whatever she does, I deserve it because I didn’t walk. I ran like a coward because I was too scared to figure out how hearts worked until I’d broken mine. I want a hell of a lot more from Vali than a Band-Aid, too.
I’ve fucked my way through a legion of women since my high school glory days. Women love a US Navy SEAL, and I loved them right back. Now that I look back, I wasn’t terribly discriminating, but I made sure my partners had a great time. I was Finn Callahan, the Orgasm King. Funny how that’s not enough anymore. I mean, I thought making a woman feel good, making her scream my name because I was that fucking good, making her melt for me, was enough. You see, when I made the woman of my hour forget everything but me, I got to forget too. I didn’t have to think about past battles or shit I’d gotten wrong or how maybe I shouldn’t have been the guy who came home. How there were other, better men who never left Afghanistan or Iraq or a godforsaken Colombian jungle. I mean, I know how to fight the good fight and give it my all, but if I were God and it came down to picking and choosing, Finn Callahan name wouldn’t be on the top of the Save List.
I’d be dead last.
So I need to open the door. Stop lingering on the sidewalk like the worst kind of pussy. It’s just that I don’t know what to say when I step through that door. Because when I’m around Vali, I’m not Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick SEAL. She sees through the bullshit and she sees me.
And I’m certain I can never be enough for her.
I need to man up.
I need to open that door and step through it… pin all my hopes and dreams on the one-in-a-million lottery ticket that maybe it’s not too late. Maybe Valentina Fuentes hasn’t come to her senses, and maybe she’s still sweet for this SEAL.
Six weeks earlier
Jesus. I love my fucking job.
The dog-training program I run with two former SEALs—and which we christened Search and SEALs—has just trained two new search dogs for the Alaskan Coast Guard. A number of nonprofits train search and rescue dogs, but we’ve been tapped to add to their numbers, and I’ve flown their newest dog out to them. We may train the dogs in the Florida Keys, but they can handle any terrain, as I plan to demonstrate tonight. Toby and I are working with the local search and rescue team so his new handler can become familiar with his commands and Toby can show off his skills.
Toby’s one of the most talented dogs we’ve trained. I may not be active duty military anymore, but I don’t have to let my standards slide. My brothers and sisters are out there fighting for our country, and I owe it to them to do my part at home. I train dogs that save lives, and I’ve witnessed firsthand what a well-trained dog can do. My dog didn’t save my life every night we were out in the field—but I lost count of the number of missions where he did. I’d be dead without him, and that’s a debt I recognize.
Right before we shipped back stateside, we were clearing a village. Place was a maze of small rooms, half of which seemed to be hollowed out of the hillside. The angle of those doorways was such that you couldn’t see inside—which meant the first guys in ran the risk of hitting a tripwire or getting cut down by a hostile with an AK-47. The dogs prevented that. One good sniff, and Max knew if there were explosives on the other side of that threshold—or humans. If he smelled a threat, he’d park his ass on the ground, ears canted forward as he alerted, his entire being focused on the telltale scent. That night, he’d discovered a tripwire that we couldn’t have seen until we hit it. Fifty pounds of ammonium nitrate would have triggered, and I’d have been dead or missing my favorite body parts.