UPDATE: The winner is…Beverly Blank!
Clear to Engage by Sukie Chapin
One struggling bookshop owner, one hot-as-hell former SEAL-turned-carpenter, one line drawn in the sand—until the job is done, they’re not clear to engage.
I’m enchanted by bookstores. We have the most amazing indie bookstore in my town, complete with comfy couches, a table with a jigsaw puzzle where my kiddo could hang for hours, and the kindest, most passionate staff. It’s one of my favorite places on the planet.
And, as a former military wife, I’m also enchanted by someone finding healing after trauma; by the “what comes next” when the military career is over, and it’s time to take that first tenuous step into the “after.” These two ideas converged during a long weekend last spring when Delilah’s call for submissions for Silver Soldiers popped up right after I’d watched You’ve Got Mail for approximately the 973rd time…“F-O-X.” My hero is no Tom Hanks, but I absolutely adore him anyway.
So, what if a big, rough, just-retired SEAL was beginning his new life restoring old buildings by helping out a little-bit-of-a-hot-mess woman who was struggling to open her bookstore? Eureka!
After a talk with a good friend about whether or not it was too “on the nose” to name my military hero “Ares,” I took a trip to my local hardware store to buy some bamboo fencing, only to be helped by an awesome employee named…you guessed it…Ares. That’s pretty unlikely right?! I took this as a positive affirmation from the universe that this Ares, my Ares, was meant to be out in the world. I hope you fall as in love with him as I did.
Snippet from “Clear to Engage”…
My back hits the bookshelf, but I barely register falling books because I’m too busy tugging off Ares’s shirt. His body is unreal. Peaks and valleys of muscle. Broad, flat planes of smooth skin over granite. And mine to touch.
Rough fingers find my nipples, and I need to feel him, skin on skin. I break our kiss to whisk my shirt off, but Ares’s mouth seeks out other spots. Like across my ribs when he drops to his knees, my thighs, the soft spot right below my belly button. “Fuck, you smell so damn good,” he says, nose pressed to my skin, and I whimper.
He gets my bra off, and my bare breasts are in his huge hands. We both groan. But then he slides one hand up so it rests over my heart, and I’m a goner.
“You’re so fucking gorgeous,” he says, his gaze on mine.
I don’t know what to do with all the feelings running through me. Desire, tenderness, need, and a little bit of awe that I’m here, now, with him. And it’s all reflected back at me in his eyes.
But then his talented mouth surrounds my nipple, and it’s hard to think about anything else. He plays with my body, sucks and nips—teeth and tongue and lips and fingers. And I can’t help myself; my hips buck against his powerful body, looking for contact. Friction. Anything to relieve the growing ache.
He grips the waistband of my shorts, but before he tugs them over my hips, he glances up at me. “I think we’ll both have a lot more fun if you lose these,” he says, pausing, giving me a chance to say no, and my heart does a funny thing in my chest—maybe something like falling a little in love with this man.
“Fuck yes,” I breathe, and he laughs.
About the Author
Sukie Chapin has been a military wife, world traveler, almost-groupie, and preschool teacher. Naturally, the next logical step was writing erotic romance. She lives in Texas, where she can be found reading, writing, mommy-ing, and making a homemade chocolate pudding that will make you want to slap your mama.
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