Coming home was always weirder than it should have been.
With every completed mission, Lieutenant Commander Josh Walker thought that feeling would go away, but it didn’t. Sliding into the driver’s seat of his Mustang—after blasting the A/C to cool it down after four weeks in the sun, of course—felt like climbing into the cockpit of an alien ship. Feeling the seat belt through his shirt reminded him he was no longer wearing a protective layer of body armor. When he glanced in the rearview and side mirrors, he was so caught up in checking for insurgents and IEDs, he nearly forgot to check for pedestrians and passing cars. He remembered, though, and just in time not to back over a pair of civilian contractors.
He paused, elbow on the steering wheel, and rubbed a hand over his jaw. Even his goddamned face felt weird, with a few weeks’ worth of scruff now absent, replaced only by about twenty-four hours of stubble. He was so used to his hair tickling the back of his neck, it was strange to feel cold air on it now. The haircut, the air-conditioning, the lack of the Middle Eastern sun—welcome home, Josh.
Home. That thought brought a smile to his lips.
He checked the mirrors again, this time for passersby and cars instead of phantom insurgents, and backed out of the parking space.
Traffic was lighter than usual, thank God, and he sped past the familiar-but-strange scenery. It was good to see a landscape that wasn’t desert, and, even better, something that wasn’t the drab, bare-bones inside of a cargo jet.
He parked in front of the one-story rental house, killed the engine and got out. He didn’t even bother pulling his rucksack out of the trunk. He’d carried men who outweighed him by a good hundred pounds through hellish conditions, but just the thought of picking up that bag made him tired. Between the long, miserable flights home—it took a hell of a storm to make a dozen SEALs airsick—and this afternoon’s debrief, he was exhausted.
Though the ground floor had been picked out for other reasons, he was sure thankful for it today. If he’d had to drag his ass up any stairs, he might’ve just napped in the damned car.
As he was putting his key in the door, a neighbor’s dog started barking. Josh rolled his eyes. Great. All he wanted to do was sleep, and now there—
He opened the door, and a huge German shepherd rushed at him.
The dog instantly dropped onto its haunches but whined softly as it wagged its tail so hard it almost toppled itself. Josh stared at it for a moment.
Then he raised his gaze, and in spite of his surprise at the strange dog in his house, grinned.
Leaning heavily—but not nearly as heavily as a month ago—on a cane, David returned the grin, green eyes shining just right to make Josh almost forget how exhausted he was. “Hey. Didn’t realize you’d landed already.”
Josh shrugged. “Thought I’d surprise you. I just, uh…” He glanced at the dog. “Wasn’t expecting Cujo here.”
David laughed. “Major, go lay down.”
The dog whined again, but then trotted over to the recliner and lay beside it, head on his enormous paws.
Josh kicked the door shut and closed the distance between him and David. Damn, it had been a while, hadn’t it? David was obviously getting around better now. His sandy blond hair was a little longer—still within regs, even though he’d been retired for months, but longer than when Josh had left.
“God, I missed you,” Josh whispered, wrapping his arms around him.
“Missed you too,” David murmured and kissed him. He put one arm around Josh’s waist and rested the other hand, the one still holding the cane, on Josh’s hip. His kiss was soft, not as demanding as it could be when he was turned on, and Josh was grateful for it. Sometimes he came back from missions and wanted to fuck until they couldn’t move, but sometimes, he… Hell, he already couldn’t move.
David broke the kiss and touched his forehead to Josh’s. “Tired?”
He drew back enough to meet Josh’s eyes. Then he nodded down the hall. “Why don’t you go get some sleep?”
“I will.” Josh touched David’s face. “But I want—”
“Josh.” David gave him a look that took Josh back to the days of SEAL training, back when they’d been Chief Flint and Lieutenant Walker. “I could tell the second you came in the door that you were dead on your feet. Just go get some sleep.”
“Will be here when you get up.” He nudged Josh toward the bedroom. “Go.”
Josh wanted to argue. He hadn’t seen David in a damned month. He wanted to catch up. Just be with him. Find out how his physical therapy was going and his leg was healing and…
And he was too fucking tired.
He kissed David softly. “Just a few hours.”
David smiled. “Enjoy it.”
The Only One, Book 2
Months after a bullet ended his SEAL career, Senior Chief David Flint doesn’t know which is worse: struggling to adjust to life as a civilian, or watching his lover, Lieutenant Commander Josh Walker, leave for one deployment after another.
Missing the career he loved—and knowing all too well the danger Josh faces—doesn’t help. And as Josh walks out the door for another assignment, David can feel their relationship cracking under the strain.
With so little time between assignments, Josh has no idea how to fix things with David. One thing he’s sure of, though—if they don’t find a way to resolve the rising tension between them, there’s a storm coming they might not be able to weather. But he plans to give it his best shot.
When he gets home.
Assuming he makes it home alive…
Contains plenty of smoking hot sex between two dudes who just wanted to be SEALs, not deal with all this romance crap. They went and fell in love anyway, and now have to figure out how to make it work while saving the world and teaching their puppy not to beg.
This 51,000 word novel was previously published.