Embrace the Night by Caridad Pineiro
Take A Chance Series; Book 6
Published: November 11, 2015
Published by: Caridad Pineiro
For the first time in nearly two years he felt normal again . . .
Army brat Zack Taylor had spent his early life going from one place to the next, losing his home and friends with every move until he decided it was just easier to be alone. Despite that, Zack has no hesitation in following in his father's footsteps and going the ROTC route for college. He has no hesitation in going back for his wounded team members after they are attacked during a mission. His dedication to his men nearly cost him his life when a nearby explosion wounds him and shears off part of his leg. For the last two years, Zack has been rebuilding his life and finding out that being a loner is no fun. Especially not when he's caught the eye of sexy Samantha Whittaker whose gaze is filled with passion, laughter, and the shadows of pain.
She is fighting hard to ignore the obvious invitation in his determined gaze . . .
Lieutenant Commander Samantha Whittaker is just not interested in getting involved. At least not until she can deal with the wounds left behind by her stint as a prisoner of war. Physically and mentally abused, it has taken her years to find some stability and independence in her life. Giving in to the much younger and enticing Army vet will
challenge that hard won freedom. But Zack's persistence and caring are wearing her down until she considers that maybe it's time to embrace all that he can offer, even if it's only for one night of passion.
Zack Taylor sped across the waves, fighting for balance atop the surfboard. Awkward at first, but gaining stability as he adjusted his legs into a wider stance and bent his knees.
He rode the wave as far as he could and then kicked out, sending the board flying in one direction while he sank into the cool water. As he rose to the surface, the familiar pull of the leash registered on his leg and he swam toward the board so he could climb back on.
Grabbing the rails of the board, he slid across the surface, but thumped one edge with his prosthetic leg as he struggled to get on. The surfboard swayed side-to-side with the sudden imbalance before he steadied it.
A little shaky, but it felt awesome to finally be able to go surfing again.
It almost felt like flying, he thought as he paddled out to wait for another set of waves.
Surfing was one of the few things he’d missed when his family had moved from place to place during his dad’s Army service. He had picked up the sport when his dad had been stationed close to the Delaware beaches and he’d kept surfing any time that their latest deployment had been near the ocean.
Even during his tours of duty, he would find a way to surf if a beach was nearby. There was something about the ocean and its vastness with which he identified. Sitting there, in that great aloneness, waiting for just the right wave, suited him.
As an Army brat, he’d been alone for most of his life. Except for family, of course.
It had just been too difficult to make friends and then lose them every time his dad transferred to a different base.
Surfing had gifted him with something else: Patience.
He’d learned it was far better to bide his time to earn a perfect ride then hurry up and wipe out in a bad wave.
When he reached the spot where a few other surfers waited for the next set, he sat up and straddled the board, his legs dangling over the edge. Well, his one leg and three quarters of his left with the durable prosthetic. He floated there, enjoying the warmth of the sun and the wash of the water all around him.
Enjoying life and appreciating just how fragile it could be.
It had taken him a long time to get to this point. To get past the pain and anger at his loss and be thankful that it hadn’t been worse. To be grateful for the path on which he’d been set that had brought him here.
He gazed back toward the shore and to the growing crowd of people on the beach. He could make out his boss and friend Mark Smith and his wife Bridget as Mark hauled the volleyball equipment down to the sand. Following them like baby ducks chasing after their mother were another group of his friends. His work buddy and former Navy Seal Rafe Castillo and his wife Elena. Marine Lieutenant Trevor Mason and Maggie Sullivan, Bridget’s younger sister, visiting again from New York City.
It was weird to say that after the many years that he hadn’t had any.
And he knew that chances were that Samantha would be joining them soon.
Lieutenant Commander Samantha Whittaker.
She’d snared his attention the very first time he’d joined Mark and his wife at one of these gatherings and later again at the other parties held by the many veterans who lived along this stretch of the Jersey Shore.
He’d be lying if he said that it had been anything other than a rockin’ hot bod and stunning face that had made him take notice the first time. But it hadn’t taken him long to see past her beauty to the strong and smart woman inside. One who laughed often, but whose gaze was shadowed by pain.
He wondered a lot about what had put the darkness there and what would drive it away.
He also wondered if he’d misread something else in that gaze: Desire.
He thought he’d seen it after the first couple of times that they’d talked. A hesitant half glance and that look that said she maybe wanted more, but was afraid to say so.
Which puzzled him considering the kind of woman she was.
Independent. Determined. Capable.
Ex-Navy, she was now in the Coast Guard and used to dealing with men on all levels.
He’d thought she’d be a little more direct about what she wanted.
But then again, maybe he could be a little more direct as well.
He wanted to get to know her better. Emotionally. Physically.
The latter thought made his gut twist painfully.
He glanced down at lefty and wondered what she would think when she realized. How she would handle the revelation. Would she not care or shy away?
Fuck that, he thought.
Today was going to be a day for firsts.
His first time surfing in two years.
His first time asking a woman out since he’d been wounded.
Maybe even another first if they hit it off.
A man could dream after all, he thought and as the ocean surged beneath him, he flattened onto the board and paddled into the wave.
As he caught it just right, he popped to his feet and flew toward shore, smiling all the way.
Meet Caridad Pineiro~
NY Times and USA Today Bestseller Caridad Pineiro is a Jersey Girl who writes romantic suspense, military romance, contemporary romance, paranormal romance, and vampire suspense.
Caridad loves to travel, cook, and spend time with family & friends. Caridad is the author of nearly 50 novels/novellas. Caridad writes dark and sexy novels and novellas for those who live to love on the edge. Her sweet, but still naughty side, Charity Pineiro, writes contemporary romances packed with emotion and humor.
You can also find her here:
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