By: Melissa Schroeder

“I think your brother had that wrong.”

She glanced back and forth between them. “Whatever. Just make sure you stick around for some of the reception before you go sniffing any women.”

“Don’t worry about me. Your brother has the impulse control problem.”

Shannon laughed.

Mal grunted. “Both of you suck.”

“They’re going to be cutting the cake soon, so at least hold off until then, could you?”

With that she brushed past them, and he could smell her. God, she was exotic. Even with all the scents of Hawaii surrounding him, hers stood out. Spicy, sweet...

He took another pull from his longneck bottle, trying to cool his libido.

“So, who do you have in mind?” Mal asked, pulling him from his thoughts.


“Man, it’s a wedding. Women are always ripe for seduction at these things. You have to have someone in mind.”

His gaze traveled back to Shannon. She walked through the crowd, her hips swaying sensually as she moved from person to person. Her smile enticed everyone she spoke to. As the owner of a bar and grill in New Orleans, she knew how to work a room. And dammit, she had that perfect smile that drew every man to her. His hand started to hurt, and he looked down to find his fist clenched so tight around his bottle his knuckles were white. It took a couple of seconds to calm himself down. He didn’t have a right to be jealous. She wasn’t his to love, to protect. He’d learned a long time ago that being a Seal and being married just didn’t work out.

He noticed Mal looking at him, expecting an answer.

“Not sure, mate, but I have a feeling I’ll find someone to occupy my time.”

• • • • •

Shannon shivered as she took a sip of champagne. She tried not to wince at the taste. What the holy hell was she doing drinking it? She hated the drink. What she needed was two fingers of whiskey. It would clear her head of the sexy Seal that had her pulse skipping.

“What are you doing drinking that?” her sister, Jocelyn, asked.

When Shannon turned, she couldn’t fight the smile. Seeing the transformation of her sister in the last year was amazing. Seeing her happily married with Kai added to the joy she felt for Jocelyn. Even if there was a little jolt of envy, Shannon couldn’t begrudge her the happiness. After the things she had overcome, Jocelyn deserved it more than anyone she knew.

“I thought it best. You know with the jet lag and all that, I need to keep my wits about me. Champagne should help, right?”

Her sister’s eyes danced with barely suppressed amusement. “It couldn’t be because of one hot Seal with a hint of an Aussie accent, could it?

Shannon closed her eyes and sighed. “That man gets my temperature up. All he has to do is smile, and I’m ready to strip naked and jump his bones.” She opened her eyes. “Is it that obvious?”

Jocelyn shook her head. “Just to someone who knows you like I do.”

And no two people knew each other better. As the two girls in a huge family of men, they had depended on each other. Only fifteen months apart in age, they were more like twins than just sisters.

“Are you talking about that hot Seal your brother brought with him?” May Aiona Chambers asked as she stepped up to the two women. After meeting her just months earlier at Jocelyn’s wedding, Shannon had instantly liked the sassy Hawaiian. Petite with the most amazing long hair and blue green eyes, she never seemed to have a problem voicing her opinion.

“Oh, May, please, could you join us in the conversation,” Jocelyn said with a laugh.

“As my sister-in-law, you should be used to it by now.” She dismissed Jocelyn and honed in on Shannon. “He’s been watching you.”

“What?” she asked, her voice squeaking. “No he hasn’t.”

“That Seal, he’s been watching you all day.”

Shannon snorted, trying to hide the way her heart rate jumped. “You’re insane. Does this run in the family? You might want to adopt children, Jocelyn.”

“No, really, he has. He does it when he thinks you aren’t looking.”

She turned around and found him easily on the other side of the dance floor. That erect posture made it easy. He always looked like he was standing at attention. Even in civvies, he looked like a Seal. The Hawaiian print polo shirt hugged his shoulders and was tucked neatly into his khaki dress slacks. He wasn’t the tallest man in the room, but he stood out. All that hard muscle, not to mention the blond hair and the to-die-for blue eyes, made him a gorgeous package. Everything in her yearned, wanted. Of course, he wasn’t looking at them. His attention was on the other side of the room. Probably on some damned stripper. Shannon turned back to her sister and May.

“Are you drunk?” Shannon asked.

May rolled her eyes. “No, really he has. You know what those Seals are like. He can do surveillance without you knowing. It’s his job. But you should see the way he looks at you.”

She couldn’t help herself. “Like how?”

May hummed. “Like he wants to take a big, long bite out of you.”

She couldn’t stop the shiver that slinked down her spine or the way her body heated at the thought. Since she had met him five years earlier, she had been interested in him. He was quiet, unlike her brothers, and the way he moved…God, she knew for sure he was good in bed. But it was more than that. Kade was sexy, that was for sure, but there was something more to him than just a good-looking man. There was an innate goodness in him, one that made a woman know he would take care of her no matter what.

“If I were you, I would make use of the event to get him in bed.”

Shannon snorted again, trying to keep herself from imagining it—and failing. “Please, May, tell me what you really think.”

“Believe me, I know about waiting, and it isn’t worth it. I waited years for some idiot to notice me. I think of all the time we wasted dancing around like that.”

“Did you just call your husband an idiot?” Jocelyn asked.

May rolled her eyes. “He overlooked me for years, then waited forever once he did notice me. Of course he’s an idiot. But in this situation, you have to be strategic. I saw Evan almost every day. This guy, he’s going to be gone again with that job of his. You have got to take advantage of the wedding and get him into bed. Get a little wedding booty.”

She should be mad, but it was hard to be. May looked so innocent with her sweet smile, and her voice sounded like something out of a movie. Shannon just couldn’t get irritated with her. Before May could say anything else, they announced the cutting of the cake. She turned to face the banquet table, and as she did, she caught Kade looking at her. It was the briefest moment, just a second, but even across all that space, she saw the heat, the longing, and felt it build inside of her. Her breath backed up in her lungs. In that next instant, he looked away.