Love Lies Beneath

By: Jen Talty

Dear Reader,

Welcome to Barefoot Bay Kindle World, a place for authors to write their own stories set in the tropical paradise that I created! For these books, I have only provided the setting of Mimosa Key and a cast of characters from my popular Barefoot Bay series. That’s it! I haven’t contributed to the plotting, writing, or editing of Love Lies Beneath. This book is entirely the work of Jen Talty, who’s back in Barefoot Bay with some sizzle and suspense on the sand.

In keeping with the “military theme” of this Barefoot Bay Kindle World launch, Jen’s hero is a Navy SEAL who fell hard for his physical therapist after an injury. She never returned his attention, but a chance encounter at a wedding gives him the opportunity to try again. He’s up against her past and a firsthand knowledge of how difficult military life can be…and a threat that could end any chance at love.

Roxanne St. Claire



PS. If you love this island paradise, be sure to pick up one eighteen titles I’ve written set in Barefoot Bay. And now there are seventy-five novellas in the Barefoot Bay Kindle World penned by other authors in the same setting. Come for a short visit or lose yourself on the beautiful beach and fall in love over and over again! All the books are listed at www.roxannestclaire.com.





Prologue



IF SHE SAID NO THIS TIME, Lt. Mitchell Harrison would have to throw in the white towel.

Crashing and burning when it came to women was not in Mitch’s wheelhouse. He wouldn’t necessarily consider himself a ladies’ man, but he’d never had trouble smooth-talking a woman into at least one drink.

“How’s that feeling?” Ashley Riggs, Physical Therapist, and the sweetest woman he’d ever met, strolled into the exam room with a bag of ice and a towel. “You really pushed yourself these last few sessions.”

He had no idea where her hair fell since she always wore it in a bun, but based on the size, he suspected her raven hair fell well past her shoulders.

And he could tell her hair was soft and thick.

Just like her eyelashes that blinked over her big eyes were the color of warm, wet sand being soaked with the waves gently rolling over the shore.

“It feels really good,” he said, rubbing his knee, stretching it in and out. “As if I never tore the ACL and had surgery.”

“I’m impressed by how quickly you’ve healed.” She rolled her chair over to the table where he sat, her tender hands wrapping his knee with the cold ice.

“I had a good therapist.”

She smiled, lowering her lids, as if she were embarrassed. He didn’t think so, but it sent a warm shiver across his freezing leg. Something about Ashley was different than most women, besides the fact she’d said no to him every time he’d asked for her number. While he wouldn’t mind finding out what she was like between the sheets, he’d settle for a glass of wine and fine conversation.

Her knowledge of the world constantly surprised him as he asked probing questions during their sessions, all in an effort to find a way to convince her he was a harmless SEAL looking to buy a nice lady a drink for helping him through a trying time.

“Well, I had a dedicated patient, which makes all the difference in the world. I can’t do the work for you.”

“I want to get back to work as soon as possible.” After surgery, when he’d first started physical therapy, he couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pain had been worse than when he’d first injured it when his shoot didn’t deploy in time during a low altitude jump.

“I’ve already signed the paperwork. It will be sent to your XO by Monday.”

He smiled. They were in a room, alone. Not in the big space where he did his workouts amongst all the other patients trying to push past the pain and get back to where they were before tragedy struck them.

“You know,” he said, in the suavest of voices he could manage. “If you scribbled your John Hancock, then technically, I’m not your patient.”

“Lieutenant, I’m still not going to go out with you.” She rested her hands on her hips, her chair swiveling slightly left, then right. The corners of her mouth turned upward into a half-smile.

There was hope.