Risking It All

Q: Is he a surfing slacker or decorated Navy SEAL?
A: Try both.

What is it about extreme surfer John “Cash” Cashman? Ambitious documentarian Rina Calhoun has filmed risk-taking sports enthusiasts before, but she’s never made a private tape of one of these bad boys…. And it turns out the daring, hot movie version’s got nothing on the real thing!

But Rina’s X-treme documentary is turning into an X-asperating docudrama since Cash won’t sign her release form. No paper from him, no big break for her.

Cash wants to help the fiery little number behind the lens, though can’t because his secret life as a Navy SEAL has him deep undercover. Yet, as Rina stumbles into the line of fire, all bets are quickly off. He’s risking everything to save her. But will it be enough?

Read an Excerpt

“Rina, I told you before, just living is dangerous.”

She laughed. “Most civilians would probably disagree with you.”

“Most civilians don’t take the time to look at things the way I do,” Cash said.

“Well, now’s your chance to tell them, so there shouldn’t be a problem.”

“I have a problem. I don’t want kids to watch your show and think this job is all about the adrenaline rush.”

“You seem to have no problem with the adrenaline part.”

He sighed. “If I was only in this job with the adrenaline, I’d have dropped out a long time ago.”

“Why don’t I believe that for one second?” she asked. “You’re an adrenaline junkie. Have to be.”

He raised his eyebrows and the corner of his mouth lifted a little. And, for a few seconds, he sat there as if he was considering whether or not to blow this whole thing off. But he didn’t.

First, he stood, walked over to the camera and switched it off. And then, when he started talking, his voice was low and rough, the way it had been that night, when he’d whispered in her ear and made every nerve ending tingle.

“Surfing, my job, sex – they’re all made up of the same, basic elements,” he said. And it was only then that she understood she was done, as well. So completely done and she didn’t want to look back.

He continued. “They all bring on the same, base physical reaction. Your chest tightens, skin starts to be sensitive, everything gets brighter…”

“More in focus,” she said, because she understood.

“Right. Sharper, even though things move so fast, you don’t even have time to breathe. And you don’t need to. Your body moves on complete animal instinct.”

Somewhere along the way, during his explanation, her breath became short in supply. Somewhere along the way, she’d risen from her seat because he’d gotten up from his and ended up standing next to her. So close.

“What’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?” she asked, since she wanted to stay in control, of herself and of this interview.

He rubbed his chin and his eyes took on a sudden, faraway look. “Too many to say.”

“Pick one.”

He pulled his khaki colored T-shirt out of his pants to expose his chest. He’d taken the tape off his ribs, and she saw a mass of bruises around his right side. “Why don’t you pick?” he suggested, and she let her eyes drift over the various scars on his chest and abdomen. Scars she’d noticed that evening and hadn’t had time to ask him about because he’d kept her too busy to talk – scars she’d assumed were badges of honor from his extreme surfing days.

She put her finger out, traced a healed line that ran from his lower abs around to his back. “This one.”

“Pirates caught me boarding their ship off the coast of Indonesia.”

“How did you get away?”

“Blew up the ship, jumped overboard with the hostage I was saving. Swam until another ship picked us up. Good thing, too, because the sharks were starting to circle.”

Her eyes widened, she put a hand to her mouth and he smirked, pulled his shirt down and tucked it back into his jungle BDUs. But he didn’t back away from her. If anything, he seemed to be closer to her.

“Weren’t you scared?” she asked.

“Every time I go out there’s a chance I won’t come back. It’s a choice I make every time. This job’s not just a way to get your rocks off, even if you choose a career showcasing such bullshit.”

“You have no idea what my work is all about. You barely know me, so how can you be an expert on my career?”

“I know your work’s just as dangerous as mine,” he said. “Or it can be, if you do it well. If you’re not too afraid to do it right.”

She didn’t bother analyzing why his words stung because she knew. “Yeah, right,” she said. But when she looked into his eyes she saw he wasn’t kidding. “Somehow, I think what you do rates a little higher than what I do.”

“We all take risks, Rina. And all risk counts. Living, really living, and doing something you love is all about taking chances. It’s always a crapshoot, and that’s the way it should be.”

“I prefer to stay behind the camera and film other people taking the risks.”

“Because you’re scared.”

“Because that’s my job,” she said, wondered how the tables were suddenly turned on her.

“So what’s the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?” he asked.