“She’s trying to send us away. Thing is, we’re not leaving Nick behind.”
I hear Jake whispering in the other room. He thinks I’m upstairs still trying to download some damned music, but I had a sense that there was mutiny brewing. Good thing I checked.
They’re camped out in my mother’s living room and she is so not going to be happy about the sand thing. Because it’s everywhere. Jake’s stretched out across the good couch – you know, the one no one’s allowed to sit on unless it’s a major holiday, and Saint’s on my computer. My computer. Mark Kendall, Jake’s senior chief, is staring out the window and Chris is sprawled on the floor, headphones on singing, Welcome to the Jungle. I can always count on him to be the voice of reason except when he’s wrapped up in his music.
“Nick’s staying here. With me,” I tell them. They look surprised to see me, but hey, I’ve learned a few things hanging out with them.
They, of course, are not happy about that at all.
“First of all, one of the reasons you want to keep Nick here today is because you’re going to ask him to fix your music download problem,” Jake says, locking onto me with those smoke gray eyes. He’s wearing a bandana wrapped around his head and they’re all wearing Desert Cams, which is weird, because I specifically needed them in jungle BDUs.
There’s no way in hell I’m doing all their laundry.
Nick crosses his arms and stares at me, and I’m losing in this distraction technique game. But I’ve still got a few tricks up my sleeve.
I’m not staying if there’s not going to be some majorly hot woman throwing herself in my general direction,” Nick says.
“Kaylee will be here. And she’s hot.”
He snorts. And snorts again. “Yeah, and you’ve fixed it so we can’t stand each other.”
“That’s only for a little while and then I’m going to make sure you fall-”
“Don’t say it.” Nick holds up his hand and his voice sounds strangled. “Don’t say it or write it or even think it. I’m single, happy and full-steam ahead.”
Not for long, hon.
“She’s plotting against you,” Jake informs him. “Against all of you.”
“Is that true?” Saint asks me, but before I can answer, Jake starts in.
“You know what she’s doing to you? Want to know who she’s trying to pair you up with?”
“Not that FBI Agent again,” Saint says.
“Oh yeah. Big time.”
Saint stands and stares me down. He’s really big. And handsome. But he’s pissed.
I do the only thing I can. I save myself. “Jake’s trying to sleep with the female pilot,” I tell him, and immediately he turns on Jake. Jake jumps up swiftly and ends up across the room and out of Saint’s reach.
Chris starts in on Paradise City and I realize he’s using my MP3 player.
“Don’t believe her,” Jake says. “I was only trying to get us a better flight time. Besides, Steph isn’t giving you any air-time in Nick’s book, but your love interest gets plenty. Plenty.”
Crap. Time for plan b. It’s not smart to piss off Jake’s CO, but it’s all I’ve got. “Chris suggested I write a book about a woman who becomes a Navy SEAL. You know, kind of like GI Jane. He said you’d love to fall for a heroine like that.”
Oh yeah, that does it. Because all heads turn to Chris, who stops singing immediately.
“Are you kidding me?” Saint demands of Chris.
“I never said that. Tell them I never said that.” Chris turns to me, but I’m too busy studying his eyes. I love his eyes, one blue, one green, mainly because they give him that slightly crazed look. Coupled with his six foot six frame, and the fact that he can sing like no one’s business, he’s a great hero.
And since I’m not helping him, Chris does the only thing he can. He diverts, dodges and weaves. â€œNick did a little more with that reporter than just give an interview the other day,â€ he says. And Nick spits the coffee he was drinking all over the place. My mother is definitely not going to be happy but my plan is working beautifully.
“Son of a -… Saint, look,” he starts, but Saint is moving toward him fast. I do the only thing I can. Distract them. With women. And I’m slightly amused that a big, strong Navy SEAL like Nick is now hiding behind me.
“I like Tori,” Saint says, but James raises one eyebrow at me and disappears, I’m guessing, to try and beat Saint there. And now Jake’s pissed that both men are going to beat him to Tori.
“I like Tori too,” he tells me, and then he smiles. “But there’s also Kellie…”
“Right. And you know, Sharon mentioned something about a nice shiny stainless steel .308 with a leupold vari X 3 stainless scope.”
Jake’s eyebrows raise, his interest piqued. “Yeah? That sounds…hey, who’s that?” He points to a mysterious looking woman who’s suddenly appeared in the room.
“Tessa,” Chris finishes for her. She looks surprised, but hey, he is psychic. “You’re a witch.”
Tessa looks directly at Jake. “Sasha sent me. She said you mentioned something about bringing it on?”
“Oh yeah.” Jake walks toward her and Chris follows, mumbling something about Sasha and spells.
I turn to the only SEAL left, just in time to see Kaylee walk into the room. For one second, I feel guilty about what I’ve just unleashed onto the blogosphere, but hey, I warned everyone.