Authors: Lisa Carlisle
An eRedSage Publishing Publication
This book is a work of complete fiction. Any names, places, incidents, characters are products of the author’s imagination and creativity or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is fully coincidental.
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A Marine’s Proposal
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A Marine’s Proposal © 2013 by Lisa Carlisle
Cover © 2013 by Niina C.
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By Lisa Carlisle
TO MY READERS:
Dear Readers, this story was inspired by a mock proposal (I think) during my days “shooting the s**t” in the Marine Corps, although the characters and events are fictional.
Slade and Caitlyn have a wonderful friendship, two people who’ve connected on the beautiful remote island of Okinawa, Japan. Yet neither admits their feelings run deeper—and hotter—than they’ve revealed. At their staged honeymoon, all masks come off during a passionate encounter too powerful to ignore.
The author recognizes the Incredible Hulk is the trademark of Marvel Comics Group.
Caitlyn’s fantasies about her Marine buddy Slade invade her thoughts over in Okinawa, Japan. BEWARE! When you read about their passionate encounter, you’ll experience another kind of heat on this tropical island.
“I've got it,” Slade said. He jumped up so quickly that Caitlyn fell off her bed. Her dolphin-pitch squeak announced her descent to the tan military-issued rug she despised.
“What are you doing down there?” he asked.
Caitlyn glared at him from her undignified position on the floor. She opened her mouth to explain it was the consequence of his spastic move, but then thought better of it. Why admit how she was leaning so close to him while they watched some nature documentary he said they had to watch? She couldn’t tell him she was bored with the program and had leaned in closer to see if she could still scent his shaving cream and aftershave, a combination of cleanliness and rugged masculinity she always found intoxicating.
“Never mind.” She untangled her sprawled legs.
Slade offered Caitlyn a hand and pulled her up to her feet with his powerful arms. She climbed back onto her bed and fluffed the pillows behind her back, trying to regain some semblance of dignity.
“I've come up with the perfect solution to our problem.” Slade said.
“What problem?” She muttered, “The only one I'm having right now is gravity.”
Slade shot her a quizzical look. “
problem,” he said.
“Oh, what we're going to do for dinner?” Caitlyn asked with sudden interest. She wanted to go into Naha tonight and sit down for some real Japanese food at one of the restaurants. He wanted to grab some healthy take-out off-base and bring it to down to sit on the sea wall. Did her stomach just growl to remind her or had she imagined it?
“No,” Slade said. “Always thinking with your stomach, aren't you, Cait?”
“If I don't, who else will?” She held her palms up and dropped them down to her sides for emphasis.
He ignored her as he stood up straight and began to pace. Then he stopped in his tracks and appeared very serious.
“We should get married.”
Caitlyn didn't blink or twitch a muscle for a good five seconds. She must have misunderstood. “Married?” she repeated, her jade eyes opening wide as she put down the magazine. “What are you talking about? I thought you were talking about
. You're joking, right?”
“No, I'm not joking. I'm completely serious.”
“Masters, get out of here,” Caitlyn said with a flick of her wrist. “I think all that thin air from rock climbing earlier has gone straight to your head.” She glanced at the television and saw a commercial with a couple exchanging rings in some outdoor setting. What the heck was this show even about? Whatever it was, it must have been where he came up with that cockamamie idea
“I still think we should go into Naha. It's a Saturday night, we can get some noodles and some drinks. Go for a walk in the outdoor markets, maybe even
,” she emphasized. She was pushing her luck with that idea. In all the time she knew him, Lance Corporal Slade Masters did not dance.
Slade ignored her and stood up. “You see, we both want some privacy.” He paced the room already like a lawyer presenting a case. “
want to get away from guys hitting on you.
want to get off-base, so I can study for my law classes. If I'm ever going to graduate, I can't live in a box with loud Marines stumbling in drunk all hours of the night. If we get married, we’d get a housing allowance since the staff housing is all full. Then we’d share an apartment off base and get out of these damn barracks.”
While watching him outlining his points with such confidence, Caitlyn found it hard not to drool. Outdoorsy, masculine, and intellectual. His self-assurance filled the area around him like a physical presence. She couldn't help but be impressed by him. His tone, his gait, all commanded attention.
He’d be an excellent officer one day if he wanted to. Or a lawyer or politician. He's a natural leader. People can’t help but look up to him.
And a husband. Someday, one lucky woman will win his heart, buried so deep inside on his paths to self-improvement.
I hate her already.
Slade’s proposal was so unexpected, she didn’t know how to react. Slade Masters was the one Marine she secretly fantasized about for months, ever since they met in training in the States. Now they were living across the hall in Okinawa, Japan. They started out friends, but as they grew closer, Caitlyn’s attraction to him grew stronger—something she could never admit without harming their friendship.
him—even her fantasies hadn’t gone that far. A thrill shot through her imagining the possibilities.
“I never pictured you to be the marrying type,” Caitlyn remarked.
“You’re always so focused on other things. Your running times, scuba-diving, grades—never something as ‘trivial’ as romance.”
“This isn’t about romance. It’s about being practical.”
“Oh, of course,” Caitlyn smirked. “Naturally.” She knew there had to be a catch.
She had to admit, it was a beneficial friendship for her. She loved the beach and would be content to sit by the ocean on her days off, reading or napping under the sun. Slade got her moving. He dragged her along on hikes ever since they met in Newport, Rhode Island, while training for their legal services military occupation specialty.
“Are you proposing to me?” she asked, trying to keep the eagerness out of her voice.
“It's not proposal, per se,” Slade clarified with a wave of his hand. “It's a solution.”
“Oh, I see,” Caitlyn said with a nod, giving him a semi-serious glance. “This is a marriage in name only?”
“Of course,” Slade said. “You can date who you want. You can have your own room. Do whatever you want. Just don't have any crazy parties or anything. I need to study.”
The reference to parties almost made Caitlyn flinch. When she first arrived in Okinawa, she indulged in quite a few wild nights while trying to forget she'd moved to a tiny island on the other side of the world. If it weren't for Slade, this once-in-a-lifetime experience could have ended up one long blackout. Snapping herself back to the present and the question at hand, she replied, “How long do you want this so-called
“As long as it takes,” Slade said. He returned to pacing again as he outlined his plan. “We'll take it as it goes. Maybe it will last until we're both promoted and warrant our own space in staff housing. Maybe it will be until you fall in love with somebody else and want to get married.”
Ouch, that hurt. Marrying
man. Was he so blind not to see how she wasn’t dating any of the many available men on this island because she only had eyes for one Marine, the one who sort-of asked her to marry him? Surely, she wasn't that good of an actress that she could hide her attraction to him. Whenever he strode over to her, she swore her pesky little nipples must have peaked at attention. She glanced down to see if they were behaving while pretending to brush away some lint off her shirt. Oh good, she wore a decent bra that hid any misbehavior on their part.
“Sounds like you have it all planned out,” Caitlyn said. “But there's one problem. If we get busted, we’re screwed.”
“Busted for what? We’d technically be married.”
“But if they find out we did it out of—convenience—rather than love, surely there will be consequences.”
Slade snorted. “You don’t think people get married all the time for convenience rather than love? Or for any other myriad reasons. Money, for one.” He counted on his fingers. “Unplanned pregnancy. Before deployment—or during leave—”
“Okay, I get it,” Caitlyn interrupted. “Sounds like you put a lot of thought into this,” She furrowed her brows. “This can’t be legal. Or ethical.”
“It makes perfect sense. There's no reason why we shouldn't.”
“How about the love factor?”
“Overrated,” Slade replied with a wave of his wrist as if love was simply some mosquito aiming to attack. “Do I have to continue my list?”
“No!” She searched her mind for reasons why it wouldn’t work, even though she was thrilled by the prospect. “If they find out it’s fake…” Her voice trailed off.
let them find out,” Slade said, widening his blue-gray eyes.
“And how do you suppose we do that?”
“We have to
like we're in love. We’re together all the time, so we need to make it look like we’re into each other.” He moved his hands back and forth as he said that. “You know, more than just friends.”
Caitlin imitated his gesture. “Is that how you—you know—get it on with women?”
“Ha ha. Funny. You know what I mean. Just pretend you’re into me.”
That part would be easy. Who couldn't appear in love with Slade Masters? Looks alone could sell him, even though he had so much more going for him. He was tall and athletic, with a lean physique toned from running and muscles carved from rock climbing. Women would kill for his caramel skin that contrasted with his even white teeth. And the eyes. Intense blue-grey eyes that squinted like Popeye's when he concentrated on something. Once you put that package in a Marine Corps uniform, any woman would turn into jelly. She noticed the appraising looks from the few other women Marines on the base or the Okinawan women in town.
The first time she spoke to Slade, she was so disarmed by his penetrating gaze she babbled on about a blood drive. “People need blood, you know.” she had said. She had then wanted to slap her forehead with a big
Wow, was she the scientist or what? People actually
blood? She should be given Nobel Prize for her brilliant discovery. Caitlyn almost laughed at the memory.
This marriage arrangement wouldn't be bad at all. How hard would it be to
to be in love with Slade Masters? No doubt, her attraction to him would carry the act far.
Still, she shook her head unconvinced. “It seems like we're, oh, I don't know—using each other.”
This time, Slade didn't have such a quick retort. He watched her so closely for a few seconds that made Caitlyn's heart beat quicker. “If we both know the ground rules, there should be no hard feelings. We're only two friends becoming roommates. That's all.”
“Yes, well, that too, technically. On paper. But we'd still be the same as we are now.”
Caitlyn had to admit that he had a good answer for each of her reservations.
“So you probably should be covert about any other guys you date.” He directed his eyes on her. “
covert. You know how Marines talk, especially about women.” He continued, “You can't let anybody know that this marriage is fake. If you tell one person, they tell another, and pretty soon the whole unit will know it's a scam. Then we'd get busted. So we need to be smart about it. Smart, quiet, and appear in love.”
“Slade, you know damn well that my love life is as exciting as this drab blanket right here,” she said pointing at the scratchy Marine Corps-issued wool blanket hanging off the end of her bed that she immediately tore off when she moved into this room and replaced with softer, more colorful bedding. Now that ugly remnant only covered her bed during routine inspections when all their uniforms and gear had to be presentable and accounted for.
“That's your doing. I'm not going to get into that.”
“And, well, this whole arrangement is also very deceitful.”
“Oh, come on, Cait, people get married for less all the time. They get married for money, fame, power, and so on. At least we're friends. I
like you as a friend. And I honestly care for you. Friends marry all the time.”
“You have a funny way of looking at things.”
“I call it a practical way.”
“That's you, Mr. Practical. You know you should really loosen up a little.”
Slade glared at her before adding, “Like you don't tell me that every other day.”
“Maybe give yoga another try.” She laughed aloud at a memory where she convinced him to try yoga with her. After all, he dragged her on so many hikes, it was time for him to try one of her pastimes. It was the one time that Slade Masters looked ridiculous. His limbs seemed to work independently of all thought as they bent in random directions not in line with what the rest of the class was doing. Although it killed her to hold her laughter in during the class, she had to give him props—he didn’t quit and stuck it through to the very end, despite how foolish he appeared.