Read Surrender: A Little Harmless Military Romance Online

Authors: Melissa Schroeder

Tags: #interracial romance, #romance adult, #romance erotic, #Romance, #harmless, #romance between friends, #wwbm, #melissa schroeder, #a little harmless military romance, #military romance, #multicultural romance

Surrender: A Little Harmless Military Romance (4 page)

BOOK: Surrender: A Little Harmless Military Romance
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“No. First of all, your father has a big house, not an estate. And secondly, you don’t need my protection. You have your father wrapped around your finger.”

There was a look in Addy’s eyes that had Amanda pausing. There was a vulnerable quality to her, then it disappeared in an instant. “Dad said something about ham.”

“No. I am going to be completely selfish for one day.”

“Fine, but I will tell Dad that you refused to come.”

Amanda rolled her eyes. “I’m sure he’ll really care about that.”

“He likes you.”

“I didn’t say that, but he wants to see you.”

Addy sighed. “Yeah, I know. I just hate that there will probably be another lawyer there he tries to fix me up with. That lawyer will take one look at my purple hair and freak out.”

Amanda slipped her arm over her friend’s shoulders. “But he loves you.”

Addy sighed. “Yeah. So you won’t help me?”

“You’re on your own there, kid. I’m going to vegetate.”




Chapter Three



The next morning, bright and early, Amanda was putting on her walking shoes and complaining about her damned fantasies. All night long, she had been dreaming of the man she shouldn’t even be thinking about that way. Malachai Dupree.

Her plans of being lazy had dissolved ten minutes into her lazifest. She cursed her imagination and pulled her hair up into a ponytail. Her brain would not let her just vegetate. Instead, Mal was there, laughing with her, letting her cry on his shoulder, silently holding her hand the first time she went to her husband's grave in Arlington.

Dammit. Tears burned the back of her eyes, and she scrubbed her hands over her face. As she had learned before, the best way to deal with her feelings was to go out for a walk, think, and let the exercise work its magic on her negative mood.

Ten minutes later, she was walking on the path near her house, enjoying the day. It was cloudy, the hint of rain in the air, and cool enough not to cause her to sweat too much. She loved the DC area for just these kinds of things. She loved seasons, loved the fall, the winters, the springs and summers, and especially liked that she could find a good place to walk or run even out in the boonies. The hot summers in Texas were too much for her to take, and she wasn’t sure she could ever give up the mixture of culture in the DC area.

She was just getting into her walk, listening to the latest Nora Roberts book on her iPod, when she heard someone yelling. She turned just in time to have a biker run into her. She fell back and had no time to brace herself. Her butt hit first, her back, and then her head conked hard against the pavement.

"Oh my goodness, I am so sorry," an older woman said. She was leaning over Amanda, her face creased with concern.

"Mildred, I told you we should do this at home," said someone else, a man, but it was hard for her to tell. She was still seeing stars and her ears were ringing.

"I didn't want our neighbors to see me try to learn how to ride a bike."

"Yes, injuring a stranger is even better." Even with her head spinning, she could hear the sarcasm in the old man’s voice.

"Dear, are you okay? Do you need help up?"

They each took an arm, and she tried to stand, but the world around her started to spin. The colors of the surrounding landscape blurred.

"Oh, that's not good," she said weakly as her spinning world went to complete black.


* * * *


Mal's heart was pounding so damn hard as he hurried into the Potomac ER. He rushed to the information desk. "I'm the POC for Amanda Forrester."

"Are you her husband?" the woman asked.

"No. I'm...was a friend of her husband's. The ER called me and said she had been injured."

The woman nodded to the people behind the counter. "This one's here for Forrester.” She turned back to Mal. They’ll let you in."

There was a buzz and he strode over to the doors. A round, happy nurse smiled at him. "She's right down here in room 5F."

"How is she doing?"

"Fine. She hit her head, and they are talking of admitting her for that reason. But I'm not too sure Ms. Forrester agrees."

She opened the door, and he felt his heart slide down into his stomach. She looked so damned pale. She had bandages on both hands. There were dark circles beneath her eyes and at that moment, she looked so still.

“We’re keeping the lights dimmed because they hurt her eyes.”


“Slight. Not anything major.”

“I hear you whispering over there,” she said, a smile playing about her mouth. “I didn’t lose my hearing, Nurse Brady.”

The nurse chuckled. “If I thought you were sleeping, I would have had to wake you up.”

She slowly opened her eyes. “Mal, they called you.”

“I’ll leave you two alone. Ms. Forrester, just so you know, the doctor is not giving up on you being here overnight.”

“Tell him to stick it.”

The nurse giggled and left them alone.

“I see you’re already making friends,” he said. He tried to keep his tone light, but it was hard. His throat was still tight. He had never known terror like what he felt getting that call.

“Come on in. I don’t bite, Malachai.”

He collected himself and walked to the side of her bed. “How are you doing?”

“I’ve had better days. You?”

“Well, I was having a great day until they called me.”

“You can go now.”

He heard the amusement in her voice, and he smiled. “Not a chance. I didn’t know I was on your list of contacts.”

She shook her head, and he thought it was more about clearing it than it was to deny what he was saying. “Remember, you said to put you on there after Kyle died, that I was to put you on there.”

He had, but it had been over a year and her brother had moved to the area. He was trying not to let the fact she left him on her contact list get to him, but it was hard. And he was in big trouble if just a simple thing like that was getting him excited.

“I thought they would call your brother.”

“They did before I was coherent enough to tell them he was still on TDY in San Antonio. Addy is out at her father’s, so I didn’t want to bother her.”

“Nothing like being a woman’s last resort to make a guy feel good about himself.”

One side of her mouth curved, and he felt the flutter in his chest that he hated. The one that kept him up at nights, and the one that was making it damned hard to find another woman.

Pushing that thought aside, he moved to sit in the chair beside her. She looked so small lying there on the bed. Mal knew she hated being considered fragile. She was a tough woman, but at the moment she didn’t look that way. It was damned hard not to gather her in his arms to hold.

“I thought you said you were going to just rest today?” he asked.

She pouted, and he had to resist the urge to kiss it away.

“I was, but I just couldn’t settle.”

“Really?” he asked, not trying to hide the disbelief in his voice. She never did settle that he had seen. Amanda always had something going on, as if she never slowed down.

. Sometimes when I have a big job like yesterday, I get too caught up in the work, and it’s hard to just be still. My mind jumps from one thing to another. Concentration gets hard.”

“So you decided to run?”

“No, I decided to go out for a walk. It was hard to ignore such a pretty day.”

“Only you would think today was a pretty day.”

“I like fall. No, I love fall, especially when we have those storms move through.”

Before he could berate her for not taking care of herself, the doctor slipped into the room. He was wearing scrubs. He strode toward Mal with his hand outstretched. “I’m Dr. Franklin. You must be Mr. Forrester.”

“Ah, no. I’m a good friend.” He leaned forward and lowered his voice. “Her husband was killed in the line of duty.”

The doctor nodded in understanding.

“I didn’t lose my hearing. You can say my husband is dead. I can take it.”

She had that grumpy voice he recognized. She didn’t feel well, and now she was going to take it out on everyone. Amanda could usually smile through anything, but when she was irritable, she couldn’t hide it. But that was one thing he loved about Amanda. She never tried to hide her emotions.

“Well, Ms. Forrester, you’re going to have to stay overnight. You have a slight concussion.”

Her eyelids lifted slightly, and he could read the irritation.

“I don’t want to.” She sounded like a toddler denied a treat, but he understood. Mal wasn’t the best patient either. He really hated hospitals and could never feel comfortable in one.

“You live alone according to your chart. When I saw…”

“Malachai Dupree.”

The doctor nodded. “I thought he was your husband and someone would be with you through the night. But since you do live alone, you’re going to need to stay here. You need someone to keep an eye on you.”

“What about your brother?” Mal asked

“I told you, he’s TDY.”

Malachai nodded. Her brother had been assigned to the Pentagon like him, but he was working in some kind of job that had him out of town a lot. “I can do it.”

The moment he said the words, he wanted to pull them back. It wasn’t a good idea for him to stay the night at her place. But the grateful look she gave him was a little too much to resist. He knew she hated the idea of being stuck in the hospital, and if they couldn’t get a hold of Addy, Amanda would be stuck there all night. The doctor looked between them. “You’ll have to stay through tomorrow.”

He filtered through what he needed to do tomorrow, then nodded. “I have to make a few phone calls, but I can swing it.”


“I don’t need to be taken care of,” she said, her voice filled with irritation. She was going to give him issues if he didn’t nip this attitude in the bud.

Mal saw the doctor open his mouth, but he stopped him.

“Stop being a whiner, Forrester. Do what the doctor wants or I’ll call your folks.”

Her eyes sparked with anger. “Not fair.”

“Most of life isn’t. Get used to it.”

With that comment, he stepped out of the room and into the lobby. He had some things to move around at work. He pulled up his supervisor’s number on his cell and tapped it. He would definitely have to summon all his legendary control to keep himself in check.


* * * *


Amanda came awake slowly. For a moment, she couldn’t figure out where she was but then she realized she was home in her bed. The faint light peeking out from behind the blinds told her it was morning. She didn’t move. Instead, she lay motionless, assessing her bodily injuries. Lifting her hands, she inspected the bandages on them. Her palms no longer stung from the fall to the pavement but her body still ached from the bumps and bruises created by the impact.

She tried to sit up, pulling herself up with her arms, being careful of her palms. The room spun and her stomach started to revolt. Oh, not good. Her head might not hurt, but she wasn’t so sure that she could move at the moment. Swallowing, she lay back down and closed her eyes.

She still felt as if she’d been hit by a bus. Along with the pain of the injury, she hadn’t had much rest. Just knowing that Mal was in her apartment had her itching. Sure it wasn’t romantic, but she hadn’t had a man spend the night since Kyle had left—except one of her brothers. And they didn’t count as men.

After a few moments, she couldn’t ignore the fact that it had been hours since her last trip to the bathroom. As carefully as she could, she sat up again, then slipped out of bed. It only took her a few moments to finish her task. She looked down at her shorts and T-shirt. She really didn’t feel like changing, but she couldn’t walk out into the living room like this. She tugged off her shorts and grabbed a pair of PJ bottoms, then made her way to the living room.

It was then that she heard the low murmur of voices. She saw the couch was empty and followed the voices she heard into the kitchen.

Mal stood there cooking, with Addy leaning against the counter drinking a large mug of coffee.

“You said the doctor said she was okay, right? We don’t have much going on this week other than normal orders. After this weekend, Amanda wanted to take it easy.”

“I think you should try and keep her from being at work this week.”

She saw Addy nod. “I can do that.”

Irritation slinked down Amanda’s spine. She hadn’t let anyone rearrange her life in a good long while, and she wasn’t about to start letting people take over now.

“I think I can handle my own schedule.”

Addy jumped a little bit and looked guilty. Mal, damn him, just kept working on whatever he was cooking. He had probably known she was there the entire time. Freaking Seal.

BOOK: Surrender: A Little Harmless Military Romance
3.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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