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
“Hey, you okay?”
She shook her head to clear it of the tainted memories of her marriage.
“Fine. Just a little woo woo because of my meds. I think I’ll take a nap.”
He nodded and gave her a kiss. “I’m going to hang out on the couch. Call if you need me.”
She snuggled down in her bed. Thoughts that Mal would never be interested in someone like her would normally keep her awake, but she hadn’t been lying. The meds were strong, and she wasn’t accustomed to taking anything more than aspirin.
The last though in her head before she fell asleep was that it would be much better with Mal in her bed with her.
* * * *
Friday, Mal was still playing catch up. It seemed that everything ran on a forty-eight hour cycle at the Pentagon, and the punishment for taking that one day resulted in a week of living hell. He still hadn’t caught up on his email over the last four days. He didn’t regret the decision, and he knew he wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.
He glanced at the clock. By the time seven rolled around that evening, he had been at work for thirteen hours, and all he wanted was a break. He had fought his need to call more than once a day to check on Amanda. Taking care of a sick friend was one thing, being obsessed with her health was a little off the mark. Mal knew that her brother was already more than a little curious about his fixation on her. If he called more often, there was a good chance Dylan would figure it out.
He was shutting down for the night when his phone rang. He didn’t recognize the number, but it was a two one zero, which meant San Antonio, which could be anything since it was the headquarters for the Air Force.
“Lieutenant Commander Dupree, how may I help you?”
“Dupree, this is General Simmons, Mandy’s father. I understand you helped her this weekend?”
For a second, he couldn’t think. Who was Mandy? Then it hit him.
“Oh, Amanda. Yes, I was still on the roster to be called in case of an emergency.”
“What is your interest in my daughter?”
His brain stopped functioning. Mal was accustomed to being ordered to do things. From the time he entered Annapolis, he had thrived on it, but now…well, he was being asked about something he couldn’t figure out himself. And by the father of the woman he had been lusting after.
He cleared his throat. “Excuse me, sir?”
There was a pause. “I asked what your interest in my daughter was. Are you dating?”
“Then why did she call you?”
“Who are you talking to?” a faint voice said from the background.
“I’m talking to this Dupree.”
“Oh, for goodness sake. You know him. He was at Kyle’s funeral.”
There was some noise of the phone being jostled around and then a soft, southern voice said, “Malachai, this is Francine, Amanda’s mother. How are you doing?”
“I am very sorry for my husband. He seemed to have the wrong idea and wanted to call you on the carpet. He’s forgotten he isn’t in the military anymore, and no one has to listen to his orders.”
He didn’t know what to say to that.
“Dylan called and said Amanda was okay and you took good care of her. I want to thank you so much. She’s our baby, so we worry.”
“She’s fine, Mrs. Simmons. She just needs a little rest, and Addy has ensured me that she was going to make sure she took it easy this week.”
“Good. She doesn’t always rest like she should. I am so thankful you were there to take care of her. She won’t admit it, but she likes to be pampered every now and then. She doesn’t allow for it unless she’s really sick.”
“I talked to Addy yesterday, and she assured me Amanda was fine.”
“Yes, but I wanted to thank you personally. Frank and I come into town every now and then, so we would love to meet with you when we come there next month.”
“That is if you aren’t called out to duty. I completely understand.”
There was going to be no way out of it, he knew. She might speak softly, but he knew any military wife of twenty-five years was not to be taken lightly. They usually had nerves of steel and their word was final. And his mama, well, he had been schooled on how to treat mothers with respect.
“No, I am actually working at the Pentagon for someone deployed. Unless we are attacked, I’m pretty much stuck here until she comes back.”
“Excellent. Again, I am sorry that Frank bothered you. Goodnight, Malachai.”
“Goodnight, Mrs. Simmons.”
The phone went dead, and he sat there for a second. How the hell had Amanda’s dad gotten his number at the Pentagon? He rolled his eyes. “The man’s a retired major general. He has connections everywhere.”
“Talking to yourself, Dupree?”
He glanced up and found Veronica Paul at the doorway. The sexy Air Force Major had been popping by unannounced, dropping not too subtle hints that she was in the mood for a bit of play. They had played in the past, and she was considered a favorite sub at Capital Punishment. Hell, at one time she was one of his favorite subs. But now, he wasn’t interested.
“Too many hours. How you pencil pushers take this crap all the time, I don’t know.”
“Too many hours? From a Seal? Please, you just can’t handle the things we do because you aren’t grabbing glory,” she said, her smile telling him she was joking. She was a gorgeous woman, tall, athletic, with the most amazing green eyes and the silkiest of red hair he knew reached the small of her back. And still, he wasn’t the least bit interested.
That should scare the hell out of him, but for some reason, it didn’t. In fact, it felt right.
“Whatcha up to tonight, Roni?”
She shrugged and walked into his office. “I was going to ask if you’re up for a little play, but I have a feeling that you aren’t.”
He frowned. “What makes you think that?”
“You’ve checked the clock three times in the last two minutes. You’re off to see someone.”
He shook his head. He wished. “No, not really.”
She smiled at him but there was no seduction in it. “Well, your mind is on someone. Someone you would rather play with.” He opened his mouth to deny it, but she stopped him by raising her hand. “Mal, let’s not lie to each other. We both know we weren’t looking for anything but some fun. It allows us to be friends.”
He nodded. “She’s not…into play. And she’s completely off limits.”
She frowned. “Really? How odd. I mean, why would you get all tangled up over some woman who isn’t interested in you?”
Why indeed. That was the question that had been plaguing him for months. He knew that his round of one-night stands six months ago had more to do with trying to ignore his feelings for Amanda than anything else. Even when he tried to tell himself it was the fact that it had been his friends getting married, he knew it had been wrong. And at the end of his few weeks of acting like an ass, he realized he wasn’t any happier. He’d been living like a monk the last few months.
He brushed away those worries. “Are you going to CP tonight?”
“I wasn’t going to but since you are otherwise engaged, I probably will.”
“I might just have to join you.”
“What?” he asked.
“Please don’t do the big brother routine you did with me when we were there last time. I want to actually find a Dom tonight, okay?”
He chuckled. “I promise.”
With that, he pulled out his CAC card that gave him access to the computer and stood.
“I need to get out and do…something.”
As he followed Roni out the office door, he realized he was in real trouble if he was having to manufacture interest in going to CP. Hopefully when he got there, he would be able to ignore thoughts about Amanda and find a woman for the night.
Amanda glanced around the club and frowned. How had she ended up at the most notorious BDSM club in the DC area?
. Her best friend had talked her into coming. It was her fault, really. Amanda knew the painkillers made her loopy, and on Wednesday night, she admitted to Addy that she was lusting after Mal and that he was a member of the club. That had been a mistake bigger than Amanda had ever imagined.
“Why are we here?” she asked.
“Because you finally admitted you wanted Malachai and your brother said he comes here. I have a feeling that he will not act unless you get right up in his face. And I want to be an auntee, and that won't happen if I can't get you off your ass."
“Why not have your own children?”
“Because being an aunt is ten times better. I don’t want them in my house all the time. Plus, I think you and Dupree will make some gorgeous babies together.”
"I don't want to get married. I...I wasn't good at it."
Addy shook her head and rolled her eyes. There was no use trying to convince her best friend she wasn't a woman men wanted to keep. Kyle had proven that.
"How did you get us in here?"
She didn’t answer. Instead, she took a drink of her soda and looked around the club.
She sighed. "Well, I know the owner."
Amanda looked at her. "Really? Who is that?"
"No, you tell me. I told you my secret, you tell me yours."
"Remember that guy the other night my dad tried to fix me up with?"
"Yeah, well, I did some research and found out that he is part owner of the club. So..."
Amanda shut her eyes. "You blackmailed him. Oh my God. You blackmailed a lawyer."
"It wasn't that hard, really. I mean, he did try to lie about it, but then I gave him the proof."
Amanda opened her eyes and looked at her friend. "What?"
Addy shrugged. "Nothing."
"No, there is something there again."
"Okay, well, he is much more attractive to me now that I know this."
"You aren't into BDSM. You said you didn't like it at all."
"I'm not. Really. I’m more into the fact that he has this kind of double life. One he shows everyone else, and one I know. Sort of like a sexual superhero."
Amanda snorted then started laughing. "Oh my God. You never fail to surprise me."
"I know, right? I'm damned astonished at myself. He's so damned rigid. I hate men like that."
"And it's been working out so well with the ‘go with the flow’ guys?"
Addy opened her mouth to answer then snapped it shut as she looked across the floor. "Your Seal just showed up."
She followed Addy's gaze across the floor to the door and found she was right. Mal was walking in the room dressed in black leather, but he wasn't alone. A tall, skinny redhead was with him.
"Shit, I knew this was a bad idea."
She set her glass down and turned to leave. Addy stopped her. "No, they aren't together."
She looked up and saw the redhead give Mal a kiss on the cheek, then she left him.
“Looks like they just walked in together. They apparently aren’t here together, as in for public play.”
“Dupree doesn’t really do public play,” said a deep voice, rich with a Boston accent. She turned and found herself face to face with probably the prettiest man she had ever seen.
He was tall, even taller than her brothers, who were over six feet. He had wavy dark blond hair that danced over the edge of the collar of his shirt. Piercing green eyes had her pulling in a deep breath. The strong jawline and slightly crooked nose kept him from looking too feminine.
"I didn't say we wanted to spend time with you, Walton," Addy said, her usual cool exterior now flashing with irritation.
"I don't think I asked. I wanted to see the woman you wanted to get in this club so badly that you blackmailed me."
"I didn't blackmail you. I let you know that I had information on you."
His lips twitched. "And when you told me that you would let people know about it, you turned it into blackmail. Why don't you introduce me to your friend?"
Addy’s usual unflappable personality was in direct contrast to her behavior with this guy. And she was acting like a snot, which wasn’t like her. Amanda’s interest in the lawyer increased tenfold.
Addy crossed her arms beneath her breasts. "You know her name."
There was steel in his voice that usually would have sent Addy into doing something deliberately bad, but instead she responded to it.
"Okay, Amanda this is Walton. Vic Walton, this is my business partner, Amanda."
Amanda gave her friend a look then offered her hand. She didn't expect him to take it and kiss it.
He released her hand and smiled at Addy. "You didn't tell me she was so cute."