Protector #5 (A Navy SEAL Military Romance)

BOOK: Protector #5 (A Navy SEAL Military Romance)
8.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


Protector Series Book #5

Claire Adams


book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are
products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not
to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual
events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.


© 2015 Claire Adams


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Protector 5

I’d laid down the law on going to the
police, Brian looked at me silently, then rolled over and went back to sleep
without another word. I lay awake for a long time thinking about the
consequences of calling the police and about what the stress of having to work
this situation alone was doing to a man I was quickly becoming attached to, but
in the end, I couldn’t see how we could involve the police in this without it
becoming a nightmare for my father. Right before dawn I drifted off into a
fitful sleep.

The next morning, I woke up
early and moved to the living room where I sat on the couch staring out the
window as Brian slept. There were lots of things about him that I didn’t
understand, and I wasn’t sure I’d ever understand them. He’d obviously been
through a lot in the military, and the effects of his experiences were rearing
their ugly heads as he tried to balance his job with what he was feeling for
me. Every day we grew closer, but was it really a bond that could last or was
it simply the result of being cooped up together in this emergency situation
that forced us to keep moving closer?

I was tired of running. I was tired of being afraid of Dominic.
I’d spent a year trying to extract myself from his choking grip, and now I was
right back to where I started. When would it ever end?

“Hey, you’re up early,” Brian said as he emerged from the bedroom
rubbing his sleepy eyes.

“Yeah, I couldn’t sleep,” I replied in a tired voice before
looking up at him. “You okay?”

“Huh?” he gave me a confused look. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why?”

“Well, last night was kind of intense,” I said.

“Oh, that,” he looked away and then walked toward the window.
“Yeah, well…”

“You want to talk about it?” I asked.

With his back to me, he shook his head and then walked over,
grabbed the remote and flipped on the news. The sound of the morning’s
activities filled the silent room acting as a deterrent for more questions. He
didn’t want to talk with me, but I didn’t accept this.

“Brian,” I said loud enough to be heard over the television. “You
know there are places where you can get help for PTSD, right?”

“I don’t recall asking you for advice,” he said in a low voice.

“I’m just saying that there are ways you can deal with this!” I
replied. I wasn’t going to let him brush me off that easily.

“You know what, Ava?” he growled. “I think it would be wise if
you’d clean up your own house before you start trying to air out mine.”

“What the hell are you talking about?” I replied in an annoyed

“I’m just saying that before you try and make me deal with my
problems, you should probably deal with your own, first!” he shouted. “You are
a hot mess, you know that, don’t you?”

“Me? I’m a hot mess?” I yelled back. “Oh that’s a good one! The
guy who can’t make it through the night without screaming in his sleep tells me
I’m a hot mess. Very nice.”

“Careful,” he warned as he stared at me. “You’re treading on thin,
thin ice.”

“You’re the one who started it!” I shot back.

“Ava, I don’t want to talk about my issues,” he said calmly. “I’ve
told you I don’t want to see a shrink, and I mean it. A stranger is not going
to help me sort out the mess that’s in my head. So let it go.”

“Fine,” I shrugged. “Whatever, but you really should think about
talking to someone. Anyone. Family? Friends?”

“Right, that’s a great option,” he laughed without humor. “Dump
all the crap that happened to me on my friends and family so they can live with
it? Not happening.”

“Oh the irony,” I sighed.

“What’s so ironic about that?” he asked, genuinely curious.

“Nothing,” I murmured. “Never mind.”

“Look, I’m sorry,” he said as he sat down next to me on the couch.
“I know you mean well, it’s just that I don’t want to talk to anyone about it.”

“Not even me?” I asked in a small voice as I looked into his eyes.
Brian held my gaze for a few seconds before reaching out and pulling me into
his arms.

“Not even you, Ava,” he whispered into my hair. I wrapped my arms
around his waist and laid my cheek on his chest as I felt him breathing.


sat entwined on the couch for what felt like a really long time.
Neither one of us said a word, we just held on to each other for dear life and
waited for the panicked feeling to pass. Or at least that’s what I did. Brian
didn’t give much away, and since I couldn’t see his face, I couldn’t tell what
he was thinking. So I let go and enjoyed the feeling of safety and security
that I felt when he wrapped his arms around me. I closed my eyes and let myself
forget where I was and that my life was a disaster at the moment.

“Are you hungry? Do you want to get some breakfast?” Brian
murmured as he stroked my back and ran his fingers through my hair.

hmmm,” I nodded against his chest
without opening my eyes.

“Then you go get ready and we’ll get out of this room for bit,
okay?” he said.

“Okay,” I mumbled. I was warm and drowsy against his chest, but my
stomach was rumbling and I knew it wouldn’t be long before I’d be so hungry I
want one of everything on the menu. Brian slowly lifted me off of him and
helped me stand, then gently pushed me toward the bedroom.

“Go get dressed. I’m starving!” he laughed as I fake stumbled
toward the bedroom.

“I’m not sure I like the way you push me around, sailor,” I
grumbled as I made a show of how much energy it took to get ready.

“You are such a drama queen!” he laughed harder as I shot him a
dirty look and went to put on some clothes.

I pulled on my jeans and a t-shirt and pulled a brush though my
messy hair gathering it up into a lose ponytail before dusting my cheeks with a
bit of blush and sweeping a layer of mascara on my lashes. I looked passable
for breakfast, but the dark circles under my eyes made me look bruised and I
looked away as I remembered a time when those bruises kept me from going to
class or seeing my friends.

“Not again,” I whispered to my reflection. “You are safe.”

“Did you say something?” Brian called from the other room.

“No, I must have been the television,” I called back as I dabbed a
little concealer under my eyes.

“Are you about ready?” he asked as I emerged from the bedroom.
“Whoa! You sure do clean up nice!”

“Whatever,” I said as I rolled my eyes. I looked a mess and I knew
it, but it was nice of him to try and make me feel better.

“I’m serious,” he said as he crossed the room and pulled me back
into his arms. “You look beautiful.”

“Don’t flatter me, I’m a hot mess,” I laughed as I wrapped my arms
around his neck and looked up into the steel blue eyes that held my gaze.

“Yeah, but you’re a beautiful hot mess,” he whispered as he leaned
down and softly kissed my lips. “And don’t you ever forget that.”

I closed my eyes as I returned his kiss and wished that we could
remain like this forever.

kissed my forehead before he let go and began to unwind all of
the security set ups he’d put in place the night before. I was amazing how much
he’d been able to do with the few tools he’d had available. He’d not only
wedged a chair under the door handle, he’d also stacked several glasses from
the bathroom next to the door so that they’d tip over and make noise if someone
tried to enter while we were asleep. Between the curtains and the sheers on the
windows, he’d hung several of the heavy metal coat hangers. If anyone had tried
to get in, they would have made a racket.

“You’re pretty inventive,” I commented.

“Well, I had to work with what I had,” he replied as he moved
things around and set up the system for while we were gone.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“I want to make sure that if Dominic tries to break in, he won’t
have an easy time,” Brian answered. “I also want to make sure that I’ll know
exactly what went on in here if someone breaks and then leaves.”

“A little paranoid, are you?” I laughed nervously.

“I’m surprised you’re not,” he said seriously.

I looked at the floor and said nothing. I was scared that Dominic
had already done something to make sure he knew my every move. He’d done it
before. Remembering how he’d bugged even the bathroom in our apartment and then
used the smallest infraction to give him cause to beat me, made me shudder.

“You okay?” Brian asked with a concerned look on his face.

“Yeah, just…” I trailed off. I didn’t want to drag him any further
into this mess, but I felt like maybe I should tell him everything in order to
ensure that we both remained safe.

“Just what?” he asked quietly.

“Just bad memories,” I replied distractedly. Telling Brian about
Dominic’s experience with surveillance could wait until we had something to
eat. “Let’s go get some breakfast, okay?”

“Alright, let’s go,” he replied warily. I knew he didn’t believe
me and that he was waiting for the right moment to ask the questions that would
give him a better sense of what was going on, but right now I was too hungry to
worry about it, so I smiled and headed toward the door.

the way down to breakfast, Brian resumed
his eagle-eye scanning habit and gave every person that passed us the once
over. I wanted to tell him to chill out, but somehow it didn’t seem like he
would find any humor in it, so I kept quiet and walked toward the restaurant.
We’d decided not to leave the hotel, but
rather to have breakfast downstairs in the relative safety of the hotel.

Brian chose a table in the back where he could monitor the comings
and goings of everyone. I didn’t care what he did, I just wanted waffles.

I ordered a big breakfast and then sat back and watched Brian
watching people. I wondered what was going through his mind as his eyes scanned
every person entering and exiting the restaurant.

“You must get tired,” I said.

“Huh?” he gave me a confused look.

“You must get really tired using your eyes as tracking devices,” I

“Don’t start hassling me, Ava,” he warned.

“I’m not hassling you,” I replied. “I’m just making an
observation. There’s a big difference.”

“In semantics,” he said with a warning note in his voice.

BOOK: Protector #5 (A Navy SEAL Military Romance)
8.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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