Authors: Aliyah Burke
Vit ano'’s Wil ow
Copyright © 2009 by Aliyah Burke
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted
in any form or by any means without written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the
author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resem-
blance to persons, living or dead, events or places is coincidental. All
trademarks, service marks, registered trademarks, and registered service
marks are the property of their respective owners and are used herein for
identification purposes only.
Editor and Formatter: Savannah Frierson
Cover Artist: MMJ Designs
To all of my teachers who never let me take the easy way out in class. To my
family for showing me what being a true family is all about. And last, but
not least, to those men and women who take the time to help those less
fortunate through sponsoring, adoption, and missionary work just to name
a few…thank you!
I take full blame for any and all mistakes in this story, not the ones
who do this for a living. To my editor and my cover artist. Thank
you! Y’all are the best.
Petty Officer Second Class Osten Scoleri grumbled under his
What the hell was I thinking when I agreed to this?
He had been the
idiot who had raised his hand when the second-in-command of his
SEAL team had asked for a volunteer. So now, for the next two weeks,
he had to sit behind a folding table and answer questions from high
school students about life in the Navy. Granted, it had been delayed for
a while since they had been out on missions, but now it was almost
November and he was here.
Readjusting his hold on his box of pamphlets and other informa-
tion, he paused as his gaze picked out a gorgeous Corvette pulling into
the parking area. Its black and silver finish gleamed in the late autumn
A group of teens waved to the driver and waited. Osten watch-
ed as a young woman climbed out and reached in for a briefcase.
“Morning, Ms. Jackson,” one of the students said.
“Good morning, gentlemen.” She smiled at all of them as she
locked her car. “And how are we doing on this lovely Monday?”
The students were all big, strong young men and they seemed to
dwarf the woman they surrounded. Osten watched to see if there was
any sign of impending trouble.
“Fine, Ms. Jackson. We’re just fine. Getting ready for the big
game this week,” another student spoke.
“Well, make sure you pass the test and you will all be ready on
this end.” Her snappy response reached Osten as he watched them
disappear inside the building, the students holding the door for her. A
round of laughter from the boys was the last thing he heard.
Picking up his pace, Osten continued on his way as he became
the object of many female stares. He was in his dress blues, and, even as
a Petty Officer, still cut a very dashing figure. So while the girls were
checking him out…he was mentally going over the vision he had seen
walking into the school before him.
He hadn’t been able to see her all that well, for the students had
blocked his view, but what he had been treated to was very attractive.
She wore a straight black skirt that hugged her hips before stopping
above her knees, topping it off was a pale-colored shirt.
Her hair was free to settle around her face, which had hidden
her features from his questing gaze. Her voice was sultry, yet filled with
kindness. Osten was intrigued.
Walking into the office, he sat his box down beside him as he
waited to be acknowledged. Finally a large woman headed in his
“Good morning,” she said in a friendly tone.
“Good morning, ma’am. I’m Petty Officer Scoleri reporting in.”
She nodded. “Ah, yes. The man from the Navy. I’m Sandi Rich-
mond, one of the assistant principals. Well, we will get you all set up. So
if you will just follow me.” Her large bulk moved from behind the
Lifting his box with ease, Osten fell into step behind her. He was
stuck here in this high school for two weeks, from noon to the end of
school, with the exception of today. He had arrived early to get situated.
As he followed the blonde woman, he took in the layout of the school.
Finally the woman stopped beside a folding table, waving a
hand toward it. “Here you go. Most students will be asking questions
between classes, but those who are very interested will get permission
from their teachers and come to speak to you one on one.” She looked at
him with blue eyes.
Osten placed his box on the table. “Sounds good.”
Sandi smiled at him. “If you need anything, feel free to ask any
one of the teachers. Um, the closest would be Ms. Jackson. Her room is
that first door, just up the ramp. So, you can always just go knock on
her door if you need something while classes are in session and you
don’t want to walk all the way back to the office.”
Osten nodded. “Ms. Jackson, got it. Thank you.”
those kids called the woman in the Corvette.
Sandi sent him another smile. “My pleasure. Now, is there any-
thing at all I can get for you before I get back to my office?”
“No, ma’am. I’m fine. I will just set up and wait for people to
stop by.” With a glance at the woman who seemed reluctant to leave
him he added, “Thanks for the help.”
“My pleasure.” Sending him a friendly wave, she walked away.
Osten shook his head, took a deep breath, and began to set up
the pamphlets and other things he had in the box. Then he took a seat
and waited for his first student to walk by.
By the end of the day, Osten had met many of the teachers, most
of them female teachers who took to flirting with him like second
nature. The one he hadn’t met yet was Ms. Jackson. She didn’t leave her
room for the hours he was there.
He could tell she was a well-loved teacher, for her students were
always laughing and talking when they went in her room and doing the
same when they left. He had also made some appointments to talk to
students one on one over the next two weeks. It seemed he would be
coming in earlier than noon, but he didn’t mind.
As he was packing up his box up for the day after he had ans-
wered his last question, that door opened again. Out stepped Ms.
Jackson. From his position, Osten could see her shirt was a pale yellow.
She had her jacket over her arm and her purse in one hand.
“Ms. Jackson,” a male voice spoke, jerking Osten’s attention
away from her body.
“Hey, Mikhail. What can I do for you?” she asked as the young
man hurried up to her.
“I wanted to ask you a question about the assignment.”
Immediately she swung the door to her room open wider.
“Come on in and let’s go over it.”
“Thanks, Ms. J,” he said.
Osten watched them walk into her room. The man had been one
of the young men who had stopped by to talk to him and set up an
appointment to have a one-on-one with him later in the week. A highly
intelligent senior, Mikhail was a tight-end on the football team hoping
for a scholarship to help pay for some schooling.
Osten’s packing slowed as he found himself waiting for her to
leave that room. All that vanished when he saw Ms. Riley approaching
him. A slim blonde woman, she was beautiful with a nice body; howev-
er, it wasn’t anything that attracted Osten.
“Afternoon, Mr. Scoleri,” she fairly purred as she stopped by his
“Ms. Riley,” Osten replied with a nod of his head.
“How was your day? Students treating you okay?” Her mani-
cured fingers trailed over a Navy pamphlet as her sultry eyes met his.
“Wonderful. Everyone has been extremely nice to me. If you will
excuse me, I need to get going.” He picked up his box and began to
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” she hollered after him.
Chantoya Willow Jackson heard Abigail Riley’s voice all the way
in her room. She had forgotten today was the day the man from the
Navy would be in their school. Leave it to Abigail to make him feel
welcome. Really, really welcome.
Rolling her light brown eyes, she gathered her jacket and fol-
lowed Mikhail out the door. As a teacher of AP Biology, her tests and
assignments had a reputation for being some of the hardest in the
school. But her students did amazingly well; she offered the informa-
tion and they absorbed it and prevailed each time.
Locking the door, she walked with her student out of the school.
They parted ways at the bottom of the steps, Mikhail heading for the
football field to begin practice and Chantoya proceeding onto her car.
“Thanks Ms. J,” the young man shouted as he began to sprint
away, his bag bouncing with every step he took.
Chantoya, who normally went by CJ, opened the car door and
placed her items in her vehicle when a shadow fell over her. Righting
herself immediately, she turned to see another teacher from the school.
Marvin Whittle, one of the Physical Education teachers. He was a good-
looking man, but CJ really had no intentions of pursuing a relationship
with him or any other teacher at the school.
“Afternoon, CJ.” His words were smooth, even as his blinding
white smile stood out starkly against his bronze skin.
“Marvin,” she said politely. “What can I do for you?”
“Just wondering if you would like to grab a bite to eat?” Big
brown eyes sparkled down upon her.
“Sorry. I have to get going. I am meeting some people this after-
noon and I don’t want to be late.”
Eyes narrowed briefly before he acquiesced. “Well, just a
thought. You owe me a rain check then.”
“Sure,” she agreed. Her gaze landed on a figure past Marvin’s
shoulder. It was a man in a military uniform. He was watching them as
if unsure of whether or not she needed assistance. With a small smile,
she waved at the man standing by his blue car.
CJ was touched when he touched his fingers to the brim of his
hat, nodded back, and climbed into his car. How long had it been since
she had a man pay any sort of attention like that to her?
Most men she met wanted one thing, and that included the man
standing before her. If not for her brothers and the reputation of their
die-hard protection of the baby and only sister in the family, she could
only imagine how serious some of the advances would become.
“Have a nice day, Marvin,” CJ said as he looked over his shoul-
der to find the person she had waved to, an action that allowed her to
climb into her car and start the engine. She drove away, not really
waiting for any response from him. He made her feel uneasy.
Once CJ entered her apartment, she locked the door, leaned
heavily against the wood, and took a deep breath, allowing it to uncoil