Read Falling for the Marine (A McCade Brothers Novel) (Entangled Brazen) Online

Authors: Samanthe Beck

Tags: #private practice, #lover undercover, #erotic, #lovers unmasked, #military, #marine, #contemporary romance

Falling for the Marine (A McCade Brothers Novel) (Entangled Brazen)

Table of Contents

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2013 by Samanthe Beck. All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in any form or by any means. For information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the Publisher.

Entangled Publishing, LLC

2614 South Timberline Road

Suite 109

Fort Collins, CO 80525

Visit our website at
www.entangledpublishing.com
.

Brazen is an imprint of Entangled Publishing, LLC. For more information on our titles, visit
www.brazenbooks.com
.

Edited by Heather Howland and Sue Winegardner

Cover design by Heather Howland

Photography by Jenn LeBlanc/Illustrated Romance

ISBN 978-1-62266-351-4

Manufactured in the United States of America

First Edition October 2013

The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: Ready-Teddy; Duracell; iPhone; Vicoprofen; Berber; Victoria’s Secret; MacGyver; Budweiser; Post-It; Boy Scouts of America; Gatorade; Daisy Duke; Bad Romance; TicTac; Atlanta Braves; June Cleaver; Match; Depends; House Beautiful; Pyrex; Jeep Cherokee; San Diego Padres; Washington Nationals; FiOS, Call Me Maybe; Psycho; Flying Dumbo; Disneyland; Nobel; Anaheim Convention Center; Ikea; Barbie; Extended Stay Suites; Band Aid; Visa.

To my father, CPO Beck, U.S. Navy, Ret. Vet.

Chapter One

Did anything say, “Happy Birthday, Stud,” quite like black lace and handcuffs?

Chloe Kincaid eyed her reflection in the mirror at the foot of her bed and scooted into position under the birthday banner she’d hung above her brass headboard.

The handcuff securing her right wrist to the headrail clattered as she moved. The trio of red candles burning on her dresser and the muted light from the nightstand lamp gave the room a soft, golden glow that made everything, including her, look unusually seductive. Bondage games weren’t really her thing, but she had to admit her cuffed wrist looked positively wicked, as did the black lace bra and thong she’d splurged on. Money was tight, but what the hell? One of San Clemente’s finest lifeguards had shared his raciest fantasy with her, and he deserved a memorable birthday, right?

Still, something about the picture staring back at her in the mirror seemed…off. Too tidy, she decided. With her free hand she pushed her comforter and sheet down so the bed appeared kind of rumpled—as if maybe she’d already done some naughty things, all by herself.

Her hip came into contact with a lump under her comforter. She dug beneath the covers and retrieved a light tan teddy bear.

“Sorry, RT,” she said to the plush, “Ready-Teddy” hide-a-vibe also known as her exclusive bedmate during these past twelve months, “you’re on your own tonight.”

The bear’s glassy eyes stared into hers, full of censure.

“Don’t look at me like that. It’s only one night. I promise. A quick, easy one-night stand with a cute guy who thinks I have pretty eyes. Is that so wrong?” She stretched as far as she could and shoved the bear under the bed.

Then she leaned back and considered the scene again in the mirror. Yes, rumpled sheets were definitely a step in the right direction. She used her feet to kick the sheet and blanket all the way down the bed, so they draped over the brass footrails and onto the floor. Nice.

Satisfied she had the stage properly set, she lifted one of the two flutes of champagne on her nightstand and sipped, then frowned at the time on her bedside clock as she put the flute down. Her perfect birthday surprise lacked one critical element. The birthday boy. Where the heck was—

The ring of the phone reverberated through her tiny, one-bedroom apartment. She considered reaching for the handcuff key on her nightstand and untethering so she could rush out to the kitchen and answer, but decided to go ahead and screen the call. In a few short moments her “Leave a message,” message ended and the beep signaled the caller to speak.

“Hey, Chloe!” Troy’s voice blasted over the line, accompanied by a background soundtrack of thumping club music and chatter. The noise corrupted the peace and quiet of her apartment like a frat party. “Sorry, but I’m not gonna make it to your place tonight. Know how I thought the guys in the Beach Services Program forgot about my birthday? I was wrong. They kidnapped me and dragged me down to TJ and…fuck”—the sounds of laughter, catcalls, and cheers came over the line—“Oh God. Poppers. Jesus.” There was a low groan, and then, “No more poppers. I swear, I’m gonna hurl all over someone.” More cheers greeted that announcement. “Hey, Chlo, ’member how I told you I didn’t think Mirasol Machado liked me ’cuz whenever we worked together she never gave me the time of day? Well, check it…I think we just got married! Can you believe that shit? Holy crap, here comes the chick with more tequila shots. These assholes aren’t gonna be happy ’til I puke my guts ou—”

The dial tone echoed over the line, followed by a click and then an abrupt, rushing silence.
Unbelievable
. Chloe blinked at the girl in the mirror wearing sixty bucks worth of screw-me underwear she didn’t need, and then grabbed her half-empty champagne flute from the nightstand and downed the rest in one big gulp.

She won the prize for idiot of the year, going to all this trouble for a guy she’d been dating less than two weeks. Spending money she couldn’t afford on decorations and lingerie to fool her conscience into believing tonight’s festivities amounted to something more elaborate than a casual hookup. What had she been thinking? Obviously, she hadn’t been thinking.

And now, surprise, surprise, he’d flaked. She would have expected this kind of behavior from any of the US Marines she treated every day at the Camp Pendleton Massage Therapy Clinic, but Troy wasn’t military, so she hadn’t seen it coming. Before her parents had split up and dumped her on her grandma without a backward glance, she’d watched her military-to-the-core father put God and country, and anything else the Army offered, ahead of his family. The experience had convinced her never to get involved with a military man.

Now, apparently, she’d have to add lifeguard to the “Do Not Get Involved” list. But, eff-it, tonight hadn’t been about getting
involved
. All she’d wanted was to have a little fun with a partner for a change. Troy had seemed like a perfect candidate. Hell, he’d seemed like a party on two legs.

She put the empty flute down on the nightstand and, after a brief hesitation, picked up the second flute and downed that one too. While she couldn’t beat the convenience and, well, infinite stamina the Ready Teddy offered, an entire year was a long time to subsist solely on imagination and Duracell. She was so bored with her own company, she could barely stand it. Her body ached to play a starring role in someone else’s fantasies. RT simply couldn’t satisfy those cravings.

She put the flute back on the nightstand with a
clunk
. Marrying and divorcing before the age of twenty-four had taught her a few timeless lessons about the hazards of getting tied down, but she’d been more than ready to get tied-up for one night.

Then again, maybe Troy canceling was for the best. Deep down, she feared boredom wasn’t the only thing driving tonight’s plans. Did some vestiges of the needy, clingy woman she’d once been still lurk inside her, longing to be held in two strong arms, kissed by hungry lips, and drift off to sleep lulled by the sound of someone else’s heartbeat?

God, no. Surely she’d put that woman behind her by now? She’d been cultivating a different Chloe since her divorce, a carefree, no-strings-attached Chloe who didn’t rely on other people to make her feel complete.

She wove strings way too easily for someone whose personal history suggested others found her pretty dang easy to detach from. Her parents. Her husband. How many more lessons did a girl need before she gave up on the fantasy of forever?

Zero, as far as this girl was concerned, and she considered herself a healthier person for facing reality. Since the divorce, she’d worked hard on becoming emotionally independent and content with her own company. And she’d succeeded, give or take a little bedroom boredom.

Her bladder, however, definitely did not qualify as content at the moment. It demanded relief from the champagne she’d chugged. She turned and reached for the handcuff key on her nightstand, and…dang it…fumbled the little bugger. The key fell between the bed and nightstand and then clattered against something metal.
Oh shit
. Her stomach sank. She leaned over as far as possible and looked down. Awesome. The key had fallen into the floor vent. She couldn’t see the darn thing, much less reach it. To top off the situation, she had a Vatican’s worth of candles burning throughout her apartment, and she had to pee, like,
now
.

She groaned and flopped back on the pillow. Shit. Shit. Shit. The furnished apartment her agency had arranged for her here at Casa Clemente came complete with a landline and the old-school answering machine, but it was in the kitchen, which might as well have been Mars for all the good it did her now. A cell phone would be handy. Unfortunately her post-divorce budget didn’t stretch to such luxuries. The Visa bill she still struggled to pay off—a souvenir from Drew because it turned out canceling the card didn’t cancel the debt—and the signature loan she’d taken out to cover her grandmother’s funeral expenses ate up most of the extra cash she earned. No sleek, efficient iPhone to the rescue.

That whittled her options down to neighbors within shouting distance. She’d moved into her furnished apartment a week and a half ago, and the only person she knew at Casa Clemente was Mrs. Waverly, the owner/manager of the complex—a tanned-to-leather, pink-haired, sixty-something lady with sharp eyes, a quick smile, and the latest gossip on every single one of her tenants. From only a few conversations with Mrs. Waverly, Chloe knew all about the cheating wife in 2C, the unappreciative grandkids of the retired couple in 2D, and the “handsome young man” in 2B. She cringed at the idea of Mrs. Waverly rushing through the unlocked door, following the trail of condoms through the candlelit living room to the bedroom where she’d find…surprise!…her nearly naked tenant handcuffed to the bed. Imagine the earful 2B, 2C, and 2D would get about the depraved nympho in 2A. But if she remembered correctly, Wednesday was Mrs. Waverly’s bunco night, which meant assistance would most likely come from cheating wife, retired couple, or sweet young man. Jeez. Maybe she could wait until…until… Until what? Her entire apartment went up in flames from the unattended candles?

Screw that
, her bladder insisted.
Time to meet your neighbors
.

She drew in a deep breath and yelled, “Help!”


Michael McCade climbed the stairs to his second-floor apartment, trying to concentrate on the call from his older brother Trevor, while silently cursing the pain shooting from his lower back down his leg with each step. Or maybe not so silently, because Trevor stopped talking long enough to say, “Did you just call me a fucking pain in the ass?”

“The shoe often fits…but no. I called the stairs to my apartment a fucking pain in the ass. They’re killing my back.”

“Your back is
still
bothering you? It’s been weeks. What happened to, and I quote, ‘A little ice and some ibuprofen, and I’ll be good as new’?”

“I was wrong. Turns out I have a herniated disc.”

“Mmm-hmm. Told you to go to the doctor right away, didn’t I?”

“Your wife told me to go to the doctor right away,” he corrected. “You told me, and I quote, ‘Good luck getting laid if they put you in a back brace.’”

“Well Kylie was right. So was I, for that matter. Are you wearing a brace?”

“No,” he grunted and used the handrails to pull himself up another step. “I’m seeing my friend Dane—”

“Dane, your beer-bonging college roommate?”

“That was over ten years ago. Nowadays he’s Dane the orthopedic surgeon. He’s giving me excellent advice like avoid stairs.”

Two tours in Iraq, one in Afghanistan, and never so much as a hangnail. But you completely jack yourself up here in the good, old US of A, on a freaking training exercise
.

Now here he stood—a thirty-one year old marine in the prime of his life—navigating the stairs like a geezer.

“No flying then, I’m guessing?”

“I’m grounded.” He wasn’t allowed anywhere near a helicopter, much less the actual cockpit, until Dane, and, ultimately, Colonel Harding, his commanding officer, declared him flight-worthy. In the meantime, was there anything more useless than a helicopter pilot who couldn’t fly? Fate had a seriously fucked-up sense of humor.

“That sucks.”

“Yep.” And that’s really all there was to say. Everyone in the family knew how much he loved to fly. “I gotta go. Give my love to Kylie. Tell her I’m here for her whenever she wakes up and realizes she got the wrong McCade.”

“Sure thing, Mikey. Start holding your breath right…now.” The phone went dead.

He clicked off, smiling. It was almost too easy to get a rise out of his brother these days—Trevor was head-over-heels when it came to Kylie. And though he enjoyed rattling Trevor’s cage every once in a while, the truth was, the fly-by relationships
he’d
specialized in over the last several years had started to feel pointless and empty. Someone special to come home to sounded pretty damn good.

Actually, just getting home sounded pretty damn good. He stared at the last stair like a sworn enemy. His phone rang, giving him another reprieve from the uphill battle. He pulled the device out of his pocket, assuming Trevor was hitting him back with more unsolicited older brother advice, and answered with an impatient, “What?”

“That’s some nice phone etiquette right there, Emily Post.”

Dane’s familiar sarcasm flowed over the line. “Sorry, I thought you were Trevor. I’m kinda in the middle of something here. Can I call you later?”

“No. Don’t call me later. My agenda tonight involves a cute, stacked, blonde receptionist from the pediatric group upstairs in my building.”

No shocker there. Dane considered dating a sport. He attributed his success with the ladies to growing up with four older sisters and claimed the experience gave him special insights into the female psyche. Michael thought it had to do with the fact that Dane bore a passing resemblance to David Beckham. “And this affects me how?”

“Just like there is no ‘I’ in ‘teamwork,’ there is no ‘U’ in ‘my date.’ I want to keep it that way, so listen up. You’ve got an appointment tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. for a therapeutic massage at the Camp Pendleton Massage Therapy Clinic. It’s the place just outside Main Gate. Don’t be late.”

“Ah shit,” he closed his eyes and tried to block out the image of lying on a massage table while some beefy Swede pummeled him, “what happened to,
maybe,
you’d recommend massage?”

“You forced this on yourself when you asked me to call Harding and give him an update on your back. He asked me, point-blank, if you’d completed all the treatment I’d recommend, and did I consider you one hundred percent recovered. I had to admit no, on both counts. I told him I could keep sending you to the chiropractor for adjustments to force your spine into alignment and get that bulging disc off the nerve until the swelling subsides completely, but unless someone does the therapeutic massage work on the underlying fascia and muscles, your vertebrae will just keep springing back into their old position.”

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