Authors: Suellen Smith
Tags: #romance, #action, #dogs, #country, #military, #western, #cowboy
Lily started to cry.
Now, Quinn really did feel like a heel, “Oh
hell, Lily,” he said as he gathered her in his arms.
It was like holding a limp rag doll, which
was a whole lot worse than the physical struggle a few moments ago.
Not that he could blame her. He knew how to deal with physical much
better than emotion. He just didn't know quite what to do with this
kind of woman. He hated tears. Even his sisters had figured that
out a long time ago. It was a weapon that they could turn on and
off at will. But, he wasn't about to lose this particular battle
that he had created pretty much all by himself. That's what
soldiers did, wasn't it – win wars? He tried to figure out a
strategy – best to punt and see what happens.
Quinn held Lily for a few minutes before he
spoke trying to be honest and explain himself without looking like
a total wimp. “Lily, I've wanted you since you were sixteen.
Remember that day on the beach after the accident when I kissed you
and held you in my arms? That is a memory I have played over and
over for the past three years – thinking about it when I shouldn't
have been. But, Lily, you have to understand that you were a
child/woman when that happened. I was a man six years older at the
time and real men don't play around with child/women. I would like
to think that nothing at all would have happened that day had the
circumstances been different, but the thought of you drowning made
both of our emotions run high. I knew I needed to wait until you
became a woman.
“I became a woman at thirteen,” Lily snapped
Quinn smiled, “You know what I mean. It
wasn't my job to take all those fun lazy hazy days of summer and
high school away from you. It was important you have those
opportunities to grow and enjoy adolescence like I did, like most
people do with girls and boys your own age as they make memories.
It was never meant as a rejection, only a time to let you mature
and become the woman you are today. Silence –
his cue for a
. Lily stiffened.
OK, so maybe it wasn't a good
time for a nuzzle, but it was worth a try.
“Just what conclusions makes you so sure I'm
finally a woman, Mr. Now I'm Ready?”
Quinn teased, “After tonight's performance,
any doubt has been erased.”
OK, still not funny
“It's like this, I just plain didn't like
those men drooling and ogling you with their eyes popping out of
“Oh, and what were you doing, Mr.
“Watching you and drooling with my eyes
popping out – but that's different.” he added.
“Mmm, this is getting interesting. Would you
care to explain that little comment?” she asked with more than a
little saccharin sarcasm.
Shit! How did he get himself backed into a
mess again? Men can rarely keep up with woman's
games. He knew better.
“I told you a long time ago you were mine.
That still stands,” he replied with all seriousness. Now was the
time to close the deal with a kiss if there ever was going to be a
time this evening. He sensed that Lily would be receptive. This
time, he was not wrong, but he knew all was still not totally
forgiven. It took another fifteen minutes of necking before she
began to loosen up. Wow, did she loosen up! It was like an
avalanche. Suddenly, they couldn't get enough of each other as
their hands began to roam and familiarize themselves with the
others bodily curves and dips. Lily wasn't sure what she was
seeking, she just knew she didn't seem to be getting enough and had
no intention of getting left out of whatever “it” was. She felt
like she was floating right out of her body with Quinn's, up there
with all the stars of the universe. It seemed like nothing could
bring them back to earth again. Then, it happened.
Quinn had just pulled Lily's nightgown dress
top down, exposing her breasts to the soft light and cool ocean
breeze. The touch of his hand made Lily rise up with wonder, asking
silently and seeking more. It was just starting to get hot and
steamy. Quinn was laying partially on top of her with his cell
still in his front pocket. Suddenly, they were zapped by his
vibrating Smart Phone, which wasn't that smart or it never would
have chosen that particular moment to do its thing. Lily squealed.
“I have to take this. It's my commanding
officer,” he said in a business tone as he sat up and flipped open
his phone like he was sitting at his office desk in the middle of
the day or putting on his tie.
Lily shot up as well, pulling the straps of
her dress up as fast as if her father were standing over them.
Quinn watched solemnly as he spoke to his commander. She scrambled
to her feet, but not before Quinn, hoping to detain her departure,
grabbed a handful of the flimsy dress, ripping it farther.
“Let me go!” she shouted and then threw over
her shoulder obviously mad as hell, “Next time, don't come back
until you can finish what you started!”
“Am I interrupting something?” asked his
superior in all innocence into Quinn's ear, like he hadn't heard a
bit of the conversation as he muffled his chuckle.
“No, Sir!” Quinn replied.
Quinn watched with frustration as Lily
gathered the pieces of her torn gown around her cute little butt
that he had been fondling moments ago and disappeared in the
direction of the hotel down the beach into the darkness. He
followed her as he spoke on the phone to his commanding officer
making sure she got back to the hotel safely.
Lily was just as frustrated as Quinn. She had
waited a long time for that special evening with her dream guy and
she felt dumped all over again. It should have been a memorable
night. Damn him! Damn the stupid SEALS! If it had been a western,
her guns would have been blazing and he would have been lying
horizontal on the dusty street in Dodge at high noon. “That I
should be so lucky,” she muttered to herself.
Lily started to go into the hotel, but when
she got in the light from the establishments doorway, she looked
down at herself. She realized that one boob was dangling in limbo
due to a broken strap. The rip she'd heard as Quinn grabbed her
dress was the front split of her dress going higher. Now, it really
was up to her crotch. Even both of her black high top nylons had a
rip and a run.
Lily had no intention of being the object of
speculation by appearing half-naked and going back into the party.
Although, it would serve Quinn right for her to do another episode
on the piano top right about now. She detoured back down the beach
toward the Slater home. It was not the smartest walk to be taking
in the middle of the night by herself wearing very little. But,
young women do not always use the best judgment – creeps are always
lurking in the shadows. That night was no exception. She got lucky.
By the time the lurker spotted Lily, she was already going in the
front door of the house. Fortunately, Lily had the presence of mind
to secure the house and set the alarm before going upstairs and
retiring to bed. It probably saved her life.
The perpetrator waited until he saw a bedroom
light go on upstairs, identifying where the woman in the white
evening gown would be laying in her bed waiting for him. It made
him excited and aggressive. He tried the front door and circled the
premises hoping to find a door or window unlocked. He looked up at
the balcony, but the doors were sealed. He was not fortuitous in
finding an opening and Lily was a lucky lady that night. She never
knew. Before he left, he blew a kiss in her direction and
whispered, “I'll be back, now that I know where you live.” It never
happened, but only because he was caught and thrown in jail for a
life sentence a few weeks later.
The “perp” returned to the hotel to watch the
revelers, but there was just way too much security and way too
risky to take a chance on nabbing someone. He got in his junky car
and left the area looking for prey in another part of Los Angeles.
He was a patient person. They always are as they enjoy the thrill
of the hunt as much as the actual kill. Hours before the morning
sun came up, he found what he was seeking. A young woman's body was
found washed up on Long Beach early morning by a retired couple
taking their morning stroll.
Lily crawled into bed after dumping her
ripped dress and snagged nylons in the middle of the carpet of the
guest bedroom that used to be Quinn's, which just added insult to
injury oblivious to how close she was to being raped and murdered.
After leaving a message on Jade's phone, she settled down under the
covers and tried not to think about the twin’s dumb brother, but
the tears fell anyway.
The air conditioner was on since all of them
left the middle of the afternoon. She normally opened her balcony
door as the screen was alarmed, but not tonight. She tossed and
turned only until the champagne kicked in and knocked her out. The
night was bliss, the morning was hell for more than one reason.
Lily woke up late morning to the incessant
pounding of not only her head, but of Jade pounding on her bedroom
door. “Lily, are you alright?” asked a concerned Jade from the
other side. Lily groaned as she began to message her temples
fighting a left over hangover of booze and Quinn.
“May I come in?”
Lily didn't say a word, she just slowly
rolled out of bed and padded over to the door unlocking it. Then,
she crawled back into bed thinking about putting the silk sheet
over her head, but knew Jade would not take the hint. Laying on her
back, she threw one arm over her aching eyes.
“Well, it looks as though you've had quite an
evening,” Jade grinned. Being Miss Neat, she started to pick up
Lily's gown from off the floor. She held it up and was shocked into
silence at seeing the tattered pieces.
Lily peeked out from under her arm to see why
Jade had suddenly become so still and quit talking.
“Lily, what happened here?” she asked in a
quiet concerned tone as she held up the remnant of what used to be
the Rita Hayworth white satin dress.
Between the left over booze and the reminder
of the disastrous night with Quinn, Lily's eyes flooded with tears
and she began to cry all over again.
Jade dropped the dress and went over to sit
on the bed putting her arms around Lily trying to comfort her. She
couldn't help but notice that Lily's blue satin pillow was stained
with mascara indicating how she had spent the night. All Lily could
think about was that it was the wrong sibling’s arms around her and
she began to cry harder.
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Lily shook her head.
“Were you raped? Do you need to see a
Lily looked at Jade through tearful eyes,
“No, why would you ask such a thing?”
“Did someone try to hurt you? Your dress is
ripped to pieces, your nylons are snagged and ruin. I see tears in
All Lily would say is as she rolled over
shutting Jade out of her vision, was, “I don't remember,” which was
so much easier than having to explain everything to Jade.
Jade didn't believe her for one minute, but
she let it go. Studying Lily for a moment, she carefully laid the
torn dress on the chair next to the fireplace. Then, she quietly
left, shutting the door behind her. She couldn't reach Jasmine to
discuss her concerns with her. So, she called Quinn. Not knowing
that Quinn was off on an assignment in the Middle East, she left a
message: “I'm concerned about Lily. I think she might have been
raped sometime during the night. Did you see her with anyone? Call
That night after Quinn thought Lily was
safely back in the hotel, he finished his conversation with his
commander who gave no details of his assignment except the time and
place of the rendezvous to ship out. He did not see Lily take a
detour down the beach to their home alone.
When Quinn went back to his hotel room, he
tried to be a little discreet as well, when he entered. He too, was
a little disheveled. His shirt with the French cuffs were dangling
around his knuckles as they had lost their onyx studs and his shirt
was also missing three of its studs and was hanging open. His chest
had a small red scratch below his nipple. If anyone had been
observing, they'd thought he'd been in quite a tango, which just
the thought produced a little grin.
Quinn immediately changed his clothes and
grabbed a duffel bag that was kept packed with all essentials
prepared for a moment’s leave of notice. He called his parents to
have them pick up his tux and to let them know he was shipping out.
Within fifteen minutes, he boarded his private twin engine airplane
and was headed for Coronado Naval Base. By 0400 (four o'clock in
the morning) of the New Year, he was on board a massive ship,
headed for the foreign country of Afghanistan.
Quinn and his SEAL buddies had been assigned
to rescue Marines from a rebel jail where they had been held for
over twenty-three days. They had been interrogated and beaten
within an inch of their lives. They needed to be gotten out of the
jail while they were still alive. The job of the SEALS was to
rescue the Marines and disappear into the mountains where a
rendezvous with a helicopter would be waiting. The SEALS unit was
not there to make peace, just to get their fellow marines out of
Afghanistan and save their lives.
The SEALS helicopter landed in the landlocked
country of Afghanistan, which is about the size of Texas, in total
darkness. Most of the country is modernized with their western
vehicles and technology while other parts are still riding camels,
but neither was a concern of the Navy SEALS. They had a job to do
and that was their focus.
The SEALS' landing point was made in a remote
area at the bottom of the cold mountains. They traveled along the
foot of the mountain edge before they went through a potato field,
making their way towards the crude jail of torture and executions
navigated by only a global positioning system. When they reached
their destination, they silently fanned out and the five SEALS
began to move as one to the small Taliban village that held the
Americans. The jail was underground. They only surmised that a few
minutes later from the screams they were hearing. The place seemed
to be secure, but not particularly heavily guarded. Nevertheless,
they went underground cautiously hoping there would be more than
one escape route if necessity called for it. Ready and steady, they
entered the underground facility of horrors.