Ramsey a military bad bo.., p.30

Ramsey: A Military Bad Boy Secret Baby Pregnancy Romance (The Bradford Brothers Book 3), page 30

 

Ramsey: A Military Bad Boy Secret Baby Pregnancy Romance (The Bradford Brothers Book 3)
 



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  Amy doesn’t ask that question. I think even she knows that would be taking things a bit too far. Instead, she asks, “So what happened to Brian?”

  “Amy dear, that’s inappropriate,” Mom says.

  “But what did happen to him?” asks my Dad.

  “I ditched him too,” I shrug.

  Just before Jensen knocked him out cold, I think, but don’t say. I decide a half-lie is better than the whole truth. He is technically the one who dumped me, but there’s no way I’d want him back.

  “Riley, you know I respect your choices but this is a bit of a shock to us,” my mom says. “One day we’re at the Albuquerque Country Club with your fiancé and his father who is the head of the firm you work at, and the next day we’re…”

  “At my house with my new boyfriend?” I ask them. “And by the way, it’s the firm I used to work at.”

  My father sets his silverware down and clears his throat. I gulp, scared yet proud of myself for putting it out there right away. I could anticipate that asking about my job and career was next on their agenda, and I wanted to be in control of the conversation, for once.

  “I’m sorry, what?” Mom asks, her smile fading.

  “This is great entertainment, Riley,” says Amy, as she stuffs her face. “And to think I almost went to the movies instead.”

  “Please stay out of this, Amy,” Dad says. “Riley, what are you talking about?”

  “The firm and I weren’t a good fit,” I tell him. “I don’t want to work there— or anywhere like there— ever again.”

  Jensen squeezes my hand again and I turn my head slightly to see that he’s smiling proudly at me. And I’m proud of myself for saying exactly what I mean, for once. And even for knowing exactly what I mean.

  At lunch after his trial, Jensen said that he had gotten everything he wanted and then realized it wasn’t actually what he wanted. For me, the reverse is true. I didn’t get anything I wanted, but then I realized I hadn’t really wanted any of it anyway. I had wanted something different. I had wanted this.

  “I don’t understand,” Mom says. “What are you going to do?”

  “I’m going to sleep in later than 5 am, and go to bed later than 9:30 pm. I’m going to feel much more relaxed not worrying whether I’ve impressed enough of the right partners for my next evaluation, or whether I’ve accidentally impressed a partner who’s on the outs with the firm, and somehow gotten caught up in firm politics without even knowing what happened…”

  “She meant for work, Riley,” Dad says, as if I’m an idiot and didn’t know that. “What are you going to do for work?”

  “I work for Veterans’ Legal Alliance, representing former members of our military,” I tell him.

  “Tell me that’s not how you met Jensen!” Amy sputters.

  I glare at her. She’s just jealous because she can’t avoid drama long enough to keep a boyfriend, and she has no career at all, and still lives with our parents. She may be the standard definition of beautiful, but for once I feel confident that I’ve got a lot more going for me than she does.

  “You shagged your client! You did!” Amy gloats.

  I ignore her and continue.

  “I also have my own office, downtown, and I’m going to start to take on some of my own clients.”

  “But how are is any of this going to be enough to make a living on?” my dad asks. “I mean, a real living? And what about all the money we invested into your future? Law school cost a fortune.”

  “It was money well spent, Dad,” I tell him, and reach out to put my hand on top of his. He looks down at it, surprised. He and I have never had the best relationship. “Thank you for putting me through college and law school. I really appreciate it. I am enjoying being a lawyer now more than I ever have in the past.”

  Mom and Dad look at each other, completely perplexed. I can just see them saying to each other telepathically: “This is not the Riley we are used to!”

  But I’m sick of bending over backwards to please them, going along with everything they want and basing my life decisions off of their demands. I’m on a new path, and they can either come with me or stay where they are, stomping their feet at me for not going exactly the way they want me to go.

  “How about some pie?” Mom asks.

  “What?” Amy says, quickly turning to face Mom.

  “Well, why not?” I say, and stand up to retrieve everyone’s plate.

  “I’ll get it,” says Jensen, getting up with me, and so I go to get the pie.

  I can practically see Amy fuming and storming inside. She is used to our parents lecturing me and even belittling me like she does. She’s the pretty one and as spoiled as can be. But I’m the smart one and the family expectations ride on my shoulders.

  “We’re only so tough on you because we care so much, and know you’re capable of so much,” they’ve told me many times before. But this time they don’t know what to say. They had no idea I’m capable of being myself. And neither did I, before I met Jensen.

  Later, after they’ve finally left, Jensen and I are laying in my bed, cuddling.

  “That wasn’t so bad,” he says, and then laughs.

  “Stop it!” I laugh too, so hard that I snort.

  “I totally get what you mean now, about your crazy family. They’re as bonkers as mine. Or maybe more so.”

  “I’m just glad they didn’t completely flip out at me,” I admit.

  My biggest fear was that they would disown me, but now that I think about it, that wouldn’t be so bad, as long as I still have Jensen.

  “It’s because you stood up for yourself,” he says, “and I was so proud of you. It was plain as day that they aren’t used to it and weren’t expecting it. You took them by surprise, and you had the upper hand. Even over that bratty sister of yours.”

  “Isn’t she awful?”

  I laugh harder.

  “I think you deserve a treat for having to put up with them,” he says, as he kisses my stomach and then my pelvis.

  “You’re the one who had to endure meeting them for the first time, and who likely will have to put up with more visits in the future,” I remind him. “But, hey, I could never turn down your offer for such a treat.”

  He’s already pushing up my negligée, and kissing my inner thighs. A satisfied shudder runs through my body.

  His mouth lightly touches me on the outside and then he runs his tongue up and down my eager bud.

  “That feels so good, Jensen.”

  “You deserve to relax,” he says, reaching up to play with my nipple. “You really are amazing.”

  He licks and teases me and then inserts a finger while he nibbles on my clitoris. Soon I’m unable to hold back. I grab his hair as he moves his head all over me while I come.

  “Oh my God, Jensen, this is the best feeling in the world.”

  I let go and feel my orgasm erupt and seem to split into many tiny ones as he rubs and chews on my stimulated nerve endings.

  Then he takes his boxer briefs off and slips a condom on.

  Lying on top of me, he enters me while holding my head in his hands. He kisses my mouth, my neck, and my mouth again, and I’m reminded of the very first time he kissed me and sealed our fate, even though I just didn’t know it yet.

  “I’m so glad I met you, Jensen Bradford,” I say, as he thrusts inside me, up and down, and grunts his agreement. “I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for you.”

  He sucks on my nipples while continuing to move in and out of me, causing my breathing to increase once again. I easily come again, and then I feel him pulse and grip my shoulders tightly as he himself comes.

  Lying back down beside me in bed, he says, “If it weren’t for me, you’d probably be hooked back up with that Brian loser, working at that awful firm again.”

  “And if it weren’t for me, you’d probably be in jail,” I say.

  We laugh as we hold each other tight.

  “Good thing Mr. Holt made me volunteer to he
lp veterans,” I say.

  “Good thing my mom made me have to punch a guy out.”

  We lie together in the darkness for a while longer, a comfortable silence between us.

  “Jensen?” I ask.

  There’s no response, and then I hear his deep sleep breathing.

  Oh well. I was just going to tell him I love him. But I can wait to tell him tomorrow. And every day after that.

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  A Sneak Peek into Harlow: Book # 2 in The Bradford Brothers Series

  He used to think jumping out of planes was an adrenaline kick. Until he tried falling in love.

  Whitney:

  I knew starting my career as a physical therapist would be tough. But I never expected the challenge of my newest patient, Harlow Bradford.

  He may be a smoking hot American hero, but he’s still a cocky, arrogant player.

  Harlow suffered catastrophic injuries in a helicopter crash, but his doctor claims he’s almost completely recovered. Based on my training, though, I’m suspicious of both of their motives.

  Harlow’s recovery story seems a little too good to be true. I’m too smart to fall for his act.

  So why is it so hard to remember that my job is to heal his body, not fantasize about jumping his bones?

  Harlow:

  Free-falling into a combat zone used to be the ultimate rush. Now I’m free-falling into a different kind of enemy territory: love and commitment.

  I can have any girl I want, but serious relationships are off limits to guys like me.

  I’m an airman, married to the USAF. I only trust my pararescue team.

  I jump out of planes, I rescue my brothers, I save the world. Until my world crashes down— literally.

  Now my course is colliding with Whitney Reid, who thinks she knows better than my own doctor.

  I’m determined to return to my Special Forces unit, and distractions to any mission can be deadly. Especially when they come in the sexy, curvy form of the physical therapist who is questioning my doctor’s judgment and causing me to question my own damn sanity.

  I know I can get in her pants, but I refuse to let her get in my way. So why can’t I get her out of my head?

  Harlow is a full-length stand-alone romance novel. Harlow has no cheating, no cliffhanger and a guaranteed HEA. It’s not necessary to read the other books in The Bradford Brothers series to enjoy Harlow, although you’ll soon become addicted to these bad boy military brothers.

  As a bonus, please enjoy this excerpt of Harlow.

  Or click here to buy Harlow for $2.99, or borrow it for FREE if you are a Kindle Unlimited (KU) subscriber!

  Chapter 1

  8 Months Ago

  Our Boeing CH-47 Chinook is barely off the ground before all of us within it begin celebrating.

  “Yeah buddy!” My brother Jensen shouts, high- fiving everyone around before swooping me up in an exuberant hug.

  “We did it!” shouted my other brother Ramsey, but the smoke that still fills his lungs forces him to cough out the last part of the exclamation.

  We’ve just successfully extracted eight downed servicemen from behind enemy lines in southeastern Afghanistan. Their plane had been shot down by a surface- to- air missile. Without us rescuing them from hostile territory they’d likely have been captured and taken as prisoners as war.

  “And this is why we do the things we do!” shouted Brian, a team member who isn’t my literal, blood brother like Jensen and Ramsey are, but one who has become a figurative brother— just as all the men in my unit have become. “That others may live!”

  Several other men began chanting our motto along with him.

  “That others may live! That others may live!”

  As pararescuemen, we’re special operators within the Air Force Combat Search and Rescue team. And we spend years training for rescue missions such as these. It’s our whole job: for every helicopter that goes down, a team must go into that same hostile territory to rescue and medically treat the downed crew.

  We’re part of the Guardian Angel Weapon Systems, and we do whatever it takes to rescue even one downed service member. In fact, we’re the only unit the Department of Defense has designated to rescue and recover such service members when they’re trapped behind enemy lines. It’s nice to know that our hard work and perseverance have paid off, and that once again we’ve rescued American lives.

  And yet…

  As my brothers in arms continue to celebrate, and I chant along with them, I can’t help but feel a sense of foreboding. I hear shots being fired in the distance, and think of how we’ve been warned that rescue helicopters and their crews often come under fire during or immediately after their rescue efforts.

  “Are we completely in the clear yet?” I ask Jensen, looking out the window at the smoldering scene below us.

  It’s only getting more dangerous out here: insurgents lay ambushes and place bombs or other devices that specifically target rescue teams. We call these “SAR traps”: Search and Rescue traps.

  “Lighten up, little brother,” Jensen says, playfully punching me on the shoulder.

  “Shut up, spoil sport!” Brian shouts, and a few other people chant, “Shut up Harlow! Shut up Harlow!” in a teasing manner.

  “Seriously, Harlow,” says Ramsey. “You did well, and it’s time to celebrate.”

  Fuck it. If everyone else is in good spirits, I might as well make sure to shift mine to match theirs.

  “That others may live! That others may live!” I shout, beginning the chant anew that they were all stuck on before they started telling me to shut up.

  They soon join me but my voice is louder and stronger than the others, who had been repeating the phrase for quite a while now, while I was brooding. I’m on a roll, swept up by the momentum and exhilaration we’re all feeling.

  And then it happens.

  Our helicopter is spinning out of control, being downed just as certainly as the one from which we just rescued the eight other men.

  “We’ve been shot down!” someone yells.

  This obvious statement is the last thing I hear for a while.

  I come to in the aircraft that is now flaming and downed. I see an uncountable number of unconscious people in the helicopter, so I spring to action, extricating them from the burning wreckage.

  Where’s Jensen? Where’s Ramsey?

  There are many limp bodies, but I don’t see theirs among them. Although amidst the flames I can barely make out who’s who, I’m certain I could recognize my own brothers, whom I’ve known since I was born. I can only hope the fact that I don’t see them in this pile of wreckage means that they’re among the men helping to rescue others,
as I myself am doing.

  Those of us who are conscious work to remove those who are unconscious, without looking at or talking to each other. We’re simply determined to save lives before we run out of time. Time until the aircraft explodes. Time until the enemy shows up…

  In the back of my mind I fear captivity and torture, and I can’t help but hope that someone just like me is on the way to save us. There’s not much time for fear, though, and pure adrenaline keeps me working like a madmen to scoop up the bodies out of the plane before…

  … boom.

  Our helicopter explodes.

  I’m trapped, I can feel that my flesh is on fire, and I’m certain I’m headed to hell. Guys like me aren’t likely to be welcome in heaven. Sure, I’m a hero for what I do professionally, but the same can’t be said about my personal life.

  I blink and call out my brothers’ names, desperately searching for them in the hopes that I can find them before I lose consciousness…

  Chapter 2

  Present Day

  My patient stretches length- wise across the ballet barre in the physical therapy session room. He’s a young Airman Basic who was injured when an IED blew up his caravan. Normally he wears a uniform or fatigues, but for our sessions he changes into gym clothes.

  “You can do it, Jim,” I assure him, feeling more like a cheerleader than a physical therapist intern.

  He stretches a bit further, and now he’s supposed to remove his foot from the barre, but his position looks so precarious that I doubt he can make it. I glance nervously at Lance, who is lingering in the corner of the room, politely pretending not to be observing me as closely as I know he actually is. He’s the proctor for my internship— and therefore technically my boss— but ever since we’ve worked closely together during my internship, he’s become my friend as well.

 
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