Welcome to my June online read at Harlequin’s website, NAVY HOPE! Each day I’ll post a chapter, for 12 total chapters. If you want to read this on the Harlequin website, too, or comment on their community pages, you can start here.
I hope you enjoy this glimpse into my Whidbey Island Series!
By Geri Krotow
Copyright © 2013 by Harlequin Books S.A.
When Val DiPaola founded Beyond the Stars, a therapeutic resort for families of fallen soldiers, she never imagined she’d be hiring her ex. Although Val’s moved on since Lucas Derringer walked out of her life fifteen years ago, she’s never forgotten him. She can’t deny that his experience treating vets with PTSD and his background as a Navy SEAL make him perfect for the job. But the minute Lucas steps onto San Juan Island in Puget Sound, Val knows she’s in trouble. Because she wants him to be part of her life again—professionally and personally.
Only, a lot has happened to both of them since college. At Beyond the Stars, Val and Lucas teach their patients that hope and love can grow from heartbreak. Can they convince each other of the same thing?
Navy Hope is part of the Whidbey Island series, published in Superromance. Find more books in the series here!
Lucas Derringer felt as though he was on a clandestine SEAL mission. He wasn’t in a hot dirt bowl ready to take down Taliban fighters, nor was he in a sweaty swamp waiting for the right moment to rescue yet another operative who’d been captured by a tyrannical drug lord. He hadn’t done any of those things in over a decade. Now he treated the men and women who did, as a psychiatrist with post-combat mental trauma expertise.
Who knew that taking a break from his usual routine would trigger such a storm of anxiety?
Instead of fighting for his country in some godforsaken place, Lucas was on a Puget Sound ferry in the middle of what his new job description called “God’s Country.” The wind blew cold as it cleared the morning fog and revealed the majesty of fir-topped mountains that spilled down to the rocky shore. Gulls and eagles soared above him. He’d never seen a more beautiful sight.
He’d never felt more nauseous.
Being away from the sea and airplanes for so long had robbed him of his immunity to motion sickness. He suspected that not being the one piloting the ferry was part of the reason he’d been seasick—and thrown up over the side rail. If only he could’ve simply crossed a bridge after his grueling drive from D.C. But San Juan Island was too far from the mainland and a ferry was his one option.
He’d turned into a landlubber.
Focus on the beauty. This is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen. You’re getting everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Except for the one woman he’d expected to settle down with. Betsy.
He fought the urge to pull out his cell phone and start scrolling through his Facebook newsfeed, to see if any of his friends had posted photos of her wedding. He understood the importance of facing his feelings, not running away. Hell, his whole career was based on that concept.
Betsy had made her choice and it hadn’t been Lucas. When she’d left she’d said she didn’t want to settle down, but he knew better. They weren’t a good fit; for one thing, they were too much alike.
But he’d loved her.
That was three years ago. Before he’d had a chance to get used to being a doctor.
Yesterday she’d married a man she’d met right after their break-up. Another doctor.
He was over her but his pride still stung.
“Son of a bitch,” he muttered into the wind as he grasped the ferry’s railing and willed his stomach to stop heaving. Puget Sound during a winter squall was no match for his out-of-practice traveling skills.
His job in D.C. was three thousand miles away. He could start relaxing—as soon as this blasted ship docked.
Think about something else.
The new job.
The new boss.
Ironically, the most important woman in his life at the moment was a woman he hadn’t seen since they were just kids, sophomores in college. Did she remember him?
You know she does. You’ve never forgotten her.