F-BOMB: SEALs Love Curves Series - Book cover

F-BOMB: SEALs Love Curves Series

Mary E Thompson

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Summary

Weakness was a four-letter word for these nine former SEALs. They were born to be protectors, to eliminate threats, to never back down from a fight. Leaving the military was a choice, but didn't come without struggles. The women they fall for give them each a new purpose and show them what they fought for all those years.

This series contains nine full length romantic suspense novels about trusting your gut, risking it all, and taking a chance on love.

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Chapter 1

Book 1: Freedom

The vibrating phone woke Archer Ford from a sound sleep. Well, as sound as his sleep ever was. He snatched it from the table next to his bed.

“What?”

A quick intake of breath on the other end of the line had the hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. He was on his feet, wide awake in seconds. Archer was ready for anything.

Or so he thought.

“Is this Archer?” the woman asked.

“Who is this?” he demanded. He never answered questions when he didn’t know who was asking them.

“I need to know if I have the right number. Is this Archer Ford? Jaymes’s brother?”

“How do you know my brother?” Archer asked, knowing he needed to get her talking if he was going to find out anything. He had a feeling in his gut, and his gut was never wrong. He just never expected the bad news to come from his brother.

“I’m his best friend. He told me to call you if I ever needed something. And I… I need your help. Well, really, he does. And I didn’t know who to call or what to do. I’m really worried. He never does this sort of thing. Maybe I’m overreacting, but—”

“Stop talking,” Archer barked.

She shut up instantly.

“Now, tell me what the hell you’re talking about. What’s going on? Who doesn’t do what sort of thing?”

“Jaymes. He disappeared a few days ago, and I don’t know where he is. He hasn’t been answering his phone, and he didn’t tell me he was leaving, and—”

“Stop! My brother is missing?” Dread sank into Archer and hooked on to every nerve in his body.

“Well, missing is such a strong word. Maybe he’s working on a project and his phone died.”

“Has he ever done that before?”

She sucked in a breath. “Jaymes? No.”

“He’s never gone off without telling you?”

“No. Never.”

“Are you fucking my brother?”

She gasped. “Who the hell do you think you are to ask me something like that? That’s none of your business!”

“So, no,” Archer said. But she wants to.

Lucky bastard. Archer couldn’t remember the last woman who wanted him. And the voice on the other end of his phone was sultry and seductive and could get him hard in an instant if she weren’t telling him his brother was missing.

Not kidnapped, she said.

He rolled his eyes.

“Fine, no. I’m not sleeping with Jaymes. What does that have to do with anything?”

“Because I need to know how much you matter to my brother. If you’re his girlfriend, whoever took him could come back for you to use as leverage. Where are you?”

“Do you really think they’d do that?” she whispered, her voice laced with fear.

Shit. Archer forgot he was talking to a civilian, not a fellow SEAL. Not that he could consider them his brothers any longer. He quit with the rest of them. He didn’t want to go, but he wasn’t given a choice like the others. Honorably discharged, they said. It meant the same fucking thing.

He was out. His career was over. There was nothing left for him.

“I don’t know who ‘they’ are or what they’re capable of, but anything is possible. If you’re a friend and not his girlfriend, they might not care about you. If he really was kidnapped.”

“His place was trashed. It looked like someone tossed it. That’s the right word for it, right? When someone goes through looking for something?”

Archer nearly groaned. She was going to be a piece of work. “Yeah. Anyway. Stay where you are. I’ll… be there in a few hours.”

“What should I do if they come to get me?”

“Hide,” Archer said, then hung up the phone.

He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had no desire to return home. He’d be happy if he never set foot in Western New York ever again. Hell, all of New York.

But he couldn’t leave his brother. Especially when he had that feeling in his gut. Something wasn’t right.

* * *

Archer pulled into his brother’s parking lot around five in the morning. He was exhausted from driving all night, but he was on high alert. He slid his Glock into the back of his waistband and headed for the door to his brother’s building.

The door was locked, but easy enough to get into. He slipped inside and looked around. He’d never been in the building before, but it was like any other apartment building. Dark carpet, beige walls, dim lighting, and that never-ending smell of lemon-scented cleaner that only masked the deeper scent of multiple people living under the same roof.

He checked the numbers on the first floor. He’d never been to his brother’s apartment, thought he never would be, so he had no idea which floor he lived on. Unit 17 couldn’t be too high up, but Archer really had no clue.

Three floors up, he finally found it at the back of the building. He quickly picked the lock and let himself inside, closing the door with a soft click.

The apartment was dark. Blinds were drawn against the sunlight that would try to spill inside in less than two hours. Archer waited, listening, as his eyes adjusted to the space.

He was in a small entryway. A boot tray was on his left, and jackets hung on the wall behind the door. There was a small table in front of him and a tiny kitchen farther off to the left. He crept around the table and peeked into the kitchen. Nothing seemed particularly out of place. No dishes in the sink and only a few small appliances on the counter, but nothing that concerned him.

He continued into the living room, glancing around. His brother was always neat, putting his toys away and keeping his room spotless. He was the son their dad didn’t have to get after about every little thing. Not like Archer. Jaymes was perfect, and Archer was a fuck-up. It was the story of their lives.

The living room was clear, so Archer kept going toward a back hallway. He couldn’t see around the corner, so he drew his gun. His hand shook. Fuck. He switched hands and shook it out. He closed his eyes for just a second, long enough to force his demons back into the grave where they belonged.

Archer swapped the gun to his right hand again and let it lead the way into the hall. A bathroom was right in front of him, and two bedrooms opened up a step farther into the darkness.

He took a step forward, going toward the bathroom, the easiest of the three to check, when he heard it. Nothing any normal person would pick up, but he wasn’t normal. Hadn’t been in far too long.

Breathing. Uneven. Fear or excitement? He didn’t know.

Archer moved slowly, hoping he could catch the person off guard. He stopped his own breathing so he could just listen and pinpoint their position. In the first bedroom, the one directly across from the bathroom. Just inside the door. Probably either a gun or another weapon in hand if the person was waiting that close to the door.

He moved quickly once he knew where to go and stepped into the bedroom and pointed his gun right at the person’s face.

A gasp. Then the shaky breath.

Definitely not someone threatening. Jaymes’s girlfriend, maybe?

“Who are you and what are you doing here?”

“I’m Lily Scott,” she whimpered. “I was just—”

“You’re the one from the phone,” Archer said, lowering his gun. “The best friend.”

She sagged onto the bed, her whole body shaking. She drew her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them and tried to suck in breath after breath.

Archer crouched down in front of her. The last thing he needed was her having a panic attack. “Breathe with me. Slow, deep breaths. Count to three. In, two, three. Out, two, three. In, two, three. Out, two, three.”

To his surprise, she did what he said. She stared into his eyes and dragged in one ragged breath after another until there wasn’t a hitch in each one.

“Feeling better?” he asked.

She nodded. “I think so. Um, who are you?”

His dark eyebrows shot up, and he almost laughed. She just sat there with him, after he pointed a gun in her face, and had no idea who he was? “You called me. I’m Archer.”

Her eyes scanned him until the appraisal drove him to his feet. He didn’t want to know what she saw when she looked at him. Especially not with the darkness that hung between them. In the harsh light of day, it would be a different story, but in the dark, Archer couldn’t hide from the truth in the dark.

He smacked the switch and flooded the room with too much light. He let his eyes adjust for a second, then took a good look at the woman who asked for his help.

Jesus, she was beautiful.

She wore the tiniest pair of shorts he’d ever seen and a tank top that was so tight it might as well have been see-through. Not that he was complaining. Pink was definitely his new favorite color. Pink shorts, pink top, and pink nipples trying to peek out and say hi.

He was up to the task.

“I didn’t think you could get here so fast. What time is it?”

“Five. You said my brother was missing. I thought this was his place, so I came here.”

“It is,” Lily said quickly.

Archer scanned the room, taking in the rumpled queen-sized bed, the woman’s clothes tossed around, and the mix of items that had to be his brother’s, and there was only one conclusion to draw. Lily might not be screwing his brother, but they were doing something.

“You live here, too?”

Lily shook her head. “No. I have my own place, but you said to stay put. I figured if Jaymes came home during the night, I could call you and let you know he was back. I didn’t realize you were going to be here already.”

Archer nodded and looked around. He didn’t know his brother well. Not anymore. Once upon a time, they were close, but that ended years ago when Archer was ten and his brother was only six. It had been years since Archer had even seen Jaymes, let alone knew anything about his life. He was pretty sure Jaymes did something with computers, but what, he had no clue.

“Do you stay here often?” Archer asked for some unknown reason. It was obvious she was close to Jaymes, whether they were involved or not. She was at risk if Jaymes really was kidnapped. How often she spent the night was only relevant to the side of him that was trying to decide if he could sleep with her and not piss off his brother.

Lily shrugged, shifting her breasts and dragging his gaze back to them. They jiggled a bit when she moved. Even more when she talked. She liked to talk with her hands. Hell, she talked with her whole body. Her hips swayed gently as she spoke, and her hair, brown with blonde and red strung through it, curved around her breasts like lovers caressing her.

He was jealous of her damn hair.

“Are you even listening to me?” she asked, hands punching those sexy hips.

Archer shook his head. “Long drive.”

Her irritation slid away, and genuine concern replaced it. “I’m sorry. I didn’t even think about that. Can I make you some coffee? Or maybe you prefer tea. We have water and orange juice. Do you want breakfast?”

“Lily,” Archer said loudly to get her attention. She’d already moved into the kitchen and flipped on every light in the apartment. Pans banged under a cabinet as she bent at the waist to retrieve them.

His brother was a damn saint if he wasn’t sleeping with this woman.

“Eggs? How about an omelet? I make a killer omelet. Jaymes loves my… omelets.” She turned watery eyes up to Archer. “Am I ever going to see him again?”

Archer couldn’t think about that. Losing his brother wasn’t an option. He’d lost too many of them during his time as a SEAL. He wasn’t going to lose the only one he actually shared DNA with.

“You’ll see him again,” he promised Lily. “I’ll find him.”

She fell into his arms like she’d run out of energy to keep herself upright. Adrenaline was a bitch. One minute Lily was getting ready to make breakfast, and the next she was crashing in Archer’s arms.

He held her awkwardly. It had been a while since he’d touched a woman, let alone had one in his arms. And the last time, she was definitely not crying. Screaming, panting, and moaning, yeah, but not crying.

She clung to him for a few seconds, long enough that his cock took notice of the curvy, warm woman in his arms. She smelled like every good thing the world had to offer. Like cookies and fresh air and woman all rolled into one. He wanted to press his face into her neck and inhale her deeply, but he had no right. She belonged to Jaymes.

“I’m sorry,” she said, taking a big step back. “I know you don’t like people to lean on you. I just lost it. I’ve been so scared, you know. And I feel so much better with you here. Jaymes always said you could do anything, and I believe it. I know you’ll find him and bring him back. And I really appreciate it.”

Archer’s mind spun with the load she dropped on him. Obviously, his brother talked about him. And it wasn’t good.

The only problem was it was all true. He wasn’t the kind of guy a person could lean on. He wasn’t reliable. He always managed to fuck things up one way or another. He was there because he owed it to Jaymes. Archer had been trying to repay his brother for years, and this was his first opportunity. When he found him and returned him to his woman, Archer could crawl back into his hole and disappear again.

“Uh, yeah. I’ll find him.”

“Thank you,” Lily said.

Her smile gutted him. She had faith in him. She trusted him. He didn’t deserve either, but he’d do his best to deliver for her. A woman like her deserved to be happy. And if Jaymes made her happy, Archer would give up his own life to save him. It was the least he owed, to Jaymes and to Rodney.

“If I’m going to find him, I need some information from you. Tell me everything you know. About my brother, what he does, where he spends his time, everything. You’re the only lead I have right now, so I need your help.”

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