Authors: Makenna Jameison
He’s the one man she can never forgive…or forget.
Lexi Mattingly, a hotshot Pentagon security specialist, can’t escape her past. Sent down to Little Creek to track down hackers attempting to infiltrate Top Secret naval databases, the last man she expects to run into is the ruggedly handsome Navy SEAL she left in Coronado a lifetime ago.
Navy SEAL Christopher “Blade” Walters has carried a torch for a decade. The sparks ignited years ago on the beaches of California never burned out, and the man destined to be alone feels them slowly combust when the woman he’d lost forever walks back into his life.
Lexi and Christopher must learn to work together to stop the hackers. But when she’s kidnapped from her hotel, Christopher may be the only man who can save her. Can she trust the man who broke her heart to protect her life? And more importantly, can he convince her to give their love a second chance?
A SEAL’s Surrender, a stand-alone novel, is book three in the new series, Alpha SEALs.
A SEAL’s Surrender
AN ALPHA SEALS NOVEL
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 by Makenna Jameison.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.
ALSO BY MAKENNA JAMEISON
SEAL the Deal
SEALed with a Kiss
A SEAL’s Surrender
A SEAL’s Seduction
The SEAL Next Door
Protected by a SEAL
Loved by a SEAL (Fall 2016)
SOLDIER SERIES ROMANCE NOVELLAS
Christmas with a Soldier
Valentine from a Soldier
In the Arms of a Soldier
Return of a Soldier
Summer with a Soldier
HEARTS ABLAZE: MEN IN UNIFORM
A Marine for Christmas
Her Forbidden Marine
Table of Contents
Lexi Mattingly flipped her sleek, jet black hair over her shoulder and strode through the parking lot, her sky-high heels clicking as she walked across the black asphalt. The sweltering heat hit her like a sauna, the salty air that was blowing in from the ocean the only thing making it somewhat tolerable. She slipped off her suit jacket, walking the remaining few steps to her SUV in only her slim skirt and camisole.
The vast spread of buildings around Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek was nothing like the impenetrable rings of corridors at the Pentagon, her home turf. The only thing vaguely familiar was the sounds of planes in the air—although the fighter jets screaming across the sky on training drills from Oceana Naval Air Station in Virginia Beach weren’t exactly the same as the commercial flights taking off from Reagan National Airport along the Potomac River in Arlington.
She watched two FA-18 Hornets blaze across the blue sky, the image reminding her of a lifetime ago in Coronado. It was hard to believe nearly ten years had gone by since her days as a college student back in California. She’d built her career in Washington, DC, her drive to succeed and work ethic fitting in perfectly with the fast-paced, challenging lifestyle of the Department of Defense.
An IT whiz at the Pentagon, amongst the Defense Department’s best-of-the-best, Lexi was called down to Little Creek to determine who was attempting to hack into the Top Secret databases at the naval base. Black Ops, names and identities of SEAL teams, mission specs, locations of forward-operating bases around the world—the intelligence stored there would be a wealth of information to foreign operatives. It would fetch a high price on the black market and make the US vulnerable to foreign adversaries. Lexi was tasked to ensure that the data never fell into the wrong hands. And to determine the source of the attempted infiltrations.
After spending the afternoon briefing the top brass at Little Creek about the vulnerabilities of their computer systems, she was ready to call it a day. Four hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-95 and I-64 as she drove down from Arlington this morning followed by four hours spent in a cramped conference room on base, and she needed a drink. Preferably a stiff one.
She slung her suit jacket over one arm and clicked the remote to unlock her vehicle. The
resounded across the pavement. She certainly didn’t need to set the alarm while on base, but old habits died hard.
A uniformed Navy officer eyed her appreciatively as he climbed out of his own car a few spaces over, but he merely nodded with a polite, “Ma’am.”
She nodded back in acknowledgement and then smirked as she turned away. All the military men were so formal on base, under the watchful eyes of their supervisors and commanding officers. Get them in a bar after hours, a few drinks in, and they’d be hitting on her left and right. Insisting she needed to come home with them for the night.
She could also use a month-long vacation to a tropical island, but the chance of either of those things happening was zilch.
She hadn’t minded the attention of handsome military men in the least in her college days. Back in California, hunky guys, hot beaches, and alcohol-fueled nights had filled her early twenties. Her first and only serious boyfriend, a ruggedly handsome Navy SEAL, had kept her up night after night, and she’d been more than happy to lose sleep basking in his attention. To let his years of experience guide her first sexual encounters. They were young, carefree, and had the world at their disposal.
Those days were long over now.
At twenty-nine, she’d spent the past seven years working her way up the ranks at the Department of Defense. She had an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, a Master’s Degree from Georgetown that she’d completed while working full time—and she was good at what she did. Really good. An expert hacker and IT Security Specialist for the Pentagon. Her expertise and vast knowledge was renowned, sought after by others in the military trying to lure her away to their Top Secret projects. Job offers flew in from defense contractors around the Beltway. But she’d found her home.
She enjoyed life at the Pentagon, the headquarters and central hub of activity for the DoD. She was tasked to assist the branches of the armed services on network security issues, so she’d come down to Little Creek for the week, first to brief the higher-ups and then to get down in the dirt and play with the big boys. Figuratively speaking, of course. Although she’d work side-by-side with their IT specialists and network security administrators in rooting out the source of the attempted hacks, no way in hell was she falling into bed with any of them. No matter how attractive a man in uniform may be.
Lexi climbed into her SUV, dropping her briefcase and blazer onto the passenger seat. She adjusted her skirt as she started the engine, feeling the ache in her calves from walking around base in those damn heels all afternoon. Nothing sounded better right now than changing into some comfortable clothes and grabbing a drink at a bar down by the water.
She grabbed her buzzing cell phone from her briefcase, her best friend Kenley’s picture flashing across the screen.
“Hi hun. Did you get my message?” she asked as she cranked up the AC. She pictured Kenley, petite with cascading brown curls, anxiously pacing back and forth in front of their favorite bar back in DC. The same place they were supposed to meet for drinks tonight before the game.
“Yeah, I just got it—I was stuck in meetings all day. You’re down there all week?” Kenley moaned. “Who’s going to come to the Nat’s game with me tonight?”
Lexi laughed. “I’m sure you’ll find some poor guy to drag along.”
“Two hours before the first pitch?”
“Call Cassidy,” she said, referring to the third woman in their trio of friends. Tall and blonde, she was the exact opposite in looks from Lexi and Kenley, but the three of them had met just after college and were inseparable.
“No, she’s tied up with what’s-his-name.”
“Literally?” Lexi asked with a chuckle. It was only five o’clock on a Monday night, but then again, you never knew with Cassidy.
“God, I hope not. TMI.”
A smile played on Lexi’s lips. If walls could talk, the ones in Cassidy’s apartment would have enough stories to last a lifetime. “Sorry about the change in plans for tonight. I wasn’t expecting to be sent down here—”
“But you’re the best,” Kenley finished with a sigh. “Can’t I convince you to move over to the private sector? I could find you a kick-ass job. You’d pick your hours, decide which business trips you want—”
“Not a chance,” Lexi laughed.
This must’ve been the twentieth time Kenley had pitched Lexi into abandoning the DoD for work at a large defense contractor. Although it might be fun working with her best friend, her career and interests were with the government. Fat chance she’d abandon that now after the years she’d put in, no matter how big the paycheck. With a few side IT projects that she was able to moonlight on—legally—she didn’t really need the extra cash anyway.
“It was worth a shot,” Kenley mumbled. “Oh great, and now there’s a creepy old guy checking me out. I should not be standing here alone in front of a bar.”
“I don’t know. Fifty. Too old. Ugh. All right, I’ll head in and grab a drink myself. I feel like I’m on display out here.”
“Tell him you have an extra ticket to the game,” Lexi teased. “Maybe he could be your sugar daddy.”
“Not a chance in hell. I’m so calling you back though if that creeper starts hitting on me.”
“That’s what best friends are for.”
The two women hung up, and Lexi pulled out of the parking lot on base. She nodded at the guards as she exited. Damn, even they were good-looking. By Friday, she hoped to have this project wrapped up and be headed back to Northern Virginia. She was an expert at tracking down hackers and installing top-notch security systems impenetrable by anyone. If the hackers were in the US—doubtful—they’d be arrested. If they were on foreign soil, she’d see to it that they never made it past the firewalls and security systems she’d install at Little Creek. And maybe she’d give them a taste of their own medicine. A few lines of seemingly innocuous code, and their systems would be fried.
The day spent on base might’ve been perfect if it weren’t for those damn SEALs all over the place. The men stationed at Little Creek reminded her a little too much of her former flame. She’d moved clear across the damn country to avoid seeing him again, abandoning her work at Coronado for life at the Pentagon. Not that her asshole of an ex had ever tried to track her down—he was scared senseless of commitment, of raising a family, of doing the right thing. And didn’t that say a lot about the man—no, make that
—that he was. He’d been young at the time, too, but any decent guy would’ve manned up. Taken responsibilities for his actions.
A pregnancy scare when she was twenty, after they’d been dating for a couple years, had shown his true colors. He wasn’t the settling down type. Not the marrying kind. Certainly not fit to be a father. Maybe the false alarm had been for the best—she’d seen firsthand he wasn’t the type of man to ever be happy about starting a family together, so she’d left. It might’ve broken her heart if she didn’t hate him so damn much.
She’d hauled her ass across the country to avoid ever seeing him again. How’s that for a reasonable reaction? God, if her parents had ever known the real reason she’d left California, they’d have a field day. He was never good enough, smart enough for her. She hadn’t given a crap, but look where she’d ended up today. Single and alone at age twenty-nine.
Life at the Pentagon was good, but she missed the sea and warm weather. Washington just wasn’t the same as laid-back California, and there were days when her homesickness hit her like a tidal wave, knocking her breathless. Maybe she’d look into transferring to a naval base here in Virginia one day. With seven years spent working her way up in the Department of Defense, she wasn’t ready to jump ship. She’d stay with the DoD and still get to enjoy life near the water. She’d miss her friends and the life she’d built, but maybe a small part of her soul would finally feel at peace. Maybe.
One thing was for certain—she’d never, ever set foot in Coronado again.
Six feet of solid muscle, warm brown eyes, and the hottest sex she’d ever had in her life had left her smitten with her first love. He was hotter than sin, a SEAL barely out of BUD/S when they’d first crossed paths. He’d taken her virginity, captured her heart, and promised her the world. Life had been pretty damn perfect until she’d thought she was pregnant. No question it was his. She’d never so much as let another man undress her before, let alone make love to her night after night.
The cold way he’d frozen up and questioned her loyalty to him made her want to rip his heart right out. To pound her fists against his chest until he apologized. To hurt him the cruel way he’d hurt her. He’d attempted to ask for her forgiveness the next day, but it was too late. That ship had sailed, and she sure as hell didn’t plan to ever speak to him again. She’d moved a week later, never once looking back on the life that could’ve been. The future she should’ve had. She didn’t even know what the hell had happened to him. It’s not like the movements and career of a SEAL were broadcast on the national news. And he sure as hell hadn’t tried to follow her, contact her, or do a damn thing to win her back.
It was better this way. She had her busy career, her friends, and her condo in Arlington. An occasional date, but never anything serious. She certainly didn’t need a man to come into her life and break her heart again. The SEALs at Little Creek had sent too many thoughts swirling around her mind—memories she couldn’t forget, some memories she didn’t want to forget. And one memory that chased her all these years later—of chocolate brown eyes that saw into her very soul. Then betrayed her when she needed him the most.