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Don’t Fall For Me
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The handsome Navy SEAL was my entire world one summer.
So what happens when he finds out that I’ve had his baby?
Kyle O’Shea likes to keep things casual, especially when it comes to women. Fun, fancy-free, and female are his three favorite words. But when a beautiful brunette tells him she’s had his son, his world comes crashing down.
Claire never expected to get pregnant by a gorgeous Navy SEAL. The curvy girl wanted to have some fun, and when she finds out she’s expecting, her world falls apart. Will she and Kyle make a family together? Or will the Navy SEAL never know his son?
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I stood on the edge of the pool in a red swimsuit, wishing the concrete would open up and swallow me. The suit, now more of a faded pink than red, was way too tight. My mom only bought me a plain one-piece because she was convinced that I needed to get my nose out of my books and my butt in the water.
“Live a little!” Phoebe begged. “Get out there and meet some nice boys!”
I’d refused to look up, cheeks flushing. Because the truth is there were no boys interested in me. I was more of a wallflower, the invisible girl who faded into the background.
But Phoebe didn’t know that. Even though we didn’t have much, my mom wanted me to get out there and make lots of friends, so she’d bought me a red swimsuit like the ones from Baywatch. But the problem was that even if the suit looked like the ones on TV, I don’t look like the actresses wearing them. I’m plush and round everywhere, more of a curvy girl than a hard body. So as you can imagine, the outfit looked completely different in real life.
But usually it’s okay. I like being luscious, and I’ve never thought that skinny string beans with gristly muscles looked good. But hey, to each their own. Except today. Today I was lined up, toes touching the edge of the water, looking at the Olympic-sized pool below, feeling horribly out of place. The water was beautiful, rippling and blue, but also slightly threatening. Could I handle it? Would I survive? We were doing the school swim test, and everyone else seemed comfortable and at ease. I, on the other hand, just prayed not to drown.
“Squeee!” shrieked the whistle. Jolted, I looked around wildly, staring at the other girls. What did that mean? But the instructor watching us just smirked.
“Ready?” she belted. “Two laps ladies, over and back. It’ll be over before you know it!”
My heart sank because the thing is, I’m not very good at swimming, and two laps is a lot. It’s not that I couldn’t do the two laps, it’s more that I’d swim them in a messy doggy paddle, flailing this way and that, kicking like a crazed animal. But no one said you had to be an Olympic swimmer with perfect strokes, so doggy paddle it was.
Then came more blasts.
“Squeeeee!” went the whistle. “Squeee! Squeee!”
At that, the other girls dived into the pool, slick as seals, while I watched, toes still curled over the edge of the cement. Oh god, oh god! They were already going strong and I was still stuck here like a lump on the hot concrete. This would never do.
Taking a deep breath and squeezing my eyes shut, I jumped in. No dive, god no. I can’t dive worth salt, and jumping in was fine, thank you very much. As I pushed off the edge, gamely I began trying to stroke. Right arm forwards, then left. Then right. Oh wait, and there was kicking too, I had to kick! Left foot kick and then right. And then left. I gasped, panting and flailing, hoping I didn’t look too stupid.
But the stress and anxiety got to me because I’m not an expert swimmer even on a good day, and this afternoon was worse than usual. My vision filled with blue and white shapes, bubbles that seemed about a mile high, and suddenly the water was everywhere. It weighed me down, panic rising in my brain and I began choking and splashing like mad.
Do the doggy paddle! screamed my mind. Pretend you’re a golden retriever enjoying a dip in the pool on a hot summer day! No big deal! Doggy paddle girl, doggy paddle!
But I couldn’t control my rising panic. The water was everywhere, pressing down on my head, making my limbs feel heavy and I thrashed more, trying to push the waves away. But it did no good and suddenly, I began to sink, to drop deeper and deeper into the depths, the silence forming a seal over my head.
Oh god, I never thought I’d die here in the school pool. I always thought I’d go peacefully when I was seventy or so, but instead, here I was at age eighteen, about to give up the ghost during a school swim test. It was humiliating but when you’re on your last legs, you don’t care anymore. A wave of peacefulness washed over my frame, my mind curiously light as I gave in. Good-bye Mom, came the words to my head. I love you.
But suddenly a crash sounded and I was propelled upwards, almost bursting from the water in a huge spray. Reflexively, my body jerked, coughing and hacking, trying to survive while clinging to my savior.
Because a man had rescued me, and he held me tight now, mouth in a grim line as he dragged us both over to the pool’s edge. Unable to focus, I clung to that muscular chest, desperately heaving and coughing.