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The Major’s Welcome Home
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When Kenna Sutton is tasked with driving home newly returned Beck “True Blue” Collier, she expects the strategic Army mastermind to be a pasty number cruncher. Never at a loss for words, Kenna is nonetheless rendered speechless by the gorgeous, hard-bodied and utterly inexperienced Army Major that lands in her passenger seat. Outraged by Beck’s lack of a welcome home after seven long years overseas, Kenna takes matters into her own hands, giving Beck something he’s only ever fantasized about in his bunk.
Beck has never shied away from a test of will and Kenna gives new meaning to the word challenge. One problem? Kenna’s father is the Lieutenant General presenting Beck with a Silver Star and Beck is determined to treat Kenna with the respect she deserves. Kenna has other ideas, however, tempting Beck’s resolve at every turn. But how long can one lonely, starving man hope to resist the woman he craves?
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All hail the world’s shittiest welcoming committee.
Kenna Sutton sat at the stoplight, chipped red nails drumming on the steering wheel. Come on. Change. She could feel the car full of soldiers to her left trying to get her attention. On a typical day, she would rev the engine of her baby blue Dodge Challenger, invite them to a race they would inevitably lose. But she was late—painfully late—to pick up one of their brethren. A soldier returning this morning from a staggering six years overseas, whose family was apparently too busy to greet him. So how had this landed on her shoulders? Just another perk of being Lieutenant General Sutton’s daughter.
“Forget this,” she muttered, stamping her foot down on the accelerator and screeching through the red light. Only one mile to go until she reached the landing zone. This last-minute favor to her father might be a pain in the ass, but she refused to let him down. She’d already done enough letting down to last a lifetime, and it was rare that he entrusted her with anything of importance, so she wouldn’t screw it up. Too badly.
Her knowledge of the man she’d been tasked with transporting to the barracks began and ended with one fact: he was some kind of strategic mastermind. Well, that wasn’t entirely true. She knew his name and rank. Major Beck Collier’s skill set must be something special, because he’d made himself indispensable to the Army. Six years’ worth of indispensable. And not one familiar face to latch on to when he landed.
Kenna swallowed the unexpected wave of sympathy and took a hard right, smiling as her tires squealed. The only benefit to waking up at the crack of dawn to pick up the stuffed-shirt geekster she envisioned was a chance to drive her baby. Listen to the engine purr like a contented leopard. With a wave of troops returning home, the winding roads of Fort Black Rock shouldn’t have been empty, which meant the visitors were already at the site. Dammit.
She slowed down just in time to prevent bottoming out as she pulled into the parking lot. The first available space she saw was at the very perimeter of the lot, but she was way too late to be choosey. Seconds after she threw the Challenger into park, she’d snatched up her makeshift sign that simply read Collier, and was jogging across the parking lot, her heavy Dirty Laundry combat boots pounding on the asphalt.
Running on a Sunday. Fucking obscene.
Car windows had been decorated with painted flags and the names of soldiers in big, bold letters. Welcome Home! In the distance, she could hear a marching band playing “God Bless America,” making her slow to a walk. The Fort Black Rock marching band was notoriously terrible, and the longer she put off being in their vicinity, the better.
A uniformed guard stopped her at the chain-link fence. “Need to see your identification, ma’am.”
He must be new. That wasn’t arrogance talking, although God knew she had a healthy dose of the stuff. She’d lived on base since birth and people—namely men—tended to know her. They didn’t call her a cocktease behind her back for blending in, did they? With a sigh, she tugged the wallet from her back pocket and tossed it to the guard, popping a stick of mint gum into her mouth as he looked it over. She knew the exact moment he recognized her last name because his eyebrows disappeared into his helmet. “I’m sorry, Miss Sutton. Go right in.”
“You’re a gem.” Kenna walked into the airfield, pushing her wallet back into the pocket of her jeans as she went. A group of photographers and journalists blocked her view at first, but as soon as she breached the human wall they’d created, she saw the soldiers disembarking from the plane. Men carrying Army-green duffel bags over their shoulders strode into the arms of crying women. Babies were kissed. Photos were taken. Proposals were made on bended knee. It was enough to warm the blackest of hearts. Even hers, apparently.
Feeling the odd spark in her chest, Kenna looked away quickly, wincing as the marching band struck up their awkward rendition of “Wild Blue Yonder.” Wasn’t that song reserved for the Air Force? Holding the homemade sign above her suddenly aching head, she made her way to the greeting area, scoping the sea of soldiers for an older gentleman by himself. Strategic masterminds probably wore thick-rimmed glasses, had pasty skin…maybe a slight paunch from too many hours in front of a computer, right? The second she dropped him off at the barracks, he’d probably dive on the first available video game controller. Didn’t matter to her. She’d already be back in bed, finishing her Sunday the way she’d originally intended. Counting sheep.
“Excuse me, ma’am,” a gravelly voice said behind her. “Are you my ride?”