Wed to a SEAL by Cat Johnson
Hot SEALs Series
Published: April 12, 2016
Published by: Cat Johnson
In his career as a Navy SEAL, Rocky Mangiano has been called a Jersey boy, and a Yankee, and a few other choice names he shouldn’t repeat in mixed company, but never in his life has anyone called him daddy.
If the bundle of joy he finds on the doorstep is any indication, things are about to change and he has no clue what to do about it.
When the baby’s single mother enters the picture things get even more crazy, but given the fringe benefits that come along with the complications of their marriage of convenience, Rocky’s not complaining. Not one little bit.
The distant sound of the doorbell ringing filtered out to the deck. Rick leaned forward in his chair and peered through the sliding glass door. “Who the hell could that be? Chris and Brody couldn’t be back in town yet, and everybody else is already here.”
Jon shrugged. “Maybe Darci or Ali asked somebody from work.”
“Or maybe it’s Grant. You said you called him too, right?” Thom reminded Rick.
“Yeah, I did. But he was having trouble getting the wife onboard with the plan.” Rick hoisted his large frame from the chair and stood. “I guess we’ll soon find out.”
“Rick!” Darci’s shout came from inside the house. “Get in here. Now!”
“What the hell is wrong with her?” Rick drew his brows low as he moved to open the door.
Rocky watched Rick go into the house, curious but not enough to get him out of his chair. It seemed the other guys felt the same. Jon and Thom stayed put as well.
“What the hell?” That exclamation from Rick propelled the men into action.
They all stood at once. Jon was the first to get to the door. He stopped dead, blocking Thom and Rocky’s entry and their view.
“Holy shit. Whose is that?” At Jon’s question, Rocky couldn’t take it any longer.
He edged past the blockage and finally got a look past Jon at what all the cursing was about.
A car seat containing a baby sat in the center of the dining room table. And surrounding the table were three very unhappy looking women.
Darci crossed her arms. “That’s exactly what I’d like to know.”
“Zane’s maybe?” Rick lifted one shoulder. “He was a real dog before he got together with Missy.”
The usually lovely and perfectly composed Sierra Cox, who’d Rocky had never seen up close and personal before, didn’t look as if she was buying it.
“One problem with that theory. Zane doesn’t live here,” Sierra pointed out.
Darci nodded. “But you do, Rick.”
Uh oh. It looked like Rick was in big trouble as both his girlfriend and his sister presented a united front against him.
Rick stood his ground and leveled a gaze at his girlfriend. “The problem with that circumstantial evidence is that before you I lived like a monk. So no, it’s not mine.”
Darci glanced at Sierra. “That is true. He like never dated. Ever.”
Rick scowled. “Thanks, Sis. And might I remind you that you live here too? Maybe this is about you.”
Darci lifted a brow. “I think I’d know if I had a baby, Rick.”
“I didn’t mean you. I’m talking about Chris.”
Rocky watched wide-eyed as Rick threw Chris Cassidy, Darci’s boyfriend, under the bus.
He’d worked with Chris on this last op in Nigeria. He was a good man and all evidence indicated he’d been a good SEAL before he’d retired and joined Jon’s team on GAPS.
Darci visibly paled at her brother’s accusation. Meanwhile the baby, already squirming in the seat, began to wail. The noise only seemed to ramp up the tension in the room.
Rocky didn’t feel right standing by silently. If Chris’s friends and former teammates didn’t defend him, he would. “Hey, now. Let’s not make any assumptions. Chris isn’t here to defend himself.”
No one made a move toward the baby and the screaming went on. It probably went on for less than a minute but it felt like an eternity. A crying baby was one of those sounds that grated on the nerves pretty fast.
Finally Jon’s girlfriend Ali stepped forward. “For goodness sake. If no one is going to pick up the poor child, I will.”
Instinct and training kicked in for Rocky. The enemy wouldn’t think twice about wiring a baby seat to explode.
He took one step forward. “No!”
Almost simultaneously, Jon shouted, “Ali, don’t!”
Rick ran for Sierra and shoved both her and Darci into the kitchen as Thom threw both forearms up to shield his own face.
All of them had to be thinking the same thing.
They’d all been in too many hellholes in the world where US forces would go to investigate a body or help a person, only to be blown to bits when they got close.
Heart pounding, Rocky watched Ali release the buckle and slide her hands beneath the crying baby’s arms.
The whole scene seemed to move in slow motion. She lifted the baby from the car seat before Jon got to her.
Seconds ticked by in the surreal way they do when adrenaline is pounding through the bloodstream during a crisis. But the explosion never came.
Ali frowned at Jon. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Get into the other room.” Jon shoved Ali and the baby toward the kitchen doorway, where Rick had already pushed Sierra and Darci.
Once she was clear of the immediate area, Jon bent low to peer beneath the car seat on the table. Rocky stepped forward to join him.
Sad but true, the innocent-looking baby seat could be wired with explosives. The fact they were standing in Rick’s dining room in Virginia in the good old United States didn’t matter. ISIS was here in America. That was a proven fact.
“What do you think?” Rocky asked Jon.
“Hell if I know.” Jon glanced up to Thom. “Get over here. You have kids. You’re the only one who knows what this thing is supposed to look like.”
Thom stepped forward and bent low too, the three of them squinting at a contraption that looked innocuous enough—to a person who hadn’t spent the last decade of their life searching for threats around every turn and beneath every rock.
Darci peeked past Rick’s bulk as he blocked the women in the kitchen. “You guys are ridiculous.”
Rick scowled. “Darci, be quiet and let us figure out what’s going on.”
“How about you read that note that fell out of the blanket when Ali picked up the baby? Maybe it will give you men folk a clue while us helpless women hide in the kitchen.”
Darci’s statement about a note had Rocky tearing his gaze away from the seat. He searched the area beneath the table. Sure enough a paper was resting on the carpet by Jon’s feet.
Jon bent to pick it up. He lifted a brow and then glanced up. “Rocky?”
“It seems this delivery is for you.”
Rocky’s eyes flew wide. “What?”
Thom leaned closer to Jon to inspect the paper. “Yup. Says Rocky right there on it, plain as day. Dude, what have you been doing?”
It all started in first grade when Cat Johnson won the essay contest at Hawthorne Elementary School and got to ride in the Chief of Police's car in the Memorial Day Parade...and the rest, as they say, is history.
As an adult, Cat generally tries to stay out of police cars and is thrilled to be writing for a living. She has been published under a different name in the Young Adult genre, but released her first romance in 2006.
Today, she is a NY Times & USA Today best-selling, award-winning author of contemporary romance and contracted with Kensington and Samhain Publishing. She's also sponsored real live bull riding cowboys.
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