She fought another wave of tears, her heart squeezing so hard she thought it would stop working altogether. “The man I love,” she squeezed out. “There. After fifteen years, I’ve finally quit being a coward and said it. I love you, Will. I love you so damn much and I refuse to lose you.”

Pleasure shone on his face. “I love you too. And you won’t lose me.”

“If you go—”

“I have to go,” he cut in. “Being a SEAL is who I am. It’s a part of me. Just like the visions are a part of you. They make you who you are. I accept that, and you’ve got to accept this.”

Her chest ached so badly it felt like someone was scraping it with a dull blade. Will shifted, and the next thing she knew he’d flipped her over. She lay on her back, with Will propped up on his elbow next to her, gazing down at her with those gorgeous black eyes. “I love you, Mackenzie. And no measly helicopter crash will keep me from coming home to you.”

She closed her eyes. “God, Will, if something happens to you…”

“Then it happens.” He placed his palm on her belly and traced her belly button with his fingers. “Which means we need to take advantage of the time we have now.”

Her br**sts began to tingle as his fingers drifted toward them. His touch was warm, gentle, and her body swiftly responded. Nipples hardening, clit swelling. It bothered her that she could still get turned on when her entire body felt bruised, when her stomach still churned with the fear of losing him and the anger that he was putting himself in the position for that to happen.

She intercepted his hand before it reached the bottom of one breast. “I was wrong,” she said shakily.

His forehead wrinkled. “About what?”

“You.” When a frown creased his sensual mouth, she hurried on. “You’ll always be there for me, won’t you, Will?”

“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you all along.”

He framed her face with his hands and took possession of her mouth, his lips firm and reassuring. The kiss brought the tears back to her eyes.

She loved him. She’d always loved him. She’d never felt like she’d truly belonged until Will moved to Hunter Ridge. And fifteen years later—God, how had he waited this long?—fifteen years later she was finally ready to admit it. Admit how much she wanted him, needed him.

As if he’d read her thoughts, he moved over her body and rubbed her opening with the tip of his cock. “Let me in, baby,” he muttered.

Since she’d widened her legs the moment he initiated the erotic intrusion, she knew he wasn’t talking about sex. It was hard to form a coherent sentence when he was stroking her entrance like that, teasing her clit with his cock, but she managed. Moistened her suddenly dry lips and said, “I love you.”

His breath hitched. He pushed his c**k into her, and then moved inside her. At each thrust, she neared the edge, close to toppling right over it. She wrapped her legs around him and dragged her fingers up and down his back, digging her nails into his sweat-soaked skin.

He captured her lips with his and quickened his pace. Faster. Harder. Until her body quivered beneath his, her inner muscles squeezed against his dick and a wild moan flew out of her mouth. She came hard and fierce, her sex throbbing, her heart thumping in her ears. He let go a moment later, his c**k jerking inside her, his lips pressed against hers. She gripped his neck and pulled him closer, relishing the way his heartbeat thudded against her br**sts.

“I love you,” he whispered hoarsely, burying his face in the crook of her neck.

She breathed in his spicy, masculine scent, smiling when she felt his c**k twitch inside her.

Slowly, he withdrew, then wrapped one muscular arm around her waist and pulled her closer. They lay there, silent, sated, until finally he disentangled himself from her embrace and sat up.

“I have to go now,” he said, his voice soft.

Tears pricked her eyelids again. “I know.”

He slowly rose from the bed and began gathering up his clothing. She said nothing as he dressed, just watched him through a sheen of tears. God, let him be okay. Let her vision be wrong. For the first time in her life, just let her be wrong.

Sliding his cell phone in his pocket, Will approached the bed, where she lay tangled in the sheets, her body still feeling the effects of him.

With a sexy smile, he bent down and kissed her, his tongue warm as it found its way into her mouth. She responded frantically, kissing him back so hard she was almost embarrassed. But he didn’t seem to mind. Their tongues dueled, breaths coming out heavy, and then he pulled back.

“I’ll see you soon,” he murmured.

Her chest throbbed with pain. “Promise?”

“You f**king bet I do.”

Smiling through her tears, she watched him walk out the door.


“So…let’s not do that again,” Carson remarked dryly as the chopper set down on the helipad at the Coronado Naval Base.

Will managed a shaky chuckle then glanced around the small space, assessing the other men. Like him, they were covered in mud and reeked like the swamp they’d crawled through for ten hours. Garrett had soot on his face from the explosion. Ryan Evans’ right arm was bandaged from the bullet that had sliced through it. But other than that, they were all in good shape.

He experienced a flicker of pain as he thought about their pilot. Craig hadn’t survived the crash. God, Will didn’t want to be there when they told the guy’s wife.