Petty Officer Greg “Bam-Bam” Killian is done with marriage, done with long term relationships, and done with the Teams. The injury sustained on his last op has destroyed his dreams of being a SEAL as much as his ex-wife demolished their marriage. Now he’s free to do anything he wants, including get drunk and be miserable.
Zamora Hart has dealt with her fair share of men, both military and civilian. When a wounded petty officer washes up in her tattoo shop, she can’t help but offer him a place to stay for the weekend. She’s been where he is and doesn’t mind paying the help forward, especially when the friendship comes with some intimate benefits. It’s only temporary.
When Zamora’s ex shows up, frightening her with talk of starting over, Greg offers to stay at her place longer to give backup and repay her generosity. He doesn’t intend to fall in love with her, he’s only defending a friend while he shifts his career from active service to BUD/S instructor. But her ex’s threats become more than just talk, and Greg must step up his efforts of protection, because that’s what friends do.
But it’s only temporary and they’re just friends-with-benefits, right?
“Howdy, Zamora. Whatcha got in your wagon today?” Lance Corporal Harrison’s voice cracked as he levered himself up on his elbows.
“Howdy yourself, Harrison. How are you holding up?” Zamora smiled as she pulled her wagon to his bedside.
Harrison shrugged as he waved at his leg stump. “Not bad all things considered. I could still carry you home even if I am missin’ half my leg.” He grinned. “When are you gonna let go of your cares and run away with me?”
She snorted. “Neither one of us will be doing much running until you get your prosthetic and get good at wearing it.”
He winked. “You just give me time, darlin’, and I’ll be runnin’ circles around all them other boys.”
Zamora laughed. “I’m counting on it, marine.”
“So what did you bring?” Petty Officer Third Class Sikes winced as he sat up with his amputated arm. He hadn’t talked to her the first few times she’d been in the room because he’d been embarrassed by breaking his arm while trying to change a Jeep Willy’s tire. He’d ignored it too long and it had turned septic. Now he had his own prosthetic to look forward to, along with her company.
“I brought that beef jerky soaked in garlic you like so much, Sikes.” She smiled as he licked his lips like a hungry toddler and pulled out the treat. “But you have to promise to hide them better. I got in trouble for bringing in contraband last time.”
“I promise, Zamora.” The fingers of his good hand twitched as he eyed the jerky.
“Good.” She nodded. “I also brought those romantic suspense novels from that author you liked so much, Harrison.”
“Aw man, how can you read that romantic shit?” Sikes groaned and rolled his eyes.
“It’s not shit, it’s kick-ass adventure with hot sex. What’s not to like?” Harrison snorted as he accepted the books. “Beats gettin’ shot at and the guy always gets the hot girl. Can’t go wrong with that. Thanks, Zamora.”
“Somebody getting shot and getting the girl?”
Zamora turned and met the bluest eyes she’d ever seen. She damn near fell into them, her body tingling like she’d touched a live wire, but she mentally shook her head. She didn’t believe in the wide-eyed spark of love no matter what Harrison’s novels said.
“Looks who’s awake.” She gave him a smile even if her heart thundered at his beauty. He’d been pretty while asleep, but the animation in him when awake made him gorgeous. “My name’s Zamora and I bring goodies to the injured. Would you like anything from my wagon?” She dragged it closer to his bed so he could take a look.
His gaze never moved from her, though it did drop to her chest. At least I know he’s probably not gay. Her breasts had always been large and most men noticed them before they noticed her ink. But instead of glassing over from tit-shock and drool oozing from his mouth, he returned his blue gaze to her face and tilted his head.
“What all did you bring?”
“Let’s see…” She crouched to dig through the contents of her wagon. “I have some edible goodies like oatmeal cookies, rice crackers with wasabi peas, teriyaki beef jerky, and chocolate.” She flipped the packages aside. “I also brought some DVDs of comedies and thrillers, a few suspense and cowboy novels, and some other romances.”
“You should go for those, Killian.” Harrison waved his books. “Kick-ass adventure with hot sex and you don’t even have to get shot at.”
Sikes rolled his eyes. “Man, if you’re gonna pick a book, at least pick one of the suspenses. No mushy stuff.”
“Just because you haven’t gotten in touch with your feminine side, Sikes, doesn’t mean the rest of us are so handicapped.”
Zamora bowed her head to hide her grin. It was an old argument and Harrison was anything but feminine, but hearing him tease his roommate cracked her up. The man named Killian snorted and she met his blue gaze again, sharing a smile.
“I think I’ll pass on the reading and take the oatmeal cookies.” He followed her hands as she fished them out. “Are they homemade?”
She barked a laugh, but covered her lips with her hand. “No, sorry. I’m not really much of a baker. But I’m a mean shopper of baked goods.” She handed him the little wax bag of cookies.
“I take it your talents lie elsewhere?” He grinned.
She lost her smile for a moment, anger kindling. Bloody hell, did he think just because she had big tits and couldn’t bake she was a sex practitioner?
“What do you mean by that?” The sharpness in her voice silenced the argument of the other two men.
Killian nodded to her arms. “Your ink. Those tattoos are really good. Did you have them done or do them yourself?”
She raised an eyebrow. “How did you know I was an artist?”
He pointed to the nylon wagon. “The emblem embroidered in the side. Think Ink Tattoos. Is that the shop you work in?”
Understanding and relief loosened her shoulders. “Own, actually. My pride and joy. Bringing permanent color to a vanilla world.”
“Nice.” Killian’s smile turned sultry. “Maybe I’ll stop in some time and get my own ink.”
She tipped her head and scanned the breadth of his shoulders. “I’m sure we could find a space for some art on you.” She gave him a small smile, but she didn’t suffer players, and Killian struck her as a man who knew his own beauty. And he is lovely. “It was nice to meet you, Killian. I hope you heal up quick.”
“Will we see you again?” Despite the cock-sure smile, desperation and fear sparked in his very blue eyes.
Her heart went out to him, but she shrugged with a smile. “Maybe. You gonna be here next week?”
“Same bat-time, same bat-channel.”
Zamora laughed even as she tried not to encourage him. “I’ll stay tuned, then.” She waved to the others. “See you later, Sikes and Harrison.”
She dragged her wagon out of the room to a chorus of male voices wishing her well, and headed off to make her rounds. There were too many wounded men without families nearby to skimp on visits. But Killian’s hidden desperation stuck with her as she moved on.