Every love story starts somewhere, and when I sat down to write Paul and Lily’s book, I had no idea just how in love with these two I would fall. Yes, it’s true, I have loved every single Marine book I’ve written, but Paul and Lily hold a very special place in my heart. I hope they do in yours, too.
Marine Paul Torres is used to the casual thing, women who enjoy the pleasure of the moment and whom he can bed with a wink and a smile. Lately though, he’s turned on by the allure of finding the right partner for him with so many of his friends settling down. Attending a wedding in Texas for one of his oldest friends, he meets Lillianna Hansen.
Paul and Lillianna get off on the wrong foot, enjoying a wildly passionate encounter after the wedding. He wakes to find her gone, but still tries to track down her number. Paul wants more than a one-night stand, but his limited leave is up and must return to active duty.
He might be ready to take their relationship to another level, but all Lillianna thought she wanted was a good time. But Paul’s attention—even from thousands miles away—is hard to resist and while she tells herself repeatedly she doesn’t want a relationship with a Marine, she can’t deny the consequences of their passionate night.
And when she finally does reach out, it’s to confess she’s pregnant, and she has to figure out if she’s ready to let the father of her child be her Marine ever after…
Paul eyed the bridesmaid from the moment she made her entrance through the double doors. He was fourth groomsman, which meant he’d get to escort her out. Thank you, Jesus. Gorgeous was the only word that would do. Not that the other bridesmaids weren’t good looking, Jazz was a hell of a looker and if he looked too long, one of her two husbands might be inclined to take his head off.
All in good fun, at least on Zach’s part. Logan was standing right net to Paul. Better to keep his eyes on the more attractive prize. From her rich dark hair piled atop of her head to the deep natural dark tan of her skin. He hesitated to call it brown, but the white gloves and deep navy of her dress looked so smashing against her skin tone. He barely got a glimpse at her eyes and his training kept his gaze forward as they walked.
Photographs would be next and then a drive to the reception at Mike’s Place. If he played his cards right, he’d be in her limo. Sadly, the evening wedding meant the sun was already sinking as they exited and the shadows lessened the chance he could tell what color they were.
But we have to dance… A smile curved his mouth. He would have plenty of opportunity to stare at her eyes and determine their color then.
“Paul Torres,” he murmured.
“I’m sorry, what?” She glanced up at him, a distracted smile softening her expression. It hit him like a fist to the gut. He needed to revise his earlier opinion, gorgeous didn’t do her justice.
“I’m Paul Torres, you must be Lillianna,” the only bridesmaid who missed the big rehearsal dinner. Not that I can complain… He almost missed it, too. But his flight landed an hour beforehand and it was only with some skillful driving that Damon managed to get them both there in time to be in the line up before the bridesmaids did their obligatory walk.
“Yes, sorry. I can’t get over how happy she looks. And Lillianna Hansen.” She let go of his arm and offered her gloved hand to shake. The urge to kiss it was a little too romance novel for him, so he shook it and then held onto it.
“The captain looks pretty happy, too. I think he got the better end of the bargain.” He chuckled. They were all settling down. He’d served with most of the men in the groom’s party and earned his invitation when the wedding coincided with his leave. Unfortunately, Brody hadn’t been able to make it. But he promised to visit the happy couple on his next trip through Dallas.
“I hope so. There’s a tiny part of me that doesn’t like him.” The announcement surprised him, but the photographer summoned them to join the bride and groom so he swallowed the question.
Five hundred photographs later, they were dismissed to make their way to the waiting limousines. A small fleet of them waited, Jazz and her husbands loaded into one, the freshly marrieds got their own, James and Lauren claimed the third, and Paul drifted back a little, and fortunately Lillianna waited for him as Damon and A.J. helped their bridesmaids into a limo and joined them.
Score. We get the last one to ourselves.
“Everything all right?” She eyed him expectantly.
“Fine, I just wanted to check a button.” Lame, Paul. Lame. But it was the first excuse to pop into his head. He motioned for the limo and she shook her head and led the way. He beat her to the door and opened it, and handed her inside before slipping off his cover and joining her.
She sat opposite him in the wide area of the stretch, and on the far side. He considered swapping seats, but he liked looking at her better—even if only in the illumination of passing headlights. “I hope you’re ready for a big party.”
“Me too.” Lillianna didn’t sound like she was ready. He raised his eyebrows and she moistened her lips.
Damn. Mind out of the gutter. He gave his body the order, but it was too late to prevent the shock of reaction running riot through his system. If he hadn’t already been curious about her before, he definitely was now. Out. Of. The. Gutter