On Tour with Prism Book Tours.
A DEA stealth mission has brought coast guard Lt. Commander Eli Pelletier home. But when he ends up aiding rescue swimmer Aubrey Wynn during her own harrowing mission, powerful emotions reignite between them. Except Aubrey doesn’t want Eli’s protection. She wants answers.
Twelve years ago, Eli broke up with Aubrey without telling her the real reason he was leaving Pacific Cove. How can he try for a second chance if he’s forced to deceive her again? Amid suspected drug trafficking and a sabotaged Christmas contest, Eli must find a way to regain Aubrey’s trust without compromising his career or endangering the woman he loves.
“I’m Aubrey,” she told the trapped, shivering girl. “It’s kind of cold for a swim today, huh? What do you say we get out of here?”
All of this was said as she evaluated the situation. There was too much net for her to lift it off. With her swim knife, she began cutting away the netting. She tamped down her despair as she realized the extent of her entanglement. If she didn’t get her out soon, the sinking boat would pull her under.
“I… I…can’t swim.”
“Don’t worry, Danny. You won’t need to. I’m here now and luckily I swim pretty well. Are you injured?”
“My leg,” she said. “I hurt my leg when I slipped off the boat, but I can’t feel it now…”
“We’ll get it fixed up as soon as we get in the helicopter.”
She glanced at the helicopter, her airborne sentry serving to keep her calm. Just a couple more minutes, she thought as she continued clearing the net, thankful that sharpening her knife was a part of her personal equipment check ritual.
She kept talking to the girl as she worked. “Hold on, Danny. I’m almost finished. We’ll be out of here soon.”
As if in argument, a giant wave rolled over the boat, swamping everything in its path. It brought with it a piece of debris, smacking Aubrey hard in the shoulder and grazing her head. The force knocked her backward as the wave pulled her under. Even submerged and disoriented, she knew not to inhale. Lungs burning, she waited patiently for the force to let up as she knew it would. Grateful for the often-tortuous but invaluable training instilled in her during “A” school, she finally broke the surface, inhaling a breath. Looking around, she realized she’d ended up a few yards away from Danny.
Swimming back, she was afraid she’d find her survivor entangled even worse. Instead she was relieved to see that the wave had done them a favor, taking the remaining vestiges of the nylon netting with it. Danny was free. She reached out and pulled the girl into her arms, kicking hard with her fins, propelling them away from the wreckage. It would be easy to become tangled in something else in the floating and rapidly spreading mass of boat debris.
That’s when she realized the helo had deployed another swimmer. She saw the form slicing cleanly through the water and imagined the situation must have looked far worse from the air. Her fellow swimmer stopped when he approached them.
“Aubrey?” a deep voice called out to her. “Are you okay?”
Her heart nearly stopped. Even with a mask and swim hood, she knew exactly who was now treading water before her. Removal of his mask and snorkel confirmed it. Finding herself face to face with Lieutenant Commander Eli Pelletier, former friend and one-time love of her life, a current of shock went through her. Not that she had time to think past the reaction, though, because she had a life to save.
Far enough away from the wreckage to avoid potentially flying debris from the rotor wash, she signaled for the basket. The helicopter moved over them.
“We’re good,” she shouted back.
Seconds later and the basket was lowering toward them. She watched as he repositioned his mask and, in his irritatingly Eli way, he moved as if to take over.
“I told you we’re fine. I’ve got this.”
He backed off while Aubrey kept talking, encouraging the terrified girl as she assisted her into the basket. “You’re doing great, Danny. You’re going to be all right.” She signaled to raise the basket. Danny’s terror-filled eyes remained locked on hers as she rose up out of the water. “Almost home.” A sense of satisfaction settled upon her as the basket headed toward the helo.
“What are you doing here?” she called after she signaled for the hoist hook to be lowered for their retrieval.
“Helping you out?” he returned hopefully.
She narrowed her eyes menacingly. He wasn’t helping, he was saving. Or that’s what he’d thought he was going to do. The first time she’d seen him in twelve years and he was trying to save her? How annoying.
She didn’t need help or anything else from him. She certainly didn’t need saving.
As the cable came down she reached for the hoist hook and deftly secured it to his V-ring. She lifted an arm, holding a thumbs-up, signaling he was ready to be hoisted.
Carol Ross lives with her husband and one loveable miscreant of a dachshund in a small town in Washington close to both the ocean and the mountains. She adores the Pacific Northwest because it provides her with endless opportunities for the activities she loves—hiking, running, skiing, and spending time outdoors. Although she enjoys reading in many genres, she writes what she loves the most—romance, especially light-hearted stories about the fun, flirty, and often-tumultuous path toward a happily ever after.
Other Books by the Author
December 13th: Launch
Thoughts of a Blonde
Katie’s Clean Book Collection
Bottles & Books Reviews
Rockin’ Book Reviews
beck valley books
Books, Dreams, Life
Nicole’s Book Musings
Christy’s Cozy Corners
I Am A Reader
i blog 4 books
Book Lover in Florida
With Love for Books
Reading Is My SuperPower
underneath the covers
Getting Your Read On
December 20th: Grand Finale
– 1 winner will receive a $50 Amazon eGift Card and a copy of Christmas in the Cove (signed copy if US, ebook if international)
– Ends December 24th