A Marine Affair
The Challenge Series
Secret lovers for years, Commander Rick McConnell and Colonel Elijah Masters have nurtured their very private relationship with planned vacations and leaves, always meeting somewhere different—always escaping off the grid. It worked for them—career officers with a desire to serve their country and a passion for each other.
The repeal of the military’s policy, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, provides them with the tremendous opportunity to come out to their friends and loved ones. Rick wants to seize the day, but Eli isn’t so certain. His hesitation leads to a fight, an ultimatum, and a breakup. Rather than confront their issues, Eli takes a foreign assignment.
A year’s separation changes both of them. The last person Eli expects to see when he steps off the plane is Rick, but the physician wants another chance with the only man he’s ever loved, and he has a plan. Will bitterness, recriminations, and loss keep them apart or can these two officers rediscover the faith and loyalty that bound them for so long?
The doublewide glass doors swung open at his approach and Rick stepped right into his path. Is it possible to be shocked and completely unsurprised at the same time?
“Rick.” Eli shifted his bag to the other shoulder and held out his right hand. He ignored the familiar zing when Rick clasped it. “Good to see you.” Enveloping the words in a cool impassivity, he focused on a point just to the right of Rick’s gorgeous eyes.
“You, too. Can I give you a ride?”
“No.” He shook his head again. “I’ll get a cab. I need to go.”
Sidestepping the masculine roadblock, he made it to the curb and held up a hand to summon a cab. Rick followed and climbed into the other side of the vehicle.
Son of a bitch. Quashing the knee jerk reaction, Eli gave the driver his address and leaned back in the seat. Hot on the heels of his irritation with the man’s choice came a grudging admiration for his tactics. Unless he wanted a fistfight, they would share the cab.
“How was Africa?” Rick made no move to touch him, maintaining the perimeter.
“Hot.” Uncomfortable. Exhausting. Lonely. Three words Eli promised he would never use out loud.
“I can imagine. Training camps?”
“Yep.” He refused to have that conversation with Rick. He looked good. Rested. Tanned. Fit. His assignment to the Medical Center detail must be treating him well. Not that Eli had any intentions of asking him about it.
Five minutes stretched into fifteen.
“How long until you have to report for reassignment?”