Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

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Next: Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Fifteen


During his time away, it took all of Hawk’s physical and mental training to keep his mind off the things Anna had said before she left. Hawk had wanted to get mad but he knew he had to let her leave, aware that she was still hurting and that right then, he couldn’t do anything about it.

But he was back now.

The mission had meant to last only a few hours, but it had ended up stretching into a week.  Hawk and Marcus were in the same platoon and their team had parachuted into the given desert location with the intent that it would be an in-and-out operation. Turned out they were wrong.

The rock walls dotting the region were surrounded by enemy snipers. His platoon’s task of reconnaissance and retrieval regarding another team of Marines would prove a test of endurance out there in the eastern African desert.

Even now, safely back home, Hawk could still remember the crunch of sand fighting its way into every part of him just as the enemy attack fought hard against their platoon. But he and his fellow men fought harder.

Strategic pursuit of their goal ensured that when it got down to it, any means necessary was used. From hand guns to hand to hand combat, every opposition was tackled till each team member could be air-lifted safely from the area. None of their platoon had been lost and in fact the whole team plus the other Marines all made it. The same couldn’t be said about the opposition though. It had taken several days but it was mission accomplished and the enemy leveled.

Until the next time, thought Hawk with a small chuckle.

Making his way inside his house and walking into the hallway, he ran smack into the memory of taking Anna hard just against that right wall. Damn! He was tired as hell, his whole body still aching from exhaustion and lack of sleep. But right then, all he could think of was seeing Anna again, hearing her sweet voice, inhaling that delicious scent she gave off that drove him insane.

He didn’t let those words of hers get to him. He’d pushed their last meeting to the back of his mind like a good military man and had focused on the grueling task at hand: infiltrating enemy domain.

And now that he was back something told him he might have to exercise unconventional warfare to get Anna to at least give him a chance. Let her know that the last thing the sex had been was a pity fuck. It had hurt him when she’d said that. Why did she have such little faith in her own feminine powers?

One kiss from her and he didn’t need any help getting hard and staying hard even long after he’d cum inside her. From the second he’d met her, he’d felt a pull that no other woman had been able to evoke within him. Thinking that some fool out there had ever hurt her and then let her go, made Hawk want to find the idiot and skin him alive for doing that to Anna.

As he looked around the empty house, he couldn’t help the strange twinge that hit him. He wondered how it would feel like having someone waiting when he got back home. Someone who would truly miss him while he was away – and if he never came back, to grieve him. In short, someone who cared about him and deeply loved him.

Hawk shook his head, forcing those wishful thoughts back. But he kept wishing, and kept seeing Anna’s face along with it all. Her bright, eager smile, her stirringly soft voice, her lovely face. The way her body fitted perfectly against his, like two pieces of a jigsaw.

Don’t, Hawk. Don’t do this to yourself. You’ve never needed anyone or anything since you were fifteen. Don’t start now.

The inner voice in his head was very firm. His body aching, he eased into the bath tub minutes later. He was badly bruised but everything would heal along just fine. His heart, however, still couldn’t seem to take a beating without the pain almost tearing him apart.

After so many years as a Marine, he still got those times when he felt overwhelmed by the pressure of standing alone. Sure, he had the team, and good friends. But even with all the psychological and mental conditioning he got, Hawk still had his humanity; his frail side.

When he’d first joined, he’d soon learned that being a Marine was more than just causing explosions or shooting the bad guys. It was about maintaining a solid state of mind to never give in to anything; to keep an indomitable spirit at all times. So no matter how many terrorists he downed whether in close-quarters combat, strategic assault or with a shot from his handgun, he may never feel truly fulfilled.

It was going to take more than a hundred successful missions to give him the true self-fulfillment. Maybe being the tough guy and saving the day was not all there was to life. What happened when he retired? Would he be ready to seek true happiness then?

Perhaps true happiness didn’t really exist, mused Hawk. But heck, he felt like he’d better start trying to find that out for himself. Starting with a certain starry-eyed, sweet-voiced woman who made his heart leap whenever he saw her. Whose one smile made him feel like he could lift the world on his shoulders.


Suddenly, all the soreness in his body seemed to fade away at the thought of her being in his life. Dared he hope? Was he even sure he was prepared?

It didn’t matter. This wasn’t some tactical ambush that needed an elaborate plan of action. Damn, if he thought about it too much, he might even change his mind. The woman had pretty much spelled out for him that it was just sex she’d needed from him. Maybe it was time to show her he could offer much, much more than just steamy satisfaction.

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Next: Chapter Sixteen