(Bought separately $13.99 as a set only $9.99)
FOR 4 NAVY SEAL(S)
I waited ten years for the right guy, then four come along at once.
I wasn’t even looking for my Mr Right. I thought I’d found him and he was just waiting for that perfect moment to pop the question. When the time came it was far from perfect The event left me a humiliated, broken-hearted mess.
Still, a person would have to be batshit crazy to do what I’ve done, or I’m about to do.
I’m Orange County bound with all my worldly possessions crammed into five suitcases and an agreement to marry one of four complete strangers.
I just don’t know which one of the four men it’s going to be.
No need to panic.
I have a whole month to make my decision. Who would do such a thing? No sane woman that’s for sure, but then with a name like Seraphim, I was never going to normal.
“What the fuck, Finn?” she hollers, causing my shoulders to shoot up to protect my ears because my hands are occupied. “Are you out of your fucking mind? You’ve ‘known’ ”—she exaggerates her air quotes and lays the sarcasm on thick with her condescending tone—“him for what, three months? And now, you’re going to marry the dude?”
“I didn’t say I was going to marry him. That’s what this month is about. It’s a trial.” My words are stark in the silence of the car. They sound ridiculous when spoken out loud. Who does this? What sane, normal woman would? She’s right; it’s nuts. I’m out of my fucking mind. Which is why none of that matters.
I’m a crazy woman, and three months ago, I said, “Fuck it.” I made this decision, and I’m not backing out.
“Oh, well, that’s all right, then.” The sarcasm is like treacle now, and her tone is tinged with bitter disbelief and disappointment.
This is not how I wanted today to go. I fix my mouth tight shut for fear of saying something I can’t take back. The tension is palpable, and I cringe when Billy Idol’s “White Wedding” crackles through the retro radio hanging from a makeshift hammock under the dashboard. Perfect.
We reach the airport and Hope helps me load my cases onto the trolley. She still hasn’t said a word. I hand her the keys to Dolly and go to walk away. She’s double parked, so I know she has to get going. She grabs the sleeve of my denim jacket and pulls me into her tiny, surprisingly strong hold.
“Wow, the gym’s been paying off for you, too. You hug like a heavyweight.” I groan under her hold.
“Or like I might never see my best friend again.” Her soft words hit me hard.
“Hope…” I sigh and return her embrace with a gentle heartfelt squeeze around her shoulders, her head resting against my neck. I feel her body shudder with the first gasp of a sob. It’s enough to make my nose tingle, and a slew of big fat tears fall onto my cheek.
“But it’s true. That might be the case.” She sniffs, sloppy wet sounds she doesn’t try to hide.
“No, it’s not true.” I pull back and hold her gaze with mine, her dark green eyes fill with tears, matching my own. I blink to try and keep focus.
“Stay, Finn…please,” she mutters, her fat lip wobbling.
She’s killing me. “I can’t, Hope.” I shake my head, and the heaviness in my heart, the sadness I feel is a fraction of the sorrow I have endured, and she knows this. “I wasted ten years of my life with a man who had no intention of marrying me, H, and he even took delight in humiliating me about the fact in front of all my friends. He made me feel utterly worthless, and now…” I stutter and draw in a fortifying breath. “I have these men, and one of them promised to marry me. I get to choose…me, I—” I clamp my mouth shut at my apocalyptic fuck-up.
“Men?” she snaps.
“Man, I meant man.” I wave my hand to dismiss my seemingly silly mistake,
“You said men,” Hope corrects and then gasps. “Finn you didn’t answer that advert?” Her hands fly to her mouth, eyes like saucers, and we both suck in a shocked breath.
“I…I…” I can’t construct a sentence. She steps up to me and interrupts so I don’t have to. I wish she didn’t.
“That’s who you’ve been talking to so secretively these last three months every spare minute. That’s what all this gym shit you’ve been dragging me to morning, noon, and night for the last three months has been all about. It’s because you need to be fit enough to take on four guys?” She stares at me, and her mouth is open so wide it’s comical, but I’m not laughing. I’m waiting for the scream, the howl of judgment to rain down on my slutty arse. I draw in a breath and brace.
“Yes.” I tip my chin, and time comes to a halt…and remains still as I frown at my friend, the statue. Her wide emerald eyes are fixed and focused, though I’m not sure on what. I wave my hand in front of her face, but she doesn’t flinch. Is it possible to be catatonic standing up?
“Hope? Are you okay? You’re kind of freaking me out.” I look around to see if anyone else is observing my friend’s weird behavior, but no one is paying us any attention. Well, other than the parking officer who is scowling between Dolly and the No Waiting sign. “Hope!” I hiss a little loud, and she blinks and gives a full body shudder, regaining her senses.
“Four guys?” she asks with a degree of awe in her tone.
I hesitate before answering.
“At one time?” She arches a brow, and her lips begin to curl into a wicked smirk.
“Not necessarily. We haven’t actually gone over the logistics,” I reply, a little straight-laced given the topic, after all, we’re hardly in a secret-sharing environment.
“But they wanted a twenty-year-old?”
Her incredulous face pisses me off, and I place my hands on my hips and tip my chin, my tone a little on the defensive side. “Well, they got a mid-to-late twenty-year-old, who has worked her arse off to knock the last several years off her clock…literally.” I straighten my back and subtly tighten my tummy in lieu of drawing in an obvious slimming breath.”
“Oh babe, you do. You look smoking hot; don’t worry about that.” She pats my arms and flashes her best friend a reassuring smile. “No. You need to worry more about the fact you don’t have enough holes, because, babe, that’s something you can’t fix at the gym.” She bites her lip to hold in her trademark filthy laugh, but I crack first and she’s quick to follow. She throws her head back, full-on belly aching, dirty laughter falling from her lips, eyes streaming, shaking her head. “Oh my God, you’re going to be kept busy around the cock.” She doubles over at her own joke and waves me down because I think she has another gem. “They’re in the Forces right? They’re going to want everything to run like clockwork.”
“Okaaaay, then, are we finished?” I pat her back as she attempts to regain her composure.
“Sorry. So sorry…too tempting. You’re right, you have a flight to catch. The cock is ticking. No time to be dicking around now.” She snorts with another laugh.”
“Hope.” I sigh.
“Look, Finn. I still think you’re batshit insane, but if you have to go crazy, at least you’ll have lots of nuts to keep you company.” She pulls me in for a final hug, and I can see she’s genuinely smiling. Her face is a little wet from her tears, but her expression doesn’t hold any anxiousness or tension. There’s a little worry, which is understandable. Maybe I should’ve told her sooner. “I want you to promise to do one thing for me.” She clears her throat; her tone is soft but serious.
“What’s that?” I wait with bated breath for her to tell me what she’ll need from me to ease her mind, and will it be anything within my power. She hesitates a moment before her shoulders start to shake.
“Pictures…I want lots of pictures.” She snickers some more.
“I’m gone. I’ll call you when I land.” I turn on my heel and start to push the half-ton trolley away from my best—annoying—friend.
“With pictures!” she calls after me.
“Sure, with pictures.” I turn my back to the trolley so I’m facing her while pushing the beast up the ramp.
“You go, girl. Take one for the team! Oh wait, no. Take four with the team!”