“Don’t you dare!” Jared “Boom” Taylor slammed his hand on the steering wheel as the rental car sputtered to a stop on the side of the country road. This couldn’t be happening. He had promised to get Wynn back to Virginia Beach. With the coughing and wheezing of the car, they weren’t going anywhere.
“Boom?” Wynn Diamond, his best friend’s baby sister, turned in the passenger seat to look at him. “What have you done?”
His lips curled up at the corner and he chuckled. “Why do women always assume the man did something when things go wrong?”
“You were driving.”
He glanced down at the dashboard, rooting around for a hidden switch, anything that would reverse what she was claiming he did. His fingers ran over the smooth dashboard; he pushed against it looking for a hidden door with a switch. Yet he found nothing.
“What are you doing?” She raised an eyebrow at him, completely puzzled.
“Looking for this magical switch that you imply makes a car act like this.” With a smirk, he glanced over at her. “I’ve been driving for years and I’ve never known there was one. Would you like to show me where it is?”
“Or maybe you’re saying before we left Ace and Gwen’s wedding reception I tampered under the hood so that this would happen.”
“With the farewell you put into action, no one would have missed you breaking the car,” she teased.
When Ace asked Boom to be the best man, he gave him the stipulation that he wasn’t to blow up anything during his wedding duties. As the SEAL Team Two’s demolition expert, it wasn’t possible for him not to do something that would create a loud boom to send the newlyweds off. It left him with only one course of action; he hired someone to do it for him. Lighting the evening sky with pink and white hearts was his way of giving the newlyweds a romantic farewell and keeping with his usual performance.
“I have to admit it was some send off.” Her comment pulled him back from his amazing farewell.
“As best man it was my duty to send them off in style.” He glanced over at Wynn in her pale blue bridesmaid’s dress—he was sure it had a special name that only a woman would be able to tell him—her blonde shoulder-length hair pulled up, leaving only ringlets hanging down.
“At least you didn’t blow up the place.” She smirked at her smartass comment.
He had blown up plenty of buildings in the past but that wasn’t a trip down memory lane he wanted to take. Placing his hand on the door handle, he peeled his gaze from her. “I’ll see if I can fix this.” He had to do something to get the car started again or she was going to freeze in that strapless dress as the temperatures plummeted.
He slipped out of the car, quickly closing the door behind him, and tugged his tuxedo jacket closed. The air had turned cold, announcing the storm that would soon be blanketing the area. It was rare for this part of Virginia to be hit with such a strong hurricane, but they had one barreling toward them that promised to be disastrous. If he didn’t get the car going soon they’d have to find a place to bunker down. As the wind picked up he spotted a small cabin through the trees, maybe it would have a phone, because he knew his cell phone had no reception.
Every SEAL had to have basic mechanical skills, but propping open the hood he didn’t have hope that it was something he could fix. What he needed was Bad Billy—a fellow SEAL—who could fix anything with an engine, but the rest of the team had stayed behind. They wanted to have a night to celebrate that the oldest of the team besides Lieutenant Commander Mac García had married.
Knowing the rest of the team was off partying while he had agreed to see Wynn home sent a twinge of jealousy though him. Being the man he was Boom couldn’t see Wynn traveling alone. When the youngest Diamond sibling, Lucky, announced he had to leave the wedding reception early for military duty; it left Boom to step up and escort her home.
Pushing it from his mind, he leaned under the hood and grabbed the dipstick to check the oil level. Nothing. There was just nothing on the dipstick. “You’ve got to be shitting me!”
The passenger door opened. “What is it?”
“We’re not going anywhere.” He waved the dipstick at her. “There’s not a drop of oil in the bloody thing. Everything’s jammed up because of it.”
“What are we going to do?”
“Find a phone.” He tipped his head in the direction he’d seen the cabin. “I’m going to see if I can find one there.”
She glanced where he nodded. “I don’t see anything.”
“There’s a cabin about a hundred feet from the road. Maybe there’s a phone. I can call the rental car company and they can bring us a new car.”
“It’s nearly midnight. No one’s going to bring us a new one now.”
“Well, hopefully we can at least find somewhere warm, cause we’ll freeze in the car.” He moved around to the back of the car and opened the trunk.
“What are you doing?”
“If we’re going to be stuck here tonight, I don’t want to have to come back for your bag.” He slipped it over his shoulder, before grabbing the jeans and sweater he wore earlier and a small box. “Why do women always pack so much?” he joked, pretending to do curls with the weight.
“Considering I came up two days before the wedding, I barely packed anything.” She reached for the bag but he held it out of the way. “I’ll take it if it’s too heavy for the big SEAL.”
Rolling his eyes, he slammed the trunk and headed for the trees. “Whatever you say.”
“We can’t go banging on someone’s door at this time of night.”
He paused just outside the line of trees. “Do you want to stay in the car and freeze?”
“No, but this dress and shoes aren’t for walking through the woods.” She pulled up the hem of her skirt and carefully stepped toward him.
“I could carry you.”
“Thank you, but I’ll pass on that.” She stepped off the pavement and her heels sank a little into the ground beneath her feet. “You planned this, didn’t you? You wanted me all to yourself and devised this car malfunction to do it,” she teased. It was true they had spent much of the last few weeks together but even he wasn’t as deceiving as that.
“Give me a little credit.” His lips curled into a smile. “For a beautiful woman like you I would have planned it somewhere better than an abandoned cabin. We’d have broken down in front of a five-star resort or a beautiful cabin with amazing views. Something special that you’d never forget.”
She paused, looking at him. Had he done something like that in the past? She shook her head, pushing the idea away. He was gorgeous and didn’t need to do anything like that to get a woman into bed with him. She had no doubt that if he wanted them, they’d be lined up around the block waiting their turn. A twinge of jealousy coursed through her. She didn’t want to think of other women in his bed. Instead, she glanced up at the cabin. “What if no one is there?”
“I don’t think anyone’s there. It looks abandoned.” He slipped his arm lightly around her waist, making sure she was steady.
“We’ll break in then?”
“They’ll understand. We’re miles from anywhere, nothing is in walking distance, and there won’t be cars passing at this time of night. We have no other choice.” He led her through the trees, bringing the cabin into view. It was a small one-story building, which looked to be well cared-for but empty for some time, like a vacation spot. It was an odd place for a vacation home, but to each their own.
As they crossed the empty space between road and cabin, the first raindrops began to fall. “Just what we need,” he bitched.
“I love a good storm. We don’t get nearly enough.”
“Storms are fine, it’s more the fact we need suitable shelter and heat before things pick up too badly.” He was used to harsh conditions and could survive a night in the cold, but Wynn was another story. Ace would kill him if something happened to her. “Come along, let’s get inside.