Book #2 in the Semper Fi series
Captain Jeremy Phillips believes in doing his duty...both as a son and as a friend. This means that he should obey the "friend code" and stay away from his best friend's little sister. Too bad Madison O'Shay doesn't believe in his code and is ready to break all of the rules
As a Navy nurse, Madison is finally stationed next to the man she's been dreaming about for years. And she's ready to launch a full-scale attack to show this thoughtful, handsome Marine that they belong together.
And now for your exclusive scene penned by Jeanette just for you!
Veronica dipped her chip in the dip set out on the coffee table and folded her legs under her primly. “Is it ever odd?”
“Is what odd?” Madison grabbed a handful of chips and flopped down next to Veronica on the floor of their apartment living room.
“That you guys were friends for so long before you became…involved.” Veronica blushed, and Madison smiled. It was cute how she still was so shy about some words. Like the word lovers.
“It’s not weird. And we were friends, yeah. Still are. But since we were stationed completely different places, it’s not like we’ve been hanging out every weekend for the last ten years.”
“Last time I saw Madison before she moved here was what, two years?” Jeremy chip-jousted Madison for rights to the dip bowl before his chip snapped and she laughed in triumph.
“Almost two. But who’s counting?” She crunched on the chip and smiled. When he scowled at her, she just blew him a kiss.
Tim rolled his eyes. “Could you guys leave the dip out of your foreplay? Some of us want to eat that.”
“So then,” Veronica continued, “how did you two meet? I know Tim, Jeremy and Dwayne met during training.”
“The Basic School,” Tim said.
“Yes, that’s right. And obviously you and Madison are siblings. But how did you meet Jeremy and Dwayne?”
“TBS graduation.” Madison debated another chip, then decided against it. Any more and she’d have to use her precious time with Jeremy to go for a run. Or…she could burn the chips off with some bedroom cardio… With a small smile, she reached for another one. “My family came out to see Tim do the whole thing. We all went out to dinner, and Jeremy came along, since his dad was somewhere else and couldn’t come.”
“Morocco,” Jeremy added. She wanted to rub his arm, knew it hurt that even ten years later, it was just one more reminder he’d had nobody there for him during the important events.
“That’s sad,” Skye said softly, understanding.
“So Tim brings Jeremy with him. I’m all set to razz on Tim, since it’d been forever since I’d seen him. Sibling insults were required. Couldn’t let his commission go to his fat head.”
“Right. That just couldn’t happen,” Tim added dryly.
“I like the size of your head,” Skye said, rubbing a hand over the high and tight her brother always sported.
“Thank you, baby.” He kissed her, and flipped Madison the bird when she mimed gagging.
“Anyway, so I have this nice long list of well-intended insults—”
“An oxymoron if ever I’ve heard one,” Skye said.
Madison ignored that. “Just ready to hurl his way. And in walks that guy, so serious and quiet. Every insult I’d been rehearsing just melted away and I couldn’t think straight.” Her heart clutched to remember the rioting teenage emotions she’d battled that first night.
“I wondered why you were so quiet that first day I met you. Can barely get a word in edge-wise anymore.”
She kicked at him but he moved. “My young infatuation was almost over before it started though, since you came close to ruining it.”
“What’d I do?”
“Tim was teasing me over some guy I’d dated that spring. I’d already dumped him, but that didn’t stop big brother. I waited for you to stand up for me, make some grand gesture in my favor, be the white knight.”
“You watch too many Julia Roberts movies.”
“Stuff it, Skye. And instead of standing up for me, you just chuckled, and then said, ‘Sounds like she could get better taste.’”
“Boo,” came duo female voices.
“Thank you.” Righteous in her past indignation, she nodded. “It was almost over before it began. Luckily, at sixteen I was wise enough to ignore your momentary stupidity. By the end of the night, I knew Jeremy Phillips was for me.”
Veronica sighed and Madison bit back a smile.
“And now I get to be the one to tell our kids mommy knew daddy was the one for her, way before he did.”
“Kids?” Tim and Jeremy echoed at the same time. Jeremy paled a little and Tim stared at him.
“Years from now,” she added, and laughed.
“What did you think, Jeremy?” Skye reached for another chip and pointed it at him.
“You put up enough of a fight, so I assume you weren’t thinking about orange blossoms.”
“I was thinking she was jailbait.” When she kicked at him, he scooted away. “It was ten years ago. She was sixteen. Yeah, she was a hot sixteen, but I was twenty-two.”
“So old and wise.” Madison launched herself at him, knocking him to the floor and rubbed her nose over his. “My old man.”
“Ug,” he grunted and put a hand over his ribs. “I won’t make it to see old age at this rate.” But he sat up and rearranged her on his lap until she was comfortable.
“Good thing you had the sense to go after him, isn’t it?” Veronica asked cheerfully.
“Of course it is,” Jeremy answered, smoothing a hand down her back.
“Oh, now you admit it.”
“Admitting it would have saved me from having to punch you,” Tim pointed out.
Veronica sighed and looked at the ceiling. “It’s nice. You guys having your spontaneous marriage,” she said, waving a hand at her cousin. “You guys having ten years of friendship before you took the plunge.”
Skye glanced at Madison. Madison shrugged. She didn’t know where Veronica was going with this, but if it was loneliness or envy, there wasn’t much they could do about the situation.
“Well.” Veronica straightened with a bright smile. “Who would like something to drink?”
“I’ll help you.” Madison started to get up, but Jeremy’s arm around her waist kept her pinned down. “Or maybe not.”
“Stay a bit.” His voice was low in her ear, chest rumbling under her shoulder. “It’s been a long week without seeing you.”
“I’ve missed you, too.” She nuzzled into his neck a bit, ignoring Tim as he grumbled.
“We’ve got an entire weekend to make up for it. Oh! Can I drive your bike?”
“On actual roads?”
She poked him in the ribs. “Yes. I’m getting better.”
“You love me.”
“Says you.” He grinned and kissed her quickly. “Says me, too.”
Sourcebooks has generously offered a paperback copy of The Officer Breaks the Rules by Jeanette Murray to a lucky commenter!
To be entered just leave a comment and tell us: do you prefer the guy-meets-girl-they-fall-in-love (=spontaneous) romances or the friends-to-lovers romances?