“My dating life has starred cupcake men—sweet but more icing than cake and nothing that could keep my mouth busy for a more than a few minutes. Finn Callahan? He’s cake. A five-layer, lusciously frosted gateau.” – Valentina Fuentes
I’ve never met a woman I couldn’t love—for one night. I’m the bad boy, the player, the sexy heartbreaker you meet in a bar and take home. And after my last hellish tour of duty as a SEAL, sun, sand, and sex are my new mission in life. Happily ever after? Pass. I’ll give you the best twelve hours of your life, and then I’m gone because why settle down when playing the field is so fun?
All that changes when I meet Valentina Fuentes. Actually, I rescue her from a ditch, which should score me major hero points. She’s even willing to admit I’m hot—and she’ll fool around with me. But convincing her that I’m anything but a sun-and-good-times boy toy? That’s mission impossible. She argues I’m the loaner car girlfriends pass around… and, sure, she’s willing to take me for a ride. A short ride. And for the first time in my life, I’d like more than a twelve-hour relationship.
When did one woman make my smooth-talking bad boy self start dreaming of forever?
I’m the asshole. The player. The guy who gives you a screaming orgasm but not his number or his heart.
Never the heart.
Hearts are strictly off-limits in my world. I don’t do forevers because my relationships come with shelf lives, and none of them last longer than a day or two. My last date claimed her orgasm lasted longer than our relationship. She wasn’t wrong.
None of this explains why I’m standing outside the zany yellow-and-white bakery Valentina Fuentes owns in Angel Cay, wondering what she’ll throw at me today. What names she’ll call me. Whether she’ll yell or cry or just slam the fucking door in my face and remind me that I screwed it all up. That from her point of view, she’s the payoff for a bet that should never have been made.
Whatever she does, I deserve it because I didn’t walk. I ran like a coward because I was too scared to figure out how hearts worked until I’d broken mine. I want a hell of a lot more from Vali than a Band-Aid, too.
I’ve fucked my way through a legion of women since my high school glory days. Women love a US Navy SEAL, and I loved them right back. Now that I look back, I wasn’t terribly discriminating, but I made sure my partners had a great time. I was Finn Callahan, the Orgasm King. Funny how that’s not enough anymore. I mean, I thought making a woman feel good, making her scream my name because I was that fucking good, making her melt for me, was enough. You see, when I made the woman of my hour forget everything but me, I got to forget too. I didn’t have to think about past battles or shit I’d gotten wrong or how maybe I shouldn’t have been the guy who came home. How there were other, better men who never left Afghanistan or Iraq or a godforsaken Colombian jungle. I mean, I know how to fight the good fight and give it my all, but if I were God and it came down to picking and choosing, Finn Callahan name wouldn’t be on the top of the Save List.
I’d be dead last.
So I need to open the door. Stop lingering on the sidewalk like the worst kind of pussy. It’s just that I don’t know what to say when I step through that door. Because when I’m around Vali, I’m not Mr. Sex-on-a-Stick SEAL. She sees through the bullshit and she sees me.
And I’m certain I can never be enough for her.
I need to man up.
I need to open that door and step through it… pin all my hopes and dreams on the one-in-a-million lottery ticket that maybe it’s not too late. Maybe Valentina Fuentes hasn’t come to her senses, and maybe she’s still sweet for this SEAL.