Duty. Honor. Country.
Love. Romance. Passion.
The last thing I wanted was to move back in with my father, the hard-ass who raised me in the same strict military style that he ran every platoon, company and battalion he led. But thanks to some of my, uh, ‘life choices’, I’m living with my dad at West Point–and everyone knows me as the commandant’s wild daughter. I hate it.
Until I meet him one night at a party off-post. Sure, he’s a little too straight and serious for me, but still . . . he might be the one addiction that I can’t quit.
I’m an Army helicopter pilot. It’s my life, my dream and everything I ever wanted. Being stationed at West Point is fine for now, but I see it as a stepping stone for my next big move. When the commandant asks me to keep my eye on his out-of-control daughter, I agree to do it. I’ll do anything to keep advancing my career.
Until I meet her. Running into her at that party isn’t as random as she thinks, but pretty soon, I find it hard to remember the real reason I’m spending time with her . . . I just know I can’t stop.
“I don’t date guys in the military.” At the surprised silence that greeted those words, I hooked a thumb at my chest. “Hey, I’m entitled to say that. It’s nothing against any of you.” I looked around the table. “My dad is the Commandant. I’m an Army brat. I know the life, and I don’t like it. I want something else.”
“Ohhhhh.” Joe nodded. “Yeah, I guess I get that. You know exactly what you’d be signing up for.”
“But what if you fall in love with someone who happens to be in the service?” persisted April, not willing to give up on me yet. “What would you do then?”
“I’m not going to do that.” I fixed her with a pleasant but firm stare. “Falling in love, I mean. It’s not my thing. And even if it did happen, it wouldn’t be with any man who makes the Army his life.”
“And that’s why Addison is the perfect woman.” Sawyer’s voice made me jump, coming from just behind me. I hadn’t realized that he’d returned to the table. “We have a great time together, but there aren’t any expectations or pressures.” He sat down next to me and bumped my shoulder with his. “We’re just buddy-buddy.”
I giggled. “Did you just quote The Wedding Planner, Lancelot? A chick flick? I take it all back. I might be in love, after all.”
“I did, lady. It happens to be a very funny movie with Jennifer Lopez, who is undeniably hot—and funny, too.”
“Why do you call him Lancelot?” April glanced from one of us to the other.
“Because he’s got a rescue complex—he likes to be the knight in shining armor,” I explained. “Also, he’s a real straight arrow. Too good to be true, you know? I’m afraid he’s doomed to fall for some unavailable chick and pine for her the rest of his life.”
“Uh-huh.” Simon’s lips twitched as though he was holding back a laugh. “And is that why you call her lady, Flint? Because you’re the knight and she’s the lady in waiting?”
“Yeah.” I turned to him. “I was going to ask you about that. You’re not trying to say I’m the helpless lady fair from medieval times, are you?”
“Of course not. That would be lame.” Sawyer lifted his hot dog to his mouth, pausing before he slid between his lips. “It’s from Princess Bride. Remember how the giant called Buttercup lady all the time? That’s totally Addison. She’s headstrong and independent to a fault, and she never hesitates to say what’s on her mind—like old Buttercup.” He took a huge bite of hotdog. “Plus, she would love to boss me around all the time. But Buttercup would be all wrong for her. So that’s why she’s lady.”
“You two might not think you’re a good fit, but it’s clear to me—you’re adorable,” April announced. “Even if you’re only ever friends—it’s still what I want in my life.”
I shifted uneasily in my seat, and when I let myself look at Sawyer, I saw the same discomfort in his expression.
“So.” I smiled brightly, looking for any excuse to change the subject. “Who’s ready for dessert? I think I’ll go ask Lark if she needs a hand bringing it out.” Without waiting for any response, I scrambled off the bench and fled the scene. I needed to get away from that conversation, not because April was wrong . . .but because I was beginning to worry that she might be right.