Best friends since childhood, Bristol Abbot and Roan Storm wouldn’t dream of mucking up their relationship with sex, until his deployment going away party and too much tequila drive them together.
Six weeks later, there’s more than just friendship at stake.
Bristol is pregnant while Roan is stationed overseas for six more months, and neither knows what comes next.
As the weeks turn into months, their friendship morphs into a shared devotion to their child and each other. Bristol is determined to honor her promise of including Roan in their child’s life, she just has no assumptions of a deeper relationship no matter how much she wants more. For Roan, what once seemed impossible, now feels as necessary as breathing, and he comes home with a new set of orders in mind.
This Marine has seduction on the brain…
“Whose idea was it to get an apartment on the third floor of a building with no fucking elevator?” she groaned, holding her head.
“If I recall, you wanted this place because of the rooftop deck. Said you could watch the sunrise whenever you wanted like you were on top of the world.”
“Yes, the roof!” Bristol nodded and clapped her hands excitedly. “Let’s go up there and look at the stars.”
“You need to get some sleep, B,” he protested as she pulled him through the small apartment to the stairway he knew led above.
“I will, but we can look at the stars now, then when you’re gone, I’ll think of you every time I look up at them. I’ll know you’re looking at the same stars, thinking of me.”
Roan knew she probably didn’t intend her words to be so sentimental, but the alcohol was acting like a truth serum, and it shut down her inhibitions. She rarely allowed anyone to see this side of her. Following her up the tiny flight of stairs, he was soon seated on a wooden lounge chair, with her between his legs, her back against his chest, his arms wrapped around her to keep her warm.
“See, there’s my favorite, Ursa Major, the Big Bear,” she pointed upwards.
“Isn’t that the Big Dipper?”
“Yes and no. The Big Dipper is part of the Big Bear, but they’re still two different constellations,” she explained. “My dad taught me that when I was tiny.”
Her voice was wistful when she spoke of her recently deceased father, and Roan hugged her tighter. Having lost his own mother to uterine cancer when he was eleven, he sympathized with her pain.
“Roan, how much longer do you think you can take doing these missions?” she asked randomly.
Stunned silent, he could only shrug behind her.
“You’ve been gone more than you’ve been home. Don’t you get lonely?”
“Sure, every Marine gets lonely occasionally, but I’m one of the lucky ones because I get constant contact. You and my family send me packages, letters, and cards, and I can use FaceTime on some missions, Skype on others. There are plenty of guys over there who don’t have access to any of that.”
“Would you stay if they gave you the option?”
Roan tensed and frowned down at the top of her head, “What do you mean?”
“I don’t know. I just hate when you’re gone. My world seems off-kilter somehow.” She sat up abruptly. “I’m like Lucy with no Ethel.”
“Excuse me?” He felt his eyebrow arch in question. “I am no Ethel. If anyone here is Lucy, it’s me.”
“Nah, Lucy was always instigating trouble, and Ethel just went along with it.”
“Which is exactly why I’m the Lucy in this relationship,” Roan laughed. She shivered, and he tugged her back against him. Instead of resuming their spooned position, she lay sideways against him, her shoulder on his chest, her hands dangerously close to forbidden territory. “If you’re cold, we should go back downstairs.”
“I don’t want to yet. I like having you all to myself,” she sighed and tipped her face up, the pale moonlight barely lighting her face properly. “Have you ever thought about giving it up? The Marines, I mean?”
“Aw, B, of course, it’s crossed my mind. Every man who’s had to watch a friend die or had to kill someone has second-guessed his career choice, but I was born to be a Marine. Giving it up would be like giving up air. My body just wouldn’t work anymore.”
She nodded, “I figured you would say something like that.”
“I always come back.”