Saved by the SEAL(5)

By: Diana Gardin



Without even saying a word, she demands to be more than that.

I look down at my left leg. I’m not even a whole man anymore. I’d been through some shit in the last year that had changed me fundamentally, both inside and out. There’s no way I can be everything to someone else.

I know it in my gut.

I’m going to drive Greta to the doctor and make sure she’s okay.

And then I’m going to walk away.

Because at this point in my life, that’s the best possible thing I can do for a woman like this.

Just walk away.





2





Greta




Grab the turkey bacon. Shred the cheddar. Place the chicken in the baking dish. Season it.

My brain has been taking a vacation all day. First, falling off my board (something I never do) and ending up unconscious in the ocean. And now I haven’t been able to think of much else other than the way Grisham’s intense forest-green eyes practically swallowed me whole when I woke. And the way one of his strong hands remained on me at all times, making sure I was okay. I wonder idly if the skin underneath those hands felt as hot to him as it did to me. And I also can’t forget about the way his thick, dirty-blond hair fell into his eyes as he leaned over me.

So basically, my usually smart brain has turned into a big ol’ dumb-dumb. And although I know the last thing I should be thinking about right now is Grisham Abbot, my dummy brain just won’t let me stop.

So that’s probably the reason I slice my finger open while I’m chopping up the red onions to go on the smothered chicken I’m preparing for dinner.

“Ouch, dammit!” I hiss in pain as the blood immediately begins to seep from the wound. And then, because I’m one of those people who can’t stand the sight of my own blood, I promptly become too woozy to stand and end up on my butt on the kitchen floor. My head is spinning in a complicated, wild dance.

The front door opens with a bang. Somewhere in the back of my fuzzy head I know it’s Mea, because Mea always enters a room with a flourish.

“Greta! Ohmigod, are you okay?”

Mea crouches down beside me and takes my hand in hers. As soon as she notices the blood, she acts like a flash. Grabbing a towel from the cabinet behind, her she wraps it around my hand, applying an almost painful amount of pressure.

“There,” she says. “All covered up. Come on back to the land of the living.”

I take deep breaths. In through my mouth, out through my nose. For some reason, it helps me best when I take breaths in the opposite pattern normally used.

“Better?”

Mea’s voice is full of sympathy as she scrutinizes my face. I nod, and her eyes narrow in on the butterfly bandage covering up the fresh stitches in my forehead.

I sigh, standing up on wobbly legs. “I’m fine. Just...the blood. You know.”

“I know.”

Mea goes to fetch a Band-Aid for my finger. I continue holding the towel on my hand until she returns. My finger is now throbbing sharp beats of pain, but I’ll live. There’s no way I’m going back to urgent care for more stitches today. They’ll assume someone is beating me up on a regular basis. And it’s too difficult to tell them that I’ve just suddenly come down with a case of the klutzes.

When Mea returns, she sweeps gazelle-like into our apartment kitchen like a fierce little ballerina and begins wrapping the bandage around my finger while I avert my eyes.

“There,” she announces. “All done.”

I shoot her a grateful smile as I watch her chuck the Band-Aid wrapper in the trash and leave the kitchen. I get back to fixing our dinner. I throw the raw chicken breasts on the indoor grill and hum with satisfaction as they begin to sizzle. The rest of the ingredients are neatly lined up in little bowls on the counter.

Cooking is one area of my life where I have complete and utter control. I can cook the pants off of any meal, anytime. There are many areas in my life where control is out of my grasp, but usually when I’m cooking and when I’m surfing I’m 100 percent on my game.

Except for today, of course.

Today, I’m off my game in all areas.

“So how’s your sister?” Mea kicks off her shoes and flops onto the couch. Of course she looks like a little winged bird as she does it, where I’d probably look like a stork on skates.

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