Casey Olson has always known he was destined to be a Navy SEAL, and the best day of his life was when he was accepted into training. The worst day was when a snapping bone ended his dream.
After three combat tours in five years, Logan Carter left the Marines and self-destructed. Now he’s sober and, thanks to a forgiving ex with friends in high places, has a promising job as a civilian contractor. All he has to do is stay on the rails and out of a bottle, even when his demons won’t leave him alone.
Logan likes his job, and he really likes the gorgeous man at the next desk. Casey tries not to check Logan out, but who is he kidding? From the start, despite their best efforts, neither man can resist the other. Sizzling chemistry leads to sex so hot they can both almost forget why they’re stuck in this office to begin with.
It would be perfect, except Logan can’t stop reliving wars he’ll never forget and Casey can’t stop grieving the SEAL he’ll never be. And they’ll never have a future together until they can make peace with their pasts.
Calm and ready to face the snarl of corroded wires I’d been working on before lunch, I carefully rolled-up the mat and collected my misbaha and Qur’an. As I rose, I nearly dropped everything, though.
When had Dylan come into the sanctuary? I’d been distantly aware of movement and footsteps, and I’d heard someone take a seat in one of the creaky pews, but somehow hadn’t realized it was him. Which was stupid. He was the chaplain. Of course he was in here.
For whatever reason, though, my heart was suddenly racing. Had he been watching me pray? Did it bother him even though he’d insisted he had no problem with it?
Dylan wasn’t watching me, though. In fact, he was staring straight ahead. Elbows on his knees, hands clasped under his chin, he just . . . stared. Probably not at anything in particular.
Or rather, probably not anything that was actually in this room.
I swallowed. I knew that look. No one served in the military or even lived within spitting distance of a base without becoming familiar with the thousand yard stare. Even the fluorescent glare on his glasses couldn’t hide the blank look in his eyes.
It had been jarring the first time I’d realized chaplains weren’t immune to combat-related PTSD. Intellectually it made perfect sense, and I’d never thought they were immune to it, but actually seeing a chaplain fighting off a flashback had hit me hard. They were the counselors of every command. The guy you went to see when separation from your family was getting to you, or if you’d been to combat, when the nightmares and flashbacks caught up.
So who does the chaplain talk to when he’s the one with PTSD?
Maybe the other chaplain? Or . . . I didn’t know.
I stepped a little closer, moving cautiously, and kept my voice soft. “Hey. You all right?”
Dylan jumped, but then he nodded. He shook himself and wiped a hand over his face as he sat back in the pew. “I’m sorry. Did . . .” He blinked a couple of times. “Did you need something?”
“No, I just, uh, thought you were kind of . . .” I waved my own hand in front of my face.
“Oh. Right.” He dropped his gaze as his cheeks darkened. “I’m fine. Just distracted.”
You’ve been somewhere with bombs dropping, haven’t you?
Who do you talk to?
I cleared my throat. “Hey, um. This might be out of line, but . . .” I hesitated, muffling another cough, then blurted out, “Do you want to get coffee later?”
Dylan blinked. “Coffee?”
“Yeah.” With a cautious smirk, I added, “You know—hot bean water?”
He actually laughed, and the color in his face deepened. “Cute. But I mean, you’re . . .” He looked in my eyes. “Coffee, together?”
“Yeah.” I shrugged. “You look like you could use some company. Maybe someone to talk to.” The words were out before I could stop them, and now that they were, I wanted the deck to split open and swallow me up so I wouldn’t have to be here for his reaction.
To my surprise, though, he smiled. Faintly, but genuinely. “That would be nice, actually.” He paused. “Did you have any place in mind?”
“Not really. There are a few cafés in town.”
Dylan’s eyes lost focus for a second before meeting mine again. “What about the O-club on base?”
The officers’ club? For coffee? Wasn’t exactly the first place that sprang to mind, but I supposed if they catered to officers, they would have decent coffee.
“Sure.” I matched his smile. “I clock out at four, so I can meet you any time after that.”
“I’ve got a meeting at 1700, so why don’t we say 1830?”
I nodded. “Great. I’ll see you there.”
Welcome to Anchor Point!
Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.
So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.
Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut.
To celebrate the release of Wash Out, L.A. is giving away reader’s choice of two eBooks off of her backlist! (Excludes Wash Out.) Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!