Tanner Boudreau wasn’t intimidated by much.
He’d endured the seven months of grueling torment that the U.S. Navy called BUD/S training, capped off by a hell week to rival Dante’s. He’d swum waters frigid enough to stop a man’s heart. He’d seen battle—facing and returning enemy fire. He’d leapt out of planes and dangled from helicopters and crawled through caves as dark as a demon’s soul. And while all of those experiences could—and had—caused a twinge of anxiety here or a moment of concern there, none had ever really scared him.
But this? This intimidated the hell out of him. “Gram, I just don’t…”
“Oh, Tanner, it would mean so much to me,” his elderly grandmother said, casting him one of those melting, I’m-just-a-weak-old-lady looks that always got him to do whatever it was she wanted him to do. “I’ll be so disappointed if you say no.”
And that was it. He was done for. Because she’d dragged out the “d” word.
Disappointing this kind, loving old woman, who, along with Gramps, had raised him and his sister after their parents had died, was the one thing Tanner truly couldn’t handle. He could face physical danger, discomfort and even the threat of his own death, but he could not deal with causing his grandparents a moment of grief or sadness. He’d already put them through enough when he’d decided, on September 12, 2001, to enlist in the Navy, with the intention of becoming a SEAL. And God knows they’d had a lot of scary moments since.
“It would just be for an hour?” he asked, stalling for time before giving an answer. “Because I do have stuff to do tomorrow night.”
Nearby, someone snickered. He shot a glare at his kid sister, Marie, who was sitting in a chair in the corner, busily sewing. She obviously saw right through him, knowing he’d never been able to refuse his grandmother any reasonable request. And while this one was stretching that word—reasonable—to its utter Webster limits, he knew he couldn’t now.
Visit the author: Leslie Kelly
Leslie Kelly has written dozens of light, sexy romances for Harlequin Temptation, Blaze and HQN. She also writes dark romantic thrillers under the pseudonym Leslie Parrish. A three-time nominee for the highest award in romance, the RWA RITA Award, she was also honored with Career Achievement Award in Series Romance from Romantic Times Magazine in 2010.