Ryder:SEALs of Honor, Book 14

By: Dale Mayer
SEALs of Honor, Book 14

Ryder spent his career defending his nation and helping others… After he lost the one good thing in his life, he spent every waking hour trying to forget…

After a mission goes south and a friend is hurt, Ryder checks in at medical for an update on his condition only to find Caitlyn working there. It doesn’t take long for the same damn feelings to overwhelm him. She’s not his any longer, but maybe they can be friends…

Friendship is the last thing Caitlyn wants, but it’s a start. She screwed up – in a big way – and she’ll do anything to get her best friend back in her life. Even work overseas for a chance to see him. But when the outpost is attacked and medical supplies start to go missing they have something bigger to worry about.

When she’s kidnapped, all bets are off and both Ryder and Caitlyn have to find out what’s really important before they lose it all … and each other.

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Markus’s backyard barbecue was rocking, and the San Diego weather was perfect for outdoor entertaining. Markus was another SEAL and a member of Mason’s unit. He and his partner were celebrating with all their friends the end of some serious renovations on their house.

Ryder Lewis settled back in his folding chair, beer in hand, and watched as Summer, Easton’s ladylove—the newest to the group—completely won over the large gathering around her. Summer didn’t seem fazed at all by the crowd. That she was busy taking photographs of couples didn’t hurt.

The gathering’s laughter was contagious. Even Ryder was smiling. Normally he was not an upbeat personality, but lately …

“Hey, you. Still nursing that same beer?” Corey sprawled in the folding chair next to his buddy. “Personally I might need something harder.”

Ryder glanced at him. “Why’s that?”

“A little too much lovey-dovey stuff here. I never expected to feel so lost by being alone.”

“You brought a girlfriend,” Ryder pointed out. “You aren’t alone.”

“A friend, yes. A girlfriend, no.” Corey slid Ryder a sideways look. “No way would I come alone. You’re braver than I am.”

“Damn, I didn’t think of that.”

Corey chuckled. “You need to plan ahead. If you had the sisters I do, you’d come up with that camouflage in an instant.”

“Ha, if I had that many sisters, I’d have left town.” Ryder shook his head. “I also don’t think I know a woman I could have called to step in and help me out in a situation like this.”

“Sure you do. What about Caitlyn?”

Ryder’s heart hiccupped. “Hell no.”

“And why is that?”

Corey’s curious tone said he didn’t understand anything about Ryder’s more recent history with Caitlyn.

“You took her to prom. You were there for her when she graduated from nursing school, gave her away at her wedding and got her drunk to celebrate her divorce. Dude, that’s a major friendship. She’d have been delighted to show up here today.”

Ryder shook his head, but he didn’t say a word. He couldn’t.

“Unless something’s changed?” Corey asked, leaning forward. “As in, you had a fight?”

“No fight,” he said, keeping his voice neutral. Corey was no fool.

“If no fight, then it’s the opposite.”

Silence was Ryder’s only response.

“Ah, hell.”

More silence followed.

Corey took a deep breath. “Don’t tell me. When the two of you got drunk, you slept with her.”

Ryder lifted his beer and poured the cool liquid down his throat. Anything to shove the hot painful memories to the back. The hurt. The loss.

“And it didn’t work out?” Corey pushed cautiously.

“Work out? She got up Monday morning and walked away. I haven’t heard a word since, despite all my calls to her. It’s been two years. I’d say that fits the definition of it didn’t work out.”

Corey reached into the cooler at his side and pulled out a couple more beers. He handed one to Ryder. “Sorry, man. Here’s to staying single.” Corey was quiet for a long moment, then added, “Now I understand the change in your behavior. You went a little off for a time. I wasn’t sure what the deal was, but you seemed to pull out of it so I put it aside.”

The two men clinked cans, and a commotion at the corner of the house caught their attention. Another arrival. The party had already swelled to close to sixty people. What were a few more?

“Isn’t that Mac and Quinn?”

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