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SEALed with a Promise

SEALed with a Promise by Mary Margret Daughtridge
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"Mary Margret Daughtridge's descriptions awaken the senses to a level that makes a reader gasp for breath and sigh with satisfactions. Primal and earthy at times, sensual, enchanting, and tender at others, the love scenes simmer, sizzle, and soar."—Long and Short of It

Navy SEAL Caleb Daluade is deadly charming. When he meets Emmie Caddington—and realizes her personal connections can help him with his private vendetta—he sets out to win her over. But Emmie's quick intelligence and quirky personality sure to start to get under his skin.

Emmie's smart and independent and isn't looking for a brawny guy to take over her life. But this rugged Navy SEAL, who seems so determined to get close to her, hides a fierce intelligence and deep sensitivity.

When plans go wrong and a child's life is on the line, Emmie learns what it means to be a SEAL in action, and Caleb discovers that even a hero can get hurt sometimes.

Sourcebooks; April 2009
384 pages; ISBN 9781402227332
Read online, or download in secure EPUB or secure PDF format
Title: SEALed with a Promise
Author: Mary Margret Daughtridge
Little Creek, VirginiaFunerals, yes. He'd pulled honor guard duty at too many of them. But in all his thirty-two years, Caleb "Do-Lord" Dulaude had never attended a wedding. In a surprise development, barely four months since the platoon's return from the 'Stan, Jax was getting married, and Do-Lord had to be the best man at one.Mellow November sunshine trickled into his cubicle from the window in the hallway, and his stomach growled. He pushed back the cuff of his gray and tan desert camo BDU's to check his watch then rifled the pages of the etiquette book open on his desk to see if hehad a chance of finishing it in time to get some lunch.His battered 2002 Bluejacket's Guide, a chief petty officer's bible, specified in detail how to render military honors at a funeral, but it hadn't helped much with a wedding. It said very little about his duties during the ceremony, only that he would be in charge of the arch of swords, which would take place outside the church. He figured there was a lot more to a wedding than that, especially among the upper-crust of North Carolina.This book on etiquette was the third he'd read. In his palm pilot he had a twenty-six item list of his duties as best man. He wouldn't necessarily need to know all, but it was always the little things that got you killed. Since he had no idea which details would prove to be crucial, he ignored the rumbling of his stomach.Harder to ignore were his boredom with what he read and the tiny niggle of fear that the two staves on which he had depended, feeding his mind's thirst for information and the engrossment of SEAL life, were failing him.The tall white cake typically served at wedding receptions today was once the bride's cake, whereas the wedding cake was a fruitcake, filled with nuts…"I looked for you in the NCO mess." Burly Master Chief Lon Swales, also dressed in camo, interrupted him. From the first, although he didn't take well to regulations,Do-Lord had loved the Navy's prescribed dress code for every occasion. He always knew exactly what to wear in order not to draw attention to himself. "What are you missing lunch to read?"Do-Lord slid the yellow highlighter through his fingers while he considered lying. His fellow SEALs accepted his reading mania. He had a paperback stashed in a pocket anytime he wasn't in combat gear—and a lot of times when he was. In desperation, after he'd exhausted all other printed matter, he'd even read paperback romances while in Afghanistan. Since pictures of scantily clad women were offensive to Muslims, the covers of many had been torn off, adding a new layer of meaning to the term "bodice ripper."Everyone would really razz him, if they found out he'd moved on to etiquette books. On the other hand, the razzing would be worse if the guys learned he'd lied about reading up on etiquette."Emily Post. Research. Boning up for Jax's wedding."The weathered skin around the Master Chief's eyes folded into deep crow's feet, and his lips quirked, but the expected teasing didn't come. Instead, with perfect seriousness, he asked, "Have you read Service Etiquette?""Swartz, Fourth Edition? Read it first. When I'm invited to the White House, I'll sho'nuff do you proud."Lon chuckled at Do-Lord's tongue-in-cheek reference to the fact that Service Etiquette covered protocol for every social occasion a person in the military could encounter, no matter how unlikely. "Stranger things have happened." He took a seat in the straight metal chair in front of Do-Lord's desk, and in an almost gentle voice he asked, "How's it going?""Tell you what…" Caleb let the sentence hang while he tossed the highlighter on the desk and rolled his desk chair back to stretch out his legs. "It's boring as hell, but it's not as bad as that outboard motor service manual you made us read during Hell Week."Do-Lord saw with satisfaction he'd struck the right note with the Master Chief. Twelve years ago, Lon had been a BUD/S instructor to the class that included Jax, an ensign, and Do-Lord, except he hadn't earned his nickname yet."Hey, I was just trying to help you stay awake." Lon settled into his chair and hooked his thumbs over his belt, his innocent tone belied by a devilish grin."Yeah, right." During Hell Week the trainees were allowed a total of four hours sleep. During so-called rest periods, harsh consequences would descend on anyone who fell asleep and on all those near who allowed him to nod off. Listening while someone read aloud was bad enough, since few people did it well. Trying to stay alert while boring material was read aloud would turn their few minutes of respite into torture.Lon's expression grew thoughtful, his eyes on a distant past. "Until that night I didn't think you were going to graduate. Some guys never get it that being a SEAL isn't about taking punishment, or endurance, or even being the best or the baddest."Though fewer than twenty percent graduated from the toughest training in the world, it wasn't because instructors tried to wash a trainee out. They did, however, use any means to make a trainee aware of his weak areas and the need to overcome them. "You were doing your part, but that's all you were doing. For all the physical stuff we do, ultimately, making a SEAL is mental. A man must decide he's personally responsible for the success of the team and the welfare of every member. He has to find within himself whatever makes him able to do that. You were holding back, side-stepping opportunities for leadership, letting your boat crew not do as well as they might have, because you didn't like being noticed." Lon's eyes twinkled. "So we noticed you—a lot.""That's why you handed me the manual to read aloud!" Until this moment, Dulaude had never suspected the instructors had intended to make him uncomfortable by singling him out. He shouted with laughter at the double irony. For Dulaude, being made to read was a "get out of jail free" card. Thinking only of himself, he had known exactly how Br'er Rabbit felt in the briar patch. He could easily pretend to mumble through it."Yup. We figured you'd be miserable trying to read aloud, and you'd make everybody else miserable." Lon chuckled in reminiscence.But Dulaude had looked out at the faces of the men gathered in the mess hall at 3:00 a.m. Of a starting class of one hundred twenty-nine, around fifty red-eyed, battered men remained. More would quit before the night was over, because the pain, cold, and exhaustion would only get worse. White with fatigue, shoulders slumped, neither hopeful nor interested, longing only for sleep, they had watched him with faces set to endure.Except for Jax. His eyes had been so bloodshot he looked like a creature from a horror movie, but still they lit with expectation. He seemed to think Dulaude intended to do something to keep them awake.Dulaude had glanced down at the manual Chief Swales had stuffed in his hands. Gray print on flimsy gray paper, it was designed to blind any reader it didn't render comatose. However, Dulaude could read a page at a glance and had something close to eidetic memory. Up to now, he had concealed his reading ability as he had his real IQ. He had learned early that both made him stand out, and drawing the attention of authorities was never a good thing.
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