The Navy SEAL's Rescue

By: Jo Leigh

CHAPTER ONE

“MS. SHAW, YOUR weekly delivery is here. Should I send Arnold to your office?”

At the sound of Felicity’s voice coming from the intercom Jessica looked up from her laptop. Ignoring her assistant’s blatant attempt to get a rise out of her, she said, “I believe you still have tip money in the envelope I left with you.”

“I do. So would you prefer he leave the flowers with me?”

Jessica sighed. “Please.” A headache threatened from reading briefs most of the day and she wasn’t in the mood for her assistant’s teasing. Not just that, but encouraging Arnold in any way wasn’t a good idea. Ever since he’d become Jessica’s regular deliveryman, he’d had a crush on her. If you could call it that—the guy had to be in his late twenties. It hadn’t turned into anything…it wasn’t as if he was stalking her. But six months of trying to engage with her was too long.

A few minutes later she heard a light knock at her door.

“Come in, Felicity.” Jessica stood and moved last week’s flowers off the corner of her desk.

The door opened and the young woman entered, holding a glass vase filled with cheery yellow daffodils and pale green chrysanthemums. Huh. Interesting choice for the middle of June in Chicago. It did the trick, though, and boosted Jessica’s spirits.

“Sorry about earlier,” Felicity said, setting down the bouquet. “I shouldn’t have been joking around today of all days.”

“Why? Because I had only four hours sleep last night and I’m cross-eyed from reading briefs? Or did something happen that I don’t know about?”

“No.” Felicity smoothed her blue skirt. It was unusual to see her without a blazer. She tended to mimic Jessica in her manner of dress and hairstyles: conservative suits, hair pulled back in a neat twist or upswept. The staff often referred to her as mini-Jessica, only Felicity was a blonde and Jessica had dark hair. “It’s been raining steadily since this morning. You’re usually in a funk on gloomy days.”

“Am I?”

“Maybe subdued is a better description.” Felicity shrugged. “I’ve always assumed it made you a little homesick.”

Jessica supposed that was partly true, although the weather in Rhode Island could get cold and nasty in the winter. Still, the pleasure of growing up with sand between her toes, the sun’s warmth on her skin and the tangy smell of salt in the air wasn’t something one could easily forget.

And her dad of course… Ronny still lived in the old beach shack they’d shared for ten months out of each year until she’d left for college. As long as the surf was up he was out there on his board, along with his groupies who worshipped him. To pay the bills he gave surfing lessons to tourists or took groups out on fishing charters. But only when he absolutely had to. He was a true free spirit, her dad. For him, there was no place on earth that could top Temptation Bay. Some days she tended to agree with him.

The moment she sat down, her gaze caught on the wastebasket under her desk, where just this morning she’d dropped the invitation to her fifteen-year high school reunion    . She regretted making the decision not to attend the event. She’d vacillated for over a month about whether or not to go. Most of the girls she’d hung out with at Roger Williams Prep had gone off to college, then moved on just as she had, and she would’ve loved to see them. Catch up on what everyone was doing with their lives. But in the end her workload had made the decision for her.

Her career ran her life. Not that she was complaining. Being recruited by a prestigious firm like Burrell, Scoffield and Schultz right out of law school had been crazy lucky as well as a personal victory.

“So…” Felicity nodded at the flowers Jessica had moved to the credenza. “Are you going to take those home? They still look fresh and pretty.”

Jessica laughed. How many times had they done this dance? “Take them,” she said.

“Excellent.” Felicity scooped up the vase quickly. “By the way, still no card.”

Jessica already knew that, and the tiny amused satisfaction she got out of keeping the secret that she sent the flowers to herself wasn’t a big deal. In fact, the truth was so much more mundane—she loved getting flowers so it was a treat she indulged in. When the office staff assumed she had an admirer, she’d let them.

Felicity shook her head on the way to the door. “You’d think just knowing you have a secret admirer would be enough to discourage poor Arnold.”

“Hey, about that…” Jessica picked up her mug, then remembered she’d thought about getting a refill an hour ago. “Don’t tease him anymore.” She held up a hand at the first sign of protest. “I know you don’t do it openly, but I don’t want this thing with him escalating.”

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