Tawna’s romantic comedy from Entangled: Brazen | February 2014

She thought she’d sworn off military men for good…

Marine for Hire by Tawna FenskeSam Kercher is every inch a wickedly hot Marine. Tall. Sexy. Lethal. When his best friends call in a favor, Sam is forced to face an entirely new line of duty—playing nanny for their newly divorced sister and her squirming seven-month-old twin boys. If Sam can dissemble an M16 in his sleep, diaper duty should be a cakewalk…right?

Unfortunately, Operation Nanny isn’t quite that simple. Sheridan has sworn off overbearing military men, so Sam must protect her from her dirtbag ex without revealing just how much he has in common with her brothers. Or that he’s been ordered not to touch her. Ever. Problem is, Sheri’s one hell of a gorgeous woman, capable of making this hard-bodied Marine even harder. And Sam wants her bad.

Protect the girl. Care for the babies. Hide his identity. And keep his hands off. But even the most disciplined Marine has weaknesses…and Sheridan is one Sam might not be able to resist.

 

 

 

“Fenske proves that she has the humorous writing talent to run with the big comedic romance authors”

“Tawna Fenske should be a must read for anybody who likes humour in their romance. No one does it better ”

“When you find an author who can make you laugh through a steamy book about a hunky Marine posing as a nanny, who can’t cook and entertains a set of twins by demonstrating military tactics…five stars aren’t actually enough.”

“Ridiculously funny and sexy.”

“This is one of Fenske’s finest and is a must read for every romantic comedy reader out there. If you’re a newbie to romantic comedies, be sure to cut your teeth on this one.”

CHAPTER ONE
The chain saw snarled in Sam’s hands. He plunged it into the
log, rewarded by the spit of wood chips and a mechanical
growl of protest from the machine.
Sam could relate. At least that was his sentiment as the
unmarked black car crawled slowly up his father’s driveway,
drawing closer by the second. Government car, from the
look of it. More military officials wanting to discuss what
happened in Kabul? Like Sam hadn’t already talked about
it plenty.
Okay, fine. He hadn’t. Still, that didn’t mean he was in
any mood to do it now.
He killed the chain saw, but kept it in his hands. Might as
well look the part of a man who didn’t want to be disturbed.
He waited, tense but unmoving, as the car eased to a halt
in front of him. Its tinted windows reflected the towering
pines behind him, along with Sam looking like he’d spent
the morning mud wrestling a tree trunk. The passenger took
an unnecessarily long time opening the door, and he waited,
breathing in the scent of damp leaves and fresh sawdust.
The car door swung wide, and an expensive Italian loafer
stepped onto the wet gravel driveway, followed by another.
In an instant, the tension drained from his shoulders.
“Holy shit, Mac,” Sam said, lowering the chain saw.
“What the hell are you doing here?”
Mac got out of the car and took three steps toward him.
They clapped each other on the shoulders and conducted
a complicated ritual that was equal parts hug and sucker
punch to the gut.
Sam drew back first, brushing sawdust off the front of his
T-shirt as he surveyed his old pal. Mac wore his usual dark
sunglasses, despite the fact that it was an overcast afternoon
in the forest outside Portland, as opposed to a beach bar in
Jamaica on a summer afternoon. Mac’s clothes were black—
of course—and the whole suit looked like it cost more than
Sam’s car.
Sam looked down at his own dusty T-shirt and tried to
remember if he’d worn deodorant. Or taken a shower.
“Sam,” Mac said, straightening his lapels. “Nice to see
you. You’re looking good. A little shaggy and rumpled, but
it works for you.”
Nope, definitely no deodorant. Sam covertly sniffed his
own T-shirt and grimaced. Oh well, it was just Mac.
“Military grooming standards weren’t exactly required
on my last mission,” Sam said. “Figured I’d wait on a haircut
’til my leave is up. Not much need for starched uniforms or
pressed fatigues out here.”
“Good. That’s good.” Mac nodded with something
that looked oddly like approval. “I heard you were up here
helping your dad and stepmom get ready for winter.”
“Yeah, doing a little caulking, cleaning out the gutters,
stockpiling firewood, that sort of thing.” He quirked
an eyebrow at Mac, not willing to let the statement go
unquestioned. “You heard?”
Mac waved a dismissive hand, and Sam did a mental
eye roll. His friend had unlimited resources when it came to
gathering information and pretty much everything else he
wanted. It was no secret that whatever Mac did for a living
was—well, secret.
They’d met playing football in college before the
Marines, both ambitious young men driven by overbearing
fathers and too much testosterone. Sam had stuck with the
program, training as a sniper and making a pretty good
career at it.
At least until Sam’s whole world had come undone.
Mac, on the other hand, had gotten out of the military
and moved on to some sort of top-secret government work
that kept him out of the country a lot. Whatever it was he
did now, it made him extremely wealthy.
Mac probably never forgets deodorant.
“So,” Sam began, brushing his free hand over his dirty
jeans. “What’s up?”
“You’re on leave for another couple weeks?”
He resisted the urge to grit his teeth. “I’m still considering
getting out.”
“But you haven’t dropped your letter. You know damn
well it takes a while, and all your shit is still in storage in
Hawaii.”
“For now.”
Mac cleared his throat. “So. What are your plans until
then?”
“You’re looking at it.”
Mac nodded, surveying the property with a calculated
expression. “A couple weeks of work. Probably much
quicker work if Grant and I pitch in to help. Or we could
always hire a crew to come out and—”
“Grant?” Sam asked, confused now. “Isn’t your brother
stationed in Benghazi right now? And why would he help
my parents with yard work?”
Mac turned back to him, and Sam caught his own
disheveled image in the reflection of his buddy’s glasses. He
had a streak of mud on one cheek, and he hadn’t shaved all
week.
“You like kids, right?” Mac said. “I mean, you have all
those nieces and nephews.”
Sam frowned. “Sure, kids are great. My sister’s having
another little girl in April.”
He nodded as though making a mental list. “Can you
operate an oven?”
“Microwave. Oh, and I baked brownies once. Laced ’em
with Ex-Lax as a prank for some SEAL buddies at a party.”
“How do you feel about Kauai?”
Sam raised an eyebrow and wondered—not for the first
time—if Mac had gone crazy. “Is this some kind of psych exam
where you’re going to show me ink blots and ask whether I
fantasize about badgers wearing men’s underwear?”
Mac folded his arms over his chest. He didn’t answer the
question. “You remember my sister, Sheridan, right? I think
you met her once at a party in college.”
At the mention of Sheri’s name, Sam felt several pints
of blood drain from his brain and pulse toward other
extremities. He thought about those thick, chocolaty curls
and those huge brown eyes, and that perfect, heart-shaped
ass and—
“I think I remember her,” he said, straining to keep his
voice casual. “Blond, right?”
“You know goddamn well she’s a brunette, just like I
know goddamn well you didn’t stop staring at her that whole
night at the party. That’s not why I’m asking. Her douchebag
husband left.”
Sam blinked. “What? Didn’t they just have a kid?”
“Two kids. Twins. Seven months old, and Lieutenant
Limpdick ran off with a stripper he met in Arkansas. We’re
dealing with the situation.”
He refrained from asking who “we” might be or what
“dealing with the situation” entailed. Probably best not to
know. “Weren’t they stationed in Honolulu?”
Mac nodded. “Sheri’s still there. Well, on another island
now. Kauai. She has a friend there, and she just got a job as
an accountant on the Pacific Missile Range Facility.”
“Civilian gig?”
“Yeah. Great pay, good bennies. But she’s a single mom,
and she needs a nanny. A good nanny. Someone who can
cook and who’s great with kids and housekeeping and M40
sniper rifles.”
“You got that job description on Craigslist?”
“And maybe black-belt level karate skills,” Mac continued,
ignoring him. “And the ability to use power tools.”
“You can’t be serious.” Sam shook his head, propped the
chain saw against a stump, and rubbed a smear of mud off
his forearm.
“Why not? You’re supposed to report for your new
command in Hawaii in a couple weeks anyway. In the
meantime, Sheri needs someone to watch out for the twins.
And her.”
He touched one hand to the utility knife on his belt and
stared Mac down. Then he remembered it wasn’t possible to
stare Mac down, especially since the guy never removed his
sunglasses.
He tried reasoning instead.
“Aren’t there services for this sort of thing? There have
to be a thousand people more trained to be nannies.”
Mac leaned against a tree, his arms still folded. “No
one with your unique qualifications. And not anyone who
happens to owe me a favor.”
Sam sighed, already knowing how this would end up. “I
appreciate you saving my life in Baghdad. I do. But can’t I
just buy you a beer or a car or something?”
“No.”
“I’m not following why you want me looking after your
sister and her kids. Why me?”
“She’s alone,” he snapped. “For the first time in years
with two little babies and a new job and a dickhead exhusband
I don’t trust. Grant and I are going to be out of
the country and our folks are all the way over in Honolulu
and God only knows where Schwartz is. None of us will be
around to keep an eye on Sheri in Kauai and make sure
she’s safe.”
“Why wouldn’t she be?”
Mac ran his hands through his hair, looking rattled
for the first time in the whole conversation. “Lieutenant
Limpdick is a real piece of work. The divorce didn’t go well,
and he’s still harassing Sheri. His orders have come through,
but he’s got two more weeks before he has to leave.”
“He’s still attached to the command in Hawaii?”
“Yes. He’ll be back in the islands any day now. While
he’s there, I don’t want him getting anywhere near Sheri and
her boys.”
“He’s dangerous?”
“He’s never been physically violent with her, but he’s
unpredictable. I worry he’ll try to win her back and won’t
take no for answer, or that he’ll show up and make life hell
for her. He’s a manipulative prick and a threat.”
“A threat you want controlled.”
“Precisely. Look, it’s not just the ex, Sam. There are bad
drivers in Hawaii. And sharks. Plus Sheri’s never been good
about locking her doors or windows, and what if—”
“I’ve got it,” Sam said, holding up his hand. “You guys
have always been overprotective. This takes the cake,
though, even for you.”
Mac gave a curt nod. “Our family would feel better
if someone we know and trust was looking out for Sheri
and the twins.” He hesitated, looking uncharacteristically
uncertain. “There’s one catch.”
“Only one?”
Mac ignored him. “Sheri has a problem with controlling
military men meddling in her life.”
“I can’t imagine why.”
“She can’t know we’re sending a bodyguard to watch
over her, and she definitely can’t know you’re a Marine.”
Sam shook his head. “Your whole family is military to
the core. She’d peg me as a Marine before I got through the
front door.”
Mac stared him up and down, considering. “Not
necessarily. This disheveled look you’ve got going on right
now is working for you. You look like hell.”
“Thank you,” Sam said. “You’re aware that this is insane,
right? I don’t know how to cook or change diapers or get
baby vomit out of cashmere.”
“It’s Hawaii. No cashmere needed, and baby vomit
blends nicely into floral-patterned shirts.”
“You’re missing the point.”
Mac didn’t respond, just stared at him through those
dark lenses with his hair unruffled in the breeze. “This is your
chance to make things right,” he said. “After what happened
in Kabul, it’s how you prove to yourself again that you’re
a good guy—a guy who knows what it means to serve and
protect and follow orders.”
Mac’s words sliced through him, and Sam’s fingers
clenched in an unexpected fist. He wasn’t sure who he
wanted to punch. Himself, mostly.
Sam swallowed. “Sheri needs someone right away?”
“Just for a couple weeks. I’ll find her a real nanny when
Limpdick’s out of the picture. Oh, and there’s one other
thing.”
Sam raised an eyebrow, resisting the urge to remind him
that just one catch had already morphed into more.
Mac folded his arms over his chest again. “Keep your
hands off my sister.”
Sam blinked. “What?”
“You heard me. She’s vulnerable. With Limpdick out of
the picture, she needs time to recover.”
He heard a rushing sound in his brain, not unlike the
night he met Sheri at that party in college and she’d been
wearing that huge, goofy smile and pink lipstick and that
crocheted white bikini that hugged her curves and showed
the perfect outline of her nipples and Sam had tripped over
a piece of driftwood and fallen face-first into all that luscious
cleavage and—
“When do I start?”
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