Rebound - Marie Johnston

Chapter One

“Kane, are you listening to me, bro?”

“Yeah, of course.” Taking his eyes off the attractive brunette sitting alone in the booth across the restaurant, Kane Swenson smirked at his brother. “Reservations, blah, blah, blah. Save the date, blah, blah, blah. Did I miss anything?”

“Jackass. We’re planning our wedding around your Navy schedule. Are you free then or not?” Jeff asked, while his future sister-in-law, Kate, looked earnestly at him.

“I’m there, man. Don’t worry. The deployment will be over in six months, then I won’t be at sea for a while.”

Relief showed more in Jeff’s eyes than Kate’s. Kane couldn’t imagine what the poor bastard would’ve faced had he needed to find another date his fiancé was satisfied with. It was her big day and she was willing to plan it so Kane could be the best man, but a bride-to-be could only be pushed so far.

“It’s great you could meet us tonight. Got any crazy plans for Fleet Week?” Kate asked, giving the guys permission to move off-topic from wedding planning.

She was a great lady; Kane was thrilled for his little brother. Naval life didn’t give him much opportunity to find lasting love. Much less find lasting love willing to move around the country, constantly uprooting her career, and wait for him to come back from short-term floats at sea or months long deployments.

And if he could find a lasting love as hot as the number fuming in the booth to his left, he would run off the ship after each float and not leave the bedroom for a week. The mystery woman had her hair up in a bun showcasing her slender neck, leaving her bare shoulders gleaming in the soft lamplight. The crimson silk sleeveless top she wore showed the creamy skin of her arms, and he’d kill to see her legs. Were they in a skirt and would they be bare, or in shiny hose? Or did she wear slacks formed over a tight backside, enclosing long, shapely legs that would leave his mind guessing at the treasures they hid?

“Earth to Kane. Fuck, bro. Do you know her?” Jeff was craning his neck to look at the woman Kane couldn’t seem to keep his eyes off. Kate was leaning past Jeff to get a look too, but the fervor in her stare struck the fear of God into him.

“Don’t even think about it,” Kane warned. “She’s obviously waiting for someone and only a guy can get a woman that pissed off.”

“Then now’s your chance. Swoop in and save the day,” his brother urged.

“Nah, I’m here to see you guys. I’ve only got a few days,” Kane blew it off and forced himself to quit looking at the mystery woman.

“So, what are your plans?” Kate asked again.

Kane shrugged. “I’ve only been in the Big Apple once before so maybe I’ll hit some of the sights I missed last time. Go out with the guys or something. I’m on rotation again in the morning, so…”

They visited for the next hour, but his brother and soon to be sister-in-law had to get going. Kane checked his phone, seeing he had a text from some shipmates.


Chuckling to himself, he clicked the phone off. At least his petty officer first class was enjoying tonight, along with a couple of the other guys under his command. They’d been thrilled to find out there was free admission to the strip club with a military I.D. during Fleet Week. He could go meet them, have a few drinks, see some bare breasts, stay up too late, and stagger back to the hotel for a little shut-eye before duty the next morning. But the only breasts he was interested in seeing were the brunette’s, and that wasn’t happening tonight.

Looking to the left, the woman was still there. Arms folded across her chest, glaring mutinously at the phone sitting on the table in front of her.


That bastard.

He took her for granted again. Thought he was calling her bluff. She was serious, dammit. She was. Really.

Olivia Penguilly told her boyfriend, damn near begged him, to meet her there; said if he didn’t, it was over. She was tired of getting stood up for meetings that ran late (and they always ran late), for after-hours think tanks, for “going out with the guys” because he was afraid he’d miss something, miss out on an event or an idea that could further his career.

But David never seemed to fret when he missed out on an event or idea that could