Coyote Heat

The title says it all



A wild weekend in Key West with Team Arapaho is just what Navy SEAL Miguel “Coyote” Cruz needs after a tough mission. Cold beer and hot women. The last thing he expects is to meet a woman who singes his body with the slighted touch and stokes the fire in his guarded heart. Too bad she’s determined not to fall for a military man.

She slid a glance at him. “How’d you end up here for the weekend? Or however long you’re here.”

“One of the guys has a friend who owns a house here. We don’t know how long this leave will last and this seemed like a good place to hang out.”

She nodded at the pager clipped to his belt. “You have to take that with you everywhere?”

“Orders are orders. We get paged if we’re being called back to base.

“Doesn’t that kind of put a crimp in your social life?”

He shrugged. “You get used to it. Try to make the best of whatever time you have.” He draped his arm casually along the back of her chair, his fingers idly fiddling with her hair. “I hope that’s what I’m doing now.”

“Making the best of it?”

“Uh, huh.” He studied her face. “It’s hard to make promises to people when you don’t know if you can keep them.”

“Promises?” She laughed, a musical sound. “You realize I don’t even know your name.”

“Sorry. Doesn’t say much for my manners. Miguel Cruz. But my friends call me Coyote so everyone else does, too.”

“Coyote.” He loved the sound of it on her tongue. “It suits you.”

“Your friend called you Cori, but there’s got to be a last name, right?”

She nodded. “Sutherland.”

“Cori Sutherland. Beautiful name.”

For a beautiful woman.

He said the words like a caress then found himself unusually tongue-tied. Normally by now, they’d be on their second round of drinks, he’d have sent a few signals, received some back, and he’d be working toward getting her up to his hotel room. But tonight the chemistry was different. He had an unfamiliar urge to put this in a different framework, to talk to this woman rather than just get her in a room, rip her clothes off, and go at it like monkeys.

Not that he didn’t have that in mind, too. But again, everything about this was different. He might only have this weekend with her, but he had a sudden urge to create a weekend of memories. Something he could take out and relive when he was hunkered down in Afghanistan or wherever they sent him next.

And maybe even hope to recreate if he had the oppoprtunity.

But he had to be honest with her. “Cori, I want to be very honest with you. I need you to understand that I’m just here for a few days. I’m not looking to start a long-term relationship or anything. I just want to enjoy the weekend, and I want it to be with you.”

He didn’t expect the look of frank approval she turned on him. “I always appreciate a man’s honesty. That gets you a lot of points. So let’s drink to a fun weekend.”

“Does that mean we’re okay for a second round? Your glass is empty and my beer’s gone.”

“Sure. That’ll work.”

He stood up and reached for her glass. “Or would you rather take a walk?”

Take a walk? The words had rolled out of his mouth before his brain could catch up with them. No, no, no. The object was to ply her with alcohol and…

No. This is different.

Cori stared at him, startled. “A walk? You want to take a walk?”

He shook his head. “Never mind. It was probably a stupid idea. Let’s just sit here and enjoy the sunset.”

“No. Not at all.” She stood up. “We can walk on the beach and watch the sunset from there.” She pointed to a tray on a stand where the railing curved. “Just leave my glass and the bottle there. Someone will pick them up.” She smiled shyly when he reached for his hand.

It felt so small and soft in his. Heat that had nothing to do with the sun blasted him, and his heart did a somersault. What was he getting himself into?