Today I am excited to spotlight Issued, the first novel in the Navy SEALs of Little Creek, a contemporary romance series by Paris Wynters. Fans of the marriage and arrangement trope will love this steamy new series.
She needs a total life reboot…even if it means marrying a stranger
Taya Maverick has just volunteered to marry a random Navy SEAL as part of the military’s new spouse-matching program. What other choice does she have? Her former best friend killed her father and torched her house. Taya’s determined to start over, but to be safe she has to disappear. The program is the perfect opportunity, complete with refuge and a built-in bodyguard. Her Navy SEAL husband can keep her safe, right?
After one spectacularly disastrous marriage, Jim Stephens nixes round two. But his commanding officer never accepts no for an order. While an injury may have sidelined him temporarily, Jim still needs to salvage his career after a mistake in combat puts him in leadership’s cross-hairs. Being the first in the pilot program guarantees him his rank and eventual active duty clearance…as long as he can last the trial year.
The I dos are barely uttered before Jim and Taya realize they’ve each miscalculated. Their sizzling chemistry might lead to bed, but neither is prepared to open their heart. And then Taya’s past comes knocking…
“Didn’t she play on Dallas?”
“She basically made the show.”
“Wow. That’s quite a claim.”
I knock her hand aside when she makes a grab for more popcorn, and one of my brows raise. The woman who shot J.R. made television history.
“And by ‘claim,’ I mean ‘an accurate and astute observation.’” The corner of her mouth lifts in an almost-smile when I release my buttery hostage. “Tell me more about your obsession with Ms. Crosby.”
“Mrs. Brodka,” I correct absently. “And it’s not an obsession. I just appreciate the classics.”
“Are we talking about the movie or the actress?”
My face heats when she lets loose a bark of laugher. “I was talking about the movie. It’s a good movie. Sue me.”
“You’re preaching to the choir, sweetheart. They don’t make space operas like they used to.”
I hesitate before sticking my big toe down the rabbit hole. “Have you ever seen Firefly?”
“I’m sorry? I’m alive and breathing, aren’t I? When I think about cinematic tragedies, canceling Firefly is right up there with the remake of Total Recall and the existence of Jurassic sharks.”
“Sharknado haunts my dreams.”
“I saw the movie and it left me feeling personally disrespected. You know there’s a movie called Aliens vs. Avatars?”
Settling deeper into the couch, Taya leans her head against my shoulder. The remnants of a grin linger around her mouth, and I want to lean in and kiss the vestiges away. My throat tightens. The weekend has not been kind, but for now, everything in my world is good and right. Is it wrong to want the feeling to last?
Taya spends the next few minutes explaining which sci-fi movies she believes should be classified as acts of terrorism. I don’t always agree, but listening to the animated way she shreds plotlines and decimates directors and actors alike makes me wary of disagreeing. Her face lights up and she actively involves her hands the more passionate she becomes, and I can’t bring myself to look away. It’s as if I’ve been placed under some sort of spell and the world is moving in molasses around me while my heart races along. Listening to the sound of Taya’s voice is more satisfying than any ocean wave I can imagine. Righter than any curve I could master on my bike.
The credits scroll across the screen, darkening the room. Taya angles her body to face me, one knee propped on the couch and her head canted sideways on the cushions. I mimicked her position at some point, and the intimacy of being face to face, separated by only a handful of inches further stirs up emotions that have been building, but that I don’t want to examine too closely because they are new and terrifying. They feel like soap bubbles. Swimming in iridescent color and too fragile to live, and that the slightest prod will make them burst.
“Katniss has nothing on my emee, though.” Taya rolls her eyes, waving a dismissive hand in the air.
“With the bow and arrow.” Taya searches my face, concern etched in her features. “You okay?”
My fingers tug at the extra material around the leg of my Wranglers. Shit. She probably thinks I zoned out from my TBI. “Yeah, fine. So, your grandmother was a professional archer?”
“In a way. Archery and horsemanship are part of Mongolian culture. Did you know many of the warriors in Genghis Khan’s army were women? Though, according to my grandfather, I inherited more of my father’s side than my mother’s. Of course, the comment was made after I accidentally shot him in the foot with an arrow.”
I laugh so hard, my head whips backward. “Let me guess, your father’s side can’t cook, either.”
Taya gently kicks me in the thigh, the corners of her lips curling up. I grab hold of her, so she can’t pull away, and rest her foot in my lap. When her smile fades around the edges and she clears her throat, I worry I might have screwed things up somehow without even trying.
Paris Wynters is an adult romance author repped by Tricia Skinner at Fuse Literary. She lives on Long Island in New York with her family, which includes two psychotic working dogs. Paris is a graduate of Loyola University Chicago. Paris and her son are nationally certified Search and Rescue personnel (she is a canine handler). She is a huge supporter of the military/veteran community. When not writing, Paris enjoys playing XBOX (she is a huge HALO fanatic and also enjoys FORTNITE), watching hockey (Go Islanders), and trying new things like flying planes and taking trapeze classes.
Taya Maverick signed up to be matched to a Navy SEAL for the military’s new spouse-matching program, called Issued. It was done as a joke after a dare, and she didn’t really think anything more about volunteering for the pilot program. Months later, her life has taken a drastic and heartbreaking turn. Her former best friend, Marco, killed her policeman father and burnt her home (and all of her possessions) to the ground. The worst part is that Marco is still out there, and he will likely be back for her as well. Now the Issued program seems like the perfect chance for Taya to start over in a new place where Marco will never find her. Surely a big strong Navy SEAL can protect her, even if it is a bit awkward to move in and marry a complete stranger. But when she meets the hot Navy SEAL she is matched with – Jim Stephens – Taya’s new goal may be to protect her own heart.
Navy SEAL Jim Stephens does not plan on ever being married again. After his first marriage ended in an explosively ugly manner and he was made a fool by his ex Raychel, his only interest for the future is to get back what he does best – combat and training other SEALs. The only problem is his commanding officer has set a pretty hard bargain. He can either agree to participate in the new spouse-matching program and marry a complete stranger for a least a year, and eventually be cleared for active duty again OR he can decline participation and lose his rank as well as the chance to ever be in active duty again. So, Jim sucks it up and agrees to participate. How bad can it be, right? The woman he is matched with rides in on a motorcycle and completely throws him into a tailspin. Not only is she beautiful, but she’s also stubborn and secretive. Jim knows she’s hiding things from him, but he’s hiding his own secrets from his past. Secrets that are so painful, they are sometimes worse than the migraine headaches he is dealing with from the TBI he received.
As Jim and Taya get to know each other more and more, they realize that the sizzling sexual chemistry is not all that is growing in their relationship. Just when things are getting more comfortable between them, Taya’s past comes back with a force neither of them is prepared for.
You’ll have to read it and find out whether this forced marriage ends in ruins or in happily ever after. Warning: the romance is very steamy with open door, no holding back descriptions of the husband-wife sexual relationship. If you like your romance subtle, you will not enjoy this part of the story! The story is also a bit violent at times, but it also has poignant moments between friends and the new family Taya receives when she marries Jim. Not only does she get Jim, but she also gets his friends Tony, Lucas, Bear (and his wife Marge) and her new coworker and friend Inara. I loved the characters in this military romance story and I’m excited to read book 2 of the Navy Seals of Little Creek series, which is Inara and Tony’s story, coming in September 2020.
Thank you to Paris Wynters for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.