Subject: Danny Wilkes, navy pilot.
Current status: On shore rotation. Very intrigued by a sassy visiting lecturer...
Mission: Enter the astronaut training program.
Obstacle: Marissa Marshall, Ph.D. She's keeping Danny preoccupied with earthly delights...
Danny Wilkes might have outgrown his risk-taking flyboy days, but he still loves a thrill now and then. And nobody's thrilled him lately like fiery Mari Marshall. Sex with her is a bigger turn-on than any of the air maneuvers Danny's ever pulled. He falls head over heels...hard.
But Mari has bitter memories of being a military brat. She'll never enter that life again--not even for the best sex she's ever had.
It's a hell of a choice. Does Danny give up his skyrocketing career? Or let go of the only woman who revs his engine into the stratosphere?
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May 31, 2011
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Excerpt from Terms of Surrender by Leslie Kelly
Marissa Marshall loved clear, sunny spring days, and, so far, this early May one was reminding her why.
Having lived in Baltimore for five years, she was used to gray, smoggy skies during the cold, bleak winter, and hazy ones in the summer. Fall was nice, with changing leaves ranging from pale yellow to deep rust. But in spring, Maryland came alive.
There was so much color. Cherry blossoms and azaleas dotted the landscape with pink and red. Lush farmlands erupted in mixed tones of new, freshly turned earth. With the soft green waters of the Atlantic, and the warm yellow sun drenching the robin's-egg-blue sky with life, the state was an artist's palette.
Funny, though. Her favorite part of spring--the color she most enjoyed on a beautiful day like this--was no color at all.
It was white. Just white. A sea of it.
"Dazzling," Marissa said. Though she'd been speaking to a woman behind the counter of the coffee shop where she'd stopped for a caffeine injection, she was looking out the window.
Students from the U.S. Naval Academy, wearing their immaculate uniforms, filled the streets of Annapolis. Though now coed, the USNA's student body was primarily male. So on this lovely Saturday afternoon, the town appeared full to the brim of handsome young midshipmen--aka middies--in their dress whites, all celebrating making it through another tough year at the academy.
Women from all over the state flocked here on sunny spring days, just to have a good drool. Marissa among them.
"God, how can you survive this much hotness 24/7?"
The woman grunted. "They're always broke. I don't care how hot they are, I just wonder if they have cash in their pockets."
Marissa would probably wonder less about the contents of their pockets and more about what was in the rest of their pants. Anyone who didn't have something dangling in their own pants would. As would danglers with same-sex preferences.
The USNA might be renowned for its educational excellence, but a close second would have to be its military beefcake. Even Marissa, who had been single for so long she could call herself a sexual vegetarian, suddenly found herself craving a Manwich.
She knew better than to ever take a bite, though. Uniformed beefcake might taste good, but the thought of that uniform got stuck in her craw, choking her. She might like looking at them, but she had no use for military men. Not after having been sired by one. Her father was about as affectionate as a jellyfish.
Besides, lately, even men without uniforms had been few and far between. That, however, was her own fault.
In her real life, she was an overeducated nerd who'd just completed a doctoral program from one of the most prestigious universities in the country--Johns Hopkins. So she intimidated most men.
In her secret life, she was persona non grata with the male half of civilization due to her snarky books: Why Do Men Suck? and Thanks, But I'll Just Keep My Vibrator.
How strange that her blog, Mad-Mari.com, which she'd launched six years ago after a really bad date, had landed her here. What had started as an internet rant had grown into a website with tons of followers. Then came a book deal.
As Mad-Mari, she was sassy and irreverent while venting about the hell called dating and relationships. She'd railed against cheaters, chauvinists and misogynistic assholes. She'd met lots of those in academia, not to mention in the military world in which she'd been raised. Meanwhile, she'd also been writing her much more proper, respectable dissertation which touched on similar topics, just in a scholarly, scientific way.
In other words, no snark.