What do you do when the person you love is off limits?
Military regulations prohibit personal relationships between senior officers and their juniors.
Violation of these rules is a serious offense. Unfortunately, for Layla and Ethan, they don’t discover each other’s military status until after they’ve already fallen for each other. With the threat of disciplinary action and their careers at risk, the lovers are faced with an impossible decision.
Layla is an enlisted member of the US Navy. On a weekend trip, she meets and grows close to the perfect guy. Her world is turned upside down when she later discovers he’s a Navy lieutenant, which means a personal relationship with him is forbidden. Is Layla strong enough to walk away from the only man to hold her heart?
She’s everything Lieutenant Ethan Parker wants, and during his darkest moment, Layla was everything he needed. Learning that a relationship with her is off-limits catapults the decorated officer into a place darker than the one she helped pull him from. Ethan is forced to choose between the profession that means everything to him and the woman he’s waited his entire life for.
Can military regulations separate lovers destined to be together?
For the next forty-five minutes, my coworkers spoke, but I hadn’t a clue what any of them said. My mind was busy replaying the events of the day I first met Ethan. Piercing blue eyes. Beautiful dimples. Coffee. Bathroom. Flirting. Not once had he said anything about the Navy. He had mentioned his new position, but never revealed that he was third in command at an aviation training facility… Had he?
At the conclusion of the staff meeting, everyone emptied the room, but I remained seated, waiting for a chance to confront Lieutenant Parker. I pulled my cell from my pocket, pretending I had a reason to linger. The message notification on my phone startled me.
Ethan: My office. Now.
Me: Are you kidding? I can’t just walk into your office.
Ethan: We need to talk. Wait a few minutes, and then knock on my door.
He stood and left the room without a glance in my direction. The sight of Ethan in uniform made my heart flutter a little.
Memories of nights I’d spent wrapped in his arms flooded my consciousness. How could neither of us know the other’s military status? How could neither of us think to ask?
The door to his office was ajar. Should I just go in? Should I knock? I figured I’d better follow standard procedure just in case anyone saw me. I knocked on the door and spoke immediately after. “Request permission to enter, Sir.”
“Granted.” He rose from his desk, walked past me, and shut the door.
Tension radiated through every muscle in my body. We stood for a beat, staring at each other. He had to be thinking the same thing I was: What the f-?
“Layla, what the hell is going on?”
Was he accusing me? Did he think I somehow planned this shit? “You tell me. You never said you were in the Navy. That you were an officer! That you work here. Do you know what this means?”
“Of course, I know what this means. I thought you were a student.”
“I am. I was.”
“You didn’t say you’re also an instructor.” He started to pace. “Here.”
“It didn’t come up. I had other things on my mind.”
“Like what?” Those vivid blue eyes held my gaze.
He was too smart to be that clueless. “Like you.”
His expression softened.
“You didn’t tell me you were the new Director of Training at one of the Navy’s best training facilities.”
“We’ll talk about this later at the hotel.”
“What are you? Crazy? We can’t meet at the hotel. We can’t talk. We can’t text. We can’t anything.”
“We need to figure out what we’re going to do.”
“What we’re going to do? There’s nothing we can do. This is it for us. I finally meet the perfect guy… and I can’t have him.”
A knock at the door startled us and we quickly backed away from each other. My heart beat wildly as the Commanding Officer swung the door open and came right toward us.
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Sha Renée is a native New Yorker who joined the US Navy right after high school. She now lives in New Jersey where she creates stories on the pages where duty, honor and passion unite. A true nature lover, Sha enjoys spending time outdoors with a camera in her hands. She’s a fan of auto racing, military air shows and The X Games and dreams of someday riding her own motorcycle.
Sha loves watching bulldozers and diggers work, and believes every day should begin with a strong cup of coffee and end with a glass of chilled wine.