Two women. One terrible crime. Zero allies.
After being raped by a superior officer, MA3 Kim Lockhoff wants to leave the whole thing in the past. A cop herself, she knows all too well that it’s her word—and slutty reputation—against that of a respected Navy officer.
MA2 Reese Marion, a tough cop hiding her own trauma behind a hard-as-nails exterior, has no patience for pretty little princesses who use their cleavage to win favor with the guys. But when Reese is partnered with Kim, she slowly realizes that reputations can lie. Kim is whip-smart, ambitious—and scared. The man who attacked her won’t let anything damage his career, least of all Kim . . . or the baby she’s carrying as a result.
Isolated on Okinawa, thousands of miles away from home, the two women lean hard on each other. But when Kim confides in Reese, she unwittingly puts her new lover—and both of their careers—in the line of fire. Now her attacker just might have the leverage he needs to keep her quiet for good.
This book was really hard for me to get into and I almost put it down so many times because I was worried about how the whole book would resolve itself. This book is just so real that you become the characters and feel their helpless and hopeless feelings.
About halfway through the book things really started to pick up for me and I needed to know what was going to happen, but that hopeless feeling didn’t go away until the very end. It was both a good thing and a bad thing. There was an urgency and a high produced by all the events in the book that I am glad it held on until the end, but it was
also a very draining experience.
After the solution to the main conflict I wish we would have had a little more lovey dovey moments between the main
characters. After all of the drama and heartache I really wanted a soft and sweet ending. Overall it was a good book with a lot of drama and angst and a little f/f love.
I didn’t see Kim again before she left the island. According to Alejandro, she took an early-morning military flight from Kadena Air Base and was on her way to Hawaii, but she hadn’t specified why she was going. Not to me anyway, and if Alejandro knew, he wasn’t at liberty to disclose it.
I hoped to God she just needed to get away from Okinawa and planned to spend the time soaking up the sun on another set of white-sand beaches, since every beach on this island was too damned close to Stanton. Maybe she just needed a little space to collect her thoughts.
My gut feeling said otherwise, though. She hadn’t spelled it out, but . . .
Twenty minutes before my shift started, I wandered into the precinct, desperate for coffee since the nicotine wasn’t keeping me awake. Some of the guys were milling around the office, enjoying the air-conditioning while they could before going out on patrol.
And it didn’t take but five minutes for them to start.
“Where’s Lockhoff?” Barkley leaned on the front desk, coffee cup in hand. “She have to get some poor dude’s dick surgically removed from her box?”
The guys chuckled. A sick feeling coiled in my stomach.
“Maybe she moved to night shift.” MA3 Jensen snickered.
“Fresh meat, right?”
More laughter. More of that awful, sick feeling.
“I think she went on leave,” MA2 Lee said. “I saw a leave chit with her name on it. Didn’t look at the dates, though.”
Jensen shrugged. “Don’t know. But, man, have you seen her recently?” He pointed over his shoulder toward the main office. “She had her blouse off yesterday, just her T-shirt on, and holy shit.” He cupped his hands a few inches in front of his own chest. “She has got some serious titties going on.”
“Let’s hope she comes to the next barbecue, then.” MA2 Lee whistled. “She wears one of those bikini tops again? Aww shit.”
The other guys laughed.
“Yeah, she’ll probably be out to here, though.” Barkley made a gesture like he was conjuring a potbelly in front of himself. “Tits like that? I’ll bet my next paycheck somebody done knocked that girl up.”
I couldn’t listen to it, so I topped off my coffee and started to get the hell out of there, but not before some more of the shit-talking made it to me:
“Man, I would tap that. And hey, long as she’s got the kid in there—bareback all the way!”
“No way, dude. Girl like her? I wouldn’t go in without a raincoat on.”
“I wouldn’t go in without a hazmat suit on.”
“Definitely wouldn’t put my face down—”
“Hey.” I spun around in the doorway and glared at them. “Is this really how you’re going to talk about a fellow cop?”
Jensen put up his hands. “Whoa. Sorry, MA2. But seriously, you’ve seen—”
“Let’s get back out on patrol.” Lee smacked Barkley’s arm.
“We might get to Camp Shields in time to see the moms doing their yoga in the park.”
“Fuckers.” I stormed out of the office to the smoke pit, which was, thank God, empty. My hands were shaking so badly, I could barely get a cigarette out of the pack, never mind light it, but I finally succeeded and pulled in some smoke.
I needed to quit smoking, but I didn’t see that happening anytime soon. Not until I got out of the Navy or transferred to a better command, anyway. My last deployment had driven me to start smoking. Alejandro had transferred back from Gitmo with a snuff habit, and I’d given him all kinds of shit for that—wasn’t like he didn’t know how poisonous it was—until I’d come home from Afghanistan smoking a pack and a half a day. Now I was pushing two and a half. Much longer on this island and I’d be a goddamned chain smoker.
As I took another drag, a lead ball of guilt formed in my stomach. A week ago, I’d have been part of that conversation in the office. I probably would’ve come up with even cruder comments than they had. If I’d learned anything since I’d enlisted, it was that fitting in with these guys was the safest approach. If they’re being crass, be crasser. If they’re drunk, get drunker. If they think a girl’s a slut, declare her a whore with a pussy like a wizard’s sleeve.
But that didn’t excuse the things I’d said. And I didn’t let myself wonder how many other women I’d misjudged because that train of thought would have taken me right through this pack of smokes.
Weiss stepped out of the precinct. “Hey, MA2.We heading out on patrol?”
“Yeah.” I snuffed out my dying cigarette. “Just need to arm up.”
“All right.” He walked past me as I came down from the smoke pit. “You do that, and I’ll have a smoke.”
“Okay. Back in a minute.”
On my way to the armory, I passed Stanton’s office, and the sound of his voice through the closed door gave me chills.
“Well, I dodged a bullet with that one, that’s for sure.”
He chuckled, and I stopped dead in my tracks. “She had me worried.”
Someone laughed, and it took me a second to recognize Chief Wolcott’s voice. “Yeah, if you’d had to explain this to Susan, you could’ve sold tickets to the fireworks show.”
A third person laughed, and my heart sank.
Alejandro? You? Please, no . . .
“You’re a braver man than I am, Sir.” That was definitely his voice.
“What can I say?” Stanton said. “Have you seen the ass on that girl?”
“Yeah, can’t blame you.” Chief’s low voice was obviously not meant to carry out of the room. “That girl offered it up, I might take a shot at it myself.”
“Yeah, right.” Alejandro snickered. “Talk all the shit you want, Chief.” It sounded like he’d clapped the man’s arm. “We all know you’re afraid of Tomi.”
“Lieutenant’s afraid of his wife and that didn’t stop him!”
“Well,” Stanton said, “what she doesn’t know won’t hurt me, will it?”
All three of them laughed. I didn’t know if I wanted to knock the door down and kick their asses, or lean against the wall and cry.
Chief Wolcott. Alejandro. Two members of our chain of command—two people who could’ve been allies for Lockhoff—laughing and joking with the man who’d assaulted her. I knew how this would end: if she reported what happened to either of them now, they’d brush it off because they already believed Lieutenant Stanton.
It was just as well Lockhoff was off-island at the moment.
Because back here on Okinawa, she had nowhere to go.
Lauren Gallagher is an abnormal romance writer currently living in the wilds of Omaha, Nebraska. She and her husband, along with a coyote-iguana hybrid and two and a half cats, are thought to be in hiding from the Polynesian Mafia and a debt collector in search of a fine for an overdue book from the Library of Alexandria. Lauren continues to skillfully, if somewhat clumsily, elude them, but continues to have run-ins with her arch nemesis, M/M erotic romance author L. A. Witt. The implementation of Operation: I Don’t Think So is expected to resolve that problem soon enough.
Lauren’s backlist is available on her website
, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog
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