Read an Excerpt
By Suzanne Brockmann
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
Copyright © 2003
Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.
Brittany Evans hated to be late. But parking had been a pain in the butt, and she'd spent way too much time trying to
decide what to wear - as if it really mattered.
She surveyed the scattering of people standing around the college baseball stadium's hot dog stand as she came out the
door that led from the locker rooms.
And there he was.
Standing under the overhang, out of the gently falling rain, watching the players on the ball field. Leaning against
the wall with his back to her.
At least she thought it was him. They'd never really met - at least not for more than two and a half seconds.
Brittany, this is whatever-his-naval-rank-was Wes Skelly. Wes, this is Melody Jones's sister, Britt.
Hey, how are you, nice to meet you, gotta go.
The man who might or might not be Wes Skelly glanced at his watch, glanced toward the main entrance of the stadium. His
hair was longer and lighter than she remembered - of course, it was hard to remember much from only two and a half
seconds of face time.
She could see his face better as he turned slightly. It was ... a face. Not stunningly handsome like Mel's husband,
Harlan "Cowboy" Jones. But not exactly Frankenstein's monster, either.
Wes wasn't smiling. In fact, he looked a little tense, a little angry. Hopefully not at her for being late. No,
probably just for being. She'd heard a lot about Wes Skelly over the past few years. That is, assuming this was really
But he had to be. No one else in the place looked even remotely like a Navy SEAL.
This guy wasn't big, though - not like her brother-in-law or his good friend Senior Chief Harvard-the-Incredible-Hulk
Becker - but there was something about him that seemed capable of anything and maybe a little dangerous.
He was dressed in civilian clothes - khaki pants with a dark jacket over a button-down shirt and tie. Poor man. From
what Mel had told her about Wes, he would rather swim in shark-infested waters than get dressed up.
Of course, look at her. Wearing these stupid sandals with heels instead of her usual comfortable flats. She'd put on
more than her usual amount of makeup, too.
But the plan was to meet at the ball game, and then go out to dinner someplace nicer than the local pizza joint.
Neither of them had counted on rain screwing up the first part of the plan.
Wes looked at his watch again and sighed.
And Brittany realized that his leaning against the wall was only feigned casualness. He was standing still, yet somehow
he remained in motion - tapping his fingers or his foot, slightly shifting his weight, searching his pockets for
something, checking his watch. He wasn't letting himself pace, but he wanted to.
Gee whiz, she wasn't that late.
Of course maybe her five-minute delay wasn't the problem. Maybe this man just never stood still. And wasn't that just
what she needed - a date with a guy with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Silently cursing her sister, Brittany approached him, arranging her face into a smile. "You have that same 'Heavenly
Father, save me from doing favors for friends and relatives' look in your eyes that I've got," she said. "Therefore you
must be Wes Skelly."
He laughed, and it completely transformed his face, softening all the hard lines and making his blue eyes seem to
Irish. Darnit, he was definitely at least part Irish.
"That makes you Brittany Evans," he said, holding out his hand. It was warm, his handshake firm. "Nice to finally meet
Nice hands. Nice smile. Nice steady, direct gaze. Nice guy - good liar, too. She liked him instantly, despite the
"Sorry I'm a few minutes late," she said. "I had to drive almost all the way to Arizona to find a parking space."
"Yeah, I've noticed that traffic really sucks here," he said as he studied her face, probably trying to figure out how
she could possibly be related to gorgeous, delicately angelic-looking Melody Jones.
"We don't look very much alike," she told him. "My sister and I."
She'd surprised him with her directness, but he recovered quickly. "What, are you nuts? Your eyes are a little
different - a different shade of blue. But other than that, you're a ... a variation on the same lovely theme."
Oh, for crying out loud. What had her sister's husband told this guy? That she was a sure thing? Just liberally sling
the woo, Skelly, and she'll be putty in your hands because she's lonely and pathetic and hasn't had a man in her
bed - let alone a date - in close to a decade?
It was her own stupid fault for giving in to Melody's pressure. A blind date. What was she thinking?
Okay, she knew what she was thinking. Mel had asked her to go out with Wes Skelly as a favor. It was, she'd said in
that baby sister manipulative manner of hers - the one that came with the big blue eyes, the one that had enabled her
to twist Britt around her little finger for the past several decades - the only thing she wanted for her upcoming
birthday. Pretty please with sugar on top ...?
Britt should have cried foul and gotten her a Dave Matthews CD instead.
"Let's set some ground rules," Brittany told Wes now.
"Rule number one - no crap, okay? No hyperbole, no B.S. Only pure honesty. My sister and your so-called friend Harlan
Jones manipulated us to this particular level of hell, but now that we're here we're going to play by our own rules.
"Yeah," he said. "Sure, but -"
"I have no intention of sleeping with you," she informed him briskly. "I'm neither lonely nor pathetic. I know exactly
what I look like, exactly who I am and I happen to be quite happy with myself, thank you very much. I'm here because I
love my little sister, although right now I'm trying to imagine the most painfully horrific way to torture her for
doing this to me - and to you."
He opened his mouth, but she wasn't done and she didn't let him speak.
"Now. I know my sister, and I know she was hoping we'd gaze into each other's eyes, fall hopelessly in love and get
married before the year's end." She paused for a fraction of a second to look searchingly into his eyes. They were very
pretty blue eyes, but her friend Julia had a Alaskan husky with pretty blue eyes, too. "Nope," she said. "Didn't happen
for me. How about you?"
He laughed. "Sorry," he said. "But -"
"No need for excuses," she cut him off again. "People think alone means lonely. Have you noticed that?"
He didn't answer right away. Not until it was good and clear that she was finally finished and it was his turn to talk.
"Yeah," he said then. "And people who are together - people who are a couple - they're always trying to pair up all
of their single friends. It's definitely obnoxious."
"Well meant," Britt agreed, "but completely annoying. I am sorry that you got roped into this."
Excerpted from Night Watch
by Suzanne Brockmann
Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.