The second in the Alpha Ops novella series that features an alpha Navy SEAL and the librarian who brings him to his knees.
Jack Powell never planned on leaving the Navy, but his final mission as a SEAL left him with a tremor and a bad case of nerves. He's home, taking some college classes and trying to figure out what comes next when he meets Erin Kent, a divorced college librarian with an adventurous bucket list and a mission to get her ex-husband's voice out of her head. Jack guides Erin through skydiving and buying the motorcycle of her dreams, blithely accepting Erin's promise that their relationship is purely temporary. But when Jack gets the chance to go back into the shadowy world of security contracting, can he convince Erin to break her word and join him on the adventure of a lifetime?
About the Author
After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, Anne Calhoun landed in a flyover state, where she traded business casual for yoga pants and decided to write down all the lively story ideas that got her through years of monotonous corporate meetings. Her first book, LIBERATING LACEY won the EPIC Award for Best Contemporary Erotic Romance. Her story WHAT SHE NEEDS was chosen for Smart Bitch Sarah's Sizzling Book Club. Anne holds a BA in History and English, and an MA in American Studies from Columbia University. When she's not writing her hobbies include reading, knitting, and yoga. She lives in the Midwest with her family and singlehandedly supports her local Starbucks.
Read an Excerpt
The SEAL's Rebel Librarian
By Anne Calhoun
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Anne Calhoun
All rights reserved.
"You said you were going to do this. So do it."
The words were firm, bracing, even bold, but muttered in a low whisper as Erin Kent surveyed the main reading room of Lancaster College's Clarke Library. Sparsely populated, as per norm; a few studious girls working in clumps at the tables running the length of the long room, boys more likely working alone. One of the comfy chairs by the decommissioned fireplace held an undergrad in a baseball cap pulled low over his forehead, a sheepskin-lined leather jacket draped over his torso, and jeans. His cheek was braced on his fist, his full lips slightly parted as he catnapped. Heads were bent over books lit by reading lamps, their soft light overshadowed by the intense glow of laptop screens. Rain coursed down the large windows opposite the circulation desk. Thursday night was the big party night for the students; most of them were off campus, at fraternity or sorority houses, or friends' apartments, or local bars, partying. Erin remembered the scenes from her days as a student. She'd had fun, lots of it, used to be a pretty good pool player and dart thrower.
So what? You're going to go out and party with the undergrads? Could you be any more of a clichéd divorcee?
Somewhere between years five and eight of her marriage, her ex-husband's seemingly rational voice had somehow become the voice of her inner critic, the voice she couldn't get out of her head. It was easier to do when the library buzzed like a hive with nervous energy. Finals week. Midterms. The first couple of weeks of school, when in addition to her regular duties she taught classes on how to use the academic databases and cite sources.
On a slow, rainy Thursday night after midterms but before papers were due and finals week, Jason's voice would run on a near constant loop in her head. As if movement would leave it behind, she stepped out from behind the desk. Her soft-soled shoes made no noise against the granite floors as she followed her usual circuit through the reading room. Slumped Sleeping Boy was now Slumped Sleeping Snoring Boy, but as yet the noises were soft and not disturbing anyone. She then peered in the various study rooms. Only one was in use, a group of students working on a project together. As she went, she gathered trash left behind and turned off the lights students had left on.
When she returned to the circulation desk, she signed back into the library's computer and pulled up a search engine. Google would do; this wasn't academic work. Just borderline ridiculous.
"You said you were going to do this," she repeated, remembering the mocking way Jason threw this back in her face, and how, six months after her divorce became final, she still hadn't bought a motorcycle. She'd made a list of things she'd do when she was out of her marriage: buy a motorcycle, go skydiving. Her friend and fellow librarian, Carol, added another item to the list: dating, but for the moment she was ignoring that; motorcycles and skydiving were less frightening. "So do it. You can't buy until you know what to buy."
Good first motorcycle ...
Google autofilled for girl. She kept typing, adding for a woman. "Definitely not a girl," she muttered under her breath.
Less than a second later Google gave her results. The top one was a recent page on a site for female riders. She clicked, then scanned the introductory paragraph. The bikes were organized by style: cruiser, standard, sport bike, etc. Good. She liked well-organized material.
They started with the standard, the Honda Rebel 250. The bike had its advantages, namely that it was reasonably priced and frequently available on the used market, having been around for a couple of decades. The same could be said for the Suzuki GZ250, which had the added benefit of being the bike she rode in her beginning rider course back in October, before winter settled over Lancaster and made riding a motorcycle a moot point.
Which was one of Jason's many arguments against owning a motorcycle. Situated smack in the middle of the humid subcontinental climate zone, Lancaster sweltered under a layer of humidity three months a year, and froze under a layer of snow and ice another four. That left five months for riding comfortably, assuming it wasn't freezing cold, or raining. Why go through the expense of ownership — gas, maintenance, insurance, plus the initial outlay — for something she'd ride maybe thirty days a year, and alone? Couldn't they put their money to better use doing something together?
We could get two bikes, she'd said, smiling.
I'm not really interested in riding a donorcycle, he'd replied. What was the deductible on their health insurance? If she wrecked, they'd be several thousand dollars out of pocket before the insurance even kicked in to cover any length of hospital stay, not to mention lost time from work. Short-term disability didn't cover her full salary.
Jason. I haven't even registered for the beginner rider course, and you've got me brain dead and on life support.
We can save for the trip to Europe you've always wanted to take, or we can get a motorcycle. We can't do both.
She caught her thumb worrying at the joint between her left ring finger and her palm, the spot where her wedding ring, a classic, practical plain gold band, used to sit. In hindsight, that was the exact moment she knew her marriage was over, the day he took two of her dreams and played them against each other to get what he wanted, which was neither.
"You're being unfair," she whispered to herself. "He did want to go to Europe. Eventually. He just didn't want you to get a motorcycle. Which is reasonable."
But her gaze lingered on the Suzuki. Then she skimmed down to the Harley-Davidsons. The Sportster caught her eye, as did the SuperLow. But even as she read the reviews, Jason's voice slid into the back of her mind like an ice pick. It's an expensive hobby. You get a starter bike, then you need a different bike, and the accessories.
"You'll probably like the Harley better."
She startled, automatically reaching for the monitor to turn it away from the man now standing in front of the research desk. Turns out Slumped Sleeping Snoring Boy was no longer slumped, sleeping, snoring, or sitting in a chair.
Nor was he a boy.
He'd removed the cap, doubled the brim to stuff it into his back pocket, revealing dark brown hair falling across his forehead. Stubble bristled on the lower half of his face, and his eyes were blue; she could see that much in the light on the research desk. He wasn't tall. She got the sense that the jeans and river driver shirt under the jacket hid muscles, not flab. He looked like a fighter, not a college student. Even the athletes at Lancaster College had the gawky awkwardness and enthusiasm of long-limbed, half-grown domesticated animals.
There was nothing domestic about this ... individual, who was politely standing behind the yellow line of tape on the floor a frustrated research librarian had laid down after she was reprimanded for snapping "Have you all forgotten how to form and stand in a line?" at a group of terrified first year students during finals week.
"I'm still deciding," she said as she minimized the window. "How can I help you?"
With one stride he crossed the twenty-four inches between the yellow line and the desk to set a notebook on it. "I'm in Professor Trask's psychology class."
"Which means you have a final paper due in a few weeks," she said. "What's your topic?"
He flipped open the notebook. "Whether the current methods of treating PTSD are effective."
"Interesting," she said, and turned back to the screen. She opened a browser tab to the EBSCO research database. "It might be a little broad for a ten-page paper. Where have you started?"
"I haven't," he said, and flashed her a smile, all white teeth and cocky grin.
She looked at him again. Now that he was closer she could tell two things: he smelled like sin itself, like earth and rain and some kind of subtly scented soap, and despite a nap, he looked exhausted. Dark shadows clung to the skin under his eyes, adding to his brooding aura. During the day, light streamed through the library windows. After the sun went down, the rooms were spot-lit by the reading lamps and dimmed overheads. Erin had always loved the intimate feel of the library after dark, the way the night seemed to reduce the energy to the pure quest for knowledge. Only the truly bookish came to the library for that kind of high, and Erin respected that. One of the first things she'd given up when she and Jason got serious was working the late shift at the library. It was one of the first things she'd reclaimed when she moved out.
But normally the undergraduates looked younger and younger as she aged. This one, however, didn't look twenty-five, much less eighteen.
This will go nowhere fast, so don't even ask. She held a position of power at the college and had to respect that.
"You've got some ground to make up," she said, turning the monitor so he could see the databases she was using. A few minutes and one battle with the printer later she'd printed out a list of recent articles in peer-reviewed journals and a list of slightly less current books to give him an overview of the research. "You can access these from your laptop," she said, ticking off the magazine articles with her highlighter.
"I remember the class," he said.
"These books are on the shelves," she said, highlighting a few of the listings. "These are checked out but are due back in a week. You can put a hold on them. That should ensure they're returned, but if you think you really need that particular book, we can try to bring in a copy from another library."
"Thanks," he said.
She slid off the stool. "I'll show you where that section is in the stacks."
He followed her to the door behind the circulation desk marked Stacks. While the library's public spaces were the warm, inviting sheen of aged walnut, polished granite, and shiny brass, the stacks were prison industrial functional, gray steel shelves arranged in rows and lit by florescent lights. "Social sciences are on B3," she said, and pressed the button on the elevator bank.
The elevator gave a jerk, then started to descend. The man ... student ... put his backpack on the floor between his booted feet and shouldered into his jacket. The rasp of the sheepskin lining against his shirt pulled the hem up from his jeans, exposing a thick leather belt, and a ridged abdomen, sending heat coursing like rivulets of rain over the surface of Erin's skin, and for a split second she was very, very aware of the tiny space, the breadth of his shoulders, her quickening breathing in the silent elevator, and exactly how long it had been since she'd had sex.
Almost a year.
The elevator dinged. She cleared her throat and stepped through the doors when he held back, gesturing for her to precede him. For a moment she stared at the Dewey decimal numbers on the ceiling-high stacks, unable to remember what he was researching. "This way," she said after an extremely embarrassing pause.
She automatically collected a granola bar wrapper and reached for a Coke can abandoned in the Archaeology section. She fumbled the can a little because he was right at her back, but he caught it on the way down, reaching past her to snag it midair. The movement brought him right up against her back.
He held it out to her, a smile pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"Thank you," she said formally, flushed, heat prickling under her arms and at her temples. She took the can and continued down the aisle to make a right at the Philosophy section, all the while wondering why she'd worn her most comfortable slacks and a cardigan, a cardigan over a button-down shirt. Like somebody's grandma. Worse, the florescent lights washed out even the most vibrant complexion, if she even had any makeup on at the end of an eight-hour shift.
Halfway into the narrow stack of books she stopped, scanned high to low, then tipped three books forward. "These appear to be the foundational books in the field. Start with these, and the articles, and see if that helps you narrow the topic a little. Professor Trask will be able to help with that, too."
"Thanks," he said. He reached past her to grip all three books in one hand. He wore a Casio G-Shock watch on his wrist, the band scraped and faded with constant use.
"Anything else I can help you with?" she asked brightly.
He shook his head, still looking at her with those slate blue eyes. Her heart turned over in her chest, and she knew she was in big, big trouble. Above them the florescent lights hummed. "You can" — she cleared her throat again — "you can take them upstairs and look at them before you check them out. The circulation desk is open until midnight. Just leave them on the cart if you don't want them. We'll reshelve them."
Shut up, Erin.
"Okay. Great," he said, but he didn't move until she ducked her head and took a step forward.
Brushing past his solid, hot body sent a crazy electric current through hers. He followed her back to the elevator, up three floors. When they reached the open, cooler space by the circulation desk, she all but scurried behind it, desperate to put some distance between them.
He leaned one elbow on the information desk. Somewhere in between exiting the elevator and coming around to the front of the desk he'd flipped up the sheepskin collar, so the soft fleece snagged on the dark stubble on his jaw. "Want to get a drink after you get off work?"
Yes. Oh yes. Absolutely yes. But he was a student. She was in a leadership role at the college, bound by the same rules governing relationships as a professor or an administrator. "Thank you, but no," she said gently.
He gave her that little crooked bad boy smile again, unfazed. "Okay. Thanks again."
He strode over to the circulation desk, where Carol, the part-time employee who closed five nights a week, fell over herself checking out the books she'd helped him find. He crouched down to tuck the books into his backpack, then pulled on a hat against the April rain and disappeared into the darkness.
Carol turned to look at Erin, then fanned herself and blew out her breath. Hella hot.
I know, she mouthed back, then shook her head ruefully.
And that was that. On the plus side, now she knew the divorce hadn't destroyed her sexuality. Desire was back, with a vengeance. And the possibility, long forgotten and newly awakened, of the excitement of a crush, a date, of falling in love.
Just not with the student whose name she'd not even gotten.
* * *
Jack Powell parked Rose's BMW 3-series at the back of the lot next to his therapist's office building, safely away from door dings. He'd been getting around by borrowing Grannie's or Rose's car when he needed to, or taking the bus to and from campus. After she got back from Turkey, Rose had offered the use of her car, going a little vague when he asked her how she'd get to and from work. While he waited for his appointment time, he pulled his phone from his jacket pocket and scrolled through his text messages until he got to Keenan Parker. He thumbed in a text.
The reply came before he had his helmet off.
Not much. You?
He had two choices here: the truth, or a funny story. He opted for the joke. Asked a librarian out for a drink and got turned down.
lol too smart for the likes of you.
He'd downloaded a keyboard filled with obscene emojis, and sent Keenan the middle finger, followed by Want to get lunch?
Can't today. Team lunch.
Keenan was just over a week into an eight-to-five job at Field Energy Company, and suddenly Jack's best friend and former teammate on SEAL Team Nine was an office drone, working late, going in early.
K. I'll try Rose.
He swung his leg over the Ducati's seat and texted his sister while he walked into the nondescript two-story building situated just off Lancaster's main drag. His therapist's office was on the ground floor. She shared space and a receptionist with another psychologist. The reception area was tiny, four chairs dangerously close to a water cooler, the receptionist crammed behind a desk no wider than the chair she sat in, but the therapist, Colleen Sloane, came highly recommended by someone who knew his way around trauma and PTSD, a captain on the Lancaster police force.
Excerpted from The SEAL's Rebel Librarian by Anne Calhoun. Copyright © 2016 Anne Calhoun. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The second book of the Alpha Ops series is about Rose's brother, Jack, the Navy SEAL, and Erin, the Librarian. Both looking to fix whatever is wrong in their lives. Jack's trying to figure out how to fix the shakes he's experiencing in his hands, after his last mission. Erin's trying to learn how to live again on her own terms, after divorce. It was fun watching Erin learn to live again after her stifling divorce. What better way than to snag herself a gorgeous alpha man Navy SEAL! Jack is dark and brooding and it makes for some fiery bedroom play. Intensely HOT! I can't wait for the third book in the series. Received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated for my review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinion expressed is my own.
Title: The Seal's Rebel Librarian - Alpha Ops Novella 2 Author: Anne Calhoon Published: 3-1-16 Publisher: St Martin's Press Pages: 124 Genre: Romance Sub Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Suspense; Women's fiction ISBN: 9781250084583 ASIN: B016VJ6RVO Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley . The Seal's Rebel Librarian tells the story of Jack Powell and Erin Kent. Jack a former Navy SEAL is writing a term paper on the effectiveness of modern treatment of PTSD. Erin is a divorced librarian at the college Jack is taking a class in. Erin ignores the pull toward Jack at first because she feels it is wrong to become involved with a student. She pours all her interest in her bucket list. Things her husband ridiculed her for. Traveling to foreign countries, buying a motorcycle, go skydiving and get back into dating. Although Erin is a couple of years older than Jack, but Jacks experiences have aged him be Although Erin is a couple of years older than Jack, but Jacks experiences have aged him beyond his true years. Neither is looking for a happily ever after. Just a for right now. A no strings, no promises hook up for incredible sex. Also Jack has decided to help Erin complete all the items on her list. Soon both are having trouble keeping the no strings promise. Can Jack feel safe enough to have a real relationship. Will Erin break the promise in the chance of finding someone who will love her the way she has always wanted. The Seal's Rebel Librarian is the story of two broken souls who need each other to become whole again. The story moves quickly and smoothly scene from scene. The dialog is a bit harsh at times, but is believable. There are a few profanities, so beware. The sensual scenes all but burn off the page. Easily a 4 out of 5 star rating. This is the second in the Alpha Ops series, but can be read as a standalone.
A Great Read. What can I say when I see a cover like this I pretty much have to read the book, so when I got it through NetGalley in exchange for a review I was super excited. It was a pretty quick read, but full of some steamy romance that had me reading way passed my bedtime. I liked the characters and the story moved along quickly and I was only disappointed that it was over too soon. What an entertaining read, I can't wait to see what will happen next in the series. Anne Calhoun has a new fan in me for sure.
3.5 stars---THE SEAL’S REBEL LIBRARIAN is the second installment in Anne Calhoun’s contemporary, adult ALPHA OPS romance series. This is Navy SEAL Jack Powell, and librarian Erin Kent’s story line. THE SEAL’S REBEL LIBRARIAN can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Jack is Rose Powell’s brother and Keenan’s best friend (The SEAL’s Secret Lover #1). Told from dual third person perspectives THE SEAL’S REBEL LIBRARIAN focuses on the building relationship between university librarian Erin Kent, and part time student/Navy SEAL Jack Powell. Jack is forbidden fruit as a student at the university but his insistence, and Erin’s bucket list find our hero falling in love with the ‘rebel librarian’. Following her divorce Erin made the decision to learn to ride and buy a motorcycle; jump out of an airplane; and push herself back into the dating world. All three were accomplished in short order with jack Powell by her side. But Erin and Jack made a promise to one another-their relationship was only temporary; nothing long term-and falling in love was never on their minds. Jack has some issues with PTSD, and is determined to return to Turkey for work for the security team where Keenan was once employed. The relationship between Erin and Jack is quick to develop; one of immediate attraction; and jumping into bed with one another was at the top of the list. The $ex scenes are intimate and seductive. THE SEAL’S REBEL LIBRARIAN is a quick and sexy read with animated characters, and a sizzling romance. Once again, I did have an issue as it pertained to the ‘Alpha Ops’ series name-like the first in the series, there is little to no Alpha Ops involvement or action. The entire story line focuses on the relationship between Jack and Erin, and Erin’s need to explore her wild side.
Jack Powell never planned on leaving the Navy, but his final mission as a SEAL left him with a tremor and a bad case of nerves. He's home, taking some college classes and trying to figure out what comes next when he meets Erin Kent, a divorced college librarian with an adventurous bucket list and a mission to get her ex-husband's voice out of her head. Jack guides Erin through skydiving and buying the motorcycle of her dreams, blithely accepting Erin's promise that their relationship is purely temporary. But when Jack gets the chance to go back into the shadowy world of security contracting, can he convince Erin to break her word and join him on the adventure of a lifetime? Review: This a a quick, yet very satisfying, sexy read! I liked that there is a lot of story in this novella and the Author made sure it was exciting and fun to read. Erin has been stifled in her previous marriage and decides to go all the things that she wanted to, but didn't because the ex made her feel guilty for wanting them. In comes Jack who is trying to get his nerves under control so he can go back to what he loves to do. In the mean time they get a little something, something going on and Jack helps her with her "bucket list" of adventure. Of course, the no-strings leads to more and a very HEA. Great story and writing, perfect for when you want a quick and sexy read. 4Stars *Received a copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.*
The SEAL's Rebel Librarian: An Alpha Ops Novella by Anne Calhoun is the second in this series and I was quite happy while reading this book. This is the first book by Anne Calhoun that I have read but it won't be my last. I intend to pick up THE SEAL'S SECRET LOVER (novella #1) as soon as possible. I liked Jack and Erin and found them easy to relate to during the story. Both were dealing with "real" world issues that I have seen myself in friends that made this story a believable read. Their chemistry was a slow burn that ignited quickly into a bonfire. As this was a novella, I was pleasantly surprised at how well developed these characters became as the story progressed. Their relationship really developed as Jack encouraged Erin to be the woman she has always wanted to be. In encouraging Erin, Jack found his own balance and confidence again. The plot was fast paced with some humorous moments as well as hot but sweet sexy times. Although the end felt a little rushed, I was not disappointed and I look forward to reading the next book in this novella series. I was provided an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Short and sweet, with a master class example of how to write a sexy one night stand hookup, this little gem features Erin, newly divorced and looking to experience all of those things her ex frowned upon, and Jack, a SEAL with PTSD who's quite happy to indulge Erin's desires - all of them. From one night, to two, to the development of real feelings between them, for Erin, Jack is all the things she'd wish for if she could have a fantasy man, though they've both made it clear that this is a temporary fling while Jack recovers and decides where his future will lie. When it becomes clear that he wants Erin to be part of it, he's got to convince her that he's worth the risks. I loved the story! Erin's bravery in finally going after things she wants was delightful to see. Her job as a college librarian was interesting and made for a plausible meet-cute as Jack is often at the library, taking a few classes but definitely not a typical student. Jack, while he might be a fairly alpha male character, is going through his own problems, mental ones, with his frustration over not being physically or emotionally capable yet of returning to work. Helping Erin with her bucket list gives him a chance to get out of his head and let his body remember how it feels to be on an adrenaline high without combining it with memories of the trauma he suffered. There is a small mention of their age difference (Erin is older by a few years) but not dwelled upon, and clearly Jack's life experience puts them on the same level of maturity. The chemistry between Erin and Jack is off the charts and their sex scenes are smoking hot. With a little bit of insta-love, the ending is a happy for now one, with an exciting future on the horizon for the couple (who, with any luck, we'll catch a glimpse of in the next book in this series). 4.5 stars.