A Marine's Proposal by Lisa Carlisle
When Slade Masters, her closest friend in the Marine Corps, proposes to her, Caitlyn O’Neill lets her thrill overshadow the catch. It’s a marriage in name only. Slade thinks a temporary marriage is the perfect solution to their problematic living situations in the barracks. Despite her reservations about the deceit involved, Caitlyn is thrilled to live off-base and experience the culture of the
island of Okinawa,
as a local—especially with Slade. Swept up in the excitement of apartment
hunting and planning a wedding, she silences the anxiety within and goes along
with Slade’s plans. They struggle to fight their growing attraction while
acting on their script. On their wedding night, their bodies heat up with the
thrill of being so close. Desire intensifies during a heated moment on the
dance floor. How can they play off the charade of their marriage now that they
have complicated their arrangement? Have they ruined their plan or will they
find a way to continue? Or has their passionate night together uncovered hidden
desires impossible to ignore? Japan
"We should get married."
Caitlyn didn't blink nor twitch a muscle for a good five seconds. She must have misunderstood. "Married?" she repeated, her jade eyes opening wide as she put down the magazine. "What are you talking about? I thought you were talking about dinner. You're joking, right?"
"No, I'm not joking. I'm completely serious."
"Masters, get out of here," Caitlyn said with a flick of her wrist. "I think all that thin air from rock climbing earlier has gone straight to your head." She glanced at the television and saw a commercial with a couple exchanging rings in some outdoor setting. What the heck was this show even about? Whatever it was, it must have been where he came up with that cockamamie idea. "I still think we should go into
. It's a Saturday night, we can get some
noodles and some drinks. Go for a walk in the outdoor markets, maybe even go
dancing," she emphasized. She was pushing her luck with that idea. In all
the time she knew him, Lance Corporal Slade Masters did not dance. Naha
Slade ignored her and stood up. "You see," he began, pacing the room already like a lawyer presenting a case, "we both want some privacy. You want to get away from guys hitting on you. I want to get off-base so I can study. Do you know how much they make you read in these law courses? If I'm ever going to graduate, I can't live in a box with loud Marines stumbling in drunk all hours of the night. If we get married, we’d get a housing allowing since the staff housing is all full. Then we’d share an apartment off base and get out of these goddamn barracks."
While watching him outlining his points with such confidence, Caitlyn found it hard not to drool. Outdoorsy, masculine, and intellectual. His self-assurance filled the area around him like a physical presence; She couldn't help but be impressed by him. His tone, his gait, all commanded attention. He’d be an excellent officer one day if he wanted to. Or a lawyer or politician. He's a natural leader. People can’t help but look up to him.
At the same time, Caitlyn tried to get over the shock of Slade's unexpected proposal. Slade Masters was the one Marine she secretly fantasized about for months, ever since they met in training in the States. Now they were living across the hall in
. They started out friends,
but as they grew closer, Caitlyn developed stronger feelings—something she
could never admit without harming their friendship. Okinawa, Japan
“I never pictured you to be the marrying type,” Caitlyn remarked.
“You’re always so focused on other things. Your running times, scuba-diving, grades—never something as ‘trivial’ as romance.”
“This isn’t about romance. It’s about being practical."
“Oh, of course.” Caitlyn smirked. “Naturally.” She knew there had to be a catch.
Lisa gravitates toward stories with dark, brooding, isolated characters (think Heathcliff, Dracula, Darth Vader and Severus Snape) and tough, independent, caring heroines. She’s wanted to write since the sixth grade and is thrilled to now be a multi-published, award-winning author.
She spent a short time in the Marine Corps, living in Parris Island, the
California desert, and .
She then backpacked alone around the Okinawa, Japan US
and Europe and lived in Paris, France, before returning to the to buy a
bookstore. Now she lives outside of U.S.
with her husband and children and draws on these experiences in her
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