Home > Opal

Author: Helen Hardt








Buck and I get married at Luke and Katelyn’s beach house.

I was surprised Buck agreed to it, but he and Luke seem to have finally come to an understanding between them.

Katelyn and I are ecstatic about it. Because we’re besties, the four of us will be spending a lot of time together.

Katelyn is, of course, my maid of honor, and Buck’s sister Emily is my bridesmaid. Coming back to this house couldn’t have been easy for her, but she did it for Buck and for me.

Buck has two best men. His brother, Johnny, and his fellow SEAL, Leif Ramsey. Also known as Phoenix.

I’m dancing with Phoenix later. He’s tall and muscular, like Buck, but there the similarities end. Leif is blond and blue-eyed with light skin.

“Thank you for being here,” I tell him. “For Buck. It means everything to him.”

“I’ll always be here for Buck,” Leif says. “We’re brothers.”

His phone buzzes.

“Do you mind?”

“Of course not.”

He leads me off the dance floor and looks at his phone.

“Oh, shit.”

“Is anything the matter?”

“I need to talk to Buck.”

“Leif, this is our wedding day. Please…”

“I know, Aspen. And I’m sorry.”

Buck is on the dance floor with his sister.

Emily and Luke seem to have made their peace as well, and for that I’m grateful. Emily is radiant—she looks like Buck in female form—and she seems ecstatic with her significant other, Scotty, a half-Hawaiian surfer boy who’s now studying to be a licensed psychologist.

A moment later, Buck is leaving the dance floor with Leif. They go inside the house.

I wait.

And I wait.

Only a few minutes have passed, but I can’t take it any longer. I head into the house to find them.

They’re deep in conversation when—

“Aspen, baby.”

“Exactly what’s going on?”

“I’m so sorry,” Buck says, “but I need to go back to New York.”

“All right. In two weeks. After our trip to the Virgin Islands.”

“I promise you, baby, we will have the honeymoon of the century. But we have to put it off for a little while.”

The spoiled little girl inside me wants to stomp and hold my breath, but I don’t. This is Buck. The man who loves me. And he wouldn’t make me postpone my honeymoon unless it was very important.

He is who he is. He’s Buck. He saves people. He wouldn’t be the man I love if he didn’t do that.

“Why? What is it?”

“It’s another one of the women from the island.” Buck shakes his head. “Opal. She’s in trouble.”

I swallow. “Kelly?”

Kelly was different. She used to get jealous when someone was chosen over her. None of us understood her. Of course, none of us tried to understand anything while we were there. We were simply trying to keep our own heads above water.

“Yeah,” Phoenix says. “A threat has been made against her…by another woman from the island.”









Cheating Buck and Aspen out of their honeymoon wasn’t on my to-do list, but the Wolfe family pays us big money to take care of these women and keep them safe.

They even sent their private jet to bring us back from LA to New York. Aspen insisted on coming with us, and even though Buck and I both tried to talk her out of it, that woman has a mind of her own.

Buck is worried for her safety, and so am I, but from what I can tell, the woman can take care of herself. She’s tall, strong, athletic. Gorgeous with dark hair and eyes. She and Buck will make beautiful kids.



I can’t believe Buck is married. That last tour of duty fucked both of us up so bad, I wasn’t sure either of us would be able to have a decent relationship, but Buck defied the odds. He and Aspen are perfect together.

As for me? I’m not looking. I don’t think I’ll ever look. Definitely too fucked up. Torture and violation… We’re prepared for it during training, but can you ever be truly prepared?


You can’t.

Buck and I are meeting Reid and Rock Wolfe at their office this morning, and of course Aspen is tagging along. Once we get through security in the Wolfe building, we take the elevator to the main office and check in with the receptionist.

“The Wolfes are expecting you,” the receptionist says with a smile. “Have a seat, and someone will come get you soon.”

I plunk my ass down on a comfortable couch in the reception area. Buck and Aspen sit across from me on another couch, Aspen twiddling her thumbs.

Buck and I both rise when Reid Wolfe, dressed in his signature navy-blue tailored suit, walks out to greet us. Fatherhood suits him. He looks more at ease these days. When I first met Reid, he was a stiff businessman who had no time for anything but work—unless it was a quick fuck with his woman du jour. Now he’s a devoted family man, married to one of his father’s victims and a father himself to an adorable infant girl.

“Buck, Leif.” Reid shakes our hands, and then his gaze falls on Aspen. “Ms. Davis, I’m glad you came along. You may be able to offer some insight.”

Aspen shakes Reid’s hand. “It’s Mrs. Moreno now.” She smiles. “But Aspen is fine. And that’s why I’m here. I want to help.”

“I know we’re asking a lot of you and your new husband, postponing your honeymoon for a little while, but we think this might be serious.” He nods to the receptionist. “I don’t want to be disturbed during this meeting. Not at all.”

“Yes, Mr. Wolfe.”

Then to us, “Follow me.”

Buck, Aspen, and I follow Reid through the winding hallways to one of the conference rooms. I’ve been in this particular room many times, but it always leaves me in awe. It’s huge, of course, with a solid cherry table that seats up to twenty. The chairs are cushioned with blue and gold brocade, but the most iconic part of the room are its walls. They’re home to a triptych of paintings by Roy Wolfe, and whenever I look at them—abstract in blues, golds, grays, and whites—I see something different. Today I see the ocean…but perhaps that’s because I was just in LA at a house on the beach for Buck’s wedding.

When we enter, Rock—Reid’s oldest brother and chief executive officer of Wolfe Enterprises—stands.

He looks a little rougher than Reid, who always looks refined. But there’s no mistaking the resemblance between them. Only their eyes are different—Reid’s are blue and Rock’s are green. But they both have the same determination in their gazes.

“You all know my brother Rock.”

Rock shakes hands all around. “Good to see you. Thank you for coming. My wife, Lacey, will be here in a minute.” He gazes at the doorway. “Here she is now.”

Lacey Wolfe is blond and blue-eyed, and she’s just starting to show a baby bump.

“Mrs. Wolfe,” I say, “nice to see you again. And congratulations.”

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