Love Bytes welcomes to their blog author L.A Witt who is sharing something exclusive with us , an exclusive excerpt of Anchor Point 8, Sink or Swim.
Don’t forget to check out the giveaway on the bottom of the post!
Welcome Lori 🙂
(This is an unedited excerpt from Anchor Point #8, Sink or Swim.)
Beyond the tiny room separating my office from the chapel, boots clomped on the deck, coming into the sanctuary from the passageway.
I got up and straightened my green digicam blouse, and headed out to see if the new arrival needed anything. It might’ve been someone coming in to pray or just have some quiet time alone. Might’ve even been Father Jacobs coming back early from his meeting, but sometimes it was someone looking for me or him.
I stepped out into the sanctuary.
The new arrival wasn’t Father Jacobs. The man was wearing gray coveralls—the kind a lot of the civilian contractors wore—and had a black backpack slung over his shoulder. I didn’t think I’d seen him before, but that was hardly unusual on a ship with over a thousand people plus contractors.
“Can I help you?”
He jumped when I spoke, and he turned around.
And it was my turn to jump.
Whoa. Those eyes.
They were a deep, warm brown, framed by lashes that went on forever beneath gently curving black eyebrows. It was hard to say if his cheekbones really were that prominent, or if they stood out because of the heavy stubble darkening his sharp jaw. From his deep olive complexion I thought he might be Middle Eastern. Or maybe Spanish? From someplace Mediterranean I couldn’t put my finger on? Gorgeous, anyway. I wasn’t one to use the word lightly, but this man was stunning.
“Uh, hi.” He cleared his throat and brushed a few strands of black hair out of his face, ruffling it just right to let some flecks of silver catch the light. He was definitely a civilian, given the length of his hair—not long enough to tie back, but almost tickling his collar.
Probably long enough to grab and—
I stifled a cough, hoping my face wasn’t coloring as I tamped those thoughts away. “Hi. What can I do for you?”
Adjusting the backpack on his shoulder, he met my gaze with a hint of shyness. “You’re the chaplain?”
I tapped the cross on my lapel as I stepped fully into the sanctuary. “Chaplain Pedersen.” I extended my hand. “You can call me Dylan. Or Chaplain is fine.” Chuckling as we shook hands, I added, “Half the ship just calls me Padre.” And I was rambling, which was so not like me.
He smiled, and I swore that made the color of his eyes even warmer. “Alhazar.”
“Alhazar?” I asked to make sure I was saying it right.
“Yeah. I, um . . .” Alhazar shifted his weight and glanced at the door. “Listen, I just started working on the ship, and I wondered if . . .” He dropped his gaze for a second. “I’m not all that comfortable doing my daily prayers out . . .” He motioned toward the door. “In the rest of the ship. It was one thing when I had space in a berthing or the shop where I worked, but I don’t live on the ship anymore and my crew doesn’t have a permanent space.”
It only took a split second to put the pieces together. “So you’d like to use the chapel?”
He looked at me through those long lashes and nodded. “If that’s all right.”
“Of course. We have a number of Muslim Sailors who do the same thing. You’re more than welcome.”
Alhazar exhaled. “Thanks. I didn’t know if, um, being a civilian . . .”
“The chapel’s open to anyone who’s onboard. I even have family members in here from time to time.”
“Oh. That’s good to know.” He tapped the backpack strap. “So would it be too much trouble for me to leave my prayer mat here? I don’t really have a place to keep it on the ship.”
“Sure, no problem.” I motioned for him to follow me, and headed into the tiny room between the chapel and the office I shared with Father Jacobs. Over my shoulder, I added, “There’s almost always a chaplain around, but even if we’re not, this part of the office stays unlocked.”
“You’re a lifesaver.”
I faced him, intending to say . . . something. Words evaporated on my tongue, though, because the tiny room was forcing us to stand really close together. Like really close. It was always a bit on the cozy side in here—even more so than in the office—but right now, with this beautiful black-haired man holding my gaze like that, it felt like the tiniest compartment on the entire boat. And that said something.
I gulped. “Um.” Air. Words. Professionalism. I coughed into my fist. “If I’m counseling someone in there”—I gestured at the door separating the office from this smaller space—“the hatch will be shut, but this room is always open.” I gestured at some metal shelves behind him. “Feel free to leave it on one of those. No one will mess with it, I promise.”
Alhazar looked in the direction I indicated, and some more tension left his posture and his features. Which did nothing for the tension in me because . . . wow. Just wow.
Oblivious to me and my scrambled brain, he unzipped the backpack and pulled out a tightly rolled green and gold prayer rug. He placed that on a shelf beside a small stack of weathered hymnals, and put a blue leather bound Qur’an on top of the rug. He dug around in the bag again, and withdrew a strand of black prayer beads—misbaha, I thought they were called—which he set beside the Qur’an.
As he zipped up the bag and slung it over his shoulder again, he turned to me, meeting my eyes. “Thank you. I really appreciate it.”
“Don’t mention it. The chapel’s here for all faiths.”
About Going Overboard
Second-class petty officers Dalton Taylor and Chris Ingram have been best friends since coxswain’s school. Now they’re stationed together in the Harbor Patrol Unit of NAS Adams. They’re content as friends, but secretly, they both ache for more. Neither makes a move, though; while Dalton is out and proud, Chris is closeted—even from his best friend.
Then another coxswain’s negligence nearly drowns Dalton. After a taste of how easily they could lose each other, neither man can keep his feelings hidden anymore, and it turns out love and sex come easy when you’re falling for your best friend.
Things aren’t just heating up between the friends-turned-lovers, though. The Navy is investigating the accident, and the Harbor Patrol chief isn’t going to let his star coxswain go down for dereliction of duty, even if saving him means throwing Dalton under the bus.
As the threats and gaslighting pile up, Chris and Dalton need each other more than ever—as shipmates, friends, and lovers. But if their chief prevails, the only way they can save their careers is to let each other go.
About Anchor Point
Welcome to Anchor Point!
Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.
So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.
Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!
About LA Witt
L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…
To celebrate the release of Going Overboard, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Going Overboard) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on February 10, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!