Baylor (SEALs of Honor #25) by Dale Mayer




Prologue





Baylor Clement walked outside the apartment, knowing full well that Axel and Ally had crossed some kind of invisible line into a relationship. Outside, Baylor met Mason and motioned to the one gunman they had in custody. “He’s unconscious, but he’ll be okay. It looks like Axel broke his nose and maybe shattered his jaw.”

“Well, Axel’s got a hell of a set of hooks. He was a boxer in his day and a dirty-ass street fighter.”

“Well, I can sure relate to the street fighting,” Baylor said.

Mason looked up at the apartment. “Are they coming down?”

“Nope, I don’t think so,” he said. “I suspect they’ll go back to bed and not sleep.”

Mason grinned. “Good for them,” he said. Then he chuckled.

“What’s so funny?” Baylor asked, looking at him, completely puzzled.

“Oh, nothing, just the magic again. It still seems to be working.”

“You and your bloody matchmaking,” Baylor said. “Good thing you haven’t started in on me yet.”

“Oh, your turn will come,” he said.

“I’m okay not having a relationship,” he said. “This kind of life isn’t for most women.”

“No, yet the funny thing is, several of us have found partners, and it’s worked out really well,” Mason said, with a smile.

“Yeah, but you’ve got Tesla. That’s different.”

“And what about Ally?” he asked, motioning to the apartment.

“She’s different too.”

“Well, I can name another twenty women, if not thirty more,” Mason said, “who are just as different and the good kind of different.”

“Yeah, but that’s the thing,” Baylor said, with a cheeky grin. “All the good women in the world are gone.”

“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Mason said, chuckling.

“Nope,” he said. “Not happening.”

Mason looked at him with a smile and said, “You know what? I’ve never once intentionally set out to do this,” he said, “but, in this case, challenge accepted.”





Chapter 1





Baylor Clement walked outside the gym, tossed his bag into the front seat of his car, and headed back to his apartment. He lived on base and had done so for the last few years. He was ready for a change though, ready for a chance to do something different. Keeping his job, of course, because there was absolutely nothing in his world that he liked more than this. Being a Navy SEAL had been the epitome of his career, and, even though he knew most generally didn’t last more than eight to ten years in this field, he was only six in and loving every minute of it.

There was so much to like about the type of work he did. Not only was it good for his country and his fellow man but he felt like he was doing something for himself in a way, like a little bit of his soul was being helped by helping others. He knew it was foolish, and it was just a thought that slipped into his brain every once in a while—then slipped right back out again, if he were honest.

He loved the action and the nonstop physical requirements of the work he did. He loved the upgrades in training on a constant basis, whether computer applications or new techniques in self-defense or for weaponry. The physical level that he had to maintain was also something he prided himself on.

This work wasn’t without cost, however. He wasn’t able to support his personal relationships as much as he would like to sometimes. While most women liked a man in uniform, when they learned of the very viable element of death he faced every day, most couldn’t handle it. Even if some discounted that, thinking him almost immortal, being out of the country or off on missions so frequently led to a definite long-distance relationship. That was a death knell for most military guys.

He was also garnering some enemies as he rose in the ranks. Not so much with his coworkers but other countries around the world saw some of the SEALs as being a threat. There were other SEAL teams in other countries all around the world, but he had to admit that his American sector often took the brunt of the hate. He was okay with that because you could always judge a person by the enemies they had, particularly when they were doing things necessary for the security of this country.

His work was also varied, which he liked. He didn’t do the same thing twice any day, and generally, week by week, it was a steady pattern of physical training and advanced learning. He was good with that. He loved parachute days; he loved anything that was a cross between fitness, sports, and defense. As he got into his car, his phone rang. He looked down and smiled, then hit the Talk button. “Hey, Mason. What’s up?”