Safe Haven, p.1Red Phoenix
Copyright © 2018 Red Phoenix
1st Book of Captain’s Duet
Cover by Shanoff Designs
Formatted by BB Books
Phoenix symbol by Nicole Delfs
This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the author.
Love has no limits…
At eighteen, I suffered a heartbreaking loss and began exploring my submissive side to escape the pain with kinky pleasure.
A chance meeting sets me on an exciting new path as a student of the Submissive Training Center. There I find Captain, a distinguished Dom I’ve totally fallen for—my safe haven.
But I have a problem.
Captain won’t collar me.
People know me as Captain.
I’ve accepted my title as a war hero, but I’m still overwhelmed by guilt…until I meet her. Candy is like no other submissive I’ve ever met. In her eyes, I see the man I used to be.
She is everything I want, but I can never be what her young heart needs.
Therefore, I must protect her—
at all costs.
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My family has served in the military for generations.
It’s in our blood—
This driving need to serve and protect.
Unlike many of my classmates, I know exactly where I’m headed and watch the clock with impatience as it slowly counts down the final minutes of my last day as a senior at Riley High.
Ellen keeps looking back from her desk two rows up, giving me a flirtatious smile. She’s a cute little thing, and I know she’s had her sights set on me ever since her latest beau broke up with her, but I politely look the other way.
I don’t want to start anything—not when I’m about to leave town.
When the bell finally rings, I bolt from my chair and race out to the hallway. I hear Will call out, “Hey, Charlie, you going to Arnold’s party tonight?”
I hesitate, staring at the double doors at the end of the hall—the doors that mark my freedom. Personally, I have zero interest in the drunken parties Arnold is famous for, and I suspect the cops will be called to break it up long before the night is over. I can’t afford that kind of hassle right now.
Turning to face Will, I tell him with a smirk, “I don’t have time to waste. This guy’s headed to boot camp.”
“What’s the rush, man? You can die for your country any time—you should live a little first, don’t you think?”
I snort. “I have no intentions of dying, numbskull. In fact, when I return home, I’ll already be moving up the ranks, while Arnold is still flipping burgers at the drive-in. You wait and see.”
“You always were a stick-in-the-mud,” Will replies good-naturedly. “So, will I be seeing you this weekend at the lake then?”
“No,” I answer, my tone suddenly serious. “I’ll be on the bus tomorrow to start my first week of training.”
Will raises his eyebrows in disbelief. “You’re serious, man?”
“Never been more serious in my life.”
“Wow…” He scratches his head, looking as if he doesn’t quite believe what I’m saying. “Which branch?”
He laughs. “Now I know you’re pulling my leg.”
I grit my teeth, having had a similar reaction from my father. “You got something to say, Will?”
“It’s just that everyone knows the Army is…”
“What?” I demand, my anger beginning to boil to the surface.
I can tell he isn’t looking for a fight, and he answers meekly, “…cannon fodder.” He places his hand on my shoulder. “I just don’t want to lose you, man. They got any desk jobs there in the Army?”
I shrug his hand off my shoulder. “You don’t get it. I’m not joining the Army to sit behind a desk. I’m joining because I want to protect this country of ours.”
“Then why not join the Air Force like your dad?”
“Not interested. I’m set on field artillery. I aim to protect the brave souls on the front lines. They should only have the best of the best shielding them with firepower, don’t you think?”
Will shakes his head. “You always were an odd duck, Charlie. While I respect your decision, I have one piece of advice for you.”
I am leery of what that “pearl of wisdom” might be.
“Come back alive, man.”
“That’s the plan,” I answer bluntly. Despite my father’s disdain for the Army, I am determined to prove myself and make him proud.
“Good luck, man,” Will claps me on the shoulder. “But I’m sure the hell glad it ain’t me.” He gives me a friendly nod before heading down the hallway to his locker.
I look back at the double doors and start to sprint, not caring what others think. With a burst of youthful exuberance, I erupt from the doors screaming at the top of my lungs, “Freedom!”
Destiny is calling, and this man can’t wait to meet up with it.
I believe love is the answer…
And I have found that answer in Ethan Haynes.
I watch the clock tick down the seconds, marking the end of my time here at Riley High. I look over at Ethan and smile shyly, knowing we are going to celebrate tonight by making love for the first time. I think it’s funny how the girls in my class are all weepy, and some even take pictures with their fancy phones to mark our last few minutes as seniors. Personally, I can’t wait to get out of this place.
You see, I’ve had a crush on Ethan ever since I was a freshman. It happened the day he threw his math book to a friend and I unknowingly walked between them and got smashed in the face.
Hot damn! When Ethan looked down at me with those baby blues framed with long eyelashes and asked if I was okay in that deep voice, my brain stopped functioning. I could only stare at him like a little lost puppy.
Ethan thought he’d really hurt me and insisted on taking me to the nurse’s office. It was totally embarrassing, but I loved every minute of it.
After that, we started hanging out together every day. But, to my utter horror and disappointment, Ethan moved away two months later. His parents had suddenly decided to split up, and his mother headed off to New York, dragging Ethan with her.
To say I was completely devastate
All through high school, I watched my girlfriends date while I was completely ignored by the boys. You see, my girlfriends started filling out with those round curves that men can’t stop staring at. But me? My body looked exactly the same—no boobs or hips to speak of.
Because of that, I was forced to endure cruel nicknames like Bee Sting and Pancakes. Oh yes, the boys thought they were being so clever and I would laugh it off. But damn, it hurt like hell.
My mom liked to tell me that I took after the fairies of her Irish homeland because of my big, round eyes, tiny frame, and wispy hair—but I knew better. I was a freak of nature, and if something didn’t change, I would remain dateless for the rest of my life.
Thankfully, Ethan returned my senior year. He had moved back in with his father to finish his last year of high school, and I was back on cloud nine.
He was taller and even more handsome than before.
Just looking at that boy does things to me!
So here I am, anxiously watching the clock, ready to escape the insanity called high school. As soon as the bell rings, I pop out of my chair and grab the hand he’s holding out for me.
Together, we walk out to the hallway and head straight toward the double doors that mark my freedom from this place.
Oh Lord, my body is already tingling just thinking about what’s going to happen tonight, and I bite my bottom lip in anticipation.
I look up into those baby blues as we walk through the doors together. I can’t wait to feel Ethan’s love inside me…
“Take the Money and Run” is playing in my head as I race home from school. I burst into the house, slinging the backpack off my shoulder and handing it to my little brother.
“It’s officially yours now, kid.”
He clasps it to his chest, beaming up at me. “Thank you, Charlie.”
“Think nothing of it, little man. May it serve you well next year.”
Jacob frowns. “But I don’t want you to go.”
I hit him on the arm affectionately. “Hey, I’ve got a country to serve.”
My mother comes down the stairs. Her eyes appear puffy and red. Has she been crying? I rush over and give her a hug, whispering in her ear, “You knew this day would come, Mama…”
“It’s not that,” she sobs.
I pull away and look at her in concern. “Tell me what’s happened.”
When she gazes into my eyes, I can see something is seriously wrong.
“Your father is waiting for you in the study,” she tells me.
My mother looks so distraught that I give her another hug. She holds me tight as if she doesn’t want to let me go. Rather than fight it, I continue to hold her until she finally releases her embrace.
“I love you, Charles.”
I laugh lightly, seeking to ease her obvious distress. “I love you, too, Mama.”
She seems so sad that it rips at my heart and I assure her, “It’ll be okay. Whatever it is. Let me go talk to him.”
My mother shakes her head as she takes Jacob’s hand and leads him up the stairs.
I stare at her, wondering what the hell has happened. As I am about to head to the study, my mother stops at the top of the stairs and calls down. “Charles, I will always be proud of you.”
I chuckle nervously, her sudden declaration making no sense at the moment. “Thank you, Mama.”
She lets out a sob and turns away, pulling Jacob with her. My younger brother is looking at me with a goofy smile, holding up my backpack as he is dragged away.
I face the door of the study with trepidation, but walk briskly to it, determined to handle whatever has my mother so upset.
I knock on the door and wait until my father barks, “Enter.”
I open it and enter the room, centering myself six inches from the front of the desk. “Reporting as ordered, sir.”
“Shut the door,” he orders from behind his large desk.
I do so immediately, having learned at an early age to follow his orders without question.
“At ease. Take a seat, Charles,” he states in a formal tone, as if he is speaking to a stranger.
I sit down and face him, my father’s oversized desk acting as a barrier to separate us. To me, it is a physical representation of the emotional distance between us.
“Why is Mama crying, sir?”
He stares at me with cool disdain as if I should already know the answer.
I stand up to assert myself. “I asked a question, sir.”
“Sit down! You know perfectly well that her tears have everything to do with you.”
I sit down slowly, ice settling in my veins. I now understand what this is about, and I already know it will not end well.
“This is your final chance to do the right thing, Charles. You will not be given another.”
I can’t believe he is still harping about my decision to join the Army instead of the Air Force. “I’ve done nothing wrong, sir.”
“I disagree. You can either do it the right way, or you can enlist in the Army now and ruin any chances of success.”
I growl under my breath. His open disdain for the Army has always been a point of contention between us. “It shouldn’t matter which branch I serve in.”
My father clenches his jaw. He has long held the expectation that I would be a fighter pilot like him—and his father before him. Ever since I was a child, my father has groomed me to follow in his footsteps. However, I have no interest in flying, and have always had my eyes set on the Army. Although we disagree, I am a man now and had assumed he would respect my decision.
“You are far too intelligent to waste your talents. We’ve spoken about this on numerous occasions. You’ve been accepted and will attend the United States Air Force Academy.
“I will not have a son enlist in the Army,” he states coldly.
I narrow my eyes, clearly detecting the threat behind his words, but wanting him to say it out loud. “What do you mean, sir?”
He growls, “If you get on that bus tomorrow, there be will no reason to ever come back.”
“You will not be welcomed in this home.”
I understand now the reason behind my mother’s tears. “Are you seriously that narrow-minded, sir?”
“Charles, let me make this perfectly clear since you seem to be a dull boy. I will not tolerate you wasting your future. It would be a disgrace to this family, and makes my oldest son seem like a fool.”
“I guess I’m a fool then, sir.”
My father erupts from his chair and points toward the door, bellowing at the top of his lungs, “Out!”
I remain rooted to the chair, stunned that he wants to disown me for this.
“I said get out!” He marches to the door and opens it violently, his face a brilliant red, the veins in his neck pulsing with rage.
I’m still in shock, but I stand to face him. “I want to serve our country like the Walkers have for generations—and you have the gall to disown me for it?”
“You have a choice, Charles. The Air Force Academy or the Army.”
I stare at him in disbelief, but I have the same Walker-born stubbornness he has running through my veins. There is no other choice for me.
“I choose the Army, sir.”
His lips curl into a snarl. “Never come back. I’ll have you arrested for trespassing if you do.”
I roar like an angry lion as I rush past him, running up the stairs to grab my things. I won’t stay another minute under his roof. I rush wildly to pack my clothes, stuffing them in my duffle bag, needing to get out of here as fast as I can—but realize I still need to say goodbye to my mother and little brother.
As I leave the bedroom, I find my father standing in the hallway like a sentry. I look past him, stating, “I’ve got to say goodbye to the family.”
“You have no family
“You won’t even let me say goodbye to them?” I challenge, spitting on the floor in disgust.
He sucker-punches me with such force that I stumble from the impact, my head hitting the wall behind me. Before I can recover, he grabs me and shoves me down the stairs, causing me to tumble out of control to the bottom.
I hear my mother’s scream as he barrels down the stairs and drags me out of the house, throwing my duffle at me before locking the door.
I hear the lock settle into place, and it acts as my father’s final statement: I have been locked out of my own family—permanently.
I rub my jaw in a daze as I stand up, my body aching from my tumble down the stairs. I slowly pick up my bag and turn away from the house. The outburst has brought out the neighbors, all of whom stare silently as I walk away from my home and everything I have ever known.
I fight off the tears that threaten to fall, confident I am not making a mistake.
No, this has only made me more determined than ever to make the Walker clan proud.
Heading straight to the bus station, I curl up on one of the empty benches and use my jacket as a pillow.
I close my eyes, still reeling from the shock…
Ethan gives me a quick kiss before I get on the school bus to go home. “So, I’ll drop my dad off at his night job and then swing by in the truck to pick you up around 6:30. That work for you?”
“Sounds wonderful,” I assure him, blushing deeply. We’re really going to do this!
I get on the bus and sit in the back, so I can stare out the window. I don’t trust myself to talk to my girlfriends, certain they will be able to tell what I’m up to.
This is our secret—just Ethan’s and mine.
When I finally arrive home, I see my dad has already beaten me. I know he’s worried about my mom because she’s been consumed by what he and I have nicknamed “the dark place”. It happens at least twice a year—Mom retreats into herself and stays there for weeks on end.
Safe Haven by Red Phoenix / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes