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Semper Fi

Jane Harvey-Berrick

  Jane Harvey-Berrick

  Semper Fi:

  The Education of Caroline

  This is the story of The Education of Caroline now told from the point of view of Caroline’s lover, US Marine Sebastian Hunter.

  * * *

  Sales of Semper Fi support these charities

  Felix Fund


  EOD Warrior Foundation

  Both charities support the brave men and women who work or have worked in bomb disposal.


  The Education of Sebastian (Education Series #1)

  The Education of Caroline (Education Series #2)

  The Education of Sebastian and The Education of Caroline (Education Series combined edition)

  The Traveling Man (Traveling Series #1)

  The Traveling Woman (Traveling Series #2)

  Roustabout (Traveling Series #3)

  Standalone Titles

  The New Samurai


  Dangerous to Know and Love

  Playing in the Rain

  The Dark Detective

  At Your Beck & Call

  Summer of Seventeen



  Slave to the Rhythm (coming soon)

  One Careful Owner (coming soon)

  Semper Fi: The Education of Caroline

  Copyright © 2015 Jane Harvey-Berrick

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. It may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you do, you are STEALING FROM CHARITIES. I only distribute my work through iBooks, Amazon, Nook, Kobo and Create Space. If you have gotten this book from anywhere else, it is a pirate copy, it is illegal, and you’ve really spoiled my day. Just saying.

  Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  All rights reserved. Jane Harvey-Berrick has asserted her right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

  This book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  All rights reserved; no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher. Jane Harvey-Berrick has asserted her moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

  First published in 2015

  ISBN 9780992924645

  Harvey Berrick Publishing

  Editing by

  Kirsten Olsen and Alana Albertson

  Cover design by

  Hang Le /

  Cover photograph by

  Michael Anthony Downs /

  Cover model Derek Pristou

  Formatted by

  Christine Borgford /

  Table of Contents

  Semper Fi

  Other Titles by Jane Harvey-Berrick



  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18


  More About JHB

  More about Felix Fund and EOD Warrior Foundation


  Bonus Chapter ~ NEW!

  To men and women who served their country, and the families who support them.

  JANUARY 2012

  I was dreaming about her again.

  That was nothing new. I dreamed about her most nights. I tried to wash away the memory in whiskey. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes I woke up in bed with a woman I didn’t remember meeting, let alone fucking.

  Give me a combat situation and I was a good little Devil Dog, but in the underbelly of a soft city, I was a misfit. And I couldn’t give a shit.

  But when real life decides to smack you between the eyes, you don’t have any fucking choice.

  You learn a lot in the military. Well, I thought, being an adult, it would be a good career move to have somebody inspect me every day to make sure I put my pants on the right way and had my shoes on the correct feet.

  I did get to be a real Marine while I was out in Iraq. I was still with my Unit then, still with my buddies. I spent most of the last two Afghan tours in mud-built villages trying to persuade the tribal elders to side with the allies; maybe it helped make a difference. Now I’m stuck in the armpit of Europe on a chickenshit assignment, supposedly doing MSG guard duty at the Consular Agency in Geneva, all because my last CO in Paris was a dickless dumb-ass.

  So I fucked his wife.

  Funny enough that’s a big no-no in the military—the kind of thing that can get you a court martial followed by a dishonorable discharge. Like I give a shit.

  I know how that sounds, because being a Marine is about having to trust your life with the guy who’s got your back—so fucking his wife kind of puts a downer on things. And usually I don’t go near married women—not anymore. But they both deserved it. Long story short: the no-ball pen-pusher didn’t want anyone to know his wife was screwed by a noncom, so he had me reassigned. Mostly I did PR which I hated. I was shit at it, too. Too much time having to smile. But I did work with some journos flying out to Afghanistsan, getting them prepped for a war zone.

  There are worse places than Geneva. There are worse countries. I’ve seen a few of them. But there comes a point when you’re so fucking bored that you bore yourself thinking about how bored you are. I’d reached that point five months ago.

  I’d even thought about getting the hell out of the Marine Corps and doing something else with my life¸ although I had no clue what. But I’d re-upped, so I had another two years to go. The only glimmer of light was that in Spring 2012 they needed more US-born interpreters in Afghanistan. And for this billet, I’d get a huge bonus. But it was more about getting the fuck out of Cuckoo Clock-land.

  I’d put my name out there again, so who knows.

  This was my tenth year in the Marines. It had been an interesting life up until Paris two years ago. I’d found that I was good at languages—which was a big fucking shock to actually be good at anything when my parents had only ever told me that I was a fuck up since birth—and I’d been promoted through the ranks. I’d been proud of being a Sergeant and had even thought about trying to get my degree so I could progress further and become an officer. And then Paris had happened. For the last two years I’d been kicking my heels in one miserable office job after another, although I’d made Warrant Officer—just to get me out of their hair, I think. But now I’d got a new CO, so there was a chance I’d get moved on to something useful soon. This guy was in the oxymoron that is Military Intelligence. I’d met him briefly when he was out here for a few days. Nice wife. Blonde. Not my type.

  At least I had some leave coming up.

  My buddy, Ches, had asked me to come stateside and see his family. I was tempted, but since an incident with his wife’s best friend, as well as the friend of her best friend … I wasn’t as welcome as I might have been.

  I was toying with the idea of taking off on my motorcycle and seeing some of Italy. I’d never been, although it was somewhere I’d wanted to see ever since. There was a guy I’d met when I was a kid. He was Italian, fro
m Southern Italy, and he’d taught me more about what a father should be than my own asshole dad. Papa Ven was such an amazing guy—and I’d fallen in love with his daughter, as well. But that’s another story—no fairytale ending either. So Italy was somewhere that I’d wanted to visit for a while, and now the border was just a few miles away. What the hell. I had nothing better to do.

  Well, I did have one offer that I was considering. I’d spent last Christmas in the Swiss ski resort Klosters, with Benita from Düsseldorf. I had an open invitation to visit. I don’t normally do reruns, but did I mention I was bored? And I hadn’t been laid since Christmas—it was nearly fucking Easter. Well there was that one night with Dorota from Poland who had some business at the UN. She was only in town for one night. Classy chick. Nice ass.

  My cell phone rang, interrupting my memories of that one wild night. Polish chicks knew how to have a good time.

  I glanced down and was surprised to see that it was my new CO calling.


  “Hunter, quick sit-rep. Something’s come up that could be your ticket out of Switzerland. I’ve got a job for you—shipping out to Afghanistan. Not sure of the date, but could be in about three weeks.”

  I took a deep breath, feeling a shot of adrenaline wake up nerve endings that hadn’t been used for a while.

  “Thank you, sir. That sounds interesting.”

  “It’s not a done deal—about 70/30 right now. I see you’ve got some leave. I suggest you use it up as soon as the current PR briefing is finished. But don’t go too far—no more than a couple of hours from Ramstein. No Stateside trips, Hunter. Understood?”

  “Yes, sir.”

  “Good. I’ll be in touch.”

  The call ended abruptly. I was going back to Afghanistan. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that, but it was what I’d been trained for.

  I stared over the rooftops of Geneva towards the lake. It was peaceful here—the polar opposite of where I’d being going next.

  I sat for some time before I realized that I’d spent 20 minutes just looking out at the water.

  I liked my apartment: it was fairly basic but nobody came here except me. It was in an older part of the city where the architecture looked more Italian than Swiss. The cobblestone street was narrow and quiet. I liked the peace. After you’ve shared a tent in 120oF heat with 19 other sweaty, stinking guys, you’d want peace, too.

  It was owned by an old lady named Madame Dubois. She was always trying to introduce me to her granddaughters, but apart from that she didn’t bother me.

  Today’s lesson in sheer fucking tedium was an ear-achingly dull hostile environment briefing—my fifth this month. It was part of my ‘rehabilitation’ after Paris. I don’t know how it was supposed to rehabilitate me. I mean, what part of sending me to Switzerland was supposed to teach me to keep my cock in my pants when it came to the CO’s wife? My new boss was 3,000 miles away. With his wife. I’d need fucking super strength sperm to cause any trouble from this distance.

  Today I was training journalists—foreign correspondents—to prepare for an assignment in Afghanistan. I was working with a British team: Major Mike Parsons and a Lieutenant Tom waste-of-fucking-air Crawley. I’d learned some new words since I’d met Crawley: ‘wanker’ was one; ‘tosser’ was the other. Both worked.

  Parsons was okay except for the fact that he hated me. Probably because I always showed up late. I think he knew why I’d gotten this assignment, so he never gave me much shit about it. If he’d been my CO, he’d have handed me my ass, and I wouldn’t have blamed him. But we were only allies—civility was an optional extra.

  As I pulled on the jacket of my uniform, my attention was caught by the half-empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s that was still next to my bed. Yeah, a quick hit of that might actually get my ass moving and make the morning’s mind-numbing monotony more bearable.


  I was forty minutes late, which was pretty good for me.

  Crawley was droning on about some tedious shit that even had the journos present yawning their heads off.

  Parsons didn’t look happy when he saw me. Guy had a broomstick up his ass like the rest of the Brits when it came to punctuality. Yeah, well, it was probably an army thing. I was a Marine. Big difference.

  “Thank you, Tom. We’ll take a short break in a few minutes, ladies and gentleman, and meet back here at 1100 hours. Refreshments will be served in Les Nations lounge. And we’re very glad to have our colonial colleague Warrant Officer Hunter join us.” He stared at me coldly. “I’m sure his insight will be invaluable.”

  Wow, wounded by sarcasm at close range. The Brits sure fight dirty. Next it’ll be harsh language.

  But my timing was pretty good—coffee break already.

  I hightailed it out of the hotel, knowing that if I stayed I’d be asked a shitload of dumb questions. I’ve had some journos come onto me, acting like they’re my best friend in the hope that I’ll dish the dirt. They must think I’m a fucking moron if they think I’m going to trust them after five minutes. I usually prefer to get kissed before I get screwed.

  It was all I could do to drag my weary ass back in that seminar room after the coffee break and hope that my brain didn’t completely atrophy before the afternoon pastries. The Swiss French made awesome cakes.

  “Just a quick roll-call before we go on,” said Major Parsons, “now everyone is here…”

  Yeah, yeah I can take a hint. Jeez, he’d be hurting my feelings in a minute.

  “Elizabeth Ashton?”

  “Present and almost correct.”

  “Telek Burczyk?”


  “Henri Ducat?”


  “Ricardo Esteban?”


  “Heinrich Keller?”


  “Marc Lebuin?”

  “Je suis présent.”

  “Lee Venzi?”

  A woman at the back raised her hand but didn’t speak. I glanced over.

  What the fuck? No fucking way!

  My heart started pounding and I was having trouble breathing. That woman. That woman. No fucking way! The woman who’d torn out my heart and danced all over it. The woman who’d told me she loved me, then disappeared without a backward glance. Ten years ago. What the fuck was she doing here? And what was with the new name?

  “You’re Lee Venzi?”

  I must have spoken out loud because everyone was staring at me. I rearranged my face back to boredom. Inside I was anything but. My heart was shuddering and beating so fucking hard I thought it would break out of my chest.

  It took every ounce of self-control that I’d learned over the last ten years to keep standing and not completely lose it and run out of the room. My mouth was dry and I felt a cold sweat break out all over my body. Adrenaline was burning through me and I couldn’t tell if it was fight or flight.

  I wanted to run.

  I wanted to hit something.

  I was frozen to the spot.

  My hands were shaking so badly, I shoved them in my pockets and tried to concentrate on getting air into my lungs.

  How could it be her? After all these years? How could she be here?

  I thought I was having an out-of-my-fucking-mind-out-of-body experience. I fought to breathe normally, all the while thinking I was having a fucking heart attack.

  My body was shaking so hard I thought it must be obvious. This was worse than a goddamn RPG attack by the fucking Taliban.

  What was she doing here? Was it some sort of set up? Did she know I’d be here? No, not possible. She looked so shocked to see me. Shit, she hadn’t changed. She looked exactly the same as the day she walked out on me.

  Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Breathe, you dumb grunt, breathe.

  I stared out the window, but it wasn’t Geneva I was seeing—it was Ocean Beach, Point Loma, San Diego. I was 17, and Caro was 30 and married. She was so fucking beautiful, wearing that yellow bikini, her skin all golden from t
he sun.

  I blinked, trying to clear the image, but it was as if the whole summer we were together was nailed to my brain and playing relentlessly like a horror film where you know someone’s going to get the guts ripped out of them. Yeah, that was me. I was the one who got ripped to pieces. And as for her? She got to walk away and start a new life.


  Why the hell did she have to come back and haunt me now? The ghost of fucks past.

  How was I going to get through the next day-and-a-half of this screwed up briefing? I was sweating just thinking about being in the same room as her. I needed to get out. I could leave, say I’m sick. The way my body was responding, nobody would doubt that I was completely fucked.

  Crawley continued his mindless lecture. It was an almost pleasantly dull rumble in the background. Mentally, I was ten years and 6,000 miles away.

  God, she’d been so beautiful—the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. If I was honest, no one else had come close since. Well, fuck. She’d fooled me. I thought I was something special. Along with my belief that the world wasn’t completely shit, she’d taken my virginity. Or I’d given it. Willingly. I thought we were in love. Really got that fucking wrong. At least I knew that she hadn’t gone back to the asshole she’d been married to at the time.

  I risked a quick look.

  So fucking beautiful. She wasn’t looking at me but I had to turn away again—it hurt to see her face, to see her sitting in the same room as me. But I couldn’t help noticing she was slumped in her seat and her cheeks were flushed. I’d have given my left nut to know what she was thinking.

  Crawley droned on.

  “Because most attacks occur upon reaching home, always ensure that you can drive straight into your garage or compound, and secure the door or gate behind you.”

  I could hear the British woman whispering something that made the other journos laugh. Crawled-up-his-ass Crawley didn’t like that.

  “This is serious, madam. What I tell you today may save your life.”