Trying to step out and socialize once again while pursuing facts about her husband’s death, Mary is introduced to Brock Taylor, a hard-core ladies man dedicated to the Marines and sharing himself with any woman who wants a piece of one. That is, until he meets Mary, a woman he’s known about through a past acquaintance.
Mary and Brock fall in love, plan a wedding in the Great Smoky Mountains, and well, things could’ve been headed toward a happy ending. However, six months after Brock finally wins Mary’s hand, Mary’s deceased husband reappears. And Mary wonders if she’ll be forced to give up one man in exchange for the other.
The following excerpt is suitable for all audiences:
Mourning the death of her husband began at the sound of the first shots fired. For some reason, up until then, Mary kept thinking she’d awaken and discover she’d been having another nightmare. Instead, reality set in and delivered its final blow. The ceremony in progress jolted her back to the present with a new understanding.
She was attending her husband’s memorial. Luke was gone, and he wasn’t coming back.
Mary had somehow remained stoic throughout the service, fearing if she looked up, turned to her left, or glanced right, she might meet a stranger’s gaze. She refused to lock eyes with those in attendance, realizing their hearts were full of pity.
Many of them knew Luke. Some of them had fought beside him. Others were there to pay their respects to a fallen soldier, but they didn’t know the man behind the uniform, the husband behind the Navy’s finest SEAL.
There was another powerful blast, and the jarring sensation came with a deafening and most eerie sound of a three-round volley. The air was thick with tension. Those in attendance jerked with every shot resounding through the hills.
Mary’s tears finally came, flooding her cheeks until the rapid falls ran dry. It was then when Mary understood a truer meaning of taps.
This was the end, the most monumental signal of all. It was time to turn out the lights and go home. The final seconds in the last hour approached. Now, she was expected to accept the fact that her happily-ever-after ending wasn’t meant to be. Mary needed to find a way to come to terms with the facts.
Her husband was dead. She couldn’t bring him back.
Lieutenant Lucas Worthington once spoke of a soldier’s death, an honorable death, the kind of burial all soldiers hoped they’d find. If Mary had been given one last chance to talk with Luke, she would’ve told him that this death wasn’t a clean death, as he’d once discussed. This casualty, no one understood.
Luke should’ve been careful what he wished for, and Mary should’ve selected a husband more wisely, refused to fall in love with a man destined to die. Mary gave her heart to a Navy SEAL. He, in turn, fell in love with the notion that freedom was won, honor easily earned, and death only came to those who were fighting for the wrong side.
Mary wished for one last opportunity to tell Luke her point of view on the subject now, perhaps show him the error of his ways, and explain devastation in simple woman’s terms.
At that moment, she wanted her husband to know how she felt. She longed to explain her agony. But it was too late for that, and she wasn’t sure she could put her sorrow into words.
Still, Mary longed to see Luke one last time. She would’ve given her final breath if she could’ve held something substantial in her arms, perhaps something to show her, help her grasp the idea that the love she’d cherished was lost. The man she’d worshipped was gone, and his funeral was anything but a bad dream.
Her life had turned into a nightmare. Without a body to bury, Mary had a feeling she’d never awaken from the hellish world that had somehow become her horrific reality.
The following excerpt is rated PG17
“The next time you try and set me up with some hardcore, sexy-as-all-fucking-hell military prick, I swear to God, I’m gonna—”
“Anna told me how to get here,” Brock interrupted her rant as soon as the door was pushed all the way back.
“Fuck my life,” Mary muttered, thinking she’d never seen a hotter man than the one in front of her. Even Luke would have a difficult time measuring up to Brock, and that was saying a lot.
Stop it right now, she thought. She didn’t have the right to gawk at this stranger like he was a packaged adult delivery for an overnight stay. “This is not happening to me.”
Brock winked, a devilish grin marking a permanent place on his face. “Prick? Really? Is that the best you can do?”
She released a troubled sigh. Apparently, he missed the compliment laced through that warm greeting.
“Why are you here?”
She saw the attitude coming from a mile away. “I was afraid someone might try to set you up with some hardcore, sexy-as-all-fucking-hell military prick. I’m here to save you.”
“From myself?” she asked, meaning she needed all the help she could get since she had the open-mouth-insert-foot concept down to a perfected science.
“Should I take that to mean you’re interested?”
“What do you want?” she asked, ignoring his underlying insinuations.
“An invitation inside would be a nice start.”
“Maybe because it’s the polite thing to do, especially after you spoke so passionately about me.”
“The last time a soldier stood in my doorway, he brought bad news with him. Would you invite that into your home, Mr. Taylor?”
“Depends on what you consider bad news, Mary. And please, call me Brock. We’ll do better in the end if we start out with first names.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You think you could stand my answer?”Mary propped her hands on her hips. “Depends. Think you can handle rejection?”