First Sergeant Gale Sorren waited a war and half a lifetime for a chance to get stationed near the ex-wife who left him years ago. When he finally musters the courage to see her, the life he imagined she was living was nothing close to the reality.
She’s never stopped loving him…
But when Gale moves to Fort Hood, he finally has a chance to make things right with Melanie and the daughter she raised without him.
Can Mel trust her heart to a man who has always let her down?
“What if he comes here?”
“You don’t know that.”
“You’re right,” he admitted finally. He sighed heavily. “I’ve known him a long time and this doesn’t gel with what I know of him. He’s not going to hurt you.”
“You sound so certain.” Her fingers danced over his ribs, as though she wasn’t sure where to place her hands. “Why?”
“Because you’re mine,” he said, giving voice to the powerful feelings he could finally identify for what they were. “And if he puts his hands on you or our daughter, I’ll kill him.”
And then he kissed her.
It was a powerful kiss, filled with a riot of emotions that had started building in him years ago when she’d first left him. It was a kiss filled with fear. With uncertainty.
He gave in to the maelstrom inside him, holding back only enough to be certain that he wasn’t crossing the line.
Mel opened to his kiss, wanting badly to push away the sadness and the fear and the worry that had been squeezing the air from her lungs since she’d found Gale outside her office.
There was fear in her response, a tacit admission that this was something fleeting and yet, it was the only tangible thing between them.
He shifted then until their bodies pressed together, until she breathed with him and felt part of her soul take flight from the bonds of worry and sadness and daily life.
Her fingers flexed against his ribs. Gale felt the moment she gave in to the kiss, savored the moment of her surrender. Her body relaxed against his, fitting perfectly against his chest.
This was something good. Something pure. Untainted by the darkness that had caused him to seek her out today, needing her when he needed to lean. This. This was what he craved. His wife’s touch. His wife’s taste.
She was not his wife. That ugly piece of reality crashed into him and he stiffened.
Mel felt it instantly, her body tensing. “What?”
The words lodged in his throat. There was no way he could admit the feelings that churned inside him. That he still thought of her as his wife after all these years.
He nipped at her bottom lip, hoping to distract her. “We should do this more often.”
He felt her smile beneath his lips. “You think so?” There was something light and breathless in her words.
“Very much so.” He kissed the corner of her mouth. The edge of her jaw.
He traced the outside edge of her ear with the tip of his tongue. Felt the pleasure of her gasp against his cheek. His teeth scraped over her earlobe. “That’s nice,” she breathed.
“You like that?”
He closed his eyes, pulling her tight, needing the comfort of her touch, the pleasure to drive away the darkness. He breathed in her scent, holding her close. Her pulse scattered against his cheek and for a moment, he simply held her.
“You make me crazy, Melanie,” he whispered.
USA Today Bestselling author Jessica Scott is a career army officer, mother of two daughters, three cats and three dogs, wife to a career NCO and wrangler of all things stuffed and fluffy. She is a terrible cook and even worse housekeeper, but she’s a pretty good shot with her assigned weapon and someone liked some of the stuff she wrote. Somehow, her children are pretty well adjusted and her husband still loves her, despite burned water and a messy house.
She’s also written for the New York Times At War Blog, PBS Point of View Regarding War, and IAVA. She deployed to Iraq in 2009 as part of OIF/New Dawn and has had the honor of serving as a company commander at Fort Hood, Texas twice.
She’s pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology in her spare time and most recently, she’s been featured as one of Esquire Magazine’s Americans of the Year for 2012.
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