I love the cover. Thanks to design artist Diana Carlile for this beautiful cover. Visit her blog to see her work.
Sarah Lawson's fiancé Logan Miller died in Afghanistan. She receives a text from a war buddy, Brandon Perdue, who wants to meet and deliver a message from Logan.
Physically and emotionally scarred, Brandon values Sarah's friendship. In time Sarah finds herself attracted to him and wants their relationship to deepen, but he fears she's projecting her feelings for Logan on to him.
“I’m sorry, mister. I didn’t mean nothing bad about what I said.”
“I know you didn’t, young man.” Would he ever get used to his changed voice? The heat and gasoline fumes had permanently damaged his vocal cords. “No offense taken. I realize my face is hard to gaze upon, especially by someone so young.”
He shuffled his feet. “Ah, you don’t look so bad.”
Brandon couldn’t hide his grin, though his mouth twisted in a grotesque way when he did so, but the kid didn’t flinch. “That’s mighty kind of you to say.”
“Was you in the war?”
He cleared his throat. “Yes, I was.”
The boy hung his head. “I’m sorry.” He looked up giving Brandon a clear view of his innocent brown eyes. He chewed on his lip a minute. “Can I give you a hug?”
Tears stung Brandon’s eyes and a knot formed in his hoarse throat. “I’d love a hug, especially from a fine young man such as you.”
The child launched himself at Brandon and two skinny arms squeezed his neck tight. Brandon hugged him close, shut his eyes, and breathed in the little boy smell—a mixture of soap, dirt, and chocolate milk.
Brandon released him. “Thank you. That hug was better than an ice cream cone.”
“You bet. Now run along and tell your mom we’re square.”
He grinned, waved, and ran to the door where his mother waited. Brandon nodded to the woman. She smiled and mouthed “Thank you.”
He watched them cross the street, heat radiating off the pavement. His heart ached. How he’d love to have a child or two, but there was little chance of that now. With his ugly facial burns, no woman with sight would marry someone with his horrid scars.
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