Man Behind The Uniform
Preorder for only 99cents: Here
Man, I can’t believe how long it took me to finish this sequel to Girl Behind The Veil. I want to apologize to all who have read Girl Behind The Veil because I’ve left you guys hanging for almost two years. I know it was a cliff hanger ending…
The good news? Man Behind The Uniform is being released on May 30th. You can preorder now! This story will absolutely blow you away. It touches on some tough topics like PTSD, abuse, cultural diversity, life of a soldier, and human trafficking. But most of all, it’s about courage and perseverance. It’s about embracing our differences and accepting one another for our individuality. The story is full of action, passion, betrayal, and love. I promise you, it’s a heart wrenching story, but it will have you rooting for the characters all the way till the end. Here’s a little blurb:
Beat as one
Death would be a gift.
It was a wonder he was still alive.
It would be so easy to let go.
To stop the unbearable pain…
To finally be at peace…
Yes, he would welcome death with open arms.
But, he had a promise to keep.
He had promised her he’d find her.
And so his stubborn heart kept beating.
As Kaden Reid’s world came crashing down, the soldier,
who was once a hero, was left a broken man.
Only one person had the power to help him fight his inner demons.
But, would love be enough to light a path out of the darkness?
Here are some teasers:
Note: This is a sequel, so must read Girl Behind the Veil first.
Order: Girl Behind The Veil
Preorder: Man Behind The Veil
As always, thank you for your ongoing support!
Happy Sunday! Here’s Chapter 5 of Broken. Before you read this, please make sure to read
Chapter 1 & 2: Link
Chapter 3: Link
Chapter 4: Link
“Rise and shine, handsome!”
It had to be a joke. What was she doing here? Jed pulled his blanket over his head, hoping she’d vanish.
“Come on! We have a full day today for your therapy sessions,” Sage said.
“You are not allowed to come in and out of my room as you please! What the hell is wrong with you?”
“Old habits die hard.”
Flinging his blanket off of his head, Jed said, “We were kids then. This is crazy. Just get out. Mom! Dad!” He was angry at his parents for allowing her into his room again.
“Your parents aren’t here. I gave them a day off and promised them I’d take good care of you.” Sage flashed a smug smile.
“You’ve got to be shitting me,” he mumbled.
“Come on, it won’t be that bad. It’ll give us an opportunity to catch up. Maybe you can stop being such a grouch for some of the time.”
Feeling completely helpless, Jed threw his blanket off of him. “I really don’t want to be around you, Sage.”
“That much is obvious. But I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. Let’s go, or we’ll be late.”
Staring up at the ceiling, Jed sighed in frustration. How had he managed to lose all control of his life? “Every day is a struggle to get out of bed,” he whispered.
Sage sat down on the bed and turned to him. “But, you are getting out of bed. Every single day. And that counts, damn it.” She sighed. “That counts, Jed,” she whispered.
Closing his eyes, Jed knew she was right. It was another day he had to get through. There was no choice in the matter. He reluctantly got into his wheelchair, angry at his parents, sister, and this horrible situation that had been thrown at him.
“I need to jump in the shower. I’ll see you in the kitchen in about thirty minutes.”
Before long, they were heading to the rehab hospital for his therapy. Jed remained silent in the car and was surprised Sage knew where to take him for his sessions. Once they reached their destination, he turned to her and said, “You don’t need to stick around. I have aqua therapy in the afternoon as well, so it’s going to be a full day of sessions.”
“I’m staying. I want to see how you’re doing.”
Grinding his teeth, he said, “Maybe I don’t want you to see, Sage. Did you ever think of that? Why are you doing this anyway? You want to be a big savior or something? Find a cure, and I’m your guinea pig?”
Sage sighed, and Jed noticed her eyes becoming moist. She quickly recovered and replied, “Nope. Believe it or not, you mean a little more to me than a guinea pig. Come on, let’s go in.”
During the therapy sessions, Sage commented on how he had some movement returning in his legs. “How fast are the sensations and the muscle activation returning?” she asked Robin, the physical therapist.
“To be honest, every week, he’s able to do something else. Remember, Jed? Just last week, you were able to maintain standing in the pool with assistance. I mean, granted, we had to help you quite a bit, but you were actually able to use your muscles,” Robin said.
Jed grunted, annoyed that Sage was all in his business.
“What about sensation?” Sage continued to inquire.
“That’s also returning nicely. Right, Jed? You told me you sometimes can feel the urgency to urinate.”
“Okay, do we need to talk all of my personal business here?” Jed asked, aggravated.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” Robin said. “I just assumed—”
“Well you assumed wrong!” he barked.
“Don’t mind him, Robin. He’s just crabby. I’m Dr. Ramsey, and I’m involved with monitoring his progress. We’re also friends, so he’s a bit too comfortable acting like this around me.”
“We are not friends! And to be clear, I’m not comfortable around you at all!” Jed said, but he had to admit, a part of him wanted to work extra hard just to show her how much he could do. He also didn’t deny her remark about her monitoring his progress. Truth be told, he knew she would give him the best advice and the brutal truth—whatever that may be.
“Okay, take all that energy out on your workout, tough guy!” Sage directed, and Jed had to turn away to hide his smirk.
By lunchtime, Jed was much more relaxed around Sage, and they both headed to the cafeteria. He appreciated that Sage didn’t make him feel helpless. As a matter of fact, she expected him to do everything for himself, including figuring out how to carry his tray back to the table while wheeling his chair.
Once seated, she said, “I want to see your medical records when we get back. I’m assuming you have incomplete spinal cord injury, and from what I could assess, it looks like it’s at L4/L5 level?”
“Yeah, you got it. The injury is at that lumbar region of my spine.”
“The therapists seem pleased with your progress so far. Are you?”
“It’s frustrating, Sage. My life has changed drastically. It’s really difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” he confessed.
“I’m really sorry this happened. I had no internet where I was in Brazil during the time. It was also almost impossible for anybody to reach me. If I had known, I would have returned immediately to come see you.”
“And done what?” Jed frowned. “I was a mess when I first found out at the hospital. I didn’t believe it initially. There was no way something like that could happen to me. Not Jed Dalton. Then, I was pissed at the world. I completely shut down, not interacting with anybody. Of course, that got mixed with the depression. Trust me, you wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere near me at that time.”
“I would have been there. Whatever you were going through, I would have stood by your side,” Sage mumbled. Changing the subject, she asked, “Are you receiving psychological help?”
“I was seeing a shrink for a few weeks, but now, I’m not seeing anybody. It gets old talking about your pathetic life. I was done with it.”
Sage sighed. “I see your stubbornness hasn’t changed any. What about your music? What are your plans?”
“No plans yet. I’m just winging it right now. Just trying to get through each day.”
“Okay, fair enough. Jed, I’ve decided to stay here to help you with your recovery. I won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.”
Jed stared at her, narrowing his eyes. “Why?”
“I want to, that’s why. And, whether you’ll admit it or not, I can help you. I know I can.”
Jed rolled his fingers through his thick, curly hair, trying to understand his feelings. Seeing Sage more often was a dangerous game, but the way his heart leaped just then when he heard her say that, he knew he would be willing to take the risk.
During his aqua therapy session, Sage cheered him on from the deck. Jed worked extra hard, willing his muscles to work. He was pleased that he was able to put weight through his legs to stand while holding the rails.
When he felt steady enough, the therapists asked him to take a step. He stared down at his leg under water, which remained locked in place. His brain knew what it wanted the leg to do, but it refused to budge. Without meaning to, his eyes landed on Sage.
She nodded and mouthed, “Try! You can do it.”
Taking a deep breath, Jed clenched his teeth and gave it his all to lift the leg up. Robin helped by shifting his weight and assisting to move the leg forward. With a little nudge, Jed suddenly felt his muscle come to life to finish the step. Completely shocked he actually took a step, he couldn’t hold himself any longer, and his legs collapsed. He didn’t care, though, because by then, he was laughing. Hell! He actually took a step!
Once again, his gaze found Sage, and she was standing with her hand over her mouth as the tears rolled freely down her face. Jed stopped laughing and pulled himself to her with the rail.
Sage squatted down so they were face to face, not hiding her emotions.
“I think I deserve a kiss for that effort,” he teased, his smirk widening.
Grabbing his face, she leaned forward, and her lips tenderly touched his. Slowly their lips explored, teased, and remembered.
“Mmm, I’ll have to walk some more if I’m going to keep getting those kinds of rewards.” Jed laughed, stealing one more kiss.
Once the sessions were completed, Sage said, “We have to celebrate. Come on, let’s go get something to eat. My treat.”
For the first time since his injury, Jed truly felt like he was having fun. He wanted to go out with Sage instead of rushing back home. Normally, he preferred to lock himself in his room and avoid any type of interactions.
They decided to eat at Rocky’s Sports Bar back in town. Once they were seated, he said, “Look, Sage, I know I can be a real douche, but I do appreciate this. You know that, right?”
“Yes, I know you more than you know yourself.”
“Really? That’s a bold statement,” Jed teased.
“Call it what you will.” Sage smiled, taking another bite of her pasta.
“No way! Don’t tell me it’s Jed Dalton!” Both Jed and Sage looked toward the source of the voice and saw Dan Kirby approaching their table.
“Great,” Sage said under her breath.
“And, lookie here! Sage and Jed eating dinner together. Wow! The homecoming king and queen reuniting again.”
Jed tried to control his temper at seeing his rival from high school. Dan was a bully back then, and he used to compete with Jed on everything, including Sage.
“You look hot as ever, Sage. Tell me, what do you see in Jed these days? I know he was in the limelight and all, but he’s washed out now after his accident. Aren’t you paralyzed, man? Can you even have sex?” Dan asked, throwing his head back while laughing.
Before Jed could react, Sage sprung up and punched Dan in the jaw. When he collapsed to the floor, she straddled over him and said, “I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time.” She then turned to Jed while tossing some bills on the table. “Let’s get out of here.”
When safe in the car, Jed focused his attention on her, frowning. “I don’t need you to fight my battles.”
“It wasn’t your battle I was fighting. I’ve wanted to do that to Dan since second grade. He used to call me ‘rabbit’ because of my bucked teeth.”
“What?” Jed laughed. “Why didn’t you ever tell me that? I would have beat him up for you.”
“That’s why I didn’t tell you. I knew you’d go after him, and I didn’t want you to get into trouble.” Both Sage and Jed laughed, sharing their past together.
“You’ve turned into a badass. Since when did you learn to punch like that?” he asked, shocked with her moves on Dan.
“Since I started going to dangerous parts of the world. I thought it would be best to take some self-defense courses.”
“I’m impressed. And now I know not to get on your bad side.”
“Yeah! Watch your back, buddy!” Sage laughed.
Hope you all are enjoying Jed and Sage’s story so far! Chapter Six coming soon! As always, thank you for your support. All of my books and stories can be found on Amazon (and they’re all free on Kindle Unlimited). LINK
Hello, lovelies! Hope life has been good to you since my last post. I wanted to share my short story, Broken, with you all. It’s really a heart-felt story, and as a physical therapist, I’ve always been drawn to patients with spinal cord injuries. I will post a chapter every week (this one has two chapters since Chapter One was so short). Hope you enjoy. 🙂
“There’s a good chance you will never be able to walk again.”
The doctor’s words echoed in Jed’s mind. Back home with his parents in Texas, Jed couldn’t imagine the rest of his life in a wheelchair.
The doctor had went on explaining, “You’re lucky to be alive. They think the car that ran through the red light was going at least seventy miles per hour.”
Lucky to be alive? Jed would rather be dead than feel this helpless. Three months ago, the accident had left him with a spinal cord injury, paralyzed from waist down. The therapists kept insisting since it wasn’t a complete spinal cord injury, and he had some movement and sensations in his legs, he shouldn’t give up hope.
The shock of this drastic change in his life had done a number on him. Even with his parents’ support and his sister’s encouragement, it was impossible for Jed to not fall into depression.
Today, though, he couldn’t spend all day in his bed. His agent, Nick Tasky, was flying in from Los Angeles to check on him. Through rehabilitation, he had learned to perform basic, everyday tasks. Forcing himself to get into his wheelchair, he propelled it to the bathroom to start his day.
When Nick finally arrived a few hours later, Jed was prepared for the lectures that were bound to come.
“You look great, man! You shaved for me?” Leave it to Nick to lighten up the mood.
“Okay, you caught me. I shaved for you because I didn’t want to hear your damn nagging.” Jed and Nick were sitting on his back porch, enjoying the Texas heat.
“Well, why else do you think I’d fly all the way down here and suffer in this hot weather?” Nick laughed, punching him on his arm.
“So, what’s up?”
“I want you to get your life together, man. You can’t just do nothing. You’re only twenty-nine years old. I told you over the phone to work on a new album through this experience. You know it would be a hit. The public is waiting to hear from you. Do you know how many fan letters and emails we receive every single day?”
“What the fuck, man! Did you notice I can’t walk?”
“So, that means your life is over? You are huge right now. You can still sing and play your guitar or the piano. Look, I just don’t want you to give up. I think your music may be therapeutic for you. I really believe it’s just what you need to heal.”
Jed took a sip of his iced tea and continued watching Jade, his Labrador Retriever, chasing after a squirrel. “I know you mean well, Nick. And I appreciate you coming out here to talk to me. I just need some time to figure things out. I’m lost right now.”
“Listen, you can just come back to LA with me. That’s where you belong, and you know it. You can continue your rehab there. I think being busy there will help to get you out of your funk.”
“I’m not ready for that. Like I said, I need some time to think about what the hell happened. And, to be honest, I need to be back here, home with my family.”
Nick sighed. “Okay, I get that. But, I refuse to watch you give up. You need to join a support group. At the very least, maybe see a psychologist. As your agent, I won’t allow you to throw your career away. As your friend, I won’t allow you to throw your life away.”
Jed remained silent, but a part of him knew Nick was right.
Trina, Jed’s sister, and Nick got along instantly. When she suggested they go to the local bar to get a bite to eat later that evening, Jed didn’t know how to get out of it. He hadn’t been out since the accident, and he definitely didn’t feel like socializing—especially with anybody from this town. But, he didn’t want Nick alone with Trina since he knew firsthand about Nick’s reputation with women. Jed reluctantly agreed, making them promise they’d all be back in couple of hours.
Rocky’s Sports Bar had been the hangout spot years ago when Jed used to live here. As they pulled up, it looked like it was still the place to go. Immediately, Jed regretted the decision of coming here. He silently prayed he wouldn’t run into anybody from his past.
Once inside, they got a corner table, and Jed was happy that not only did he not recognize anybody, but nobody recognized him either. That was one thing he liked about this small town in Texas. The people were so wrapped up into their own lives and drama, they had no idea what was going on with the rest of the world.
When Trina excused herself to go to the bathroom, Jed turned to Nick. “Look, Nick. Stay away from my sister.”
Acting surprised, Nick said, “What are you talking about?”
“You know exactly what I’m saying. Don’t think I haven’t seen you flirting with her.”
Nick laughed. “Your sister is beautiful. What do you want from me?”
“Damn, Nick! That’s my little sister. I know how you treat women. I, of all people, should know.”
“You’re no saint, either, Jed. Actually, you may be worse than me. I’m pretty sure I had to deal with many women’s phone calls after you broke their hearts.”
Jed took a swig of his beer. “I’m not trying to bang your sister, though! Look, Trina is different, okay? She believes in love and all that crap. Plus, like I said, she’s my baby sister.”
“She’s one year younger than you, which would make her twenty-eight years old. Pretty sure she’s an adult, my friend. But, hey, I hear you loud and clear. Don’t worry, I’m leaving tomorrow anyway.”
Jed nodded, knowing Nick was true to his word. When he saw Trina returning to the table, he didn’t say anything further about it. He knew his sister was smitten by his ruggedly handsome friend, and he was glad Nick was leaving the next day.
The conversation between the three was easygoing, and Jed was actually beginning to relax. But, just that quickly the mood was broken, when he heard Trina say, “Oh my God! What’s Sage doing here?”
Instantly, Jed’s heart stopped beating. Sage? She was supposed to be out of the country. Why would she be here? He hadn’t seen her in years, and he certainly was not ready to see her at that moment.
Before he could figure out what to do, Trina was already standing up and waving her over. Jed’s fingers tightened into a fist around his bottle of beer. He knew he was holding his breath, hoping against hope that somehow Sage wouldn’t notice them.
The familiar voice penetrated into his deepest core. A wave of emotions collided into him, drowning him. He knew he had to quickly take control of himself before she reached them.
“What are you doing here, Sage? When did you get back?” Trina asked, delighted to see her friend.
Without even turning around, Jed could feel her presence near him. His shoulders were suddenly tight, and he tried to slow his breathing down. How could this woman bring such emotions out of him after all this time?
“I just came back–maybe couple of hours ago. I tried to call your cell, but you didn’t answer.” Sage pulled Trina into her arms for a tight hug.
“My phone is buried in my purse, of course. Did you come here looking for me? How did you know I was here?” Trina continued to hold onto her friend.
“Of course I came here for you. You know you’re my only friend in this stupid town. I called your parents, and they told me I’d find you here.”
Jed was praying that somehow she wouldn’t notice him. She obviously hadn’t realized he was there yet. He just wanted her to disappear.
“Hello, I’m Nick.” Nick smiled and extended his arm for a handshake. “Would you like to join us?”
“Er, sorry, where are my manners?” Trina blushed, suddenly flustered. “Um, Sage, this is Nick, my brother’s agent.”
Sage’s friendly smile disappeared, and her face drained of color. Forgetting about Nick’s extended hand, she slowly turned her attention toward Jed. She took him in—his gorgeous face, his dirty-blond, messy hair, his blue eyes staring back at her with no emotions, and finally, his wheelchair.
When she didn’t say anything, Jed finally said, “Hello, Sage.” His voice remained guarded and indifferent.
As if that helped her get out of her trance, Sage nodded back. “Um, hey, Jed.” Turning her attention back to Trina and Nick, she said, “I actually can’t join you guys. I have to go.”
Without saying anything further, she raced out of the front door.
“Wow! What was that all about? I take it you guys have a history together?” Nick asked Jed.
Jed ignored his question, wanting nothing more than to leave and hide in the safety of his room.
“I’m sorry, Jed. Sage wasn’t due back for couple of weeks. If I had known, I wouldn’t have brought you here,” Trina mumbled, embarrassed by the entire encounter.
“It’s fine,” Jed said. “Are you guys ready to get out of here?”
Hope you enjoyed the first two chapters. More to come next week. If you want to read the full story, you can get it from Amazon. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited. Link: here
As always, thank you for your support.
Many of you have been following Kat and Ryan’s story in Best Friends. This is a romantic comedy, and I absolutely loved writing this short story. Before reading this chapter, please make sure to read Chapter 1, 2, and 3 first. Here are the links:
Chapter 1: Link
Chapter 2: Link
Chapter 3: Link
The strong body braced against her pulled her closer. When the powerful arms embraced her from behind and wrapped around her, she sighed. It had been so long to have a warm body next to her. As soon as the hand snuck under her shirt, her eyes flung open. Immediately recognizing that it was Ryan’s hand exploring her body, Kat froze. Was he even awake? Did he know what he was doing?
Kat wanted to stop him, but she was unable to resist the way he was making her feel. Her breathing hitched when his hand found her breast. She bit her bottom lip to stop the moan from escaping. A part of her knew this was wrong in every way, but it felt too good. What was wrong with her? It was Ryan, her buddy, for heaven’s sake!
She felt his face in the nape of her neck, as he continued seducing her with his tongue. When he played with her nipple, Kat couldn’t hold the moan back. She knew Ryan was aroused when she felt him against her hips, and she couldn’t stop herself from leaning into him.
“I want you, Sarah. I have to have you, right now.”
Reality hit her like a ton of bricks. Ryan was apparently still asleep and thought she was Sarah. Kat pulled herself out of his hold and rolled off the bed.
Confused, Ryan’s eyes sprung open as he tried to process the situation.
Kat stood back up, grabbed her pillow, and hit him with it. “Are you crazy? It’s me, dummy! You’re trying to make out with me.”
Ryan continued staring at her and finally realized what happened. For a brief second, he was embarrassed, but then he chuckled under his breath. “I wake up horny every morning. What do you want from me?”
“You called me Sarah!” Kat accused.
“Of course I would think you’re Sarah. I’ve been with her for the last couple of months. Would you have rather I called you Kat? Now, that would have been weird, wouldn’t it?”
Kat remained silent. He was absolutely right, of course. The only problem was that she knew it was Ryan that had turned her on. Suddenly ashamed, she turned away.
“I’m going for a run this morning. I think I need it. You coming?” Kat decided to change the subject. She knew it was pretty early in the morning, and the others were probably still sleeping.
“Of course. I’ll see you downstairs in about ten minutes?”
Kat dodged to the bathroom with a change of clothes. She put on her jogging shorts and her tank top, pulled her hair up in a high ponytail, and headed downstairs. Ryan was already waiting for her by the front porch wearing his tank top and basketball shorts. Kat always knew he had a fit body since he worked out all the time, but noticing how sexy he looked was making her feel uneasy.
Deliberately pushing all thoughts away, Kat took her frustrations out on the run.
The group decided to go horseback riding and canoeing that day. Once again, Kat was annoyed at how hard Jenna kept trying to get close to Ryan. True to his word, though, Ryan continued to focus his attention on Kat and be the devoted boyfriend.
By the time they got back to the cabin, Kat was beat and was ready to crash. She was glad the trip would end tomorrow since this charade had drained her. Not understanding her feelings toward Ryan, she decided to call it an early night. By the time Ryan got into their room, she was fast asleep.
The next day, Kat woke up extra early. She took a quick shower and watched Ryan as he still remained asleep. She always recognized that he’d grown up to be a beautiful man, but she’d never thought of him as anything more than her best friend. Lying there shirtless, Ryan’s chiseled chest, defined abs, and muscular arms screamed for her. Bottom line was, she wanted him.
Just then, Ryan’s eyes flew open. “What’s up? Why are you staring at me?”
Kat wondered if Ryan had been awake all that time and somehow figured out that she had shamelessly fantasized about him. “Has this weekend been weird for you?” she finally asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Okay, you’re my best friend, and I can tell you anything, right? I mean, I’ve always been able to tell you anything I wanted, so why should it change now?”
“Spit it out, Kat. What’s wrong?” Ryan sat up, suddenly curious.
“Well, I’ve been kinda sorta attracted to you. It could be because we’re in an intimate setting? I don’t know. But I need to get it out of my system. Do you want to be…you know?”
Ryan raised his eyebrows. “No, I don’t know. What are you saying?”
“Geez, Ryan! Do I have to spell everything out? I wouldn’t mind if we were friends with benefits. I mean, I’d be willing to try, if you were.”
Ryan jumped out of the bed and marched toward her. “You want to have sex with me?”
“Don’t worry, no strings attached. Admit it, Ryan, you were turned on yesterday morning. Sure, you thought I was Sarah, but it was still my body. I think we’re adults enough to handle it.”
Ryan stood in front of her and stared down hard at her, making her feel nervous. “I don’t know whether to take your proposal as a compliment or an insult.”
“Why would you take it as an insult?” Kat placed her hand on his bare chest, no longer in control of her actions.
Ryan grabbed her hand by her wrist and shoved it away. “Because, Kat, you just made me feel like a piece of meat.”
Kat rolled her eyes. “Will you stop analyzing everything? You sleep around with girls all the time. You have one night stands, for heaven’s sake!”
Clenching his jaw, Ryan pulled away from her. “No, the answer is no. I don’t want to be your friend with benefits. It would completely ruin our friendship.” Ryan walked toward their door. “I’m going for a run…alone this time.”
Hearing the door slam, Kat closed her eyes. She had no idea why he was upset with her, but she probably shouldn’t have said anything to him. This whole experience at the retreat had been awkward for both of them, and she couldn’t wait to go back to her normal life.
Surprised to hear the soft knock on the door, she said, “Come in.”
Jeff strolled in, closing the door behind him. “Trouble in paradise?”
“What do you mean?”
“Ryan slamming the door woke everybody up, Katrina.”
“As usual, I think you’re reading too much into it, Jeff. What do you want?”
“Look, I didn’t come here to argue. I just haven’t been able to get you alone at all this weekend. I have to get this off of my chest. I’m still in love with you. I’ve never been able to get over you.” Jeff walked toward her, his arms reaching for her.
Kat stepped away from him, confused. “What are you saying? We broke up six months ago. What about Angel?”
“Angel is nobody serious. You know that. I was upset because you wouldn’t agree to move in with me at the time. I was ready for the next step, and you weren’t. I’ve regretted my decision to end our relationship ever since. Please give me another chance, Katrina. What we had was special. Don’t give up on us.”
Kat frowned, her mind completely jumbled from this new information. “Jeff, you’re throwing a lot at me right now.”
“I know, honey. But, I had to just go for it. I would forever regret it if I didn’t fight for you.” Jeff reached her and took her hand. Kissing it softly, his baby blue eyes stared into her green ones. “You know I love you, right?”
Kat inhaled a deep breath. “I’m confused, Jeff. I need some time to think this over. You can’t just expect me to forget the last six months since our breakup.”
“No, of course not, dear Katrina. Let’s just get back home, and I’ll call you this evening when we can talk in peace.” Jeff leaned into her and teased her lips with his before turning around and walking out of the door.
Okay, chapter five will be posted next week. Hope you’re enjoying how this story is developing. What’s up with Jeff? Ugh, can’t stand him! Love how Kat suggest to Ryan that they should be friends with benefits. 🙂
If you’re interested in continuing with this story or any other short stories, you can get Loving You Hurts So Good on Amazon. It’s also free on Kindle Unlimited. Amazon
If you’re interested in reading any other books, here’s my Amazon page. Link
“Opposite worlds. An impossible dream. A forbidden wish.”
I’m so so excited to share this cover for Girl Behind The Veil. It totally captures what the story is about. I hope you guys love it as much as I do.
And, the best part? It’s available for preorder for a special introductory price of only 99cents! This is for limited time so get our copy now. I know you’ll love this story. Amazon link to preorder
Here’s the blurb:
His assignment is simple.
Buy the girl and get out.
Going undercover to catch the bad guys is nothing unusual for the American soldier, Kaden Reid.
But this time, it isn’t the bad guys he is after.
This time, he has to save the mysterious, gray-eyed girl behind the veil.
While visiting her father in Pakistan, Salena is suddenly kidnapped.
Three weeks in captivity.
Three weeks of torture.
Lifetime of invisible scars.
When the paths of two strangers from opposite worlds collide, their lives are irrevocably altered. Can they overcome not only the society’s barriers, but also their own inner turmoil? Can their hearts find the courage to fight for the forbidden dream?
It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve been writing this story. The good news is that the first draft is finally done! I’ve been going through the manuscript and editing away. Next step will be the beta readers, then the editor, then more revisions. So, there’s still lots of work left. For now, though, I’m going to share the first chapter with you all. Remember, it’s not professionally edited yet. Nevertheless, I think you’ll enjoy this sneak peek. I really love the way the story has developed 🙂
My assignment was simple. Buy the girl and get out. It shouldn’t be too difficult since I’d been in much more dangerous missions than this. Piece of cake.
Besides, being in the Special Forces for the United States government had trained me well to perform under pressure. At the age of twenty-five, I was one of the younger soldiers in my unit. But I had more than proved my worth. Not only was I picked for this assignment because of my age, but I was one of the top combat and weaponry agents, as well as being fluent in four different languages.
I was disguised as Pier Silvani, a wealthy son of a very successful Italian businessman. Pier had a reputation of getting what he wanted, even if he had to break the rules to get it. It made me sick how many human trafficking operations existed in the world. These evil men found ways to get the innocent girls in their possession and sell them to the highest bidders.
I rode in the back of the Jeep while the two Pakistani men, with their guns in their hands, sat in the front. They had picked me up from my hotel couple of hours ago and were bringing me to check the girls out in person. I was well aware that I was at a complete disadvantage with no weapons of my own. I wasn’t even allowed to bring a cell phone with me.
Typically, I wasn’t assigned to such missions, but this one was different. Apparently, they had kidnapped the wrong girl. It looked like this girl I was to save was somebody very important. I was never informed of her father’s identity, but was told he was somebody very big in the political world. As soon as he found out his daughter was missing, he contacted the right connections with enough influence to have my team be brought in to find her.
Once it was determined that this human trafficking organization had kidnapped her three weeks ago while she was shopping in a bazaar, we were given strict instructions to keep it all very simple. I would act as a client, buy her from the organization, and get her out. We would then see her safe to her father, and the mission would be completed.
I only hoped that she never told her kidnappers her true identity. If they realized they had a goldmine in their hands, God only knew what they’d do to her. Even I wasn’t notified of much information about her. I was merely shown a picture of her and was told she was only nineteen years old. My unit hadn’t even told me her name.
Luckily, we had enough contacts to get me in as one of the potential clients. At first, I was given photographs of girls to choose from by the kidnappers. I wasn’t interested in any of the other girls, though. Sure, it would be pretty awesome to be able to save them all, but their fate was out of my hands. I was after the one and only—the girl with the beautiful, gray eyes.
Since my team had already shown me numerous photos of her, I recognized her picture immediately when it was presented to me. She had a hijab around her face, so her hair was completely covered, but her gray eyes were unmistakable. Whereas the other girls had kept their eyes casted down, this girl had stared straight into the camera with a look of defiance.
To keep it believable, I’d chosen four different girls out of the twenty pictures they’d shown me, one being the subject. Now, as we approached the compound—which appeared to be in the middle of nowhere in northern parts of Pakistan—my senses were on high alert. Already driving for two hours, there was nothing around us but vast land.
As we got closer, I noticed five different Jeeps parked, and two large tents were set up. I was guided into one of the tents by the driver and was ordered to stay there until further instructions. Knowing I was with no weapons in the middle of nowhere and responsible for saving somebody very important made my adrenaline pump even faster. But, the fact that they believed I was very wealthy who liked to live on the edge helped me get this close to the subject.
When they brought the four girls into the tent, each was covered from head to toe in her traditional attire. Five men with guns were accompanying them. One of the men, who appeared to be their leader, approached me and shook my hand. He smiled as he pointed to the girls behind him. I smiled back, showing him I was looking forward to the business transaction.
“Welcome, Pier Silvani. I think you’ll be pleased with these girls, yes?” The man spoke in Hindi.
“Yes, very pleased,” I replied in Hindi. I wasn’t very good in the language, but was able to wing it if needed.
“Shall we speak in English to make it easier on both of us?” he asked in a very heavy accent.
“I would prefer it,” I agreed. “Thank you.”
With a swift move, he approached each of the girls and pulled their garments off them. Four completely naked girls stood before me, and it took everything out of me not to react at their humiliation. As much as I wanted to cover the girls, I pretended to inspect each of them by circling around them. Some of the girls whimpered, some trembled out of fear, and all but one kept their gaze down to the ground.
I knew who the girl I was searching for immediately. She was the one who kept staring straight ahead, her lips drawn into a thin line, showing insubordination. Her skin was as clear as a porcelain doll, and the contrast of her jet-black hair cascading against her snow-white body took my breath away. Her almond-shaped eyes were the most unusual color of gray, and the depth in them could pierce one’s soul.
Whereas the other girls stood with their shoulders stooped forward, she remained erect with her shoulders and head held high. There was not a sound coming from her while she stood strong and held onto her pride. Even though her hands were rolled into tight fists and she maintained her chin up, I could tell she was hanging on by a thin thread, holding onto any little dignity that remained.
An overwhelming urge to cover her with my own jacket from the prying eyes of the disgusting pigs snuck up on me. I wanted to protect this girl—a complete stranger—and whisk her away.
“Don’t worry, they’re all virgins. We inspected them.” The man laughed as if he was sharing some inside joke with me.
I forced myself to laugh with him, and pointed to the girl I was after. “I want her.”
“Ah, yes, she is special, yes? We call her Azmia. A beautiful girl, yes?” He approached her and smacked her on her bare bottom.
I saw Azmia close her eyes and clench her jaw, trying to keep herself together.
I stepped right in front of her and cupped her chin in my hand, forcing her to look at me. She stared deep into my eyes, daring me to make the next move. Leaning forward, I brushed my lips against hers ever so softly, causing the men to laugh and whistle. She, however, kept her lips tight, maintaining indifference to my kiss.
“Azmia,” I repeated the name. How fitting since Azmia meant brave. “Yes, very beautiful. I want her. Here’s the money you asked for.” I held out the briefcase containing $50,000 in cash.
The man grabbed the briefcase from my hand and opened it. Once satisfied of the content, he nodded. “Yes, you’ll enjoy this one. We have her papers and her new ID’s for you. You should have no problems getting her out of the country.” He then turned toward his men and spoke in Hindi. “Cover the girls up and get this one ready to go. And keep your hands off her!”
I wasn’t surprised that he had to remind his men to keep their hands to themselves since it appeared they wouldn’t hesitate one bit to fulfill their wildest fantasies with her.
Within ten minutes, the girl named Azmia was sitting next to me in the back seat of the Jeep, covered from head to toe in her black garment. This time, the man who spoke English was riding in the front as a passenger, but the driver remained the same. They were supposed to take us to the airport in Islamabad where they believed my private jet was waiting for us. It was a three-hour drive, and if everything went as planned, we should be at the airport before sunset.
My goal was to just keep us safe for the next three hours, and then my assignment would be done. My team was already waiting for us at the airport, and they’d take over. They were supposed to check us in through the gates as if we were any other passengers to avoid any suspicion. All I had to do was to get Azmia to that point. Once there, they’d get her to her father.
As we drove through a completely deserted road, I kept my eyes on the men in front of me. I was well aware that both of them had handguns attached to their waists. We had been driving for nearly half an hour, and I knew the nearest sign of any civilization was probably another hour away.
The men were talking amongst themselves and would occasionally say a couple of things to me. They were mostly making jokes about my time with my new girl. I humored them and laughed at their silly jokes. But when I heard a sudden pop from the side of the Jeep, I had a sinking feeling that we had a flat tire.
“What happened?” I asked.
The driver got out and answered to his boss in Hindi. “Flat tire, Sahib.”
I showed my irritation. “I don’t have all day. I need to get to my destination while it’s still daylight.”
“Oh, don’t worry,” The leader said to me in English. “The rest of my men are not far behind us. We’ll use one of those Jeeps to get you to the airport.” He grabbed the radio and spoke in Hindi to explain the situation. He then turned toward me again and said, “See, they’ll be here in twenty minutes.”
The driver entered his seat again while we all waited. My senses were so focused on the men that I didn’t notice when Azmia suddenly lunged toward me. Caught off-guard, she was instantly on top of me, punching and scratching.
Before I could take control of the situation, the leader jumped out of the Jeep and pulled her off me. Snatching her hijab off, he grabbed her hair and dragged her out of the vehicle. I leaped out as well, trying to calm everybody down. The driver had remained in the Jeep, waiting on the leader to handle the girl.
“I told you to learn your manners! He’s your master now!” The man screamed at Azmia in Hindi while shaking her like a rag doll. He pulled his gun out and held it to her face.
“Stop!” I ordered. “I can handle her. She’s mine now.”
“She has to be taught a lesson for her behavior,” the man replied back to me, shoving her to the ground.
Azmia landed hard, but only a soft whimper escaped her lips.
“I said, I’m her master now. She’s mine! I’ll handle her!” I kept my voice stern.
The man turned to me, taking in heavy breaths as if to calm himself down. “Fine! But I warn you, girls like this one must be controlled.” He then bent down to pull her up to standing. To my horror, he punched her on the side of her face.
As Azmia toppled down again, I could no longer hold back my fury. I lunged forward, tackling him down. The impact caused him to drop his gun, and I took the opportunity to grab him in a chokehold. When I saw the driver stepping out of the Jeep, instincts took over. Without hesitating, I snapped the lead guy’s neck, and he lay limp in my arms.
I knew I had to act quickly as the driver ran toward us with the gun pointed at me. Everything happened all at once. The gunshot echoed into the deathly silence of the isolated road. The driver went down, and I realized Azmia had just shot him. She was standing there with the leader’s gun in her hand, her eyes wide with shock.
I stood up very slowly, stepping toward her. When she pointed the gun at me, I raised my arms up, showing her I was harmless.
“It’s okay,” I said in English. “Do you understand English at all?”
She remained quiet, but continued pointing the gun at me
“I’m here to help you.” I then spoke in my broken Hindi while I kept taking small steps toward her. “Your father sent me.
A look of confusion crossed her face, and I took the opportunity to grab her wrist and snatch the gun out of her hand.
“It’s okay. I won’t hurt you.” I placed the gun on the waist of my pants and continued, “We have to go. The rest of the men will be here in no time.”
When I saw her trying to weigh her options, I moved quickly. I grabbed the driver’s gun and checked the back of the Jeep. Seeing the backpack, I breathed a sigh of relief when I noted the content in there. It had a few water bottles, first aid kit, a knife, a military blanket, and some military rations.
“Bingo,” I whispered to myself. Placing my arms through the backpack, I turned to her. “Let’s go! We have to get out of here before the rest of them arrive. We have to go through the woods where they can’t follow us with their Jeeps.”
I was speaking in English because there simply was no time for me to try to figure out how to translate everything into Hindi. I grabbed her arm and began running toward the tree lines.
Although Azmia still seemed to be in a state of shock, she ran alongside of me. I held onto her arm to help set her pace. We needed to get as much distance as possible before the rest of them found their men dead.
I have a cover reveal event on Facebook in approximately one hour for My Perfect Imperfections. It’s from 7pm-8pm CST. We plan on having lots of fun and there will be some giveaways. I will also share some teasers and excerpts from My Perfect Imperfections. This story is very dear to my heart so I really hope you all can join us.
You can just participate from your computer/phone/iPad…whatever! Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/events/696992903779555/