Even after our brave men and women leave the battlefield the scars can linger physically and sometimes mentally. Here are three tales of cuorage, strength , perseverance and love that deal with both.
After a long sting in Afghanistan, Cpl. Trevor Martin finds himself home for leave and contemplating reenlistment or civilian life. Weary and tired of the grim sights he's witnessed, he turns to his old friend Carly for comfort. When Trevor shows signs of PTSD, Carly urges him to get help, hoping that Repairing His Soul won't cost them their rapidly forming romance.
After a near death experience with an IED in the Middle East, Staff Sgt Alexander Denning is grateful to be alive but scarred inside and out after his fiancée's bitter rejection of his choice to continue serving. Georgette "George" Harper is attending Jane Wayne day for her sister when she's smitten with the McMap instructor Staff Sgt. Denning. Can she convince him what they have is worth the risk? Wooing Her Sergeant may be harder than she thinks.
When Mika gets a phone call that her husband Kasey's been hurt abroad, it's her worse nightmare. Prayers and the grace of God deliver him through, but the battle isn't over yet. The journey back to happiness and health will be painful, full of setbacks and damaged feelings, but Mika refuses to give up on the man she knows is her one true love. A true Marine's wife is Always Faithful, no matter the cost to herself.
Repairing his Soul
Tonight was her night. Carly had spent all of high school and college pining over Trevor Martin, and now that he was coming home for leave after enlisting in the United States Marine Corps, she was going to make her move. Mainville was a small town, so they were welcoming their hometown hero back in style. A parade was being held in his honor where he would be the star, coupled with a celebration in the community center. She checked her shiny black curly hair with golden highlights and smiled. The sultry style framed her oval-shaped face and the golden streaks brought out the amber tones in her brown eyes. The soft-spoken bookworm with braces and hideous glasses was gone. In her place was the confident, attractive woman she'd matured into. Not that Trevor had ever treated her any different from the pretty, popular girls he always ran with. That was a part of his appeal.
She'd been his tutor for the entirety of their senior year and off and on during college. It was during high school though, that she'd truly fallen head-over-heels for the dark-haired boy with the wicked sense of humor and similar interests. Just as sweet as he was thoughtful, Trevor was a handsome athlete with a heart of gold. It hadn't shocked her one bit when he high-tailed it out of town to join the armed forces right out of college. It'd broken a lot of hearts though, hers included, and regret about never telling him how she felt had eaten her alive since. Now after five years, he was back. She skipped the parade to make her grand entrance as twilight turned to dusk wearing a dress bought just for this occasion. The blush-pink dress had a sweetheart neckline, ruching across her waist that made her look tiny and fell to her knees, making the ensemble sexy, yet appropriate. Her three-inch, peep-toe pumps were white and pink in honor of her best friend Maddie.
Her giddiness faded as she thought of the woman she'd lost prematurely to pancreatic cancer. They'd been two peas in a pod from the moment they met in Ms. Richardson's class in third grade. Kindred spirits, their parents had called them. Unlike most girls who grew up together, there were no major ups and downs, just disagreements that blew over and brought them even closer. Standing by Maddie's side as she grew weaker with every day that passed had been excruciatingly painful but nothing compared to what Maddie endured. They talked a lot about dreams and missed opportunities toward the end, and made a list. Some things were outlandish, like sky diving or climbing to the top of a mountain and some where silly and simple, like dancing in the rain. In the end they'd narrowed it down to a list of ten things.
Her number one had been having her moment with Trevor. The minute she'd said it out loud, she'd wanted to take it back. But the wicked sparkle in Maddie's bright blue eyes had stopped her protests before they began. Carly had fulfilled everything on her list like she'd promised. She'd danced in the rain, chased a rainbow to where she thought it ended, traveled to Belize, went to high tea at a fancy hotel room in Atlanta, taken dancing lessons, bought a whole new wardrobe in celebration of the twenty pounds she trimmed from her physique, had her fortune read, let go of the growing pains she'd experienced, and learned to truly love herself. Trevor was the last thing left unchecked. She wanted forever, but she knew she'd have to settle for the two weeks he'd be home. It' d be more dates than she anticipated.
Trevor had signed his life over to Uncle Sam. There was no place for a hometown girl in his life. She accepted it and wanted whatever she could have with him regardless of the facts. After a lifetime of pining, two weeks' worth of dating would be amazing. Her hands shook slightly as she applied a finishing coat of peach lip balm. This was it. Carly turned from the mirror in her bedroom and walked into the living room to gather her purse. Her face flushed as she thought about what she was about to do. She was coming down with cold feet, and she hadn't even left her apartment. A pang of longing went through her. If Maddie were here, she'd be on top of the world and talking trash. They always fed off of one another that way.
"I'm going to do you proud, girl. I'm going to paint the town red with the man of my dreams for the next two weeks." Or you could go for more. The voice in her head was talking crazy. Logically, Carly knew that. It was her heart that refused to listen. Damn those romance books and John Hughes for making her believe in true love and happily ever after. Her heels clattered over the tile in the entrance of her apartment as she headed out the door.
The community center was packed with people she knew. It was like a bizarre all-age dance for the Fourth of July. The room had been decorated in red, white, and blue. Crepe paper covered every surface it could be taped to. A welcome home banner featuring Trevor in his fatigues hung across the back wall. The man cut a fine figure. Judging by the other single women in the town dressed to the nines, she wasn't the only one trying to catch his eye. Her lip curled up when she saw Trevor's college sweetheart Michelle. The minute he'd left for basic training, she'd been catting around behind his back. It made her stomach turn to see her slinking around in her skin-tight black dress and four-inch "do me" shoes. It'd take more than a banging body to make a man get over the cruel Dear John she sent. Over the years, Carly had kept in touch to a point.
She wrote him the occasional letter and coveted the ones she got back. She saw glimpses of the boy he'd been in the man he'd become. It was a beautiful blend of humor, strength, maturity, and intelligence. Carly made her way through the crowd, pausing to say hi to those she knew as she scanned the crowd for the man of honor. When her nerves got to be too much, she retreated to the punch bowl and ladled herself a drink.
The deep baritone made her knees weak. I know that voice. She set her cup on the table in front of her and turned. Birds flapped their feathered wings inside her belly. Trevor was fine in his dress blues. His hair was cut close to his head, his shoulders were broader than she remembered, and his tan skin made his brilliant blue eyes pop. With his chiseled chin and strong jawline, he was a recruit poster come to life. The Few, the proud, indeed.
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