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About the author:
You may learn more about Nicole and her work at www.authornicoleblanchard.com. Join her mailing list for updates at http://eepurl.com/6zSvD
What inspired you to write your book?
My husband was in the military and was a contractor overseas. I’ve always wanted to write a book that dealt with the challenges couples face after being overseas and how love truly can conquer even the most devastating circumstances.
Here is a short sample from the book:
“I understand.” It’s devastating, but I do get it. It is worth it to have a part of him that I’ll always be able to keep. No matter how long he’s away.
“You sure? I don’t want to hurt you, Liv. That’s the last thing I want.”
I turn so that I’m facing him. “Trust me, I do.” I reach up to kiss him. “I don’t want you to worry about me while you’re gone. The most important thing is that you stay safe.”
His eyes turn serious as I look down at him. “I’m gonna miss you.”
My heart squeezes painfully in my chest. “You haven’t been here long enough to miss me.”
A ghost of a smile crosses his handsome face. “Last night changed that.”
I open my mouth to reply, but I’m interrupted by the sound of my cell phone going off on the nightstand beside me. I check and find a text from Jack asking if I knew where Ben went last night.
“What time is it?” Ben asks.
“Little after seven.”
“I promised Mom I’d have breakfast at my grandparents’ house.”
I’m grateful that my face is once again hidden in his throat because the news that our time is coming to an end makes me more upset than I’d like to admit. “Yeah,” I clear my throat, “I should be getting home before Jack sends out a search party.”
Ben kisses my forehead again before slipping out of bed. I take a moment to admire his beautiful male form as he walks to the bathroom. While he’s gone, I dress in my clothes from the night before, wincing as my sore muscles make themselves known.
I throw my hair up into a ponytail and smile in the mirror as Ben wraps his arms around me from behind.
“I’ll take you home when you’re ready.”
I force a smile on my face. “I’m ready.” Maybe if I fake it long enough, it’ll start feeling like the truth.
Ben places a hand at the small of my back as he leads me back to his truck. The sight of it throws me back to the night before and my face heats. He opens the door for me and I get in. I watch as he rounds the truck, his simple T-shirt and jeans do amazing things for the lines of his body. I can’t believe it took us this long to make it into bed together. If I’d known it was going to be so good, I would have found a way to get him there sooner.
“You need to stop anywhere before I drop you off?” he asks.
I swallow thickly. “No, I’m good, thanks.”
As we get closer to my house, the sense of dread grows like a rock in my stomach. This was why I never wanted to act upon the attraction between us. What if things get weird between us? Then again, who am I kidding? Sex always complicates things.
I’m mentally kicking myself when I feel a warm touch on my hand. I look down and find Ben twining his fingers with my own. He brings our hands to his lips and kisses my fingers, and I swear, my heart skips a beat.
“Whatever is going on inside that head of yours…whatever excuses you’re trying to come up with to explain away what you’re feeling, you need to shut that shit down now. If I had more time to show you what I’m feeling, I would, but I don’t and that’s on me.” He pulls the truck in my driveway, shuts off the engine and turns to me. “I need you to trust that it meant something to me. That you mean something to me.”
I move closer, grinning at him like an idiot. “You mean something to me, too.”
He full-on smiles at this, his eyes running across my face, almost as if he’s trying to commit it to memory. “First chance I get when I get back, I’ll find you.” He looks out the windshield for a moment before returning his gaze to mine. “I shouldn’t tell you to wait for me, Liv, but I’m a selfish bastard so I hope you will.”
The next nine months are going to be hell on earth, but what I have to deal with is nothing compared to the dangers he’s going to face. I don’t know how he does it, and goes back again and again. Just watching him leave and knowing he may not return causes tears to spring to my eyes. I fight to keep my voice from cracking. “You remember what I said, Benjamin Hart. You stay safe. Or else.”
“I will, I promise.” He spares me a quick kiss. “C’mon, I’ll walk you to your door.”
Each step down the walkway to my small house makes the yawning chasm inside my chest crack open a little more. How am I supposed to say goodbye when we’ve barely said hello?
We reach my front door and turn to each other. I can only stare dumbly at the concrete.
Ben pulls on my hand until I’m in his arms. I inhale the scent of his cologne and detergent, steeling my overwrought emotions. I don’t want to make this harder on him than it already is.
When I’m reasonably sure I can control myself, I take a step back. My five foot five height puts me about eye level with his chest, where remnants of my mascara have dirtied his shirt.
“I messed up your shirt,” I mumble, fingering the stain.
He smiles and cups my cheek with one hand. “It’s fine. Now kiss me and say goodbye.”
His lips press against mine for a moment, but those few seconds say more than any words ever could. I can feel the way his fingers grip my cheek more tightly, the way his body strains against mine, and the way his breath catches in his chest. He breaks our connection, resting his forehead against mine, his eyes closed.
“Now say goodbye,” he whispers.
I manage to choke out, “Goodbye, Ben.”