Can you choose between fighting for your life and fighting for your heart?
When twenty-two year old Emme Sawyer joins a Marine unit heading into Helmand Providence, she focuses on what she does best: keeping her men safe. But, when the unit is hit by an IED, Emme realizes she can’t save everyone. With her humanity on the line, and her faith in question, she seeks comfort from Raven, her commanding officer. Soon, Emme develops feelings that don’t belong in a combat zone, where each step could be your last.
Raven keeps his emotions locked up tight, never allowing the men to see him sweat. But when Emme joins his unit, all bets are off; and the feelings he thought he left stateside begin to emerge. Knowing that the deserts of Afghanistan are the last place to start a romance, and the United States military’s view on fraternizing; Raven tries to deny his heart. Emme and Raven learn you can’t always choose where love finds you. And that sometimes, you just have to trust in God’s plan.
The freezing temperatures of the night woke Doogie. The area was quiet, except for a few light snores coming from the men. She got up, stretched her muscles, and then grabbed an MRE and headed to the fire.
Raven’s shadowed outline was visible next to the fire as she approached.
“Quiet tonight,” she said.
“You should be sleeping. Not sure when it will be this quiet again.” Raven’s deep voice sent a chill through her.
“I’m not much of a sleeper.”
“We have guys with NVG’s watching. The Taliban might be using the dark to maneuver around our flanks. But I don’t think so. You should at least rest.”
“Hmm,” she hummed while she squeezed the bag she held.
“What’s for dinner?” Raven’s expression was more relaxed than usual.
“Uh?” Doogie held the label toward the fire. “Applesauce. But it’s debatable as to the amount of apples in it.”
“I have some beef stew in my pack if you want it. You can’t keep up with only applesauce.”
“Why is it always stew? Why can’t they MRE a cheese burger?” Doogie sucked on the bag.
“I think the food has to be juicy to get out of the bag.” Raven shrugged.
“Stew has chunks of mysterious stuff. You’d think a few chunks of normal food would fit in there. Besides, ketchup is juicy.”
“Well when you get out you can go into the business of creating wonderful gourmet MRE’s. The men would love you.”
“And the women.” Doogie smiled at him.
The corner of Raven’s mouth looked like it might have turned up, but she wasn’t sure. “Who can forget the women?”
“I’ll hire you if you need a job after the war,” Doogie offered.
Raven snuck a quick glance at her before returning to stare at the fire. “I’d appreciate that. I could be your tester. I’ll see if the cheeseburger is up to par. I’ve been known to cook a mean burger.”
“Excellent. Maybe you could even cook the burger since I don’t cook.” Doogie rubbed her hands together at the thought of seeing Raven after the war.
“You don’t cook?” Raven seemed surprised.
“I enlisted at nineteen so didn’t have time to hone my domestic skills.”
“Oh,” was all he said.
They stood in awkward silence for a few minutes.
“Today’s Valentine’s Day,” she blurted.
Raven narrowed his eyes, his mouth in its signature scowl, and then started to laugh. “Yeah, I guess it is.”
“It’s just. Well Tahk told me.” She was such a dork.
“Was he planning a party? Handing out Valentines to the locals?”
Doogie’s head jerked to look over at Raven. Had he just tried to be funny? She’s never had an actual conversation with him. Usually he talked at her…or yelled at her. She let out a stiff laugh. “No.”
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