Saturday, August 16, 2014
A Heart at War by Tali Martel
Troubled, wild child Mia had searched the world for answers and peace, plagued by guilt over something terrible she did as a child. She thought she’d finally found what she was looking for when she moved to a Wyoming ranch to be with her sister, Lila. But when a Navy Seal barges uninvited into her life, it disrupts the fragile sense of peace she’d worked so hard to build.
Ward knew he was damaged goods. He hoped a few days in the isolated wilderness would help to clear his mind of the images of a failed mission gone horribly wrong. Then along comes Mia, a woman who clearly had serious issues of her own. The instant they met, he'd felt the overwhelmingly need to protect her...not from others but from herself.
“I’m sorry you had to save me.”
His head swung around and in one swift movement, he’d closed the distance between them, jerking to a stop before their toes touched. Back ramrod straight, he shook his head. “I’m not.”
“If I hadn’t been so careless, you wouldn’t be stuck in here.”
He rubbed his neck and kneaded the steel cords. “Right now I’d be shivering so hard, my past wouldn’t be getting much attention.”
An image of his bulk shivering and alone on a mountain somewhere rose and impaled Mia’s heart. Maybe he hadn’t come out here to heal . . .
“I’m glad I was there when you fell. If not . . .”
“—We’d both be dead.”
The color drained from Ward’s face and he gripped the counter. The words had launched themselves from her lips before she’d even recognized them. That happened all the time, but she typically saw the energy first and was ready for the impact of the words. This had blindsided them both.
He recovered quickly, masking the shock. He cleared his throat and stepped around her to open the oven. “How do I know when this is done?”
Mia turned and scanned the broad back and trailed her gaze down his slim hips and the damp fabric still clinging to him. If she hadn’t fallen . . . if he hadn’t jumped in to save her and bring her here . . . he’d be nearly frozen to death on the mountain. Hidden beneath the falling snow. He likely carried a weapon with him . . . would he have waited for hypothermia to take him, or would he have hurried the process?