Back to You
He's in for the fight of his life . . .
captain Trent Davila loved his wife, Laura, and their two beautiful
children. But when he almost lost his life in combat, something inside
him died. He couldn't explain the emptiness he felt or bridge the
growing distance between him and his family-so he deployed again. And
again. And again...until his marriage reached its breaking point. Now,
with everything on the line, Trent has one last chance to prove to his
wife that he can be the man she needs ...if she'll have him
. . . to win back his only love.
is blindsided when Trent returns home. Time and again, he chose his men
over his family, and she's just beginning to put the pieces of her
shattered heart back together. But when Trent faces a court martial on
false charges, only Laura can save him. What begins as an act of
kindness to protect his career inflames a desire she thought long
buried-and a love that won't be denied. But can she trust that this time
he's back to stay?
“I put your checkbook in the front pocket of your ruck sack. Did you find the sleep medication? You’ll need to sleep on the plane so that you’re rested when you land. And I put your calling card—”
Captain Trent Davila looked up from where he sat on the edge of their bathtub. He held a tiny folded flag in his hands. For a moment, he’d been somewhere else. Sulfur scorched the inside of his nose. The thunder of the fifty cal reverberated off his breastbone.
“What’s that?” she asked softly, watching him from the bathroom door.
He held out his palm so she could see the little flag. “Good luck charm. I can’t deploy without it.”
A thousand questions flickered over her face as her gaze fell onto that tiny flag. She bit her lip and turned away, but not before he saw the naked fear looking back at him.
He moved, stepping in front of his wife and capturing her face in his palms. Her skin was smooth and soft and achingly familiar, and a deep part of his soul missed her already. But that part of his soul wasn’t in control right now. The moment she touched him, his soul recoiled, refusing to let him take even the simplest pleasure in her touch.
He’d cheated death and he knew, knew he didn’t deserve to be there with his wife when so many of his men had died. That’s why he had to leave. Again. It didn’t matter to where. It didn’t matter if it was the war in Iraq or a transition team somewhere in the mountains of Afghanistan. He needed to get away. To get back into the fight. And pray that his wife would understand why he had to
“Laura.” He whispered her name, capturing her attention. She tried to look away, to pretend that today was just another day. But Trent knew her too well. He saw the doubt and the fear that she tried to hide. Her eyes, though, her eyes always gave her away. He stroked an errant strand of copper hair away from her forehead, meeting her golden eyes, unable to speak any words of comfort. He knew they’d just be more empty lies.
She offered a watery smile. “I’m terrified of losing you again,” she whispered. “I’ve deployed since I got hurt. This time is no different.” “You didn’t get hurt.” She refused to meet his gaze.
“You died. Your heart actually stopped beating. And this time is worse. This is the Surge.” Her
voice broke. “I can’t lose you again,” she whispered. Her voice cracked as the tears tumbled down her cheeks.
He hated to see her cry. Worse, he knew he could prevent those tears. He pulled her close and simply held her, wishing he could feel as alive with his wife and family as he did when he was at war.
Maybe someday, when the war was over, he could figure out what had broken inside him and how to fix it.
He stroked his thumbs over her cheeks as the kids shrieked in Ethan’s bedroom. The sound sent a spike of anxiety through Trent’s heart, but he smiled, hoping to cheer her up. “Sounds like
someone just lost a Lego.”
“He’s probably going to beg you for a hamster again,” she said. Laura swiped at her eyes, blinking rapidly. “Can’t let them see me like this.”
He slid from her embrace, regret sealing the walls that four deployments had erected around his heart. Trent tried not to notice how intently Laura watched him, her gaze sweeping over the scars on his body as he finished getting dressed. His dog tags banged against his ribs as he dragged his t-shirt over his head and pulled on the rest of his uniform and then his boots.
“Well, you could get one,” Trent said, needing the distraction of simple conversation.
“Or,” Laura said with a smile that didn’t reach her eyes, “you could promise him one when you get home. It’ll give him something to look forward to.”
Trent frowned at the odd note in Laura’s voice and focused on tying his boots and tucking the laces beneath the cuff of his pants.
“He won’t even notice I’m gone. They’re both too little.”
Trent straightened as Laura approached, placing her palm over the scar on his heart. It burned where she touched him. It took everything he had not to flinch away from the gentleness in that touch. “Keep telling yourself that,” she said with a soft kiss. “They miss you when you’re gone. We all do.”
He sighed quietly and glanced at her, resting his hands gently on her hips. “Laura, you know I have to go.”
He couldn’t explain it. Didn’t have the words to explain the emptiness inside him that consumed every waking moment when he wasn’t over there. And worse, he didn’t ever want her to see the
emptiness he tried so hard to hide from her.
She believed he’d come home. As long as she continued to believe that, his world would continue to exist. She brushed her thumb over his bottom lip. She blinked rapidly and the sight of her tears almost penetrated the cold empty space where his heart had been. “I just wish it got a little easier waiting for you, that’s all.” Her fingers wrapped around his dog tags, her thumb sliding along the chain. “But we’ll be here when you get back. We always are.”
He ran his fingers lightly over her face. The lie he’d told his wife so often sat like a concrete wall between them. She didn’t know that he’d volunteered for this deployment, for so many others, and
he had no way of killing the lie without killing their marriage.
“Don’t go getting a deployment boyfriend while I’m gone.”
“I don’t think you have to worry about that.” Laura wrapped her arms around him, nuzzling his neck. They stood for a long moment before Laura eased away.
Trent swallowed and let her go. Again.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC of this amazing story. Thanks to Jessica Scott for auto-approving for a couple days. I have been wanting to read this series and have read a few of them out of order but I don't think it really matters since I am going to read the rest of them ASAP!
I have to say this story ripped my heart apart because I am sure this type of thing happens more often than people know about. There are many service members that experience relationship problems as a result of their military service. There are some people that are not cut out to be married to a military service member.
For me, this story was about the healing that Laura and Trent had to go through to overcome everything that they went through. Watching the way they both were feeling and the reactions had me crying my eyes out through the majority of the book.
Thank you Jessica for writing this book as realistic as possible.