Is Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment over to Afghanistan?
EXCERPT to HOLD ME by Lindsay McKenna, Delos Series, 8.11.16
Sequel to HOLD ON
Callie McKinley tried to stuff down her fears as she stood with her fiancé, Beau Gardner, a Delta Force Army sergeant, at the Butte, Montana airport. He was leaving on this cold January under clear skies, typical of a Montana winter morning. She felt his arm curved around her shoulders and took comfort in it, but it didn’t dissolve her growing terror as he prepared to complete his fifth tour in Afghanistan. Callie felt his fingers move soothingly up and down her upper arm as she leaned against his tall, hard body. Was he reading her mind? She tried to appear relaxed and calm, but inside she was drowning in a storm of anxiety.
People were making their way home from the Christmas and New Year holidays. Beau was dressed in civilian clothes and Callie didn’t think anyone in the bustling airport would know he was a deadly operator. He had saved her life late November when her civilian charity van was attacked by Taliban on the way to a “safe” Afghan village to render medical aid. She had been a devoted child care worker for Hope Charity, spending six months of every year in Kabul, the capital, where she assisted fifty orphaned Afghan babies and young children. She loved her work with them, even while knowing that Kabul wasn’t truly safe.
She sighed, resting her brow against Beau’s Levi’s jacket, closing her eyes and squeezing him around his trim waist. Instantly, Beau responded, dropping a light kiss on her hair and holding her a bit more tightly for a moment, as if to reassure her. He knew she was worried about his going back over there. His enlistment wasn’t up until June of this year and it was only January. Six months. Callie knew that in the winter, the Taliban attacks slowed down or stopped because the heavy snowfall didn’t allow the enemy to travel around the country very easily. They all headed back to Pakistan to wait until the spring thaw in April. Then, they would return to begin systematic attacks against anyone, Afghan, American, or otherwise, who did not share their beliefs.
“You doing okay?” Beau asked as he leaned down, his lips brushing the curve of her ear.
“I’m doing okay,” she lied. The last thing Callie wanted was to have Beau worry about her and not focus on his job in black ops. She heard a rumble in his broad chest.
“You’re such a beautiful fibber, Ms. McKinley, but I love you anyway.”
She absorbed his West Virginia drawl, soothed by the low, husky sound of his voice and feeling how much he loved her. Callie had thought she knew what love was after dating a series of “Mr. Wrongs.” Then, Beau, a twenty-seven-year-old Army Delta Force sergeant, had more or less crashed into her life when she was working in Kabul, changing it forever. Rousing herself, she lifted her head, angling it so she could meet his amused gray eyes focused solely on her. Lips twisting, she whispered, “I’m not lying, Beau. Well, maybe a little…”
“Hey, I know you. You’re a first-class worry wart, sweetheart. I’ll be fine,” he promised, dropping another kiss on her furrowed brow. “I’ll be home before you know it and I’ll meet you right here in this airport.” He lifted his head, angling his chin. “And Grandpa Graham will be here with you.”
Was Callie going to lose the man she loved to one, last deployment to Afghanistan?
And don’t miss WIND RIVER WRANGLER by Lindsay McKenna! Coming 10.25.16 from Kensington Books!! Book 1 of her new cowboy series!
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Tantor Media AUDIO: Hold Me release 11.2.16