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Two battle buddies. One fateful deployment. Two vastly different sets of wounds. One friendship changed forever.
A childhood in foster care taught Carey Everett to hold tight to what he has. Enlisting in the Marines gave him purpose, but a life-threatening injury ended his career—and took his leg. Now fully recovered, Carey’s happier than he’s ever been. He has a fulfilling job, a chosen family and, best of all, a cherished friendship with Jase DeSantis, the platoon medic who saved his life.
Despite Jase’s heroism in combat, he’s haunted by his actions overseas. Playing music with his band keeps the demons at bay, but it’s a battle he’s starting to lose.
After a week of sun and fun in San Diego, Jase and Carey’s connection takes an unexpected turn. With change comes a new set of challenges. For Jase, it means letting someone else into his deepest pain. For Carey, it’s realizing love doesn’t always equal loss. In order to make their relationship work, they’ll have to come to terms with their pasts…
…or risk walking away from each other for good.
Read an Excerpt
Carey snatched up his crutches and hopped to the kitchen.
Seated at the table with a tumbler, Jase took one look at him and burst into laughter.
“What?” Carey asked crossly. “I have a booger hanging out my nose or something?”
“No, the saying on your shirt.” Wiping his eyes on the hem of his own black tee, Jase wheezed, “‘Marine: Some Assembly Required.’”
Wordlessly, Carey turned to show him the back, which read: “I had a blast in Afghanistan.”
That sent Jase into peals of more laughter, the husky sound brushing like crushed velvet along Carey’s skin. “Glad you find it amusing,” he said drily. “Adele actually gave me this.”
At the mention of the physical therapist who’d treated Carey at Walter Reed, Jase’s cheeks turned pink. Carey couldn’t help but chuckle. “Yeah, I know about you two. She told me.”
A perpetually cheerful woman anyway, Adele had had an extra spring in her step one morning as she’d bounced into the amputee clinic. “Had dinner with your friend Jase last night,” she’d said, eyes sparkling. “And also, you know, breakfast.”
Carey had grunted, not in the least concerned about Jase’s sex life. “Can you spot me on the weight bar?” he’d asked, and that was that.
Now he regarded Jase thoughtfully. “It amazes me, how you stay friends with all your exes.”
An indignant look crossed Jase’s face. “What do you mean, all my exes? And Adele isn’t an ex, not really. That was mostly timing, comfort.” He shrugged. “Fun.”
Carey lowered himself into a chair. “Well, she still asks about you when she comes out to work at the ranch. Gets this faraway look on her face.” He snorted at Jase’s smug glance. “Oh, you’re just that good, huh?”
Jase lifted an eyebrow. “Wanna find out?”
Even though Carey knew he was joking, a frisson of remembered heat flashed through him. He cleared his throat. “Nah. You’re the bi one here, not me.”
Their eyes met and held before Jase murmured, “Hmm. Pity.”
It was Carey’s turn to blush as a tingle of heat spread from his belly down between his legs. He risked a glance at Jase again, only to find gentle teasing on his face.
Shaking his head, Carey shot him a rueful smile. “You goof. What would you have done if I’d said yes?”
“If you’d said yes—” Jase got to his feet and poured Carey a few fingers from the bottle of Tennessee Honey liqueur on the counter. After he’d set the tumbler down in front of him, he leaned in close. “I’d have made sure you thoroughly enjoyed yourself. What else?”
With a wink, Jase sauntered off to his bedroom, leaving Carey staring after him, his pulse pounding so hard he wondered if Jase could hear it.
About the Author
Melanie Hansen doesn’t get nearly enough sleep. She loves all things coffee-related, including collecting mugs from every place she’s visited. After spending eighteen years as a military spouse, Melanie definitely considers herself a moving expert. She has lived and worked all over the country, and hopes to bring these rich and varied life experiences to the love stories she gets up in the wee hours to write. On her off-time, you can find Melanie watching baseball, reading or spending time with her husband and two teenage sons.
Everything Changes Buy Link: https://amzn.to/2Y7nf07
Melanie Hansen will award a randomly drawn commenter a $25 Amazon/BN GC.