TODAY IS THANKFUL THURSDAY…I’m thankful for real-life men and women like my heroes. Now, I am sure I’ve teased y’all with this excerpt, but tell me if it makes you one-click it?
Delta Redemption by Elle Boon
“Mark, can I come up there?” Brooke called up to her brother from below their treehouse. It was really hers now, but for some reason, her big brother was inside.
The sound of breaking glass had her stepping back. “Jesus Christ, Brookey, can’t you just leave me the fuck alone?”
She bit her lip. Her brother was Brooke’s champion, always looking out for her, never raised his voice, let alone cursed at her. “I’m sorry…I just thought,” she whispered.
Her brother’s bruised face looked over the edge. “Come on up, peanut.”
Swiping at the tears on her cheeks, she secured her backpack on before climbing up the ladder. Once inside, she saw whatever Mark broke had been cleaned up, but the scent of alcohol hit her. “Are you okay?” The backpack gave her a reason to look away from his tall gangly form.
He let out a sigh. “Growing up is hard to do, peanut.”
“I brought you something to eat since you missed lunch and dinner.” Brooke showed him what she’d smuggled out of the house, making him laugh. She loved to hear him laugh. He was always so serious that it didn’t happen often.
“Thank you for this.” He bit into the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They ate in silence. She handed him a soda when he finished off his second PB&J. “I’m sorry for yelling at you. You know you’ll always be my best friend right?”
Brooke smiled around the bite in her mouth. “I’m the peanut to your jelly,” she agreed.
Mark nodded, but looked away, a strange look on his face.
Brooke wished she knew that would’ve been the last time anyone saw her brother alive. The last dinner they’d ever eat together. “God Mark, why’d you leave me alone. You said you’d always protect me, but where are you now? I’m all alone now that daddy’s gone, too. It’s not fair,” she whispered brokenly, slapping her hand against the sturdy oak that held so many memories.
Jase watched as Brooke cried out, wishing he could go to her, her pain eating at him. If things were different, he’d be there holding her in his arms, promising that everything would be alright. It would be a lie, but he’d have done his best to ensure she was safe. He waited until she went up to the house, surprised when she didn’t go back inside where all the people were. It was no secret there was tension between her and Mrs. Frazee, but surely, in times like these, they’d lean on each other? Keeping to the shadows, he followed Brooke until she got into her neon green Bricklin. He still couldn’t believe her father had helped her rebuild such a fast car, let alone allowed her to drive it. The engine roared to life without a hitch, reminding him of the fact she was more than just a gorgeous girl. A tomboy. That was how she’d described herself, but to him, she’d always been all woman.
He ran a hand down his face as she maneuvered the muscle car out of a tight spot with ease then headed away from the house that was no longer her home. Jogging to his rental, he quickly jumped in and followed at a safe distance. His curiosity piqued as the couple who’d been with her at the funeral left her apartment above the salon she owned, without the child, shortly after she arrived home.
With a sigh, he sat back and waited to see what she was up to. More than likely the couple had taken the child to a family member or something, he reasoned. “Fuck, this is the shittiest part of an assignment,” he muttered.
Jase didn’t mind sitting around in the middle of a desert or even on some frozen country side watching an enemy camp for days on end. Hell, having done it more than once, it was almost second nature. However, sitting in a rented SUV outside his ex’s place hadn’t ever been on his list of things to do. The last time he’d left her place, dreams of a future with the stunning beauty were filling his head. Admiral Frazee put a huge gaping hole in those plans, and his heart, that night. Hell, they all knew he wasn’t good enough for Brooke when she’d been twenty-one to his thirty, but age didn’t seem to matter to them. Looking back, he could see why her father thought differently. He was a SEAL who put his life on the line, while she was…everything he wasn’t. Of course, Mark Frazee was a fucking traitor who had risked all their lives and sent him to prison by setting him up. Yeah, he didn’t shed any tears for the bastard when the news of the car accident spread.
He tapped his fingers on the steering wheel, wondering why someone had been sent to watch over Brooke. Ever since he’d been freed from Leavenworth, although freed was not really the word most would use since he had been officially a wanted man until he’d faked his death. Jase had been working on the outside trying to find how far up the chain of command the dirt went, but it was slower than he’d hoped. The phone buzzed next to him, it’s caller ID showing him it was his contact within the military. “Tyler here,” he said in a clipped tone.
“Have you made contact with the admiral’s daughter?” The distorted voice asked.