A few days after his bereavement leave, Henry stood at the bar at the Brewery, nursing a beer. He was miserable. Every thought he had was about Olivia.
“Thank God the rain is taking a break,” the bartender said. “I heard the Hager River is close to going over its banks.”
“Is that right?” Henry said, barely registering what he’d said.
The bartender nodded. “Blackhawk’s are making regular flyovers, keeping an eye on it.”
Tom interrupted. “Caroline just walked in with you know who,” he said.
”Damn, I need to find a new bar,” Henry mumbled.
“You can’t fool a fool, Henry. You’re in love with her; it’s written all over you. Pete here,” Tom said gesturing to the bartender, “was telling me they were in every Friday and Saturday night while we were gone.”
He scowled at Pete. “She ever leave with anyone?”
Pete pursed his lips and shook his head. “Nope. Always left with her friend. She even sent a drink back that a guy here at the bar bought for her,” Pete continued. “Not that I could blame her. Guy was weird. He blinked hard like he had a tick in his eye.”
“What’d he look like?” Henry asked.
“I dunno. Short, barrel-chested.”
“Glasses?” Henry was getting a bad feeling about this guy.
“Sorry - don’t remember.”
“What’d the women do while they were here?”
“They drank Cosmos like they were Kool-Aid, usually too many. That’s when they’d start flirting.” Pete said. “The brown-haired woman? She doesn’t have a clue how to flirt, but the guys were still into her. Who wouldn’t be with those tits and that ass?”
Henry bristled, wanting to knock Pete’s head off. Something tasting faintly of jealousy rose in Henry’s throat and stuck there. He should leave.
“Stand down big guy,” Tom ribbed Henry. “Let me buy you another beer.”
Henry heard Olivia’s laughter followed by a deep male chuckle, but he refused to turn and look. He finished the beer that Tom had bought, then pushed back and stood. He went down the long hallway at the end of the bar where the restrooms were located.
Went in. Came out. Ran smack dab into Olivia, with Caroline trailing behind her.
She said his name like she was startled. Right, he was supposed to believe she was surprised to see him?
“Olivia. What are you doing here?” Henry said giving it right back.
“Caroline wanted to come,” she said, turning to her friend for confirmation. “It’s been a busy week and she wanted to relax. What are you doing here?”
“Drinking,” he grumbled. Well, no shit.
Caroline turned around. “I’ll see you in a few,” she said as she went back to the bar area.
“What’re you doin’?” he asked.
Olivia looked confused. “What do you mean? I told you why we’re here.”
“What’s your purpose in flirting with other men? Think you’re showing me what I’m missing?”
“No,” Olivia said indignantly crossing her arms over her chest. “I’m just trying to let off some steam.”
“I don’t buy it. You want something.”
Olivia looked up at him, then looked down at her shoes and looked at him again. She bit her lower lip. “You’re right. I wanted to apologize. The last time we talked I hurt you and I’m sorry.”
Henry narrowed his eyes and stared at her, trying to see what she was up to. Damned if he could tell. “Okay, apology accepted,” he said and started to move away. He wasn’t sticking around for more pain.
“Henry, don’t leave. I also wanted to ask if . . . we could . . . start over.”
He stopped and looked back at her. “Told you before you weren’t worth the effort,” he barked. “What would change that, huh?”
Olivia’s whole body jerked at his tone.
“Besides,” he continued. “I was a pity date. You wanted to get rid of me.”
She lifted her head and looked at him. “No, I didn’t pity you. What I meant was, once you went out with me, you wouldn’t want another date. You’d see I’m neurotic. But during dinner, I got to know you better. I liked you. I wanted to be with you.” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “I’ve never known anyone like you. I got scared of what I felt for you and how fast I felt it. I didn’t know how to process all of that. See? Neurotic.”
“You’re not neurotic, just a little uptight. Sex would help that.” Henry’s eyes moved to her lips as her chin began to tremble. He moved closer. “Is that everything?”
“No,” she said twisting her hands together. Then she squared her shoulders, took a big breath and looked Henry in the eyes. “I was embarrassed by the things we did and as a result treated you horribly. You did nothing to me that I didn’t want you to do. I entrusted myself to you and in return you handled me with care. I don’t deserve your forgiveness, but I hope that you will. Forgive me, that is.”
“Did you have to practice that speech a lot?” Henry asked getting in her space enough to make her turn her back against the wall. He put a forearm on each side of her, effectively pinning her in. Olivia put her hands on his chest trying to hold him back.
“What about the court martial? What if someone sees us?” he asked.
“The trial starts in ten days. Can we be careful until then?”
“Of course we can. Are you going to go prude again? Freeze me out when you get embarrassed?”
“No-no,” she stammered. “Although I’m still a little scared.”
“Are you scared of me?”
“No.” She visibly swallowed hard. “I’m scared of giving you control over me. But you made me feel so alive and I want that in my life. I want you in my life.”
His eyes burned into hers and he wrapped the palm of his hand around the back of her neck.
“Good,” he said getting even closer to her. “That’s good, because I won’t let you run again,” he said. “You’re mine, Olivia. Do you understand?”
His fingers swept across her cheek and then down her neck and her shoulder to the side of her breast. His other hand slid around to her back, pulling her to him and then his lips touched hers. He pulled back and grinned at her.
“You taste like cranberries,” he said licking his lips. “How much have you had to drink?”
“A couple of Cosmo’s. Enough to get my courage up. Maybe three. Or more.”
Henry laughed. “We’re leavin’,” he said. His hand moved from her back to her ass and he kissed her again. “I’m gonna teach you about makeup sex.”
“Let me go to the ladies room first. I’ll meet you at the bar.”
Henry nodded and watched her as she walked away. Her skirt was tight across her hips and her ass swung back and forth as she moved down the hall. She had on the same high heels that she’d worn on their first date. The memory of them digging into his back went straight to his dick. When she left his sight he turned and went back to the bar.
Then a tragedy forces family obligations on Henry that ultimately tears them apart. A chance encounter in San Francisco leads to a night of passion and unintended consequences. After they have once again gone their separate ways, Henry finds out that he has a two-year old son. He goes back to San Francisco only to learn that Olivia has moved on with her life. His desire to become a family is destroyed when Olivia tells him she is engaged to another man, someone she feels will provide a stable home for her son. She sends Henry away, asking him not to interfere again. He complies with her wishes, but doesn’t forget about the son he’s never held in his arms, nor has he forgiven Olivia.
What they don’t know is that the sadist who is being court-martialed has followed them and is plotting his revenge. He kidnaps Olivia and leaves her for dead in the woods. Henry and his friend Tom come to her rescue, only to find out that Olivia’s friend has been kidnapped, too. An epic manhunt and fight ensue.
U.S. Army Ranger Henry Black Bear, a true-blood Lakota Sioux, is witness to the wrongful death of a friend in Ranger School at the hands of a sadistic, racist staff sergeant. The sergeant is put on trial and Henry is one of the men to give a deposition to specialist Olivia Chelouche. He isn’t supposed to see Olivia again, but Henry can’t get her out of his head. She begrudgingly agrees to dinner just so that he stops bothering her, and they end up sharing a night of sex. Both think that they’ve been discreet enough that their tryst won’t cause an issue for the trial.
Read an excerpt:
Years later, their son is a teenager and out of control. With her marriage over, Olivia must put her fear of Henry’s anger aside to plead for his help. Henry agrees to take his son, but forgiving Olivia won’t come as easily. When Henry does open his heart to her again, a madman with connections to their Army past threatens to crush their second chance together and Henry must fight to save Olivia and their son.