I always knew I wanted to write this book, but I needed the right story...and girl for Matt. I found her and I think you'll agree, she was the right girl for him. Now without further ado, here's your sneak peek at Matt's book below the jump.
Be sure to join me tomorrow on my blog for more party fun and more chances to win!
|Matt was first introduced in this book.|
Matt McCall tapped his knuckles against the bottom of the table. Fidgeting was a bad sign. No matter how often he tried to stop, he couldn’t contain his hyperactivity. The apartment was quiet—too quiet. The Beretta M9 sat in front of him. All he needed to do was slide the clip in and pick it up.
Breathing exercises helped. Head bowed, he recited all the things he accomplished in his twenty-four years from making the varsity football team one year early to enlisting to graduating boot camp and surviving his first firefight. Certainly accomplishments he could be proud of, each and every one.
None mattered a damn when a ridiculous injury, a blast pierced his inner ear drum, shattering it and leaving his hearing on that side blunted and his balance shaky. The continuous rap of his hand to the hard tabletop hurt, but even that pain went numb after a while.
His cell phone vibrated in his pocket, but he didn’t reach for it. The buzzing hummed along his nerves. Returning to Mike’s Place shouldn’t be like coming home—not when he escaped his family in Indiana to return to Dallas, again.
“You have to give it time, Matt. There is no hard and fast deadline on recovery. Some people take days, some months, some years. You will be ready, when you are ready and not one moment before then.” James meant well with his advice.
His family meant well. Everyone meant well.
The knocking on the table stopped and he leaned back in the chair to look at his right hand. Raw, bloody stripes decorated his knuckles. All he had to do was pick up the gun, load the clip and put it in his mouth…
A low whimper dragged his attention away from the table. A black Labrador stared up at him with a pair of soulful eyes. Jethro thumped his tail. Flexing his fingers, Matt’s right hand tingled. Jethro nudged his arm and Matt turned away from the table and gave the dog a comforting scratch between his ears.
“You need a walk boy?” Rising, he packed the gun back into the case and put it away, before grabbing the leash. “How about we make it a run?” Jethro rubbed against Matt’s leg and wagged his tail.
“Good morning, Matt.”
Fifteen steps, about the length of time it took he and Jethro to get to the curb before he ran into James Westwood. It almost qualified for a record. “Morning, Doc. You keep lurking out here every day and people are going to talk.”
The doc laughed and fell into step next to him. Despite his retirement, he still looked like the button downed Marine he was—far better than Matt who needed a hair cut and wore the same pair of jeans for the last three days. Jethro wasn’t interested in talking, he trotted ahead, stretching the leash out. His only concession to their pace was to pause to take a leak every five feet.
Better to let the world know he owned the spot.
Every spot apparently. Despite the gloom, amusement spread through Matt.
“I called and you didn’t answer. So I thought I would walk over and check on you.”
“Your concern is showing Doc.” He didn’t want to focus on the concern. “I planned to take Jethro for a run, so maybe we can talk later?”
“Let me change shoes and I’ll run with you. I’m parked right over there.” Not waiting for a response, Doc double-timed it to his vehicle.
The offer surprised him, but it shouldn’t have. Of all the doctors he’d seen in the last eighteen months, James kept in touch. He gave him hell when he didn’t show up for group. Maintained the perimeter with a vigilance to remind Matt he wasn’t alone.
He didn’t really want to run with the doc. Jethro returned to him and rubbed his head against Matt’s thigh. Stretching his fingers to scratch between his ears, Matt had to bite back a curse.
His knuckles were still bloody.
He could hope James hadn’t noticed.
But it wasn’t likely.
“Guess I’m busted, huh, boy?” Jethro wiggled at the attention and Matt chuckled. Agreeing to keep the dog for a few weeks when he came back hadn’t seemed like much of a burden, but the Labrador proved repeatedly he was excellent company.
Matt didn’t want to have to give him back.
“Ready?” James returned, he’d swapped out his dress shirt for a green t-shirt and his slacks for a pair of sweatpants.
“Do you always strip in parking lots?” Matt grinned. It was a real smile, and his face ached.
“No. You’re special.” Doc laughed and motioned. “Let’s run.”
Matt hesitated. “Not going to ask me about my hand?”
Doc gave him a level look. “Do you want to talk about your hand?”
“Not particularly.” Flexing his fingers, he enjoyed the stinging sensation stretching across the damaged skin.
“Okay then. Let’s run.”
The light jog was hardly a run, but he couldn’t go all out anymore. Not without risking tripping over his feet when the world took to playing tilt-a-wheel. But Jethro didn’t complain about the pace, trotting right at his side as they hit the trail.
And it felt good to stretch.