USA Today Bestselling Author
She never stopped grieving…
It’s New Year’s Eve, and thirty years since Brenda Connors buried the only man she ever loved. Every year on the anniversary of his death, she rings in the New Year, alone and grieving. But this year…this year she wants to ring it in much differently, takes the advice of her best friend, and signs up for a 1Night Stand. Maybe it’s ridiculous, just a year shy of her fiftieth birthday, for her to try and seek happiness she’s long since given up on.
He doesn’t know what the future holds…
Married to his career and facing forced retirement, Lt. Col. Tom Baxter doesn’t see much of a future for himself in civilian life. A poker game with the son of an old friend earns him some unwanted advice, but he can’t get it out of his head. Maybe signing up for a 1Night Stand date will help him discover what life on the outside might have to offer. The last thing he expects is an elegant soul with a streak of mischief….
Ringing in a new beginning…
Can Tom and Brenda make every second of their countdown to midnight count, lest old Marines be forgot?
This is my favorite New Year’s Story.
What is most appealing about this book is that Tom and Brenda aren’t young, they are mature adults who never married. Tom because he has been married to his career in the Marines and Brenda because she lost the love of her life to the war.
If you are familiar with the 1 Night Stand Series then you know Madame Eve is notorious for bringing the right two people together for their happily ever after.
Tom is being forced to retire and he has signed up for Madame Eve’s services. He is nervous about it but he is looking to spend New Year’s Eve with someone for a change.
Brenda is hoping to avoid her usual gloomy New Year’s by spending it with a date. A 1 Night Stand her best friend heartily approves of. She needs to move on, it’s been thirty years.
This is a favorite scene at the beginning of their meal.
“There you go being bossy again,” she said, but he heard only affection, not annoyance in the words. “While I may not have been on that many dates in the last thirty years, even I know that talking about my fiancé is not flirtatious behavior.”
Chuckling, he picked up another piece of shrimp cocktail and fed it to her. The ease with which she accepted the offering pleased the hell out of him. “No, I simply respect loyalty, honor, and devotion. No flirting required.”
She chewed the shrimp thoughtfully and washed it down with wine, rather than water that time. “I’ve always had a tough time on New Year’s. Amelia, Steve’s sister, is still my best friend. She’s done everything over the years to encourage me to get back out there. Fixed me up, arranged dinners, but no one ever really interested me. Then we get to this time of year and I can’t help but remember it. And on New Year’s, at midnight….”
The catch in her throat had him easing his chair over to sit next to her, shoulder to shoulder. “At midnight, what happens?”
“I panic. My heart races, I can’t catch my breath, and in the last couple of years, I’ve passed out. Amelia found me the first time. She called 911, thinking I’d had a heart attack.” Her mouth twisted into a rueful grin. “I promised her it wouldn’t happen again— and then it did. Last year was the last straw— according to Amelia. She was right. It was a wake up call and the doctor told me that on the anniversary of his death, I’d get this rush of adrenaline. My pressure rose, my chest hurt, I had trouble breathing, and then I passed out. I always spent New Year’s alone, and until I went to a therapist about it, I hadn’t realized just how much I isolated myself. Every year made it worse. So, I got some help… and oh, Lord, this is embarrassing….”
Yet the strength with which she spoke, the gradual easing of the stiffness in her shoulders and the tears said much more. “I think it’s beautiful. You still care enough about him to mourn him thirty years later. No man could ask for more, but I don’t think he’d like it.” He didn’t have to know Steve, but based on what she’d said, Tom couldn’t imagine the young Marine would never have wanted this for a woman he cared about. “You had an issue, you faced it. Tonight is about being somewhere else and not in that moment.”
“Guilty.” She blew out a breath. “Amelia wants me to let it all go.”
“What do you want?” Because her would-have-been sister-in-law wasn’t the woman who interested him.
“I don’t know, not to be crying on the shoulder of a man I just met. To be flirty and playful and have that good time I signed up for— maybe laugh and dance and… and not pass out when my heart hurts.” She bit her lower lip then grinned ruefully. “Maybe get to know you a little better.”
“What do you want to know?”
Long, Heather. Lest Old Marines Be Forgot (Always a Marine Book 21) (Kindle Locations 455-478). Decadent Publishing Company, LLC. Kindle Edition.
A short inspiring story with enough heat and compassion to melt your heart.
Also a reminder that no matter how old you are, there is still someone out there if you bother to take a look.
5 Contented Purrs for Heather!
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National bestselling author, Heather Long, likes long walks in the park, science fiction, superheroes, Marines, and men who aren’t douche bags. Her books are filled with heroes and heroines tangled in romance as hot as Texas in the summertime.
From paranormal historical westerns to contemporary military romance, Heather might switch genres, but one thing is true in all of her stories–her characters drive the books.
When she’s not wrangling her menagerie of animals, she devotes her time to family and friends she considers family. She believes if you like your heroes so real you could lick the grit off their chest, and your heroines so likable, you’re sure you’ve been friends with women just like them, you’ll enjoy her worlds as much as she does.