A Ranger's Love: A Military Erotic Romance

BOOK: A Ranger's Love: A Military Erotic Romance
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This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.

 

A Ranger's Love copyright @ 2014 by Kristin Fletcher. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.

 

A RANGER'S LOVE

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

I stand in my tiny kitchen
. I’m carefully wrapping each plate, glass, and bowl in newspaper, as I remove it from the cabinet. I can’t decide whether to laugh or to cry, so I have been alternating between the two. Right now, I think I will cry.

 

I look around my place and I can feel the tears threatening to start again. So much pain and loss is wrapped up in this tiny little apartment. I have been living here, scrimping by, for the last three years, ever since…             

 

I shove the thought away. My parents are dead and gone and I have to turn them loose. I have been living in the past for too long already. I have been trying to hold onto what I once had, but can never have again. I place the last plate in the box, fold the top flaps down, label the top with the room it goes in, and seal it with tape. If only my past was so easy to pack up and store away.

 

I take a deep breath and will away the tears. There is still much to do to prepare for my new life, but the packing, at least, is done. I set the box on the floor along with the other four boxes of kitchen items.

 

Tomorrow, Paul, Tim, and Beverly will help me load my meager belongings into a rented moving truck. Tomorrow, I will say goodbye to my few friends and my old life. Tomorrow, I will start a new life, leaving the baggage of my past behind me. The very thought of what tomorrow holds fills me with joy, sorrow, and dread, in equal measure.

 

It’s late and I’m tired. I have been working non-stop today, boxing and cleaning. I weave a path through boxes and furniture to my couch, as I fall into its welcoming cushions with a grateful sigh. I pull the throw off the back and wrap it around me. Even though it is late summer, I’m cold. It’s a sure sign of my exhaustion. I pull the throw up, snuggling into the couch's comfortable embrace.

 

I breathe deep. I can still smell his scent on the throw from when we last snuggled on this very couch. I smile, as sleep begins to take me. I have lost much, but I have finally found something to fill the empty place in my heart. I can feel my eyes pull down, as I drift in that half-state between wakefulness and sleep. So much has changed in just eight weeks. As the dark fog of sleep surrounds me, my last thoughts are of Mike and our chance meeting two months ago.

 

***

 

I’m sitting at a table with Beverly, Teri, and Kat, sipping my beer and watching the meat parade. It’s Friday night and my friends are on the prowl, looking for fresh conquests. With the four of us sitting together, our table is the one-stop shop for any male taste.

 

Beverly has fiery red hair and a bombshell figure. She draws men looking for a woman with plenty of curves and a bold, outgoing personality. She attracts men like nectar attracts bees. Kat is the ethereal beauty, thanks to her unique combination of Asian and Caribbean heritage. She speaks with an English accent. Her deep, rich voice is a delight to the ear. Plus, she moves with a grace that makes me nearly green with envy. Teri is a tall, athletic brunette. She has gorgeous, long legs that go all the way from her ass to the floor. She can pass as either a dancer or a ball player, depending on how she dresses. Then, there’s me, Daisy. I’m the quiet bookworm. I fall somewhere between Beverly and Teri on the curv-o-meter. I wear rimless glasses and have shoulder-length strawberry-blond hair that’s more blond than strawberry. We are the four amigos, the four musketeers, and we have been friends for years. They are my family and I love them dearly. 

 

Bev nudges me in my ribs and nods towards the door. Three good-looking guys enter and look around. This is one of our three haunts. I can tell by the way they act that this is their first time in. Besides, I would have remembered them because all three are
damn
good looking.

 

They carry themselves like military. They stand straight and proud, while moving with an easy, graceful power. However, they don’t look like military. Their hair is too long. My friends tend to avoid the military types for some reason, but I like them. I can feel Beverly priming herself and I smile into my beer. My three friends can score anytime and every time they want. When they put their hooks into a man, he might as well surrender to the inevitable.

 

I see one of the guys, the best looking of the three in my opinion, catch site of our table and nod his head in our direction. The other two smile in silent agreement, as they move to the bar and sit down. I sit back and prepare to enjoy the show.

 

The dance is always the same. We ignore the men until they come to us. Bev, Teri, and Kat will pick off the ones they want and I will sometimes take what is left. We don’t snipe the men if they show interest in one of us. We’re too good of friends for that. Unless someone else shows up more interesting, I can tell that these three are going to be carved up and divided like a Thanksgiving turkey.

 

We sit and the slow dance of attraction gains momentum. Suddenly, the unusual happens. I’m not an ugly girl, but I normally don’t have the pulling power of the other three. Tonight, the best looking guy of the bunch walks right up to me and asks me if he can buy me another beer. And more shocking still, when his friends wander over after Mike doesn’t get tossed out on his ear, Beverly starts out as the odd woman out. I can’t
ever
recall that happening before.

 

Normally, I am stuck as the odd woman out or with the leftovers. I’m not complaining because Bev, Teri, and Kat draw the cream of the crop. Because of that, I typically choose from a much more desirable pool than I feel I would otherwise draw from. As much as I can tell it annoys Beverly that she isn’t the top draw this evening, I can also see that she doesn’t begrudge my success.

 

We spend the next thirty minutes or so talking as a group, letting the chemistry develop. I watch the other two men work the three ladies. The final pairings are still in flux, but Mike seems to only have eyes for me. I am terribly flattered by his attention. 

 

Mike stands up and holds his hand down to me. “Ladies,” he says, addressing the group. “Daisy and I are going to leave you this evening. Is that is okay with you?” he asks looking at me.

 

“Where are we going?” I ask before I commit to anything. If he thinks he is going to pull me away that easily, he has another thing going.

 

“There is an empty table for two that just opened,” he says, as I glance where he is looking. “I would like to grab it before someone else does.”

 

I smile and take his hand before standing. “Don’t wait up, girls,” I tease as I rise. I’m thoroughly enjoying my unexpected role as the prime target this evening. 

 

“So, Mike. Do I get your last name?” I ask as we take our places at the cozy little booth in the back.

 

“Hanover. Charles Michael Hanover at your service, ma’am,” Mike says with a gallant air and a terrific smile.

 

“You go by your middle name?”

 

“I do. Too many people were named Chuck and Charlie when I was growing up,” Mike says with a smile.

 

“Danielle Fuller…but everyone calls me Daisy,” I reply. “I haven’t seen you in here before. New to the area?”

 

“Arrived today. I’m on temporary duty at Benning for the next eight weeks.”

 

“You’re Army?” I ask in surprise.

 

Mike smoothes his hair over his ears. “Yeah. Corporal. I know I don’t look it right now.”

 

“You've been out on leave?” I ask, curious about his slightly shaggy appearance.

 

“No,” he says, but offers nothing else in the way of explanation.

 

“Okay,” I say, drawing the word out. “What brings you to Benning?”

 

“Training.”

 

“And what do you do in the Army, Corporal Hanover?”

 

Mike smiles. “I break things.”

 

“You and the rest of the Army, right?” I ask with a smile.

 

Mike chuckles. “Yeah.”

 

“But that’s no answer,” I say. “Are you in logistics, artillery, what?”

 

Mike pauses and I am puzzled by his caginess. “You seem to know a lot about the Army,” he finally says. I note he has effectively changed the subject from himself to me.

 

“Yeah. Grew up in the Army. I still work on the base as a credit counselor for Kinetic.”

 

“Kinetic, that’s the local credit union, isn’t it?” Mike asks.

 

“That’s right.”

 

I can feel the conversation starting to drag. Most guys love to talk about themselves, but Mike obviously doesn’t and I wonder why. “Your folks still at Benning?” Mike asks, trying to rally the conversation.

 

I can feel my breath hitch in my throat. It happens every time I think about them. “No,” I say softly. “They’re dead.”

 

“I’m sorry to hear that,” Mike responds and unlike most people who say it, I can see sorrow in his eyes. “What happened, if I might ask?”

 

I smile. I can tell it’s a sad little smile, but I can’t help it. “Plane crash. They were flying to Thailand for their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. The plane went down in the ocean. They never found the wreckage.”

 

“That’s terrible,” Mike says softly. “It must have been hard. How long ago did this happen?”

 

“Not quite four years.”

 

I can see Mike looking at me. In fact, he almost stares at me. “Were you even out of high school?”

 

I smile softly. “Barely. I had just graduated and would turn 18 in a little over a month.”

 

Mike leans back with that intense look still on his face. “I can’t imagine how that must have been. What did you do? You must have still been living at home.”

 

“Yeah. It wasn’t easy. I was going to college in the fall, but without Mom and Dad’s help, even with my scholarship money, I couldn’t go. Not full time. I had to sell the house. I couldn’t keep it because there was no way to make the payments.” I can feel myself tearing up again. Every time I think about how much I miss my parents, I can’t help but cry. “Dad was a captain. His unit,” I pause, as my voice breaks, “they were so good to me. I didn’t have anyone and they really…” I have to stop or I will start crying. 

 

Mike reaches across the table and takes my hand. I can see in his eyes he knows and understands my pain. I sniff and clear my throat. I try to get control of myself. Well, so much for my evening. I just hope he turns loose of my hand before he bolts.

 

“I understand what it’s like to lose your family,” Mike finally says gently. “It’s tough, but you’ve made it through. That takes grit and determination. You should be proud of what you have accomplished. Most would be out on the streets or living in a shelter. Or worse.”

 

I smile at Mike, trying to pull myself together. I’m thankful for his understanding. I’m also glad he’s not running in terror from this messed up chick that can’t let go of her parents. “I’m sorry, Mike. I don’t know what came over me.” I clear my throat again and take another pull off my beer. “Some date, huh?” I ask with a small smile.

 

Mike grins back at me. “I’ve had worse.”

 

“Uh-huh,” I grunt.

 

“No really,” Mike says with a grin.

 

“Name one,” I challenge.

 

Mike doesn’t hesitate. “Well, there was the chick that was a dude.”

 

I can feel my mouth drop open. “Are you shitting me?” I ask incredulously.

 

“Yes,” Mike says, his grin growing even wider.

 

“What? You are? You ass,” I say, as I begin to giggle.

 

“No,” Mike says. “I just like seeing you smile. I didn’t mean to drag you down.”

 

“You didn’t. Not really,” I answer. “I just still miss them so much. It’s silly, I know. I need to get over it and move on.”

 

“I don’t think it is silly at all,” Mike says quietly. “Everyone knows their parents are going to die, but you don’t expect it to happen when they are so young or so unexpectedly. I think you are handling it amazingly well.”

 

“Thank you, Mike. That’s nice of you to say. Some days are better than others; but, I didn’t come here to talk about my parents. I came here to meet someone interesting and have a little fun.”

BOOK: A Ranger's Love: A Military Erotic Romance
7.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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