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Authors: Heather Long

Tell it to the Marine

BOOK: Tell it to the Marine
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The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement (including infringement without monetary gain) is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

 

Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in, or encourage, the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

 

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

 

Tell it to the Marine

Copyright © 2012 by Heather Long

ISBN: 978-1-61333-306-8

Cover art by Mina Carter

 

All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.

 

Published by Decadent Publishing Company, LLC

Look for us online at:

www.decadentpublishing.com

 

 

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Also by Heather Long

 

 

Decadent Publishing 1Night Stand

Always a Marine Books

 

Once Her Man, Always Her Man

Retreat Hell! She Just Got Here

 

 

Tell it to the Marine

Always a Marine - Book 3

 

A 1Night Stand Story

 

By

Heather Long

 

 

~DEDICATION~

 

 

To the men and women of the United States military. Thank you for your courage, your commitment and your sacrifice. Freedom is not ‘free.’

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

James Westwood leaned back in the chair, one ankle resting on the opposite knee. Matt McCall paced the far wall of his office, shaking with restless energy. Most of their sessions began with Matt sitting, but he always bounced to his feet and started pacing within thirty minutes. By the fifty-minute mark, he looked for escape.

“Have you been practicing the breathing exercises?” James wanted to draw him back to the session. Laid out with heavy furniture, comfortable chairs, and a tinted picture window, his office overlooked a sunken garden populated by flowers, shrubbery, tall trees, and an artificial spring. The soothing symmetry seemed to be having little effect on Matt.

At the end of the sofa, Matt paused and braced his hands against the frame, fingers digging into it. His lips were white with tension.

“Yes, I’ve been trying. They work, sometimes. Other times, I just can’t sit still. I can’t
not
pace. I went for a run last night. Couldn’t seem to stop.”

“How far did you make it?”

“Twelve miles.”

James wrote that down on his white pad and offered the man a small smile. “That’s better than last week. You went fifteen.”

“My mom called.” Just twenty-four, Matt had served overseas for five years following his basic training. He’d still be with his unit if not for the death of his father coming hot on the heels of the crash he and several of his men suffered in a helicopter accident. The damage to his inner ear had left him with partial deafness and equilibrium issues.

“How is Margaret?” The catalyst for Matt’s tension seemed directly related to his inability to reconnect with his family, his friends, and his life beyond the Marines.
I should give Logan a call. He should be back from Las Vegas. He might get more out of Matt in a pick-up game.

“She’s mom.” Matt shrugged. “She wants me to make plans to come home for the holidays. They’re months away, but with Dad gone, she wants me to swear that I’ll be there, and I don’t….”

His fists clenched and he pounded them on the sofa, before bowing his head and sucking in a noisy breath. A vein in his forehead throbbed, the skin flushing around his high and tight haircut.

“Why the hell is this so hard?” He lifted blazing blue eyes and glared across the room. “We’ve been talking for weeks and it’s not better. I still can’t sleep. I still can’t focus. Captain Dexter said you could help me, so why the hell do I want to curl into a ball and cry like a child after I talk to my mother? She needs me.”

James let the anger roll off him like water off a duck’s back. “It takes time, Matt. Time to acclimate. Time to identify your triggers. Time to develop new habits. Did you write down the moment the call went badly?”

“Yeah.” The Marine flung himself down on the sofa, knuckles white from clenching his fists. “She said the kids need me there. Dad’s gone and the pool needs fixing, the fence is worn, and one of the toilets broke upstairs.”

James flicked a look at the clock. They had five minutes left on the session. Not enough time. Anything past fifty minutes could leave his patient too emotionally drained. “Did she say she wanted you to fix them or was she just filling you in on what was going on?” His kept his tone neutral, easy.

Matt paused and shook his head. “I don’t know. We were talking about me, then we talked about some party Lizzie is going to. Lizzie’s sixteen and Mom wanted to know if I remembered some of her friends. She worried that a couple are messing around with shit they shouldn’t be into. Then she started talking about problems with a repairman….” He trailed off, scrubbing a hand around the back of his neck. “I asked her what repairman?”

“And she told you what needed fixing.”

Matt slumped back, his expression pensive. “Yeah.”

“When did the holiday talk come up?”

“At the beginning…she’s trying to plan ahead for food.”

James waited.

“Hell, they didn’t have anything to do with each other.”

A breakthrough and their time was up. For once, they ended the session with Matt sitting instead of wearing a hole through the plush carpet Mike’s Place had installed in James’ office.

“Good stuff today, Matt. Keep journaling. Yes, it’s sissy crap, but it’s an order.” James spared him a smile. “I’m off site tonight. Ken will be here. But if you’re up for it, maybe we can run tomorrow.”

He liked to run to stay in shape and some of his patients felt more comfortable talking to him on the move. He stood and offered his hand to Matt, glad for the man’s quick shake.

“Thanks, sir.” Matt bounced to his feet and out the door in thirty seconds, jettisoning the office like a submarine releasing its ballast for an emergency surfacing. James carried his white legal pad over to the desk and flipped through Matt’s folder.
PFC Matt McCall honorably discharged due to permanent medical disability
. He’d come to Mike’s Place after meeting James at the funeral for Matt’s father. A funeral he attended at the private request of the chaplain for Matt’s unit. She worried about him.

James worried about him, too.

The cell phone in his desk drawer hummed. He pulled the drawer open and read the message with a half smile.

Sybarite Club. 7 PM. Blonde woman, 5’9, will wear a yellow rose necklace. Her name is Lauren and she prefers white wine to red
.

He paused, studying the message. Lauren. Gorgeous name. The basic description lacked any real visual. Another glance at his watch showed five after four. He had to type up his notes, shower, and change if he wanted to make it to the Sybarite Club in downtown Dallas on time.

 

***

 

Two hours later, he jogged down the path to the parking lot. He loved the layout of Mike’s Place. It was as much a community park as sports complex with private apartments for permanent residents and guest villas for visiting families. Its layout offered wide open spaces, with plenty of room for running or, as some residents were doing, flopping in the grass for quiet reading time. The builders framed most of the complex around the heavy trees indigenous to the area, keeping it shady even in Texas’ simmering one hundred-degree summers.

September brought little relief from the heat of summer—in fact, it brought only about ten degrees of relief to the sultry ninety degrees without the promise of rain.

“Hey, Doc!” Logan Cavanaugh jogged toward him from the opposite direction. His sweat pants and loose black T-shirt, too dark for the autumn heat, were soaked through. The left corner of his mouth permanently turned down in a grimace by the scar tissue that spread from his cheek to his throat and below, a reminder of the burning, twisted metal coffin he’d survived and the five surgeries that included three pins, one in his knee, one his hip and the last one in the shoulder.

“Hey. Just the man I planned to call tomorrow. How did it go in Vegas?”

Logan and his best friend Zach had taken a long weekend in Vegas as part of a 1Night Stand date. The dark cloud that often surged around the Marine seemed absent.

“Pretty damn good.” Logan grinned. “Hell…better than good.”

“Excellent.” While Logan wasn’t a regular patient, they’d struck up camaraderie during Logan’s early rehabilitation.

“Yeah, well, you know that little problem I had? All gone.” The Marine grinned wider and gave him a thumbs up.

James laughed. “Congratulations.”

“Thank you. Thank you very much. So, what did you need?” Instead of standing, Logan continued to jog in place, keeping his muscles warm. He couldn’t run flat out anymore, but months of therapy allowed him more mobility than the doctors hoped for. He’d obviously embraced his latest therapy of jogging.

“You know Matt McCall?” A long shot. Just because they were Marines didn’t mean they knew each other. In fact, with so many new arrivals over the last three months, there were a number of unfamiliar faces working toward a new life at Mike’s Place.

Logan shook his head. “Can’t say that I do.”

“Well if you have time tomorrow, maybe you could join us for a run or a pick-up.”

“Three on three?”

“Sounds like a plan.”

“Zach’s got some kids running scrimmages in the morning, but after that I’m free. Just text me. I’ll be here.”

“Will do.”

“Have a good time on your date tonight….”

He paused. “Who said I had a date?”

“Shiny shoes, fresh shave, thousand dollar suit. Says it all.” Logan winked and jogged on.

James laughed and twirled his keys around his forefinger. Zach’s plan to bring Logan back to life with a threesome seemed to have been successful. It wasn’t his idea of a good time, but one could not argue with results.

An hour later, at five minutes to seven, he handed his keys off to a valet driver. A red square corset framed her generous breasts perfectly and a filmy white shirt opened to show the cleavage. Tugging his wallet out, he traded the valet slip for the plain black card with the silver lettering. Dallas’ Sybarite Club offered every pleasure from music to food to companionship and private rooms. Unlike some exclusive clubs, it catered to men and women alike as long as they presented an all-access pass.

The doorman—a tall, lanky figure dressed in a topcoat and tails who seemed to have stepped right out of the roaring twenties—accepted the card and scanned it with a small palm device. The technology wasn’t in keeping with the man’s old world atmosphere, but he returned the card with a pleasant smile.

“Welcome to the Sybarite Club, Mr. Westwood. Your dining companion arrived ten minutes ago.” He motioned toward gothic-style doors carved from dark cherry and decorated with woodcuts of a man and woman engaged in cunnilingus and fellatio. As the doors parted, each figure seemed to cry out. James wasn’t sure if their silent mouths were opened in pleasure or frustration.

The carpeted entryway descended four steps into a lounge with a dark, almost jazzy pseudo-gothic atmosphere. Flickering candles complemented the low lighting. Long shadows twisted across the textured booths, bar stools, and tables. Three couples swayed together on the dance floor to the smooth sounds of blues. Instruments on the empty stage suggested a potential for live music.

BOOK: Tell it to the Marine
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