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Quaide’s Crossing 1: Meghan’s Way (Contemporary – both M/M & M/F)

Chapter One

  The sight and sound of the party he was attending faded away as Abraham Tanner was yanked kicking and screaming back into his all too recent past. In desperation he covered his head and lay on the ground, bullets and sand flew around him, and Abe prayed his unit made it out with no serious casualties. Lately, it seemed like every time their team went out they came back with fewer and fewer men. Abe had dedicated his life to serve and protect his country, and now here he was, stuck in the middle of this unforgiving desert all because his country asked it of him.

  A quick glance to his left had him crying out in pain, frustration with a whole lot of fear thrown in when he saw the lifeless face of Buddy Rogers staring back at him. The whole front of his chest covered in blood and gore. Buddy had been one of the sweetest men among their unit, and now with this tragedy he would be finally going home—just not the way the poor guy had planned on. This wasn’t supposed to be his happening. Buddy was scheduled to go home to his family in two days’ time. He was supposed to have forever with his high school sweetheart back at home. He wasn’t supposed to have bled out on the desert floor in a country not his own.

   “Medic!” Abe winced at the sound of someone screaming their lungs out close by. The voice sounded hoarse with overuse. It took what seemed like a life time for Abe to realise the screaming was coming from him. Slowly but surely his sense came back to him. Through the desolation of the fight going on around him, Abe latched onto the one thing that made its way through to him—the voice of an angel.

   Somewhere deep inside of him Abe comprehended this wasn’t real. His unit was dead and buried. And his part in the war was finally over. Sweat had soaked through his clothing by the time he came back to the here and now. And the voice of the angel was in fact Meghan Cooper, the woman who owned and ran the farm next door his parents. The concern in her eyes broke him, and he felt the first tears he’d ever shed since the fateful day he’d lost everyone—the men he’d served with and called family—spill over.

  Abe wanted to turn away from Meghan, but instead found himself curling into her shoulder for comfort. A shudder ran through his body as she rubbed soothing circles over his back as she held him close. It had been a long time since someone had cared enough to reassure him everything was alright with the world, or at least the small part where he now lived.

  “Shh, it’s going to be alright. Come on, let’s get you up off the ground. I think you need a cuppa—My gran always said everything will work out as long as you always have a cuppa on hand.”

  Another set of hands reached for him and Abe flinched away until he heard his brother’s soft voice. “Let’s get you inside so you can relax.”

  Abe willingly went with them. He hated being the centre of attention, especially when those nearby to witness his ??? now gazed at him with pity in their eyes. The truth was he wasn’t even sure what had set him off this time. His whole body ached after the episode. A doctor at the rehab clinic he’d been in to recuperate when he returned home had once likened the effect as what an alcoholic feels while going cold turkey. If giving up booze was anything like this, then Abe was glad he’d never really been a drinking man.

  “Maybe he should rest for a bit.” Meghan said beside him and Abe knew she was talking to Devon and not him. “He looks like he hasn’t slept in days.”

  “He hasn’t,” Devon agreed, “Abe hardly sleeps anymore.”

  Sadly his brother was right. What he could seem to make anyone understand was that each and every time he closed his eyes he found himself reliving the day of the attack when he—just barely—was the only one to survive. Seven great men died that day. He should have died with them, and because he didn’t the guilt ate away at him.

  Once inside the house Meghan led him to the lounge and pulled him down beside her as she sat. She twined her fingers through his and he was surprised when not long later a cup of steaming hot tea was placed on the side table. He fought the insane urge to start crying again. The truth was right now he couldn’t even remember where he was or whose house he was currently sitting in.

  Closing his eyes he laid his head back on the Lounge and asked, “Where am I?”

  “You’re at my place.” Meghan said.

  Abe shivered when he felt her lightly touch his face. Almost as if pulling his head toward her shoulder. The feeling was nice, and Abe decided to go with the flow. He didn’t even hesitate as he turned enough to wrap an arm around her waist as he snuggled closer.

  For right now this was perfect.

  He listened as the voices around him drifted. This was the first time Abe could remember feeling safe. He was closer than he ever thought he would be to the peace and quiet he always sought, but never found.

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