Thirty-four year old Vicki Laramie must learn to trust before she can love, but she might die trying.
While Vicki’s children grapple with the death of their father -- a man whom she’s successfully fabricated as loving, a lie her rebellious teenager recognizes -- she must find a way to support her family and find a role model for her boys. She never intends to fall for Staff Sergeant Chase, her best friend’s son, who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She’d much rather choose a safer man to love, but her children have a voice in the decision she makes. With two deaths to deal with, a suitor after her money, a rebellious son, and Sergeant Chase’s repeated attacks, she can only hope to survive the danger she faces. If she doesn’t, her children will be left without either parent.
"Do you trust me?"
"Do I have a choice?" I whispered.
With the mistletoe still in hand, he placed it at the back of my head. His fingers entwined in my hair. My heart accelerated its beating dance, knowing a much more euphoric rush would accompany his kiss. More than his first visit, more than his peck on my cheek, more...A warm quiver of anticipation settled over me, fixing me to the spot. The music from the movie in the next room swelled, intensifying the moment. His lips brushed mine, hinting of gingerbread and milk. I wondered if I'd ever experienced such a kiss. The gentle, warm, sweet pressure, invited me to live in the moment. An experience I'd never known in all my years with another...I couldn't even remember his name. My adrenalin roller coaster revved its engine in my stomach before climbing with massive force in an upward motion before dropping to my deepest core. Yet it didn't last long enough. He no sooner released me than I had the distinct feeling of his reclaiming every intimate emotion he'd shared with me.
"I shouldn't stay. It's not safe for you." He withheld his smile, his eyes hinting at something I didn't understand.My take
I could relate to Vicki's circumstances. While my two oldest children were younger than hers when my first husband died, I can relate to the loneliness of being a single parent ever responsible for the children. I remember too well my concerns for my son, knowing that try as I might I could not teach him some things. I could tell him stuff, but I could never understand what it is to be a guy. I don't care how many babies a male obstetrician delivers, he still doesn't really get what it's like--from the woman's view--to give birth. So, try as I might, I couldn't show my son how to be a man.
Sometimes I wanted to smack Vicki, though. lol But we all do stupid things when we're trying to do what we think is best for our children. I can forgive her for being human. One thing I appreciated about her was that she never quite gave up on Kelly who needed a chance to heal. And he needed help to do it.
Trust is a big issue in Dark Days of Promise. My husband is a Vietnam vet, and when we first married, I learned very early not to stand within the reach of his fist if I had to wake him up. He never hit me, but he scared both of us a couple of times. Fortunately, it's rare for the PTSD to show itself now, but it seems still to lurk in that stage between sleeping and waking.
Of course, I'm a black belt now. I think I can take him. ;)
Britney Gulbrandsen interviewed Shaunna on her blog here.