Sworn to sacrifice for his country. Sworn to sacrifice for a stranger.
When a Marine whose job is to protect data systems from cyber attacks witnesses a woman in peril, his instincts kick in to protect her from a fatal attack. Unable to get her out of his mind, he’s compelled to find her. Because his role in her life seems beyond being just her protector. And when they meet again, he realizes he’s in love with her. But Jenna’s scars run deep. Can he help her overcome her haunted past?
Jenna can’t stop thinking about the stranger who rescued her from a nearly fatal attack by her boyfriend. For reasons she can’t explain, she feels drawn to her rescuer. When he befriends her, she is surprised by how tender and compassionate he is. His love for her is genuine, safe, and she finds herself falling for him too. But how can she give him her heart when it’s been battered? When she doesn’t feel worthy of love?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
To show the power of love for an abused woman and the call of God and His miracles that take place, esp. when we listen
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The Marine is loosely base don my Marine Vet husband and the female character was given to me by God.
Blane struggled to keep his mind on work. He was scanning the new security policy passed down by HQMC (the headquarters staff), but his head was clouded by the restaurant incident. It had happened nearly two weeks ago, but for some reason, he couldn’t let go of the image of her face, the fear he’d detected in her eyes. Or the threatening nature of the man with her; he clearly controlled the relationship.
Shaking his head, Blane worked to ignore his feelings of concern, but his chest bubbled with anger at the dark-haired stranger. Implementing new policies required extreme focus. He forced the memory away and concentrated on his computer screen, but the words on the screen blurred. He blinked, took in a long breath, and rubbed his hands together.
This wasn’t an ordinary plan he was working on. They had experienced a cyber attack earlier that morning. After Blane analyzed the content of the malicious assault, he immediately reported it to HQMC. The Secretary of Defense had passed down the required changes right away. Fortunately, no information had been exposed, but he had to haul butt to ensure it stayed that way by installing new encrypted data immediately.
Letting his fingers fly over the keyboard, he managed to send out a few recommendations on how to implement the policy before the hour was up. As he reclined in his seat to study the screen, confidence flowed through him as the details all seemed to pull together in a seamless and effective plan of action. He hit ‘save’ and forwarded the proposed changes to his commander.
Tomorrow, Thursday, Blane would be traveling to Malibu Bay where he worked at Aesthetic Marketing as a copyeditor. He met Elijah, his boss, during college, and after Blane edited one of his assignments for him, he’d offered Blane the part time job. It was also the one day Blane spent with his parents and then with Chase and Nina. He was looking forward to getting away from here.
A new email appeared a moment later, his commander okaying the rough outline of the revisions. Blane scooted his chair further in and continued the policy, spending the remainder of the afternoon finalizing the military’s response strategy. He performed vulnerability assessments and finished the draft for the user changes response. After running a diagnostic, he verified there were no undetected breaches.
Sending off the finished document, he powered off the computer and headed out to his barracks. Fortunately, his roommate was out. He didn’t feel up to engaging in any conversation.
His mind inevitably returned to the unknown woman. Since he did not have a habit of dwelling on women he didn’t know, he hoped to either put her out of his mind or figure out why he was so fixated on her.
He figured the likelihood of seeing her again was slim to none since he frequented Gary’s and had never noticed her or that slimeball there before.
Which is why he felt befuddled by the fact that he couldn’t shake images of her face.
Sighing, he changed into an old T-shirt and loose basketball shorts and dropped onto his bunk. The night was young. The room was slightly stuffy. But he had no desire to go anywhere. He thought that after a few days he’d be able to put her out of his mind and get back to his same old routine.
But here he was, with no desire to go out, to read a book, to watch a movie, the usual things he turned to after work. All he could think about was her.
He tucked his arms behind his head and laid his head back on the pillow. His feelings connected to the memory of her were changing. In the beginning, he had been overwhelmed by anger at the bully, a simmering rage for the controlling monster. Now, his emotions shifted into a strong desire to be her guardian. Like it was his duty to protect her from her boyfriend as much as it was his duty to protect his country.
The need to do something overpowered him. He glanced at the door. Should he go out? Shaking his head, he turned his gaze to his book collection on the mini shelf he’d built above his bunk. Maybe reading something would take his mind off her. It wasn’t like he knew where to find her. The stress of work had probably caused him to get tangled up in the memory. Things left unresolved, even situations not directly related to him, tended to bother him.
Blane sat up and selected a title from the shelf. Opening the book, he nodded. That’s what it was. Just his own unease about an unfortunate incident that didn’t pan out the way he hoped.
For a while, he was able to immerse himself in Timothy Zahn’s Heir to the Empire. Getting sucked into the lives of the well-known Star Wars characters and billions of galaxies proved delightfully easy. Until his stomach started growling.
Placing the bookmark in the pages where he’d left off, he got up and went to the mini fridge he shared with his roommate. Choices were slim. A small jar of olives, some leftover chicken wings, and a container of strawberry yogurt. His body was hungry, but he had no appetite.
Shutting the fridge door, he rose to his feet and stared around the room. The urge to leave, to make sure the woman was safe, suddenly overwhelmed him. He needed to go out. He couldn’t stay here a moment longer. He had to find her.
He snatched up his jacket, tucking his pocket knife into one of the pockets, and hurried out to his car. He didn’t know where he was going, but he put the car in drive and headed north, downtown.
San Diego lit up before him as he moved down the freeway. Several commuters traveled home, some looking for a reprieve from the long work day.
A guy on a motorcycle swooped past him, knocking Blane’s heart against his ribs. Blowing out a tense breath, Blane gripped the wheel harder. He needed to remain calm if he were going to help this woman at all.
He shook his head. None of this made sense. The intensity of his emotions, this sudden need to find her. He felt almost ridiculous driving mindlessly down into the city, having no idea what he was looking for or where he should go.
The possibility that Blane would come across her in a city with a population that exceeded a million people was slim.
After passing the next couple of exits, he decided to go back to base. It was useless searching for someone in a place full of people. Besides, the whole drive felt pointless. Nothing was pulling him in any particular direction.
She could be at home right now.
Or she could be with him.
And then he felt a sudden tug to get off at the next exit.
Cristina Ryan writes clean beach romances set in the fictional town of Malibu Bay. Holidays are a festive time, but there's something extra special about love during the holidays in Malibu Bay. From friends to lovers to second chances and fake romances, these stories will bring you hope and happiness.
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