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Authors: Mary Wehr

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BOOK: A Heart's Endeavor
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It was well past two in the morning when Mel finally drifted off to asleep. A loud banging on the door had her stumbling to the bedroom window. Yawning, she brushed the flowered curtain aside. Nausea rose in her throat. A cruiser was parked in the driveway, lights on and the engine still running. Something was wrong. She went into the kitchen and made her way through the mudroom. Her heart plummeted to her feet when she flipped the light switch and saw Jim standing outside. She flung open the door. “Dear God, is he dead?”

Jim stepped inside, forcing her to back up into the kitchen. “No. He just got out of surgery.”

Mel gasped and her knees buckled. Jim caught hold of her shoulders and guided her to a chair. He knelt in front of her and took a hold of her hands.

“He’s okay. The bullet went clean through. He wants to see you.” He drew Mel to her feet, and his eyes sparkled with mischief. “But if he sees you in that clingy nighty he’ll be rushed back into surgery with heart failure.”

Within minutes Mel was dressed and sitting quietly inside the cruiser as Jim drove her to the hospital. She twisted her hands in her lap. Why didn’t she tell Jack she’d marry him before he left? He told her if he died tonight she could go on, but she didn’t want to go on without him. What if he… No, he was going to be okay. He had to be okay. She wiped her cheeks with the tissue Jim pressed into her hands and flashed him a watery smile.

Mel’s legs were shaking so badly she had to hold onto Jim as they made their way to the waiting room. It was filled with officers standing around in small groups. They greeted her with stiff nods and forced smiles, worried expressions covering their faces. This was Jack’s extended family and, being that she was his woman, hers too. For the first time in her life she felt wanted.

The tallest officer strode forward. She recognized him as Trooper Jones. He was the one who had taken her statement yesterday involving the gas drive-off. He shouldered Jim to the side. “Come on, Shadow. Stop hogging all the pretty women.”

Jim shot her a wink and joined the other officers.

Trooper Jones touched her shoulder and said softly, “Jack’s going to be all right. We’ll make sure of it. As for you, Mel, if there’s anything you need don’t hesitate to ask.” He made a sweeping gesture toward the other men. “We’re all family. We take care of each other. That includes you.”

Mel was too choked up to respond. He guided her to where an older woman was seated and made the introductions. Mel was hugged quite thoroughly by Jack’s mother.

“So, this is the young woman my Jack has been bragging about.” Mrs. Horan’s eyes were the same deep green color as her son’s. “My, you certainly are pretty. My son knows how to pick the best.” Mel’s face heated. “Oh, my, and you blush too.” Jack’s mom was a tiny woman with silver hair and a smile that lit up the room.

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Horan.”

“Please call me Grace.”

Both women grew silent when a nurse came toward them.

“Mr. Horan can have visitors, but only one at a time. Please keep each visit to ten minutes.”

Mel stepped aside, but Grace shook her head. “No, dear, you go in first. You’re my son’s future.”

Again, Mel’s eyes welled up with tears. Dear Lord, would she ever stop crying? She hugged Grace and followed the nurse to the recovery room. The lump in her throat grew to mammoth proportions as she quietly approached the bed. Jack’s face was pale. He looked weak and vulnerable, nothing at all like the man who, just hours ago, had turned her over his knee. She swallowed hard. He could have died not knowing that she wanted to marry him.

She reached for his hand and pressed it to her chest. She had to be strong for Jack and show him that his faith in her was not in vain. She could do this. She could be a good wife to him.

Keeping a firm grip on his hand, Mel fumbled for the chair behind her and sat down. She turned her head and laid the side of her face upon his chest. She squeezed his hand. He couldn’t die. She wouldn’t let him. She needed him, and he needed her. Separated they were just a half. Together they made a whole.

“You keep squeezing my hand like that and you’re going to cut off my circulation,” Jack teased.

Mel sucked in her breath. She raised her head slowly to find the subject of her thoughts staring at her. His green eyes were more pronounced against his pale skin. She struggled to remain stern. “You scared me half to death, Trooper Horan.” Her throat convulsed and her nostrils burned. She was not going to cry anymore. “I love you.” A tear escaped down her cheek and before she knew it, she was bawling.

Jack wiped the tears away with his free hand. “Right back at you, sweetheart. We both had one hell of a night, huh?”

That was putting it mildly, only she came out of it with a sore ass and he had taken a bullet. Mel turned her cheek and kissed his palm. “I should spank you. Why didn’t you wait for backup?”

Jack’s laugh was followed by a wince. “Backup? Mighty big words for such a little girl. Are you watching too many crime movies or am I rubbing off on you?”

Mel scowled and brushed his forehead with the back of her fingers. “Don’t get sassy with me. You have a bunch of troopers out in the hall ready to rip you a new one for not waiting for Shadow.”

Jack sighed. “Yeah, I know. What I did wasn’t the smartest thing.” He closed his eyes. “I just might let you spank me once I get out of here. Who knows, I might enjoy it.” He took a deep breath and winced again.

Mel expelled a frustrated breath. “I give up. You’re lying here with a bullet wound and cracking jokes.”

Jack opened one eye. “Who’s joking?” he asked. He shocked her by rolling on his side and grasping the edge of the mattress. Mel paled at the tightness around his mouth. He was obviously in pain.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?”

He patted the empty space beside him. “Come and lay down next to me.”

Mel pursed her lips and folded her arms across her chest.

“Pretty please?”

She released a frustrated breath. How could she scold him when he had asked her so nicely? Blasted man. He had her wrapped around his finger. “What if the nurse comes in?”

“I’ll put on my stern trooper face. See, like this.” His brows flattened and he stiffened his jaw. He looked so ridiculous Mel burst out laughing. “Not working, huh?”

She carefully climbed onto the bed. “Nope.”

Jack tucked her closer to his body and kissed the top of her head. “I love you, Mel. I promise to love you even if you sprout gray hair and get crow’s feet. Will you marry me and make me the happiest man on earth?”

Now how could she turn down a proposal like that? “You bet I’ll marry you.”

“Wonderful. Now, we’d better let Mom in before she breaks down the door.”

Mel made a move to get up, but Jack squeezed her hand.

“You stay here where you belong. See if you can reach the buzzer.”

Knowing it would be pointless to argue, Mel did as she was told.

The nurse came in, opened her mouth, Mel assumed to protest her being in bed with Jack, but then pressed her lips together without saying a word when she saw the determined look on Jack’s face. Jack asked her to send in his mother, and the nurse gave a sharp nod and stepped back into the hallway.

Mel was embarrassed the entire time his mom stood next to the bed chastising her son for not being more careful. After she left, the guys came in one at a time and threatened to kick his ass. Their threats masked the concern that shone in their eyes.

By the time the last officer left, Mel swore her entire body had to be as red as a tomato. “You enjoyed being visited by your fellow troopers with me lying next to you, didn’t you?”

“Yep.” Jack stifled a yawn and closed his eyes. “Stay with me, Mel, always.”

Before she could assure him that she wasn’t moving from that spot he was fast asleep. Mel stroked his stubbled jaw and whispered, “Always and forever.”

 

 

About Mary Wehr

 

Mary Wehr has always been an avid reader of romance novels and dreamed of someday writing one of her own. After years of dreaming about it, she finally did it.

She lives in northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, pet dove, and guinea pig. She has one grown daughter.

Mary has a soft spot for animals and works part time at a doggie bakery, making treats for our four-legged friends. She’s a nature lover and when the weather is warm she can most often be found outdoors.

 

Mary’s Website:

www.marysuewehr.com

Reader eMail:

[email protected]

 

 

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

 

BOOK: A Heart's Endeavor
12.04Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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