After twenty-seven years of marriage and service to his country, Gavin McIntyre returns from what he hopes will be his last deployment before either reaching the highest attainable enlisted rank in the Marine Corps or retiring. But what he returns to leaves him flat aback with a busted mast and broken rudder. His wife is a no show for the homecoming. Using the ages old adage of improvise, adapt, and overcome, he makes his way home only to discover, she hasn’t simply forgotten to pick him up from the bus, she’s gone. In her wake, Gavin finds his home set up boot camp style and forty dollars in the cookie jar, but any evidence he’s ever had a wife or five children with her is deplete.
Pregnant at sixteen and married to a marine in a less than romantic ceremony courtesy of the local Justice, Raylyn McIntyre has spent almost three decades playing the dutiful patriotic wife, catering to the whims of the military. She’s lost track of how many places she’s lived, how many deployments she’s endured, and how many tears she’s shed. But most of all, she’s lost track of herself. With a husband who’s so wrapped up in saving the world he can’t see he’s losing his family, Ray resorts to the one tactic he might understand…a full frontal attack with extreme prejudice, which proves to get Gavin’s waning attention.
Nothing good ever comes easy, though, and just when her choice of battle plan seems to be working, tragedy befalls their family. As Ray and Gavin struggle to find center, they also struggle with the notion that forgiveness of self is often the only path to forgiveness of another, and that path is not only bumpy but filled with pitfalls.
The only thing in the front room was his well-worn American Leather recliner Ray had purchased from Cabot House as his welcome home gift two years ago and his fifty-two inch flat screen which still hung on the opposite wall. Everything else was gone. No rugs, no couch with Ray’s sewing basket sitting at the end, no family portraits on the walls. Gone. It was all gone.
Stark realization raced through Gavin’s veins as a ball of ice formed in the pit of his gut. His wife wasn’t just UA.
Ray had left him.
With his mouth hanging open, Gavin spun a couple of circles. How had he missed this? Things were fine the last time he talked to her. Weren’t they? She seemed fine. She was her usual chipper self, all happy news, no tears. He could hear the smile in her voice.
How had they gone from that to this?
“Hey, I don’t have all day,” the driver’s voice snipped from the doorway. Still in a daze, Gavin turned to stare at him. “Kind of a big house for just you and your chair, ain’t it?”
“Yeah, it is,” Gavin ground out.
“Look, I can see you’re having one of those days, but I need my money. I got other fares.”
“Right.” Sliding his pack off his shoulder, Gavin let it hit the slick hardwood floor, which was usually polished to a fine hue but now lay dull and dusty, with a hollow thump. How long had she been gone?
Gavin made his way down the hall which led to the kitchen and dining area to find those rooms in the same condition as the front room, nearly empty. Where their heirloom oak table which would seat twelve in a pinch used to sit was a fold out card table and one metal chair. The kitchen counters were bare save his Bulldog DI cookie jar which was set in the middle of the island with a note tucked beneath. Snatching it up, Gavin scanned it with one thought in mind. Maybe it would reveal Ray’s whereabouts.
Born and raised in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Denisea Kampe was spinning tales before she could even spell and once her sixth grade creative writing teacher encouraged her by leaving a most prophetic comment on one of her assignments, the wheels of destiny were set in motion. But those wheels would need greased again and again as her writing would take a back seat to life and her jobs of mom and wife many times over before she’d finally see her dream of becoming a published writer come to fruition in 2010.
Denisea is a military wife who’s traveled the world over. She’s lived in four states and Okinawa Japan and held more drivers’ licenses than she can count. Her nest is empty save one furry and quite mischievous Siberian Husky and one spoiled rotten Rat Terrier mix. Denisea takes much of her inspiration for her heroes from the marines she’s lived around since marrying her very own fairy tale prince in dusty cammies. Coining the term realmantica, she strives to produce quality romance in a realistic setting.
Her genre of choice is contemporary romance and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading everything she can get her hands on, trips to the museum, taking field research trips, crafting, and sewing. Her works include One Tear, The Executive Officer’s Wife, Private Pirouette, and the Slower Lower series. Denisea loves to hear from her readers and can be found at deniseakampe.blogspot.com