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There are some debts you can’t repay.
Josh Walker is loyal, reckless, and every girl’s dream. But he only has eyes for December Howard, the girl he's craved since his high school hockey days. Together they have survived grief, the military, distance, and time as they’ve fought for stolen weekends between his post at Ft. Rucker and her college at Vanderbilt. Now that Josh is a medevac pilot and Ember is headed toward graduation, they’re moving on—and in—together.
Ember never wanted the Army life, but loving Josh means accepting whatever the army dictates—even when that means saying goodbye as Josh heads to Afghanistan, a country that nearly killed him once before and that took her father. But filling their last days together with love, passion, and plans for their future doesn’t temper Ember’s fear, and if there’s one thing she’s learned from her father’s death, it’s that there are some obstacles even love can’t conquer.
Flight school is over.
This is war.
I pushed my chair out and reached for her, lifting her tiny, curved frame into my lap. Her head tucked beneath my chin, and she curled into me, fitting right where she was always meant to be. My arms closed around her. “We have a month.”
“It’s not long enough.” Her fingers gripped my shirt like she could keep me here if she just held on tight enough. God, what I wouldn’t have given to stay with her.
“Forever isn’t long enough for us, December, but that’s what we’re going to have. You and I have never chosen the easy path. This is just another hurdle.” I rubbed my chin over her soft hair and tried to soak in every detail of holding her—the sweet way she smelled, the smooth texture of her skin beneath my hands.
She leaned back in my arms and cupped my face. “I can’t lose you.” Her voice broke, and tears pooled in her eyes.
I’d never hated myself more than I did in that moment. She’d made it through a nightmare no one should have to face, and I was about to ask her to chance that fire again. My breath hitched, barely passing the lump in my throat. “You won’t. It would take something a hell of a lot stronger than a war to keep me from you.”
I sealed that promise with a kiss, tasting her fear and desperation as she responded. She opened underneath me, and I fused my mouth to hers, surrendering to the heat between us to pull us through this moment. There was nothing hotter or sweeter in this world than kissing December, feeling her go soft and pliant.
We’d fought so fucking hard to get here, to be together. This wasn’t fair, and we both knew it. But we also both knew it didn’t matter. Fair wasn’t exactly in the U.S. Army vocabulary.
I retreated just enough to whisper against her lips, “I’ll come home. I swear it.”