HERE WITH ME by Heidi McLaughlin
Ryley Clarke has grown up with the military in her blood, with both parents serving their country. Ryley knows the risks of being married to the military. But when the unthinkable happens, and her future husband is killed in action, Ryley can barely survive... until Evan's twin brother, Nate, helps her pick up the pieces.
After serving on a special mission with the military for six years, Evan Archer returns home to find the unthinkable - the love of his life, Ryley Clarke - engaged to his brother, Nate. With Nate on deployment, Evan needs to figure out what happened in his absence, and more importantly, how to win Ryley back from the man he once considered his best friend, but now thinks of as his rival.
“It does take time to heal, Ryley, and everyone has to do it at their own pace.”
I laugh out loud and adjust the way I’m sitting. I wish I hadn’t worn a dress today, but Lois insisted and I’m at a point in my life where I just do as she says, so I put on a yellow sundress and pulled my hair into a blue ribbon. That’s as good as it gets for me right now. But sitting here, I want to be in sweats. I want my white socks covering my bare toes and I want to be buried under an oversized sweatshirt. I want to hide.
“Time is my enemy. Time is the one thing I don’t have and can’t afford to lose. Time…” I shake my head and toward the window. I bite my lip and close my eyes. My mind is blank. I refuse to see their images. I don’t want to look, or remember. “I need to find a way to stop time or reverse it.” I nod. “Reversing time would be ideal. If I could do that, I wouldn’t be sitting here right now. My life… it’d be on the path that I created, that I worked hard for, but it’s not. I’m standing in the center of the Interstate with traffic coming at me from both directions waiting… desperately waiting for someone or something to change everything that has happened in the last five years. So no, time doesn’t heal anything. It just prolongs the hurt and pain.
“It sounds like you’ve had a lot to deal with, maybe more than others. Do you find solace in your friends?”
I shake my head. “I have two very close friends. One is from high school, her and her husband moved down here once the twins where stationed here. The other is a military wife. Any other friends I had bailed. I’m sure they didn’t bail because of me, but because of the military. You move on, ya know? They don’t want to associate…” I stop and think about that word. “Associate isn’t the correct word… it’s fear. They see what I went through and fear rips through their body and they do what their body tells them, fight or flight. They all chose flight because they all afraid they’ll go through the same thing one day.”
About the Author:
Heidi is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author.
Originally from the Pacific Northwest, she now lives in picturesque Vermont, with her husband and two daughters. Also renting space in their home is an over-hyper Beagle/Jack Russell and two Parakeets.
During the day Heidi is behind a desk talking about Land Use. At night, she's writing one of the many stories planned for release or sitting court-side during either daughter's basketball games.
Connect with Heidi