Sarah’s Soldier

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When Sarah, digital and social media co-ordinator—or digi-chick, as she’s been called—is asked to babysit the special guest at the Jets Rugby League Club’s annual Anzac Day clash, she’s hesitant. What will the returning war hero, wounded from battle, think when he lays eyes on her dyed, flaming red hair and her face full of metal piercings? More than likely, the rule-following, uniform-wearing conformist will take one look at her and double-time it away from her feral-looking behind.

But the sexual attraction that sizzles between Sarah and Dylan is evident from their first touch, and despite both having built walls around their hearts, as protection from childhood loss and pain, they are keen to take advantage of the sheet-scorching, orgasm-exploding sexual tension that is simmering between them.

Of course, falling in love was never part of the plan. Read excerpt.

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Excerpt 18+

Every time Dylan made love to her, it was better than the time before. This time was no exception. Sarah could sense the change in him, the way he loved her, the passion and intent in every hard thrust of his rigid shaft. She believed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dylan Mackenzie loved her, as he had said. She rode her orgasm with such happiness and completeness that she now floated in a haze of contentment, one she’d never experienced before. Could this be it? Had they just turned a corner in their relationship? Could she have found a person to believe in, one who would stay with her forever?

When Dylan rolled his body off her, stretched his long legs over the side of the bed and stood, Sarah thought he was just disposing of the used condom. She didn’t even open her eyes, expecting him to rejoin her so she could snuggle in next to his body and drift off to sleep.

Hearing the rustle of clothing, not feeling the dip of the bed as she had been expecting, made her open her eyes. Dylan had dragged on his jeans and was in the midst of pulling a jumper over his head.

“What ya doing, sexy?” she whispered drowsily. “I want to go to sleep in your arms. Come back to bed.”

Sarah waited a few moments, wondering what was taking Dylan so long, then finally, as if a light bulb had come on in her head, she became aware of the situation. It was in his eyes. Dylan was leaving.

Just waiting to say the words to her.

Sarah had failed. There was no magic corner—she hadn’t managed to break through and discover Dylan’s fear, what fuelled his anxiety. She’d had enough trouble getting him to talk about anything more meaningful than what he wanted to watch on TV or felt like for dinner, let alone the reason or events that had led him to the belief that he didn’t deserve to be happy. Meeting his mates, going to the base… None of it had meant anything.

She didn’t move, couldn’t move. She was frozen, waiting and yet despising that she had to hear the words he was so close to saying. She didn’t want to hear them, wished he wouldn’t do this to them.

To no avail.

“Sarah, I have to go. I can’t do this anymore—pretend that everything will work out. I’m a soldier. I can’t have the pressure of knowing I’m leaving someone at home next time I’m deployed. I’ve seen how much it tears others apart. I don’t want that for you. I’ve got to report back soon anyway—I’m being stationed in Darwin, awaiting further orders. That’s what today’s meeting was all about. I’m sorry. I wish it could be different…I could be different.”

Sarah felt the exact moment her heart broke. The jagged pain was so intense, the rip so profound that she placed her hands on her chest just to make sure it hadn’t torn open. The pain was so intense, so all-consuming that she could not take a breath. Perhaps she did not want to.

He was gone before she could manage to force air back into her lungs. Before she could throw herself at his feet and beg for him to give them another chance. Beg him to try to change. Tell him that she loved him, didn’t think she would survive without him. But she had no chance to do any of those things—to plead and grovel with no thought for her pride—because Dylan had gone.

The sound of her front door closing was a death knell in her ears.

His words echoed in her head, bounced around inflicting wound after wound. The ‘I can’ts’ and the ‘I won’ts’. It was all about him. His pain, his fear, his decision, yet she was left with her heart splintered, her soul destroyed. She should have known better. But I love him.

Her wail was so distraught—the sobs that wracked her body so filled with grief that she thought she would never regain control of her emotions. The despair she felt sucked all the light from the room, and Sarah was afraid it would never return.

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