BP: Welcome to the excerpt of Until There Was You by Jessica Scott. Ms Scott visited us earlier this morning with a really interesting guest post. Make sure you take a look and check back closer to the release date for our review.
I hope you’ll enjoy and if you like what you’ve read here, I hope you’ll preorder Until There Was You today!
Here is the blurb:
He plays by the rules, she’s not afraid to break them. Now these two strong-willed army captains will prove that opposites attract . . .
A by-the-book captain with a West Point background, Captain Evan Loehr refuses to mix business with pleasure—except for an unguarded instance years ago when he succumbed to the deep sensuality of redheaded beauty Claire Montoya. From that moment on, though, Evan has been at odds with her, through two deployments to Iraq and back again. But when he is asked to train a team prepping for combat alongside Claire, battle-worn Evan is in for the fight of his life.
Strong, gutsy, and loyal, Captain Claire Montoya has worked hard to earn the rank on her chest. In Evan, Claire sees a rigid officer who puts the rules before everything else—including his people. When the mission forces them together, Claire soon discovers that there is more to Evan than meets the eye.
He’s more than the rank on his chest; he’s a man with dark secrets and deep longings. For all their differences, Evan and Claire share two crucial passions: their country and each other.
They sat in the car in the parking lot outside the lodge. Cold seeped in through the doors and windows, freezing the silence around them. “When I was fifteen, my father tripped and fell on me. He’d been drinking.” She swallowed and stared into the darkness.
“The coffee table?” Evan murmured. “The scars on your back. Shattered glass?”
She nodded silently then pushed out a deep breath. “When I finally got to the hospital, I told them what had happened. They took me away from him because he admitted to drinking too much. They said he wasn’t responsible enough to take care of me. I spent the next three years in and out of foster homes. He died two weeks after I joined the army.” Claire sat in the dark, her boots resting on Evan’s dashboard, her chin resting on her knees. “My tenth-grade English teacher helped take me away from my dad. I trusted her. I talked to her about things at home. And she helped take me away from the only home I had.”
Her heart ached for the girl she’d been. So naïve. So trusting in the wrong people. “I was eighteen the first time I met Sarn’t Iaconelli.”
“It sounds weird hearing you call him ‘Sarn’t.’” His voice was a low rumble beneath the hushed blanket of night.
She smiled. Evan’s face was lit by the parking lot lights outside the lodge. “Yeah, well, he was Sarn’t Ike a lot longer than I was a sergeant.” She took a deep breath, letting the words come out without a filter. She’d held onto them for long enough.
“We were stopped just outside of Basra. Things had been quiet. Mostly. Little flare-ups but nothing major. We thought one division would win the entire war in less than a month.” She looked away. “I worked on the plan with my battalion commander. I trusted him. Looked up to him. God, I was such a fool.”
She opened the door of the truck, needing the crisp, cold night air to ease some of the pressure burning in her lungs. He followed when she climbed out.
Funny how she’d gotten used to having him around. Iraq. Fort Hood. Fort Carson. Somehow, Evan had wormed his way past every single one of her defenses until she found herself scanning the faces in a room looking for him. He tormented her dreams. Teased her with a hint of what could be.
It scared the hell out of her.
Evan followed her into the lodge, then into her room, and he closed and locked the door behind them. She felt him move toward her and she managed not to brace herself when he rested his hands on her shoulders. “Keep going,” he urged.
She took a deep breath. Then started talking.
“Reza and his platoon were pinned down just outside the Baghdad Airport. My commander shocked the hell out of me when he said he wasn’t going to let anyone go after them because we needed to capture the airport first.” She swiped at her cheeks to hide the tears. “You asked me who broke me? It was the battalion commander who I trusted, who I admired, who refused to let me go after my friend. Who tried to court-martial me when I did it anyway. It was my father, who wasn’t man enough to be the dad I needed. Everyone in my life I was supposed to be able to trust has let me down. Except Reza.” She sniffed. “It’s killing me to watch him waste his life at the bottom of a bottle.” She offered a watery smile. “You asked me once why I wouldn’t face you when we’re having sex? Because I’m afraid, Evan. I’m afraid you’re going to be just like everyone else in my life.”
“That’s pretty harsh,” he said gently.
“Not really.” She sniffed again. “I mean, you turned me in to Colonel Richter after the range fire.” She swiped at her cheeks again, trying to smile at her own weak attempt at a joke. “Our track record with each other sucks.”
* * *
He pulled her against him and stroked his hands up and down her back, tracing her spine with his thumbs, unable to deny the harsh truth of her words, no matter how gently they were spoken. Up and down, again and again, he stroked her. Softly. Hoping to gentle the fierce violence of emotion raging through him. Too much raged inside him. Fear. Loss.
But it was the utter hopelessness he saw in Claire’s eyes that terrified him.
She was on the verge of giving up, of forgetting everything she’d fought so hard to become. Her stubborn need to hold the line, to do the wrong thing for the right reasons—all of it was what drew him to her. And tonight, she looked as though she’d lost her will to fight.
She lifted her head away from his chest. Her eyes were red and they threatened to spill. “Don’t cry,” he whispered. “Please don’t cry.”
She tried to smile but he stopped her, nudging her lips gently with his. He rubbed his nose against hers, lashing back the intense hunger he wanted badly to satiate. She met him halfway, opening her mouth beneath his. Her tongue darted against his, a warm, wet slide of heat against heat. It was Claire who deepened their kiss. Claire who stepped closer to rub her hips against his. Claire whose fingers traced beneath his T-shirt and caressed his skin.
Claire who spanned the distance between them.
“It’s okay to be afraid,” he whispered against her lips.
She closed her eyes, resting her cheek over the hard black lines covering his heart. “I don’t want to be alone.”
This time, it was Evan who crossed the space between them. “You’re not,” he whispered.
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