“Cody Davis is gonna make a sinner out of me.”
Yes, I know exactly who he is.
The wounded soldier at the end of Willow Street. Intimidating. Devastatingly handsome. Muscular body chiseled from stone. Deep dark eyes that dare you to come near. Attitude for days.
And I just became his caregiver.
Everyone warned me to stay away from him – including my father, the respected minister of our small town of Spruce. But clearly I’m too stubborn to heed good advice, especially when Cody Davis is as frustratingly attractive – and persistent – as they come.
As the preacher’s son, I have strict morals I must live by. But each day spent with that aggravating hunk makes me question them. My safe and fragile world is turning upside-down, and I’m not sure I have the strength to stop it.
And even worse: I’m not sure I want to.
Temptation this bad never looked so good.
This soldier is gonna make a sinner out of me.
* This is a standalone male/male romance set in the same fictional small town as “Football Sundae”. Steam, humor, and a whole lot of southern sass guaranteed. *Books by Author:Daryl Banner Books
Two months ago, I opened my heavy eyes and found a round, beady-eyed face hovering over mine like an insect.
"Good morning, Cody. Do you know where you are""
Every appendage was wrapped up like a taco. The last thing I remembered was Pete shouting at me to move. "MOVE!" His urgent voice, that one stupid word, echoed ceaselessly up and down the long-ass empty hallways of my ears for weeks on end. The fucker would not shut up.
"Do you know where you are""
And neither would this nurse. "Fuck off," someone spat back, far, far away from me.
Someone. I didn"t even recognize my own voice.
I remember trying to move, but everything was so slow. I felt like a bug trapped in a honeyed Petri dish. "Where"s Pete""
"You"re at Prairieland Medical. Do you remember""
"I know where the hell I am. Where the hell is Pete""
It wasn"t until four days later"four fucking days later"that I learned exactly where Pete was, and it wasn"t any damned place I"d be returning to anytime soon.
He was back at the base. He suffered scratches. That lucky fucker stood two feet away from me and suffered scratches.
And there I was, plugged into machines in a bed with metal in my left leg and arm.
Yeah, maybe I should"ve moved.
They don"t waste any time either, these insects called nurses. They had me rolling left or right on my bed every damned day, sitting up, lying back down, doing pull-ups on the hand grip over the bed"all sorts of circus shit to see what needed attention, to see what was broken. Long story short: fucking everything. I heard the phrase "embedded shrapnel" about a hundred times too many a day. And: "Now try this". And my favorite: "Does it hurt""
How could anything hurt when all I felt was anger"
Who had time to care about any "embedded" anything when I couldn"t move my left leg without screaming out in pain"
What kind of stupid shit would I bother to "try" when I knew damned well that the only family I ever had"my brothers in the military"were continuing their missions without me"
"When am I going back"" I asked anyone within earshot. I must have asked just as many times as the nurses asked me to try this, to try that, to move this way and that.
It was on a day two weeks later that I was given an answer: likely never.
What was the point in taking my recovery seriously when the only thing I could look forward to was returning to civilian life in a small town I hated" That was the whole reason I enlisted"to get the fuck out of that town I was about to be condemned to live in once again.
Maybe the insects should have gotten the hint the first time I forced myself out of my bed on my own and almost bled out halfway down the hall because one of my drain balloons fell off, dropping to the hallway floor like a damned Christmas ornament, except the shattering was less pretty.
That"s all I kept trying to do, follow Pete"s advice that could have saved my life and kept me among my brothers.
Instead, it only saved my life.
"You"re making it worse," the nurse chirped at me each time she returned me to my bed. "You won"t recover if you don"t do it properly. You"ve got to get your head in the game and go through every step of the therapy. No shortcuts. Hey, don"t give me that look. Remember what you"re doing this for, Cody. Remember."
I remember feeling strong my whole life. I remember facing every bully in school with fearlessness. I remember standing up to my dad, who"s a lying, alcoholic shit stain. I remember spending years and years working out, strength training, and gaining so much muscle mass that no asshole in their right mind would ever fuck with me again"school bully and father alike.
And now it"s all for nothing.
Strength, the one thing I relied on my whole life, fled from my bones as fast as I could count the days slipping by.
"Get your head in the game, Cody."
Yeah, my head was in the game. It was in the game since the day I signed my life away to the Army, and the Army sent me back home a damaged piece of meat. It was always in the game.
And I had already tapped out.
Yes, I know exactly who lives in that house. Everyone does. It"s no secret in town who the young man at the end of Willow is.
Every stop sign on the way over tried to ward me away"stop, stop, stop"like a bunch of octagonal red flags. I clearly didn"t listen to a single one of them.
For being told all my life that I have such a good heart, I also sure as spit have a foolhardy, stubborn one.