As a former USAF pararescueman, Jeremy O"Brien is used to following orders, no questions asked. So, when Micah, his boss at Hamilton Security, asks him to take on a special case, he readily accepts. Micah"s instructions are simple, find the man in the picture and bring him back to Chicago.
Seven years ago, Zane Wilkinson left the hospital against doctor"s orders, only to suffer a final, devastating blow that left him with no choice but to leave the only place he"d called home. Feeling heartbroken and empty, Zane moved from town to town just trying to survive, while never letting anyone get too close.
In a chance encounter, Jeremy finds himself crossing paths with a man who fits Zane"s description. His instincts tell him that he"s on to something, but Micah warns him that he needs to be absolutely sure. Jeremy sets a plan in motion that will allow him to get closer to the man he believes to be Zane. However, the closer he gets, the more he likes the man and begins to question why he was sent to find him.
Will Jeremy be able to follow through with his orders without becoming too attached" Or will he realize that in his search for Zane, he"s found so much more than he bargained for"Books in Series:Hamilton’s Heroes Series by Annabella MichaelsBooks by Author:Annabella Michaels Books
Seven Years Earlier
I wobbled as I stood from the bed and my stomach lurched when I leaned back down to grab my shirt. I pressed my lips between my teeth and breathed through my nose for a minute, waiting for the nausea to pass.
"Are you sure you won"t reconsider" At least stay until you"re steadier on your feet," Stacey pleaded. Without thinking, I pulled my shirt over my head too quickly, causing me to suck in a sharp breath as the fabric scraped along the still healing wounds on my face.
Dr. Gregory had removed my bandages earlier that morning then handed me a small mirror as he once again went over the multiple surgeries they"d performed to fix the damage done to my face. I tried to listen, but I"d taken one look at the swollen skin and the angry red scars and I"d begun to shake at the visual reminder of a night so violent, it was a wonder I was still alive.
He assured me that once the swelling went down and the scars had a chance to heal, that my face would look much better, although he cautioned that I would probably look different than before. I just needed to rest and give my body time to recover from the trauma it had been through, he instructed. The problem was, I"d already been there a month and I was going out of my mind with the need to escape.
Dr. Gregory stood and reached a hand out as if to lay on my shoulder but pulled away when he saw me visibly flinch. The staff had learned early on that I didn"t like to be touched and they had been respectful, only touching me when absolutely necessary.
I"d told them very little about myself. They"d brought the police and the hospital psychologist in to try and get me to talk about what had happened to me, but I"d kept silent. There was too much at risk for me to open up to anyone about what had happened.
"Get some rest," he said gently, but I could see the worry in his eyes when I"d told him that I was checking myself out of the hospital that day. "It"s too soon," he"d insisted, but time was running out and I needed to get out of there before it was too late. If it wasn"t too late already.
When I refused to budge, he"d had no choice. He frowned as he signed my discharge papers, marking clearly that I was leaving against his orders. Then he"d handed me his card and told me that I could call him day or night if there was any problem. The look in his eyes made it clear that he was talking about more than just medical problems. He was a kind man and he was worried about what would happen to me once I walked out the door. I swallowed hard as I reached for the card.
I nodded, but I knew that no one could save me from what waited for me outside the walls of that hospital. I could only save myself, but there was someone I needed to find first. Someone whose safety was more important to me than my own, and the reason I had to get out of there that day. I"d wasted enough precious time.
"I"m sure," I mumbled as I turned to face Stacey.
"Okay," she said, her shoulders slumping in defeat. She"d been my regular nurse since the night I was brought in. She was kind, gentle and caring and I was fortunate to have had her.
"At least take this with you. There"s medications and a bunch of ointment packets along with bandages. You"ll need to keep your scars covered until they"ve had more time to heal." I nodded my head as I reached for the bag, ignoring the sadness in her eyes.
I headed for the door, but Stacey stopped me before I could leave. "Um, we all pitched in and put a little something together for you. It"s in the bag as well."
"Thank you," I answered woodenly. The staff at the hospital had been nothing but kind to me, but accepting kindness felt foreign to me and I still wasn"t quite sure how.
I clutched the handles of the bag as I walked down the long white corridor towards the front door. The same door where I had been found, unconscious and bleeding, a month before. No one had a clue how I"d come to be there, but they"d whisked me inside and patched me up to the best of their abilities. I knew that patching the inside of me was an impossibility though. The cuts that had been placed there, the damage inflicted, was too great for even the most skilled surgeon to repair.
The doors swished open and I stepped outside. The sun seemed too bright for my eyes and the noises all around me seemed too loud as I was suddenly drawn back into the real world. It struck me then that even though my entire world had been turned upside down, nothing else had changed. People still rushed to their jobs each morning, stopping to grab a cup of coffee along the way. Bills still came due and everyone still made their plans.