You"re The Life
Cleo"s a Pararescueman for the U.S. Air Force. When a PJ is called, it"s because everyone else has said no. It"s one of the most dangerous jobs in the entire military, but also one of the most rewarding. It"s the reason he doesn"t form relationships. He"s seen his teammates divorce one by one, and he doesn"t want to do that to a woman. Especially one that he"s supposed to love. However, nowhere in his grand scheme did he plan for the force that was Rue.
Rue"s life has been rough. What she needs is a break. One that"ll distract her from the fact that she"s drowning in responsibility. It comes in the form of a dark and dangerous biker who has a habit of putting his life on the line. He gives her the world, and she holds on with both hands, knowing that he only wants to be friends. Or does he"
Thinking she knows what"s best, she pushes him too far, causing his control to take flight, and Cleo to disappear before the dust settles. One night of passion turns into a year of heartbreak as Rue tries to find the ability to move on from Cleo. He was pretty clear with his wishes, and they didn"t include her.
Cleo"s not through with Rue, though. Not even a little bit. She"ll be his. All it"ll take is a little bit of"persuasion.Books in Series:The Heroes of The Dixie Wardens MC Series by Lani Lynn ValeBooks by Author:Lani Lynn Vale Books
When we get old, I want you to move into the same nursing home as me, so then when I start forgetting who I am, we can become new friends.
2 years ago
I walked up to my mother"s grave. Gravel crunched underneath my boots as I followed the winding path from where I"d parked my truck.
The grass that had been green, only a month ago, was brown.
The leaves on the trees had gone from a nice, leafy green to brown, yellow, and red explosions of color.
Fall was in full swing.
Not only the weather had changed, though.
My demeanor, for one, had gone through a major overhaul.
The last time I"d been here, I"d been a wreck.
My mother had been my best friend. She"d been my confidant. My savior. My everything.
Then she"d had a heart attack while I was deployed overseas, and died as a result.
My father had died years ago, but words couldn"t explain how much more it hurt to lose my mom.
"Do you see, Nonnie" I wasn"t lying to you. Papa died a year ago," a woman"s tired voice said from up ahead.
My eyes went from my destination, towards the direction the woman"s voice came from. I only saw their heads over the gravestones, though.
This cemetery was an old one. There were a ton of huge monuments, headstones, catacombs; even above ground crypts. This was the heart and soul of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
"No, child. I don"t understand. He was just with me yesterday. Ollie wouldn"t leave me like this. He just wouldn"t," a frail elderly woman"s voice cried desolately.
My heart constricted as I listened to the woman weep uncontrollably.
"Oh, Nonnie. I"m so sorry," the woman replied breathily.
I hung my head and walked to my mother"s grave, trying my hardest to ignore the sound of the crying going on from just across the foot path.
My mother"s grave was covered in flowers from my sisters.
They felt that the area should be beautiful, and I couldn"t disagree with them. My mom deserved the best, which was why I threw nearly two years of a paycheck at the burial plot that would allow her to be buried next to my father. Even if it meant displacing the prior occupant.
I sat down, leaning forward until my arms hung from my upraised knees. My head rested on my forearms, and I tried my hardest to let my brain tune out the pitiful wails of the old woman.
It was really pulling on my non-existent heartstrings.
"Ollie! Ollie! I"m right here. What are you doing way over there"" The old woman exclaimed.
I looked up to see the old woman barreling towards me as fast as her walker, decorated with hot pink tennis balls at the bottom, could carry her.
The woman, who I"d only seen at a cursory glance stood, and started forward.
However, the old woman, Nonnie, who was surprisingly fast and nimble in spite of her age, was gone before the woman had even gotten to her feet.
She flew across the grass, then the gravel, with startlingly graceful maneuvering.
"Nonnie, slow down!" The woman chided.
The younger woman finally caught up to her "Nonnie" and hugged her tightly. "Nonnie, that"s not Papa."
Nonnie looked crestfallen. "But…but…but where"s my Ollie""
My guess was that the woman had Alzheimer"s.
"I"m so sorry, sir, my Nonnie doesn"t understand." The woman finally gave me her eyes.
She was beautiful.
Short brown hair that came to her jaw with the front bangs tucked back behind her ear, she reminded me of one of my little sisters. She wasn"t overtly tall or beautiful, but she was intriguing.
Her black tights and brown suede boots hugged her long, shapely legs.
Her top half was swallowed by a long, flowy shirt that came down to her knees, and barely showed off anything good.
"That"s okay, it isn"t a big deal," I finally said.
The woman smiled.
"That"s good. Nonnie doesn"t mean to kick up a fuss. Do you"" The woman looked at her Nonnie.
Nonnie looked up. "Rue, what are we doing here""
The woman, Rue, looked extremely relieved. "Oh, Nonnie. You wanted to see Papa"s grave. Now we"re going to go back home so I can get to work on time tonight. Right""
"Right dear," Nonnie said, patting the younger woman"s hand. "Let"s go. I made you late enough."
The woman gave me a fleeting smile as they walked away, and I was well and truly caught.
1 year later
"I"m not that man," Cleo said to me, his hand on my face. "I"ll never be that man. I"m sorry, baby."
Cleo was my best friend. My confidant. The person who I turned to when I needed it.
In all ways but one.
He didn"t do relationships.
I knew he loved me, and I loved him.
However, something held him back. Something always held on to that last tie. That one single piece of him that kept him from taking that final step.
He said it was the fact that he was never here.
I knew better.
It didn"t have anything to do with the fact that he was a PJ, or pararescue jumper, and everything to do with the fact that he lost his father at a young age, and then his mother at a time when he needed her most.
He was jaded to love.
Not because he was betrayed by a woman, but because he was loved too much by one. Which was reciprocated in kind by him.
The same went for his sisters. They were so tight, that sometimes it was hard to get in.
I was the fourth woman in his life, and he didn"t want to chance loving me and then losing me.
He could tell himself whatever lie made him sleep at night, but I knew better.
It didn"t help that every man on his particular jump team was either divorced or single. They didn"t have a single successful relationship between the six of them.
He didn"t think it was possible, and he was too stubborn to see otherwise.
"Please," I whispered against his lips. "Please."
He groaned in defeat, grasping me by the hips with his large hands, and pinning me up against the wall with his huge, muscular body.
Mikhail "Cleo" Caruso was the epitome of perfection. Tall, with hair black as midnight, and eyes the color of charcoal.