by Mya O'Malley
Do you believe that some souls are destined to be together, even through hardship and deceit?
After 9-11, Declan’s heart is torn between wanting to stay with Morgan and needing to fight for his beloved country. Knowing that the future may be uncertain, he kisses his fiancée goodbye and focuses on his mission until that dark day from which he will never fully recover. Injured in Afghanistan, Declan has lost more than part of his leg; he’s lost part of himself, now plagued in grief and guilt. How could he possibly ask Morgan to take care of him for the rest of his life, being nothing but a burden to her? Which would be more heartbreaking, feigning his own death or bringing her unhappiness every day? If only he could eradicate her from his mind and be at peace with his decision.
Morgan prays day and night for Declan’s safe return, but when his letters stop coming, Morgan knows in her heart that she has lost him forever. Morgan has a hard time believing in fate and destiny after her fiancé is taken from her. With Declan gone, Morgan’s hope for true love is destroyed, but eventually she finds comfort in the arms of another, even though Morgan’s new love knows that her heart belongs to Declan.
Will Morgan eventually be able to move on, or will Declan haunt her dreams forever?
Her face was the only thing that had kept him sane during his deployment. At this moment, however, thoughts of Morgan had been pushed to the side for reasons of pure survival. Declan wiped the mud from his eye with a swift movement of his hand, just quick enough so that he could see again. Booming thunder went off near and far.
Swearing under his breath, Declan closed one eye and squinted the other shut as he spied his target. Breathe. One, two, three… he could do this. The first time he’d had to shoot another man he had faltered, hesitated only the briefest of seconds, during which time the man escaped his line of sight and shot a fellow soldier in the leg, causing serious injury.
This time, Declan concentrated, aimed his M4 rifle, and fired. The distinct thud of a man dropping to the ground confirmed the target had been hit. Swiping at the sweat in his eyes from the sweltering mid-day heat, Declan gulped and struggled to his knees. Lining up his rifle again, his neck and shoulders ached with fatigue. He bit down and gritted his teeth, tasting dirt while fighting off the pain.
It seemed as if hours had gone by, when in fact, it had probably only been minutes when finally the haunting sound of gunfire ceased. Not one to trust silence in any setting, Declan mentally counted upward until he reached near fifty.
“All clear,” his buddy, Sean, called out. “All clear.”
Declan, always cautious, still maintained his position until he heard his fellow soldiers from his platoon begin to speak. Peeking up from his ravine, Declan rose slowly to his feet as the rifle was pressed to his side.
Surveying the damage, it appeared that several of their enemies were lying still on the ground. The man he had shot lay still, appearing lifeless. Another man lay several feet away. It seemed the enemies had taken off, deserting the boundaries of the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan. His platoon mates fell silent, all business as they quickly gathered their belongings to head back to base.
Declan clutched his rifle, drawing closer to his victim. Curiosity had gotten the best of him. Fully aware of his previous actions, Declan stepped even closer. He had never killed a man before — injured, yes, but never killed. This man did not appear to be alive.
His heart sped up as sweat caused his fatigues to cling to his body. For God’s sake, the man looked to have been only in his early twenties at best. What have I done? What are we doing here? Waves of nausea rose and Declan swallowed hard.
“Hey! Step back!” Sean called out. “Move out! I repeat, move out!”
Hearing his friend call out to him, Declan turned toward the sound of his voice, realizing his mistake seconds too late. He should have known better; he should have. But no amount of training can prepare you for taking another man’s life.
Glancing swiftly at Sean through tear-stained eyes, he saw the movement in his peripheral vision. Sean raced to the open dirt road. They were sitting ducks, in plain sight. The man that Declan had presumed dead, the one he had shot, raised his own rifle and fired at Sean, who dropped instantly to ground.
“No! No!” Declan spun his head back to the imminent threat, a moment too late. The force of the explosion knocked him to the ground in an instant. Morgan’s face was the last thing that registered in his mind as another shot fired, leaving his world black.
About the author
Mya O'Malley was born and raised in the suburbs of New York City, where she currently lives with her husband, daughter and three step-daughters. The family also consists of a boxer, Destiny and a ragdoll cat named Colby. Mya earned an undergraduate degree in special education and a graduate degree in reading and literacy. She works as a special education teacher and enjoys making a difference in the lives of her students.
Mya's passion is writing; she has been creating stories and poetry since she was a child. Mya spends her free time reading just about anything she can get her hands on. She is a romantic at heart and loves to create stories with unforgettable characters. Mya likes to travel; she has visited several Caribbean Islands, Mexico and Costa Rica. Mya is currently working on her eighth novel.
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