Curvy Emily is engaged to the man of her dreams, and she can’t wait for the wedding day. Sweet, gentle and impossibly broken, Rafa is everything she’s always wanted.
Rafael Carpenter has met the woman of a lifetime, but his past has come calling. The Army wants him back, and he’s torn between the life he’s always known and the new life he wants to build with Emily.
Emily and Rafa think they have one last obstacle before they’re finally joined together, but their troubles have only begun.
This 16,000 word short novel is approximately 64 print pages. It is the final part of the four part Wounded Love series.
Emily worried about Rafa. He jogged along beside her, his breath forming great clouds in front of him, but he’d barely said two words since they’d entered the trail.
“Alright, Rafa, something’s wrong. Talk to me.”
“I’m fine. Not even a twinge.”
His strides were long and steady, his shoe and his blade alternately crunching on the frosty gravel. It was the furrows on his forehead and the tension in his arms that bothered her.
“I don’t mean your knee. Are you worried about the wedding?”
“We need to work out a date and decide who to invite and work on colors.” He was watching her out of the corner of his eye, but his expression was one of surprise. So the wedding wasn’t the problem. That was a relief. At least one of them still had the brain capacity to think about something else.
“I’m still here.”
The week after the proposal had been one long high. Christa had been giddy when Emily had shown her the ring. In between bouts of jumping up and down and grinning like a Cheshire cat, Emily had started planning the wedding, and she’d hardly given a thought to anything else.
But if he wasn’t worried about the wedding, what else could it be? Afternoon sunlight filtered through the trees that lined the trail, casting him in shadows as he moved from light to darkness and back to light. His muscles flexed with each stride. Realization dawned on her: tomorrow was his first day at his new job at the Air Force Academy.
“Are you worried about your first day of work?” Emily asked.
“I don’t know how a bunch of Air Force cadets are going to respond to an Army vet.”
It was gratifying how she was beginning to read him, even if she couldn’t understand his concern. “You’re kidding, right?”
Rafa frowned. “No. Intra-service rivalry is a real thing for some people. It’s really bad at the academies.”
“Rafa, you’ll be fine. You’re experienced, knowledgeable and if anyone doubts it, all they have to do is look at your arm.” She meant it to be encouraging, but his frown deepened.
“It doesn’t work like that. They’ll see-- I don’t know what they’ll see. It won’t be good.”
“Seriously, you have to stop worrying about your disabilities. They’re part of you, but you don’t have to let them define you. Go in, be professional and you’ll be fine. It can’t be as bad as the stuff you dealt with in the Army.”
“They won’t shoot at me, I suppose.”
“Well, it’s the Air Force, right? Even if they did, they’d miss.”
That drew a chuckle, and his arms started to move more easily at his side. “Talk to me about the wedding,” he said.
“Well, we need a date.”
“How about early summer? It will be beautiful in Madrid in June.”
Madrid? She didn’t want to walk back into the lion’s den at all, never mind for her own wedding. “We can’t even get a church booked in that amount of time.”
“Do you want to go later? August?”
“I was thinking next Christmas. And something in Boulder or Denver. Or what about the Air Force Academy, they have a chapel there, right?”
He hesitated. “They do.”
“But you don’t think they’ll let you use it?”
“I don’t know. They might.”
“Okay... we can come back to that later. We need to see what’s available closer, anyway.”
“Or farther away?”
“Maybe. Let me think about it some more first.”
“How about we think while we run?”
He sped up, forcing Em to really stretch her legs to stay with him. Her nee