The Way Home (One-Eyed Jacks Series #2)

The Way Home (One-Eyed Jacks Series #2)

by Cindy Gerard

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New York Times bestselling author Cindy Gerard’s novel about a soldier’s wife and a daring rescue mission is “smart, romantic, exciting, and so emotionally satisfying” (#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr).

Killed in Action—the most dreaded words imaginable for a soldier’s wife. Jess Albert has been living with them for four years, since the death of her husband in Afghanistan. Finding blessed numbness in routine, she doesn’t dare to look ahead, any more than she can bear to look back. Then Tyler Brown, a former special-ops warrior, shows up at her small general store in Minnesota North Woods, jarring her back to life. Jess knows better than to fall in love with another man who places duty to his country before love of his wife—but there’s no denying the longing and the hope for a future that Ty makes her feel.

A world away, a lost American soldier clings to life and sanity in a lantern-lit cave. At his side is a dark-haired and dark-eyed woman whose touch is caring, despite the resentment he hears in her voice and sees on her face. But is it honor igniting her compassion for her enemy, or is it something more?

A heartwarming, richly emotional, action-packed story about homecomings, The Way Home follows two women on opposite sides of the world. While they both walk a dangerous path between betrayal and honor, they each must find for themselves where to draw the line between duty and love.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476735221
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Series: One-Eyed Jacks Series , #2
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 86,229
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Cindy Gerard is the critically acclaimed New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the wildly popular Black Ops series, the Bodyguards series, and more than thirty contemporary romance novels. Her latest books include the One-Eyed Jacks novels Killing Time, Running Blind, and The Way Home. Her work has won the prestigious RITA Award for Best Romantic Suspense. She and her husband live in the Midwest. Visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

The Way Home

  • Northern Minnesota, July

    Today, of all days, Jess Albert needed routine. Most days, she got it. Shop keeping wasn’t exactly a glamorous, exciting occupation. In fact, every day was pretty much a repeat of the day before and the day before that. Little mini Groundhog Days, stacked up like cordwood, one on top of the other.

    “Until tomorrow, my little lotus blossom. Dream of me.” Boots England, one of her regulars, wiggled his busy white brows and blew her a kiss.

    Jess grinned as he tucked his newspaper under his arm and limped on his recently replaced knee toward the front door of the Crossroads General Store.

    “One of these days, Marcia’s going to show up with a shovel and bash one of us over the head, if you keep flirting with me like that.”

    “Ah, but what’s life without a little danger?” He let himself outside on a hot rush of July air to drive back to his lakeside cabin for his afternoon nap and his wife of almost fifty years.

    The bell above the front door dinged softly behind the irrepressible old flirt, sounding the same as it had since Jess’s father had first set up shop almost fifty years ago. She loved the sound of that bell. It was comforting and comfortable, the bedrock of her childhood, as ingrained in her psyche as the scent of sunscreen, bug spray, and the cherry nut ice cream she’d already scooped gallons of this summer.

    She’d spent her youth playing on this scarred pine floor, then working behind the counter when she got older. And after burning out as an ER trauma nurse, she’d taken over the store when her parents had retired to Arizona three years ago. So, yeah, she loved the sound of that old bell. Especially because every time it rang, it meant business, which was good, because her quarterly taxes were due soon and, as always, she was a little short on cash.

    Today, she also loved it because it meant she had another customer to help keep her mind off the fact that this particular day would be tough to get through. She glanced at the framed eight-by-ten photo of her and J.R. on the wall behind the cash register. Suntanned and smiling, their whole lives ahead of them . . . And then it wasn’t. At least, not for J.R.

    He would have been thirty-five today. If he’d been home and not deployed, she would have baked him a cake, and some of his buddies on the post would have stopped by for a few beers.

    But the last birthday J.R. celebrated had been thousands of miles from home. He’d been thirty-two. Eight months later, he was dead.

    “Too late to add these to the bill?”

    She looked up at the young father making some final purchases before he and his son headed out for a week of camping and fishing. He’d added a map and two black ball caps with “Lake Kabetogama” embroidered in red across the bills to their stack of supplies.

    “Not a problem.” She gave him a bright smile and harnessed her attention to the business at hand. “Anything else?”

    The Crossroads General Store was a north woods version of a Walmart, on a much smaller and less state-of-the-art scale. The store had been supplying goods to locals and travelers alike for more than eighty years. You needed boots? Whiskey? Bait? Groceries? DVD rentals? Anything you could think of, the Crossroads provided.

    “Yeah, throw in half a dozen C batteries, and we’ll call it good. Right, son?”

    The boy looked to be around ten, with flashing brown eyes and buzz-cut blond hair. He was the image of his father and clearly antsy to start their grand “just guys” adventure.

    “Do you think we’ll see a bear?” Equal measures of hope and trepidation filled the boy’s question.

    “It’s a good possibility,” Jess said, feeding his excitement. “At the last DNR count, more than a hundred and fifty black bears called this part of Voyageurs National Park home. Where are you camping?”

    The dad dug into his breast pocket and checked his camping permit. “Blue Fin Bay.”

    “Ah. Then there’s a pretty good chance you might spot one.”

    The boy’s eyes grew as big as bobbers.

    She couldn’t help but laugh as she continued ringing up their sale. “Make sure to police your campsite every day, and store your food in the bear-proof lockers the Park Service provides. You’ll be fine.”

    The bell above the door rang again, and Jess glanced up from the cash register in time to see broad shoulders and the back of a baseball cap disappear down the center aisle toward the live-bait tanks.

    It was a sight she saw dozens of times a day during the summer season. Another fisherman burning with fishing fever, hoping to get lucky and needing some bait. Since she was on her own until Kayla Burke, her mainstay summer help, got back from a bank run, she let the newcomer figure out what he wanted while she finished ringing up twenty gallons of gas, a mocha cappuccino, a root beer, and the rest of the groceries for the campers. She gave them directions to Wooden Frog Landing, where they could put their boat in, and wished them good luck as they headed out the door.

    Coming out from behind the counter to check on Mr. Ball Cap, she nearly tripped over Bear, her twelve-week-old Labrador pup. All glossy black fur, big clumsy feet, and happily thumping tail, Bear had “assumed the position” and napped soundly by her feet.

    “No, don’t get up.” She grinned at the oblivious dog and headed down a row of shelves stocked neatly with everything from canned goods to marshmallows to fishing lures, toward the place where she’d seen the top of the ball cap disappear.

    “Sorry for the wait. What can I get you?” she called.

    “Not sure. What do I need to catch the big ones?”

    The voice stopped her cold. And routine, mundane, and comfortable shifted to excitement and chaos in one heartbeat. Although the stocked shelves hid him from view, she knew exactly who was back there.

    Tyler Brown.

    Holy, holy cow.

    It had been a year ago February since she’d met this man and exchanged a very few words with him. No way should she have remembered the timber and the pitch of his voice so clearly after . . . eighteen months? Yet she was one-hundred-percent certain it was him before she hesitantly turned the corner to face him.

    “Surprise.” He smiled, hopeful and expectant and even a little shy. Coupled with his very large, very striking, and very unexpected presence, it set off a handspring of emotions in her stomach.

    “Yeah,” she finally managed, along with a return smile that felt as forced as it felt necessary. “You could definitely say this is a surprise. Hello, Ty.”

    She started to extend her hand, thought better of it, and stuffed it into the back pocket of her shorts. “Wow. You’re a long way from home.”

    A very long way. And not just from Florida but a long way from his life. A heck of a long way from the cold winter night when he’d swooped in and out of her life like the storm he’d blown in on.

    And now here he was, back again. One of the men who’d been part of a dangerous rescue. A man who had made enough of an impression on her that she’d opened up her gun safe to him and three other virtual strangers based on his word alone.

    Unable to stop herself, she stared at Tyler Brown. Although he looked nothing like J.R., she suspected he was like him in every other way. Every way but one. Ty Brown was alive. J.R. wasn’t. Her husband had died thousands of miles from home, fighting a war she’d never quite understood, hadn’t truly sanctioned, and hadn’t been able to keep him from fighting. Looking at Ty—who’d made her think of J.R. the first time she’d seen him—unsettled her as much as it confused her. And, unfortunately, excited her.

    Yup. Her day had gone from mundane to totally bonkers to the tune of a bell above the door.

    “So.” He looked expectant when she just stood there. She guessed he’d finally decided one of them needed to say something, and since he’d brought this game into play, she was fine with it being him. “Thought I’d do some fishing.”

    Florida is no longer surrounded by an ocean full of fish?

    Because he had this little “If you buy that, I’ve got some farm land in the Sahara desert I’d love to sell you” smile, she avoided the obvious questions, such as: What was he really doing here? And the most damaging one, Why did it seem to matter so much?

    “Early July’s not the best time of year.” Two could play this game. “But I’m told fishing started to pick up a bit this week.” She pasted on her shopkeeper smile and pretended her world hadn’t been tipped on end. “You want live bait?”

    He grinned, looking both thoughtful and amused, as if he knew that she knew he hadn’t come all this way to fish but was willing to play it that way until she got used to the idea. “Live bait. Yeah, sure. Why not? Live bait would be good.”

    She moved behind the bubbling minnow tanks, hoping she didn’t appear as off-balance as she felt. “Got a sale on flathead chubs.”

    That spurred a soft chuckle. “My lucky day.”

    She couldn’t look at him because, for God’s sake, live bait had not brought him back to Kabetogama. Neither had fishing, but she wasn’t ready to process that yet. Head down, she started scooping up minnows. “Couple dozen do you?”

    “I don’t know. Will a couple dozen do me?”

    He was laughing at her now . . . not unkindly but as if he found her entertaining, which meant he saw right through her.

    Lord, she hoped he didn’t have her figured out. Or maybe she did. Then he could tell her exactly what was going on in her head, because she didn’t have one solid clue.

    Well, maybe one. There hadn’t been a man in her life since J.R. And there’d never been a man who triggered the physical reactions this man had at first sight, all those months ago. Reactions he triggered again today.

    It had unsettled and puzzled her that she’d experienced such a strong, instant physical reaction to him. She’d chalked it up to a cold, isolating storm, the threat of imminent danger, and a lot of long, lonely nights alone in her bed.

    Then he’d disappeared from her life as quickly as he’d come into it. Which had been good. Which had been fine. She’d actually been relieved when he hadn’t called, even though he’d said he would—at least, that’s what she’d told herself. She didn’t want to get involved with anyone. She especially didn’t want to get involved with a man like Tyler Brown, who was just like J.R. Special-ops soldiers, whether on active duty or retired, were always warriors. They would always be the men leading the charge, putting themselves in danger, living for the adrenaline rush, and dying for God and country and the guy next to them in the trenches.

    She’d lived with that man. She’d loved and tried to understand that man. But neither love nor understanding had been enough to keep him home, keep him happy, or keep him alive.

  • Customer Reviews

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    The Way Home 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
    wildcatkel More than 1 year ago
    Cindy Gerard's The Way Home was excellent from the first page to the last. Her writing style brings her characters alive for me, with human emotion, so many readers get angry when the characters do not march in line with falling in love NOW, this instant, with no consideration for the things that have shaped you in life, the baggage we all carry. I think Cindy brought out the perfect Jess, you were really fighting emotionally for her to get her HEA, and Ty well he was that perfect man for her. There are really two stories going on in this book granted JR's was secondary for me, because well the story for me was Jess and Ty, not that I didn't want him to have a happy ever after too, I did...Trying to do this with no spoilers...Cindy brought this together and left you feeling perfectly content and happy for everyone....isn't that what we are looking for in a good book....if that is what YOU are looking for then please read this one. I can already tell you I have people in mind that I am getting this for Christmas, it is that kind of read for me. I am not a reviewer I am just a woman who loves to read and I do not have a way with words, however I do like to share the authors that I enjoy with my friends and trust me I will be doing that!
    Sailon More than 1 year ago
    The Way Home is a must read for the up coming holiday season! Wrapped in the cover of a sweet and tender romance you will also find an intense, pulse pounding, heart wrenching story that will stick with you long after you finish reading. Jess Albert is trying to make her way in the world after she is told her high school sweet heart and husband, Jeff, will never be coming home. Jeff was killed in action. Now running her family store when Tyler Brown, former military hero, comes waltzing back into her life. He's come to make his feeling for Jess known. Just when Jess finally accepts her life without Jeff and a future with Ty, Jeff is discovered alive and on the run from the Taliban.  This was such a surprising story of friendship and love. I did not anticipate the outcome. I found myself utterly and completely emotionally invested in these two individual stories that collide at the end. The Way Home is one of the most heart warming and exciting holiday story I've ever read. I received this ARC copy of The Way Home from Gallery Books in exchange for a honest review. This book is set for publication October 29, 2013. Written by: Cindy Gerard Series: One-Eyed Jacks Sequence in Series: 2 Hardcover: 336 pages Publisher: Gallery Books  Publication Date: October 29, 2013 ISBN-10: 1476735204 ISBN-13: 978-1476735207 Rating: 5 Favorite Genre: Romance Age Recommendation: Adult
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    there is nothing that cindy writes that i don't love to read. she can draw you in and i find it is always a tug of war. i want to race to the finish to see what happens, but also i feel compelled to put it down so i can savor it longer. sigh.
    Under_The_Covers_BookBlog More than 1 year ago
    ~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog Because of the cover, I almost passed this book. I didn’t know it was loosely tied to the BOI and the One-Eyed Jacks series. However, don’t let the holiday-themed cover fool you. Yes, there is a holiday vibe to it, but if you read the blurb, you are immediately struck by a heady dose of angst and heartbreak. I thought I was ready for this book. But I never expected it to touch me so deeply. Cindy Gerard is the master of Romantic Suspense. She simply excels when it comes to writing action-packed scenes that are highly detailed and infused with passion and fun. Similarly, her heroes have been some of the hottest in RS that I’ve read, so why then did I expect a different vibe to this story? Well, there actually is a different vibe to it. There are highly detailed and often tragic scenes of the action, but Gerard also further explores the angst that has been so popular in stories today. Jess is a sweetheart heroine. Her husband was killed in Afghanistan four years ago. Since then, she hasn’t lived for herself, instead busying herself with running the shop and generally avoiding anything that involved emotions. For too long, she hurt and I could understand her need to distance herself from that. It isn’t until Ty Brown, a former military person himself, returns to explore the ember of chemistry he sensed when he first met Jess. Though cautious at first, their romance soon blooms into something magical under the gentle care of this alpha male. But it isn’t suddenly a happily ever after for these two because soon Jess learns that her husband, J.R. or Jeff is actually alive. He suffers from reterograde amnesia which means he doesn’t remember events, even those from his past. In fact, he has no idea that he has a wife back home waiting for him. As Jeff recovers as much as a warrior can, he is aided by Rabia, an Afghani woman hiding from the Taliban. Just as Ty and Jess’s romance festers slowly, Jess and Rabia also discover a meeting of hearts in this dark time. As you can expect, there is a ton of angst, but it makes this book so much more heartfelt and moving. I questioned how I would feel about the two couples: How would Gerard fit two romances in one book? Would it be potent enough? Would it be too much? Would I care about one couple more than the other? Honestly, the whole thing exceeded my expectations. Gerard’s writing has always been fabulous, but I think this book might be my favourite story she has ever written. You can’t fake the type of emotion Gerard squeezes out of you while you read this book. It’s raw. It’s real. And it’s simply fantastic! *ARC provided by publisher
    Emsy-VanWyck More than 1 year ago
    Five tree-top stars for Cindy Gerard's The Way Home, a sexy, suspenseful, and heart-rending story I have to confess to having devoured Cindy Gerard's Black Ops and Bodyguard series and to doing a happy dance when she released the first of her One Eyed Jacks books that continued to tell the story of the characters I had fallen in friendship (if not love/lust with). Her alpha heroes, kick-ass heroines, and super suspenseful stories are real favorites of mine. When I received her newest book, The Way Home, the second in her One Eyed Jacks series, I was prepared for something a little different having read some of the Goodreads' reviews. Yes, there is an alpha hero (actually two), a kick-ass heroine (actually two), and that actually tells it all. Because here Gerard is telling a story that was for me, difficult to read. Of a woman who loses her husband to war, finds true love, then something wonderful and at the same time heart wrenching occurs a world away. Pull out the Kleenex box because along with action and love scenes that will smoke your e-reader, you'll be crying along with Jess as she finds love again ... and again. At first I found it hard to understand why this was a book themed for the holiday season, but as I read through it, it was evident that once again an author was disclosing the real meaning of the holidays. True love. Love beyond self.  So, pick up your copy of The Way Home for a beautiful, five tissue (or more) novel that will leave you on the edge of your seat as well as inspiring a warm glow in your heart. I received a digital galley (ARC) for the publisher through NetGalley.
    vix1 More than 1 year ago
    I was gift an ARC of this book. It was an awesome paced action that Cindy Gerard brings to all her books....but this was so different and at times terrifying at the edge of your seat book, love between couples which was unexpected and loved which was newly discovered.....know this it is so heartwarming.  The story starts off with Jess Albert who lives in Minnesota and Ty Brown who Jess has met before. It's so unexpected he comes to see her... After losing her husband 3 years ago and meeting Ty she does not expect to see him again. She has no idea why he's there. Ty tells her why he did not come back. She understands..It's really heartwarming to see what happens between these two. Now we are taken to Afganistan where there is an American Solider who was being held captive but an Afgan woman and her father take care of him because he begged her in her language...under there laws she must abide by them. Rabia is unaware he is American, she thinks he's Taliban...The become close.. He does not know who he is..finally one night he remembers just bits and pieces of his life.  The team who goes to rescue him...consists of Mike Brown, Cooper, Santos and his team mates, and Nate Black, Johnny Reed, Gabe Jones, and all the rest of Black Op Inc. go to rescue the solider...When Ty hears who that solider is he goes out with all of them.  They bring the solider home. You will be heart broken and warmed which is strange but order the book to see what happens.  The rest of the story is emotional. I will say this it is the most emotional book I have read all year. You will be sure to cry...One couple to be separated and then reunited because of help with some very good people.. One man who thought he lost everything but found it again and also found "Home" because he was shown the way. Two people who remained very good friends.
    KristyJewel More than 1 year ago
    I have to admit, I was really hesitant to pick up this book. That is one of the reasons it took me so long to finally read this. I fell in love with Cindy Gerard's Black Ops series and I was just not sure if I could make this new series work for me. Fortunately, I am really enjoying this series. "The Way Home" isn't as amazing as the Black Ops books but I think that is because I keep wanting that series back. The characters are amazingly detailed and I love the emotion and the slight amount of angst that her characters have. The plot was definitely intriguing and it kept me truly entertained and on the edge of my seat while reading. The plot also worried me a little bit and broke me out of my (this is the way it should be) comfort zone. This is a good book and I cannot wait to start on the next one.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This book is an all night read love it
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    I love Cindy Gerards. I've read all that she's written. This book didn't do it for me.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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    gussie69 More than 1 year ago
    This book was well written and very hard to put down. I would recommend this book to everyone.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Cindy always lives up to the highest expectations
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a beautifully told story of love, loss, hope and friendship. Highly recommended.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    This is a very sad story and I kept wondering what would happen next. I was very pleased with the ending. I will want to read more of this author.
    sproutSW More than 1 year ago
    so glad to see Cindy back writing ..good book thumbs up
    ajhKS More than 1 year ago
    What a beautiful story. A great addition to the Black Ops/One-Eyed Jacks series of books! I will read anything Cindy Gerard writes, they are a guaranteed fantastic story!
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    Wow great book.
    sharon1JT More than 1 year ago
    OMG absolutely wonderful. Cindy Gerard has struck again with an arrow right through the heart. We have four people and three love stories. There is the damaged soldier with no memory who becomes involved with his rescuer, his “widow” back in the states who has finally moved on with another man. To call this a love triangle is a gross understatement. All in all this is one hot mess. You should really read this book.
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