Matt McCall’s struggles to reintegrate into civilian life have been an ongoing battle for the better part of two years. Daily group sessions and weekly one-on-ones have only allowed him to grow so far. Twice he’s returned to his home state of Ohio and twice, he retreated to Mike’s Place. Uncertain of where he belongs in the world, he battles depression silently. The unexpected gift of a black Labrador retriever perks his spirit…and a chance meeting in the park gives him a precious gift…
Aspiring country singer Naomi Sparks comes from a long line of Marines, she knows all about sacrifice and struggle. When her brother asks her to visit to Mike’s Place on his behalf, she discovers a real opportunity to make a difference. Matt McCall inspires her with the real challenge of discovering love and daring heroes who takes risks. Writing music has never been so sweet…
Can one woman who believes in him really heal the wounds in this Marine’s heart?
“We have to talk about what happened. You have to remember and not relive it.”
“I’m not reliving it.” Am I? The bitter taste in his mouth burned his tongue. Shouts echoed in the hallway. Feet thundered past. He jerked to his feet and started forward three steps. Jethro butted against him and he stopped. Disoriented, he felt the leash rub against the cuts on his knuckles—and he looked at James.
No feet echoed in the hallway. He wasn’t in Iraq. He was in Allen, Texas.
“Holy hell on a biscuit.” He sat down before he fell down and Jethro shoved his head under Matt’s hand. He couldn’t make it stop. “How do I make it stop?”
“Breathe, Matt. Look at Jethro. He knows you’re upset. Breathe.” If only James’ calmness could flow from the psychologist to him. It was like Matt could hear the words, but he couldn’t quite process them. “You haven’t hurt anyone and you haven’t hurt yourself.”
“Why does my mouth taste like ass?” Sweat trickled down the back of his neck. Oxygen burned in his chest with every breath he took.
“That’s the adrenaline. You got upset. You remembered and you were there. The bitter taste is adrenaline.”
“I’m getting short-changed here.” Amusement and disbelief warred against the craziness swirling inside him.
“No, it’s normal. With a lot of veterans, you start cooking and after a while, you can’t stop it anymore—that’s when you snap. You keep bringing yourself up to the boil and then backing off in full retreat.”
“What gets me cooking?” And why hadn’t they talked like this before? The blood pounding in his skull eased and his heart stopped trying to pound its way out of his chest.
“With veterans it can be a car backfiring, a twig snapping, or a box dropping off a shelf. The sudden, explosive noise reminds them of…”
“Gunshots.” That made sense. He could actually wrap his mind around that.
“But that’s not what sets you off.”
“So what is it?”
“I know this will sound like I’m telling you that five plus five equals a pile of hay, but it’s people yelling or laughing or running. Large movements of people. It’s what set you off in the bar. It’s why you didn’t stick it out at Damon’s restaurant. It’s why going home…”
I love a story about a hero. PTSD is an ongoing fight that all service members that go to war have one way or another. Some worse than others. A fight to overcome battle wounds not seen that many are afraid to get help for. The services offered at Mike’s Place try to help.
Presented in a way that preserves his dignity, and gives him the help he doesn’t realize he needs, the service dog Jethro aids Matt without him even realizing it. When Matt finally realizes he has a problem, he is willing to try to find a solution. But it’s not so easy learning to live again when you seem to have the war within you.
Naomi comes to check out the new facilities at Mike’s Place and meets Matt. From a long line of Marines, Naomi knows the importance of aid to veteran’s. Those battling seen and unseen wounds. Her music draws Matt to her. He inspires her.
I don’t want to tell you any more! What Part of Marine Don’t You Understand is a wonderful read. If you’ve ever met a Marine they tell you once a Marine always a Marine. (I know! My son is a Marine.) They are a brotherhood whose bonds can’t be unwoven as is demonstrated in this book. A deeply emotional love story to enjoy. It had me in tears more than once.
About The Author:
A national best selling author, Heather Long lives in Texas with her family and their menagerie of animals. In addition to military romance, Heather writes a wide variety of romance from paranormal historical western romance to contemporary romance and romantic suspense. She loves characters and the stories they have to tell.
As a child, Heather skipped picture books and enjoyed the Harlequin romance novels by Penny Jordan and Nora Roberts that her grandmother read to her. Heather believes that laughter is as important to life as breathing and that the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus are very real. In the meanwhile, she is hard at work on her next novel.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AlwaysaMarineseries http://www.facebook.com/HeatherLongAuthor