A Saint’s Salvation
Corporal Nicholas ‘Saint’ Santiago needs to go home to reclaim the man he used to be. To be the man he was before Operation Enduring Freedom slowly hardened his heart. He needs to reconnect to the values and the reasons he is doing what he does. Saint also needs to try to forget the courageous woman he fell in love with.
Petty Officer Angelina Jones’ life changed the moment Saint saved her life. She survived the blast but now has to deal with the fact that she will never be whole. She can’t believe that anyone would want her the way she is now. Digging up her courage, Angelina moves forward hoping against hope that she can live a full life again.
Crossing paths again brings their emotions to a full boil. A coincidence that will have them both reaching for their dreams.
Nick stretched. He’d arrived with a few hours to spare before he was supposed to meet his date for the evening. After such a long flight, Nick needed to move around, so he headed to the gym. It was state of the art, a far cry from the piece-meal gym equipment that the Marines had cobbled together in Afghanistan.
Nick was pumped from his work out, but now he stunk. Normal after such a workout, but thankfully he was stateside now, not in the desert where the water was rationed. There was no way Nick wasn’t showering before his upcoming evening. Even if he was spending the night alone, the hot shower was a luxury he wouldn’t pass up after the poor facilities in Afghanistan.
Nick headed in to shower. Stepping into the steaming water, he started to relax. Soaping up was done with efficiency, habit from the five minute showers anyone with the Department of the Navy had to take by necessity. Nick laughed as he rinsed. He really didn’t have to rush. He had time. Standing under the hot water, enjoying the warmth, he thought about the evening ahead and how he’d come to this point.
He was looking forward to it. Upon checking into the hotel Nick was told that everything was on the house, a tribute to his service. Arriving in his room, a message, along with a complementary bottle of champagne from his shrink greeted him. An anticipatory grin split his face as he read it. His date’s name was Angelina. The suite was luxurious, a fitting place for seduction.
Nick turned off the shower, his fingers pruney, and got out. He peered in the mirror, wiping a small section away and grimaced at his reflection. He needed to shave. Nick grabbed his kit, looked into it and froze. The scent wafting out of his kit brought back small memories, the sound of gunfire, always when least expected, the quiet of the streets before a bomb blast, the screams of the wounded. Nick hadn’t bothered shaving at Grandma’s house, and he had evidently grabbed his combat shaving kit without realizing it. He shook his head, shaking off the feelings that wanted to creep out. Shaking the kit over the trash, careful to keep his gear from falling out, he let the sand and dust fall, throwing away the bad memories with the sand. He could do this.
It took strength to admit your weaknesses. Doc’s courage made him reach for the help he needed, in spite of his reluctance in the beginning. Help that showed him how to conquer unexpected reminders like this.
Shaking his head, Nick gritted his teeth. Enough. Doc would never be his. Thinking about her would only taint his upcoming date. He took a deep breath and concentrated. Pushing away the sounds of battle that lingered in his mind, letting the memories go. Breathing in and out, Nick continued until his body relaxed and his hands stopped shaking.
Enough. He had new memories to make.
Straightening up, Nick finished his grooming. He wrapped the towel around his waist and headed to his closet to decide on a suit. It was easy enough, he’d only brought two sets of dress clothes. The hotel had pressed them for him while he’d been at the gym.
Checking the time, he noted there was still an hour before the date was supposed to start, no need to get all dressed up yet. Nick turned on the television, surfing channels to find something that caught his interest. Rudolph was on. Nick laughed. He felt a little like Rudolph, not quite fitted into the slot where he knew he belonged. Hopefully, like the red-nosed reindeer, he would find his perfect spot in the world. Donning his pants, Nick settled down to watch one of his favorite Christmas shows when his phone rang.
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Beverly Ovalle lives in Wisconsin with her husband Edmond of 29 years. Her son Nicholas visits when he is on leave from the Marines. Her daughter Susannah lives at home attending nursing school full time and working.
Beverly has traveled around the world thanks to five years in the US Navy and has worked for the government in one capacity or another for the past 36 years. Beverly and her brothers have travelled most of the continental United States as children due to the station wagon from Hell. Still active with veterans, she is an officer of her local AMVETS.
Beverly has been reading romances since her Aunt introduced her to the gothic romance in the fourth grade and is still reading every chance she gets.