Happy Birthday, Jill!
TITLE – Walk Home To Me SERIES – Walking Series – Book 3 AUTHOR – Jill Prand GENRE – Contemporary, Military Romance PUBLICATION DATE – January 15, 2015
Bobby had one last mission to complete before he committed his life to Lisa. All he had to do was get home and put the ring on her finger. But he was captured and held while Lisa was told he was dead. After being rescued near death, Bobby is haunted by the events he survived in the past few months. The darkness won’t release its hold on him. How can he ask Lisa to share this new existence?
Lisa has tried to move on with her life, even though each night brings dreams of her soulmate. Guilt wracks her heart, she can’t force herself to love Brad like he should be loved, but she can’t let him go. Lisa knows she should cut out the part of her still grasping onto Bobby but doing so would kill her.
Brad knows Lisa will never love him the same way she loved Bobby, but he just needs her in his arms. Brad plans to hold onto Lisa and build the life he’s been dreaming of since sixth grade.
This is the heart-wrenching conclusion to The Walking Series. Three people will come to grips with the fact that love is not always enough, and sometimes you just have to walk away.
BobbyI can’t believe I have to go back in two days. There wasn’t enough time. Two weeks is just too short of a leave – I’ve only seen her three times. Once leaving school when I hid in the back of the parking lot. Once she and her mother were packing up to go to Pennsylvania for Christmas; and yesterday she was sitting out on her dock. I was across the river hiding behind a boat just to gaze at her. I feel like such a stalker but my heart aches for her. I haven’t felt whole since I left for basic training. Now in just two short days I have to report to my Special Forces team. The casualty rate is fifty-nine percent so my odds of making it out in one piece aren’t in my favor. We’re going to the wilds of Afghanistan into the heart of Taliban territory. Along with normal patrols, my team could be called at any time to take out confirmed cells. Looking into the mirror I finish brushing my teeth. I look much different than when I left eighteen months ago. Gone is the shaggy hair Lisa loved to jerk on while we kissed, now it’s barely more than stubble on my head. I grew two inches and put on thirty pounds of muscle. That’s what happens when you carry seventy-five pounds of gear for ten hours a day. I wonder what she will think when she sees me. I can’t say I am sorry for leaving this town, that would be a lie. The Army has given my life purpose. Before enlisting the best I could have hoped for was being a plumber or electrician’s assistant until I could get a license. Now when I finally get out of the Army I can get a private security job. Hell, I could even qualify for Secret Service. I might even become a cop. A cop’s salary isn’t even close to what Lisa’s father makes but it’s nothing to sneeze at and it’s an honorable career. Much better than the minimum paying factory job that her father said I would end up in. I shake my head. There is no use thinking about a future that is over two years away. I have thirty-two months left before I can plan a future, that’s if I make it back alive. But tonight I have to see her one more time. I am hoping she will talk to me; she was pretty mad when I left. I had to break up with her; it wasn’t fair to ask Lisa to wait. At sixteen you shouldn’t be tied down to an absent boyfriend. I hear the music as I walk out my door. Joe’s house is just four away from mine and all the neighbors know by now that this party happens each year. As long as the kids stay inside or in his backyard, no one will call the cops to break it up. My heart rate climbs as I get closer to the door. The front door is open and I can see the crowd through the storm door. Patty and April are just inside so I know I won’t be getting in unnoticed. Taking a deep breath I open the door, “Holy shit!” Patty screeches, “Bobby Harber, where the hell did you come from?” She closes her arms around me. Patty lives across the street from me and we’ve been friends all my life. She is one of the only ones that know how hard I had it growing up. “I’ve missed you,” she whispers in my ear as she hugs me close. “I missed you too, Red,” I tell her using my childhood name for her. “I’m sorry I don’t write more.” She is the only one I write to now. Well the only one that gets sent the letters I write, I have hundreds written to Lisa stashed away and never posted. Patty’s arm gets ripped away from me, “Don’t be hogging him all to yourself, you bitch,” April says stepping into my arms. “Damn Bobby, you look good enough to eat,” she laughs while leaning back looking me up and down. April’s always been a flirt but she wouldn’t leave Greg for anything. “She’s in the kitchen, last I saw her,” April winks at me, “Go get your girl.” The best and worst part of our group is there are no secrets. My being here for just the party is an illusion that won’t last long to the friends who know me. I turn towards the kitchen, “I’ll see you both later,” but I don’t really mean it. “Just as long as you’re here tomorrow for clean-up crew,” Patty yells after me. New Year’s Day always starts with cleaning Joe’s house before we sit, eating and drinking leftovers while watching the games on TV. It will feel good to do something so normal so I turn and give her a thumbs up. I receive greetings from everyone on my way back to the kitchen, they all comment on how I’ve gotten bigger and how happy they are I’m back in one piece. I scan the kitchen when I enter, there are a bunch of guys sitting at the table probably going to start a game of quarters, I wave at them but I’m not here for drinking games. I’m surprised to see Brad here, he never really hung around our group but if I know him he’s still sniffing around Lisa. He always rubbed me the wrong way, I know he wants her but she only feels friendship towards him. Lisa’s not in here so I grab a beer and make my way into the family room where Joe sets up the dance floor. Joe is standing to the right of the doorway and I bump my shoulder into him as I search the room for Lisa. I find her just as Joe shakes my hand, “I wasn’t expecting to see you,” he says patting my back. “Where else would I be tonight?” I joke back, my eyes never leaving Lisa. She spots me and stops, her caramel eyes widen and I read so many emotions there; surprise, hurt, want, love – that surprises me, I thought she would hate me by now. I know Joe is saying something to me but I’m totally ensnared by Lisa; she’s changed too. Her hair cascades around her with curls and I want to bury my hands and face in it. She’s wearing a cute jeans skirt that shows off her long legs which I want wrapped around me, how many times have I dreamed about the silky feel of them? Her blouse is almost see through and the silhouette of her bra teases my eyes, making me ache to taste her nipples again. I’m getting hard and I haven’t even gotten close to her yet. Her eyes break contact with me when someone bumps into her and she turns away threading through the group dancing to Gimme More by Britney Spears. I start to chase after her but Joe restrains me with a hand, “She’s had a hard time moving on, Bobby. Be gentle with her.” I nod acknowledging the statement but it doesn’t stop me, I physically need to hold her. I follow her and see she’s talking to Debbie; I’ll be hearing from Jimmy about this, I promised him I wouldn’t get anywhere near Lisa but I can’t help myself. I step closer to her and turn her around running my hands down her arms, “Hey beautiful,” I say as I try to draw her into my arms. She pushes against my chest, “Really Bobby, you just show up here and expect me to just fall into your arms? Sixteen months and not a word. Not even a letter, email, or a damn phone call!” Stopping her from pulling away I stammer, “I missed you, baby. I just couldn’t be where I was and think about you too.” I pull her into me and lay my cheek against her head. “Please, baby, just let me hold you. I couldn’t stay away from you anymore. I only have two more days before I have to leave again and I want to spend them with you. Let me hold you and just talk to you. I miss your voice and the feel of you in my arms.” Her smell envelopes me and I feel like I’m home. She’s tense for a few seconds then her arms go around my waist and she presses her whole body against me, “I missed you too.” I pull away so I can see her face and the tears streaking down her beautiful face kill me. “Don’t cry, baby. I can’t stand it when you cry.” I lower my head to her and ghost my lips against hers. I want to devour her but I need to let her take the lead. She gasps and opens to me and I plunge my tongue in to taste her; beer and mint mix with her unique flavor and my body reacts to the one person who has the power to affect my soul. My heart beats wildly in my chest and my dick fills to the point of pain. I tilt her head to give me better access and the whole room fades into the background. I suck on her lower lip and she moans into my mouth as I bury my hands in her hair. She runs her hands over my chest and I can’t help it as my hand moves to her ass and I grind against her. My mouth leaves hers and I make my way to her ear, “I need to be alone with you, baby,” I whisper. “Let’s get out of here. My house is so close and there’s no one home.” I pull away and take her hand, “Will you come with me?” She nods her head, “I have to tell Jodi though. I’m her ride.” I look around and Debbie is still standing there, her eyes like daggers, “Hey Debbie, Lisa and I are going to my house to talk. Can you tell Jodi when you see her?” Debbie looks at Lisa, “Lisa, you are okay with this?” Lisa glances back at me with glistening eyes, “Yeah Deb, I won’t be too long. We’ll be at his house. If we’re not back by midnight send one of the guys down to get us.” Debbie nods and says, “Okay, I hope you know what you’re doing.” I don’t wait for Lisa to re-think about what’s happening, I grab her hand and drag her behind me to the door. She gasps when the cold air hits her, I should have let her get her coat but stopping now is not an option. I yank her closer to me, surrounding her with my heat as we make our way to my house. I slam the door open and it tries to close on us but I haul her through the opening then press her against it, “Oh God, baby, I’ve missed you so much,” I say lowering my mouth to hers again. My hands on her cheeks holding her in place for my assault, grinding my cock into her, “You are more beautiful than I remember. I just want to be inside of you,” my body is on fire for her. I pick her up and her legs wrap around me just like I fantasized about before. I want to hold her to me forever but I lower her onto the couch, following her down, bracing myself above her. I look at her below me and think how lucky I am that she didn’t reject me. I wouldn’t have blamed her and I feel like shit that I’m leaving again in two days and don’t have the strength to leave her alone. Her heart is in her eyes and I wonder if she can see the love I hold for only her reflected in my eyes. I can’t stop myself from touching I ease her shirt over her head then take her mouth again before making my way down her throat, over the pulse racing there, along her collarbone as I push the cups of her bra down to release those perfect breasts. I suckle her nipple and my cock jerks in my pants, “I missed the taste of you, baby, no one tastes like you. You are perfect.” I unclasp her bra and pull it off as her breath starts coming in gasps. I’ve made her come with my fingers and mouth but tonight I need to be inside her when she comes. My hand moves down her side and she shivers underneath me, god I love how responsive she is to me. It kills me that I wasn’t her first but I couldn’t take her virginity and leave, what kind of douchebag would that have made me. I drop my hand to her thigh and push up her skirt, her panties are drenched and I can smell her arousal. “God you are so wet for me, baby. I am going to make you come so hard,” I press the palm of my hand against the wet silk. “I need to taste you, baby. I missed having my tongue in you. “ I pull her skirt and panties off she spreads her legs for me and my heart misses a beat, “I almost forgot how beautiful you were.” I lower my head and inhale her scent, so unique to her. I part her folds with my fingers and lave her with my tongue in one long swipe. She arches her back, nearly pushing us both off the couch. I capture her leg and throw it over my shoulder and attack. I suck, lick and nibble on her clit as I ease a finger into her. She calls out my name and I almost come in my pants. “God you are still so tight, baby. I still wish I was your first,” I confess to her. “You will be Bobby. Steve and I never got this far,” she says. And just like that it’s like someone threw a bucket of ice water on me. I can’t take her virginity. I’m not asshole enough to make her a hook-up. I stop and look at her, “What do you mean? You guys were together for almost a year.” I don’t understand. “He wasn't you. It has always been you, Bobby.” I sit up. “I can’t be your first, Lisa. I am leaving in two days. I won’t do that to you.” “But you are the only one I want, Bobby,” Lisa cries. “Please, I want you so much.” God I want her so much but I can’t, won’t be that guy, “Get dressed, Lisa, we’re going back to the party.” I stand and hold my hand out to her. “Fuck you asshole! You think you can come back and I won’t be a virgin anymore so it would be ok to fuck me and leave me? That’s why you came back isn't it? You’re an asshole!” I wince at her words but as much as I want her it wouldn't be right. I've probably just blown any chance at ever having a life with her and my heart is breaking. Lisa grabs her clothes and gets dressed then stomps to the door. I follow her wanting to be near her even if she hates me. “Just where do you think you’re going? You need to stay here. You've already fucked up my night. The least you could do is let me try to salvage my New Year’s.” “I just want to make sure you get back okay,” I whisper. There are tears on her cheeks again and I put them there. “It’s four houses, Bobby. I will be fine but you will always be an asshole.” She turns and walks away from me and I let her. Leaning against the door frame I can’t believe this night ended any hope I held of future happiness. My heart just left and I’m never getting it back.
Living in Northern New Jersey originally from Long Island, Jill Prand is a wife and mother of two girls. She's been an avid reader all her life, spending Sunday afternoons curled up with a good book. "We had a huge bookshelf in our den when I was a child with a diverse set of authors like Ayn Rand, Stephen King, Mario Puzo & Danielle Steele. I cut my literary teeth on Walter Farley, Judy Blume and SE Hinton before raiding my parent’s library." Jill is currently working on the Walking Series as well as a standalone novel. She loves to hear from readers.
For a chance to win a postcard of this cover, wish Jill a Happy Birthday in the comments.
For a chance to win a postcard of this cover, wish Jill a Happy Birthday in the comments.
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Links to first two books