Buried Flames by Kennedy Layne
Surviving Ashes Series; Book 3
Published: March 29, 2016
Published by: Kennedy Layne Publishing
Mason Sykes had served many years in the Marine Corps for his country. His loyalty and sacrifice had left him disfigured—inside and out. He didn’t harbor regrets, especially since he’d finally found the peace and quiet he’d always desired on a Nebraska farm.
Brenna Helm was a country girl through and through, right down to her cowgirl boots. Her heart had always belonged to the acres of land that had been her family’s legacy through multiple generations. She’d only ever loved one thing more, and that was the military man who’d moved back to town a few years ago who’d come home a changed man—one who apparently wanted nothing to do with anyone.
The day the world filled with ash was the day Mason was forced to rise above his scars. Facing death off of the battlefield made him realize what he’d pushed away in the name of compassion, but that was about to change. The flames of desire he’d once felt were about to be reignited, but he first had to get Brenna to safety through the fiery, harsh new world that could claim their lives if they took one wrong step.
“Just…just give me another minute,” Brenna said with slight desperation as she followed him back around to the trailer. Mason made sure everything was secure. These horses would be his only chance once he hit Montana. “You never answered my question as to why you’re going to try and make it to Washington. All because your friends will be trying to do the same thing for a slight chance that an area might be protected enough to survive? That makes no sense, Mason.”
“It does to me.” Mason was finally ready to leave, so he turned to face Brenna for their final goodbye. He didn’t need for her to understand his reasoning or his connection to these men he’d served with. He would never be able to explain to her the trust they shared for each other’s welfare. If they said Washington was the place to be, then that’s where he would go without question. She clearly had some deep-seated guilt at the thought of traveling east without him. He honestly didn’t deserve anything she felt for him based on how he’d all but ignored her for the last few years. “Now go. You’ll be in good company with people who will all watch out for one another.”
“Don’t do this…”
Mason closed his eyes at the despair in Brenna’s voice, unable to walk away from her now. He was already berating himself for the action he was about to take, but he took a step toward her anyway. He slowly reached out with a hand and lightly ran his fingertips down her unblemished sun-kissed face, doing his best to memorize every line and curve of her features.
Brenna had been his everything back before he’d been wounded and she had absolutely no idea how those memories had carried him through some of the most harrowing days of his life afterward. He brushed his thumb over her lower lip, remembering the softness and warmth from when he used to kiss her. It had been so long ago, and it wouldn’t be fair of him to take another taste. He forced himself to do the right thing and gave her an encouraging smile before dropping his arm and stepping back.
“Good luck. You’ll have a better chance with them, Brenna.”
Mason turned on the heel of his boot and walked toward the driver’s side door, purposefully not looking back. It was bittersweet to leave the same woman twice, even if both times had been under far different circumstances. He was doing what he thought best for them both, just as before. Their lives were meant to be on different paths and he’d come to terms with that a long time ago.
“I won’t need luck, Mason,” Brenna called out determinedly from where she still stood by the horse trailer, her entire demeanor changing on a dime. His shoulders tensed at the tone of her voice, already knowing what she was going to say and just as firm in his stance as she was in hers. They were about to come face to face with a battle of wills. “I’m going with you.”
Meet Kennedy Lane~
Kennedy Layne loves life. She loves that she is a wife, mother daughter, sister…and a USA Today Bestselling Author.
She is one of the lucky women in this world who gets to do what makes them happy. As long as she has a cup of coffee (maybe two or three) and her laptop, the stories evolve themselves and she tries to do them justice. She draws her inspiration from a retired Marine Master Sergeant that swept her off of her feet. Smoldering romance, military men, intrigue, with a little bit of kinky chili pepper (his recipe), fill her head and there is nothing more satisfying than making the hero and heroine fulfill their destinies.
Connect with Kennedy~
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