Thrive by Aly Martinez (Guardian Protection, #2)
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Technically, you aren’t supposed to fall in love with your best friend’s girl.
When I was nineteen years old, I was faced with a choice that changed my life.
Keep the safety of what I already knew or risk losing everything with the young, hotheaded soldier who stole my heart.
I chose the wrong man, and for seventeen years, I paid in tears, blood, and shattered dreams for that decision.
Now, there’s a man in my house, holding a gun to my head on the order of my ex-husband—given from his prison cell.
That hotheaded soldier I was too afraid to choose? He’s now a six-foot-three wall of muscle who works at the country’s most premier bodyguard agency. I’ve always wanted him, but now, I’ve never needed him more.
It’s the call I’m terrified to make.
I’m sure he still hates me… Even though I’ve never stopped loving him.
She winced as I put pressure on her cut foot. “How bad is it?”
“Well…I don’t think it needs to be amputated.”
She glared and it stirred a smile to my lips.
“It’s not too deep. Let me grab some Band-Aids.” Still grinning, I stood from my crouch and walked to the first-floor bathroom to retrieve the first aid kit Melissa had purposely left behind when she and the girls had moved to be closer to her job. “All right. I’ve got My Little Pony or Dora. Pick your poison.”
She laughed. “Definitely My Little Pony.”
“Excellent choice,” I replied. With the bleeding mostly stopped, I tore the plastic off the bandage and sealed it over her small wound. “I personally have never been a fan of Dora’s belly shirt. The child’s, like, four, for God’s sake. Put some damn clothes on her.”
She rewarded me with a laugh that felt like the breath of life to a dying soul. Not even I, King of Denial City, could ignore the way my body came alive. And then I made the grave mistake of looking up at her. Her blinding, white smile was aimed down at me, the pure beauty radiating out of it enough to destroy a man’s life and still leave him thanking her for it.
That was the exact moment I knew I was fucked.
Because I felt it—that magical spark that turned into a wildfire and melded people together. Time wasn’t a factor. It didn’t deteriorate or fade. Nor was it a physical thing you could break or a feeling you could get over. I’d found it—whatever the fuck it was—with Mira York when I was twenty-three years old. It didn’t matter that our half-ass relationship had only lasted six months. It didn’t even matter that she’d never felt that spark for me. It was still fucking inside me, taunting and tormenting me, craving her in any and every possible way I could have her.
And I didn’t really want to ignore it at all.
“Are you okay?” she whispered, staring down at me.
“Not at all,” I replied more honestly than I’d ever been even with myself.
Her smile fell and her face took on the most beautiful concern I’d ever seen. Inching forward on the stool, she reached out and rested her hand on my face. “How ya feeling? You’re pale all of a sudden.”
I gave it a seriously less-than-stellar attempt to stop my head from turning into her hand, absorbing her touch.
Her short nails bit into my neck as she flexed her fingers. “Jeremy, baby. You’re bleeding through.”
“What?” I breathed.
She slid off the stool and kneeled in front of me. “Let me change your bandage, and then maybe you need to go lay down for a while. You seem…off.”
I was. But it was nothing a nap was going to fix.
Taking her to bed. Forcing her to stay. Living out my days at her side… Maybe. But not a nap.
Purchase the previous book in the Guardian Protection Series
SINGE is the first book in the Guardian Protection Series and is FREE in KindleUnlimited
Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.
Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.
She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.