Bound To Break
Stephanie Tyler, LLC
December 3, 2013
Men of Honor, Book 6
Four men fighting against their pastsâ€¦and for each other.
Several years after washing up on a beach in South Africa with absolutely no memoryâ€”not even his nameâ€”Lucky would rather not remember his past. Based on the number of scars on his body, it couldnâ€™t have been anything good.
Then a man claiming to be his former Navy SEAL teammate walks into the bar and insists that Luckyâ€™s real name is Josiah Joshua Kent. Turns out heâ€™s been listed as KIA, and since heâ€™s not dead, heâ€™s now considered a deserterâ€”and under suspicion.
Discovering Josh is alive throws Rex, and his relationship with Sawyer, into a tailspin. Rex can finally lay to rest the nightmares of the night he couldnâ€™t save his teammate. And Sawyer is faced with his worst nightmareâ€”a relationship threatened by a very real ghost from the past.
As Josh begins to piece his memories back together, another man with a shadowy connection to his pastâ€”and maybe his heartâ€”holds the key that could free him. Or send him to a traitorâ€™s fate.
Connected Books: Men of Honor
Read an Excerpt
â€śHey, can I grab a Jack and Coke?â€ť
Lucky looked up into the face of the man whoâ€™d placed the order and nodded. â€śComing right up.â€ť
The guy did a double take. He was good-looking, but Lucky had immediately pegged him for straight. He waited a beat, but the guy suddenly reached across the bar for him, saying, â€śJosh? Holy f***â€”is that really you?â€ť
Lucky put his hands up and backed away.
The name Josh didnâ€™t set off any alarm bells, but Lucky would be lying if he hadnâ€™t thought about a moment like this constantly. Some days he looked over his shoulder more than others.
Tonight, his defenses had been down. His gut told him to move this away from the bar, take it outside so Emme wouldnâ€™t see it happening. He pushed out, calling, â€śTaking ten,â€ť and didnâ€™t wait to hear her agree.
The big blond guy followed him. When Lucky turned to face him under the lights in the adjacent alleyway, he noted the guy looked like heâ€™d seen a ghost. â€śHow the hell did you escape?â€ť
â€śIâ€™m not Josh,â€ť he said.
â€śYouâ€™re Josh Kent. Come on, Iâ€™d know you anywhere,â€ť the guy started again, softer this time, like one might talk to a wounded animal. He kept his hands to himself, tucked them into his jeans pockets to make himself appear less threatening.
But Lucky was threatened. Half of him fought a tremble but the other half was ready to throw down. Instinct made him react, forced him to keep a wide berth between the two of them. â€śYouâ€™ve got the wrong guy.â€ť
But he persisted. â€śJosh, itâ€™s Nate. We served together.â€ť
Served together. Heâ€™d long suspected heâ€™d been in the military, but he played dumb instead, hoping it was all a case of mistaken identity. â€śServed drinks?â€ť
â€śIn the Navy.â€ť
â€śMy nameâ€™s Lucky, not Josh. Sorry.â€ť He went to turn away but Nate grabbed his upper arm forcefully and spun him around.
â€śFour years, Josh. We all thought you died. We watched youâ€¦we watched you die and now youâ€™re hanging out bartending?â€ť Nate let go of him, put his hands up as if apologizing. â€śIf you donâ€™t rememberâ€¦â€ť
â€śI donâ€™t know what youâ€™re talking about.â€ť Lucky pushed at him, his palms against the big guyâ€™s shoulders, and Nate stumbled back.
â€śStrong as ever, you dumb f***. Why the hell are you hiding here?â€ť
â€śYou need to leave,â€ť Lucky said, but Nate was charging for him, angry now. He braced but Nate stopped when another man stepped in between them.
That guy was also big and broad, and for a horrible second, Lucky thought he was on Nateâ€™s side. But he put himself in front of Lucky and told Nate, â€śYou need to back off.â€ť
â€śYou donâ€™t understandâ€”I know him,â€ť Nate said.
â€śHe doesnâ€™t know you. Heâ€™s said so. Chalk it up to a case of mistaken identity.â€ť
â€śItâ€™s not,â€ť Nate insisted. â€śIâ€™ll leave nowâ€”but Iâ€™ll be back with proof. Youâ€™re Josh Kent.â€ť He pointed at Lucky and then stormed off.
Lucky walked over to the nearest car and sat on the hood. Sweat trickled down his back and he took a deep breath. Heâ€™d built a web of lies about who he was. All this time, he hadnâ€™t told anyone he couldnâ€™t remember shit about his past. And really, how would they know?
He didnâ€™t tell them because theyâ€™d make him deal with it, and he was pretty damned sure he didnâ€™t want to go there again. Ever.
â€śHe scared the hell out of you,â€ť his savior said, his voice rough. So was his hand that reached out to touch him, but the good rough that made Lucky feel something. The calming hand rested on the back of his neck, centered him, allowed him to simply bow his head and take a deep breath.
The hand remained there for what seemed like hours but was really just minutes. He finally raised his head and the guyâ€™s hand slid off.
Lucky missed the contact. â€śIâ€™m okay. Iâ€™ve been fighting a flu,â€ť he lied, because thatâ€™s apparently what he did best. â€śThanks for thatâ€”I just wasnâ€™t up to dealing with a stalker.â€ť
â€śIs that what he was?â€ť
He looked into the pale blue eyes that seemed to want truth and barely managed, â€śYeah.â€ť
â€śWell, any employee of my familyâ€™s bar is typically like family.â€ť
He blinked. â€śYouâ€™re Dashiell.â€ť
In all these years, heâ€™d never met Emmeâ€™s brother, an award-winning photographer. Emme said he always avoided being photographed himself, just let his work speak for him. There were a lot of his prints around Luckyâ€™s apartment, haunting pictures of people and places in third-world countries. Lucky was always drawn to them as though heâ€™d been there, looking over his shoulder as the pictures were taken. Like he had a connection to Dash, which was ridiculous.
â€śIâ€™ve seen your photographs. Great stuff.â€ť He sounded like an idiot. Blamed Nate for riling him up and tried to calm down. â€śEmme always brags about you.â€ť
â€śSheâ€™s good for that,â€ť Dash agreed. He wore his blond hair long, tied back. The stubble on his face looked like it would be rough too if Lucky rubbed his hand against it. There was a scar on his chin that Lucky wanted to trace down to his neck. Looked dressed down, like heâ€™d blend in anywhere. But he was just handsome enough to be memorable.
Lucky didnâ€™t know why he did thatâ€”catalogued people quickly, studied, looking and assessing for strengths and weaknessesâ€”but he did it all the damned time.
You were in the Navy.
â€śSpeaking of Emme, I need to get back in there.â€ť Lucky slid off the car, and Dash put a hand on his shoulder, as if to steady him. Whether heâ€™d needed it or not, he liked the way it felt.