Fighting For You:A Danvers Novel(3)

By: Sydney Landon

What would sweet Ella say though, if she knew all of the demons that he battled? After two tours of active duty in the military, most of them based in Afghanistan, he had seen and done things that he would never be free of. Even with that, he had planned to make a career of life in the service until the awful day that he lost his friend Craig and almost lost his own life trying to save him. The shrinks he saw afterward diagnosed him with post-traumatic stress syndrome, but what they hell did a bunch of pencil pushers who had never seen a day of active duty know? What they didn’t say was that it looked bad for the military if you went postal and took out either yourself or some innocent civilians.

Neither had been an option for Declan, but he didn’t re-up when his tour ended. Instead, he came home and used his inheritance from his grandfather to start his own consulting firm. His brother, Brant, and his sister, Ava, had tried to get him to join the family business, but that would have required more bonding than he was willing to do. So he kept his distance and made his home base in California until Danvers International came calling.

Now that Ella was in the picture, he had to question the decision he had made to come aboard Danvers. He liked the job and he thought a lot of Jason Danvers and his old college buddy, Gray Merimon. But Ella complicated things and he tried damn hard not to do complicated. Ever. And yet he couldn’t lay it all at her door because he had started things between them. He had been powerless not to. Someone with a soul as dark as his couldn’t resist the draw of the light.

Men like him didn’t get to have women like her and it had become a battle to remember that. Especially when her face lit up when he found a reason to seek her out at the office. She worried about him if he didn’t come around for a few days and she seemed to see something worthy inside him that had long been buried. Even someone as damaged as he was could look into her eyes and still believe that redemption just might be possible.

Declan settled down on the sofa and laid his head back. Then the situation with Ella had gotten worse. He had finally caved and sought her out before leaving work that afternoon. His heart had kicked in his chest when he saw her sitting at the receptionist desk in another pretty dress. Some type of comb held back her silky hair and her luscious pink lips gently curved into a smile while she looked at the man standing in front of her. As he got closer, he saw her pick up her purse and stand, walking around the desk and toward the man.

His ears roared as the man handed her a small bouquet of flowers that he had obviously brought for her and she gave him a smile of pleasure. After a few words, which Declan wasn’t close enough to hear, the man motioned Ella ahead of him and put his hand on the small of her back to guide her toward the elevator. Declan stood there staring at the closed doors wondering why he felt so betrayed.

When someone cleared her throat behind him, his back had stiffened as he turned around to see who it was. Suzy, Gray’s wife, stood there with one raised eyebrow. “You look like someone stole your favorite toy, Dec.”

He always felt like Suzy saw far too much when she looked at him and, judging by her comment, he was right. “I’m a big boy, Suzy. I don’t do toys.”

A smile curved her lips as she said, “That’s a shame. If someone took my toys, I’d be busting my ass to get them back. I certainly wouldn’t let them go without a fight. Some toys can’t be replaced.” With that parting shot, Suzy turned on what he considered an impossibly high pair of heels and sauntered down the hallway.

He had stalked away and had broken every speed limit in town getting home. Now, as he sat on the couch, he wondered what the hell he was in such a hurry to get home to. As usual, it was too quiet and the walls were threatening to close in on him. When would he ever be able to relax without the memories crashing in? He had only found a handful of things that gave him temporary peace: sex, exercise, and work.

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