My Heart Belongs to Only You by Melissa Storm

  • Sweet Romance
  • 20,000 Words
  • Mild Heat Rating

Can two broken hearts heal one another? 

Every day Rip Rockwell fights the guilt—the guilt that he survived the war when his best friend did not—and the shell shock. Both of which refuse to let him return to a normal civilian life. When he meets a beautiful young woman in his new neighborhood, he fights his feelings for her too. After all, he doesn’t deserve to be happy when it’s his fault his best friend died.

Deborah Walker gave her heart to a man who disappeared in war-torn Korea. While she wants to keep her promise to wait for him, she also has no idea whether he survived the battle that rendered him MIA. When a handsome veteran moves in next door, she denies her growing attraction to him, especially since his very presence reminds her of the man she’s already lost.

Can Rip and Deborah find a way to heal together, or are they destined for an endless series of heartbreaks?

Read an Excerpt

Cold. So very cold. Rip’s teeth chattered as he hugged his gun to his chest and ran through the hills, doing his best to keep cover in the open terrain. A rain of bullets fell all around him as the enemy drew closer. He tore off his glove with his teeth and tried to radio for help, but the frigid air had sucked the life from its battery. Not even static answered his calls for more men.

“We’re all we’ve got,” George said from beside him. “So we’ve gotta be enough.”

Rip nodded. He wanted to communicate something more, but each staggered breath brought searing pain. The icy air entered his nostrils like sharp claws trying to grab onto his heart and tear it out. It would save the commies the trouble.

With all the resolve he could muster, he crept toward the enemy encampment on the horizon. His breath poured out of him, a disjointed stream of dragon smoke when what he really needed was fire—anything to warm him up.

More bullets.

George let out a sharp cry and pulled away from him at a rapid clip.

Rip tried to keep up, but the ice had gotten to his muscles—and now held on tight, forcing him to take short, quick steps rather than the long bounds he needed to provide backup for his buddy.

More bullets. A warmth blossoming out from the center of his chest, a warmth which failed to bring relief. Sharp pain, and he fell to his side, clutching at his heart and praying for a quick death.

George continued forward, jack-rabbiting across the field. He raised his gun to take aim, and then… nothing. The bullets would not come. “Damn ice jammed it up!” he shouted and tried to fall back.

More bullets. Coming at George rather than from his gun.

Rip watched in fear as his closest friend buckled at the knees and fell face-forward into the earth, the last thing he saw before everything went white.

He kicked furiously and shot up with a start. The winter landscape fell away revealing an empty room with dull brown walls and no windows. He sucked air in and pushed it out easily. Cold droplets of sweat clung to his skin, and only the phantom memory of wounds past pained him. Seconds before, they had been so real.

The nightmare was always the same, coming to him with such vivid detail he had no choice but to relive that battle every night since he’d so narrowly escaped with his life. Sometimes he needn’t even fall asleep. Just shutting his eyes drew out the carnage, reminded him how his failure to keep up had cost George his life.

He couldn’t run then, but he could certainly run now. And he would. If he ran far enough, perhaps he could finally escape the memory.

* * *

A soft knock sounded at the door. Tuesdays were her mother’s salon days, and she attended them as fervently as she did church on Sundays, which meant the task of answering the caller would fall to Deborah. She forced herself up from bed, tugged a housecoat over her shoulders, and padded to the door.

A man in uniform stood before her, his arm fastened into a sling. “Ma’am,” he said by way of greeting.

“Yes? How can I help you?” She tried—and failed—to stifle a yawn. Exactly how early was it anyway?

“I’m Airman First Class Morrison—or Tommy. Are you Deborah Walker?”

“I am. What’s this about?”

“I…. Well, I’m a friend of James Morgan.”

Fear flooded Deborah’s heart. She couldn’t remember moving, but somehow she and Tommy ended up in the living room sharing tea as if they were sitting together for a nice, friendly visit, and not…

Finally she spoke. “Is James…?” She refused to finish the question. Words held power, after all, and she wouldn’t lend them any extra in this situation.

“Dead?” Tommy steepled his fingers before his chest, taking a painful pause.

Deborah wanted to shake him hard until the answer to her question spilled out, but she didn’t have the strength enough to say anything.

“No, but he is missing in action, ma’am. Some people say that’s as good as, but I know ol’ Jimmy, and he had too much fight in him to surrender.”

Deborah remained quiet as the information sank in. For months she had waited for him and with only a single letter to tide her over. Had he been missing all this time? Was he…? No, she refused to even think it.

“Anyway, I thought you should know before the public caught wind. Seeing as you were his girl and all.”

“Thank you very much, Airman,” she muttered, keeping her eyes fixed on his freshly polished shoes.

He said a few other things, but she didn’t catch them. And after a while she watched as Tommy’s shoes carried themselves up and out of her house.

One night, one kiss, one memory where he was hers. That was all Deborah got before life—or quite possibly death—took her love away from her. If she were more the religious type, she’d believe God had decided to have some fun at her expense. Instead, she chose to think this was just the way the world worked in these terrible days, which were filled to the brim with war.

Still, she prayed James would find his way back to her safe and sound, that they would one day be together for good. Just in case there was a God, and he was concerned enough to help her out.

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