Titanium Blue

Tobias Anthony “Tar” Roberts returned from Afghanistan with a chip on his shoulder and missing half his leg. Some of his men weren’t as lucky, they didn’t come home at all. Pain in his body and his soul had him self medicating with pain pills and alcohol. He pushed his family away because it hurt too much to feel anything. When Jenna left to help her parents, he was relieved. When she didn’t return he sank deeper into depression until he reached his darkest moment.

Loving Tar was never the problem. Jenna fell in love with him nearly the first moment she met him but their whirlwind romance, early pregnancy and his deployment wasn’t conducive to a strong relationship. When he returned from Afghanistan he pushed her away. She had to protect her baby. Her father’s heart attack was just the excuse she needed to runaway.

Tar is back and he’s willing to do whatever he has to, even move to Leeward, to get his family back.

Excerpt from Titanium Blue

The stench of steaming crabs slapped him in the face as soon as he slid from the jeep. Tar gagged and considered getting back in and driving off. “God, I hate this place,” he grumbled. Leeward was the toe jam of eastern North Carolina, not the place to raise his son. He stretched, rubbing his knee above the rim of his artificial leg. The ride from Lejeune had been long. He was stiff and there’d been too much time to think. He wiped his sweaty palms on the legs of his pants. His stomach churned. The odor of seafood scraps broiling in the sunshine did little to soothe his mind or his stomach. I need to get Jenna and Toby away from here.

Tobias Anthony Roberts, known to his friends and fellow recruits as Tar, sighed. It wasn’t the first time he’d wondered when his life had gone to shit. He clenched his jaw, glaring at the manila envelope lying on the passenger seat. The bright white address label glowed against the orangey color of the envelope. Tar licked his lips, wishing for something cool to quench his thirst. Jenna wanted a divorce.  He shouldn’t be surprised. They’d not lived together for almost two years.

A flash of dark red hair caught his attention. He watched his wife through the cracked glass of the huge front window. Mac’s really let this place go to hell. Tar noted the peeling and powdering paint, the drooping gutters and broken concrete. He’d heard in rehab Mac had suffered another heart attack. The first one had been the excuse Jenna used for leaving him. She would have found another if it hadn’t happened.

A hot wind pushed sand across the parking lot. His heart raced and fear clogged his throat. It took a great deal of concentration and deep breathing to remind himself it wasn’t the smell of raw sewage, petrol and exotic spices mingling with unwashed bodies assaulting his nasal passages, but the aroma of grease, newly turned earth and the local crab house still in production even though it was early October. The damn season should be over. When would it cool off? The reality burned away the waking nightmare. You’re not in Afghanistan. He repeated it over and over until the feeling passed.

I shouldn’t have come. I’m not ready to be a husband or father again. Jenna passed the window, smiling at a customer. Like the first rays of sunlight when you’d been too long in the dark, her smile lit up the room. The pain, not to his eyes but to his chest, reminded him of why he’d come. You may not get a second chance. The jeep chimed, reminding him he’d not shut the door. You’re draining the battery, idiot. He considered climbing back into the jeep and riding back to Camp Lejeune.

Coward. He could face Afghan soldiers but the prospect of confronting his hundred and twenty-pound estranged wife left him shaking in his boots. Well, his Reeboks at least. He was processing out of the Corp. Would she care? Would it matter? Once a Marine, always a Marine! Tobias Anthony Roberts was no coward! He could handle one little five-foot-eight redhead. He swallowed the lump in his throat. He hoped.

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