Valentines Day – from True Courage

Join me in celebrating Valentines Day with an excerpt from Rick and Lily's story – a moment from True Courage         



            Crutches sucked.

            What sucked even more was having to rely on others.

            And having to be chauffeured from the hospital was just plain embarrassing, especially when Rick wanted to make a stop on the way.

            But he’d thought of nothing else for two weeks and, by God, lieutenant driver or no lieutenant driver, he was stopping by Lily’s house. Her address was in the phone book.

            When they turned the corner, Rick nearly chickened out and aborted the approach. First, because her front door was preceded by at least ten steps, and he hadn’t mastered stairs yet. Second, because he could list at least ten reasons why he shouldn’t be stopping. None of those reasons, though, were as important as what he had to say.

            Besides, she was sitting out front on those same stairs and had seen them pull up. God, she was beautiful.

            He bullied the fear back into place and painfully got out of the car. She didn’t get up to help him—thank God—just watched as he approached.

            Luckily, he didn’t have to climb the stairs. He just had to plop down beside her.

            “Hi,” he said between gulps of air.


            Silence loomed large, fueling his fear.

            “I owe you dinner.”

            Well, that came out well.

            She chuckled uncomfortably. “You don’t owe me anything. It’s good to see you up, though.”

            “I wish it felt good. I could lie down right here and sleep for another week.”

            This time, she laughed in earnest.

            “It’ll take a while.”

            “So they tell me. I start rehab tomorrow.”

            “So they tell me.”  

            At his odd look, she continued.

            “You don’t remember me telling you that I work at Rehab Specialists?”

            He shook his head. So much of that conversation still lay in pieces, like a fresh jigsaw puzzle for which you’d only found the border.

            “I remember that you saved my life, Lily.”

            “You saved your own life, Colonel.”

            “I also remember that you agreed to call me Rick.”

            She smiled.

            “Thanks for staying with me at the hospital. I’m sorry Barbara ran you off.”

            She blushed furiously. “I needed to leave anyway.”

            “But you never came back. I thought you were a figment of my imagination until I asked.”

            “Colonel. . .”

            “Rick.”            Whatever objection she had intended to make, she hesitated. Rick pushed his advantage.

            “How does the book end?”

            “Excuse me?”

            “Do Lizzy and Jane get Darcy and what’s-his-name?”

            Her quick glance told him that she was surprised he remembered what he’d heard as he slept.


            “Maybe you can read me the rest.”

            Okay. Lame. But his brain was slow, muffled as if filled with packing peanuts. Percocet—another reason he couldn’t drive himself.

            Her hesitation gave him his answer.

            “Okay, well.” He pushed awkwardly to his feet, hopping on his good leg—which was only painful, not excruciating—until he had command of his crutches. “Thank you for staying with me, both on the mountain and later. I’d still love to take you to dinner, if you’ll allow me the indulgence.”

            That sounded bitter.

            She rose to stand, her skirt falling gently to her calves—very sexy calves as a matter of fact—and smiled.

            “As soon as you’re walking with a cane, instead of those crutches, I’ll go to dinner with you.”

            On the way home, he picked apart her promise and realized that she’d meant it not as a slight, but as a challenge.

            Next time he saw her—and hell, that could be as soon as tomorrow because he knew both where she lived and where she worked—he planned on kissing her.





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