The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge.
A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.
I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.
That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.
The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.
From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.
Enjoy a sneak peek from Five Years Gone
by Marie Force
We met in a bar, of all places, a dingy hole-in-the-wall favored by military members from the nearby Navy base in San Diego. I went with a friend from school who was interested in one of the military guys. Before that night, I’d never been there, and I’ve never been back. John was celebrating the promotion of one of his buddies. He crashed into me as I left the ladies’ room and kept me from falling by grabbing my arms to steady me.
Just like in the movies, our eyes met, and my spine tingled with the kind of instantaneous awareness I’d only read about but never experienced personally.
“I’m so sorry,” he said, gorgeous and fierce in his fatigues.
I noticed gold on his collar, a hint of late-day scruff on his jaw and the name WEST in bold black letters on his chest. Intense electric-blue eyes made it impossible for me to look away, even when I was safely back on my feet.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
Realizing I’d been staring at him, I blinked and reluctantly broke the connection. “I… Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for the save.”
And then he smiled, and the tingling began anew.
I shook his outstretched hand. “Ava.”
Keeping his hold on my hand, he tipped his head. “You come here often?”
“Never,” I said, laughing. “I’m a first-timer.”
“What do you think so far?”
“I wasn’t impressed until about thirty seconds ago.”
As if he had all the time in the world to give me, he leaned against the wall. “Is that right? What happened thirty seconds ago?”
I thought about taking back my hand but didn’t. “I was saved from certain disaster by a man in uniform.”
“The guy in the uniform is the reason you needed saving in the first place, because he wasn’t watching where he was going. Least he can do is buy you a drink.”
“I wouldn’t say no to that.” I was proud of my witty responses and got the feeling he could more than hold his own in the wittiness department. Across the crowded room, I noticed my friend talking to the guy she’d come to see, and her brows lifted in interest when she saw me with John. He guided me to the bar, placing a proprietary hand on my lower back, and told one of the guys to give me his stool.
“Yes, sir.” The younger man bowed gallantly to me as he took his beer and moved along.
“Do people always do what you say?”
“If they know what’s good for them.” His teasing grin kept the comment from being overly cocky. “What can I get you?”
Deciding to live dangerously for once, I asked for a cosmopolitan.
“Go big or go home,” he said with admiration.
“That’s my motto.” I was so full of s**t. I wondered if he could tell I was all talk or what he’d think of me if he knew I usually err much closer to the side of caution than the wild side. I wondered if he could tell I was just barely old enough to drink. I’d turned twenty-one only six months earlier.
When my cosmo and his Budweiser had been delivered, he offered a toast. “To new friends.”
I touched my glass to his bottle. “To new friends.”
“So, where’re you from, Ava?”
“I thought I heard New Yawk in your voice.”
I batted my eyelashes at him. “So four years at the University of California San Diego didn’t scrub the New York out of me?”
Laughing, he said, “Hardly. I know some guys from New York. One of them is from Staten Island, which is about as New York as it gets. I know New York when I hear it.”
“I’m from Purchase, upstate from the city. What about you?”
“I’m from all over. My old man is a retired general. You name it, I’ve lived there.”
“Right here.” He turned that intense gaze on me, and I went stupid in the head. I couldn’t see anything but him. We might as well have been alone in the crowded bar for all I knew. Unlike my friend, who loved men in uniform, I was never turned on by the uniform. Until then. Until John. “You want to get out of here?”
I swallowed hard. It wasn’t like me to leave a bar with a man I’d just met. “And go where?”
“Somewhere we can talk.”
“What do you want to talk about?”
He leaned in so his lips were close to my ear. “Everything. I want to know every single thing there is to know about you.”
End of Excerpt
Copyright © by Marie Force
Learn more by visiting the author's website. FIVE YEARS GONE released October 9, 2018.
Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary romance, including the indie-published Gansett Island Series and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series. In 2019, her new historical Gilded series from Kensington Books will debut with Duchess By Deception.
All together, her books have sold 6.5 million copies worldwide, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and have appeared on the New York Times bestseller list many times. She is also a USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestseller, a Speigel bestseller in Germany, a frequent speaker and publishing workshop presenter as well as a publisher through her Jack’s House Publishing romance imprint. She is a two-time nominee for the Romance Writers of America’s RITA® award for romance fiction.
Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.
Five Years Gone by Marie Force
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Heat Level: 5
Language Level: 4
Violence Level: 1
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