Healing Hearts 6: To Love Again

By: Dixie Lynn Dwyer

Healing Hearts 6: To Love Again

Emma isn't ready to love again, but fate steps in and the attraction is too strong to deny, even with all the guilt she can muster. Losing Westin, an NYPD detective killed in the line of duty, made her fearful to love again. She won't let down her guard, and his partner, Martin, makes sure she always remembers Westin, and of course that Martin is the only man she can trust.

When she meets Houston, Miller, and Eagan, the attraction is just too strong to deny, even with Martin putting her down and trying to make her question her men's commitment to her.

Martin has a plan in motion. He's manipulated her mind for years, is responsible for Westin's murder, and is about to take her away from the three men she took a chance on and loves with all her heart.

She isn't the timid, naive young woman of years ago. She has a fire in her, thanks to the men she loves and her strong belief in good over evil. Fighting for her life and honoring Westin's death makes her actions speak louder than words, and end the sadness, guilt, and fears once and for all.



Prologue



Emma Grace felt sick to her stomach. Covering her belly, barely able to see each step she took as tears flowed, she made her way through the cemetery. Martin, Westin’s partner, gripped her arm so she wouldn’t fall, and the sounds of bagpipes echoed through the warm summer air. She barely remembered the mass, the speeches by family, friends, and co-workers in the police department. Like flashbacks through her mind, she saw different images and Westin lying in the coffin. She stared at it, thinking this couldn’t be real. This wasn’t really happening. Why did he die? How could this happen? They had their lives to live, their happiness to grow. They were getting engaged, talking about buying a home and starting a family. Why, God, why? She cried and saw the military men, heard the bugler playing “Taps,” and then suddenly gunshots went off.

Emma jumped forward and gasped for breath. She felt the aches and pains and the concussion, too. It was a dream, a nightmare, one she had less frequently over the last year. Her abduction had brought those nightmares back. She swallowed and coughed, her throat dry, and she looked at her bedside table seeing the bottle of painkillers and the water. In her mind, she heard the music, the lonesome sound of the bugle playing, Westin’s mom sobbing, and other family members trying to console her. Martin held her by his side, but she was numb. She could feel that cold, empty numbness even now, awakened from the nightmare. She stared at the pills, refusing to take the painkillers but thinking back to a time when she would have welcomed death to be with Westin once again. Now that thought made her feel terrible, guilty, like she was a horrible person for even considering doing that to herself. Such action would destroy her family, perhaps her friends, as well. No, no, she was years passed thinking that way. If she were going to have done that, it would have happened right after Westin was buried, when the pain, the loss was so bad she lay there on their bedroom floor, exhausted from crying as she wished for death.

No, she was stronger. She refocused, regrouped, and made the decision to separate herself from the constant reminders of Westin, but to not forget him and what they’d had. It was sacred, and nothing would ever feel like the bond they shared.

And even though, many a times, she went back to that deep, dark, lonesome place, where nothing seemed to pull her away from taking her life, she felt that simmering in her gut. Her parents would be devastated, and so would Westin’s, the ones she kept in contact with, and of course Martin, his partner and friend. Ultimately, she believed it was Westin that kept her alive. Kept her going. Forced her to move on, to live the life God gave her until he chose her death. It wasn’t easy, but Westin’s military friends were supportive, as well. She still spoke to many of them. In fact, several didn’t live far from here, on a military base close by.

She wiped the tears from her eyes and laid back down. Looking around the room at her very large, upscale condo, she felt lonely and a little scared. Well, a lot scared. It had been only two weeks since the incident. Two weeks since she was taken, beaten, tied up, and her mouth taped closed by some dirt-bag criminals. Two weeks since she’d regained consciousness in the arms of Houston. She swallowed hard. She didn’t like that she found him attractive, and his brothers, too. Holy crap but his brothers were just as hot as Houston.

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