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Nic D’Onofrio is a hotshot pararescueman without a mission, on vacation, trying to understand the loss of his best friend in Afghanistan. His teammates say he has a Batman complex, even call him Batman when it suits them. All Nic wants is to ski hard, drink a lot and fall into bed at night, with or without a willing babe.
And then, there she is, stranded on the side of the road in Tahoe. Soft, sweet and so danged vulnerable. Julie. That’s all she knows. She’s wearing her pajamas. Batman does the only logical thing. He takes her home.
"No, no police." She responded without hesitation. "Just get me to the car and I’ll figure out something."
"C’mon, Julie. That doesn’t make sense. You don’t have your ID, or money or anything."
Julie pulled herself up straight. "I’m fully aware of that."
Frustration rose up in Nic’s throat. "Well, that’s about all you’re aware of."
"Thanks for reminding me. I don’t need this from you, Nic-from-Boston. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself." Julie stomped to the window, stood by the desk and fingered the phone cord. She stared at the phone as if trying to think of someone to call.
"Yeah, right. You’re so independent that you came and slept on the floor beside me last night. Be sensible."
A small squeak came from her before she turned to face him. Julie glared at Nic for an instant. Dang, he shouldn’t have said that. But then, almost as quickly as it materialized, the glare melted into indifference.
"Whatever you say."
Was that a concession? That was what he wanted, wasn’t it? "You go shower first. I’ll order us some breakfast."
"Fine." Julie pushed past Nic, walked into the bathroom and shut the door.
As the shower ran, Nic ordered food. The phone rang just after he hung it up. Who would be calling him here? Maybe Cruz was checking to make sure he’d followed through. Nic grabbed the phone on the second ring, looking toward the bathroom to make sure Julie was still in the shower.
"Uncle Mickey, what are you doing calling me?" Nic knew the answer even before he asked the question. The last time Nick and Joey’d gone home, they’d dragged Cruz along. He’d been an instant hit with the D’Onofrio family. "Cruz called you?"
"He’s convinced that you’re in danger, Boyo."
"Sorry he bothered you. Did he fill you in?"
"He did, and I thought you might want me to run down those plates for you."
"Well," he snorted, "you surely aren’t going to do what he suggested, are you?"
"Yeah, I was. Why?"
"Because it’s crap, Nicky."
"What does your gut tell you is going on with this girl, Nic? You’ve always had good instincts, even if you didn’t become a cop."
Mickey had never gotten over the fact that Nic had preferred battling fires to fighting bad guys. Then, when he and Joey had made the jump to pararescue, Mickey had again pled his case for them to come back to Boston and join the force. Nic had never doubted that he’d made the right decision. Well, not until Joey died. He forced himself back to the present.
"I think she’s telling the truth. I think she really does have amnesia, if that’s what you’re asking."
"Partly. But what I’m really asking is this: what does your gut tell you to do?"
Nic was silent.
"Don’t think, Boyo, just answer."
"She’s in trouble and needs my help."
"And I don’t want that responsibility."
"Look, Nic. You and I both know that ‘long-term’ isn’t in your vocabulary. A few hours, maybe twenty-four on the side of the mountain, okay. But you’re the master of momentary."
"Grow up, Nic. Help this poor girl out or you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. Now give me the damned license plate number and a description and I’ll see what I can find out."
Nic gave him the information and slammed down the receiver. Damn it all. Mickey had acted like Nic had already agreed to this crazy scheme of his, like he had already known what Nic would decide.
The shower shut off. Nic paced the length of the small living room, turning his options over in his mind. A knock on the door, announcing the arrival of their breakfast made the decision for him. He decided to decide later. Citizen Nic was fully in control again--for the moment.
Jaxine Daniels lives with her hubby and some of her family in Colorado Springs, Colorado. She spent ten years as an emergency medical technician and worked both on an ambulance and on Search and Rescue. She created Stress Arrester, a company that provides stress management to individuals and corporations. She speaks nationwide on a number of topics, including writing.
A SOFT PLACE TO FALL is the first in a five book series by Jaxine Daniels about pararescue jumpers. Nic D’Onofrio, "Batman" to his friends because he was forever saving the day, has recently lost one of his best friends in a training exercise in Afghanistan and is taking a short skiing vacation for his mental well-being...
...Jaxine Daniels has written an excellent book with A SOFT PLACE TO FALL, about a group of five pararescue jumpers who are all extremely loyal to each other. They are a brave and daring group, totally dedicated to their job, their friends and their families. Insight is given into this fascinating job, which only adds to the intrigue. I personally had never given much thought to this type of rescue and found Ms. Daniels’ descriptions enlightening. The love story between these two characters is very sweet with love scenes that are satisfying without being overly explicit or highly erotic.
I found this book enjoyable and very interesting and look forward to reading the four books that will follow. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a sweet love story wrapped in adventure and excitement. -- Laurie Damron, Romance Junkies
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 214
Paper Weight (lb): 9.2
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