At Peace (The War Trilogy #3), страница 1
By Andria Large
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
Copyright © 2015 by Andria Large.
All rights reserved. The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, scanned, distributed, or used in any manner whatsoever, via the Internet, electronic, or print, without the express written permission of the authors, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
For more information, or information regarding subsidiary rights, please contact the author: http://www.AuthorAndriaLarge.com
Edited by: Megan Hershenson
Cover Design by: Andria Large
First Edition, 2015
Please note: Andria Large acknowledges the copyrighted items named in the novel, At Peace. The author does not own the right to the products, songs, or brands that are mentioned in this story.
Also by Andria Large:
The Beck Brothers Series:
Irresistible Renegade (Coming Soon)
War Wounded (2.5)
A Taboo Love Series:
Hey There, Delilah…
Crossing The Line
Hammer & Nails
I messed up…
Don’t think that I don’t know this. I’m sure you probably all hate me right now, but I did what I thought I needed to do to try and salvage what is left of my family.
Will I lose Dennis forever because of my own stupidity? God, I hope not.
I will try my damnedest to make this up to him, even if that means begging on my hands and knees. He is it for me…my forever, and I will do whatever it takes to prove it to him.
Now, if I could just get him to talk to me…
*This is the final book in The War Trilogy! This is not a cliffhanger! I repeat, this is NOT A CLIFFHANGER!
***Warning: You know the drill! For mature audiences only. Contains some graphic m/m sex scenes. Please remember that this is a work of fiction and comes from my own imagination.
I just want to take a moment to thank some people who have been a constant throughout this series and also my writing career:
My editor, Megan, who I'd be lost without. Not only does she make sure my grammar, punctuation, and spelling are correct, but she's also the person I bounce ideas off of, the one who helps me work out a tough scene, and my "Well, what if you do this instead," person. Without her, my stories would probably be crap.
My hubby, Eric, who gives me nothing but support and encouragement. I can't even begin to express how lucky and grateful I am to have such an understanding husband. He is always there for me when I need him. I definitely could not do what I do without having him back me. He is also good at promoting me! He carries around my business cards and hands them out to whoever is interested. That's love, people!
My beta readers! You know who you are! These ladies are the greatest. They give me the constructive criticism I need to make my stories better, to help them flow, to fix things in the plot that I might have missed. I trust them to give it to me straight up and they always come through for me.
You! Yes, you! Without you, I would not be here. I can't thank you all enough for believing in me and loving my stories. There is no way I can begin to tell you how much it means to me to have so many of you return for every new story. I'm humbled by it all. I love you to pieces!
To all the men and women who serve our country in the military. It takes a special person to do what you do everyday. You are truly extraordinary and I thank you for keeping our country free.
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, hear about, or that happens to you, like:
• Combat exposure
• Child sexual or physical abuse
• Terrorist attack
• Sexual or physical assault
• Serious accidents, like a car wreck
• Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake
During a traumatic event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening around you. Most people have some stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; but, not everyone gets PTSD. If your reactions don’t go away over time and they disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.
If you think you may have PTSD, please talk to your doctor or someone who can help. This is a serious condition that can be treated.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Table of Contents
Also by Andria Large
About The Author
~ Chapter One ~
~ Tucker ~
My phone chimes with yet another text message from Duke. I glance at it. This time he’s threatening to chop my balls off, cook them in a stew, and then make me eat it - the stew, that is - if I don’t call him. I’m lying on the bed in the hotel room that I rented in Philly. I’m meeting with my dad in a couple of hours to talk about everything that happened at my mother’s funeral, when my brother, Rhys, found Dennis and me kissing. My brother, on the other hand, hasn’t returned my calls.
It’s been a couple of days since I left New York, and I haven’t answered calls or text messages since leaving, which has Duke royally pissed off. I needed some more time alone to think about everything, which helped me make some really tough decisions before I contacted my dad and brother. I know that Dennis is probably thinking the worst right now, and I really fucked up with the way I left, but my mind was so screwed up from what happened with my brother. I just couldn’t make any promises that I wasn’t absolutely positive that I could keep.
I scroll through my favorite contacts list and hit Duke’s name. It rings once before he picks up and starts calling me every horrible name in the book. “You bitch ass motherfucking cocksucker! You piece of shit bastard! How the fuck could you?! I told you not to leave! I’m barely keeping your man together here, you fucking asshole dickhead!” Duke hisses angrily into the phone.
“Fuck you! ‘I’m sorry’ he says like that’s going to make a fucking difference,” he grunts mockingly. “Fuck you, Tucker! Fuck you and your stupid ass face!”
“Did you want me to call just so you can rant at me or did you have something else to say?” I mutter dryly.
“I needed time to think…” I start but Duke cuts me off again.
“You needed time to think?!” he squawks. “You could have at least sent me a text saying you were alive, you selfish prick!”
I sigh and rub my face roughly. “I fucked up. I’m sorry.”
“You better figure this shit out soon, Tucker. Dennis is on a downward spiral into another severe depression. He’s barely eating and refuses to leave your room other than to use the bathroom. I don’t like this at all. He’s making me nervous. I haven’t even moved into my apartment yet because I’m afraid he’ll hurt himself if I leave,” he says more calmly this time, but very seriously.
The thought of Dennis hurting himself makes my stomach roll sickeningly.
“I’m meeting my dad today and I think I’m going to have to just show up at my brother’s because he won’t answer my calls.”
“Gee, I wonder where he gets that from,” Duke scoffs. “And by the way, fuck your brother, he’s a douchebag.”
I roll my eyes. “Thanks, Duke, that’s so helpful.”
“Just stating the obvious.”
“I’m going to send you Lizette’s number; get her to help with Dennis.”
“Good, I need reinforcements.”
“I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
“Why don’t you call Dennis and tell him that?” Duke asks softly.
“I’ll try, but I know he won’t believe me. His mind is set and can’t be changed until I show up.” I sigh. “We talked about this before the whole fall out with my brother; he was certain then that I was going to leave him.”
“And you fucking did,” Duke bites out.
“But not in the way he thinks. I didn’t break up with him. I just needed some time to get my shit together.”
“Why didn’t you say that then?”
“Because I wasn’t 100% sure at the time, and I didn’t want to make any promises that I wasn’t positive that I could keep. Having the time alone to think, I was able to make solid decisions. I know what I’m going to do now if my dad and brother reject me.”
“And that will be?”
“I’m choosing Dennis, no matter what,” I say firmly so he knows I’m for real.
“Good,” he replies quietly. “I’ll stay with Denny until you get back, but you owe him and me something fierce for putting us through this.”
“I know. Love you, bud.”
“Whatever,” he huffs. “Love you, too.”
He hangs up and I check the time. My dad is meeting me here at the hotel’s restaurant. I pray that he understands. It’s not like he doesn’t know Dennis. And it’s not like he doesn’t like him. I mean, Dennis was great with my mother when he first met her and took her for a walk when she got agitated. And then when she wandered out of the house, it was his smart thinking that found her. That’s got to mean something to my father, right?
Time drags while I’m waiting for our agreed upon time to roll around. I watch some TV, play some games on my phone, and scroll through Facebook. I head down to the lobby at around 2:50 p.m. We are meeting at 3:00 p.m. I want to be waiting for him when he walks in.
I pace back and forth as I wait. I’m nervous as hell. I have no idea what my dad thinks since he disappeared without a word the day of my mother’s funeral. The day that Rhys caught Dennis and me kissing. The day that my world was shaken to its core.
“Tucker,” my dad’s voice says from behind me.
Whirling around, I see him standing there, hands shoved in his pockets, looking slightly uncomfortable.
“Dad, hey.” I sigh in relief. I was afraid he wasn’t going to show.
“Should we get some lunch?” he asks with a tight smile.
He looks ragged. His blue eyes are bloodshot and have dark circles under them still. His white hair is slightly messed up, as if he’s been running his fingers through it a lot. He’s looking thinner than I’ve ever seen him. I wonder if he’s even been eating.
“Yes, definitely,” I reply and let him lead the way to the hotel’s restaurant.
After we’re seated and our drink orders are in, I ask my dad, “How are you holding up?”
My dad sighs heavily. “Like shit. I miss her so badly,” he croaks.
I swallow back the knot of emotion in my throat. “Me, too.”
“And then, all this…” he struggles, waving his hand in my direction. “…Hasn’t helped either.”
I frown and drop my gaze to the table. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to cause you more pain.”
“You didn’t cause me more pain, Son. I’m just shocked and confused, and I just don’t understand it.”
I lift my eyes to his. His gaze softens some as he looks at me from across the table.
“I want to understand,” he says quietly.
Hope shoots through me and my eyes widen. “You do?”
“I know I didn’t react the best the other day, but you are my son, and I love you no matter who you’re with,” he replies with a tender smile.
The tears well up so fast that I don’t even have a chance to blink them back before they start rolling down my cheeks. My dad frowns.
“Tucker, come on now, none of that,” he scolds softly.
I quickly brush the tears away. “I’m sorry,” I sniff. “I really thought that you weren’t going to be okay with this.”
“Did I ever tell you how my dad didn’t approve of me marrying your mother?” he asks with a smirk.
I shake my head. “No,” I answer a little bewildered and shocked.
“Well, back when your mother and I first got together, we snuck around, didn’t want anyone to know, especially our parents. See back then, it was frowned upon to marry someone of a different religion and heritage. I was raised as a devote Irish Catholic. Your mother was Jewish with some Italian mixed in somewhere.” He grins.
The waitress stops by and gives us our drinks and takes our order before hurrying off again. I feel like she knows that we’re having a serious discussion and doesn’t want to stick around for too long.
“But we fell madly in love with each other, and no one was going to stop us from getting married. When my father found out, he had a fit, cursing and yelling at me. But I stood my ground and told him that I loved her and that we were getting married. I would have done it with or without his support. He eventually came around and warmed up to her; he even loved her later down the line. The first few years were tough, but we made it. I think after you boys were born was when my father really started to love your mom.”
“What about your mom? And mom’s parents, what did they think?”
“Oh, my mom just adored your mother. It caused a lot of fights between my parents. And mom’s parents weren’t happy at first, but they eventually came around, too. Only much faster than my father.” He smiles. “So I guess what I’m saying is that I’m here for you. I’ll support you with whomever you decide to be with. I won’t be like my father. And if that guy is Dennis, then that’s okay with me. Dennis is a good man and he cares a lot about you.”
I nod, losing my battle with the tears again. “We’re in love with each other,” I tell him and swipe at the tears again. “I was so afraid you would hate me for being with a guy. We’ve been together for almost a year, and with everything going on with mom, I just couldn’t tell you.”
“Oh, Tucker, I could never hate you,” my dad says, reaching across the table to give my forearm a squeeze. “Although, I am confused by it. I never pegged you as being gay.”
I snort. “I wouldn’t say I’m gay. Bi maybe, or only gay for Dennis. He’s the only guy I’ve ever been with. I’ve never even looked at another man like that before him. But Dennis is different. I don’t know; it’s hard to explain.”
“You love who you lov
I smile through the still flowing tears. “Thank you.”
“What about Rhys? I know he doesn’t feel the same as you do,” I say.
He rolls his eyes. “Rhys is being a jerk. Too many of his friends are homophobes, that’s why he is, too. He didn’t get that from your mother or me.”
“He won’t return my calls. I was planning on just going over there tomorrow to try and talk to him.”
“Well, I will be there since I’m staying with him, so maybe we can gang up on him and get him to see reason,” he says.
“Okay. Thanks, Dad.”
“You’re welcome, Tucker.”
~ Dennis ~
I’m lying in my bed, minding my own business when my bedroom door bursts open. I lift my head to look at who is barging in and see that it’s my very pregnant sister, Lizette. Oh, hell no! Duke did not call my sister! That dick!
“Let’s go, Dennis. Get the hell up,” she barks as she comes over and rips the covers off of me.
“Leave me alone, Lizette,” I grumble and yank my covers back up.
“I will not! You will not act like this. Tucker will be back when he gets everything straightened out with his family,” she snaps, pulling at the covers again.
“If he comes back it will be to pack up his shit so he can leave for good,” I choke.
Just talking about him brings me physical pain. I know I’m wallowing in self-pity, but it hurts so badly that I can’t help it.