Lucky In Love


Lightning sent a jagged bolt across Ty Garrison’s closed lids. Thunder boomed and the earth shuddered, and he jerked straight up in bed, gasping as if he’d just run a marathon.

A dream, just the same goddamn four-year-old dream.

Sweating and trembling like a leaf, he scrubbed his hands over his face. Why couldn’t he dream about something good, like sex with triplets?

Shoving free of the covers, he limped naked to the window and yanked it open. The cool mist of the spring storm brushed his heated skin, and he fought the urge to close his eyes. If he did, he’d be back there.

But the memories came anyway.

“Landing in ten,” the pilot announced as the plane skimmed just beneath the storm raging through the night.
In eight, the plane began to vibrate.
In six, lightning cracked.
And then an explosion, one so violent it nearly blew out his eardrums.

Ty dropped his head back, letting the rain slash at his body through the open window. He could hear the Pacific Ocean pounding the surf below the cliffs. Scented with fragrant pines, the air smelled like Christmas in April, and he forced himself to draw a deep, shaky breath.

He was no longer a SEAL medic, dragging his sorry ass out of a burning plane, choking on the knowledge that he was the only one still breathing, that he hadn’t been able to save a single goddamn person. He was in Washington State, in the small beach town of Lucky Harbor. The ocean was in front of him with the Olympic Mountains at his back.

But hell if at the next bolt of lightning, he didn’t try to jump out of his own skin. Pissed at the weakness, Ty shut the window. He was never inhaling an entire pepperoni pizza before bed again.

Except he knew it wasn’t something as simple as pizza that made him dream badly. It was the edginess that came from being idle and unable to work. His work was still special ops, but he hadn’t gone back to being a first responder trauma paramedic. Instead, he’d gone to work for a private contractor to the government, which was a decent enough adrenaline rush. Plus it suited him – or it had until six months ago when on assignment, he’d had to jump out a second story window to avoid being shot, and had reinjured his leg.

Stretching that leg now, he winced. He wanted to get back to work. Needed to get back. He also needed clearance from his doctor. Pulling on a pair of jeans, he snagged a shirt off the back of a chair and left the room as the storm railed around him. Shrugging into the shirt, he made his way through the big and nearly empty house he’d rented for the duration, heading to the garage. A fast drive in the middle of the night would have to do, and maybe a quick stop at the all-night diner for pie.

But this first.

Flipping on the lights, Ty sucked in a deep, calming breath of motor oil, well-greased tools, and rubber tires. On the left sat a ’72 GMC Jimmy, a rebuild job he’d picked up on the fly. He didn’t need the money. As it turned out, special ops talents were well-compensated these days, but the repair work was a welcome diversion from his problems.

The ’68 Shelby Mustang on the right wasn’t a side job. It was his baby, and she was calling to him. He kicked the mechanic’s creeper from against the wall towards the classic muscle car. Lowering himself onto the cart with a grimace at the pain, Ty rolled beneath the car, shoving down his problems, denying them, avoiding them.

Seeking his own calm in the storm.

Lauren Layne