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Giving My All to You Sheryl Lister 2022/8/3 13:47:34

Thad set his fork on the plate. “I work as a VP in a home safety company. We manufacture everything from bath rails and specialized mattresses to in-home alert systems.”

Vice president. He had obviously done well for himself after serving in the armed forces. “How did you get into that field?”

“My buddy Nolan and I were in the army together and started the company when we got out after the Gulf War—he voluntarily and me…for medical reasons.”

She saw the pain reflected in his face and regretted asking the question. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to—”

Thad waved her off. “It’s been over twenty-five years. And you have a right to know. I lost my leg in a Scud missile attack on the barracks. I was one of the lucky ones.” His voice became distant. “We lost twenty-eight soldiers and close to a hundred more were injured. It was the worst thing I’ve ever seen. I had a prosthesis, but it was bothering me, so I had to be fitted for a new one. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before it gets here.”

Faith couldn’t even begin to imagine the horrors he must have seen. Now she understood why he hadn’t included any more photos with the letter after his discharge. “I’m very glad that you were one of the lucky ones.”

“So am I. Even more so now.” They continued eating in silence for a few minutes. Then he asked, “What did your mother tell you about us?”

She pushed the food around on her plate. She knew the question would eventually come up, but still she wasn’t prepared and didn’t want to hurt him any more than he’d been already. “She didn’t say much.”

She blew out a long breath and met his eyes. “She told me you died serving in the military when I was two.”

That was it? She expected him to say more. “You aren’t angry?”

“I was for a long time. Angry at her, the army…God. But, after a while and some much-needed counseling, I came to understand that she’d done what she thought best at the time.” He patted her hand. “And I know you’re probably very angry with her, sweetheart, but you’ve got to let go of that anger. Otherwise, it will eat you alive. Believe me, I know. We can only go forward from here.”

Faith had already determined that Thaddeus Whitcomb was a good man, but her admiration and respect for him shot up the charts. “I’m working on it.” When he lifted a brow, she added, “It’s the best I can do for now.”

Thad chuckled. “Okay, I’ll go with that. If you ever want to talk about it, or anything else, I’ll be here. Always.”

“I know.” She gave him a small smile and finished her meal.

Later, after he’d dropped her off, Thad’s words still played over in her mind. She was trying hard to let go of the irritation and resentment toward her mother. Her heart ached for Thad. Had he gone through all of that pain alone?

She heard a low buzzing sound and it took a moment to realize it was her cell phone. She dug it out of her purse and quickly answered before it could go to voice mail.

“Hey, beautiful lady,” Brandon said.

Her pulse skipped with the endearment flowing from his low, sexy voice. “What’s up, Brandon?”

“I’m calling to see if you’re up for that dinner I owe you.”

Faith smiled. The function in her right arm had almost returned to normal. “I most certainly am.”

“Good. Then I’ll pick you up tomorrow around six.”

“I’m looking forward to it.”

“Me, too. Good night, Faith.”

“Good night.” I’m going to miss him when I go home. She was still holding the phone when it rang again.

“Hey, girl,” Faith said to Kathi.

“You know I’m calling for an update on your dad and Brandon. And don’t leave out any details.”