Title – For Liberty
Series – Red Hot and BOOM!
Author – Rene Folsom
Genre – Contemporary Romance
Publication Date – June 1, 2014
Length (Pages/# Words) – Approximately 85 pages / 12,000 words
Cover Artist – Rene Folsom with Phycel Designs
While deployed overseas, his mission classified, the heartfelt letters Maximus writes are the only bits of communication Liberty receives during the year he is away. Her memories of him, along with a box full of letters, become her most prized possessions—that and the life growing inside her.
It’s not until communication stops, and the scheduled return of her Army hero comes and goes, that Libby begins to freak out. Her worry for his welfare, along with concern over her current situation, wreaks havoc on her once-solid nerves.
While she’s waiting for his return with bated breath, she clings to hope and remembers the words he once wrote: “A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind.” The infamous quote is a constant reminder of why he chooses to fight: For Liberty.
Volunteering for the local animal shelter, and helping with their holiday fundraisers, was how I chose to spend my birthday that year. The K9 kissing booth was a huge success. All the local pet lovers lined up to pay for smooches with the four-legged fur friends.
When I saw him standing in line, my heart stopped momentarily. Two years older than I was, Maximus Becker was the boy I drooled over during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. Of course, in high school, two years was quite an age gap, and I was a child in his eyes. Other than his occasional visits home, I hadn't seen him since he’d graduated six years ago and enlisted into the Army.
His round, boyish face was now strong and covered in a dusting of sexy scruff. It was obvious the military kept him in great shape, with his built physique and powerful demeanor. He was no longer the boy I knew in high school. His tall stature and confident stance was nothing short of pure, masculine strength.
Looking back, it seemed a bit petty that I frantically searched for another volunteer to take my post. My job was to collect the money for the kissing booth, and I couldn't just bail. But I was also sure as shit I’d end up making a fool of myself in front of this gorgeous man who probably still didn't even know I existed.
Realizing there was no one around to relieve me of this torture, I blew a stray lock of hair out of my eyes with a puff of breath and attempted to put on my best game face—determined to keep my cool. He was next in line.
Smiling kindly at the old lady in front of him, I stuffed her dollar in the money bag and kept my head down, worried my words would stumble if I looked into his eyes. Call me crazy, but those stupid, teenage fluttery feelings took over my stomach at the mere closeness of him. I probably looked weak and scared—words usually never used to describe me.
“Well hello, Libby,” a warm, raspy voice said. The fact he spoke my name actually gave me strength to be the girl I knew was hiding inside me somewhere.
Raising my head and meeting his beautiful, hazel eyes, I smiled. “Max. Haven’t seen you around in a while. How the hell are ya?” I was beyond grateful my voice didn't crack when his name spilled from my lips.
“Doin’ good. Just moved back to town now that I’m stationed at the base nearby.” His eyes roamed down my body and back up to meet my eyes. “Looks to me like I've missed a lot while I was gone.” The smile he so sinfully wore on his face made my insides melt like a tween at a One Direction concert. The fact one man could make me feel that way was both exciting and embarrassing.
And again, I was speechless. Was he paying me a compliment? My brain couldn't seem to comprehend what was happening, so I just stood there and grinned like a damn fool.
Leaning toward me, he crooked his finger and signaled for me to come closer. My heart was nearly leaping from my chest with the thought of him so near. He smelled good too. I had to rein in all the self-control I could muster in order to keep from blatantly sniffing him.
With his warm breath feathering over my ear, he said, “So, I’m a little embarrassed. I got in this line thinking I was lining up for a kiss with—” “We don’t have all day,” a crabby woman behind Max said, cutting off his words. If I weren’t representing the animal shelter, I would have told the lady to fuck off.
Smiling kindly, I held out my hand for his donation and said, “You ready to get your mac on with a basset hound?”
Shaking his head comically, he let out a light chuckle and held up a twenty between his fingers. His instruction for me to keep the change startled me a bit. We’d had several people give us an extra dollar or two toward the fundraising efforts, but no one had offered quite so much.
Stepping over to the line of dogs, he looked back in my direction and gave me a wink before allowing Henry to slobber all over his cheek.
I couldn't contain my laughter as I watched him wipe his face on his sleeve.