TAKING HEART – On sale June 2, 2015
About the book –
T. J. Kline’s Healing Harts series continues as a soldier suffering from PTSD and a therapy dog trainer find that some scars can only be healed by love…
Julia Hart knows how much good she does training therapy dogs—it’s what helped her overcome her own trials after a relationship turned unexpectedly violent. But moving beyond her mistakes meant trusting only her family with her heart.
Dylan, a former soldier, has run out of hope for recovery. Plagued by nightmares and flashbacks, he doubts anything will help him overcome his PTSD. When his brother convinces him to try one last time, he agrees to get a therapy dog.
Dylan didn’t expect to find Julia or a chance for a “normal” future again. But when Julia’s attacker is released from prison, Dylan and Julia will have to face the past together.
Dylan rolled over and jumped backward as his hand was met with soft fur instead of sheets. “Damn it, Roscoe. You’re not supposed to be on the bed.”
The dog didn’t look even slightly apologetic as he stood and licked the side of Dylan’s face before jumping to the floor. Dylan swiped his hand over his face, the rasp of his beard loud in the silence.
“Ugh! That was disgusting. Don’t do that again!” He must be losing his mind if he was talking to this dog as if he could understand him. But he had to wonder when Roscoe dropped his head to his paws and looked up at him sheepishly.
He pulled a T-shirt over his head and slid on the same jeans he’d tossed at the foot of the bed last night after Gage left. What should have been a sleepless night filled with nightmares had oddly enough been incredibly restful. He glanced at the dog, who noticed and wagged his tail enthusiastically. Hell, if letting the dog sleep on the bed meant a dreamless night, he’d tuck the damn animal under the covers.
He heard the sound of tires on the gravel driveway and walked to the front porch, assuming Gage was back for breakfast. He didn’t see Julia, but from the barking he could hear in the kennel, she must be out with the dogs. He saw a truck moving slowly down the driveway. Seeing it wasn’t Gage, he wondered if he shouldn’t go find Julia and let her know she had company, but the driver waved at him through the lowered window and parked in the circular driveway.
“Hey, is Julia still feeding?”
Dylan arched a brow and crossed his arms, waiting at the top of the porch as the driver climbed out of the truck and approached, holding a hand out. “Hey, how ya doing? I’m Evan, a friend of Julia’s.”
The small hairs on the back of Dylan’s neck rose, something that hadn’t happened since returning home. His instincts were on high alert, but he had no reason for them to be going haywire. Years of experience had taught him to listen to his intuition, but the past twelve months had showed him he couldn’t trust his mind’s version of reality any longer.
“You always show up before breakfast?” He leaned against one of the posts and looked down at the man in front of him. He looked like a lawyer in his slacks and polo shirt. Everything about the man looked average, from his height and wiry build to his mousy brown curls and brown eyes.
“I was just in the neighborhood and decided to surprise her. It’s been a while since I talked to her.” He took a step closer, and Roscoe let a low growl slip from his throat. Evan immediately backed up a step, his eyes flicking toward Roscoe nervously. “Nice dog. Is it one of Julia’s?”
“He’s mine.” Dylan glanced at Roscoe, who had moved to stand at his side, the hair on the scruff of his neck rising as he continued to growl quietly. He pushed himself away from the post. “Julia is busy right now, but I can tell her you came by.”
The stranger narrowed his eyes, and Dylan recognized the madness in them. He’d seen it in his years as a medic. It was the same look he’d seen during a mission where they’d been clearing a town and had been approached by a suicide bomber. That man had the same glazed look of delirium Dylan saw in Evan’s eyes. He moved down the steps quickly, taking advantage of Evan’s surprise to put him into a headlock. He pressed him against the truck, patting down the front of his shirt for a weapon. A haze of dust clouded his vision as he lost himself in memories.
“Hey, are you nuts? Let go of me!” Evan struggled against him, but he was no match for Dylan’s strength or skill. Roscoe began barking, trying to force his way between the two men.
Confusion settled in Dylan’s gut. This man was unarmed and harmless. What was wrong with him?
Dylan pushed himself away, and Roscoe immediately backed off but remained watchful, standing in front of Dylan and watching the stranger.
“You’re insane. Just tell her I’ll come by another time.” Evan jumped into his truck, but Dylan saw the man’s hands shaking as he started the vehicle. “You’ll be hearing from my lawyer.” He gunned the truck and headed down the driveway, spewing gravel behind him as he went.
“Crap.” Dylan ran his hands over his head. What the hell was he doing? He couldn’t cause this kind of trouble for Julia. He looked down at the dog. “I thought you were supposed to stop this from happening,” he accused, realizing how ridiculous it sounded for him to blame the dog.
How in the world was he going to explain to Julia what he’d just done?
About the author –
T. J. Kline was raised competing in rodeos and rodeo queen competitions since the age of 14, She has thorough knowledge of the sport as well as the culture involved. She has had several articles about rodeo published in the past in small periodicals as well as a more recent how-to article for RevWriter. She is also an avid reader and book reviewer for both Tyndale and Multnomah.
There are e-copies of of HEART’S DESIRE (Book One) up for grabs – go and check it out right over here: a Rafflecopter giveaway