Chapter 34: A Thousand Stolen Moments by Connie Ann Michael

Today is the LAST installment of A Thousand Stolen Moments by Connie Ann Michael ! Read it below!

A Thousand Stolen Moments by Connie Ann Michael

Chapter 1 / Chapter 2 / Chapter 3 / Chapter 4 / Chapter 5 / Chapter 6 / Chapter 7 / Chapter 8 / Chapter 9 / Chapter 10 / Chapter 11 / Chapter 12 / Chapter 13 / Chapter 14 / Chapter 15 / Chapter 16 / Chapter 17 / Chapter 18 / Chapter 19 / Chapter 20 / Chapter 21 / Chapter 22 / Chapter 23 / Chapter 24 / Chapter 25 / Chapter 26 / Chapter 27 / Chapter 28 / Chapter 29 / Chapter 30 / Chapter 31 / Chapter 32 / Chapter 33

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

Slowly, Sawyer padded into the bathroom. Taking off her jeans she slid on a pair of running shorts and a T-shirt, then pulled on a warm Marines sweatshirt, before padding out to the deck. The stars shone bright against the black sky. Sawyer loved to listen to the waves at night.

Pulling her knees into her chest, she settled back into the chair and let the sounds of the night flow around her.

“Hey, baby. You okay?”

Sawyer jumped at Raven’s voice.

He stood in the frame of the glass door in only his jeans. They sat low on his hips making her want to forget her vow of celibacy before marriage. Until Raven found his own place, she had set up a bedroom for him in her apartment. Last night, however, they had laid together into his bed talking until sleep took over. They craved the closeness the war had stolen from them the last few months. His proximity alleviated the stress and anxiety Sawyer struggled with, but it also added to her inner turmoil of whether her beliefs about marriage were really necessary. Watching him now made her resolve waiver, but God had been keeping them on His radar and quickly sent a reminder that His word was non-negotiable, no matter what the circumstances. His eyelids drooped in a half awake way. Sawyer’s chest tightened when she thought of how this incredible specimen loved her.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“I missed you.” He ran a hand back and forth over his hair. His sleepy voice was so sexy.” Are you okay . . . with everything? I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable asking you to stay with me.”

Sawyer gave him a reassuring smile. “I’m fine. I think God understood you needed me. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

Raven moved onto the porch and lowered himself in front of her. He ran his hands down her bare legs, pulled her ankles out from under her, and placed her feet on the deck, fencing himself in between her legs. “Nightmares?”

Sawyer reached out to cup his face and then kissed his forehead. “You just got home. Don’t worry about me.”

Raven sighed and rested his cheek against her palm. “Baby, that’s why I’m here. I’m here for when the nightmares come.”

“They’re bad.”

Raven kissed her knee. “It’s my job to protect you.”

“Not anymore.”

Raven looked up, his Marine Sergeant expression returning. “It will always be my job to protect you.”

Sawyer rolled her eyes as she straightened to get up from her seat. “Let’s go back inside.”

Raven grabbed the armrests of the chair and caged her in. “I’m serious, Sawyer. I’m not an idiot.”

“I never said . . .”

Raven put a finger on her lips to stop her. “I know this isn’t going to be easy. It isn’t easy coming home when it’s you and your family. I can’t even imagine what might happen with both of our mental crap under the same roof. But we are going to do this together. I’ve got your back, and I know you’ve got mine.”

Sawyer leaned forward and rested her forehead against Raven’s. “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

“You’re a corpsman with a Marine unit. You get special favors for that.”

“So do former Special Forces.” Sawyer giggled.

Raven gave her a quick kiss, and then turned around to settle on the floor between her knees. Resting his head on her inner thigh, he ran his fingers lightly up and down her calves. “You’re everything good in my life.”

Sawyer trailed her fingernails up and down the back of his neck, enjoying the low growl he made.

Raven didn’t say anything for a long time. Sawyer thought he may have fallen asleep until he lifted his head.” Those stars. They are the same stars we saw in Afghanistan, and even here, there isn’t a single star that shines brighter than you. You brought me back.”

“I didn’t bring them all back.” Sawyer’s voice was so small; she didn’t think he heard her.

Raven turned around to face her. “No one expected you to.”

“Their families did.”

“Baby,” Raven cooed, pulling her down into his lap. “No one went to war not knowing the risk. And they didn’t go expecting you to save them. You did everything you could. You did your best. We didn’t get the nightmares in a day, and they won’t go away in a day. One moment at a time, baby. We’ll do it together, one moment at a time.”

“One second at a time.” Sawyer amended. “Thank you for loving me,” she said. “Thank you for giving me a piece of my heart back. Helping me fight for my humanity.” Sawyer let herself melt into him. She’d do her best to make her life worth the loss of all her men. She felt like she could do anything as long as Raven was by her side.


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