Reed Tucker, Tuck to his buddies, tugged at the tie on his U.S. Navy service dress blue uniform, and his gut knotted as he entered the rehabilitation center of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland.
He’d never run from anything, not a machine gun pinning his unit to a position, a fight where he was outnumbered, or an argument he truly believed in. But the sights, smells, and sounds inside the walls of the rehabilitation center made him want to get the hell out of the facility faster than a cat with its tail on fire.
But he couldn’t leave. Not yet. This was graduation day for Reaper, aka Cory Nipton, his best friend and former teammate on SEAL Team 10. Reaper was being released from the rehabilitation center after enduring something even tougher than BUD/s training, the twenty-four week Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training designed to weed out the true SEALs from the wannabes.
But Reaper’s release from rehab wasn’t the only event that brought Tuck there that day. He was going to a wedding. His heart twisted, his palms grew clammy, and he clutched the ring box in his left hand as regret warred with guilt, creating a vile taste in his mouth.
Reaper was marrying Delaney, the only woman Tuck had ever trusted with his heart. The only woman who’d forced him to get over his past and dare to dream of a future. She was the woman he could see himself spending the rest of his life with. And today she was promising to love, honor, and cherish his best friend—a better man than Tuck by far. A hero who’d lost his right arm because Tuck hadn’t given him sufficient cover. Cory deserved all the happiness he could get after being medically discharged out of the only family he’d ever known. The Navy SEALs.
His hand on the door to the room where the wedding was to take place, Tuck squared his shoulders and stepped into his future.