I always love having author Robin Badilla or her alter-ego, Tyler Robbins, visit me. You wanna know why? Because she’s always so upbeat and nice and writes heartfelt stories. Also, her book being spotlighted today features military heroes. I grew up as a military brat while my father served during Vietnam, so these gents (and ladies) hold a dear place in my heart.
Tyler’s newest release is called: Aftermath: Guts and Glory and it’s my pleasure to share it with you today. This baby is shooting the bestseller charts already!
When the brother he idolized is killed in action in Afghanistan, Kyle Barrett is rocked to his core. With his only confidant gone, Kyle struggles to deal with the loss, while fighting to keep his hidden sexuality a secret from his parents.
If only he didn’t have to face them alone.
Army veteran, Ryder Bishop has returned from his final tour in Iraq, when severe PTSD forces him to seek help through a new counseling program back home in Texas.
Just when Ryder thinks he’s reached the end of his rope, he meets Kyle, and their lives take a remarkable turn.
Can the grieving brother and damaged soldier find the peace they so desperately need? Or will they become another statistic when the aftermath of war hits too close to home?
They might have shipped the soldier home, but his demons have come with him.
“Some of these guys come from Liberty County, others from Houston. This is the only center implementing this program, but if it turns out to be successful, they might start popping up everywhere.”
Kyle half-assed listened to Reesa, while trying to come up with an excuse to cut out early, and find somewhere to be alone. He nodded, for no other reason than to appease her.
“If that happens, I plan to be a part of it. That’s why I changed my major to behavioral science.”
Kyle paused. Now she had his attention. “Wait? You’re not going to be a nurse?”
Reesa took a deep breath. “I want to make a difference for Wade.” She looked around the room. “And these people need someone willing to make a difference for them, too.”
“What about what you need?”
She squeezed his hand. “This is what I need, Kyle.”
Kyle searched her green eyes. Her sincerity warmed him somehow, but he still didn’t get how she’d be able to handle all the emotional crap that had to go along with getting too involved. It was hard enough living with Wade’s death. How could she deal with the same kind of emotions coming from so many other people? Complete strangers?
He nodded, not to agree, but to eliminate the concern that now filled her eyes. “I guess if anyone could do something like that, it would be you.”
“Good. I’m glad you think that. It means a lot to me.” Reesa’s attention quickly turned to someone across the room, and her face instantly brightened. “Hey, stranger.” She let go of Kyle’s hand and darted away.
Kyle’s gaze followed her, and he froze the second he saw who she had spoken to. The guy from the basketball court. Ryder.
Kyle’s insides fluttered as Ryder glanced over at him.
Reesa dragged Ryder by the arm. His initial resistance was clearly futile, and the bashful grin did little to hide the pink tinge on Ryder’s cheeks.
“Kyle, this is my new friend, Ryder.”
Kyle’s palms moistened. “Yeah. We’ve already met.”
Ryder gave Kyle a quick nod. “Are you hoping for a rematch?”
“Rematch?” The inflexion of Reesa’s inquisitive tone rivaled the look of intrigue highlighting her green eyes.
“Yeah, we played a game of one on one at the courts by my apartment the other night.” Ryder’s nostrils flared, and he appeared a bit smug. “I believe I won. Right?”
Kyle’s mouth watered at the memory of Ryder’s glistening abs when he’d lifted his shirt to wipe the perspiration from his brow. “He barely won. And that was only because it was right after—” The words caught in the back of Kyle’s throat, and a sudden feeling of nausea swept over him. He fidgeted and glanced down at Reesa, his mood darkening right on the spot. “Um, it was Tuesday evening.” He swallowed hard, doing his best not to throw up as an acidic burn now scorched the back of his throat.
Reesa’s auburn brow arched, and her lips turned up into shaky smile. “Oh. Okay.” The thought of that day had understandably struck a nerve for her, too.
“Yeah, well maybe we can have that rematch after you’ve rested up or something. Maybe a nap would help.”
Was that a jab at Kyle’s baby-faced looks?
Ryder’s boyish smirk remained plastered across his face, easing Kyle’s angst immediately.
“Whatever, man.” Kyle managed a chuckle. “You just got lucky, that’s all.”
“Oh, is that your story?” Ryder seemed to physically gravitate toward Kyle, or was it Kyle’s imagination—or wishful thinking?
Ryder’s cologne wafted toward him, a scent Kyle could spot anywhere. “I guess we’ll just have to see.”
“Okay, boys.” Reesa took them both by the arm, and walked between them. “I say we go to lunch and discuss this little rematch further.”
Kyle glanced at Ryder over the top of Reesa’s head. The instant he found Ryder already looking in his direction, Kyle’s face warmed, and he quickly looked away.
There was something about the other man’s gaze, something sincere and exciting, and the more Kyle thought about it, the more he liked it.
Tyler Robbins Author Bio:
Tyler Robbins is the pen name of author Robin Badillo, who lives in a small Texas town and is the mother of four nearly grown kids, two boys and two girls.
Tyler enjoys stepping out of her comfort zone and pushes the envelope on the stories she writes every chance she gets. She hopes her readers are just as thrilled as she is with the chances she’s taking.
Always the optimist, Tyler is a firm believer that gray hair is merely God’s graffiti!!