Fractured Honor

I admit – I don’t write but so much about the military because there is no possible way I can do any arm of the service justice. However, when I as asked to contribute to an incredible anthology about the military and m/m love last year I jumped at the chance. First of all a thank you to Sara York who put the anthology together. The experience was amazing. Now the rights have been returned and I have to tell you I love this little story. You know me. My men are gritty, in your face and refuse to take crap. This piece just might surprise you in the depth. I so hope you enjoy.

FRACTURED HONOR

“Hey Jazz, what’s shakin’ tonight?”

Jackson Freemont, “Jazz” to the others in his platoon, tilted his head, flashing a grin at his buddy. Mark Spencer knew what tomorrow meant for him. Jazz was leaving at six hundred hours for home, a place he hadn’t seen in over eighteen Sexy guy with tattoosmonths.

“Just packing.” Jazz heard a sullen sound in his voice. A quiet moment of tension eased between them.

“Look, I just wanted to say I’m sorry about last week. I shouldn’t have said those things.”

“And I shouldn’t have thrown a punch.”

Mark’s eyes glimmered as he rubbed his jaw. “You got a pretty damn good right hook too. My face still hurts.”

“Hmmm… You know, I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t wait to get away from your ugly mug. Maybe that’s why I punched you. Ever think of that?” Their relationship was tedious, but at the end of the day they were buddies, friends who would die for each other.

“Now why would you ever want to get away from this face?” Mark framed his cheeks with both hands before turning in a complete circle, dancing a little jig. “Yeow baby! I am one hot nigger.”

“Look out ‘Dancing with the Stars’.” Jazz had to laugh. Mark was a damn good looking black man, all muscle and heart. There wasn’t a bad bone in the big lug’s body, yet they hadn’t gotten along for the first few months after they’d been assigned together. Now they were best buddies, with a few exceptions. They were both hotheaded as hell and highly opinionated, and they’d fought over their differences of opinions more than once. Last week had merely been the culmination of fatigue and fear. He loved the camaraderie they shared, the trust all the men in their platoon shared. There was nothing like being a Marine, but the truth was, he was more than ready to retire. Even if he had no idea what he was going to do for the rest of his life.

“Well at least I have a talent. More than I can say for your sorry ass,” Mark teased.

Jazz held up his middle finger. “You’re hilarious.” Eyeing the football he’d been planning on taking back to the States as a remembrance of good times, he smiled more bondageand tossed the ball in Mark’s direction, hitting his buddy smack in the stomach.

“Ouch!”

“Big baby.”

“Bully.”

“Takes one to know one,” Jazz said, hearing a slight catch in his voice. No matter how much he’d dreamt about going home, he was going to miss every man in his platoon. Being on the front line for the past two months had been grueling. He was exhausted and homesick, much more than usual, and he had little energy for waiting out the enemy. Perhaps the knowledge he was going home soon had pummeled him into being lethargic.

Mark picked up the football and smiled sheepishly and he walked closer. “I know. I feel the same way.”

For a few seconds they didn’t talk. There was no need to. Swallowing hard, Jazz could hear the incessant sounds of the crickets just outside the door. Insects were everywhere, the clicking noises driving him batty at night. Nodding, a feeling of sadness overwhelmed him. As close as they all were, Jazz wasn’t certain he’d every see his friends again. They were from different parts of the United States, divergent cultures and backgrounds, and yet they’d all forged a bond stronger than any he’d ever known before. He shook his head and gave Mark a waning smile. “Take care of the ball for me.” The words sounded hollow.

“I know, man. I know. I’m just glad you’re going home.”

“Yeah, me too.”

“I know you’re not going to miss the rats, the heat and the bugs,” Mark said as he walked closer. “I sure as shit wouldn’t.”

Jazz raised his eyebrow. “Or the grub. I kinda worry about what I’m going to do.”

“Fuckin’ don’t, man. You know, I think Virginia ain’t gonna know what hit ‘em.” Mark gave him a mischievous look. “Just kick ass like you do over here and you’re gonna be fine.”

Jazz burst into laughter. “You can bet on it.” An awkward moment of silence eased between them and while Jazz wasn’t the warmest man in the world, his heart was aching. “You’ll be going home in a couple of months.”

“Thinkin’ about re-enlisting. I don’t have to go home to,” Mark said quietly.

Jazz wanted to disagree, but he knew what the man was saying. They were all lost souls, allowing bonding to be easy. Blinking rapidly, he closed the distance and wrapped his arms around Mark, pulling the larger man against his chest. Additional anguish he didn’t need.

Mark exhaled slowly as he slid his arms around Jazz. “I know.”

For a minute they clung to each and Jazz’ heart thumped hard against his chest. He realized he was afraid. Intense fear remained with him every day and every night, night terrors keeping him from getting a good night’s sleep. What in the hell was it going to be like when he returned Stateside? Sucking in his breath, he bit back a moan. Jazz broke the hold and took a step back, rubbing his eyes. The last thing he wanted to do was tear up. When he looked at Mark’s face, he was more than just a little bit surprised his friend’s eyes were watering. The tour together had been tough enough, losing several friends over the last eighteen months. They were all Fractured-Honor-Cover-Medready to ship out, finding safety and solace, yet every one of his buddies was uncertain about their future. They’d been in the Marines long enough that little of the outside life seemed normal. Their longing didn’t stop the concept that the war zone was close, fucking close. Too bad his was the only ticket up right now.

“All right. I’ll let you finish packing. Some of the guys wanna share a beer with you if you have time later.”

Jazz shook his head. “I think I can find a few minutes to spare.”

SYNOPSIS

Honor…freedom or damnation? 

Jackson Freemont, “Jazz” to all who knew the free spirited marine, was an honorable man. Having served his country for three tours, he was ready to retire and head home to Virginia. On the last night in Afghanistan, tragedy stuck, pitching Jazz into a fractured mental state. Waking up stateside, he wasn’t prepared for the anguish he was forced to face. Judgment was swift and harsh. Rage consumed him and he became a shell, unable to control his emotions. How could they think he was a dishonorable man?

Brody Mullins had known Jackson since childhood. They’d shared everything together including one night of passion, intimacy that could never be mentioned. Or repeated. A highly respected JAG, he was assigned to help Jackson face his demons. After an initial meeting, Brody had been unprepared for his heightened level of emotions, but he had a job to do, nothing more. As both men came to terms with the accusations facing Jazz, old feelings surfaced, pushing both men into facing their desires. One night could change their destiny forever. One night could also destroy their fractured connection.

What do you think? I hope you enjoyed.

Kisses…

Cassandre 

PURCHASE LINK (Amazon isn’t live yet)

https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-fracturedhonor-1498113-148.html

 

About Cassandre Dayne

Cassandre Dayne is the pseudo for the best selling author of romantic suspense and thrillers
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