Tara Mills

In Love and War


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Ariela lost everything the day her dad was killed in the line of duty: her father; her home; her school; her friends. Unable to cope without the love of her life, her grief-stricken mom left her too. As a consequence, Ariela grew up wary of the deep passion her parents felt for one another. Since then, she’s sabotaged every potential relationship she’s had. To her, love means loss and heartache. No thanks.

After years of covering war zones, journalist Dylan Bond is home, though not without scars. Intimately acquainted with violence and sacrifice, he’s battle fatigued and desperately needs a peaceful break to restore his faith in humanity.

​When an accident literally sweeps Ariela off her feet and into Dylan’s arms, there is no turning back. But does she have the courage to love a man destined to return to his risky profession, or will her fear of following in her mother’s tragic footsteps become the wedge that drives them apart forever?


Dylan broke into a run and reached the accident scene as the stunned bicyclist fought his way back to his feet. Still straddling his bike, the man stared bug-eyed at the woman lying on the sidewalk in front of his tire.

Max, always the friendliest of dogs, chose that inopportune moment to leap on the guy and nearly knocked him over again. Aghast, Dylan dragged Max back by his collar.

The stunned messenger clutched his helmet. “I didn’t see her. I swear. She was just there.” They both turned to look at her. “Is she okay? Please tell me she’s okay.”

The woman lifted her head, her confusion palpable, and mumbled something.

Dylan went to one knee next to her. “Hey there. Are you all right?”

Her hand went to her forehead. “I think so.” The sun caught her directly in the eyes when she squinted to look up at him. She grimaced and closed them again, turning her face away.

Despite his concern, Dylan couldn’t help but notice how pretty she was, how nice she smelled. Her delicate perfume invaded his head with his next breath. A little shaken by it, he rose and gave the bicyclist an uncertain shrug.

“She seems okay, but I’m not a doctor.”

One thing was certain—she was going to have one whopper of a goose egg on the back of her head.

The courier checked his wristwatch. “I’m so sorry, but I really have to fly. I’m on the clock here.”

Since the woman wasn’t asking for herself, Dylan spoke up. “Do you have a business card, just in case?”

“Yes.” Reaching down, he pulled one out of a ridiculously tight pocket and handed it to Dylan. He started to go into another apology.

Dylan raised his hand, stopping him. “It’s cool. I’ll stick around.”

“Thank you. Thanks a lot. I really appreciate it.” The messenger took off and rejoined the early traffic.

“Okay.” Dylan turned back to the woman and a sudden chill sliced through him. She was too quiet, too still. Why wasn’t she sitting up? He dropped to his knee to take a closer look. “Hey. Still with me?”

Nope. Or she was doing one hell of a Sleeping Beauty impersonation. The stray thought left him wondering if a kiss would actually wake her.

“Better not try it,” he said to Max. Dylan patted her soft cheek instead. “Miss, miss? Can you hear me?”

Max nudged his way in and licked the young woman from chin to hairline in long slobbery strokes.

“What the hell?” Dylan wrestled him back, banishing the dog to the nearby grass. If an animal could sulk, Max was certainly doing it now. “You stay there. I mean it.” Dylan pointed sternly at the dog.

The woman jerked awake with a gasp. “I’m bleeding!”

Dylan whipped around and saw her feeling her damp face, a look of outright panic in her eyes.

“You’re not bleeding,” he assured her. “That was just my dog. He licked you. Sorry about that.”

Who could blame the animal? Dylan was having similar thoughts.

“I feel wet,” she said weakly.

“I know, that’s because my dog—”

“What?” Then she began to fade.

“Hey! Can you focus on me?” Dylan took her head in his hands and stroked her cheeks with his thumbs.

Her lashes fluttered open and she locked onto his eyes.

“Wow,” she whispered before going limp.


ISBN: 978-0-9903084-1-6

Additional information



Publication Date

April 14, 2014


Sherman Hills Press

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